|The distance between the strings and the neck of the guitar. A high action makes notes difficult to fret and a low action can cause fret buzz. Most players have their action around 3/32" on the low E string and 2/32" on the high E.|
Lessons for: Action
1: Strength vs. Finesse
For this lesson we'll consider building hand, finger, and knuckle strength and how to discover just the right amount of effort needed to play a good chord, exploring the hazards of over-clenching versus underplaying. Isometric action between thumb and fingers is needed to generate the strength needed without enlisting larger muscles of the left arm and side to do the work of the small muscles of the hand. Most people quickly start using too much muscle in hopes of mashing down a good chord. Relax and work to find just how much pressure you need to make a clean note/cho...
2: Talk A While: Bridge Electric
We're only playing the first progression of the bridge on electric, but we're getting really vibey with some tremolo action and some really nice voicings. Be sure to get them under your fingers so you get that gentle but correct feel. You'll play this progression twice through, and on the C chord you'll do a little arpeggiation that picks up the mood of the bridge a little bit. What we're really doing here is simply picking C, G, and E, (the I, V, and III of the chord) and turning them into a nice little lick.
3: I Been Up, I Been Down: Gear & Tones
Billy Gibbons has used almost any guitar and any amp through the years- Telecasters, Les Pauls, and Gretch guitars through all kinds of amps. In this lesson I'm gonna explain to you how I am imitating the tone that you hear on "Tush" and how you can do it too. A good place to start would be a Marshall type amp. The most authentic models would be JCM 800 or a Marshall Plexi. Those amps gives you that classic blues rock tone, which is just on the verge of being more rock than blues. So dial as much hi-gain as you can before it starts not sounding like blues anymore. That'...
4: Got A Letter This Mornin': Gear & Tone
Most people associate Delta blues with a resonator guitar like the one I'm using. This is a guitar with sort of a built in acoustic speaker. It was originally invented to be a louder guitar that could accompany a horn section and a snare drum, but people seem to prefer it because of the very unique sound it has. Some resonators, like the one used on this recording, are made of all metal and some of them, like the one I'm using, are made of wood. But the resonator cone still gives it that metallic sound. But a lot of Delta blues players also used regular steel string aco...
5: Guitar Tricks 118: Best Beginner Electric Guitar 2012
Neal's pick for NAMM 2012's best entry-level electric is here: the Silo 3 from Sterling by Music Man. Whether you're just starting on guitar or you're an experienced player who doesn't want to bring your priceless vintage guitar to the local jam night, this guitar from the Sterling Sub Series is just right. With an incredibly low street price of $199, this axe has all the bells and whistles you might be looking for: single coil and humbucker pickups, tremolo bridge & short neck for fast action. Not bad looking either!
6: Slow Ride: Gear and Tone
To play this song you'll want an electric guitar with humbuckers, and possibly another electric guitar for the slide parts. For guitar 1, I'm playing my Mark Minarik Goddess set to the bridge pick up, and for the slide parts I'm playing my Ibanez 335 set to bridge pickup with the action set a bit high for easier slide playing. For both guitars I'm running through a Mesa Boogie V-twin pre-amp for gain, into a Fender Blues Junior tube amp. My amp settings are as follows: treble 90%, mids 90%, and bass 15%, with reverb at 10%. I've also added a slight slap back delay t...
7: Closer To The Edge: Performance
8: Double-Stop Licks: Solo #2
Once again we're starting on a double stop, F and C, then we get really rocking with some tremolo picking while sliding the double stop back and fourth one whole step. After this we move up and play this lick: Ab to F to Eb, Ab to F again, Eb to C, and end on Bb. For the IV chord we're doing another double stop slide, then up to the F chord again for some more double stop action. Next we'll be doing a walk down from Ab to F, Eb to C, and once again ending on Bb. To wrap up solo #2 we're gonna play this little run coming from the walk down: start on Bb to Ab to F, back...
9: Acoustic Strumming: Getting Started
In this lesson, we'll cover the basics of using a pick for learning strumming. We'll also talk about basic chords, and the fact that you don't always play all six strings of the guitar with every chord. Some chords use all six, some only five, and some use only four. In the next lesson, we'll see this in action as you learn your first strum pattern, and apply it to a variety of chords. Ready?
10: Hard-Headed Man: Tones & Gear
First let's talk a little bit about the tones that I'm using to imitate this recording - but always remember that if the players you're imitating were to play your gear as it is right now, they could probably make it sound like them just from tweaking and how they play. So it's ultimately all in the fingers! But it's fun to know about, so now let me talk you through the settings that I'm using. I'll be using my Strat for all guitar parts, on the bridge pickup, and I'll be running it through a modeled Digidesign Custom amp with the gain turned up all the way the master s...
11: Half Past Ten: Tones
I'll be using my Telecaster to play this song, and I have it set up with some medium high action so I can play slide easily, but also fret normally. I use some pretty heavy strings and some small pieces of wood under the saddles to temporarily get it that way, but you have to be careful not to damage your guitar when you experiment with this. I'll be using my ZT amp with a little bit of crunch on it and a touch of reverb. The two guitar tones are fairly similar, but the lead guitar has a little more overdrive and more of that "bitey" midrange and treble that makes it po...
