Riffing on acoustic part 1
Written by: Jeff Fiorentino
Copyright © 2006 JFRocks All rights reserved
These lessons are structured much the same way I do things on the main site jfrocks.com. These lessons will cover various aspects of acoustic guitar and things to practice. Mostly dealing with steel 6 string acoustic as that's what I play. However, some lessons will deal with Nylon string acoustic guitar as well. Either way the lessons covered here are interchangeable between the two guitar string types. Although I recommend learning and practicing on Steel string acoustic. This is because its more difficult to play and you will improve your electric playing immensely because you will build finger strength. Also acoustic is less forgiving than electric. Mistakes can and will be heard and are not covered up by effects or heavy reverb. Updates to this page will be as often as I can. I'm only human and while I have help with jfrocks.com, I'm on my own with this off shoot. LOL I will strive for an average update of 1 per week. To be alerted of updates to this site or the main site, please sign up for our alerts on the main website. You will receive an email when updates to either site have been made.
|Lesson Title||Riffing around on acoustic|
|CD Category||Expands on certain Acoustic 101 lessons a bit|
|Jeff's Guitar's tuning||Standard E, A, D, G, B, E|
|Key of||E minor|
Tabs & Lesson
Original score by: Jeff Fiorentino
Transcription by: Jeff Fiorentino
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This Lesson's difficulty level 1-10 scale
This lesson will be fun for some of you and torcherous practice for others. Many of you who have the rhythm 101 CD ROM email me in your riffs and cool hooks that you've come up with to show me how the CD has helped you to be more creative and come up with hooks and stuff like that.
On the Acoustic 101 CD I went into how some different ways to approach the acoustic guitar other than just strumming chord patterns.
In this lesson we're going to step back for a moment and go back to the open position and use some of these strumming chords BUT, we're going to apply some of the principles I discuss on Rhythm 101 to "riff things out"
Now remember that one of the main things I emphasize about acoustic is to approach it as you would an electric guitar BUT remember in the back of your mind that it's NOT an electric guitar. That statement may sound silly to some of you but the truth is many great electric players get totally lost when they grab an acoustic guitar because they only know electric and try things in riffing that work great on electric but don't fly on the wood box.
The crutch of this lesson is on video as always but the idea at play here is we will take what really is a basic chord pattern in a basic key (E minor) and turn it into something far more interesting than what it started out as by incorporating some notes from the scale and basing how we use those notes on the feel we started with just doing a basic strumming chord pattern. Hopefully this will become more clear on the video.
This lesson ties in nicely with some of the parts of Acoustic 101 and its basic principles are the foundation for what I try to get across on the Rhythm 101 CD.
Couple rules of thumb you should follow before getting started.
1. Know your key. We are in E minor here. Know the scale. The E minor scale is E, F#, G, A, B, C, D.
2. Know at the very least the basic root, 3rd, and 5th of the chords you are playing. If you are adding in a fancy chord like a suspended 2nd or some sort of a 7th chord then know what the extra notes are you are adding in. For example if the chord is a D know that the D is made up of the notes, D, F#, A. If the chord is a D sus2 then look at the chord and see what notes make that up. In the case of a D sus2 chord the notes are, D, A, E. Root, 2nd, 5th. Suspended chords mean that the 3rd has been lowered or raised. In a suspended 2nd chord the 3rd is lowered to the 2nd. In a suspended 4th chord the 3rd is raised to the 4th. In either case the 3rd does not exist in a suspended 2nd or suspended 4th chord. This is all covered on Beginners 101 as well as Rhythm 101. My point here is know the notes that make up your chords.
3. For god sake learn the notes on your guitar. If nothing else for acoustic guitar in particular learn all the notes from the open strings to the 7th fret. That's the most common playing area on the acoustic. On the electric its a good idea to know all the notes from open the 22nd or 24th fret but this is JFR UNplugged and we'll let that slide here. lol
4. The most important rule of all is to remember is that making mistakes is great. Mistakes are the best learning tool you'll ever have. Better than JFRocks.com better than any teacher, any video, anything. The trick is to screw up and remember what didn't work. Also remember that technique counts here. Practice muting notes with your palm and with your fretting hand. Don't let notes ringing out and buzzing all over the place control you. You control them by muting and keeping things in check.
Below I will give you an E minor scale and then a couple patterns to work with in various positions. Remember any scales and patterns I give you are movable. Meaning, you can slide them around for different keys.
Basic E minor scale. This version of the scale moves around a lot. Really you can do what ever you like its the pitches that matter and the pitches are, E, F#, G, A, B, C, D.
Below are a few patterns or broken up riffing sections of an E minor scale. Little 2, 3, or 4 note sections that you can use to create riffs and things. (portions below will not always match the scale given above. These are suggestions for those that play using scale patterns.)
More of a box pattern approach below
The patterns are endless but the ones I've given above will do for this short lesson. The idea is to take sections of the scale to use as riff portions. Remember most solos or riffs are not just scale notes that flow together. They have personality to them. Solos in particular are usually made up of a short riff then a rest then a short riff then a rest.
Below is our exercise. Its a basic chord pattern. The chord pattern is: Em, Dsus2, C, D.
It's sort of a Moody Blues sounding kind of chord pattern and is pretty strummy dummy if you want it to be. However, by using broken up sections of the scale and scale patterns or portions I gave you above you can make this more interesting. The thing is remember you are on an acoustic guitar. What I mean by that is remember its more difficult to play than an electric and it's clean so its not very forgiving of mistakes. It forces you to practice technique far more than electric does. And by technique I mean subtle little things like muted notes and clean hammer ons and pull offs etc.
NOTE: The majority of this lesson is on the Video. The tabs below are just that. Tabs, so that you know what I'm playing on the video. Embellishment is encouraged you can make this as difficult or simple as you want. But I feel that understanding how to do these sorts of things on an acoustic will not only make you a better electric player as these things transpose to electric nicely but, you will also be able to do more with an acoustic when you pick it up.
Em Dsus2 C D
Alternate chord forms I do on the video. These are the same chords as above only I have taken the notes that make them up and done them in different positions and or in different note orders to create new sounding chords out of what is essentially the same chord pattern and chords.
This will be a topic for another lesson at a later date. For now see chord forms below.
Em Dadd2 C D
Riffing out of this pattern. Tabs are approximate to what was done on the video. Should give you the idea of what's going on here. See vid for additional explanation and help.
Em Dsus2 C
Riffed out pattern #2. Different position using different chord configurations in spots as well.
Em Dsus2 C D Em