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You can't plough a field by turning it over in your mind.
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Ben Higgins
29 years old
Born Feb-26-1985
Guitar (surprise!), Karate, cars (American and European), reading, weightlifting (sometimes), horses.
Joined: 11-March 10
Profile Views: 26.146*
Last Seen: Yesterday, 02:51 PM
Local Time: Jul 29 2014, 03:35 AM
12.291 posts (8 per day)
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Ben Higgins

GMC Instructor

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28 Jul 2014
I know Gabriel posted this question back in 2011 but I thought it was time to ask this question again because

1. Some GMCers weren't around then
2. Your choices may have changed !

So, what is your favourite mode ?

Here's the original thread because some of you may want to compare your older answers


My choice is probably the half / whole diminished scale. It's very exotic sounding. I love the combination of a flat5h and a dominant7th in the same scale. The Lydian Dominant is also very similar and just as cool but it has a major2nd instead of a minor 2nd.
27 Jul 2014
Get Jamming Early !

My latest Beginner lesson on CHORDS is now up ! Chords are nearly always the first thing that we will learn on the guitar. We will place our fingers awkwardly on the correct strings and try to strum. PLUNK ! Some of the notes weren't quite clear there. So we adjust our fingers a bit and try to strum again. BRIIING ! There we go, that's more like it !

On and on this goes until we've got many or most of the 1st position chord shapes.

But how long until we're making something that sounds musical ? Well I advocate trying to jam out a song. If you have the opportunity to have a friend or teacher jam with you this is probably the best way of getting the feeling of jamming. They can adjust tempo to your abilites and give you encouragement when you're unsure of the next chord change and can set you right when you've got your fingering slightly wrong.

Backing tracks are great but they won't stop or slow down for you when you forget what's coming next. But when you've gotten 1 or 2 simple chord progressions down then you might want to try your hand at a backing track or metronome. Personally, you can't beat the gratification of jamming with other people.

But why all this talk of jamming ? Can't we just keep teaching ourselves new chords and techniques ? Well, you could but you will be missing a vital compenent. RHYTHM. This is the cornerstone of music. RHYTHM is something that we can all attain, even people who insist that they "have no rhythm". They do have rhythm, they just need to unlock it. If there were people who truly didn't have any rhythm then they would be unable to walk. They would be unable to string sentences together. Just because something isn't in 4/4 doesn't mean it doesn't have a rhthym to it. But the rhythm of walking and talking is felt differently, by the swing and momentum of limbs or the flow of words. In music, though, we do still have to be in synch with our accompaniment so we have to learn how to play with rhythm and this is best done by... jamming.

I'm using jamming in a similar context to 'playing'. I mean to just play through some chords. Not trading licks with another player but just playing for pure fun. It's not until you do this that you begin to feel things come into synch. The way your hand moves whilst strumming with down strokes and up strokes will begin to feel more confident. The fall of your arm will coincide with the beat. If you're jamming with another person you can watch their strumming hand as a visual reference point as well.

There's another benefit for hurling yourself into things. Immersion ! By throwing yourself into the thick of things, you're making your brain work harder. Your saying, we're not doing the bare minimum here, we have to work on a higher level. It's a bit like guitarists teaching themselves to shred. Not only do their fingers need to move at a higher level but in order for that to happen, their brain must be operating at a higher level. To play faster, you need to think faster to be faster !

So, to top it all of, when it comes to gaining a sense of rhythm you've just got to feel it and get jamming ! Make yourself think and get the brain working ! Pretty soon you'll be throwing out chord changes with ease !
25 Jul 2014
Tap time !!!

Here I've got a tapping sequence in A Aeolian or A Minor.

We're using the scale to move through in sequence. The fretting hand is always playing two notes next to each other whilst the tapped note is always a 3rd above. No matter where you start in a scale you can apply this pattern and maintain it as you move to the next intervals in the scale.

Attached File  Quick_Licks_2.mp3 ( 773.49K ) Number of downloads: 42

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Attached File  Quick_Licks_2.gp5 ( 2.58K ) Number of downloads: 13

The timing is 16th note triplets. But if you wanted to you can turn this into 16th notes by using the left hand to hammer-on back to the first note that was fretted, thus making the shape an equal number of 4 notes. You can time this however you want. The principle is just about taking a combination of notes and moving it through a scale whilst maintaining the interval structure.

This is perfect for whenever you're stuck trying to fit tapping licks into a solo !

22 Jul 2014
Speaking as a fan of metal music in general a lot of the bands I grew up listening to are now, how shall we say... advanced in years. The physical effects of this are that they cannot do all of the things they used to be able to do, in terms of performance.

The vocalists get hit the hardest as obviously their body is their instrument. Things they could sing when they were younger are almost impossible or at least, very hit and miss. It's not a negative criticism, it's just life. Some people hold onto their range longer than others but eventually, everyone will succumb to the limitations and have to accept them.

However, this is where some people differ. Some bands refuse to accept their limitations, which may seem the most admirable choice at first, but blind stubbornness can also see people out of their depth where everyone but the performer can see it.

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One thing that could come about as a result of getting older is that people start to experiment with their new capacity for performance. If people's voices get lower, then maybe start experimenting with different ways to express oneself in a lower timbre. I'm not just talking about the band tuning down to compensate for the old songs but I mean really digging into something different.

We open up the old 'should bands experiment' topic with this but I'm genuinely interested in people's different perspectives on this. By no means am I suggesting that bands shouldn't carry on into their older years... I'm saying that, as a fan, I'd love to see them trying out new things and working with their limitations to come up with something that works with them. I'd love to hear Halford doing some low down heavy stuff and using his lower range more.. we can't expect these guys to scream forever. Leaving vocalists alone for a minute, what about drummers and guitarists who can't keep up with their more physically demanding material ? Maybe these guys could explore slower, doomy, atmospheric aspects.

What do you guys think ? Should bands call it a day if they can no longer do their old stuff or should they just adjust and use what they've got to come up with something different ?
19 Jul 2014
Before I started playing the guitar there were 2 things that I mistakenly thought:

I thought that the higher register notes were played down at the headstock end !

I thought that you used whammy bars by moving them from side to side !

Can you remember any odd ideas that you had about guitar playing before you learned how to play ?
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Todd Simpson
Welcome! :) Great to have ya!
9 Jun 2010 - 2:11
Ben Higgins
Thank you man !! :-)
5 Jun 2010 - 15:24
Welcome to GMC!!!!!!! I hope you enjoy your stay and I look forward to cool lessons! :)
5 Jun 2010 - 0:14


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