Welcome to Dave's Guitar Planet! Guitar lessons and info for beginners through advanced. Feel free to look around! Click below to see recent posts.... —DP
Ever since I did the series on the Five CAGED Scale Shapes three years ago, I've wanted to add some exercises to make practicing them fun and rewarding. (Wink.) Well, though doing exercises is not always fun, they can be rewarding as you start to see the benefits. In brief, they can help you morph from the sniveling, wimpy excuse of a guitar player you are currently, into a handsome and machismo ultra-shredder; all it takes is time and effort.
But seriously, I only show the exercises that I actually use. They're both classic and great (at the same time). Most are excellent for both your fretting and picking technique, and can also help develop your ear. Here they are (not in alphabetical order):
4-Notes-At-Time Scale Exercise (more or less self explanatory)
Play CAGED Scales in Thirds (1-3, 2-4, 3-5, etc.)
Play All 12 Keys With Five Shapes (move through "cycle of 4ths")
Play Simple Melodies Using Five Shapes (super way to start making music with the Shapes)
Five CAGED Chords Exercise (the 5 chords that go with the 5 shapes)
I also made a couple scale lessons for beginners:
Last, I did a lesson by request on common jazz chords. (Well, there are a zillion chords used in jazz, so I decided to focus on "extended" chords.)
While music theory and exercise lessons are not as popular as those on songs and licks, I think it's important to include them on my site for people who want to become better musicians and players. And I know some folks have gotten something out of them. As usual, I've included graphics to try to make the concepts easy to understand. Let me know how you like 'em! But rest assured, next up will be more lessons on popular songs.
It's great to learn songs and improve your understanding of music with the modes, etc. But sometimes you want something short, sweet and fun. While a lot of guitar teachers discourage the learning of "licks," it's certainly the way many of us started out, myself included.
So, I decided to add a few fun "lick" lessons to DGP. One is perhaps more of a technique than a lick. I call it the Screaming Stretch to Unison, because it's a way to make a very sharp, "screaming" sound on your guitar. (You will need skinny strings for this one.)
I also show how to play a couple country-sounding licks that work well over major chords. One is a cute and simple Country Bop riff with descending and ascending (down and up), lines. The other is a bit more advanced, since it uses some fancy "hybrid" picking, plus "Slippery" Major and Minor Sixth intervals.
Last, I made a lesson on Basic Boogie Rock in a 12-Bar Blues format, ala Chuck Berry. This is a staple of rock technique, so if you're not sure you know it, then you'd better check it out!
Happy Screamin', Boppin' and Rockin'!
Airmail From Charlie
My Charlie Christian lessons have been some of the most popular (i.e., Seven Come Eleven, Rose Room). I emailed those who purchased the Bonus Packages for those lessons and asked which others they might be interesed in. One that got the most votes was Airmail Special. So, I figured out that solo and made a lesson on it. Needless to say, the guy was a freaking prodigy! (I'll try to get to another one in a month or two.)
The Twelve Cool Dudes
I'd been wanting to make a lesson like this for a while and finally got to it. I guess some people are a bit intimidated by "music theory," but, to me, it's the only way to think about music. This lesson introduces you to how each of the twelve notes (or "intervals"), has it's own "personality," or feeling that doesn't change, no matter what key you're in. It's about the most useful way I know of to think about sound.
I've also been wanting to do a series of shorter video lessons on licks for solid body guitar players. I tried to come up with a clever name, like "Quck Licks" or "Minit-Lix." But I finally gave up and just starting filming to see what came out. Well, it looks like they are a bit longer than I envisioned. But no matter. I realized I already had a category called "Licks and Lines," which is good enough. The first one is maybe more of a "technique" than a lick (which is hard to define, anyway). I call it the "Dual-Use Double-Stop Stretch!"
As always, donations are greatly appreciated. ;-)
More Tonal Colors
It's fine to play songs made of mostly major and minor chords (triads), but if you want to add more colors to your pallet and start jazzing things up, you have to get into seventh chords. I make it super easy to understand these chords by first showing them on the piano, then on guitar. I also show how you can use the three main types (major 7, minor 7 and dominant 7), to play a common chord progression.
