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How can easily I play across the guitar neck? Use the the Diagonal Pentatonic Method!

How can easily I play across the guitar neck? Use the the Diagonal Pentatonic Method!

 Casey Saulpaugh and Steve Newbrough


3/27/21

While many guitarists use the CAGED system to navigate the fretboard with pentatonic scales, the diagonal pentatonic scales can allow a guitarist to break out of those overused boxes. As described below, placing two or three note sets per string can allow a guitarist to use a simpler and more consistent left hand fingering.

 

Like any musician, as guitarists we strive to articulate the musical ideas we hear in our head through our instrument.  However, with multiple strings, scale shapes, and keys, it can seem like there are endless possibilities to playing just one idea.  This can seem promising, but also overwhelming: with so many possibilities sometimes utilizing the fretboard can feel like being lost in a maze. 

 

Luckily, as with any maze, there is a way out, and the Diagonal Pentatonic Method is like having an...

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What are Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and other Slurs on the Guitar?

What are Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and other Slurs on the Guitar?


3/4/2021
 
Hammer-ons and pull-offs are performed by hitting or pulling the string with the left hand so that right hand does not need to pick. When played well, slurs add a smoothness or legato to the sound. From Vivaldi's Concerto For Lute in D or Pearl Jam's Yellow Ledbetter, slurs are integral to the sound of some of the greatest music written.
 
Even while writing this article, I know that I'm going to be correcting this common mistake for as long as I teach lessons. Most guitar students have no idea how to play slurs. Among guitarists, slurs are more commonly labeled as one of the following: hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.   
 
So many guitarists struggle with slurs! So many things can go wrong until you know what to do. Let's tackle this beast.
 
1) They're called "hammer-ons" for a reason. 
 
Let's do a hammer-on together to get...
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Why do guitarists hate flat keys?

Why do guitarists hate flat keys?

Steve Newbrough


1/28/2021

Guitarists, knowingly or not, hate flat keys because each flat in a key signature removes an open string as a note choice. This literally makes it harder to play since the musician must fret more notes. 

 
Let's take the G chord vs. the A flat chord as an example. Using the six string first position version of G we have three closed notes and three open strings.
 
 
 
In the A flat chord, no matter how you swing it, there are zero open strings. 
 
Here's a typical way that a guitarist would hold an A flat chord:
 
 
 
 
Here's a crazy way for a guitarist to play an A flat chord:
 
 
 
If you thought the A flat was difficult to play consider that we don't usually play flat chords inside of sharp keys. That means that if you're playing an A flat chord it's likely that you're also playing in a flat key with other flat chords that are equally difficult.
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