12: Can't Control Me: Gear & Tones
GUITAR: I'm using a Les-Paul style guitar, but any guitar with a humbucker pickup in the bridge position will work great here. Make sure your volume and tone controls are all the way up, and you are switched to the bridge pickup for maximum clarity and power. AMP: This tune features a modern-metal distorted sound - think Mesa Boogie, Bogner, Diezel, 5150, etc here - any of those type of tube amps will give you the gain required for the guitar tone. I used a modern hi-gain model with the following settings: CRUNCH: Modern Hi-Gain Model (Mesa, Bogner, Diezel) ...
13: Higher: Gear, Tone, & Effects
For the rhythm guitars on this song, I recommend using a guitar with humbuckers. I'm using my Gibson 335 for the rhythm guitar parts because it sounds nice and fat, and fills out the track nicely. For the lead guitar, I'll be using my Telecaster, since I already have that set up for slide with the extension nut giving me extra high action, and thereby making it easy to use the slide. I'm using a metal slide because I like the treble it gives me. I'll also be running all the guitars through a modeled Marshall Plexi amp to get that high gain blues sound. But you don't...
14: George Lynch Interview
The Lynchback takes off where the legendary greenback left off. Adding more headroom and a tighter bass response, we look forward to hearing this new born rock monster in action. Tune in and catch the first moments of announcement live from NAMM 2011 with collaborator and tone afficianado, George Lynch.
15: Silent Lucidity: Performance
You've learned about arpeggiation, acoustic fingerpicking and flatpicking techniques, extended chords, and the guitar serving many textures in the context of a dense orchestral mix. Let's put everything into action and see it all the way through the song with the backing track.
16: Nothin' But A Good Time: Intro
Hello, rockstars! In these lessons we're gonna learn "Nothin' But A Good Time", as made famous by Poison. I'm going to teach you all the various parts in this 80s masterpiece including CC Deville's classic solos. Throughout much of the song, there are two guitars which at some points are playing harmonies, and at others are doubled to create a big full rock guitar sound. The guitar parts for the intro, pre-chorus, and chorus are very similar and make up the majority of the song, so you'll be having a good time in no time. The solo has got some cool licks and a little wh...
17: Testing Your Walk
Here we're going to really test your skills and see if you can put walking into chords into action. Earlier in the course we did basic walking skills. Here we will use rhythmic variation to create a riff with walking into chords. Once you get this skill, it will be one that you use often. Remember to use your ears and your eyes to help you figure this out. The tab is there for assistance, but you should be really pushing yourself to develop that skill. There's no tab on the stage!
18: Layers Upon Layers
Now that you know the main riff heard in "Headstrong" it's time to break down how to play the second half of our chorus, which features some twin guitar action! In the choruses you will hear two guitars playing distinct parts that sit in nicely with the rhythm section, and do a great job of complimenting the vocals.
19: Freebird Unplugged
Let's put the acoustic guitar into action and playalong with the Freebird track. We won't play all the way through the solo section of the second half because the acoustic guitar only plays muted strumming. We will play far enough into it to give you a feel for how it is played.
20: Tuning to Drop C
Before I go any further I should probably talk about string gauge. If you want to get your guitar to function properly in this tuning you're going to have to go big. That means getting a thicker set of strings and probably getting your intonation and action set as well. I always recommend going to someone that does this for a living but if you have experience and feel comfortable then go for it. The bottom line is if you don't increase the string size, then your chords have a tendency to go out of tune when you pick. Another tip is to go for a bit longer neck length ...
21: Kicking Around The Solos
Both guitar solos in the song are based on the same idea as the licks and melodies played through the song. A. The first one, after the little organ solo, starts low down in F# minor with some cool rock/bluesy licks that are well worth to put in your repertoire, goes into an interesting melodic walk up with the (high) open E string constantly played. It goes into a nice bend, remember the wrist action mentioned earlier, and then ends on a really really cool lick that throws you into the last verse. It's fairly simple but very tasteful and is very relevant to the...
22: The Magic of I, IV, V, & VI
Pachelbel was on to something when he wrote Pachelbel's Canon. This beautiful piece of classical music is one out of a million examples of how beatifully the I chord, IV chord, V chord, and VI chord work together in a song or instrumental. In this lesson, we'll use a traditional African-American Spiritual song to demonstrate these chords in action. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. You'd be amazed at how many hits and gems are composed of some combination of the I, IV, V, VI chords in any key. NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE I'VE SEENKey of ...
23: Playing Your Guitar On Your Lap
In the previous lesson I showed you how a lapslide Dobro works. Now let's check out how you can get those sounds if you don't have one of those! And the first thing you wanna do is to find a way of temporarily raising your action without damaging your instrument. I use what's called an extension nut, and it's a little piece of metal that goes on top of your nut to temporarily raise your action! They are less than $10 and you can get them online. Alternatively you can take out the little piece of bone or plastic from your bridge and put small pieces of paper or cardboar...
24: Delta Blues
In this lesson we're gonna explore a really cool regional blues style, that was played in the Mississippi Delta by guys like Robert Johnson and Son House, and is a lot of fun to play. One of the coolest things about this style, is that you can play it completely by yourself. You don't need a resonator guitar like the one I'm using- a regular acoustic will do just fine. You will need a slide though, but you can get those in any music store and they come in all materials, shapes and sizes. The higher the action on your guitar is, the easier it will be to play slide guitar.
Now we've given you a basic introduction to the style of The Edge. There is a lot more that can be covered, but for the purposes of this tutorial, we've broken it down into its simplest fundamentals so that you can get up and running. In this final musical example, we'll put all of this tutorial's tricks into action, incorporating them into an actual composition. Play along!