Five Notes To Fame
Have you been wanting to start playing guitar solos, but don't know where to begin? The first thing to do is to get familiar with pentatonic (5-note), scales (see Beginner section). There are two flavors, major and minor. Almost every guitarist starts with these—and some rarely go beyond them! Sometimes we play them across the neck and sometimes up the neck. Once you get these under your belt, you can start making up your own melodies and licks...and start jamming!
Music is Magic,
Yo Guys and Gals,
I've cleared a lot of my schedule so I can spend more time doing what I like, which is making more lessons for this site! As a result, I've been pretty busy adding content. I made a couple on basic music theory and ear training (Triads, Singing Intervals). Then I decided to do one on Adele's huge hit, Rolling In The Deep. You can almost play the whole song with one 2-note chord shape!
Some of my most popular videos have been on easy classic pop songs which include the lyrics on the screen. So, I decided to create a new series called "EZ Strum & Sing Along." Instead of trying to show how to play something exactly like the record, I tried to make a simple arrangement with one strum pattern that works for pretty much the whole song. Heck, it seems a lot of beginners (and others), mainly want to play a basic version of one of their favorite songs. Plus, you don't even have to look at my head in these videos. ;-) Give 'em a try: Dead Flowers (country-style Rolling Stones song), Let It Be (Beatles), Nowhere Man (Beatles), Route 66 (Nat King Cole), That'll Be The Day (Buddy Holly).
Next, I may try to add a song for intermediate guitarists, and maybe another music theory one. Again, if you benefit from some of this, I'd really appreciate however much you might be able to donate. My dream is to eventually make something of a living from my site. Currently, it only amounts to about seventy dollars a month. As you may have seen, I have a survey you can fill out in case you have some ideas for how I can improve the site.
Well, I thought I might move back to the USA, but after 90 days there in June and July I came back to Bangkok (Thailand), and decided it's cheaper to stay here and work on my guitar videos than in the states. So, false alarm about leaving the 'Land of Smiles' (for now, at least).
Because of the popularity of my first Charlie Christian solo lesson (Seven Come Eleven), I spent a lot of time creating a similar lesson; this time on his Rose Room solo. (Unfortunately, it has not proved as popular, thus far anyway, as the "7-11" lesson. :-| )
One of my best supporters requested a couple songs--Neil Young's "Heart of Gold," and the earlier "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield (also featuring Neil, as well as Stephen Stills). So those are the latest uploads.
For the B. Springfield tune, I tried out a new camera and software setup. The new camera records in high definition and I think you'll agree the image is way better than in my previous videos. (Grin.)
Well, after seven and a half years in Bangkok, Thailand, I'm now back in the good ol' US of A, and it feels like I'll stay here for a while. Because of the turmoil of making this decision, I haven't uploaded a new lesson in a while.
Actually, I've got one that's all done except a few final touches and hope to finish it in the next couple days, so watch for that. I hope to keep adding content, but my life is still in flux and things need to settle down a bit.
It's been fun to play my 1975 Gibson Howard Roberts again, which has been in storage in New York State for eight years! It's a versatile axe with a beautiful, clear tone. Maybe I'll use it in a lesson someday.
It's been a couple months since I wrote in this space. I did manage to post a few more videos over that time....
My Girl Is Your Girl
I'd been wanting to do this classic Temptations number for a while, since it's good for beginners and includes a famous example of the major pentatonic scale. I also made a Play-Along video (for a minimal contribution). Be the first on your block to buy it! (Hell, be the first on the planet!)
Stop It! (Twice.)
A "double stop" is when you play two strings at once. Rock and blues are filled with them. I show three fairly easy licks in a Chuck Berry/rockabilly vein. I love all the textures and rhythms you can get out of them. Check 'em out!
