News in 2019
December 05th, 2019
Guitar-Nerdery #075: Inside Outside Playing
How to PLAY OUT OF KEY and MAKE IT SOUND GOOD
Inside and outside playing, commonly used in Jazz music, but what does that exactly mean? It's simple! When you are playing scales and chords that are part of the music's key you are playing "inside". When you (intentionally) play scales and chords that are not part of the key then you're playing "outside". In some way that description fits also to chromatic playing, but with inside outside playing a different kind of approach to the wrong notes is meant. While in chromatic playing the wrong between the right notes are played, we leave the key completely in inside outside playing and find our way back in again. In a way that supports and creates excitement and doesn't sound wrong at all!
November 28th, 2019
Easy Start into Chromatic Playing 2 -
how to play all the wrong notes right
This is the second episode about getting started easily into chromatic playing. In episode #073 I used the basic two-notes-per-string pattern for the minor pentatonic scale to show you that "filling the gaps - concept". This time I'm going to adapt this idea to diatonic three-notes-per-string guitar scale shapes. With three notes per string, there's always one finger spare that can be used to play a chromatic note.
November 21th, 2019
An Easy Start into Chromatic Playing -
how to play all the wrong notes right
Chromatic playing is done very often in Jazz music. To me it was a mystery how to do that. I was amazed how Jazz guitar players like Mike Stern did it, like in his song Chromazone. When I tried to play chromatic licks it just sounded not right and I asked my teacher about how to do it and what's the secret. Well, the secret is, you can play complete nonsense, but you have to know and show where the right notes are and playing the wrong ones to lead to them. Additionally to that your rhythmic ideas and phrasing is the seller of those chromatic lines.
There are endless concepts of chromatic playing but I've got a very easy one for you to get started!
November 14th, 2019
Using Octaves to easily develop Catchy Licks
In this episode, like in Guitar-Nerdery #071, I'm gonna show how to use octave shapes as orientation marks for developing catchy licks. Melodic motives, repeated and octavated get the listener attracted!
November 7th, 2019
Minor Pentatonic & Blues Scale, extended Guitar Pattern
In this episode I'm going to show you a 'must know' guitar pattern for the A minor pentatonic and the A blues scale that has a broader range than the commonly known standard boxed shape. It sits diagonal across and melts perfectly with that standard pattern. It makes it easy to move melodic ideas through octaves. A symbiosis with multiplied possibilities!
October 24, 2019
In my new tutorial I'm gonna share a thought, a point of view, that can help you to get connected to the sound of the modes of the ionian system in an emotional way!
Modes in a Dramatic Order
The order of the modes in the ionian system (1 ionian, 2 dorian, 3 phrygian, 4 lydian, 5 mixolydian, 6 aeolian, 7 locrian) is of technical nature, developed by regarding each note of the major scale (ionian scale) as a root to build up scales/modes. If we put them in a different order, in a more logical way by the number of great versus small intervals they contain, this new order will also correlate with their sound!
The new order would now be:
How come and what the heck is that good for?
Watch the video!
October 17, 2019
#069: Mode-Chords, the Frank Gambale Method part2
In this second part I apply Frank Gambale's Mode-Chords concept to all minor modes of the ionian system: aeolian, dorian and phrygian as well the 7th mode locrian. If you not already have I strongly recommend to watch the first part first, otherwise it's hard to understand this episode!
October 10, 2019
#068: Mode-Chords, the Frank Gambale Method part1
Mode Chords - with "Mode" I mean the modes of the ionian system, also known as the church modes. Jazz Fusion Rock guitar virtuoso Frank Gambale ist commonly known for his incredible sweep picking technique. But this is not what I want to address here. 30 years ago Frank Gambale explained and demonstrated in his 2nd instructional video a concept about how two simple major triads can be used to fully display the sound and character of each of them modes acoustically. This concept is ingenious and lets you really understand and get a feel for how these modes sound. It had an essential impact on my lead guitar playing, but also on my riffing, arranging, composing and thinking. It changed my life!
October 03, 2019
#067: How to play Chord Inversions on the guitar 2
This episode is a direct follow-up of Guitar-Nerdery #066, How to play Chord Inversions on the guitar! Please make sure, if you not already have, to watch that episode first.
October 01, 2019
Symphony of Fear (new song, guitar solo recordings 2)
I'm currently working on a new progressive rock song, Symphony of Fear. This is the second solo spot. No shred guitar here, just vibe and emotions, support of harmonies and dramaturgy!
September 29, 2019
#066: How to play Chord Inversions on the guitar
Chord Inversions, what is that, what is it good for, how to find and play them on the guitar? An inversion of a chord is actually to turn it upside-down. Talking about triads - you will learn that the basic note constellation of a triad is called a fundamental chord which can be inverted in two ways. Practically on the guitar you can play it's fundamental form and both inversions in one position, but when talking about learning chord inversions it is meant to arrange them horizontally. This way you will learn to find chords and voicings everywhere on the fretboard. Good for arranging, conquering the fretboard and gaining artistic freedom. Give chord inversions a go!
September 19, 2019
#065: Indian Style Rhythm Exercise
First - this is not a konnakol (or konokol) lesson and nor am I an expert in Indian rhythm, but I like listen to Indian music. The 16th notes exercise I'm going to show you in this video reminds me a lot of how rhythm is approached in Indian music. A fun to play exercise and a very good one to shape your 16th notes timing.
