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Phil Johnson
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Since 1993 I've taught hundreds of students how be better guitarists, pianists, and flautists.  I have a BA in Music from San Jose State University and I'm also a nationally touring performing artists with 4 CDs and 3 DVDs released. 
I specialize in writing about guitar education, songwriting, and a bit of music business info.  I'm always happy to offer free advice at my main website www.GetHotOnElectricGuitar.com

Recent Posts

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Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
Finding The Right Guitar Scale To Solo With

A common question from beginning guitarists is how to choose an appropriate scale to improvise with over a particular set of chord changes. Maybe you've gotten your minor pentatonic down, drilled it into the ground, and you're ready to move on to some new challenges. There are a few different ways of thinking about scale choice. I'm going to present my favorite way, which involves the least thinking.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
Exotic Uses of Pentatonic Guitar Scales

The first scale most guitarists learn is the minor pentatonic. It's a simple and elegant scale that can be put to use in a variety of ways. Let's look at some of the uses for a basic minor pentatonic box pattern that you may not have thought of.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
Choosing and Buying an Electric Guitar Amplifier

Shopping for an amp to go with your brand spanking new electric guitar can be an overwhelming task if you don't know what to look for. This is a beginner's guide to amp shopping.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
Beginning Blues For Electric Guitar

Most guitarists, at some point, want to dig into the blues a bit. Even if it's not your main genre you can still get a lot of enjoyment out of a good 12-bar jam session. The blues is a deceptively simple style. The basic building blocks (5 notes and 3 chords) are simple to grasp, but it can take much longer to really master the style and create your own voice within it. But here we just want to get you started with the basics.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
Beginning Guitarist's Guide To Extended Chord Voicings

You're here for one of two reasons. Either you're bored to tears with major and minor chords and are looking for some new sounds. Or you're looking at a chord progression and wondering what the heck Bbm7(#11) means. Let me show you how to read those symbols and give you some simple fingerings for the most common extended chords.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
11 Must Have Smartphone Apps For Guitarists

I dug around through the markets and discovered 11 of the coolest and most useful smartphone apps out there for guitarists. Not those dopey "strum your phone and hear some midi" things. You're playing a real guitar, so we'll concentrate on apps that will actually help your training and productivity on guitar.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
6 Steps To Beginning Guitar Solos

That first improvised guitar solo can put a look of abject terror on a new guitarist's face. But as with anything in music, working first on a few basic ideas will build both a solid foundation and your confidence, until you're shredding with the best of them. Here's how to get started and get better and your guitar solos.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
3 Tricks For More Effective Guitar Practice

You can't learn the guitar without lots of practice, of course. According to experts, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any skill. But I can tell you from firsthand experience that HOW you practice can have a huge effect on how fast you move forward in your guitar studies. And there are mistakes you're making in learning new songs that are making it take longer than you need.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
3 Common Guitar Playing Mistakes

Teaching yourself to play the guitar can be a little dangerous, because without that extra set of trained eyes a teacher has, you can miss some small fixes that make a huge difference in your playing. Here's three very common mistakes that are easy to fix.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
2 Super Easy Tips To Kill With Improvised Guitar Solos

So you're to the point that you have some scales together and you're banging away over a choice chord progression, but for some reason your guitar solos just don't sound the way you want them to. Try these two easy tips to focus your improvised solos and make them more musical.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
2 Giant Simple Techniques To Improve Your Improvised Guitar Solos Now

So you're to the point that you have some scales together and you're banging away over a choice chord progression, but for some reason your guitar solos just don't sound the way you want them to. Try these two easy tips to focus your improvised solos and make them more musical.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
How To Make The Most Of An Online Guitar Program

The failure rate of online guitar programs is astounding. And it's absolutely not the fault of the many outstanding guitar programs out there. The failure is the in people buying and then never finishing (or starting!) the thing. However, there are some very specific things you can do to have great success in learning guitar online and actually start playing that dusty guitar you've been staring at.

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
How Guitarists Benefit From Music Theory

Every guitarist has holes in their playing skills. If you've ever felt like you're starting over everytime you learn a new song or you can't improvise to save your life, you've probably just missed out on some basic music theory along the way. Learning and playing the guitar can be made considerably easier if you know how the music is put together. Let me explain...

Entertainment
by Phil Johnson
8 years ago
Stretching Exercises For Guitarists - Increase Your Finger Flexibility With These Tips

Playing a guitar is just like physical exercise, just on a smaller level. And just like an athlete, you need to be properly conditioned to avoid injury. We all love it when our fingers fly over the fretboard effortlessly. But if you're not warmed up right it will feel more like trying to play with uncooked kielbasa sausage fingers. These are some super easy warm up tips to stretch out your muscles and tendons in both hands so you can shred like the wind. You'll also avoid nasty ailments like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis.

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