Blues Guitar Lessons From The Stars

Welcome to a special blog post which pulls together some of the best rockstar masterclasses available online.  Today we’re focusing on Blues Guitar, with 4 great video lessons from 3 of the best Blues guitarists of all time, between them spanning the last 7 decades of Guitar music.

First up, B.B. King, with 2 great clips from 2012, in which he talks about his phrasing, famous vibrato, bending and stretching:

And this other one on soloing:

Here’s a short but sweet clip of someone B.B. King inspired heavily, Eric Clapton, from 1968:

And subsequently, someone Clapton inspired heavily, John Mayer.  Here’s a playlist of his visit to the famous Berklee music school, in which he offers insight into many aspects of Blues guitar, soloing and songwriting:

Enjoy!

-Alex Bruce

Guitar Lessons London

Piano Lessons London

Advertisements

Quick Practice Tips – Daily Blog – Day 3

Welcome to the third day in our new daily blog series offering you expert practice tips, to maximise your time and your improvement on Guitar or Piano

You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Tip 3:  Slow Down!

Learning and practising new material at slow tempos is advised so often that most of us are sick of hearing it, and we were almost tempted not to include it.

The problem is, aspiring Guitarists and Pianists generally speaking are still not taking this advice.  It’s too tempting to try and play at full speed, or at least faster than you should, straight away.  This is because you’re frustrated at not being able to play at the actual tempo yet.

However, this approach will extend and multiply your frustration!  If you’re willing to put in a relatively small amount of time, learning the correct techniques, fingering and phrasing at a slow speed, then once you’ve nailed it, speeding up is easy!  Often, in fact, unless what you’re learning is some sort of Satriani/Chopin speed shred-athon, you can instantly speed up to the required tempo.  Simple!

So slow down!

Tip 4 coming tomorrow.

-Alex

London Guitar Lessons

London Piano Lessons

Quick Practice Tips – Daily Blog – Day 1:

Hi everyone and welcome to our new series of daily blog posts offering you professional practice trips to maximise your Guitar or Piano practice time.

Each day we’ll offer you a professional, insightful tip that will help you notice an improvement in your playing, fast.

Tip 1:  Stop Practising What You Already Know!

Don’t stop playing what you already know – but that’s “playing” not “practice”.  If you want to improve as a guitarist, focus your practice time on what you don’t know, not what you do.

A short burst of dedicated focus on whatever it may be – A hard chord change, improving your speed, learning a new scale or solo, will pay huge dividends on your all round playing and knowledge.  Then when your practice is done, it’s play time!  This is when you play what you already know, for fun!

So separate your practice time and your play time.

See you tomorrow for tip 2.

-Alex

Bruce Music – Guitar Lessons London

Bruce Music – Piano Lessons London

Meet Our Guitar Teachers – Video Performances

Hi everyone,

Here’s a chance to meet our guitar teachers who cover London and the surrounding areas.

On our website we feature a page of Guitar Teacher profiles, listing our teachers’ information, qualifications, experience and successes.

And here below is a video playlist featuring performances by a selection of our Guitar teachers – From home studio performances, to Classical Guitar competition recitals, to Glastonbury to The Albert Hall.

We hope you enjoy the great playing featured in the videos, and we’ll post soon when we upload some videos of our newest teachers too.

-Alex

Guitar Lessons London

Piano Lessons London

Guitar Themed TBT Part Two

Welcome to part 2 in our Guitar-themed TBT (Throwback Thursday) mini series.

You can find part 1 here.

Again, we’re featuring 3 great Guitar videos from days gone by.  Just as part 1 contained performances from 1959, 1969 and 1979, now’s the time for 1989, 1999 and 2009.  So here we go!

1) 1989 – Night Of The Guitar

2) 1999 – Guitar Boogie – Tommy Emmanuel

3) 2009 – Joe Bonamassa Live 

Enjoy!

Guitar Lessons London

Piano Lessons London

New Teacher: Welcome Isabel Torres!

We’ve recently welcomed Portuguese Guitarist Isabel Torres on board at Bruce Music.

Isabel relocated to London a few years ago to study for a Music Degree, and has joined our team of London Guitar Teachers in early 2015.  She is a virtuoso Guitarist and performer and an experienced teacher, having started teaching at a very young age in her native Portugal.  She has particularly impressive experience with SEN (Special Educational Needs) students, and groups of young children.

She has performed live on Portuguese Television when aged just 16, and since moving to the UK has become a regular performer on the touring and festival circuits.

She’s comfortable playing just about any style of music, but is a specialist in Rock, Blues and Jazz

Here she is last month, performing some super-cool Jazz guitar!

To book a lesson with Isabel, or any other of our teachers, Get in touch!

-Alex

Guitar Lessons London

Piano Lessons London

Lead Guitar Phrasing – Part 3 – Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits

Welcome to Part 3 in our series on Lead Guitar Phrasing.  The subject of today’s study is the Mark Knopfler‘s playing on Brothers In Arms.  First, here’s the track:

So here are 5 key points we can take from this, to apply to our own Phrasing when soloing:

1) Leaving Space.  
We’ve discussed leaving spaces between phrases before, and referenced Miles Davis’ quote “It’s the notes you don’t play”.  However, on this track, and many others, Mark Knopfler takes this concept from a necessary technique to an art form.  During these spaces in the verses is arguably when his Guitar carries most weight and power, as when listening to the song, you can feel yourself urging and pre-empting the Guitar’s re-entry.  This combined with the Guitar being “high in the mix” (ie. noticeably louder than the other instruments), and a collection of concise, sparse and perfectly executed fills, makes for a brilliantly evocative Guitar part.

2) Minimalism 
This is a selection of short and medium length fills, there are no long fills at all.  This is an effective, controlled approach.  Rather like how you might stop listening to someone who’s been going on and on for 10 minutes, but take serious note when a silent type finally speaks up.  On a couple of occasions, there is no fill at all, and once the first verse, there’s a fill of just one note.  Even in the solos, there is absolutely no playing to excess whatsoever.  If you told any guitarist to solo over the Brothers In Arms Backing Track, you can be sure they wouldn’t play so little, or be anywhere near as effective, unless they’d already learned this lesson

3) Volume Swells 
Knopfler’s volume pedal is a big part of his sound.  Essentially a volume pedal is a foot pedal which sweeps from silent to full volume, and you can create similar effects using the volume knob on your guitar.  Using this he creates violin-like swells, notes that creep and fade in and out.  Essentially he’s hereby deepening the use and potential of dynamics in his playing.  Try it out with whatever you have at your disposal!

4) Pushing 
Pushing is coming in just before the beat, usually a quaver (or 8th note) before.  Knopfler does this a lot, coming in early with something emphatic, that sounds momentarily out of place, then soars as the music falls into place around his guitar part.  This adds expression, dynamics and the illusion of pace, and is exemplified by the solo-opening bend at 4:13

5) Fingerstyle 
The central, best-known aspect of Mark Knopfler’s technique is the fact that he nearly always plays with his fingers, rather than a plectrum.  Whilst this arguably has more influence over his rhythm playing, it does affect his lead playing in one major way.  The scope and range of expression provided by the fingers is much wider than with a pick.  This range extends at one end of the spectrum to a hard, plucked twang, and at the other to the lightest, feather-touch flick of the strings.  In general, there’s a soft, rounded quality to his tone that comes from his fingerstyle soloing.  Try it out!

Coming soon, the 4th and final (for now) part in this series.

Happy Knopfler-ing!

– Alex

Piano Lessons London

Guitar Lessons London