Jon Moore Signature

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Diagrams A & BThe Problem:  You have an acoustic guitar where the strings are secured in the bridge by pins.  When you come to change strings it’s difficult to remove the pins, then when you tune the new strings, the pins come out of their own accord.

Tip:  The first thing is to understand how this system works.  Diagram A shows the strings in the wrong position.  Diagram B is correct.

If as you remove strings, the pins stay jammed, do the counter intuitive thing, and PUSH THE STRINGS IN. This usually works on the lower four strings, but sometimes is difficult with the top two.  If they still don’t move, loop a used string (the third and fourth strings are best) around the offending pin to enable you to pull it out.

When you fit a new string, ensure the string is pushed right into the guitar.  Insert the pin, hold it in, and pull the string gently back until it pulls tight.  Keep the pin held in as you tighten the string.  You’ll find as the string comes into tune, it will become firmly locked.  If you have the diagram B in mind, I’m sure you’ll get it right.  Any problems - contact me.

The Problem:  You’re sick and tired of playing the same old phrases when you play the blues.

Tip:  Find some means of recording sound (MP3 player, minidisc, portastudio, computer, cassette recorder, wax cylinder, whatever…..).  Now play the chords and SING a solo.  Yes, I know you haven’t got a great voice.  Yes, I know some of the notes sound out of tune.  Yes, I know you can’t sing fast licks.  Just make sure you get one chorus of the blues recorded - your guitar chords, and your voice.

Now transcribe your own solo.  Figure out how to play the notes you sang, on the guitar, and learn it.

Finally, ask yourself some questions.  Does this solo sound anything like the sort of thing you usually play?  Is it any good?  Are the notes your voice chose, from the same pool of notes you choose when you play the guitar?  Are any of the phrases you sang worth remembering?

My experience is that you’ll find this exercise thought provoking, interesting, and educational.  If it isn’t - contact me and let me know!

The Problem:  My practising doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Tip:  We guitarists are rubbish when it come to practice.  Not that we don’t do a lot of it.  We’re just not effective.  A typical practice session goes like this: - Start by playing a few things we know already.  Then a few killer riffs.  Finally finish with the lick that we’ve practised so long, we can play it faster than any earthly metronome.  We admit that we’ve never found any use for said lick, but it’s good for our physical skills.

If you have nothing specific to practice, my suggestion is to take a song (from the radio, the internet, from a CD, even from your memory), and work out the chords.  DON’T DOWNLOAD THE CHORDS FROM THE INTERNET, at least not yet.  Make every possible effort to work them out yourself.  If you really are stuck, look them up, but only after you’ve noted down all that you can identify.  Carefully, see how the chords you didn’t know, relate to those that come immediately before and after.

Now transpose the whole song to a different key.

Why do all this?  Well, after a short while you’ll find, when listening to a new song, you can hear where the chords go, without reference to the guitar.  Changing the key, forces you to notice the relationship between the chords.  Whether you’re a rock god, a jazz nut, a singer songwriter, or a classical buff, the ability to hear this harmonic movement will dramatically improve your playing.  If you disagree please let me know!