September 17, 2019
Symphony of Fear (new song, guitar solo recordings)
I'm currently working on a new progressive rock song, Symphony of Fear. This scene has been shot while I was working on the main solo guitar part. Pretty challenging to create excitement, an arc of suspense over this 19/16th groove.
September 13, 2019
Guitar-Nerdery goes shred again!
#064: Left-Hand legato - get your fingers closer to the fretboard
I'm asked frequently about how to get the fingers of the left hand closer to the fretboard. 20 years ago sweep picking master Frank Gambale told on a guitar clinic, that he often stood in front of a wall when practicing to force his fingers to stay close to the fretboard. I tried that, but didn't like to have also my nose against the wall 😄 Anyway, there are surely a couple of ways to achieve that. One good way that I've experienced is to train the left-hand legato technique. With this playing technique the left hand has to take over tasks that are normally the domain of the right hand, like note generation and timing. Having to manage many tasks along with playing fast all movements have to be executed efficiently. Going the shortest and most direct ways is the goal. I believe when digging deep into left-hand legato the movements of the fingers will automatically tend to get closer to the fretboard, for this is the only way to gain speed and get that legato sound.
September 05, 2019
A shorter Guitar-Nerdery this time! I'm gonna show a funny lick, that I actually use very often.
#063: Funny Lick - Pacman Dying
This lick sounds pretty much of Pacman, when dying. It's a fast descending chromatic legato lick, which is harder to play than it sounds. Makes it a good left-hand legato exercise.
August 30, 2019
This weeks nerdery episode is a complete workout with Paul Gilbert string skipping arpeggios!
#062: Paul Gilbert Arpeggios 2
This is part two of my former episode about Paul Gilbert's string skipping arpeggios (Guitar-Nerdery #060). Besides showing you Paul's arpeggio shapes in detail and an exercise playing them simply up and down over a couple of cadences, I mentioned also that they have a much more rhythmic approach than, for example, sweeping arpeggios. This time I've got an awesome new exercise with these arpeggio shapes over a broad chord progression and a more complex picking pattern. A workout showing the strong points of Paul Gilbert's amazing string skipping arpeggios. It's going to be very sporty!
August 23, 2019
My longest nerdery video ever! Open string arpeggios, a tapping lesson:
#061: Open String Arpeggios
Most arpeggio shapes on the guitar need more than one string and are boxed in positions. Since arpeggios are simply notes of chords, played individually, it is also possible to arrange them on single strings. The tapping technique is perfect for doing that! In this episode I'm going to show how you can easily create fast and stunning sounding arpeggios. Perfect for shredding!
August 16, 2019
Paul Gilbert string skipping arpeggios in my new Guitar-Nerdery!
#060: Paul Gilbert Arpeggios
Paul Gilbert, a guitar virtuoso well known from his work with Mr. Big and Racer X. A couple of decades ago he released an instructional video where he demonstrated his concept of string skipping triad arpeggios. Till then I only knew sweeping arpeggios and it took me some time to understand the value of these strange arpeggio shapes. Besides their different sound they allow a completely different phrasing with much more rhythmical approach.
For those of you who don't know Paul Gilbert, I'd like to share his string skipping arpeggio concept with you. In this episode I'm not going to address that phrasing potential, but give you more a basic overview of these arpeggio shapes. In the second half I also show you an awesome sounding exercise with these string skipping arpeggios which I demonstrate in the intro of this episode. Surely not beginners level, but for those of you, who like the challenge.
Furthermore I recommend to use this episode as an appetizer and to search for Paul Gilbert on YouTube. You'll find tons of tutorials by himself.
August 09, 2019
A new guitar tutorial is online where I refer to a question often asked!
#059: How to let your Guitar Squeal
Artificial harmonics, pinch harmonic, thumb harmonics or just squeals. All these names are used to describe the same thing. Creating a sound with the picking hand that is widely used in hard rocking music, but not only. It has also great potential to attract or annoy cats and dogs 😄 I'm often asked about the technique, how these squeals can be squeezed out of a string. In this video I'm going to show in detail how it can be done.
Besides that I'd like to recommend to watch also my Guitar-Nerdery video 009 from about a year ago. There I show an awesome sound effect that can be created by using these artificial harmonics. Because it was required to be technically able to play them, you can see this new episode 059 as a prequel of 009. Have fun and let your guitar squeal!
August 02, 2019
For a couple of weeks it was not possible for me to update this website, but my guitar tutorial series still continued! Today nr. 058 is up and you can find the links of the recent three episodes below:
How to get a good tone on the guitar!
#055: Good Vibrato Technique
The quality of your string vibrato and therefore of your tone, is one of the most important ingredients that mark your personality on the guitar. It should not be underestimated. All that fun to play shred stuff, playing lots of notes is very attractive to put on the exercise agenda. Working on sound and tone very often is neglected. In this video I'm gonna give you some tips how you can develop a good vibrato technique.
July 06, 2019
With a little delay my Guitar-Nerdery nr. 54 is up!
#054: The essential Gary Moore Lick
I'm a great Gary Moore fan and can't stop missing him. He was such a soulful musician and guitar player and in no way I intend to reduce him to a couple of licks. But, if I'd have to think about an essential lick of Gary Moore, a lick he used all the time, in his early and later years, in his metal era or when he got deep into the blues... I've found one! Watch the video to learn one of the most essential, powerful licks of Mister Gary Moore!
July 04, 2019
The next Guitar-Nerdery episode is gonna be delayed and will be released on saturday july 06! I'm producing and recording a new song and that takes much time. Unfortunately there is not enough time left to finish the nerdery stuff as planned.
