Feb 16 2010

Soundcheck for Rock guitar playing


Here are a few guitar tab riffs to test out your sound. You need three sounds for playing rock guitar, distorted rhythm, lead guitar and a clean acoustic sound.

First riff is for a good dirty rock or distorted rhythm guitar sound.
Play this with overdrive and or distortion, either pedals or a push in switch on your amp.

Volume knobs on the guitar and amp can be turned up high. On your amp set your Gain to 4 or 5, Bass and Treble to around 6 and Mid to 4 or 5. (Secret is to have both your bass and treble higher than the mid setting).

You can put the lead for your guitar in to the high impedance input of the your guitar amp or if using pedals in to the low impedance input.

Set your guitar pickup selector switch to use the bridge pickup. The bridge pickup is sharper than the neck pickup and will give a good heavy, sharp, precise sound for rock riffs. This will be your main sound for your guitar lessons.

Rock rhythm guitar is mainly played on the EADG or 3, 4, 5 and 6 strings. This riff is based on two open powerchords (an E and an A powerchord) and a B powerchord.

Distorted Electric Guitar Rock Soundcheck

Distorted Electric Guitar Rock Soundcheck

Second riff tab is for a lead guitar sound.

Play this with any effects that add to the sound you want, overdrive or distortion, chorus, delay, doubler etc. Experiment till you get a sound that you like. Keep the same amp settings as above with the lead for your guitar (high) or pedals (low) in the same impedance input of your guitar amp.

Switch the guitar selector switch to the bridge pickup to get a mellower warm rock sound. You would also want to get a sound with some sustain to the notes, a compressor pedal can help with this.

Lead guitar is usually played on the DGBe or 1, 2, 3 and 4 strings. This is played on the first few strings of the guitar, it is nearly all single string riffs except for the end. Play it slow and slide where indicated in the tab with the symbol /

Distorted Lead Guitar Rock Soundcheck

Distorted Lead Guitar Rock Soundcheck

With the Multi-effect guitar pedals you can set up 3 separate patches. Have one patch for each sound (rhythm, lead and clean) and you can switch quickly and easily between the three sounds as required. For this leave the guitar lead in the low impedance input on your amp the whole time.

In the next part we look at getting a clean acoustic sound in an acoustic guitar lesson.

Dec 20 2009

Rock guitar music, getting the right effect.


We looked at the right guitar and amp in the last part, now to get the best sound out of these you can use effect pedals. Not essential but for playing rock guitar but you will probably get them eventually, are effect pedals. 

Effect pedals are used to change the sound of your guitar through your amplifier and are normally foot operated.  The effect pedals are made by many companies Boss, Danelectro, Ibanez, Digitech, Dunlop and more.

The most common pedals are distortion and overdrive.  Distortion changes or distorts, clips the sound of your guitar making it dirtier and heavier.  It is mainly used for rhythm guitar. 

Distortion Pedal

Distortion Pedal foot operated

The overdrive pedal will push or overdrive the signal, usually giving the sound of a Tube amp overdriving.  It gives a heavier but cleaner sound than the distortion pedal.  When the volume is quieter it will be a cleaner sound and it distorts and clips more for higher volumes.  It is used for both lead guitar and rhythm.  Having them on foot operated effect pedals makes them easier to operate than a push button on an amp if you need to turn it off while you are playing guitar.

Other pedals are the noise gate previously mentioned to keep unwanted sounds down.
Chorus, flanger, reverb (or echo) pedals are used to get even more fancy sounds.  Chorus will make your lead solo sound like two guitars by splitting off the guitar signal in two.  The second signal is delayed and can be changed in pitch and then mixed back in with the original first signal.

A compressor pedal is often used for lead solos also.  It dampens or attenuates loud guitar notes and increases or sustains the notes when they get quieter.  Just think of Gary Moore and “Parisienne Walkway” and you will know what heavy compression while playing rock guitar sounds like.

For your initial guitar lessons, all you would need is a Distortion or Overdrive pedal.

Multi-effect units are a very economical option.  They digitally produce the sound of all the pedals above in a single unit.

You can get ones made by Boss, Korg, Zoom, Digitech, Vox, Roland and more multi-effect pedals.  They will have preprogrammed sound or patch which use multiple effect to create a certain type of sound.  Most of these have several pedals so you can set them up to switch between three sounds. Your rhythm guitar sound, clean guitar sound and lead guitar at the touch of one pedal.  Only disadvantage is that you do not learn what each pedal does or how they interact to product the overall sound.  Programming your patches is a good way to learn what the effects do.

A quick note about leads for your guitar amp and pedals.  Buy the best quality one you can even as you learn to play rock guitar.  Decide the length (3 to 5m) you need in the cable and go for a thick cable with good plugs.  Don’t buy a thin long cable (9m) because it is cheap, you will end up replacing it as they will break easily and cause hassle and frustration.  Cheap leads also tend to introduce noise into your amp.  Spend at least $30 on your cable.
Now it is time to play guitar and try out the right sound and learn to play rock guitar.

Thanks for reading,