New Chart: “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

NeilDNext up: A chord chart of Neil Diamond's classic singalong song, "Sweet Caroline."

Click here to go to the chart.

When I was writing this chart for my beginning guitar student, I struggled and failed to find an easy way to approximate the intro melody on guitar. Advanced guitarists could probably make up a simple chord-melody arrangement, playing the melody on the 3rd (G) string while letting the 4th (D) string drone. A richer-sounding intro could even be achieved using Drop-D tuning. But if that's over your head, I'd recommend shortening the intro, just playing that D7 for a few measures (not 7--way too tedious) or even playing a more predictable G chord for a couple measures.

Remember, as a guitarist you might be obsessed with things like getting the intro to sound good. But most of the people you're going to play with--family sitting around the campfire, classmates hanging out after school, friends swapping songs over a few beers--could care less about the fancy riffs that serve as intros or interludes to songs. Sure, they sound nice, but what they really want to do is sing along, or hear you sing. So don't sweat the riffs you can't play. And don't interrupt an otherwise great singalong song by laboring through a hard guitar part at half-speed, breaking the song's momentum. Just skip that part until you've got it down.

Have fun!

New Chart: Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men

omamThe first chart of my 30 Charts in 30 Days series is “Little Talks,” a song chosen by Mark DiFlorio’s drum student Tess for the Spring 2013 Coffee Shop Jam.

Here’s the chart.

So fun singing this duet with a talented young singer and drummer (and great to have Brady Millard-Kish’s son Luca on keys).

You’ll notice I embedded the video of our performance, which I thought might be helpful for guitarists learning the song. What do you think? Does it help, or just clutter up the chart? If people find it helpful, it’d be easy to embed videos in all the songs I’ve performed with my students–they’ve all been filmed.

Enjoy the music.

30 Charts in 30 Days

Ready for a month of new music? I'll be uploading the following charts I've written for my students in the past year, posting one chord chart per day for the next 30 days. If you see a favorite song below, let me know and I'll put it on the fast track. Otherwise, I'll just post 'em alphabetically.

Hope you enjoy the new tunes.

30-Charts-30-Days-2

Avett Brothers - Live And Die
Bat for Lashes - Laura
Beatles - I Will
Beatles, The - In My Life
Beatles, The - You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
Bowie, David - Space Oddity
Cash, Johnny - A Boy Named Sue
Cash, Johnny - I Got Stripes
Decemberists, The - June Hymn
Diamond, Neil - Sweet Caroline
Dylan, Bob - Roll on, John
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know
Jennings, Waylon - Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line
John, Elton - Crocodile Rock
Keir, Nick - Fires of Edinburgh
Kingston, Sean - Dumb Love
Lewis, Jenny - Carpetbaggers
Loesser, Frank - Baby It's Cold Outside
Lumineers - Ho Hey
Mayer, John - Half of My Heart
Naim, Yael - New Soul
Nash, Graham - Be Yourself
Nelson, Ricky - Poor Little Fool
Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks
Rise Against - The Dirt Whispered
Sheeran, Ed - The A Team
Simon and Garfunkel - Hazy Shade of Winter
White, Jack - Love Interruption
Wilco - The Late Greats
Wray, Link - Fire and Brimstone

Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” Rig

This is the first article in a new series I'm calling Gear of the Gods: Sneak peeks of the guitar equipment used to record classic songs.

I'd like to thank guest blogger Dave Wirth of The School of Feedback Guitar for researching and writing this.

Jeff Buckley TelecasterFor those of us who were not lucky enough to see Jeff Buckley perform, we can only imagine what we missed, especially during his finale. The audiences he played for, though completely energetic during most of his performance, were silent when he played his final song of the night, "Hallelujah."

Jeff’s sparkling-clean, dripping-with-reverb guitar tone was captured in the studio and his live performances with three key pieces of equipment:

• ’83 Fender Telecaster
• ’63 Reissue Fender Vibroverb
• Alesis Quadraverb

If you’d like to reincarnate Jeff’s guitar tone, there’s bad news and also some great news. The bad news is that a lot of the equipment Jeff used is no longer being actively manufactured. The great news is that Fender and Alesis still make similar equipment, and I’ve done all that research for you. The rest of this blog post goes over the results.

The ’83 Fender Telecaster, the one heard on "Hallelujah," was only manufactured for one year. As is the case with many discontinued Fender models, ’83 Telecasters now fetch a pretty penny. I’ve included two options for those interested in a close match.

First, for those who are going for maximum playability as well as fantastic tone, Fender’s American Vintage ’52 Telecaster is a dead-giveaway: Check out the '52 Fender Tele at Zzounds.com

Second, though made in Mexico, the Fender Standard Telecaster is a more affordable alternative: Check out the Fender Standard Tele at Amazon

Fender’s Vibroverb ’63 Reissue is also no longer being manufactured. The Custom Vibrolux, while not exactly the same amp by way of aesthetics or electronics, is the closest replication to the amp that Jeff used: Check out Fender Custom Vibrolux® Reverb Amp at Amazon.com

The Alesis Quadraverb is also no longer being manufactured, which is actually a good thing: The old Quadraverbs were plagued with noise issues. Alesis' modern MidiVerb is a better reverb unit, and the Alesis rackmount processor most comparable to the old Quadraverb heard on "Hallelujah": Check out Alesis MidiVerb 4 Digital Effects Processor at Amazon.com

One final note: If you want that same tone, don’t be shy with the reverb, or the volume for that matter. In fact, I say: lean into it, hard.

