Wednesday, 6 February 2013

30 Days to Better Blues Guitar- A Lesson a Day for One Month

My Brand New eBook- "30 Days to Better Blues Guitar" is now available to Download!

A Lesson a Day for 1 Month and the first 100 editions come with 4 Bonus Lessons and 65 Track Blues Playlist

A Bargain at $15.99!
Click the Link Below to Download Yours Now!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Riff of the Week: How to Play Belief by John Mayer

The riff of the week comes from vocalist and guitarist John Mayer and involves some really cool blues 6th slides across the 5th and 3rd strings, a little bit of thumb work on the 6th string and some hybrid picking.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

How To Tune Your Guitar

One thing is for sure, if your guitar is not in tune then your music isn’t going to sound too pleasing on the ear. So there are a few fundamental things you need to know to help you tune your guitar.

E: This is the thickest string and lowest in pitch otherwise known as the 6th, or as I like to say the one nearest to your head.
A: 5th
D: 4th
G: 3rd
B: 2nd
E: 1st

All you need to do to tune these is to use the tuning pegs at the end of the neck to adjust the sound until everything is as it should be.

Relative Tuning:
This is usually the first method that players learn to tune the guitar and works well to keep the guitar in tune with itself. All of the strings can be tuned to the 5th fret of the previous string, except for the B (2nd) which needs to be tuned to the 4th fret of the G (3rd).

Reference Tuning:
This is where you tune the guitar to an external tuner, for example, the Guitar4Free tuner!

Boss TU2 Tuner
Electronic Tuning:
Using an electronic tuner is the quickest and most efficient way to tune, especially in a band situation where there is a lot of other noise going on. A good electronic tuner for me has always been the Boss TU-2.

Harmonic Tuning:
This is a very efficient way to tune your guitar and one probably more suited to the advanced players as it requires a good ear. The strings can be tuned to harmonics. The E (6th) on the 5th fret can be tuned to a 7th fret harmonic on the A(5th), the A (5th) on the 5th fret can be tuned to a 7th fret harmonic on the D (4th), the D (4th) on the 5th fret can be tuned to a 7th fret harmonic on the G (3rd), the open B (2nd) can be tuned to a 7th fret harmonic on the E (6th) and the open E (1st) can be tuned to a 7th fret harmonic on the A (5th).

For Beginners and Advanced Lessons on How To Tune Your Guitar visit the Guitar4Free Getting Started Page!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Free Online Guitar Lessons

Guitar4Free Logo

Guitar4Free is up and running, and for complete access to the whole site and to receive full length lessons, yes that’s two complete half hour long lessons, sent straight your inbox, simply leave your name and e-mail!

Browse through over 100 free lessons now, form beginners to advanced level and all style from Rock to Jazz and from Blues to Reggae!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Nashville International Songwriters Contest

The International Songwriters Contest is one fo the few competitions open for amateur songwriters and is now taking entries until October 31st. All entrants will not only have their music heard but will also receive a judging report. The competition is designed for songwriters of all levels to put forward their material for exposure and contains a prestigious panel from songwriting and music contests worldwide and offers fantastic cash prizes to the 68 winning entrants.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Learning the Intervals In The Modes- Using One Finger to Play the Guitar

The modes originate from Ancient Greek musical scales
The semi tones are extremely important when it comes to remembering the modes. It is these that define its mood or sound. In the key of C major the semi tones are always in the same place, between the 3rd and 4th (E and F) and the 7th and 8th notes (B and C). It follows then that throughout all of the modes in the key of C the semi tones will always be between E and F, and B and C.

                     E-F          B-C
Ionian:          3-4           7-8              (Major Scale)
Dorian:         2-b3         6-b7
Phrygian:     1-2            5-6
Lydian:         7-8         #4-5
Mixolydian: 6-b7         3-4
Aeolian:        5-6          2-b3             (Natural Minor Scale)
Locrian:        4-5          1-b2

Understanding how these half steps work is essential if you are to truly understand how the modes. Try playing these with one finger up one string all in the key of C so that you can really visualize how the intervals contribute to the overall sound of each mode.

by Simon James, 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Music Education Writers Wanted (Ongoing)

I am looking for any Musicians and Music Teachers who feel that they have something to say and who would be interesting on writing content and blog posts for
Excellent written English is a must and anything that would benefit the sites users would be most welcome.


Sunday, 29 July 2012

How To See Scale Intervals Clearly- Using Only One Finger To Play The Guitar

A decent amount of my teaching time is spent encouraging students to learn to play in positions, but I never overlook the value of sometimes just playing with one finger. The layout of the guitar is such that it can be difficult to visualise melodic and  harmonic intervals solely by playing through scales and modes in one position.

This is where I suggest that working through the confines of a particular limitation can help us to learn a great deal. By using one finger and playing all of the notes in a particular scale up one string makes the intervals between the notes much clearer. On the piano it is very easy to see the tones and semi tones in say a C major scale simply by playing up the scale, but this can only really be acheived on the guitar by going up one string.
         Use 1 Finger to play the Major scale from C to see and note where the semi tones are

Try playing through all of the natural notes form C to the C an octave higher on the guitar and you will see all of the intervals in a natural minor scale. Then try playing all of the naturals again but this time starting on the A and you will have all of the intervals in a Major Scale. This routine can then be applied to any scale or mode, and will give you all of the insight required to see how all of the intervals work together.

For tabs, notation and more detail on all of the above points have a look at the scales on one string exercises at

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Why Learn Modes?

