Slow practice software and apps

Quite frequently musicians will need to learn songs by ear, especially in the popular music world. In which case it's extremely helpful to be able to slow down the audio without changing the pitch. Fast solos are nearly impossible to decipher at full tempo. 

Fortunately there is a free piece of open-source software available called audacity. The software will also allow you to loop difficult sections. It's actually used for audio editing and mastering, however but it's still relatively easy to use. 

You can download the software here, it works on Windows or Mac.

If you want to be able to work with mp3s you may need to install this plug-in. You still may be able to open an mp3 without this plug-in and slow it down. If so you won't be able to save your file as an mp3 (which probably isn't an issue)

Finally here is a link explaining how to use the software for audio slow-downs once downloaded.

I should also mention there is an app for those interested in slowing down songs they are learning. It's easier to use than audacity and only costs a few dollars. Soundpitch for apple products or Audio Speed Changer (free) for Android were recommended to me. Just search for them in the app market. 

Happy slow practice!

Guitar note and chord charts (including bar chords)

One of my students asked me to post up a good link for a guitar note chart. 

Guitar note chart

Bass note chart

Guitar bar chords 

Here is a link to a decent bar chord chart, I'd prefer that it simply showed the basic shapes without the root functions. You'll notice that only a certain number of patterns exist - if you know the notes on the E and A you can create any chord you like. Just apply the correct chord function. I'll have to put that up on my own site soon. In the meantime a printable chart can be found here.

Here is a link to a printable chart of basic guitar chords. I usually recommend learning how to build chords yourself, but charts have their uses - especially for beginner students.


Recommended books

Some of my recommended texts are list below. I tend to use a lot of Berklee press music, as they are well respected in the musical community - their college in Boston is world renowned. 


• The modern method for bass by Berklee Press. It's a bit dry but excellent for learning how to read music and applied theory. 

• Slap bass lines by Berklee Press 

• Get your band together by Berklee Press. This book is a bit more fun and interactive (comes with a CD) however there is still lots of good content. 

• The Real Book. This one is available for jazz bass or anyone that wants to really learn their chords. Hal Leonard publishes an edition or a more unofficial version is often available through John Dewall at his music studio. 


• The Modern method for guitar by Berklee Press. It's a bit dry but excellent for learning how to read music and applied theory. Start with the first volume, or buy all three volumes bound into one book (if your feeling ambitious). I've been told the best price for this is available online through retailers like Amazon. 

• Guitar method by Hal Leonard. This book is more for beginners, the progressive series is also good. Some basic songs and music reading are taught. 

• Buy some music from your favorite artists, it's always good to be inspired. Guitar World magazine features a few scores every edition, check the front page to see if any of the music interests you.

Classical guitar

• The Royal Conservatory series, purchase the books appropriate for your skill level. Difficulty ranges from from introductory until level ten. ARCT is actually considered one level above 10. These books generally contain a good combination of music. 

• 120 right hand studies by Mauro Guiliani edited by Vladimir Bobri. This one is considered the bible of right hand classical guitar technique. 

• Pumping Nylon my Scott Tennant. A respected classical guitar book that focuses on technique. A variety of different exercises are features. Here is a youtube video link demonstrating one of the simpler exercises.

• The Villa Lobos Studies. This one is sort of the bible of advanced classical guitar studies. The pieces features are very challenging. 

Speed excercise

Here is a link to a speed exercise I prescribe for guitar and bass.