June 27, 2019
Some more string skipping arpeggios in my Guitar-Nerdery nr. 53!
#053: String Skipping Arpeggios 4
This time I show two string skipping arpeggios with 3-notes-per-strings and combine them with a left hand legato / hybrid picking pattern from my Guitar-Nerdery episode #035. Those two arpeggios are a Dm7/9 and an Am7/9. They are very good for shredding, but also demanding for the left hand, because of wider stretches.
June 20, 2019
Guitar-Nerdery nr. 52 is up on YouTube!
#052: Richie Kotzen Style Lick
Every guitarist has his trademark licks, licks he/she uses more often than others. The ones you hear for a second and you know who is playing. So does Richie Kotzen. I very often use a lick idea that is very inspired by Richie Kotzen. It's not exactly what he's playing, it's more the concept of that lick which inspires me to create my own.
June 13, 2019
Some beautiful sounding triad voicings in Guitar-Nerdery nr. 51!
#051: Wide Interval Triads
Aside from playing notes separately arpeggios and chords are the same. There are many ways you can play triads on a guitar and today I'm showing you some very open sounding ones, using wide intervals and greater differences of string thickness for more separation. The fingersettings are actually taken out of those string skipping arpeggios from my previous videos. Some more voicings for your chord vocabulary, which can also help you to get a different perspective on what you have already played a thousand times.
June 06, 2019
Time for celebration, Guitar-Nerdery nr. 50 is up!
#050: String Skipping Arpeggios 3
Part three of string skipping arpeggios. Make sure to have seen part 1 and 2 for fully understanding. This time I'm taking the string skipping arpeggio lick idea I've showed you in part 2 and build it up to a broad exercise, playing a cadence in the key of G major.
May 30, 2019
Part 2 of String Skipping Arpeggios is up on YouTube!
#049: String Skipping Arpeggios 2
About a year ago I've posted the first part of string skipping arpeggios. This is a follow-up and I really recommend to watch my Guitar-Nerdery video #004 first, to fully get connected to what I'm showing this time! In that first part I explain in detail the shapes of those string skipping arpeggios and furthermore show a lick, that let's you connect them arpeggios horizontally. I gave that lick a little twist to make it now easily possible to connect two arpeggio shapes in one position, but on different strings.
May 23, 2019
Guitar-Nerdery #048 is up on YouTube!
#048: Simple Shredding Puzzle Pieces 2
In this episode I show one more simple shredding lick and give examples, how it can be extended to a long impressive shred run. It's simply 6 notes played on two strings and therefore adaptable to most kind of scale patterns. Use your imagination and explore endless possibilities!
May 16, 2019
Back to shred guitar in Guitar-Nerdery 047!
#047: Simple Shredding Puzzle Pieces 1
In this episode I show a couple of simple and small shredding licks which can easily be combined. Puzzling around with these shredding puzzle pieces is a lot of fun and lets you create awesome shredding licks. My main intention is to inspire you to come up with your own puzzle pieces which will grace your future solo playing.
May 09, 2019
Guitar-Nerdery 046 is up!
#046: Thinking in several Voices
In classical music and also in the fingerstyle world it's a natural thing to think in different voices, but most of the rock guitar players think and see a chord as a unit. In the end it's the way you think about music that determines how you play and sound. In this video I'm going to show you an easy exercise that will train your brain to split chords into several voices. It will open doors for tremendous possibilities and beautiful musical arrangements in the future!
April 17, 2019
Guitar-Nerdery 045 exceptionally one day earlier, today on wednesday 9pm! It's the final episode before a short 2-week spring break! The next episode will be realeased on may 09.
#045: Motivic Playing
Very often when I wanna motivate my students not only to reproduce something someone else has played, but to improvise, the desperate response is "I really don't know what to play, how to begin'. A very common way of starting with playing solo guitar is learning an easy scale shape, like the pentatonic or blues scale. Playing it simply up and down first is good to memorize it and for doing the sports. From the musical point of view it's pretty boring. In this video I show you an exercise that's very musical and effective which works on all levels. It's completely up to you how difficult you want to make it. I wish you all a nice spring time!
April 11, 2019
Today one more time Al Di Meola strumming technique:
#044: Strumming Etude
Al Di Meola Technique 06
I've already made a couple of videos about Al Di Meola's strumming technique. This time I wanna refer to the very first one, Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery #020. In the demonstration intro clip I've improvised with a simple chord progression and tried to apply Al's style and approach of strumming guitar. After covering some important ingredients of Meola's strumming style I thought that learning this intro demonstration could be a good start, if you struggle to come up with own ideas and don't know how to begin. In this episode I'm gonna explain all chords and grooves in detail, showing them slow and fast. Have fun with practicing!
April 04, 2019
Part 2 of my former tutorial is up on YouTube:
#043: Fast fills strumming exercises 02
Al Di Meola Technique 05
This is a follow-up of my former video. To fully understand what I'm showing here, please make sure you have watched it! It's about training speed and the ability to change the strumming tempo or the note values from 16ths to 32nds very accurately. This is a trademark of Al Di Meola's strumming approach and if you want to dive deep into this, you can't avoid to train this. This time the strumming patterns are more tricky, what makes them a greater challenge, what makes you like them even more, I hope 😄
March 28, 2019
My new tutorial:
#042: Fast fills strumming exercises 01
Al Di Meola Technique 04
Al Di Meola's trademark when he plays rhythm guitar are his very fast 32nds fills. In this video I'll show you a bunch of guitar strumming exercises which will not only help you to build up speed, but to be able to switch between 16ths and 32nds in a split second and very accurate. If you really want to dive deep into Al Di Meola's playing style, you can't avoid such a training!
