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How to Play Harmonics on Your Guitar

A harmonic is a tone that's created by the guitar by touching the string above a fret on an open vibrating string. There are 2 types of harmonics Natural and Artificial - or ‘pinch harmonics’. Natural Harmonics Natural Harmonics can be produced by touching your index finger on your fret-hand above at the 5th, 7th or 12th fret. Just place your finger on the string above the fret, don't press to hard or you will mute the note, pluck the note and then pull your finger off. Try it on the A string. E|------------| B|------------| G|------------| D|------------| A|----12------| E|------------| Timing is critical when playing harmonics. The length of time you keep your finger on the string will determine if you hear a harmonic, muted sound or just a regular note. Natural harmonics occur in various locations along the fretboard. The most common ones are on the 5th, 7th, and 12th fret. The harmonics in those positions will ring for all 6 strings on the same fret. Try playing them in all 3 positions. Place your finger across all 6 strings and play from the Low E to the high E lifting your finger as your pick strikes each individual string. You have to work at this and it takes some time, but it sounds so cool. E|---------5-----|--------7-----|----------12---| B|--------5------|-------7------|--------12-----| G|-------5-------|------7-------|-------12------| D|------5--------|-----7--------|------12-------| A|-----5---------|----7---------|-----12--------| E|----5----------|---7----------|----12---------| Pinch Harmonics Pinch harmonics are done with the pick hand hand. This technique is very difficult to master. The best method is to choke down on your pick so there is very little pick exposed between your thumb and your index finger. With time you’ll learn the pick has to be mobile in your hand, and you will move it into a different position depending on how you play. Now, when you pluck a string with your pick the trick is to hit the pick first and then slightly twist your thumb so that it touches the string immediately after hitting the string. Why play a pinch harmonic?..well because they are very cool when playing solos. You can combine string bends with pinch harmonics and vibrato to get totally cool sounding squeals. They even sound great when you do them by accident. The trick is to devote some of your practice time everyday to just playing cool licks and try adding a pinch harmonic with some demonic vibrato. Oh yea, it makes you want to play more guitar because you can create some of coolest sounds!

 


DJ Equipment Basics

If you are planning to become a be a DJ, a disk jockey, one the most difficult things you will come across is to buy your own equipment. It will be difficult mainly due to the fact that DJ equipment is expensive. In order to buy all the equipment you need you will have to spend thousands of dollars. To have what you need to be a DJ you won’t have to buy only on piece of equipment but many. A DJ can mix and match components of different qualities and price ranges to make the entire outfit suit a desired budget. One of the most expensive pieces of equipment that you will need to buy is a mixer. Sound mixers vary from make to make and from model to model and their price depends on their features and their quality. You can buy a DJ mixer for a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. If you are new to the disk jockey business, it is advised that you only spend only a few hundred dollars. The cheaper mixers can work just as well as the more expensive ones and if you are new to DJ'ing then you should not spend too much money because you don't know how business will be. The good news is that manufacturers of quality mixers and audio equipment in general, like Numark, Gemini, Aiwa, Akai produce good quality economic DJ mixers. After the mixer you will need a turntable as well. There are different kinds of turntables available. If you are in to vinyl then you should get a traditional DJ turntable, or if you are into CD's and MP3's there is a wide selection of turntables for the new technologies that resemble the traditional ones. In general, turntables are more expensive than plain players, but there are good ones available for under $400. You can even choose to buy a direct drive turntable, but you will have to spend more money for one of these. Most DJs however prefer them as they play records faster and don't lag. Players are much cheaper than turntables but have less features. DJs who like to scratch and spin records prefer turntables because players only provide sound output like any other CD or DVD player. A new DJ should not overspend on equipment. And one item you can save money for is the speakers. Speakers are used for live events and as a DJ if you want to minimize your costs and not have to rent any equipment in the future, it’s a good idea to get some speakers. In general the price of any speaker depends on the price of its output. There are small woofer speakers that a DH can buy for less than $100. if you are new to the field you might consider buying a DJ pack, a DJ in a box package and save money. These packages contain everything you will need. Using cheap DJ equipment is only recommended for new DJs. If you start getting gigs and start making money then you should consider buying more advanced equipment.

 


Lesser Known Benefits of Using a Metronome

I'm sure you've heard that it is incredibly useful to practice with a metronome. Most books and teachers make it abundantly clear that using a metronome is a great way to improve your timing. This is true. But did you know that there are other huge benefits to using a metronome? Let's take a look at a few now... Goal Setting: It's been proven time-and-time again that goals need to be specific and measurable to work. If you don't know exactly what you are trying to achieve, how will you know when you have achieved it? I use my metronome all the time to help me set specific goals for my technique development. For example, let's say that you would like to increase the speed at which you can play a particular exercise. If you use a metronome you can set an exact speed for your goal. For example, you might say that when you can play the exercise using sixteenth notes at 160 bpm (beats-per-minute), then you have reached your goal. Can you see how powerful this is? The metronome setting gives you a clear target to aim for! Progressive Realization Of Goals: Metronomes allow you to progressively achieve your goals. What do I mean by this? Put simply, it means start slow and gradually increase the speed of your metronome. For example, let's say you want to get a particular lick up to 200 bpm. You could first master the lick at 40 bpm. Once mastered at this speed you could then increase the metronome speed to 42 bpm, then 44 bpm, then 46 bpm. You get the idea! You would work up to the target speed incrementally over a period of days, weeks or even months. Developing Listening Skills: One absolutely vital skill to develop is the ability to play your guitar while still being able to listen to the people that you are playing with. This is especially true in jazz, where a large proportion of the song may be improvised! Metronomes really help you develop this listening skill. As you practice you will also have to be listening to the click of your metronome. If you don't, you will soon be playing out of time with it! Obviously, you'll develop this listening ability more fully by playing with other musicians, but playing with a metronome will definitely help as well. It's a great place to start and can often can help build your confidence to play with other people. Hopefully this article has inspired you to dust off your metronome and use it. It would also be a great exercise to think of some other benefits yourself. Practice hard and have fun!

 




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