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Rhythm Charts – Part 2

In part 1 we talked about some of the advantages of using rhythm charts and took a look at a few basic charts for the songs "Black Magic Woman" and "I Shot The Sheriff".

As you recall, rhythm charts use a combination of standard musical notation as well as some vague (or less-defined) notation to create a musical shorthand. In this post, we will discuss the notation and symbols used to communicate the form of a song.

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Rhythm Charts

Rhythm charts are a quick and easy way to map out songs and can save a lot of time at rehearsal or when learning a bunch of songs quickly. They're also a great way to archive all the songs you learn, so you don't have to start from scratch when relearning a song.

There are so many applications for rhythm charts that I can't honestly think of a single good reason not to learn to read and write them. In essence, a rhythm chart is musical shorthand that combines standard musical notation as well as a more vague notation that allows you to map out a song using the most important information to convey the part to the player. 

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Blues Dues – The V Chord

Soloing strategies for playing over the V chord in bar 9 of a 12-bar blues.

If you are a guitar player, then chances are you can't count how many times you've been asked to jam over a 12-bar blues. Not only is it a ton of fun, but everyone knows a 12-bar blues and it's a great way to break the ice when playing with someone or a group for the first time. 

Not only are the blues fun to play and a way to be musically expressive, but people love listening to the blues. I'm sure every time you go to a bar or somewhere they have a live band, you will hear a few 12-bar blues. One thing that I always pay attention to is how the soloist plays over the V-IV change that happens in bar 9 and 10 in a blues. Beginners and professionals alike usually sound great over the I and IV chords, but one thing that definitely separates the novice from the pros is how they handle that V chord. In this post, we're going to go over a few of the options available when playing over the V chord.

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Mastering the Minor Pentatonic Scale – Video Lesson

In this lesson, we are going to learn all 5 CAGED positions of the minor pentatonic scale.

The Minor Pentatonic Scale

The minor pentatonic scale is often one of the first scales learned by guitar players, and certainly one that is very frequently used. It's provided the melodic foundation to some of the most classic solos and riffs of all time, and is found in almost all styles of music. In order to master this scale, you must first understand how it's constructed and how each note in the scale functions. You should then familiarize yourself with each position on the fretboard and be able to maneuver between shapes.

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Big River – Jerry Garcia Solo from 8/13/75 – Video Lesson

Join me as we examine this up-tempo solo from the Grateful Dead's live album, "One from the Vault".

The Grateful Dead fused together elements from a myriad of styles - blues, country, bluegrass, jazz, folk, R&B, Rock & Roll - into what can only be described as Grateful Dead music. Sometimes these influences are subtle, while other times they can be quite blatant. This solo falls into the latter category. Jerry Garcia wears his Country (and Bluegrass) hat as he tears through this two chorus solo.

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How to play Slipknot! by the Grateful Dead – Video Lesson

Explore Jerry Garcia's guitar part on one of The Dead's most adventurous compositions from their 1975 album "Blues for Allah".

The Grateful Dead's 1975 album "Blues for Allah" marked a new chapter in their compositional playbook, and many of these songs went on to become great vehicles for improvisation in their live shows. The song we're looking at today is "Slipknot!", which served as a musical segue between the opening track "Help of the Way" and the now classic "Franklin's Tower".

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China Cat Sunflower – Main Guitar Solo – Video Lesson

Learn how to play Jerry Garcia's main guitar solo from the "Europe '72" version of China Cat Sunflower.

In this video lesson we are taking a look at Jerry's main guitar solo of China Cat Sunflower from the album, "Europe '72". The goal of this lesson is not to reproduce the solo exactly as Jerry played it on the recording, but to understand Garcia's approach when playing over this tune. 

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Phish – Stash (Intro) – Video Lesson

In this lesson we will learn the intro guitar part to Phish's "Stash" from their album "A Picture of Nectar".

Appearing on Phish's 1992 album "A Picture of Nectar", Trey Anastasio's composition "Stash" takes you on a musical journey from beginning to end. At the time Trey composed "Stash" he had been listening to a lot of Jazz (including Benny Goodman featuring Charlie Christian on guitar), which is why there is no surprise "Stash" has a very jazzy feel to it. In this lesson we will take a look at the intro guitar melody, which clocks in at 1 minute and 40 seconds on the album version.

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Scarlet Begonias – Solo from 5/8/77 – Video Lesson

Join me as I examine Jerry Garcia's quintessential solo from the Grateful Dead's legendary May 8, 1977 performance at Barton Hall on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Scarlet Begonias has always been one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs, and Garcia's solo from the 5/8/77 version of Scarlet-Fire has been one of my favorite "Scarlet" solos. In this video lesson, I show you how to play all four choruses of Jerry's awe-inspiring solo.

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China Cat Sunflower 2nd Guitar Solo – Video Lesson

Let's examine Jerry Garcia's 2nd guitar solo over the instrumental break on the "Europe '72" version of China Cat Sunflower.

Once again, we are going to examine Garcia's playing over the 9 measure chorus section from the Grateful Dead classic, "China Cat Sunflower". This solo section occurs between the verses (or main guitar solo as happens after the 2nd guitar solo) and always features some great playing by Jerry Garcia. 

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