March 21, 2019
This week a new tutorial, my approach to Al Di Meola's strumming style
#041: Dynamic Strumming
Al Di Meola Technique 03
In this video I will again cover the Al Di Meola rhythm guitar topic and show you my approach to his strumming technique. Very often he uses different strumming patterns to get life and dynamic in a groove. Video #029! Today I stick to alternate strumming, show you a transparent sounding chord type and use it to demonstrate how dynamic in strumming can be achieved. Not only by hitting the strings hard or soft, but to split the chord by frequency into two parts, low and high.
March 14, 2019
The subtopic of my nerdery series is rounded up to Adapting Guitar Techniques 10:
#040: Adapting Guitar Techniques 10
Playing Malmsteen Arpeggios with Hybrid Picking
There have been already 9 videos under the subtopic Adapting guitar techniques within my Guitar-Nerdery series. This one rounds it up to number 10. Adapting hybrid picking to Yngwie Malmsteen's lightspeed sweep-arpeggios is my crazy challenge this time. What we get is a great hybrid picking workout.
March 12, 2019
New jamtrack in F# dorian:
jamtrack in F# dorian
Under the roof of my Guitar-Nerdery series I'm going to post jamtracks every now and then. This one is in the key of F# dorian. Dorian is the second mode of the ionian system, in this case the E ionian system. The much more common minor mode used in rock and pop music is the 6th one, the aeolian mode. Compared to aeolian, dorian has a major 6th! Just one note different, but a great change of 'flavor'. I've made an effort to let this backing track rock and groove. You can use it for a whole lotta exercises I've showed in my Guitar-Nerdery series. Have fun!
March 07, 2019
New shred guitar tutorial:
#039 Adapting Guitar Techniques 09 - Hybrid Picking Malmsteen Lick
Neoclassical Metal - what would that be without Yngwie Malmsteen! Today I'm adapting hybrid picking to one of his trademark licks which will enrich your shred guitar vocabulary. You'll be amazed to see how hybrid picking really matches with that style and makes it possible to extendend this fine lick. I've prepared a very broad lick for you to sink your teeth into. An awesome picking training, based on Malmsteen's idea or actually on the music of the baroque era.
February 28, 2019
#038 Adapting Guitar Techniques 08 - Hybrid Picking Baroque Lick
Neoclassical Metal! That metal style came up back then in the 80s and Vinnie Moore had lots of licks to show which fitted into that genre, which are directly inspired by the music of the baroque era, by J.S.Bach, Vivaldi, Händel, Telemann etc. In this video I'm adapting hybrid picking to one of them and you'll soon understand, that this technique makes it much easier to play compared to alternate picking. I also extend that lick from the original and show you how to play it everywhere on the fretboard!
February 21, 2019
New on YouTube!
#037 Adapting Guitar Techniques 07 - Scale Tapping
Last week I showed you an adaption of the tapping technique in the style of Greg Howe to an alternate picking exercise / lick of Vinnie Moore. I found it also interesting and it's also a guitar technique adaption, to show you one more tapping exercise. Scale Tappping! If you, instead of learning just tapping licks, apply the tapping technique to three note per string scale patterns which you use to improvise solos, you enable yourself to improvise with that technique.
February 14, 2019
About a half year ago I showed you some tapping ideas in my Guitar-Nerdery series. Now under the roof of ADAPTING GUITAR TECHNIQUES it's time for another one:
#036 Adapting Guitar Techniques 06 - TAP the HELL out of it!
...like Greg Howe does
This time I'm again referring to my Guitar-Nerdery episode nr. #033 and apply guitar right hand tapping technique to that idea of Vinnie Moore. What we get then is an awesome sounding, fast shredding lick in the style of Greg Howe! ...Greg Howe, a six string virtuoso with an incredible guitar tapping technique.
February 07, 2019
Today a further guitar technique adaption to one of Vinnie Moore's exercises:
#035 Adapting Guitar Techniques 05 - more Hybrid meets Legato
This is another episode where I combine hybrid picking and legato technique. It's a consequent follow-up of Guitar-Nerdery #033, hybrid meets legato. There I took an exercise of guitar player Vinnie Moore ( Shrapnel records artist, member of U.F.O. ...) that was originally meant for training alternate picking and applied left hand legato technique (hammer-on's and pull-off's) and hybrid picking to it. In #033 it was all about a scale sequence of playing 3 notes up (down backwards) from each scale note. Works with any scale combined with a 3 note per string pattern. This time the idea is simply playing 4 notes up from each note of the scale. That changes the picking and fretting pattern of both hands, which makes it a new exercise. Adapting hybrid picking and left hand legato technique to this exercise, allows to gain more speed without effort. And of course it sounds different!
January 31, 2019
Shred Guitar is in the house! 😄
#034 Adapting Guitar Techniques 04 - Wide Range Legato Licks
In this video I'm referring to the scale sequence combined with hybrid picking and left hand legato technique I showed in my former Guitar-Nerdery episode #033 and apply two really wide stretched out, 3 note per string scale pattern to it. One of them stretches about 3 1/2 octaves. Now, that's gonna be a challenge! My hands are of regular size, but I've always been addicted to these extreme hand gymnastics to gain a better reach of my left hand. So here's the one waiting also for you - left hand control, muscle and stamina training, combined with great changes of positions. Let's conquer the fretboard!
