Resources

Go to:

https://www.philhepworth.co.uk/

For updated information!

 

 

Below are some resources you may find useful in your journey through learning guitar…

Guitar Club Q&As

June

May

Q.
I want to learn to finger pick, do you have any exercises I can do?
A.
Song suggestions…email me for tabs…In order of difficulty.

1. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol – Alternates between two finger (can easily be played with a pick)
2. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M. – Uses all fingers but the little finger (which not traditionally used)
3. Brain Damage – Pink Floyd – Uses alternate Thumb picking
4. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac – Similar to Brain Damage
5. The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkle – Uses alternating thumb between three notes.

These are good songs to practise with.  However, obviously, there are many more!

Q.
Do I need 3/4 length strings for my 3/4 guitar?
A.
In short, no you do not. Strings are generally measured by thickness not by length. Thinner string are easier to play, though may not sounds as good. In classical guitar the strings are categorised into different Tensions rather than thickness.

Q.
What’s a semi-tone?
A.
A semitone, sometimes referred to as a half step, is simply one note/one fret/on key on the piano up or down. A whole-tone is two.

Q.
Do I need to learn how to read music in order to play the guitar?
A.
You do not. It is useful, however, to learn some form of notation, be it traditional notation (lines and dots) or guitar tableture (lines and numbers.)

May

Q.
I’ve been playing for a while and think I know my way around the fret board. I’m into the blues and would like to learn how to improvise. Do you have any tips?
A.
Start with some basic scales and get used to improvising with them (Pentatonic or Blues probably.) Often, rather than playing long endless solos going up and down the scales, try playing short phrases. You may wish to repeat these to add structure to your solo.

Try to imagine your solo as a paragraph, split it into ‘sentences’ and take breaks (like commas) to add space and interest to your improvisation.

Q.
How often do you have to tune your guitar?
A.
I tune my guitar EVERY time I play on it. Even if only for 10 minutes. Even if I played it the day before.

Q.
How do you know if your guitar needs tuning?
A.
You should be able to tell just by playing the open strings or a chord that uses all the strings from how it sounds. If you tune it every time you play it, it won’t have the chance to slip too far out and you’ll get better at tuning it.

April

Q.
I’ve just taken up the guitar and am wondering how often I should practice. Should I stick to one song until I’ve got it right or is it ok to switch between different songs and genres?
A.
I have often found the best way to practise is to practise more regularly but for not too long. You want things like chord shapes and scale patterns to be retained in muscle memory so you are not always having to think of where each finger goes, you just remember the patterns and shapes. Switching between different songs will maintain interest. You don’t want to play the same song all the time or you could get bored. Start with practising maybe 4 times a week for half an hour and alter it to suit you.

Q.
I’ve been playing for a while and think I know my way around the fret board. I’m into the blues and would like to learn how to improvise. Do you have any tips?
A.
Start with some basic scales and get used to improvising with them (Pentatonic or Blues probably.) Often, rather than playing long endless solos going up and down the scales, try playing short phrases. You may wish to repeat these to add structure to your solo.
Try to imagine your solo as a paragraph, split it into ‘sentences’ and take breaks (like commas) to add space and interest to your improvisation.

Q.
Can you recommend a good guitar tuning app?
A.
The app I use is the tuner from the app ‘Guitar Toolkit’ this app also has chord shapes, scales and arpeggios as well as a tuner. There are many apps out there, try and get one which tells you whether you are flat (b too low) or sharp (# too high) rather than just playing a note for you to tune your guitar to like a pitch pipe.

Q.
Tips for choosing your first pick/capo?
A.
Picks. Buy a selection and use the one that is most comfy for you. I use either a .60mm or a .73mm flat pick.
Capo. Don’t buy a cheap and rubbish one off eBay! Spend a good £15. You can’t go far wrong with a classic Jim Dunlop capo.

March

Q.
Phil,

I’m just starting to learn guitar chords and I wondered which ones it’s better to learn first. What’s the minimum number I need to know to play a recognisable song? Can you recommend a simple, current(ish) I can learn that people might recognise?

A.
Just the one would be enough, as in Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, for example. For most songs though, you will need at least two or three! The majority of top 10 hits are very simple on guitar and only require a few simple chords (capo placement for original key optional.)

I  would recommend learning the chords G, D, Em, and C first.  This is the easiest key to play most chords in.

 chord symobols

G – D – Em – C

Q.
Dear Phil,

I’ve just started playing guitar and my fingers are hurting like mad. Is there anything I can do to toughen them up?

A.
Not really, I have read suggestions ranging from super glue to alcohol, but the best way is to play regularly but not for too long at a time. If you play for 2 hours having not played much before, or even not played for a couple of months, you’ll have painful and maybe blistered fingers. If you practise 20 minutes a day they will gradually harden. The most likely quick fix would probably be alcohol…I assume it must dry out and harden the skin quicker. Just practise more. You get the added benefit of getting better as well!

Q.
Hi Phil,

How long should fingernails be for guitar on the left and right hands?

A.
If you’re right handed:

Left = short, as short as is realistic. If your finger nails touch the fret board, cut them.

Right = up to you. Long if you want a sharp sound when finger picking. Short if you want a warmer sound (but it hurts more).

guitar pic