Star Spangled Banner

If you start learning this one now, then, you’ll be ready to play it by Independence Day!

This tutorial is beginner level single note melody arrangement of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’.  I also have another, more advanced version for electric guitar.

And for students with more traditional music tastes, here is a solo classical arrangement.

Finally, I did a total face-melting version for fun with my Strat for this month’s video blog.  Enjoy!


Harmony Guitars

I’ve been working on a series of tutorials covering harmony guitar parts.

The entire series is going to be about creating and playing two part harmony guitar lines in pop-rock style music.  This is often accomplished by one guitar part playing a melody, lead or solo part that is harmonized by a second guitar.  I cover the basic theory of melody and harmonization in major and minor key tonality.  I’ll cover the basic types of intervals & contrapunctal motion used.  I’ll also show how variations in tone & timbre play an important aspect with overdrive tone, clean tone, different pickups.

Every lesson will be culminate in a musical example that the student can play along with in order to put the ideas into practice with a working application.

In the process of preparing for shooting this material I did several demos.  This month’s video blog is one of those demos!

This is a technique I learned from listening to Deep Purple, Queen, and other rock bands that played wonderful harmony guitar parts!  I used this technique to an extreme degree in my “Prometheus” symphony of Stratocasters.


Symphony 1 in C Major “Odyssey”

In 1994 I decided I wanted to write symphonic material. I scribbled ideas in wire bound score books and I worked out melodies and basic harmonies on piano and guitar. I played all of these raw ideas on an electric keyboard with MIDI cables ported into an Atari 1040STE running Cubase. By 1996, I had gradually worked the ideas into the form of my first symphony: Symphony 1 in C Major.

Over the last two decades the raw MIDI data of this work has moved to multiple updated computers, sequencers, multiple updated versions of keyboards, improved sound cards and modules, soft synths and finally the Garritan Personal Orchestra sound samples being used in the current rendering. I’ve been living with the music as an unfinished project for a long time.

The notes have remained the same. They’ve finally been given the beautiful form they deserve to be heard.

The digital image is another beautiful design by my dear friend, Viking graphic artist, Klaus Nordby.

Cover Design by Klaus Nordby

Cover Design by Klaus Nordby

I am officially publishing this music today, April 13th, for a very special reason.

This is the birthday of my late grandfather, George J. Schodroski.  He encouraged me in my musical passion. In the late 1980s he was the first person to inform me of a new, developing technology he’d read about called MIDI. He told me I should definitely look into it. I am very grateful that he was able to hear some earlier renderings of this music. I am also grateful I was able to tell him that this work is dedicated to him.

I hope you enjoy my first symphony.

Symphony 1 in C Major “Odyssey”, dedicated to George J. Schodroski, self-made, bootstrapping, life-long, active-minded American, beloved grandfather, poet and fellow lover of beautiful art.

Trill Drills

First new GT tutorial of the new year!  If you combine a hammer-on and a pull-off you’ve got the beginning of a trill.  A trill is a musical ornamentation technique that consists of rapidly alternating between two notes.  In this tutorial you’ll learn some exercises that can help building your trilling technique.  We’ll systematically work each finger into the routine.

I used my red Strat with the maple neck for this one.   Here’s a screen shot of the backing track play along video.   Enjoy!

Trill Drills Screen Shot

Jingle Bell Blues

My final video blog entry of the year is a fun bluesy romp through a holiday classic.

I also published the third installment of my Bread & Butter Blues Licks series.

The first two are here:

Enjoy!  Safe & happy holidays to you & yours!  See you next year!

Morning Guitar Warmup Session

A lot of guitar students ask me how I warm up.  This is a typical morning warm up session.  After a cup of coffee, I run through some basic chords & scales.  Then I goof around with some tunes or song parts to get warmed up for work!

I’ve covered all these exercises in various tutorials over the years.  The chord inversions are here:

The pentatonic scale sequences are here:

The minor & major scale sequences are here:

A few of those type exercises will get you warmed up in no time!  Enjoy!

Klaus’s Cointreau Blues

Here’s another vid made from more blues riffs & licks that came out of lots of work for Guitar Tricks blues tutorials.

“Klaus’s Cointreau Blues” the instrumental version!  There are lyrics that I’ll get around to putting in a future blues tune.  For the main rhythm guitar & lead solo in the middle I used my Marshall JCM 800 50w half-stack.  For the melody that pops in on the 2nd guitar I used my Reason Amps Bambino Combo.

Stick around until the end for an alternate ending! 

It’s all based on stuff I teach in a bunch of GT tutorials like these:

And there’s a lot more where that came from.  Enjoy!

And All That Jazz

I recently published two huge tutorials on how to jazz style guitar.  Each is an in depth, introductory look at how to play jazz from the ground up.

In Intro to Jazz Rhythm Guitar I cover the three primary characteristics of jazz as a distinct genre of music:  sophisticated harmony, swing rhythm, and improvisation.  Lots of examples with explanations, notation, backing tracks & play along vids.

In Intro to Jazz Lead Guitar I cover those primary characteristics from the perspective of soloing over chord changes.  Playing the changes using chord-scales & arpeggios lots of examples with explanations, notation, backing tracks & play along vids.

My monthly video blog entry is me practicing some of these jazz rhythm & lead concepts.


Funky Mu-tron Blues

This is a work in progress.  It’s the music for a future blues tune.  I still have to write & record lyrics.  I used a Zoom multi-stomp box that has a really neat Mu-tron plus octave simulator on some of the 2nd guitar overdubs & also used it to double-track the solo!  I also needed to test some new studio light bulbs & camera settings.

I’ve spent a lot of studio time this summer playing, recording, producing blues lessons for Guitar Tricks.  For example, these are already published.

12 Bar Blues For Beginners

Bread & Butter Blues Licks Series 1

Bread & Butter Blues Licks Series 2

I’ve got three more on the way in a similar style!  All this work & play with blues guitar led to recording a wide variety of grooves, riffs, tones, licks in various blues styles.  Beside all the lessons, I wrote a lot of blues tunes!  So maybe by next year I’ll have a whole CD of blues tunes to release.

For now, enjoy that funky Mu-tron tone.  I sure do.

Comparing Strat Pickups

June’s video blog entry is a Strat with a maple neck and standard Fender single-coil pickups.

July’s video blog entry is a Strat with a (scalloped) maple neck but Dimarzio HS-3 pickups in neck & middle position and a FastTrack 2 in the bridge position.

In both vids I’m playing over the same basic backing track using the same basic melodies & licks.  It’s compare & contrast time.  Enjoy!