All posts by meridirhproductions

#Let’sReview | Street Theory for Guitarists by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire.com

Street Theory for Guitarists by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire.com

 

Author:                              Jeff Scheetz

Genre:                                 Theory

Level:                                   Beginner | Late Beginner | Intermediate | Late                                                    Intermediate | Advanced

Features:                            38 Tabs (.gp5) + 40 Charts (.pdf) + 5 Jam Tracks (.mp3)

Lessons:                              45 Video Lessons (4 hours and 44 minutes)

 

 

Today’s review is about a new theory course by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jeff Scheetz; he is the director of education at Truefire.com. He has already released numerous courses designed to help you improve your journey on the guitar. One of those courses is his „Smart practice for guitar“. This course focuses on another major topic that is key in improving fast: theory.

Theory is usually considered one of those demons that someone put into this world in order to torture us; in particular guitarists. However, theory can ease the learning process a lot! You certainly do not need theory in order to be musical. You can go ahead and create notes on an instrument and replicate songs just by ear and once you figure out how your instrument works.

Why should we then bother to learn theory at all? Let me tell you something I experienced when I started out on the guitar.

I once went to Spain with my guitar and as I was walking around the streets of Cordoba, I noticed another guitar player. I sat next to Raúl and we talked a bit about the guitar, music in Spain and so forth. A little bit later, we decided to have a small jam session. He was clearly better than I was since I had just started out but the way we connected through our instruments and played together was truly an experience that sparked my motivation for music even more. Wait… why am I telling you this? Well, in order to be able to play together we had to be on the same page. We achieved this by clarifying in which key we were about to to play and generally knowing our instrument in terms of notes, chords and basic musical stuff such as melody and harmony. In short, we connected through theory.

“Street Theory for Guitaristsis a catchy title, but one that contains more than you would expect at first sight. Before watching this course I asked myself: what would it take to connect with other musicians you meet? Which concepts would it need to speak the same language and to be able to connect with other musicians?

Going back to the story that I had just told you, I would like to answer what it took for me to connect with Raúl by going over the content of this course. As I’ve mentioned, you certainly need to know your own instrument before you can engage in conversations. That’s why the first section is all about the very fundamentals of your guitar.

Fundamentals include the musical alphabet“, referring back to the notes on your fretboard. If you meet other musicians on the street it is more likely to happen without tabs hanging off a wall so you need to be able to refer to notes if you want to exchange pieces and have a jam session. In order to do so, you certainly need to know your own instrument in terms of notes or the musical alphabet.

The process of learning the notes on the fretboard can be a daunting one. However, this course slowly builds that important skill by first showing you how to name the notes on the 5th and the 6th string. If you know these two strings, you will already know three strings, since you’ve got two E-strings that work the same way. Once you have this skill down you are going to learn how to find octaves on the guitar. Octaves help you to identify the various positions that exist on the fretboard and to navigate through different voicings. It also helps you build chords by narrowing the fretboard.

Once you’ve nailed the note names on the fretboard it is time to connect them by applying what is known as intervals. Intervals are the distances between two notes. As so much on the guitar, intervals are easily learnt by learning the different shapes. Last but not least, the fundamentals section is closed out by learning probably the two most important scales (arguably); the chromatic scale and the major scale.

The second section is all about chords. Knowing the formula for building chords is essential if you want to understand the concept of chord triads and chord inversions. You are also going to learn why we guitarists need barre chords and what the secret of that “barre” actually is. Once you nailed this, you are going to be taught how to name the chords in terms of roman numerals and how to build progressions out of them. Another important concept that is brought to you by Jeff Scheetz is the method to identify in which key your song is in so you know which chords to play in common progressions.

 

Moving on to section three, you move away from the harmonic side of music and turn towards the melodic side of it! Unless already familiar with them, you are going to be introduced to scales and different types of scales (pentatonic and blues scales as well as modes! Knowing which scale to play is crucial if you want to transfer the correct mood of a song and literally playing and staying on the same page as your fellow musicians.