January 29, 2019
I've put the jamtrack of the intro clip of my Nerdery video #033 on my YouTube channel!
The first half of the chord progression in this backing track is in G melodic minor and changes to E (harmonic) minor in the second half. It's not the easiest one to play to. When I'm showing the minor pentatonic scale to my students and explaining why it's a fantastic scale to begin with, I always make clear, that it misses two notes which could be wrong (no minor or major sixth & minor or major second), compared to the three minor modes of the ionian system. So if you have to play in minor there are not many cases where you can go wrong with it. This backing track is different and it won't work here most of the time, at least not in the first half! Both, melodic and harmonic minor have a major 7th and hereby contradict the minor 7th of the minor pentatonic. I thought you might like the challenge to play over a strange chord progression 😄 Have fun!
Jamtrack - G melodic minor, E (harmonic) minor
January 24, 2019
The new Guitar-Nerdery episode is primarily about left hand legato technique!
#033 Adapting Guitar Techniques 03
Adapting Guitar Techniques 03 - Guitar-Nerdery #033
(hybrid meets legato)
Here is another exercise that I picked up from Vinnie Moore a long time ago. Originally meant for training alternate picking I'm going to apply left hand legato technique (hammer-ons and pull-offs) and hybrid picking to it. This way that scale-sequence lick gets a whole new sound and vibe and you can reach tremendous speed much easier.
Just in case you wonder what strange stuff I'm playing in the intro clip, I'm improvising over a G melodic minor chord progression that evolves into E Aeolian / B HM5 (Phrygian dominant).
January 17, 2019
A new Guitar-Nerdery episode is up!
#032 Adapting Guitar Techniques 02
Adapting Guitar Techniques 02 - Guitar-Nerdery #032
This episode is a continuation of my former episode!
There I made an adaption of one of Vinnie Moore's alternate picking exercises and turned it into a hybrid picking exercise. This time, for all you studious Guitar-Nerdery followers 😄 this exercise is going to be pushed to another level by incorporating string skipping and involving also the third finger of your picking hand.
Adapting Guitar Techniques will be continued over a couple of videos!
January 10, 2019
A happy new year and welcome back!
After a short break I've restarted my Guitar-Nerdery series.
#031 Adapting Guitar Techniques 01
Adapting Guitar Techniques 01 - Guitar-Nerdery #031
Back then in the 80s of the last century I was fan of lots of them upcoming shred guitar players and Shrapnel Records heroes (Label owner Mike Varney) like Yngwie Malmsteen (he had no releases on the Shrapnel Label, but was supported by Mike Varney), Tony MacAlpine, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman... ...and one of them was Vinnie Moore. Without internet and YouTube guitar tutorials were available on good 'ol VHS tape. Vinnie Moore with his remarkable playing technique at that time released two guitar instructional videos and I was unbelievable happy having bought them.
Hot Licks, Vinnie Moore: Advanced Lead Guitar Techniques
Hot Licks, Vinnie Moore: Speed Accuracy and Articulation
I studied everything and it had a great impact on my playing. That is all very long ago and since then I studied many different guitar playing techniques, left and right hand. There's an issue when it comes to learn a new technique, for example when first picking every note and then start to learn to play everything legato. You put a lot of time and energy into the new stuff and there's not so much time left to keep your "old" stuff in shape. The result is you find yourself playing your shreding licks not as persuasive as usually while the new technique still isn't your friend. That transition time can be very annoying.
Anyway, that's the way it always goes and it this video I'd like to show you a hybrid picking exercise. When starting with hybrid picking I recommend to start with one finger additional to the plectrum first, probably the middle finger. The way I learn a new guitar playing technique is, I try to adapt that technique to the musical ideas I've already trained. This is the moment when Vinnie Moore and one of his exercises in his instructional videos comes in. It's originally an alternate picking exercise, a movement through a '3 notes per string' scale shape. Playing this with hybrid picking is a good muscle and overall control training for the plucking finger.
Adapting Guitar Techniques will be continued over a couple of videos!
news in 2018December 31, 2018
The last day of the year and I've got some guitar playing for you. This video is an electric guitar performance and I'm playing a short composition of mine, which simply cristallized out of jamming. Those of you who follow my Guitar-Nerdery tutorial series will notice, that I've used some ideas and guitar techniques I've shown and explained in my first tutorial season. The title is my wish for 2019. I wish you all a Happy New Year!
Year of Composure
December 20, 2018
Unbelievable it's already tutorial nr. 30 and the last one this year, 2018! This guitar tutorial series takes a vacation and will be back on January the 10th in 2019!
#030 Merging Guitar Rhythm Concepts
I mentioned more than once that in my opinion in music it's all about the rhythm and I'm finishing this year's season with another guitar rhythm lesson. Be sure that shredding guitar exercises won't be missed out in future, but without the right approach to rhythm everything is pointless. In this video we'll be creative with the regular 4/4 time signature and I first show you a guitar rhythm exercise that I missed to recommend in my former guitar rhythm lessons, the importance of practising offbeats, here with 16th notes. Furthermore it's gonna be fun when I refer to guitar rhythm concepts and exercises of my former videos, merging them and discover new grooves. Conform to what should always be your second thought - "What else can I do with it?"
