Category Archives: Guitar Tips

Want to Supercharge Your Rhythm Playing?

I’ve been teaching people how to play guitar for over 15 years and noticed a common theme among most of my students. They can play some songs, know some scales, and most can do some lead work. The problem comes when it’s time to play to play rhythm and lead with a metronome or a drummer. While metronomes are great they can be more difficult to start with and to be honest, a little boring. That’s where your new drummer I’ve found comes into play (pun intended)!

Jamming with a solid drummer will have a huge impact on your ability, it will literally improve every aspect of your guitar playing!! Want to be able to lay down a fat rhythm groove or bust out a perfectly pocketed solo? Then, understanding how to play with a drummer is crucial! Don’t get me wrong, learning to play your favorite song is great; but playing that song while locked in with the rhythm section, now we’re talking!

If you’ve ever wanted to play in a band, being able to lay it down with a drummer will get you the gigs! However, showing up to play with a drummer if you never have can feel pretty intimidating. Just imagine, having another person stare at you while you fumble through trying to find your groove. So what do you do to prepare? Well, this is where the new lesson I’ve created comes in!

In this lesson, I’ll teach you the basic fundamentals on how to start playing with a drummer in the safety of your own home. We’ll start by just learning to listen for the drummer’s groove. Once you’re able to hear the patterns being played on the hi hat, kick, and snare, you’ll learn to sync your picking hand to the groove that the drummer is playing. This creates the feel that gets everybody on the dance floor in your local bar or head banging at the nearby stadium.

What if you just want to jam at home and never want to play with a real drummer or band? Not to worry, this lesson is perfect for that too. Just download the tracks to your computer and away you go! It’s even more fun with a bumping stereo, it will be about as close as you can get to the real thing! Fun for days!

Click the video below. Also make sure to download the drum loop I’ve created that goes with the lesson so you can rock out too. Happy grooving!

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No Scale, No Problem – The 10 Minute Guide To Fretboard Freedom

Could it be true, melodically solo over chord progressions without knowing what scale to use!?!

Short answer, yep!

The best part is that it’s really pretty simple. The trick is to look for chord shapes rather than scale shapes. When you’re able to see chord shapes all over the neck, you no longer have to be worried about a scale when it’s time to solo. When you solo from the chord shapes you’re automatically hitting the right notes because you’re using the chords themselves as your map!

How about when the tune changes keys in the middle of the song? No problem! You’re still covered because again, you simply use the chord shapes as your guide. You won’t need to figure out all the scales you need when the key changes, keeping you out of your head and in the moment.

This is all laid out beautifully in the CAGED system but that can take some time to get under your fingers, so check out the video below to start wrapping your brain around the concept. It’s the beginner’s guide to the caged system or the short cut, if you will. I’ve kept this video to 10 minutes, so you’ll be able to easily fit this lesson into your day! After 10 minutes, I promise you’ll be blown away by how this simple new way of looking at the fretboard will drastically improve your soloing!!

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Are Warm Up Routines Important?

When I was a wee lad first learning how to solo on guitar, my teacher showed me a bunch of cool scales that blew my mind. I thought this is it, this is what I have been looking for to propel me to guitar god status. All I’d need to do is to learn all the scales, be able to play them really fast and shazam, people would surely be reading about me in the magazines! Haha, we can all dream!

I did learn them all and fifty ways to play them up and down the fretboard; building up quite a bit of speed and technique in the process. In reality what those scales gave me was a great warm up routine. What it didn’t do was teach me how to become more musical.

Fast forward too many years to mention and eons of running scales, picking patterns, hammer-on and pull-off exercises. I decided I needed to start warming up in a new way. I set my intention and purpose of becoming more musical every time I picked up the guitar to warm up and devised a three part warm up routine. Starting today I’ll share them with you.

The first video is designed to build up your finger dexterity. While it may not be very musical, it will give you a new found access to each of your fingers and a strong connection between right and left hands. This is extremely beneficial on your journey to becoming a more melodic player. When you aren’t limited by technique, you’re not limited in your ability to create. If you can move each of your fingers easily and independently and have a a great right/left hand connection, melodic and musical ideas will be right there where they should be…at your fingertips!

Using Your Warm Up Routine To Become More Melodic – Guitar Lesson – Part 1 – Finger Twisters

Catch ya Next Time!

Brett Papa
aka papastache
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Improve Your Acoustic Playing Dramatically In 10 Minutes

Are you learning to play guitar with the assumption that you must be technically good before getting polished professional sounds? Of course it doesn’t hurt to have skills, but it’s not as important as you might think. Most popular songs you’ve heard throughout the ages are four chords or less. When stripped down, they’re quite simple to play. One thing I’ve found that does make a HUGE difference in the way you sound is dynamics. You can think of dynamics as how you play the part you are playing. Is it loud, soft, picked, strummed, or all of the above? How you’re playing the verse compared to the chorus, etc.

In this video I will go over some simple but effective tips to get you sounding more like a pro. The best part is you can apply these tips to your playing in less than 10 minutes! Check out the video below, and let me know how it goes.

Catch ya Next Time!

