Guitar Journal

Here you can pick up some guitar licks, theory lessons, and other goodies that I have excerpted from my DVDs or created for this blog. Have fun, and drop me a comment if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see. -joe



Shred Alert!

Joe Dochtermann : October 3, 2013 13:23 : GUITAR

The September Guitar Journal is a siiiiick shred lick ;0) along with some tips on working economy/sweep picking into your regular playing. Tabs can be downloaded here:

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Are Cheap Guitars Any Good?

Joe Dochtermann : August 15, 2013 13:42 : GUITAR

Perhaps the question is best phrased the other way around – “Does a guitar have to be expensive to be any good?”

This is probably a better way to approach the topic of price vs. performance. To answer the question, I’d like to create a sort of “Guitar Quality Checklist”. Once these “elements” of a good quality guitar are established, then not only can we take a close look at some of our suggested “good cheap guitars”, but you’ll also have a solid basic criteria on which to judge other guitars you may come across – whether they are old pawn-shop relics or the newest “looks like a Fender/Gibson” guitar from a trendy manufacturer.

Here is a video I posted on youtube comparing a Fender USA (70′s Classic Reissue Series) Stratocaster to an inexpensive (under $100) Strat copy. You’ll notice in the video that my initial impression slowly changes over the course of adjusting and playing the guitar:

After watching the video, a few things become apparent:

1)  Parts that are “good” are not only those proven by the test of time and practical use, but must also be correctly manufactured to function properly. In the video, just because that strat copy neck looks like a Fender Stratocaster neck at first glance doesn’t mean it will function the same way. This point is the most important! Most of the lesser-quality copy guitars rely on more »

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2-5-1 Voice Leading For Jazz Guitar (ii-V-I) Getting Away From Block Chords

Joe Dochtermann : June 20, 2013 09:25 : GUITAR

This post is an in-depth look at a major ii-V-I chord progression, and how to create chord voicings that move more smoothly from chord to chord than the typical “block” chord shapes most of us learn early on in guitar lessons. Instead of just showing you a handful of voicings, I’ve taken the time to explain how these chord voicings connect in the hopes that it will help you learn how to come up with voicings on your own.

The dilemma with learning chord voicings is that if you order one of those typical big Mel Bay (or other) chord encyclopedias, you wind up with page after page of chord voicings that generally are not in any way connected to one another, but instead organized by root note. It’s unfortunate to have to search through hundreds of pages to find the next chord that makes for good voice leading from the first!

I’ll soon be offering a variety of PDF worksheet lessons wherein you’ll learn a variety of interesting ways (beyond the usual “block chords”) for voice leading through typical chord progressions like ii-V-I, IV7-V7-I7, vi-ii-V-I, etc. When you get these under your fingers, and more importantly, into your ear, you’ll improve your rhythm guitar playing (comping) chops AND improve your visualization of the fretboard which leads you to better improvisations. Of course, our Chord & Harmony Guide DVDs are the perfect way to get started learning harmony (disk 1) and explore more advanced concepts such as substitutions, harmonizing melodies, quartal harmony, etc. (disk 2).

For now, get a cool beverage and sit back for a summertime lesson in voice leading through a major 2-5-1



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Fast Cascading Open String Telecaster Lick / Brad Paisley Style

Joe Dochtermann : June 6, 2013 14:20 : GUITAR

This month’s first video (there are more in the works) is a fast pentatonic-based lick in A. Hybrid picking is the easiest way to perform it, but if your string skipping chops are up, you can probably flatpick it. The pattern can be moved around the fingerboard to create more dissonance in the open string notes for a very “Brad Paisley style” sound. Here is the tab for the lick:

E |–4s-5————-0————————-|————————————||
B |———8p-5—————-0—————|———————————–||
G |—————-8——8p-7—–5h-6——-|–0——————————–||
D |——————————————-7–|—————0———–(7)—–||
A |———————————————–|——-7p-6——3s-4————||
E |———————————————–|—————————-(5)—-||

And the video:


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Yamaha Pacifica / Fender Strat (etc.) Tremolo Setup Tips

Joe Dochtermann : May 30, 2013 16:23 : GUITAR

I’ve added a short video on “tremolo” setup for Strat-style guitars. It’s so important to get the vibrato set in the sweet spot where tuning is stable but you have some play in both directions. ‘Nuff said – here’s the video:



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12 Bar Blues Solo in E Rockabilly/Country/Swing Style

Joe Dochtermann : May 7, 2013 22:16 : GUITAR
For May 2013 I’ve cooked up a smokin’ swing style guitar solo for you to dig in to. It’s 4 choruses of a 12 bar blues in E, and pays homage to my favorite guitarist of all time, Charlie Christian. His licks always sound exciting, and fit into so many styles of music because he introduced the world to electric lead guitar!
You can order our eBook on Charlie Christian here. If your just looking for the tabs and lesson for the Rockabilly/Country/Swing solo, then use the following Paypal button. I’ll knock the $3 for this lesson off the Charlie Christian Method if you decide to order later.



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Git Yer Twang On!

Joe Dochtermann : March 27, 2013 23:41 : GUITAR

Here is the PDF with notation/tabs for this month’s Guitar Journal entry – Click Here To Download




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Insane Country / Shred Guitar Lick

Joe Dochtermann : February 25, 2013 12:00 : GUITAR

This a a blues scale (with added maj 6th!) lick that I yoinked from a Phil X youtube video. If you don’t know who Phil X is, then check out this video. Not only does he ROCK but he is totally hilarious at times. I love how he shoots from the hip in all those guitar videos and always sounds great.

This lick, transcribed from another of his videos, would fit in a country context as well as a metal/shred solo. You can download a PDF file with tab for the lick  here.




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“O Christmas Tree” Easy Jazz Guitar Chord Melody Arrangement (Tablature Available)

Joe Dochtermann : December 10, 2012 12:38 : GUITAR

For the December 2012 Guitar Journal entry, I have created an “easy” jazz guitar arrangement of the traditional song “O Christmas Tree”. For jazz players, this arrangement is easy, but for others it is probably best described as “intermediate”. If this style is new to you, it will take some practice to get you switching smoothly between the many chord voicings in this arrangement.

Support this blog by ordering the lesson PDF file, which has a printable tab/notation as well as a detailed lesson explaining some of the important things you need to know to create your own chord melody arrangements in this style. Well worth 3 bucks. Order here:

Here’s the youtube video. I hope you enjoy this lesson, and wish you a happy, healthy holiday season,

best regards
joe dochtermann


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Introduction To Rockabilly Rhythm Guitar – “Mystery Train” & “Folsom Prison Blues” Style

Joe Dochtermann : November 19, 2012 14:18 : GUITAR

This month’s entry is aimed at beginning to intermediate players, and shows you how to get a rhythm part rolling along in the style of “Mystery Train” and “Folsom Prison Blues”, for example. This is THE essential rockabilly rhythm guitar part, and as long as you can play an E chord, you can get started. Have fun, and please give us the “thumbs up” on youtube if you dig.

This is one of the coolest guitar styles there is; bass, rhythm, and melody rolled into one! if you’d like to learn a lot more, then pick up our “Fingerstyle & Travis Picking DVD”, now also available as an instant download.


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