December 13, 2018
This week's tutorial is a sequel of my former video about Al Di Meola' strumming technique: #029 Al Di Meola strumming pattern
Al Di Meola is mostly known as a fast picking virtuoso, playing solo runs at light speed. Some 30 years ago I listened to the "Friday Night in San Francisco" album for the first time, the price winning live collaboration album of Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia. Man I couldn't believe what I've heard! I became a fan of all three guitar players and tried to get more information and records. Somehow Al Di Meola's style attracted me the most and very soon I was also aware of his remarkable rhythm guitar playing and timing. Although playing with a plectrum, his grooves pretty much sounded like those of flamenco players. While having my problems trying to practise some of his grooves that I picked up by ear, and there was no Al Di Meola on Youtube these days, I noticed his different right-hand technique, different from what most other guitar players do when strumming - I could finally see him performing on regular tv. So I studied his right-hand and tried to copy it, also in front of a mirror 😄 Yes, and it really worked for me!
I've made a video about it and recommend you to watch it first: Al Di Meola strumming technique - Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery #020
In this video I show you a specific guitar strumming pattern, inspired by Al Di Meola and that can help you to get a feel for his rhythm playing style. I wish you as much fun as I always have with these kind of exercises!
December 06, 2018
Right on German Nikolaus day a new guitar tutorial: #028 Tapping Harmonics
Tapping octave harmonics - A very useful guitar trick! Tapping pinch harmonics or tapping artificial harmonics means, you get harmonics out by tapping an open or fretted string on specific points. I'm also calling this guitar technique Hot Plate Tapping, because the tap has to be pretty short, like you're tapping on a very hot plate. In this video I'm going to show you how you can play complete melodies and solo lines, just by tapping octave harmonics that are located 12 frets higher than those notes of the open or fretted strings. Means, you tap a copy of what your left hand is doing exactly 12 frets higher. It works everywhere on the guitar fretboard, but the higher you get, the more difficult it gets to get the octave harmonics out. One of the reasons is that the higher you get, the more precise you have to be, but it's also very supportive if your guitar is harmonic friendly. This does apply to both, acoustic and electric guitar. Using a guitar compressor or distortion (what is also a kind of compression) makes it also easier. On an overdriven electric guitar those tapped harmonics can sound as loud and last long as a played chord, what isn't the case on an acoustic guitar. This has to be taken into account when integrating octave harmonics into your playing and songs.
To get more insight about how guitar harmonics are covered on the fretboard, I recommend to watch also my Guitar-Nerdery video:
Phasing-hands Effect - Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery #009
November 29, 2018
This weeks guitar tutorial: #027 Create Riffs with Major Scales
There's more than just major. Major can have many different colors and metal riffs in major, that's very possible!
All major scales of the ionian system - This time I'm talking about how to incorporate major scales Into riffs. In this video I show you how to transform an ionian major guitar riff into a lydian and mixolydian riff, only by making small, but important changes. For fully understanding it's important to watch my former episode "Create Riffs with Minor Scales - Guitar-Nerdery #026"! There I'm going very much into detail about the actual differences between scales and demonstrate how you can get the mode sound by using the exclusion principle.
Take this video and my former one as a companion, for understanding all modal scales and practically building marvelous riffs in various minor and major colors!
November 22, 2018
This weeks guitar tutorial: #026 Create Riffs with Minor Scales
All minor scales of the ionian system - This video is about how to incorporate minor scales Into riffs. I'll show you how to transform an aeolian minor guitar riff into a dorian, phrygian and locrian riff, only by making small, but important changes. What is the difference between those scales? Which are the important notes you have to integrate in your riff to get the mode sound? Everything is gonna be covered! After analysing the scales I'm gonna demonstrate the different sounds of the minor modes, by using the same riff idea and the exclusion principle - how you can achieve to work out the beautiful different flavors of minor.
November 15, 2018
This weeks guitar tutorial: #025 Create Riffs with the Blues Scale
Blues riffs anyway, but also rock riffs are very often built on the blues scale, the expansion of the minor pentatonic. Depending on the riff and because we have the same notes more than once on the guitar fretboard, we can use different shapes for the same thing. I'm gonna show you a shape of the E blues scale that works fantastic for riff building. In addition with one of the most important chords / voicings for the guitar player. The E7#9 or Jimi Hendrix chord! In my opinion there's no other instrument where that chord sounds that good. All examples with the guitar tuned to E standard.
November 08, 2018
This weeks guitar tutorial: #024 Metal Riffing
Very often my students ask me how to play metal guitar. My first answer would be it's all about the sound and right playing attitude. There's also a great element of sports to it which needs a lot of training. This answer only wouldn't satisfied them. Yeah what's a typical metal riff? In this video I'm gonna show you a picking pattern / exercise and chord / voicing progression, that I would definitely put on the table. All examples in standard E tuning.
November 01, 2018
This weeks guitar tutorial: #023 Inverted Power Chords, fat & dark
Most of the time the reason why drop-tunings are chosen is to want the guitar and riffs sound fatter. Inverted Power Chords with the perfect fifth on bottom in the standard e-tuning sound darker and fatter than regular power chords. They are a fantastic tool to fake a down-tuning, to let the guitar sound lower than it is tuned. In this video I'm gonna demonstrate how to play inverted power chords and how they sound.
October 25, 2018
This weeks guitar tutorial: #022 Special Drop B Tuning
If you Google the term Drop B Tuning you'll find an equal to the Drop D Tuning. Tuning the whole guitar three half steps down to C# standard and then the low C# string further down a whole step to B. The instrument is then playable like in Drop D Tuning.