Two's Company; Thirds Are Cool
As you may know, what makes a chord sound happy or sad is whether it contains a major 3rd or a minor 3rd. Well, even if you didn't know that, you can probably get something out of this video. You'll not only learn how to play thirds all over the neck, but also get to play them in four different modes. (Watch my series on The Modes of the Major Scale in the intermediate section to bone up on them.) Bonus Package includes four backing tracks and three PDFs.
Happy New Year!
I've uploaded two more lesson videos to YouTube. The first one is about How to Find the Names of Notes on the Neck. This is something you will need to know if you intend on becoming an advanced player. It's actually quite easy--there's a simple trick!
In the second video I teach you about the Diatonic Chords, which are the seven chords in any particular key that make up most pop songs. This is an extremely useful concept in music theory. Again, I use the piano keyboard to explain it, then show it on the guitar. For a lot of people, this is an "Aha!" moment, and things will start to make much more sense after you watch it.
I've been busy here in Bangkok doing other work...and then came the holidays. I've started work on an easy play-along song, so look for that in the next couple weeks.
Music is Magic,
1) I finally finished my "Seven Come Eleven (Charlie Christian solo)" lesson. This is pretty advanced, but I try to lay it out clearly. I created a Bonus Package (for a paltry fee) that includes 8 backing tracks at various speeds and 2 PDF documents to go along with it. Charlie was one of the first electric guitarists and also one of the best!
2) I also made time to make lesson pages for my series on "The Modes of the Major Scale" (difficulty: intermediate). The first lesson is about finding the modes on the neck, and the second lesson shows how the seven modes can be arranged from brightest to darkest. I used a screen cast of a piano keyboard to make it extremely clear. Learning about the modes is a great way to improve your ear, which is half the battle in becoming a musician!
3) I added a few more music stores, repair shops and an open mic venue to the Links tab.
A friend recently came to Bangkok (where I live), and brought my 1975 Fender Stratocaster with him from Seattle (where I grew up), so I'm thinking it would be fun to now make some lessons on rock and blues licks. I've finally got a guitar I can bend strings on again! If you get some value, please donate.
See you soon.
1) Please join me on Facebook at facebook.com/ davesguitarplanet . Click 'Like!'
2) I've been busy here in Bangkok trying to make a living--the company where I was doing IT support is not doing well and had to let me go :-( --but I think I'll be able to add more content soon! Do any of you know Charlie Christian? He played guitar for Benny Goodman (famous clarinet player in the 1940s), but died at the early age of 25 from tuberculosis. He was an amazing player--one of the first electric guitarists! I've always wanted to learn one of his solos, so I should be posting that soon. Stay tuned! --Dave
Hi There! Check out the Links tab for BKK stores and venues.
I set up the forum (see right side of menu bar), a year ago, but then about 5 'spam robots' per day tried to register. So many I just got in the habit of deleting requests that were sent to me for approval. I just changed the registration process to try and throw off the robots. So, if you tried to register before but unsuccessfully, please try again--especially all you Bangkok folks!
Here's some of the latest stuff I've put on youtube:
How to Play 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' on Guitar
("Play-Along" section starts about 10:00 in.)
Learning about "The Modes" (7 different-sounding scales/chord progressions), is a great way to improve your ear and become an intermediate player:
How to Play "Peg" (by Steely Dan) on Guitar
(Unfortunately, youtube says this is "blocked in some countries.")
Feel free to poke around the various lessons, songs and theory PDFs. If you benefit from something here and you have a few bucks you can spare, I'd very much appreciate your contribution (click the Donate button; it's easy to use your credit card).
Some of my axioms:
Music is something you hear; not see. Seems obvious, doesn't it?
If you can’t sing it, you can’t play it. The best players "sing through their instrument."
If a song doesn't have at least a little blues in it, I'm often not interested.
If you have some feedback on any of my lessons, etc., or you'd like to request a lesson on a certain song or topic, please let me know.
