All the questions and answers that you see here
were asked by users of Access Rock to either
Mike Abbott, Analog Brothers
Amps, or Mark Tenorio

 


Click On A Question:

>Finding A Song’s Key

>Noisy Guitar Electronics

> Low or High Amp Input

>Joe Satriani’s Axis
Theory

> Finger Barring

>Changing a Strat Bridge

>Attaching A Guitar Strap

>Pressing Too Hard on Strings

 

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newest archives

 


SUBJECT: Finding
A Song’s Key

Question:
I need more help in finding the key note in the song. I am finding it very difficult to do so as I have a very bad ear. Also I
would like to find out what are the next notes played after the keynote. This is specific to finding the high or low voicing in the
song. Will these high or low notes fall in the same scale of the keynote or is there a different formula for this?
I had been to lots of music classes but nobody has been able to help me on this

Answer: I translate your question as – how to figure
out the key that the song is in, right? First, if you haven’t already,
take our chord
scale lesson
. This will teach you about the seven chords that are
in one key. Once you are familiar with a few chord scales, you can more
easily find the key center of a song. The key center tells you the key
from which most of the chords were chosen. Let’s say you have F Major,
A minor, and G Major in the Verse of your song. You need to find which
key these chords have in common. Here are some clues:

G Major and F Major – Major chords are either the I, IV, or V in a Major key. Go through
a few Major keys to see if they include the G and F Major chords. If
you have played in the key of C a couple of times, you will know where
these chords are from.

Ruling Out – There are 5 sharp keys – G, D, A,
E, B, and 5 flat keys – F. Bb, Eb, Ab, Db. F# or Gb would be the sixth
sharp or flat key, and C has no #’s or b’s. NO sharp key contains an
F Major chord – that rules those out. NO flat key contains a G Major
chord. Therefore, the key has to be C.

Where is “home”? – Listen to
the chord progression. Which chord sounds like “home”? The one that
sounds like “home” is the key of that progression or section.

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SUBJECT: Noisy Guitar Electronics
Body Guitars

Q:I just bought an ibanez guitar on ebay, (for good
or bad) hopefully good. the body is in great shape, but the
electronics are a bit noisy, if sound at all. I have to toggle,
shake the cord to get any noise at all, the knobs are “gritty”
when turned up down. I’m going to clean the electronics with
contact cleaner, and make sure the cord fits snug in the plug,
inlet, clean fret board and lemon oil it and restring. . I’m
assuming its a no no, but could you spray this electrical contact
cleaner in or on the pick ups? I know they are “electrical”
but figured I would ask before I do an ass thing and screw up
my new ibanez more than it is…………..thanks guys. I just
found your site about a week ago, its AWESOME. I’ve been goin
over all the lessons and the old fingers are coming back to
me..the info is great as well…thanks again…….dave

A: Thanks for your question. Hi Dave, Thanks for your
question. No, you don’t want to spray the contact cleaner on
the pickups! Here is what you should do in order of importance:

  1. Try a brand new guitar cable (cord). If the cord that you’re
    using has an open (a spot where the wires have split), this
    would account for part or all of the noise problem.
  2. Spray contact cleaner in the toggle switch. The toggle contacts can get dirty
    over time and can cause noise when moving the toggle switch.
  3. Check to see that the nut on the guitar jack (the jack is the
    hole on the guitar where the cord plugs into) is tight. If it
    is not, tighten it with the correct size socket or monkey wrench.
  4. If you have experience soldering wires, you can open up the
    pick guard and check to see that the wires coming from the pickups
    are solidly attached to the toggle switch, and that the wires
    between the toggle switch and the volume and tone knobs are
    solidly attached.

If you do not have experience soldering and
you are not familiar with the wire connections on an electric
guitar, take the guitar to a qualified guitar repairman.

-Mike, Access Rock.com

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SUBJECT: LOW OR
HIGH AMP INPUT

Question: My name’s Skip, and I’m a new comer
to this site. I hope you can clear something out for me. I have
a peavey "Rockmaster" preamp, run to a 120 watt amp. All
tube. And a gibson style guitar with a "Tony Iommi" pick
up in the neck and a "Angus Young" pick up in the bridge.
I was told that because I have these pick ups, I should be plugging
into the Low Gain input on the preamp. However, this reduces alot
of tone. I like the sound I get from the High Gain input, but I
don’t want to damage anything. Since neither amp or preamp are made
anymore. What is the input I should use?

Answer: Thanks for the inquiry. The low and high
gain inputs are provided so you can choose between the gain levels
that best suit your application. Though you have high output pickups,
there is a substantial difference in the amount of gain between
the inputs (one inserts an additional triode gain stage into the
signal path). It’s completely up to you and the tone you’re

looking for as to which one you use; you can’t hurt anything! About
the only reason you may want to use the low gain input is if you’re
looking for a cleaner, undistorted tone; which it seems you’re not.
So, have no fear of damaging anything, plug into the high gain input
and rock on!

Answer: Thanks for the inquiry. The low and high
gain inputs are provided so you can choose between the gain levels
that best suit your application. Though you have high output pickups,
there is a substantial difference in the amount of gain between
the inputs (one inserts an additional triode gain stage into the
signal path). It’s completely up to you and the tone you’re

looking for as to which one you use; you can’t hurt anything! About
the only reason you may want to use the low gain input is if you’re
looking for a cleaner, undistorted tone; which it seems you’re not.
So, have no fear of damaging anything, plug into the high gain input
and rock on!

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SUBJECT: Joe Satriani’s
Axis Theory

Question: Axis theory is a type of music
theory. I think it was invented by Joe Satriani. Something to do
with chords and scales. I want to know how can I apply
this theory. What it’s all about. Maybe you can give me an
example?