I'm gonna show you a different Drop B Tuning that goes along with the idea, just to tune down the lowest string and keeping all other five strings in Standard E. This way the string tension and harmonic character almost stays the same, which I like! The guitar overall doesn't need any further adjustments then and it's very easy to tune back to Standard E Tuning, if you need that low Drop B Tuning only for a few songs.
October 18, 2018
This weeks guitar tutorial: #021 Drop D Tuning
I like the drop D tuning, or dropped d tuning very much. You simply tune down the low E-string one whole tone down to D. By that simple step you tremendously expand the possibilities on the guitar. The first time I was aware of it was in the early ninties, when I tried to figure out the riffs of an Annihilator song. From then on I heard it more and more in Metal music. Nowadays Metal cannot be imagined without drop D tuning.
Besides explaining what it's good for I show you a good way how to tune your guitar to drop D with harmonics. Unfortunately that tuning method doesn't work on guitars with a floating tremolo system - every change of tuning gets them completely out of tune. ...one of the reasons why I play guitars with fixed bridge!
October 15, 2018
It's announced that Google is going to shut down Google+ sometime soon. Therefore I removed all Google+ links from my link list! ...don't wanna lead you to a dead end!
October 11, 2018
Al Di Meola is known for his incredible picking technique when playing solos, but he is an outstanding rhythm guitar player too. When he plays his unique strumming pattern he uses a different right-hand technique that enables him to reach a very controlled fast tempo without losing punch, sounding a bit like a flamenco player using a plectrum.
In this strumming guitar lesson I'll show you how to do that.
#020 Al Di Meola strumming technique
October 04, 2018
For a long time I kinda neglected the art of playing a decent strumming acoustic guitar, thought it was easy stuff and rather engaged myself in other things. Until I've heard Irish guitar player John Doyle who lives in Nashville. I was immediately impressed by his driving strumming grooves. And when I started to practise I completely got it - man was I wrong! There's a lotta work to do ☺
In this video I'm gonna show you a way how triplet notes grooves are played on the guitar in Irish music.
I also wanna recommend you to check out John Doyle and many other Irish guitar players like Sam Lakeman (Cara Dillon).
#019 Awesome groovin' Irish strumming pattern
September 27, 2018
New Guitar-Nerdery episode: The first thing that comes up to mind when talking about triplet notes is 8th note triplets. Quarter note triplets are not so much addressed, but they are pretty tough to play right. In the straight note world playing quarter notes is not a big deal, but quarter note triplets are actually 6 equally long notes over 4 straight quarter notes in a 4/4 time signature. That means you have 2 notes on count 1 and 3 or 2 and 4, but four of them quarter notes in the off-beat. I'm gonna show you how to play them right in time.
#018 Them damn Quarter Note Triplets
September 25, 2018
I just wanna share an experience I had. I have been to the X-Fi Audioshow in Veldhoven, a great exposition for audio nerds and all about HiFi. High Fidelity, the capability of reproducing acoustical reality, when you forget the speakers and the only thing there is is the music. There is this small Dutch company daudio who build speakers without cabinets (dipole design) and in my opinion they completely nailed it! ...and there has been a lot of awesome stuff from other companies to compare it with, but daudio was beyond reach. If you're interested in HiFi check them out when they expose again. Just to know what's possible.
September 20, 2018
New Guitar-Nerdery episode: A rhythm exercise you'll learn to hate! #017!
The Rhythm Pyramid, one of those exercises that's very effective and you can gain a lot from, but which can be pretty annoying. Don't get angry and do not bash your guitar ☺
#017 Odd time signatures? ...piece of cake!
September 13, 2018
New Guitar-Nerdery episode: Odd time signatures? ...piece of cake! #016!
Playing in odd time signatures, everybody can do that. No-one counts till 19, 17 or 13... It's all about subdivisions! Watch the whole video and get inspired by loads of demonstrations!
#016 Odd time signatures? ...piece of cake!
September 06, 2018
New Guitar-Nerdery episode: Cross-Rhythms, proggy tools for proggy songs #015!
Cross rhythms are fun to play and very suitable if you need that proggy touch in your prog rock or prog metal songs, jazz tunes etc. Progressive music is often associated with playing in odd time signatures, making the listener guessing where the '1' of the beat is, hahaha. With cross rhythms you can achive that even in 4/4!
Let's make the listeners wonder where the '1' is. But you, the player, should never lose it!!!
PS: In the video I'm talking about 'rest notes' but mostly playing 8th instead in my demonstrations. In theory I wanted to keep it easily countable while my demonstrations with guitar focus more on how cross rhythms can be approached.
#015 Cross-Rhythms, proggy tools for proggy songs
August 30, 2018
New Guitar-Nerdery episode: How to Groove Like Hell in Odd Time Signatures #014!
Hey hey, this is my first video ever lasting nearly 15 minutes! ...time for a toast ;-) In my last video I explained how important it is, to tap with your foot along with the metronome, to get the feel / groove right. All examples were in 4/4 time signature. But what if it's not 4/4, how can the same groove and feel be achieved? In this episode I show you how I deal with odd time signatures, how I manage to tap along. The video is packed with loads of demonstrations, beginning in 3/4 and ending pretty odd like 13/16!
When you like the video, please support me and leave a comment, like and subscribe. If you got questions, suggestions or ideas, please send me a message!
