All You Can Sight Read Buffet

January 13th, 2011

Bach Invention No. 1

When it comes to learning to read music the more material the better. Whether it be classical, jazz, rock, or bluegrass read as much as you can. By varying style you keep things interesting and cover lots of ground. It doesn’t have to be all guitar music either. In fact, it is often better to read non-guitar music. Why? Well, there isn’t tab or fingerings for one. That forces you to rely totally on your note reading skills. Also, it won’t always fit neatly into one position, which also pushes your reading ability.

Petrucci Music Library

When it comes to scores to read there is one amazing online library you should check out. It contains 82,000 scores, all available for free! It sounds too good to be true, but visit it for yourself. It’s called the Petrucci Music Library, and is a collection of public-domain scores. It’s all classical music of various sorts, and there is tons of great stuff to sight read. Start with the Bach Inventions or Paganini’s Caprices, and then feel free to try anything in there. Piano works provide a great challenge since there are multiple parts. Flute and violin are  usually single line (one note at a time) but often the range is greater (higher pitches). You may find that you need to read things an octave lower than written to fit the guitar, but that too is a great challenge! Give it 5 minutes a day and your reading will improve tremendously.

5 Must-Visit Music Websites

January 3rd, 2011

There are tons of guitar and music websites out there, perhaps too many. It can be hard to separate the good from the bad. The following is a list of sites I find useful, interesting, and/or informative. If I missed any of your favorites feel free comment below. .

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1. Songsterr.com – Now I’m no fan of tabs, so why is this at the top of the list? Because this is what tabs could be like. First of all they actually include the rhythms. Secondly, they are accurate and legible. What’s amazing about Songsterr.com is that you can hear all the tabs and play along with them. It also has great tools for learning the song (e.g. half-speed playback and looping). I’ve been using it with my own student lately and they love it. .

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2. BlankSheetMusic.net – I can never seem to find blank music paper so I visit this site often. It’s fairly simple, but saves you from spending an hour trying to make blank manuscript paper on PhotoShop.

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3. NYPhilKids.org – This a beautiful site with tons of neat stuff to explore. Not just for kids, the composer gallery is a great way to expand your knowledge of classical composers.

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4. JazzBooks.com – If you like Jazz or Blues, you need to get to know Jamey Aebersold and his collection of play-alongs. Many years ago I participated in one of his Jazz camps and learned a ton.

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5. Pandora.com- Listening to great music is an important part of learning an instrument. Tune into Pandora’s free radio and get your fill. Might I suggest my own station, look for “William Wilson”(Shamless Self-promotion!) .

Circle of Fifths

December 21st, 2010

Discover the circle of fifths an amazing tool for the music theory student. Contained within it you will find key signatures, scales, chord progressions, and more. In other words, most of the fundamentals of music theory. We just released a two part You Tube video explaining the circle. It covers building the circle and putting it to use. Enjoy!

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

And Part 2:

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

Competition Time!

December 14th, 2010

It’s been a while since we’ve done a competition. We are retiring Michael Moore’s amazing score of 1300 for Birds of Fretopia. The person with the high score for Birds of Fretopia on December 31 midnight PST wins their choice of anything from our store! Also anyone in the top five wins a free copy of our Geetar Workbooks Note Speller. The competition is open to everyone. Updates will be sent out from our Twitter and Facebook pages. May the best guitarist win! (Actually everyone wins, because the more you play the better you’ll know the fretboard!)

photo by DVIDSHUBS

Geetar Workbooks: Note Spellers for Guitar

December 7th, 2010

Before there were Guitar Games there were Guitar Note Spellers. These were collections of worksheets that taught the notes on guitar. Not terribly exciting, but effective. They would show a note and you would have to write out its name and location on the guitar. I took this idea, added some puzzles and fun artwork and created Geetar Workbooks. In essence Geetar Workbooks are just like old fashioned note spellers, even the puzzles are just identifying notes on the staff or fretboard. But, they follow the Guitar Games mantra of making repetition fun. Check out our first volume at MagCloud. They’re on sale for $4 an issue until December 31,2010, get one today!

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

Use a Tuner To Name Notes!

November 20th, 2010

This is a tip I got from Rick of Rick’s Guitar Shop in San Diego. First you’ll need a Snark Tuner. (They’re also great tuners!) Attach it to your headstock and play any note on the guitar. The tuner will display the name of the note since it’s a chromatic tuner! Think of the possibilities. Say you are learning the fifth position, but you have forgotten what note is on the fourth string seventh fret. Play the note and watch the readout on the Snark tuner. It will read “A” telling you the note name! What a great reference for learning to sightread. Get a Snark Tuner and try it out.

Snark Tuner

Snark Tuner

Kid’s Guitar Chord Chart and Chord Flash Cards

October 5th, 2010

Just added: our new Easy Chord Chart for Kids! It uses only the top three strings of the guitar, making the chords much easier for little hands.

Kid's Chord Chart

Kid's Chord Chart

And Chord Flash Cards:

Chord Flash Cards

Chord Flash Cards

I suggest using the flash cards to play little games in order to learn the chords, rather than for drilling. Two of each chord are included. They can be used in a memory game, where all cards are placed face down and the student needs to find a pair. When they find a pair they have to play the chord correctly to keep them. Or sometimes I line them up on the floor and place a game piece on one end. The student rolls a die and moves the game figure. If they play the chord they land on correctly they stay if not they go back. Who ever gets to the end first wins. Or print two copies and play “Go Fish.” The possibilities are endless!

Note Squish Released for iPhone & iPod

July 19th, 2010

Note Squish is now available as an app for iPhone, iPod, or iPad. It adds several new features including bass and C-clef. Also listen for a groovy new sound track!

Note Squish for iPhone

Note Squish for iPhone

Check it out at the app store!

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Guitar Games Book Available on Amazon

June 8th, 2010

Hal Leonard has published a book / CD-ROM version of Guitar Games. It includes 9 of the games from this site and additional information on theory, ear training, and finding notes. The CD-ROM version of the games runs on PC (Windows XP or newer) and Mac (10.4 or newer); it does not require internet access. On the CD-ROM you will find Chord Mines, Note Squish, Note Fish, Birds of Fretopia, Fret Tester, Ear Tester, Woody Says, Music Theory Blocks, and Key Hunt. It is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles, with an expected ship date of June 10, 2010. Reserve your copy today!

Guitar Games by William Wilson

Guitar Games by William Wilson

Simple Scale System Released!

June 3rd, 2010

GuitarGames.net announces the release of a revolutionary approach to learning scales on the guitar: The Simple Scale System. All scales and arpeggios are patterns of notes that can be broken down into small simple patterns. Rather than relying on large scale charts, the Simple Scale System uses only two small basic scale patterns over and over.

Super Scale System - Screen Shot

Super Scale System - Screen Shot

Most guitar scale systems use at least five scale patterns covering all six strings. Multiply this by ten or twenty scale types (e.g. major, minor, pentatonic, mixolydian, Dominant 7s, Major 7s, etc.) and a player is left with a monumental task. By comparison the Simple Scale System uses only two patterns, which only cover three or four strings. This reduces the number and size of patterns by about 75%!

The Simple Scale System is able to reduce the number of patterns by a new approach to learning scales. The guitar’s tuning is “fixed” to an equal tuning during the early phases of learning. This allows all scale patterns to be moved anywhere on the fretboard without alteration. Large scales can then be built easily from small repeating scale patterns. Students are taught to adjust these patterns to fit standard tuning and the process is complete.

A tutorial on how to use the system is available free in the courses section of GuitarGames.net.