LessonsWarm-up Exercise Open Chords Intro to 12-Bar Blues; Dominant 7th Chords Basic Boogie Rock in Open A (12-Bar Blues Format) Play a Simple Melody By Ear Play Major Scale on 1 String Sing and Play a Blues Lick How to Find Note Names On Neck Triads: The Four Most Basic Chords Ear Training: Intervals, "Tone Deafness"... Open C Major Scale; All "Named Notes" Open A Minor Scale (Darker Sound)
Major Pentatonic: Across Neck Major Pentatonic: Up Neck Minor Pentatonic: Across Neck Minor Pentatonic: Up Neck
of Improvisation (Soloing)
EZ Strum, Play-Along SongsCountry Roads--John Denver (P/A) Dead Flowers--Rolling Stones (EZ-Strum, P/A) Knockin' On Heaven's Door--Bob Dylan (V, P/A, L&C) Let It Be--Beatles (EZ-Strum, V, P/A) My Girl--Temptations (V, P/A, L&C) Nowhere Man--Beatles (EZ-Strum, V, P/A) Peaceful Easy Feeling--Eagles (V, L&C) Route 66--Nat King Cole (EZ-Strum, V, P/A) Stand By Me (Various Artists) (EZ-Strum, V, P/A) That'll Be The Day--Buddy Holly (EZ-Strum, V P/A)
Born To Be Wild--Steppenwolf (L&C) For What It's Worth--Buffalo Springfield (B, V, L&C) Have You Ever Seen The Rain--CCR (L&C) Heart of Gold–Neil Young (B, V, L&C) I Can't Help Falling In Love W/ You--Elvis (V, S) Who'll Stop The Rain--CCR ( L&C)
LessonsPeg--Steely Dan (L&C, V)
Solos Charlie ChristianSeven Come Eleven (A, V, P/A; Bonus Package available) Rose Room (A, V; Bonus Package available) Airmail Special (Good Enough To Keep) (A, V; Bonus Package available) Blues in B (A, V; Bonus Package available)
Music Theory, etc.
Drum TracksJazz-Rock 110bpm Jazz-Rock 125bpm Jazz (Swing) 115bpm Jazz (Swing 140bpm Rock 100bpm Rock 130bpm Slow Blues 80bpm Slow Blues 100bpm
Country Drone: G, 100bpm Jazz-Rock Drone: Db, 110bpm Jazz-Rock Drone: Ab, 125bpm Jazz (Swing) Drone: Bb, 115bpm Jazz (Swing) Drone: F, 140bpm Latin Drone: F, 100bpm Rock Drone: A, 100bpm Rock Drone: C, 130bpm Roots Rock: G, 105bpm Roots Rock: A, 120bpm
Drone Tracks (Bass & Drum)
Seven Come Eleven (Charlie Christian solo) (Advanced): 2 PDFs, 8 backing tracks Rose Room (Charlie Christian solo) (Advanced): 2 PDFs, 10(!) backing tracks
Bonus Tracks (small fee)
Adhere the 13th (Live Blues) Bamboo Bar (Oriental Hotel-Live Jazz) Brown Sugar (Live Jazz & Blues Pub) DET5 (Sukhumvit Soi 8) Fat Gutz Saloon (Thong Lo) Jazz Pit (Pattaya) Living Room (Sheraton Grande-Live Jazz) Nothing But The Blues (Thong Lo) Saxophone Pub (Live Blues, etc.)
Live Music Venues
Jam/Open MicDET5 (most Mondays from 8:30pm) Nothing But The Blues (every other Sunday night) Fatty's Bar & Diner (Tuesdays from 8:30pm)
Guitar MakersNNG Jinatune Guitarshop (Thonburi)
Guitar Repair, AdjustmentSecond Music Jinatune Guitarshop (Thonburi)
Apple / Macintosh AssistanceBangkok Mac
Bangkok Music StoresBangkok Music Shops (CNN Article)
Hi, I'm Dave Peterson. I used to play in bands around Seattle in the '70s and '80s. I moved to Japan for ten years in the '90s. Then, after five years in Berkeley, California I moved to Bangkok, Thailand in 2006. Now I sometimes sit in with bands and play at open mic events. I'd like to share my knowledge of, and passion for, the guitar with others. And that's why I built the Guitar Planet site. Enjoy!