For those who don’t know Adrian Carroll aka Killer ‘Guitar’ Carroll I will give an introduction. I have been playing since I was 13 years of age (1976) and have had some success in a band called the Spatterheads in the 80’s and are currently playing in a band called the Boondall Boys in Brisbane, Australia. It must be noted here that I didn’t play on the Boondall Boys first and only album to date, Hard Rubbish. I have been self taught in the ways of Rock music. I have had some tuition in Classical guitar and Flamenco guitar and these courses of study have influenced my approach to Rock music significantly.
The purpose of this blog is to document my methodology of guitar development and practice. It is written in the form of a guitar lesson and if you know how to play guitar you could start at part three. In writing the process down it is hoped that I will learn by the act and also develop through comments and suggestion. The way you approach the guitar has a lot to do with the end result and I am very happy with the resultant sound of my method. What you don’t play is as important as what you do play and having a method gives you a schema to work within. This method will be developed as I continue to incorporate new ideas and sift out the ones that work best.
Illustration of the learning mechanism
How we learn is important because if we get the process right from the beginning we will enjoy continue learning all our lives. We might have to fine-tune our direction – but it does help to head in the right direction. We need to know the rules of music before we break them and make new music that others enjoy. We also need to know the relationship between the task and the physical body, so we can achieve an end result with the least amount of strain on our physical system; for example: if we are playing live and want to focus our attention on our audience, we need to practice standing up, so we exercise the muscle group in the position. It is also good to practice without any visual cues so that our reflex will be automatic, I suggest practicing in the dark to achieve this end result.
Our equipment needs to be checked by a professional because a cheap guitar that is set-up right will set you off in the right direction, but an expensive instrument that plays badly will give you bad habits, if it does not kill your desire to play altogether.
In learning guitar we first learn how to tune our instruments, learn a few chords, and find where the notes are, and hopefully make them into a song. From these first steps I would like to develop an understanding of a key and what chords and notes belong to a key, so we come to an understanding of how a song is made. This knowledge will help us work out songs and write songs we enjoy.
When learning chords it is important to have them in a context. I am amazed by the multitude of chord books that give you every E chord imaginable. This is good as a reference but what is most important is having at your disposal every chord imaginable in a particular key. The reason this style of publication wouldn’t be popular is the repetition of chords it would produce. Below is a perfect example of the concept and excellent for young players because they can learn chords that sound good together.
C major is the first scale we learn. It has no sharps or flats and is represented by the white keys on the piano.
In any key you will find three Major chords and three minor chords and a diminished chord that are built on the seven notes of the Major scale.
C D E F G A B
When we make a cord out of each of these notes we have.
C Major, Dm, Em, and F Major G Major, Am and Bdim
We are not concerned with the B diminished at this stage.
The three Major chords are C Major, F Major and G Major
The three minor chords are Am, Dm and Em
If a song is in a Major Key it will probably contain the three Major chords and if it is the minor key it will probably contain the three minor chords using the others to a lesser degree.