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Marlene Hutchinson's Blog (205)

Thursday Tip

Try using a capo with your songs.  A capo (click here for more detail) is a tool that is clamped over the strings to raise the musical pitch, which means you can adjust the song to fit your voice without having to re-learn the song a new way/with new chords ~ it's a simple way to get in your musical comfort zone!
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Marlene
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on February 4, 2016 at 10:20am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Learn the meaning/history of your songs.  Finding out the history, background and/or inspiration/motivation of a song can help you play and even perform the song with clarity and feeling, for example the song Michelle by the Beatles which includes some words in French ~ knowledge helps you play "tres bien" (very well in French)!
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Marlene…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on January 28, 2016 at 9:48am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Learn about the woods used to make acoustic guitars.  Wood has "characteristics" (click here for wood descriptions & be sure to click on the wood names) which can contribute to a variety of tonal differences and can appeal to different playing styles based on the tonal qualities ~ discover your own wood preference by test driving guitars!
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on January 21, 2016 at 5:59pm — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Try out various guitars for neck comfort.  Guitars are constructed with playing style and physical comfort in mind, including the guitar neck thickness and shape (see the diagram below), which can enhance the play-ability ~ so "test drive" a few guitars to get in your (neck) comfort zone!
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Marlene
As Seen On PBS, CBS, NBC
2014 Player's…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on January 14, 2016 at 10:31am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Keep your flatpick from slipping.  When using a flatpick to play guitar it can easily slip and move while strumming/picking, so below are 10 ways that can help you to hold on to your flatpick and play without fretting (ha, ha) about it slip sliding away ~ go ahead and get a grip!
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Marlene
As Seen On PBS, CBS, NBC
2014 Player's Choice Award…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on January 7, 2016 at 12:27pm — 3 Comments

Thursday Tip

Give yourself the gift of singing with your songs. It can be challenging to sing while we're playing, so the key to success is to meld your singing and strumming (or picking) rhythms using these 4 steps; 1)  hum the song first, 2) play just the song (no humming/words), 3) hum the song while playing it, and 4) play the song and sing the lyrics ~ Merry Music!!
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Marlene…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on December 24, 2015 at 12:31pm — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Play holiday songs and encourage a sing-along.  In the words of Buddy The Elf, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."  ~ so you can get things started and then keep it going with these songs (click here for Holiday songs with the chords/tabs) ~ fa, la, la, la, la - la, la, la la!
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Marlene…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on December 17, 2015 at 11:08am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Find reasons to practice. Guitar playing success is directly related to the amount of consistent practice time you put in and let's face it, there are many reasons not to practice (i,e, click here ), so look for reasons TO practice like "I really want to get that song down" or "I've just got to play Travis picking" ~ you are your best motivator!

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Marlene…


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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on December 10, 2015 at 9:25am — 1 Comment

Thursday Tip

Never stop learning about guitars. The value you gain as a musician grows when you learn about your instrument, so read a magazine with articles about guitar construction or visit a guitar repair shop or tour a factory (click here and you can take a "tour" right now!) ~ guitar knowledge = a better guitarist!
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Marlene…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on December 3, 2015 at 12:13pm — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Try playing a Thanksgiving song today. There are a few to choose from like Over The River and Through The Woods and this beautiful song by Johnny Cash called Thanksgiving Prayer , you can even play along with Johnny using this version (click here ) of the lyrics with the chords ~ it's thankfulness put to…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on November 26, 2015 at 9:33am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Use a footrest to help your seated guitar posture/positioning. Sometimes it's helpful to elevate your leg to support your guitar and a footrest is an easy solution ~ it can give you a real leg up on your guitar playing!
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Marlene
Image result for guitar posture
As Seen On PBS, CBS, NBC
2014 Player's Choice Award…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on November 19, 2015 at 8:25am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Learn "7th" guitar chords. A seventh chord (i.e. D7, E7, A7, etc) is often used as a passing chord, it prepares the listener to move onto the next chord, and is constructed by including a root note, a 3rd note, a 5th note and then adding the 7th note of the major scale ~ it's (guitar) seventh heaven! 
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Marlene
Image result for d7 chord
As Seen On PBS, CBS,…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on November 12, 2015 at 10:44am — 1 Comment

Thursday Tip

Weather changes can effect a guitar.  With the weather getting cooler and heaters going on humidity levels can drop, so try to keep the humidity level at a constant 45-55% by using a humidifier click here ~ stay warm, but keep your guitar happy!
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Marlene
As Seen On PBS,…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on November 5, 2015 at 9:41am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Learn ways to ease/soothe sore fingertips. When you play guitar It's normal to feel soreness at the tips of your fingers, it's sort of a "right of passage" to playing guitar, and here are 5 ways you can give your fingers a little TLC ~  less soreness = more playing!

 

1. Lower the action on your guitar (the distance that the strings are raised off the guitar neck)

2. Ice your fingers…

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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on October 29, 2015 at 9:38am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

The changing leaves are a good reminder to change your strings. Your guitar strings should be changed (as demonstrated here by Taylor Guitars and Martin Guitar) about every 6 months +/- and the seasons are a good reminder or simply look at your guitar strings for signs of aging ~ change is in the air!
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on October 15, 2015 at 10:17am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

It can be handy to have an internet resource for chords. You may need to look up a chord either because it's new or because you would like to find an optional way to play that chord and the internet can make it super simple like this website http://chordfind.com/ ~ resources at your fingertips, for your fingertips!
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Marlene
As Seen On…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on October 8, 2015 at 1:05pm — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Learn about the nuts and bolts of an acoustic guitar. For instance the truss rod on a steel string guitar is a metal bar used to stabilize the curvature of the neck and has a bolt to adjust the tension (Click here for a detailed truss rod description) ~ more knowledge = a better guitarist!
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Marlene…
Image result for truss rod guitar images
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on October 1, 2015 at 10:35am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Try playing guitar harmonics, a light bell-like tone. To produce a harmonic sound on your guitar simply play a string while lightly or barely pressing on the string at the fret bar (click here for an AG video lesson) to create a beautiful high pitched sound that can be tough or impossible to reach by playing in the frets ~ guitar harmonics, ring it on!
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Marlene…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on September 24, 2015 at 8:36am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Try to sight read a song. Sight reading is just simply being able to play a song the first time you see it and here are some strategies that might help; look over the entire song first to see the notes/chords and the time signature, try the song with just a basic strum (you can develop the song later) ~ it could be (song) love at first sight!  
Image result for people sight read guitar music images
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Marlene…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on September 17, 2015 at 9:49am — No Comments

Thursday Tip

Know the guitar body size/model that's right for you. There are a few different guitar body sizes and shapes available and each are suitable depending your needs, so review the list below and the photos to scope out your guitar preferences ~ remember, one size does not fit all!
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Marlene
As Seen On PBS, CBS, NBC
2014 Player's Choice Award…
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Added by Marlene Hutchinson on September 10, 2015 at 9:02am — No Comments

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