Guitar lessons in Edinburgh

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Let's talk about phrasing

By christcornell, Jun 23 2017 02:00AM

What does it even mean? Well it relates to where the phrase lands in the bar, but it also relates to how a phrase is played. Paying attention to both elements is focused on with guitar lessons in Edinburgh as it will really help beginners play with a lot more authority. There's a great blues guitar lesson on youtube with Stevie Ray Vaughan discussing the difference in how Albert King and Eric Clapton would play the same tune (hideaway) using different styles (King using more slides and open strings, Clapton using bends and playing an octave higher). And as every Edinburgh guitar teacher knows the blues is the first place to start when discussing phrasing, so let's start with a simple 12 bar. The biggest mistake beginners tend to make when beginning to improvise is to over-play; just learning a scale (usually pentatonic) and playing up and down the whole thing without taking any breaks. So try doing 2 things: just take 2,3 or 4 notes of the scale and just stick with them. Secondly try playing on roughly the same beat each time, so you'll have space between your phrases. So try something simple: start your phrase on beat 1, keep it short and leave 2 bars between each phrase. Now you've created suspense and interest, next it's time to make your phrases more lyrical. Usually (especially in a blues context) that means using articulations like bends, slides, hammer ons and pull offs. Slides are the easiest, so you can take your little 3 note lick and just slide into 1 or 2 of the notes. Blues bends (or mictro-tonal bends) are a little harder, but essential for making your licks really sing. There's 2 notes in the pentatonic this works over: the note above and below the root. The key to this bend is to bend very gradually, getting faster and faster, then cutting the note off while you're still bending (before it plateaus). So now you're ready to start ripping over a 12 bar blues! As always, feel free to get in touch at

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