Modes and Chord Scales are extremely important and any advancing guitarist looking to develop skills as an improviser will find tremendous value in learning how the modes work. Certainly, it is the case that there are some guitarists who do not use the modes but are fine plays but this is definitely the exception and not the rule.
2 Octave C Major Scale
Modes can provide valuable insight into melodic and harmonic possibilities, but keep in mind that the study of modes is a lifelong exercise and that there really are no limits to the implications of modes on your own ability.

The two shortcomings of trying to understand modes are as follows. Firstly, the very nature of modes includes so much information that any overviews can often lead to confusion as opposed to clarification, like not seeing the trees because of the forest. Secondly, there is much to learn with guitar and often a lot of it can be very complicated. Any incomplete studying will leave gaps that can greatly hinder your studies.

These problems can be overcome and worked out with a complete, intelligent and thorough approach to learning the guitar with the right material.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

7 Things That a Guitarist Can Do That A Pianist Cannot

1.   Vibrato
2.   Bending (quarter, half and whole tones)
3.   Hammer Ons and Pull Offs
4.   Glissandi
5.   Harmonics (Natural Notes Only)
6.   Palm Muting
7.   Change the Tone of Notes quality by Attacking the String in Different Places

by Simon James, 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Top Guitarists of Recent Times

John Frusciante:
Frusciante joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers as they were on a massive ascendancy when he was only 18 years old and appeared on their 1989 album ‘Mother’s Milk’ replacing founder guitarist Hillel Slovak after his tragic death.

Frusciante had a prodigious talent as a teenager and his approach to guitar playing was heavily inspired by the rhythmic complexity of Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. He has also shown his roots to be in punk and the new wave underground scene particularly in his earlier recordings.

The massively successful BloodSugarSexMagik was the album that launched the Red Hot Chili Peppers into the mainstream. However, the enormous success of the band on the back of the never faltering hit “Under The Bridge” brought its share of problems for Frusciante. He disappeared soon after into a haze of heroin fuelled obscurity.

Nevertheless, he managed to record a number of solo albums before rehabilitation and an almost miraculous return to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Californicaton, By the Way and Stadium Arcadium followed spawning some of the band’s most famous material. 

Frusciante with a 57 Strat

Frusciante always tended his playing towards phrasing rather than virtuosity, maintaining that the finest guitar players from the 1960s will never be surpassed. The tendency towards speed which occupied most guitarists during the 1980s meant, for him, that a lot of the new wave guitarists such as Matthew Ashman and Bernard Sumner were overlooked.

He developed what he terms his ‘grimy’ sound believing it necessary to never use clean sounds and to mistreat the instrument as well as employing various types of distortion whilst performing. He has always measured his guitar playing in terms of depth of emotion and intensity of feeling, always trying to push the boundaries particularly in the sounds he uses and by warping tempo. Notice good examples of this in the chorused guitar phrases on most of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, throughout Stadium Arcadium and at the end of “Dani California”.

As well as taking influences from Hendrix, he was inspired by glam artists such as David Bowie, by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart as well as listing Joe Strummer, the Smiths and Fugazi as his favourites. Frusciante has always had a penchant for vintage guitars, his most commonly used being a 1962 strat.

Monday, 30 April 2012

How To Play The Bossa Nova

New 'How To Play Bossa Nova' Page Up and Running! The Bossa Nova Lessons were proving to be very popular among some of my more senior students, so i decided to devote a page to it at

Work your way up form a basic Bossa Nova rhythm, complete with chord progression. Tabs and notations are included to accompany the lesson videos.

Give it a try, having a Bossa Nova under your belt is essential if you    want to boost your jazz standard repertoire!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Learn To Play Music By Ear

Two Free Half Hour Video Lessons  

Sign Up to the Guitar4Free Mailing List and you will receive two full length lessons. You will
have instant access to your first lesson that will show you how to work out the key to any

Then, in your second lesson, you will learn how all of the chords relate to each other in a given key. Essential learning for all musicians and songwriters as chord progressions are explained clearly and precisely.

Now That's Music from Your Ears!

Sign Up Now For Your Free Lessons....

Friday, 30 March 2012

Applied Knowledge

Apparently when we read something we only retain between 5% and 10% of the information. We retain 70% of what we actually do and, maybe not surprisingly, about 90%of what we teach!

Studying is all well and good but it amounts to nothing if you don’t apply it to your instrument. You can read up on music theory, chord progressions, technique and harmony but it amounts to nothing if your playing is not improving.

Always look for ways to relate what you are doing to your instrument. This is applied knowledge.  That way you keep focused on what is necessary for you to learn and make it relevant to the pieces you are studying or the genre you wish to immerse yourself in.

Furthermore, one of the most effective ways to clarify all of this knowledge is to try and pass it on to someone else. When I am teaching classes I always encourage my students to help one another out. It helps the super fast learners to clarify their own ideas and also provides a refreshing perspective to the next level students who are close behind them.

If you find that you have opportunities not only to apply your knowledge but also to teach it to others you will find that explosive progress is a guarantee! 

Click Here for More Practice Tips

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Beginners Course for Guitar

The new beginners course is up and running for all those of you who have just started playing the guitar! Each stage covers a riff, chords, a scale and a song.

               What are you waiting for? Let's get started!

You'll be playing something that your friends will recognise after the first week, guaranteed!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Hello and welcome to my blog! Here you will find plenty of guitar lessons, other cool guitar related things and info regarding! Thanks for stopping by!