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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Guitar Picks (Plectrum)

I guess every guitar player knows what a pick is right? Well maybe not all.

Maybe those that have just started out playing the guitar may want to know what a pick is. Well, it is a kind of tool or thing? that you hold between you fingers that are used to “pick” the strings of the guitar.

Ahhh….just look at the pictures below and you will understand.



Here is a picture of me holding a pick between my fingers.



Got it? That is what we call a ‘Pick’

Ok….there are many types of picks out there. Different guitar players will use different guitar picks to suit their needs or should I say their playing. Normally it varies in thickness and usually categorized as ‘Thin’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Hard’.

The thickness of the pick will produce different sound character when used to play on the guitar. Some people like to use the ‘Thin' pick to strum when playing chords. Others like to use ‘Hard’ picks to play solos on the guitar especially guitar shredders.



For me I have tried a lot of different picks over the years and have collected a lot of them. But since nearly a decade ago I began to use only my favourite signature “Paul Gilbert Picks”. It’s not really hard. I guess it’s about 1mm in thickness and it’s really good for playing both chords and solos.

It is small/medium size and very light. It has also got humorous picture drawn on it on one side and a Paul Gilbert signature on the other. I guess the graphics are the work of Mr. Gilbert himself.

Many people ask me how to hold a pick. Which is the correct way to hold a pick?

Well, this is very subjective and depends on the person themselves. How do you hold a pencil? Is there any correct way of holding it? In my opinion, it doest matter how you hold a pencil as long as you feel comfortable and can use it to write or draw or whatever purpose it may give you. That is the same for picks as well. It doesn’t matter how you hold it as long as you feel comfortable and can use it to play the guitar for playing chords, solos or whatever you want. Just make sure that you try different ways or positions of holding the pick until you get the best one that you feel easy and comfortable with.

Now go and grab that pick!!

Guitar Rules!!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Arpeggios

One of the most used techniques played on the guitar is the arpeggios. Arpeggio is a musical term and technique not only used by guitar players but also used by other musicians on different instruments.

When played on the guitar, it produces a very unique sound and shredders tend to use this technique a lot. Arpeggios are normally associated with sweep picking technique because you tend to sweep the notes when playing arpeggios. But arpeggios can also be played using alternate picking technique which is a little bit harder than the sweep picking.

Arpeggios can played on several strings and can be played on two, three, four, five and six strings. The easiest would be playing an arpeggio with just two strings and as you go further with using more strings on the guitar the technique becomes harder.

For beginners I would advice to try out two or three strings arpeggios. There are a few examples of three strings arpeggios and I recommend you guys to try out the three string diminished arpeggio that Yngwie Malmsteen often uses. The three string diminished arpeggio is not that difficult and it is commonly used by players around the world. I even see a lot of our local guitar players use that three string diminished arpeggio in their playing. It gets kinda cliché at times but for beginners to intermediate level its okay I guess.

To master playing arpeggio will take a lot of practice. I see a lot of our local guitar players trying to incorporate arpeggios in their playing and I also see a lot have not mastered the technique yet. Of course it’s easy to play the three string arpeggios but when they tried to play five or six string arpeggios they often get it to sound sloppy. You can’t clearly hear the notes they are playing because they can’t place their fingers properly to make it sound clean and clear. The goal of playing arpeggio is that the listeners can listen to every note of the arpeggios clean and clearly. Most guitar players tend to just try and play five or six string arpeggios to look cool and flashy on the fingers and ignore the importance of the clarity of notes when playing arpeggios. What’s the point of playing a six string arpeggio when you can only hear the first note he hits and the last note he hits? Where are all the notes in the middle?

Therefore playing arpeggio is not a technique to be taken lightly. I have seen a lot of guitar players who often tried to look cool playing the arpeggios when they don’t realise that their playing is actually lintang-pukang nya orang brunei. Its either they fail to understand the importance of playing arpeggios clearly or they are just being ignorant. What’s important to them is how flashy the fingers look when playing the arpeggios and what sound comes from playing it is of no importance.

That being said, I have also seen and met a few local guitar players who can really play the arpeggio that well. They really make it an important issue to play arpeggios as clean and clear as possible and they have achieved that goal.

It is very enjoyable to watch people play arpeggios with their flashy fingers and at the same time you can hear the clarity of every note they play.

So for you guys out there who are trying to learn on how to play arpeggios, I really recommend you guys to try and play it as clean and clear as possible so that the purpose of playing arpeggio would be used to the fullest effect.

See Ya

Guitar Rules!!



Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Featured Writer

I am thinking of asking one of my good friend to write something in this blog. I will put it under "Featured Writer" and hopefully it will be more interesting for all of us. I will also invite a few others who can submit to me good articles about guitars in general.

Guitar Rules!!

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