Check out the chord chart for "Hallelujah" here.

Researched by Dave Wirth, a professional guitarist and writer. He teaches guitar to complete newbies at The School of Feedback Guitar in Austin, TX.

I’m on Facebook! Are You?

Check out the new Heartwood Guitar Instruction Facebook page:



C’mon over and “like” the page. That way, you’ll be notified through Facebook whenever I add new chord charts or other material to the site. See you on Facebook!

Kid Joins Green Day Onstage

So many guitarists just learn their favorite parts to songs. I’ll bet this kid was glad he learned “Jesus of Suburbia” all the way through.

Fortune favors the prepared mind.
Louis Pasteur

Website Under Maintenance

Hi Guitarists,

It’s been a long time coming. Heartwood Guitar is finally moving to a new server today, which will bring you lightning-fast browsing.

Over the next few days, you may see some funkiness while we make the transition. For example, subscribers to the strum pattern videos currently have no way to cancel via the My Accounts page. If you need to cancel, just email me at [email protected] and I’ll take care of it for you.

Also, the Help page is down (what help is that?!).

In other news, we should be able to accept subscriptions to the strum pattern videos again soon. Thanks for your patience.

Rob

Rock Screaming 101: From Kermit to Kurt in 6 Weeks

This Saturday is the Coffee Shop Jam, and I’m ready to scream.

Nothing’s wrong. I’m just gearing up for the weapons-grade rock vocals required for this Jam’s setlist, including “Arlandria” by the Foo Fighters, “In Bloom” and “Lounge Act” by Nirvana, and—my larynx convulses at the mention of it—“Girl’s Got Rhythm” by AC/DC.

These songs all feature high-pitched, raspy rock vocals that I used to think could only be gained from passing noxious chemicals over your vocal chords for years on end. That is, until I started taking vocal lessons a few years ago from Seattle’s screaming guru, Susan Carr, in order to prepare this Kermit-the-Frog sound-alike to teach “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for an online guitar instruction website.

It turns out that there’s a simple formula for kick-ass rock vocals: Get your voice in great shape, and then loosen things up by talking like a pirate or singing like Cookie Monster.

For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been doing the vocal exercises Sue taught me—a combination of breathing and singing scales—and then topping things off by singing “Happy Birthday” a few times in a Cookie Monster voice. The results have been awesome. I may not sound like Kurt Cobain, but I definitely don’t sound like Kermit anymore.

Well, maybe Kermit before his third trip to rehab.

UPDATE

The show went great. Here are a few screaming highlights:

“Lounge Act” by Nirvana
No screaming ’til the end

“Cold as Ice” by Foreigner
This one isn’t as gravelly, but it’s HIGH!

Good Vibrations

What an amazing video:

Anyone who’s played a harmonic on the guitar knows that string vibration is a magical, mysterious phenomenon. I’ve heard it compared to a moving passenger train. As the countryside flies by, your teacup is rattling on your saucer: That’s one kind of vibration. But the whole traincar is vibrating too: A second vibration. The traincar is also swaying as it moves: a third vibration. And the entire train is coursing through s-curves in a winding valley: A final, huge vibration.

In the same way, a plucked string has many different layers of vibrations happening simultaneously: The whole string is moving side-to-side, which creates the fundamental tone that our ear is drawn to. But smaller vibrations—the traincar and teacup vibrations—create overtones that are hard to pick out, but without them our plucked guitar strings would sound more like electronic beeps.

What blows me away in this video is how huge those “teacup” vibrations are. I figured they were tiny, humming wiggles, barely perceptible even if we could slow them down. But apparently, our strings wiggle like sidewinders. Incredible.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in trying to hear those subtle overtones in your guitar’s notes, play a harmonic on a string, then pluck the open string. Listen for the sound of the harmonic quietly ringing behind the loud fundamental pitch.

New Features: Hot Songs and Cool Buttons

I’ve been in mad-scientist mode this past weekend, making some changes to the site design. What day is it? Where did all these dirty dishes come from?

Let me know if you think the work was worth it.

FireWhat’s Hot

There’s now a list of the most popular songs, both on the web and on this website, in the sidebar of the chord charts.

Google +1 and Like ButtonLike and Google +1 Buttons

You can now share your favorite blog posts, chord charts, and other pages on this site with your friends on Facebook.

Also, I’ve added Google +1 buttons, Google’s answer to the “Like” button, on some pages. Your friends will see pages you’ve +1’d when they sift through Google search results.

Google +1 and Like ButtonNavigation Bar Redesign

I made the navigation bar at the top of the page smaller, making more room for the vastly more interesting stuff below.