Last but not least, there are some further important concepts that could certainly be put into the other sections but that are slightly more advanced. In section 4 you learn about the CAGED system and how it functions within the different chords that you can play all around the neck! This really opens up the whole neck for you and gives you more freedom and more voicings to explore! You will also learn how to move harmonies and how to arpeggiate chords. Those concepts will allow you to articulate yourself in a more complex way.

Let’s sum this course up… “Street Theory for Guitarists” by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire.com is one of those courses you may have wished as part of your starter kit, as part of your very first guitar as it can help you digest the massive load of information that you will have to acquire throughout your career. Theory is not boring at all. The way it used to be taught, however, was old-fashioned. Learn music theory the cool way with Jeff Scheetz and be able to connect with other musicians and actually speak the same language!

Highly recommended!

 

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

www.meridirhproductions.com – ‘cause music matters

 

This course was provided by Truefire.com

Fingerstyle Essentials | Fingerpicking Pattern No. 2

Hey everyone,

 

I wanted to share with you something I came up with recently. For all you beginners out there, I wanted to share my most important fingerstyle patterns that I learnt during my first 1,5 Years on the guitar.

It’s a nice 8th note pattern that builds up dynamically and allows for quite some emotional and intense fills and runs in your own performances.

Website Insert

Click here to download the study (.pdf format)

Fingerpicking Pattern No. 2

 

This fingerstyle study consists of three parts.

Part one shows you the very basic pattern. Starting with your middle finger (M), going over to your index finger (I), repeating that pattern and then moving up to the ring finger (R) and then a rundown with your M, I  before returning to your M.

So the basic version of this pattern in PIMA-format looks like this:

M-I-M-I-R-M-I-M

1  +  2 + 3  + 4 +

 

The second level of this pattern includes the bass note. On the 1 you simply add the respective bass note of the chord you are playing with the thumb (T).  So, say you are playing an Am chord. You then want to play the open 5th string.

M/T-I-M-I-R-M-I-M

1  +  2 + 3  + 4 +

 

Then I show you a small alteration of the pattern which gives you the possiblity of bridging to another chord or another sequence or generally a verse  or a chorus, depending on your arrangement’s or song’s structure.

M-I-M-I-R_R R_R     (R_R = like a tie; holding the note)

1  +  2 + 3  + 4 +

 

My approach ever since I started out as a beginner on the guitar was to transform everything I learn into music and having fun with it. That’s why I always want to show you what you can do with the stuff that I am showing you.

Below you will find my arrangement of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” in Am, featuring this beautiful fingerpicking pattern! Go check it out and don’t forget to leave a like, a comment and most importantly, to subscribe to my channel!

See you next time!

And don’t forget to have fun with your guitar! 😉

Lukas

 

 

 

Musicarium Songbook by Andy McKee and Truefire.com

Musicarium Songbook by Andy McKee and Truefire.com

 

Author:            Andy McKee

Genre:              Acoustic

Style:                Fingerstyle | Acoustic

Level:               Late Intermediate / Advanced

Features:         Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files

Lessons:          38 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 188 Minutes

 

Today’s review is going to be about Andy McKee’s first course for Truefire.com called “Musicarium Songbook”. In this review I am going to give you a brief introduction to Mr. McKee, highlighting some milestones in his career as well as my own opinion on him, having followed him for quite some time on YouTube. After the introduction, I will move on and discuss some of the songs and techniques within the course as well as give you a conclusion of what to expect from Mr. McKee’s first course on Truefire.com.

As I mentioned above, I have been following Andy McKee for quite a while now, growing a steady interest in fingerstyle playing! If you haven’t yet heard of him or seen him playing, go and check out his YouTube channel! One particularly good performance that I enjoyed was him playing Toto’s Africa together with the amazing and well-known Tommy Emmannuel, who happens to release a new course for Truefire almost simultaneously!

My own impression of Mr. McKee is that of a very versatile technical player with a clear joy for the instrument. By incorporating various techniques, ranging from harmonics over to percussive slaps and body percussion techniques he manages to merge sounds that form this very style, typical for modern fingerstyle guitarists!

What to do if you want to follow an idol and want to get – at least – as good as your favourite guitar player? Well, you are most likely going to study his songs… This is exactly what you are able to do with this course. You will be introduced to a total of five songs, each being an essential core of Andy McKee’s repertoire, highly instructive in terms of technical demand as well as a joy to listen to.

