Forum Posts

Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Jun 18, 2021
In Blog Posts
https://www.taplature.com/single-post/hotel-california-guitar-solo-lesson-slow-and-close-up What do you make of this one? Anything I messed up in the video? Any horrible problems getting it working? Join me below to discuss!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Dec 02, 2019
In Taplature in Action!
A personal favourite, I spent some time arranging this one for guitar, learning to play and recording it back in 2009. Here's the result of that played in "dropped D" tuning (DADGBE). Recently I've been side-tracked by this one again and have written the arrangement out (with a few revisions for 2019) in glorious Taplature. You can download a copy by clicking on the PDF link below. A re-recording of this wonderful tune may well now be on my agenda although I don't have a nylon string any more. Trying it out on my trusty Blueshawk has already offered an extra challenge or two due to the relative narrowness of the neck but let's see what happens! Fancy some free help with any of the trickier bits? Start your own practice journal here in the Taplature forum and I'll be on hand with 100% free tuition using Taplature to get (and keep) you moving forward! Enjoy! Old Swanner.
Theme From Bilitis Guitar Lesson content media
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Oct 30, 2019
In Blog Posts
https://www.taplature.com/single-post/2019/10/30/How-Good-is-Your-Technique This one normally sets the cat among the pigeons. What's your take on it? Anyone fancy posting their progress on this challenge in public ... start a thread in The Woodshed Diaries and let's see how far we can push you on!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Sep 10, 2019
In Blog Posts
https://www.taplature.com/single-post/2019/09/04/Better-Public-Speaking-on-Guitar-Turning-Scales-Into-Music-1 I maintain that it's better to learn to use one basic scale well than to learn lots of scales badly. What do you think? Any problems with anything in this series? Join me here!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Jun 11, 2019
In The Woodshed Diaries
My take is there's always a way forward; however tough our problems look! Here's me addressing and hopefully conquering my long-term barriers, using Taplature of course! The ideas demonstrated here can be used to solve problems for all styles and levels of guitar! How do they relate to your own barriers?
Breaking Plateaus on Guitar (the endless search for improvement)! content media
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
May 26, 2019
In Backstage
All forums have an over-spill for those who like to go off-topic once in a while. Here's Taplature's!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
May 26, 2019
In The Woodshed Diaries
This section is for you to document your personal journey on guitar with a regular nudge in the right direction if you'd like! Jot down your thoughts, share videos of what you're practising, ask questions, anything you like really! It's not so much about where you are now, but more about where you're going! Posting where you're at with things makes a great way to focus on what's needed and will give some real purpose to your guitar practice. What's more, I'll be on hand with the best of my 25 years' teaching experience to get and keep you moving forward on guitar, all on the house of course! https://www.taplature.com/single-post/2019/10/29/100-Free-1-1-Tuition I'm still a keen student of the guitar, at 53 years old a bit further in than most but looking forward to adding regularly to my own journal too: https://www.taplature.com/forum/the-woodshed-diaries/your-host-s-ongoing-34-year-search-for-improvement Start your own thread today, as anonymously as you like and begin watching yourself improving! Where do you intend to be on guitar in a year's time? The next 20 members to start their own practice journal will be issued with the "Taplature Pioneer" badge of honour. As of 18th Feb 2022 there are 15 badges remaining. Grab them while they're hot!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
May 26, 2019
In The Stage
I'll never be the world's greatest guitarist, but for someone who wasn't blessed with a lot of natural talent (which has been repeatedly proven) I'm happy that I'm further on than I ever thought I'd get. Here's one with my band from August 2017 kicking off proceedings at the Bikerlott Festival in Royal Leamington Spa. Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sampowellbluesband.
Crossroads live - 34 years in! content media
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
May 08, 2019
In Taplature in Action!
What a great lick! Click to play (from 0:07)! A very long time challenge! I first "learned" the intro to Johnny Winter's mind-blowing rendition of this BB King classic back in 1987 the old fashioned way. I had a book with the notes tabbed out and slowed my 33rpm vinyl album down to 16rpm so I could make sense of and practise it at half speed. With light gauge strings and a low action I could soon bluff it fairly well even then playing along with the record but I knew something wasn't quite right with the timing and it certainly wouldn't have held up strongly enough to play it with a band. I've never had to gig it and maybe never will but it remains another of those things which has always felt that little bit out of reach. Now, with heavier strings and a much higher action on my guitars than in the 80s (and 90s) I want to finally nail the lightning fast flurry he plays when the band drops out at the end of that intro (see video above @ 7 seconds in). Semi-success at last! A fair bit of time has been put in getting to the bottom of the actual timing and laying the notes out in Taplature format. I can't say for sure that this is how Johnny Winter was picturing the shape of the notes but after 30+ years of intermittent puzzling over this one I'm finally happy it works as intended. It's drawn out here over a Taplature "Swing Rhythm" foot tap ... see here for a foundational instructional on getting your foot going correctly for this and any other such song. (Scroll down to the next post to see this played at half speed) Cracking the code I occasionally scratched my head over those 30+ years as to how the bass and drums knew when to come back in. My book just referred to this fast flurry of notes as being in "free time", indicating that the author also didn't quite understand how it all fitted together. It's not just me and him either; the outstanding Anthony Stauffer of Texas Blues Alley did a lesson on this one a while back and although he's found his own way around it he's had to mess with the timing of things a fair bit to make his version fit, adding (I think; have not fully examined) an extra beat to his backing track. Recently I decided to dig a bit to solve the mystery and have set myself the target of getting this one officially up to speed. Focusing in on the rhythm section revealed that they aren't doing anything too unusual. Both bass and drums drop out on the one beat of bar 3 (marked in red below). The drums then come back in on the one beat of bar 4 with the bass joining back in on the "and" of beat 3. Applying Occam's Razor After the straight semiquaver pickup into the fast flurry, viewing just about everything else played as triplets within triplets (see here for an investigation of a somewhat slower but more famous example of these) allows us to land exactly as planned when the drums kick back in. I'll sign off now and work on putting up a video of my version played through at a leisurely 30bpm, which is less than half speed (the original runs at 65bpm) so you can clearly see and hear how this one fits together.