Brett Papa
aka papastache

ps. If you are new to guitar and want to brush up on your acoustic skills check out The Beginners Acoustic Breakthrough, now available streaming!.
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Could Your Guitars Controls Be The Key To Great Tones?

Could it really be that simple? While it might not be the only trick to getting good guitar tones, it’s a cheap and effective place to start. Check out live clips of Hendrix, Stevie Ray, Beck, Page, and Van Halen and you’ll see they’re always messing with the volume knob and their pickups. It’s also a great way to simplify things while playing live. Instead of tap dancing on pedals you can keep it all to the controls of your guitar. I shot a YouTube video demonstrating this idea, check it out below.

Start out by getting the best distorted tone you can, then back off on your volume knob and use your pickup selector to clean up the sound for rhythm or clean parts. Keep in mind that while you might not get a sparkling clean tone with this approach, your slightly dirty clean tone will sound clean once the whole band is playing. When the solo or heavy rhythm part comes back in, turn up that volume knob and let it rip! Give it a shot! This super simple approach has saved me many times at gigs. It will let you stick to what really matters which is playing your part right with feeling so you can give the crowd what they want…a good show!

Catch ya Next Time!

Brett Papa
aka papastache
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Hendrix Style Riffs

To add some grease to the axels, I’ve got a Hendrix vid for ya! Go grab your guitar real quick! In this lesson I’m gonna teach you some of the keys to the Hendrix kingdom! If you’re anything like me, then I would imagine the impact he had on you is undeniable. Even if you’re not a fan of his music, after this lesson you’ll see just how much of an impact he had on the guitar world! In just about every style of guitar his influence can be heard from classic rock, to jazz, blues, pop and everything in between! In this lesson I’ll give you some tips to access the magic behind his rhythm style and just how easily it can be applied to other styles of music. Click the lesson link below!

If you want to dive deeper into the style of Hendrix now is your chance! Check out my Hendrix Master Class NEW streaming version or the Hendrix Master Class DVD Set while supplies last. In this course you’ll learn all (or a lot anyways) of his trade secrets.

Catch ya Next Time!

Brett Papa
aka papastache

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How To Play Major Pentatonic

I get this question from a lot of my students and it goes something like this, “How come playing major pentatonic is so much more difficult than minor pentatonic?”

So, on our journey towards learning how to solo I find that most of us start learning the minor pentatonic scale first. We spend hours and hours learning scale positions on top of trying to figure out how to land on the right notes when jamming at home or with our friends. After months of that and learning tons of minor blues licks, that day comes when the guy down the street wants to jam over a major progression and suddenly something isn’t right. Not only is the scale in a different spot, but you’re trying your best to use all your licks and none of them sound right. That’s because all the target notes are in a different spot of the scale in major pentatonic.

In the video below, I’ll help you remedy that and get you confidently jamming away again with your buddies down the street or jam tracks at home. We do this by learning how to see chord shapes within the scales. Those are the target notes! Once you can see the chords and their inversions inside your scale shapes playing major pentatonic or any mode for that matter, it will be much easier! Just a couple tweaks of your old riffs and you’ll be playing major pentatonic without much effort at all. I’ll give you the low down on how to do this in relation to our old friend the I, IV, V progression. It will show you how to see those chords inside the major pentatonic scale which in turn will show you how to find those illusive target notes you have been looking for.

Thanks for all the support, you’re awesome! Catch ya Next Time!

Brett Papa
aka papastache

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Rhythm Guitar Tricks

I still vividly remember riding home with my brother in our Mom’s blue Mercury Topaz listening to our local SoCal radio station KLOS when Hendrix’s Bold As Love started playing. It was an epic moment for me and honestly one of the first times I had ever even paid attention to rhythm guitar. Up until that point it was 80’s metal solos 24 hours a day, and the faster the better! After hearing that song, I dove deep into Hendrix. I was dying to know what he was doing rhythmically and how on earth he got a soloing freak like me to start wanting to play rhythm guitar.

In this video lesson you will learn tons of rhythm guitar tricks Hendrix used in songs like Bold As Love, Little Wing, and Castles Made Of Sand. Inspired by early R&B guitar players Hendrix added his own unique style, creating an amazing new way of playing rhythm and lead lines at the same time. He did this using double stops, slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs within the chord shapes. As difficult as it may sound when listening to Hendrix’s songs, the concepts behind how to do it are actually quite simple.

In addition you will learn how to apply these tricks to both major and minor chords. This style of rhythm playing can be heard in todays music ranging from blues, country, rock, R&B, as well as jazz. Although this video concentrates on rhythm guitar, once you learn these techniques they can be applied to lead guitar to dramatically improve your soloing. It will help you not only see the chords beneath your fingers while you are soloing but to also effortlessly chain licks together. This style of rhythm has done more for my own rhythm and lead playing than anything else I have learned. A word of warning though, once you start to learn this technique you won’t ever want to stop. Your neighbors will LOVE you (haha), and when they come over at midnight to tell you to shut up just blame it all on me :). Hope you like it, and thanks for your support!

How To Play Rhythm In The Style Of Hendrix

Have fun and crank it up! Catch ya Next Time!

Brett Papa
aka papastache

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