From an instructor who shows his own songs I would expect the following: an introduction in which the artist explains his thought process or the motivation behind the song, a clear and high quality performance of it, so you get a perfect example of “how-it-should-sound” as well as a detailed breakdown into the different parts of the song so we can slowly but surely work on the tune, working our way up until we can play the complete tune!

Let me show you if Mr. McKee managed to fulfil my expectations by having a look at his first song of the course called Drifting. The piece is broken down into six parts, starting out with an overview, a performance and a breakdown (consisting of four videos) of the piece.

The introduction teaches us what inspired Andy McKee to write the tune when he was about 18 years old. Preston Reed was the driving force behind the tune, having shown young Andy McKee that an acoustic can easily hold its ground to an electric guitar. Furthermore, you are given an overview of the different techniques that you will need to know to play the tune.

The introduction is followed by a full performance of Drifting. Here you are going to see first-hand if this tune is something you want to learn or not. It becomes evident from the get-go that this tune is a highly technical piece that requires good command of the instrument. However, for those who decide to stick with the tune and learn it, you are getting a very good recording of the tune in multiple angles to focus on the difficulties that may come up when studying the piece.

Once you have listened to the recording you are heading right into the breakdown of the tune. I cannot go too much into details here as I don’t want to spoil anything. However, I can tell you what the breakdown section is compiled of and what you can expect to learn here. First of all, the tune is divided into four sections: the intro, the verse, the chorus and the bridge.

Picture AndyMcKee.png

Throughout the breakdown videos for Drifting, about 30 minutes in total, you are getting introduced to the chords and the chord progressions in this tune. The piece is written in the DADGAD tuning, which really helps out incorporating the various over-the-neck-techniques that you use to play the chords while switching back and forth between them and the bass parts, consisting of body percussion all around the guitar body. Below you are going to find the performance of this tune to see exactly what makes this piece a demanding one!

 

 

Andy McKee’s explanations are always on-point! He understands well to break down the individual problem areas of the piece bit by bit, giving it enough time to really sink in. He is known as a very technical player and you need to know that before you attempt to follow in his footsteps. However, I cannot stress enough of how impressive his playing is and once you enter that path you are going to draw a lot out of this course!

Beware that the course will take some time as there are no simple pieces or tricks to make you play the pieces magically. However, the high quality recordings and cutting that is a trademark for videos and courses by Truefire.com are a real aid in learning this tune!

The course material is accompanied by tabs and notation in .pdf or .gp5 format.

 

Conclusion

For advanced fingerstyle players, those, who search for a course that serves as an artist study, “Musicarium” is the right choice! Here you are going to be challenged as the techniques used in the songs are by no means easy. Once you put the time and effort into it you will definitely benefit from the clear instructions and the amazing pieces that were chosen for this course.

Lukas Wedrychowski

MeridirhProductions.com – ‘cause music matters

 

This course was provided by Truefire.com

#ProgressLog – June 2017

Hey everyone,

 

I really hope you are doing well! I wanted to let you know what I did throughout June and what I am planning on doing throughout July!

As you probably know, I have added the Cajón and the Ocarina to my repertoire of instruments and now I am finally able to record some videos to show my progress!

Since the Cajón is quite different to my other instruments, I plan on doing some videos on basic technique and basic workouts. The sheet music for those workouts will soon be published here on my website, once I get a hold of the basics and am able to write my own exercises !

Anyway, let me give you another update on one of my instruments: the piano! So far, I have been following a book method, called “Die Russische Klavierschule” (The russian school of piano) and I must say, that I am not quit thrilled by it anymore. That’s why I want to give my piano practice a different touch in experimenting with a new method I wrote myself. This method is a collection of stuff and chops I learnt on my other instruments (most notably the guitar). The goal of this method is to work on the fundamentals first; not just piano related fundamentals but rather musical fundamentals. I am soon going to publish an article on it but for now I want you to know that I am going to change my practice plan for the piano, starting with July 2017!