Be Careful With a Fool - Johnny Winter Guitar Lesson content media
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Apr 15, 2019
In Taplature in Action!
A fresh challenge for me! This one came up in a lesson yesterday afternoon for the first time and I've been dragged off on a new journey which I'll document here. Knowing the song quite well but without ever having thought about how to play it, my instinct was that this was a straight 4 beat. Upon listening in with my student it soon became clear I was very wrong! There's a triplet feel which I first settled on as being a 6/8 count. The problem is that it underlies a vocal rhythm which doesn't appear to have any hard structure, at least in the verse sections! I offered my student a reasonable way of viewing things and surprisingly quickly she had a functional version running, singing and strumming. I knew I wasn't done with this one though and spent half my evening digging through for a better understanding. That sparked off the challenge I'll be undertaking here ... learning to sing the verse along with a guitar part based on the bass line from the record. This looks exceptionally challenging and as of today I can't do it ... at all! Practising what I preach I'm confident that my own method will yield success. The basic approach is outlined in my blog article here "Caught in a Trap? How to sing and play guitar at the same time!". I've claimed that these steps can offer success with any singing while playing challenge, and this looks to be as tough of one as I've found to date! First stage was to come up with a simple guitar part that matches the rhythm of what the bass plays on the record. Mixing the rhythm of "Don't Give Up" with the same twiddles I've used in teaching U2's "One" gives a pattern that works comfortably over the 3 chords Am, C and G (then Am again) of the verse. You can hear it in the video below and I'll be no doubt be examining it in great depth before long in this thread. To the drawing board! I wrote this out in 6/8 Taplature and then worked through the first couple of rounds of the sequence adding the syllables of the lyrics where they fall against the guitar part. Watch this space! And that's about as far as I've got. I'm no singer, so for me this more of an investigation of mental mechanics than anything especially musical. It's also the sort of thing that often holds hidden benefits; let's see where it leads! Join me in this thread to ask any questions, cheer me on, have a laugh, show off your skills (if you can already do this) or anything else related. Hopefully we can all learn something!
Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up".  A guitar lesson (initially for myself). content media
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Apr 15, 2019
In Taplature in Action!
I'll use this section for showing my own use of Taplature in practice. Take a look, and if you fancy joining me here feel free to start your own thread to examine the problems standing in your way on guitar. I'll be on hand to offer advice ... on the house!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Jan 30, 2019
In Blog Posts
https://www.taplature.com/single-post/2019/01/30/Fix-Your-Strumming-Problems-Today Here's a thread for discussion of the "basic strum" and my approach to teaching it. Oh and let me know any famous songs you've found that use a basic strum, or melodies/riffs which use the same rhythm. It might make for an interesting resource one day! BTW if any of you are happy to share your progress or problems with this pattern here I'll be more than happy to throw out free advice to make sure you get it spot on!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Dec 12, 2018
In Blog Posts
Any thoughts or questions on this article? Post them here!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
May 25, 2018
In Blog Posts
Anything in this article not clear? Need a hand getting it going? Bring your thoughts and questions here!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
May 16, 2018
In Blog Posts
https://www.taplature.com/single-post/2018/05/19/Caught-in-a-Trap-How-to-sing-while-playing-guitar This thread for comments, questions and discussion relating to my blog article on using Taplature to learn to sing and play guitar at the same time. Any ideas for future blog investigations on that same topic? Need a hand with anything suggested? Post your thoughts here!
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
May 03, 2018
In Blog Posts
https://www.taplature.com/single-post/2018/04/14/Tommy-Emmanuels-Day-Tripper In this article I've suggested that you should be able to get this pattern functioning within a week or so. What do you think?
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Apr 08, 2018
In Blog Posts
Join or start a thread in this section to discuss in detail anything you're left thinking, wondering or missing as a result of my blog posts. It's always interesting to hear different points of view.
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Old Swanner
Creator of Taplature
Apr 08, 2018
In General Discussion
Hi and welcome to the Taplature Forum. After 12+ years of using Taplature since I came up with the idea, I'm obviously a strong proponent for its use in just about any situation you can imagine on guitar. How do you see Taplature relating to your own challenges and struggles? Feel free to share your thoughts on the Taplature approach in this section of the forum and if you have any questions regarding Taplature here's the place to ask them! Old Swanner.
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Old Swanner

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