#014 How to Groove Like Hell in Odd Time Signatures
August 23, 2018
My new guitar-nerdery video is the first of a series of episodes, where I dive deep into guitar rhythm. Any kind of instrument player or singer, you need a few notes to make your statement or a lot - your message will only be delivered when you get your rhythm tight. The metronome is your friend to achieve that, but to tap along with your foot is essential for your success! And it can be fun! I'm gonna show you with the metronome set to 4/4 !
#013: The Metronome is your Friend -
the right and most avoided way of using it
August 17, 2018
Guitar-Nerdery update: Once more and this time a very weird and crazy way to make use and extend that simple tapping lick, I've explained in my former two videos.
Next time I'm gonna start a series of Nerdery videos about rhythm. For me a good timing and groove are the most important ingredients in music, the key to make sense of it all and get your whole body involved.
Sounds like a Pinball Machine - Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery
August 09, 2018
New Nerdery video! Another, even easier example what you can do with a simple idea, to let it shine. Make sure you've watched my former Guitar-Nerdery video "simple tapping idea".
Simple Tapping idea extended 2 - Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery
August 05, 2018
Two more nerdery videos are up since my last news post, phasing hands FX and a simple tapping idea. My guitar instructional videos will now be updated regularly on every Thursday at 9pm GMT +2! Don't miss it, leave a comment and please
like and subscribe my YouTube Channel!
Furthermore I'm also on Twitter now! Here you can find me:
July 17, 2018
In this week Guitar-Nerdery video I'm showing my 16th-fitness-training. A great exercise for hands and brains. I did and do this regularly.
Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery (16th fitness training)
July 10, 2018
I really like slide-guitar, but somehow always found an excuse not to work it out ;-) At least I found a way to integrate a little bit of that slide-flavor in my playing. By making this video I've learned that I use it a lot!
Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery (slide-guitar-like)
July 03, 2018
Some guitar fun at Guitar-Nerdery! The solution if a real bell is too heavy for you ;-)
Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery (bell-simulation)
June 30, 2018
Guitar-Nerdery tutorial nr. 5! If you can't afford a slapback echo, try this! ;-)
Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery (sounds like delays)
June 24, 2018
A 4th Guitar-Nerdery video is up, String-Skipping-Arpeggios! There are many ways to play arpeggios on a guitar. Besides that different playing techniques sound different, they all have their own possibilities of phrasing. These string skipping arpeggios fit perfectly with right hand hybrid picking.
Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery (string-skipping-arpeggios)
June 22, 2018
I'm on Instagram now with two different accounts! One for music stuff and because I very much like photography, I use the other one to show my favorite photos: Benjamin's music on Instagram
Benjamin's photographs on Instagram
June 17, 2018
A third Guitar-Nerdery video is up, triads with 6ths on top! I picked that idea up from Tommy Emmanuel. To move from one position to another he often uses 6ths underlayed by a root note or alternating bass. I used that idea at the end of my solo in my song Lost In Yesterdays:
Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery (triads with 6ths on top)
June 15, 2018
A new Guitar-Nerdery video is up. I'm explaining a nice little country-rock riff. This guitar riff was the main inspiration for the chorus of my song "Lost In Yesterdays", which I recorded with New String Theory.
Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery (Country-Rock-Riff) (Youtube)
June 12, 2018
After being asked frequently, I happily put my first guitar video tutorial online. It´s meant to be the start of a regular updated tutorial series, which I've named Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery. Here I'm explaining a favorite hybrid lick of mine, which I used a lot in my Song SMILE!
Benjamin's Guitar-Nerdery (SMILE! hybrid picking lick) (Youtube)
June 08, 2018
A brand-new NST video is up, a hard rocking tune with some country rock riffing.
Lost In Yesterdays - by New String Theory (Youtube)
May 13, 2018
A new NST song is up! Listen here to our 3rd tune on SoundCloud:
Lost In Yesterdays - by New String Theory
February 06, 2018
The official web address of New String Theory changed slightly. It's now without dashes:
official New String Theory website
January 23, 2018
Hello dear visitors and followers!
Currently I'm working on more songs for the New String Theory project. The recordings for our third tune are nearly done and then we're also going to produce a video. I really appreciate you liking my music and your kind comments, that what I'm doing means something to you! This it what keeps me going and I'd be much obliged, if you'd spread the word!
...furthermore there's something I'd like to mention here. Since quite some time I'm happily recording on Cakewalk Sonar Platinum, an awesome sounding and inspiring digital audio workstation. Cakewalk was taken over by Gibson in 2013 and there had been some rumors, that regarding Gibson's history in buying companys and dropping them very soon, that this would be no good. So, as a gift to Cakewalk's 30th anniversary and it's customers, Cakewalk got now the axe, flimsy excused! Very bad for Cakewalk's employees and customers. A kind of disaster for recording engineers, because it means changing to another DAW, get used to a hopefully not too different workflow, and mainly, what about all those projects recorded on Sonar? Without future updates, how long will the software be compatible and recording-projects be accessible? It means a load of work saving data and losing all mix settings anyway. Simply annoying Gibson, throws a great shadow over you!
Enough with complaining! I've already switched to another DAW, to Samplitude Pro X3 and really start to like it very much. So, everything will be fine in the end!
January 12, 2018
I wish you all a happy new year!
Bram and me started this year being busy and the outcome is this new video:
I´ve made up my mind - by New String Theory (Youtube)
November 19, 2017
I'm happy to be able to present the first output of New String Theory, a re-recording, new arrangement and videoclip of my song Smile! ...and there is more to come!
SMILE! - by New String Theory (Youtube)