Answer: Here’s what I found. Axis theory is a
way of applying basic music theory to improvising or composition.
The idea is that any number of harmonies or scale tones are linked
to one common tonal center. For instance if a song contains a C
Major Chord and a C7 chord, You use the C Major Scale (C D E F G
A B C) for the C Major Chord and the C mixolydian (C D E F G A Bb
C) for the C7. If you have a C Major Chord and a G7 chord, you use
the C Major Scale (C D E F G A B C) on the C Major Chord and the
C Major Scale also on the G7 chord since it is the five chord of
the key of C. The C is the axis point for all of these chords!

 

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SUBJECT: FINGER BARRING

Question: I am a budding 15 year old guitar player.
 I have been learning 6 months but my old teacher said I look
like I have been playing at least a year.  I practice 1-2 hours
a day.

I was listening to a song and realized that I would have to make
a barre of 3 strings with my first finger (index).  To do this
I have to bend my finger so the joint of the end of my finger bends
and the end section of my finger (the bit with the fingernail on)
barres the strings, and the next section of my finger goes up at
a diagonal (sorry, a little complicated). I have seen lots of people
able to do this at will but I cannot. I was wondering if there were
any exercises to build muscle strength and/or flexibility in this
region.

Answer: This is a very common problem for all
of the students that I have taught. I will give you some tips which
will help, but it is important to remember that the barring technique
will take time to master. Here we go:

1. The left thumb should be flush on the back of the neck. When
I say the back, I mean the middle of the back. This will adjust
your hand position so that the left palm is underneath the neck,
with a large space between the palm and the neck.

2. The left thumb should also be directly across from the middle
finger of the left hand. This will give you optimum squeezing power.

You have the right idea with the first finger hyper extending and
the nail portion barring the strings. Take these lessons below which
will help you with barring two, three, and 6 strings with one finger.
Most of all, practice barring every day and this will strengthen
the finger!

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SUBJECT: CHANGING A STRAT BRIDGE

Question: Will an American Strat bridge fit on
a Mexican Strat. I want to replace the bridge in my Mexican Strat
and have found an American Strat bridge for cheap, I just don’t
want to buy the thing and it not fit on my guitar.

Answer: If you are having problems with string
breakage, you can just replace the saddles (the small piece that
the string rests on) which is much easier and cheaper than replacing
the entire bridge. This depends on the year and model of the American
Strat and Mexican Strat. Look at the bridge saddles on both guitars.
If they look the same, you are probably in business. You should
also take measurements on both and compare. If they don’t match
up, you should check out these two web sites for a proper match
or for bridge saddles:

1. Stew Mac – 1800-848-2273

2. All Parts

Once you install the new bridge, you should check the bridge saddle
height. You can use a 6" steel ruler for this. Measure the
string height at the last fret on each string. All strings should
be the same height. If a string is too low or high, adjust the small
Allen screws on the bridge saddles. Be sure both screws are adjusted
the same (except for the 1st and 6th string where the outermost
screw should be a little higher than the other to prevent the string
from slipping off of the neck). Also, you will need to adjust the
intonation.

Let me know how it goes!

 


SUBJECT: Attaching
Guitar Strap

Question: Hi, this is probably a really stupid question, but
how do I attach my guitar strap? my guitar has the ONE knob on the bottom, but
that’s the only one. I’m completely confused??

Answer: No question is too stupid for us!!

You must have an acoustic guitar, right? Here’s what you do:

1. Get a shoe string

2. Thread the shoe string through one end of the strap.

3. Thread the same shoe string underneath the strings, right next to the nut
on the headstock side (not on the fretboard side).

4. Tie a double knot in the shoe string away from the guitar’s neck..preferably
near the hole where you threaded the shoe string through.


Pressing too hard on strings

Q: Yes, you are correct about the pitch changing when you press
too hard. All guitars and fretted instruments in general are
like this. Your guitar can be adjusted so that the strings
are at a reasonable height above the frets. However, you need
to practice the guitar and “even out” your finger pressure
so that you aren’t pushing notes out of tune.

Instructions for adjustments are below: The action on the
guitar (string height above the frets) should be set up properly.
If you don’t feel comfortable setting up the guitar yourself,
take the guitar to a reputable guitar repairman.

Instructions
for set up are below:

1. Neck and Saddle adjustment – you should adjust your truss
rod first. If you haven’t ever done this, here’s how you do
it.

Install a capo at the first fret.

If you don’t have one, just push on the first fret for every adjustment.

Adjusting Truss – On a Squire Strat, you should be able to adjust it from the head stock. There is a truss rod nut which you can see if you sight from the top of the head stock.
The tool you need is an allen wrench long enough to fit into the hole and still be able to turn it.
This allen wrench should have come with the guitar. If not, you should go to your local guitar store,
or hardware store, and get one.

When you adjust the truss rod, ‘less is more’! Don’t turn the truss rod nut more than a 1/4 of a turn at a time. If you do, it could damage the neck.
Turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise to add relief (more curve) in the neck. By the way, you do not need to loosen the strings to do this. After a 1/4 of a turn,
check the action again. Repeat this process to obtain just a little relief in the neck.

Install a capo at the first fret again.

Now you need to set the string height at the 17th fret by adjusting
the saddles. You will need a small allen wrench (should be .050″)
that fits the saddle adjustment screws (there are two on top
of each saddle). The string height should be 4/64″ at the 17th
fret. Be careful not to raise one screw more than another as
this will affect the string-to-string spacing. After setting
the truss rod and bridge saddles, you should set the intonation
on each string.
I highly recommend that you buy Dan Erlewine’s book, THE GUITAR
PLAYER REPAIR GUIDE.
This is where I learned how to set up
my guitars. It has everything you need to know about guitar
repair.

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