Kirk's Weekly Guitar Lesson: Keys and Chords

Hi, fellow twangster, I just missed out on last week's GNW, so I have a couple of new lessons for you this time.

New format for movies

I recently invested in Macromedia Flash and I've converted all the movies. They were all in Windows Media Video which was not always viewable on Macs, so if you were having trouble viewing then in the past, they should be OK now as Flash is cross platform and comes with all browsers.

Kirk's Weekly Guitar Lessons

The first is a nice easy finger style version of Happy Birthday, never using more than two fingers at the same time, so if you're starting out, this is a good one to limber up on and of course it will come in handy several times a year. It's in the key of C and as always, the lesson consists of a movie, animated fretboard, tab, midi files, mp3, and written commentary.

Happy Birthday in C, Finger Style

The next lesson is a biggy if you're just starting to look into the theory side of things. It's not necessary to know anything about theory to play guitar -- if you're just dabbling you can simply learn and memorize some chord shapes and strum away -- but if you're at all serious about becoming a better player, then you should know some basics about how Music hinges together ... it's easier than you think. The word 'Theory' sure sounds scary, and also implies there's something theoretical about music ... there isn't. It's all fact.

The most important aspect of music, to me anyway, is the concept of 'keys'. Like real keys, they unlock things, in the case of music, a lot of relevant facts, like what chords you can expect to encounter and how they're going to relate to each other. This lesson also uses 'Happy Birthday', mainly because it's such a simple and well known tune.

Keys, Related Chords and Changing Keys

Other Lessons

We're lucky enough at GfB&B to have 'Solidwalnut', aka Steve Cass, contributing a bunch of lessons. Steve is a great player and goldmine of information and he's put together over a dozen lessons. If you're into home recording, you're going to find it very useful ... I certainly know I will.

Steve Cass' Lessons

PlaneTalk-The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Book

I've got a 'Month of March Special' going for my book/DVD ... I'm throwing in 'The Chord Tone Blues' CD lesson for nothing, normally $30. The book, of course, teaches a way of thinking and looking at the fretboard that has helped thousands of players do what they always wanted to do: to be able to improvise and invent as they go, using the whole fretboard, and never once worrying about which of the dozens of scales/modes or boxes to use, no matter how tricky and convoluted the progression may be. There IS and easier way!

Here's what 'macaroni', a new member of the PlaneTalkers' Forum, posted there the other day:

"I finally got my copy of PlaneTalk (+ DVD) on Saturday ...

No light bulbs went off as I began reading PlaneTalk - it was more like the 4th of July with each successive page!!! Like many of you here, I clearly knew about all of these elements, but I just didn't see how it all fit together and what it really meant. I am so blown away, I can hardly think about anything else.

This knowledge has breathed new life into my guitar playing like no other other musical information I've come across. I've been stuck at a minor Pentatonic plateau for years, trying to break through the Blues box shapes that have guided (and limited) my playing since the mid 60s.

Now I finally feel that I can begin improvising melodically from my heart/soul, instead of just patching together a sequence of safe riffs, and not really knowing what I was doing musically.

Kirk, I can't thank you enough for sharing this with all of us. I am forever in your debt. You will definitely be getting a credit on my CD, whenever it finally comes out (now I really feel inspired to finish it!)."

And just this morning I received this email from new customer Lee:

"I just received my copy of Plane Talk today and have already read it and viewed the DVD. I must admit, I was impressed with the elegance of the system...much easier to use than CAGED (I have also read Fretboard Logic) and also more powerful. Good, it seems I have much to practice. I look forward to learning it."

The mindset that PlaneTalk teaches applies to any style of music, including the Blues. Restricting yourself to the 'Blues Scale' is exactly that: restricting. There are 12 notes to play around with not 5 or 6. The CD lesson is a 450 Mb, 5 movie look at how to play the Blues à la PlaneTalk. To see me playing a slow blues, watch this movie ... the lesson uses the same backing track.

So, take advantage of the offer. You get the book which explains the simple mindset and map; the slide-rule which shows graphically show you the new view of the fretboard; the DVD which demonstrates it for all; the CD lesson which shows you exactly how it applies to one particular genre: a slow blues.

Get it here.

Slide guitar in Standard and Dropped D Tunings

Do you love the sound of slide but are you daunted by the prospect of learning new tunings and having to have a special guitar just for slide? Forget all that! Standard tuning is great for sliding ... drop that bass string to D and it's even better. My DVD shows you exactly how I do it. I talk and play you through 70 minutes of teaching. Check out these movies to see how I do it:

Check out the Slide Guitar DVD here ...

OK, that's it for me, see you next time.

Kirk Lorange

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