Feb 252014
 

Ian O'Brien Music - Guitar Lessons Norwich: The Film

We’ve made a short video to try and share what it is like to have lessons with us here at Ian O’Brien Music in Norwich and here it is for your viewing pleasure. After two days of filming, a whole lot of fun and a serious amount of Ian’s home made sushi, it’s finally complete. Thank you kindly for everybody involved. We’re very proud of you.

– Ian,  Mike, Lisa, Pat & Paul

The Ian O’Brien Music Team

Guitar Lessons Norwich

www.ianobrienmusic.co.uk

 

 

We hope you enjoy watching this video as much as we did making it,

If you have any questions or live in Norwich and are curious about taking the next step with your guitar playing, Drop us an email or call us for a chat on: 07743964206. We look forward to hearing from you…

Talk To Us

 

Feb 042014
 


Learning guitar can be frustrating and the avalanche information overwhelming, so we’ve simplified it, putting the six steps you need to dive in and get started now on one page. Let’s go.

Step One

The amount of guitar chords is seemingly endless and some are much harder than others. We’ve chosen these ones to start with because they’re very learnable for beginners, related to each other in keys and are super common, so you’ll be able to play lots of songs with them.

The first chord we’ll learn is G. It’s known as ‘the people’s chord’ because it’s in so many songs:


Note that the numbers on the G chord diagram refer to your fretting fingers. The vertical lines are the strings, ‘E’ is the thickest or 6th string and ‘e’ is the thinnest or 1st string. The horizontal lines are the fret wires, you’ll be placing your fingers next to (but not on top of) these.
1 = Index finger – 5th string second fret.

2 = Middle finger – 6th string second fret.

3 = Ring finger – 2nd string third fret.

4 = Little finger – 1st string third fret.

 

Step Two

Next is the C chord ‘the chord of champions’ (Ok, we made that up). To transition to C from G you only need to move fingers 1 & 2 onto the next two thinner strings:

1 = Index finger – 4th string second fret.

2 = Middle finger – 5th string second fret.

3 = Ring finger – 2nd string third fret.

4 = Little finger – 1st string third fret.

 

When you play a C chord strum all strings, except the thickest E string.

(?1 Note that this chord is actually a nice variation on C called Cmaj9, you can use it anywhere that you’d use a C)

Step Three

Chord three is the D chord. Let’s have a go:

1 = Index finger – 3rd string second fret.

2 = Middle finger – 1st string second fret.

3 = Ring finger – 2nd string third fret.

4 = ? – Your little finger isn’t used for this chord : )

When you play the D chord strum all strings, except the thick E & A strings.

Note: At first, simply hold each chord and pluck each string in turn to check they’re all sounding clear. If there are any strings not ringing when you pluck them, adjust to use your fingertips and move then closer to the fret wire that is closest to you.

Step Four

Once you have the strings sounding clear individually, begin strumming to hear the full sound of the chord. Strum each chord for a few seconds, then change to the next one and repeat.

Tip: Whenever you play a chord on the guitar, place your fingertip as close to the fret-wire as you can. This will allow you to have clearer chords and play more fluidly. Always try to do this and it will soon become a habit that makes playing easier and sound better.

Step Five

Now you’ve got the chords, it’s time to lean the changes between the chords. To develop these form each chord in this order and strum downwards just once:

Form the G-chord > Strum > Change to the C-chord > Strum > Change to the D-chord > Strum >  Change to the C-chord > Strum > Then repeat from G.

Sounds good already, huh?

Note: This is an ideal step to do while you’re watching TV. You don’t even have to strum while you’re doing it and it will help your fingers to get used to the changes.

Step Six

When you feel the changes are getting fairly comfortable, it’s time to have a go at playing along with some songs. : )

This step is the trickiest to do outside of a face-to-face lesson where we can show and correct you but let’s jump in and see what we can do. Below are songs that you can play using these chords, the order the chords are played in and a video of each song to play along to. Note that if a chord is written twice eg G-G-C-D you don’t need to move your fingers between the two G’s you just need to strum G for twice as long as the other chords.

Before you begin, listen closely to a song and see if you can hear the differences between the chords, then see if you can match what you’re hearing with your playing. Start by tapping your foot along and strum each chord once as it changes in the song. This will help you to get a sense of rhythm and match the tempo of the song before strumming more fully.

– “Anyone Else But You’ From the film Juno – Chords: G – C

– “Knocking on heaven’s door’ Dylan/G n Rs – Chords:  G-D-C-C

 – “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison – Chords: G-C-G-D

– “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd – Chords: D-C-G-G 

– “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf – Chords: D-C-G-G

– “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day – Chords: G-G-C-D

– “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC – Chords: G-C-D-G

We hope you enjoy using this free guide as much as we did making it.

If you have any questions or are curious about taking the next step with your guitar playing, Drop us an email or call us for a chat on: 07743964206. We look forward to hearing from you…

Talk To Us

Oct 232013
 

How To Make Guitar Strings Last

People often ask us how frequently they should change their guitar strings, so we wrote a post all about it recently. But, what we didn’t talk about was how to actually make them last longer. That way, you won’t have to change them so much anyway and you can spend more of your time playing.

Changing your strings still is important. We’re not suggesting that you never change your strings like some players. Motown’s James Jamerson kept his strings on for so long that they wouldn’t stay in tune! He was so concerned that by changing his strings he’d loose his signature warm sound that after years of using the same strings, his approach to tone had reached it’s limits… if only we’d written this post sooner.

Everybody needs to change their strings once in a while. But here’s how to get the most life out of them so that you can save some time and money. After all you don’t want feel like your spending your time changing your guitar strings when you could be playing guitar.