 

 

Progress Logs:

 

Guitar

A. Repertoire

  • La Claire de La Lune (own arrangement)
  • Paganini: Caprice 24 (Theme) – late beginner/ intermediate version (arr. by Lukas Wedrychowski

B. Technique

  • Etudes
    • Fernando Sor: Opus 60 No. 1
    • Fernando Sor: Opus 60 No. 3 (in progress)
  • Scales
    • C Major Scale
    • E Major Scale
  • Chords
    • C Major
    • D Minor
    • E Minor
    • F Major
    • G Major
    • A Minor (+ inversions)
  • Rhythms
  • Techniques
    • Harmonics (12th fret harmonics)

 

Violin

A. Repertoire

  • Greensleeves
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb (in progress)
  • Ode to Joy
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (in progress)
  • La Claire de La Lune (in progress)
  • Caprice 24 (Theme) – in progress (beginner version)

B. Technique

  • Etudes
    • Napolitaine by G.F. Telemann
  • Scales
    • C Major Scale
  • Rhythms
    • ♪♪♪♪
    • ♪♪♪♫
    • ♪♪♫♫
    • ♪♫♫♫
    • ♫♫♫♫
  • Techniques
    • Bowing & Posture
    • String Crossing
    • Mid-bow bowing
    • Whole-bow bowing

 

Welcome two new members to the family :-)

Hey everyone,

 

I’ve got some big news!  There are two members joining my instrumental family. A few days ago I’ve acquired these two lovely instruments *_*

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward getting started with them! Over the last couple of months, I’ve been listening to these instrument on YouTube and other sites and I really fell in love with them. So I went ahead and got a cajón from Schlagwerk!

In my opinion, the cajóns from Schlagwerk are by far the best sounding ones and I’m really happy that I was lucky enough to acquire one on a relatively low price (thanks ebay).20170613_124026

Here it is!  A Madagascar cajón from Schlagwerk; 🙂

The other one is an old-time favourite of mine (nope, not due to The Legend of Zelda)… the OCARINA!

20170613_124007

Here it is! It’s a non-name product for about 13-20€. It isn’t properly tuned which makes it hard to play with other instrumens. That’s why I’m looking to purchase one from Thomann, Europe’s biggest vendor for musical equipment, in hope that the Ocarina is properly tuned :^)

 

Anyway, expect some new stuff with those two beauties!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ProgressLog | May 2017

Hey everyone,

 

I am a bit late, sorry for that! I have something big to announce, though!

Here’s my practice plan for May; what I did there and how it went

 

Let’s start with the guitar:

Technique:

  • Etude: Fernando Sor Op. 60 No. 1
  • Scales: C-/D-/E-/F- Major Scale
  • Chords: Open Chords (revised) + some inversions of C + D + E
  • Rhythms: Some Waltz Rhythms
  • Techniques: Harmonics (more to come in June 2017)

I started my first classical etudes with Fernando Sor’s Op. 60. Those studies are some of the finest I’ve come across so far and I love them! They sound beautifully, they are short and they allow me to practice certain areas in depth.

For the scales, I’ve actually revisited my common major scales because I am currently working on more arrangements of classical songs and those are mostly written in the key of C, using the major scale for their melodies. That’s also the reason why I chose to revise those open chords again.

The waltz has been something I wanted to look into, particularly for what I’ve planned for July! That’s the point where I finish my “beginner”-level stuff and move on to the intermediate section. I just want to be sure that I cover everything I set for myself as a “beginner” before I move on.

Last, but not least, the harmonics. This neat little technique is something I’m so fond of! I really love it! At the moment, I’m trying to incorporate it as much as I can, writing songs and using it for my intermediate arrangements.

Theory:

  • Chord progressions
  • Classical Era
  • Fernando Sor biography
  • Harmonics

Repertoire:

  • Irá al jardin inglés (recording)

 

 

 

Now, let’s move on to the piano:

Technique:

  • Etudes:
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 1
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 2
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 3
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 4
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 5
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 6
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 7
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 8
    • John W. Schaum: Finger power 1 No. 9
    • Béla Bartók: Makrokosmos 1 No. 1
    • Béla Bartók: Makrokosmos 1 No. 2a
    • Béla Bartók: Makrokosmos 1 No. 2b
    • Jelena Gnessina Etude in C
    • A. Schmidt: Etude in C
  • Scales
    • C Major Scale
    • D Major Scale
  • Chords
    • Major Chords: C – D – E – F – G -A – B
  • Rhythms:
    • 4/4 – all 4th notes
  • Technique:
    • Velocity

Theory

  • Classical Era
  • Russische Klavierschule Band 1 – p. 1-21

Repertoire

  • Ode to Joy
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb

 

 

Violin

Technique

  • Etudes: (unknown) basic bow strokes
  • Scales: C major scale
  • Bowing: détaché
  • Rhythms: 4/4 4th rhythms + 4/4 alternate
  • Technique: Bowing technique

Theory

  • Classical Era
  • David Garrett biography (documentary)

Repertoire

  • Ode to Joy (own arrangement)

 

 

50 Right Hand Techniques You Must Know by Muriel Anderson and Truefire.com

50 Right Hand Techniques You Must Know by Muriel Anderson and Truefire.com

 

Author:             Muriel Anderson

Genre:              Acoustic / Universal

Style:                Fingerstyle / Universal

Level:                Beginner / Late Beginner / Intermediate / Late Intermediate / Advanced

Features:          Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files

Lessons:          53 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 150 Minutes

 

 

Have you ever wanted a compendium of right hand techniques for your guitar? Have you ever faced the question which technique to practice next? If the answer is yes then do not stop reading since I have got a course for you that might easily answer all your questions.

50 Right Hand Techniques You Must Know by Muriel Anderson, published by Truefire.com, is a collection of no less than fifty techniques you can use with your right hand. No matter if you are into Blues, into Jazz, Folk, Funk, etc. here in this course you’ve got all you need to further refurnish your fingerpicking technique on the guitar.

1

Many styles share common techniques, such as palm muting, harmonics, percussion and tapping. With that being said, in this course you are going to learn something universal; something that you can apply over various musical styles, stunning your audience with techniques that not only look great but also give your playing a distinctive touch!

If you are a songwriter you may consider implementing some of these techniques into your songs to make them more challenging or more fun to play. Who knows, maybe you can use these techniques as inspirations to create own techniques, own variations that you will be known for.

With all that summarizing the course per se, what can you actually expect from the course? Well, let me provide you with an answer to it: Over the course of 50 lessons, you are going to be introduced to a particular technique, with a high-quality video in which the lecturer, in this case Muriel Anderson, explains, illustrates and breaks down the technique.

You are not only going to receive visual input, but also auditory! Listening to how the technique should sound like and watch Muriel playing it almost simulates a 1on1 session with an instructor.

2

Do not forget that whatever the technique might be that you are learning, you are still required to put effort into it and practice the technique. Some of the techniques in this course, such as hand position, thumb position and palm muting, are very basic, very simple and should belong to everyone’s repertoire of right hand techniques. However, if you are into Flamenco and all the Spanish guitar styles you are certainly familiar with the different types of strokes that exist; i.e. Rasgueado.

The courses are clear cut and well structured. In my opinion, they partially even increase in difficulty which is great if you want to challenge you with each lesson. However, the only drawback I see with them is that there is no additional material for the viewer to practice. So what you have got here is literally a course that introduces you and shows and explains you the various right hand techniques that exist, rather than a workshop in which you are encouraged to further practice your newly acquired skills.

On the other side, considering what this course contains, you are most likely to be busy for a very long time, no matter how long the videos are. Those techniques are, not by chance, considered the very fundamentals of right hand techniques and you are well advised to spend some time and work on them. It will be beneficial; not just for you, giving you the feeling of accomplishment, but also for your audience, who will be bound to your playing and admire the techniques and sounds that you are able to create thanks to your finely forged technique.

I feel really good about this course; there is something for all types of players as well as all levels of players. You get clear cut video instructions to practice the learnt techniques at home. I, for my part, am happy that I was able to have a look at this course and I would definitely recommend it to my students! Well done Muriel Anderson and definitely well done Truefire.com for providing such an important toolbox for each single guitarist out there!

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

MeridirhProductions – ‘cause music matters

 

This DVD was provided by Truefire.com