The Causes

There are two common contributors to this pernicious problem. The main offender causing the premature ageing of your strings is the sweat from your hands. A human’s paws have an acidic PH and this can corrodes, rusts and breaks down guitar strings over time. The second cause is dirt and grime that build up on your hands during the day. When you play, it transfers to the strings, getting caught between the windings, inhibiting them from ringing freely, dulling the sound and shortening their sustain.

The Solutions…

There are two quick and easy steps that will make the biggest impact on increasing the half-life of your strings. Will yourself to stop sweating with the power of your mind and start spraying antiperspirant on your fingers. Just kidding, that’s only going to make you seem weirder that you already are. Step one to kill both of these metaphorical birds with one magical stone is to wash and dry your hands before you pick up your guitar. Simple isn’t it? And the result is strings that sing brighter and last longer. Tada!

Now the grime that’s build up on your hands has been washed off, it’s not going to come near your strings. But you can’t remove all of the perspiration and natural oils from your hands as they continually produce it. Especially when you’re flexing and stretching them to play guitar.

During the times that you’re not playing or practicing – like while you’re sleeping, eating or thinking about playing guitar – the moisture from your hands will do the majority of its damage to your strings. To counter this clarity of tone destroying evil, take a cloth and wipe your strings down after you play. Make it a part of your pack down at the end of a gig or practice session and your strings will thank you for it. Well, they won’t but they will certainly sound better for it and for longer.

Making It Stick

There is a high chance that you will try these two things next time you play, maybe even the time after that, then forget all about and never do them again. The solution to this common human behaviour, is to ingrain them as habits one by one. Take the washing your hands part of the deal and try to do it every day before you play for two weeks. Even tuck a note between your strings to remind yourself. After two weeks this habit should be relatively sticky and you’ll both think of it and begin doing it automatically without the reminder note. When this habit is suitably ingrained, begin the second step of wiping your strings down when you finish playing. Do both for another two weeks and within a month you should have these habits down. You’ll find yourself thinking of them and doing them automagically.

So there we have it. A quick and simple before an after routine that will extend the life time of your strings and make other people more comfortable shaking your hand

– Ian, Michael, Lisa & Pat

The Ian O’Brien Music Team – Guitar Lessons Norwich – www.ianobrienmusic.co.uk

We hope you enjoy reading this article as much as we did writing it,

If you have any questions or live in Norwich and are curious about taking the next step with your guitar playing, Drop us an email or call us for a chat on: 07743964206. We look forward to hearing from you…

Talk To Us

Oct 202013
 

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably seen our updates about the help we give to people in developing countries. Help that we couldn’t give without our excellent students.

here’s an example from Jan 2013:

 

So…Where Did The Idea Come From?

 

#1 in our philosophy is to ‘spread happiness’. We aim to do this by teaching excellent guitar lessons. But, for some time we’ve also been looking for a way to reach even more people through what we do and to connect to the wider world in a positive way.

A few years ago on a trip to Mexico, I noticed something about poor people in the developing world. I saw men, women and children in the street struggling to make a living selling their crafts, foods and other goods and I realised that the majority of the poor were doing their own thing. That they were more or less self-employed.

I was watching a woman weave a beautiful rug on a traditional wooden loom in Guanajuato (literally means ‘hill of frogs’) when I noticed the parallels between her situation and ours. I realised what could really help these people wasn’t for them to find employment, but to help them to grow their own businesses. From then I felt a real connection and I started looking for a way that Ian O’Brien Music could help these people achieve their own version of our story.

In the UK we have a lot of safe options to secure the funding needed to start and grow a business, we did it ourselves in 2005. Unfortunately, in the developing world many of the options we have simply don’t exist. If people are to borrow the money to invest in the equipment and premises needed to succeed, their options are often corrupt, extortionate and dangerous.

This is when I discovered micro finance and the power of direct micro-loans. A small loan to buy business things like stock, fabric, land or grain can empower people. It can help then feed their families, educate their children and earn their own way out of poverty. Like helping someone to catch their own fish, rather than just giving them a limited amount of fish.

 

Our Decision To Help

What we’ve decided to do is use £1 from every lesson we teach each month, to make a direct loan to a person in a developing country. To help them create their own opportunities and build their own futures.

As well as developing musically, our learners help people lift themselves out of poverty.

The service we use to make these direct, nonprofit, personal micro-loans to the individuals we want to help is called Kiva. In their own words Kiva is:

 ‘a non-profit organisation with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of micro-finance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend directly to help create opportunity around the world.’

You can find out more about them and the loans that we’ve made since June 2012 on our Kiva profile page.

Our eventual aim is to let our students vote each month for exactly who we make micro-loans to. After all, it’s all thanks to our excellent students that we’re able to do this : )

– Ian, Michael, Lisa & Pat

The Ian O’Brien Music Team – Guitar Lessons Norwich – www.ianobrienmusic.co.uk

We hope you enjoy this article as much as we did writing it.

If you have any questions or live in Norwich and are curious about taking the next step with your guitar playing, Drop us an email or call us for a chat on: 07743964206. We look forward to hearing from you…

Talk To Us

Jul 102012
 


Hello and welcome to the Ian O’Brien Music Blog!

We’re a team of professional guitar and bass teachers in Norwich, dedicated to teaching people of all ages and abilities to play using the music they love.

Feel free to have take a look around here and be sure to check out our main site at: www.ianobrienmusic.co.uk

For more info, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you,

– Ian, Michael, Lisa & Pat

The Ian O’Brien Music Team – Guitar Lessons Norwich – www.ianobrienmusic.co.uk

We hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as we do writing it,

If you have any questions or live in Norwich and are curious about taking the next step with your guitar playing, Drop us an email or call us for a chat on: 07743964206. We look forward to hearing from you…

Talk To Us

 

 

 

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