Gig on New Years Eve

Well the year is fast drawing to a close – I wish all my students and their families a very merry christmas and a happy new year. I hope you have enjoyed your year of learning guitar, and are taking advantage of the holidays to catch up on the practice! I will be playing on New Years Eve at the Samford Homestead Restaurant (20 Main St, Samford), so if you want to come down for a great Buffet and enjoy some jazz guitar, I would love to see you! Give Steve a call on 3289 1485 to make a reservation.

Here’s a little taste of what’s on the menu!

Rob Releases Album

I am very pleased to announce that I have released an album under the name Bob Reeves. The Album entitled “Songs of Place” sits in the modern folk tradition, and has a bunch of songs about my favourite places around the Brisbane area, and some a bit further afield. There is also a couple of songs about cars! The album features a lot of my slide guitar playing. I am very happy with it, check it out on ITunes (search for “Bob Reeves Songs of Place”), or at Catmint Records.

Practice Track for Bass – Notation

The following is a practice track for bassists who want to get their music reading skills going. To use this practice track, you will need to be able to read the bass clef in the first position in the key of C major. The pace is quite slow, with two beat notes, so it is suitable for beginning students. It is in a neo-classical style – in other words it is written in the style of a classical composition. You may enjoy it as a change from your usual styles!

Here is the guitar part at 90 bpm:-


And here is the bass part. Enjoy!

New Ensemble Program to begin Term 3

Playing with other guitarists and musicians is a wonderful learning opportunity for students of any musical instrument. It provides the opportunity to meet and form friendships with other musicians, and to develop one’s musical skills in playing with others. It is also a lot of fun, and can provide a great deal of satisfaction!

For these reasons, I have decided to offer an Ensemble experience for those students who wish to take advantage of it! Due to limited space in the Samford studio, rehearsals will be held at The Gap.  I plan to have a Junior Ensemble for students of primary school age, a senior ensemble for students of high school age and  an Adult Learner’s ensemble.

The ensemble program is also open to previous students, and people learning from other teachers who would like to play in an ensemble. Ability to read music at a basic level is required. The cost for current student’s of Rob’s Guitar School or family members will be $12 for the rehearsal, and $15 for others, payable at each rehearsal. Student’s would be expected to attend the bulk of the rehearsals during the term.

Rehearsal Times
Junior Ensemble: Saturdays, 11:30am – 12:30pm – from Saturday 19th July
Senior Ensemble: Saturdays 1:00pm – 2:00pm – from Saturday 19th July
Adult Ensemble: Thursdays 7:30PM – 8:30pm – from Thursday 17th July

Register your interest by emailing rob now!

Rob’s Jazz Guitar Gigs in March

I will be playing at Zegatos at the Ashgrove Gold Club, on 16th, 23rd and 30th of  March. Bossa Novas and Jazz Ballads will be on the menu! Music Starts at 6:30pm and goes through to about 9:30pm. Shane and Tony will look after you very well!  Phone  3366 1842 to make a booking and make sure there are no late changes!

I will be playing at the Samford Homestead Restaurant, on Friday Nights in march, from the 8th March through to the end of the Month. Steve will make sure you have a good night! Music  starts at 6:30pm. Please phone Steve on 3289 1485 to confirm there haven’t been any late changes!

Lessons on this week as normal!

I can confirm now that we have power at the Farmers Hall! So lessons this week will carry on as scheduled. There has been a glitch with invoices, which disappeared somewhere in the Internet black hole! I will do my best to get these out as soon as possible, but as still without power at home, so it may not be for a few days yet.

In the meantime, students can text me to confirm their lesson time if in doubt! It will be the same as last term unless you have specifically arranged a change with me!

If you can’ t make it due to the storm aftermath, no problem, we will sought it out when things get back to normal!

Cheers Rob

Lessons on Today!!

It has been an eventful weekend weather wise – I hope everyone has survived wind rain and floods OK! I have been without power or Internet or phone since Saturday, so have not been able to contact anyone reliably!

At this stage, guitar lessons will be on as planned today (Tuesday 29 th Jan).

Our roads are open again today, so will go and see how the studio in Samford has fared, and wether we have power or not! I expect to post an update by 1 pm to confirm that lessons are still on, or to cancel if necessary!

If anyone needs to cancel due to the aftermath of the storm, that is no problem.

I sent texts to some students last night canceling today, but am not sure if they have got through or not. I will send out another text once I have got to Samford to see how things are at the studio!


Rob Plays Jazz at Zegatos

I will be playing at Zegatos restaurant at the Ashgrove Golf Club on Saturday Night July 14, from 7pm to 10pm. The Ashgrove Golf Club is located at 863 Waterworks Rd, The Gap, opposite the BP. I will be doing a set of atmospheric jazz, with the help of ipad and looping software, playing a selection of Bossa Novas, Ballads, and jazz standards. For bookings contact Shane or Tony at Zegatos, on 3366 1842. Check out the menu at! So come along, say hi, and have a great night out in The Gap. I would love to see you!




How to tune the guitar

So you’ve just got your guitar, and you’ve had your first lesson, but somehow the notes seem funny. You’re guitar has probably gone out of tune! Guitars will need tuning each time you play them! So how do you tune the guitar?

There are three main methods. You can tune using an electronic tuner, you can tune to a piano or keyboard, or you can tune one string to a reference pitch (such as a tuning fork), and tune the rest of the strings to it. The easiest method is to use an electronic guitar tuner. So we will look at that first.

Tuning with an electronic tuner
Electronic tuners which can be used for guitar come in two varieties – guitar tuners, or chromatic tuners. Guitar tuners have a setting which when activated means the tuner looks for the specific sound of one of the six strings of the guitar. These tuners may also have a setting for bass or violin, so make sure you set it to guitar! When you play a string, the tuner will match it to the closest guitar string, and tell you whether it is sharp (too high in pitch) or flat (too low in pitch). If the guitar is way out of tune, the tuner might think you are tuning a different string, so look on the screen for an indication of the string, and make sure it matches the string you are tuning. Then turn the tuning peg to make the pitch sharper or flatter as needed to centre the needle or light on the display. Then do the same for the other strings!

It helps to know the names of the strings so you can check that the tuner has picked out the right note to tune to! The thickest lowest sounding string is E, also called the 6th string. Next in pitch is the A or 5th string, then the D (4th), G(3rd), B(2nd) and finally highest in pitch the top E (1st) string. Note that there are two E strings, a low one, and a high one!

A mnemonic to remember the names of the strings (lowest to highest in pitch) is the sentence: Every Australian Dog Gets Beef Everyday. The letter begginning each word is the name of the strings in order from lowest to highest in pitch.

Chromatic tuners are a little bit harder for beginners to use, but once you know the names of the strings, they are just as easy as the others. Chromatic tuners tune to the closest note to the one sounding, whether it’s the proper note for the string or not. So if you are not careful, you could find yourself tuning your string to a C# or a Gb, and then wondering why your guitar still sounds very out of tune! The trick is to make sure you are tuning to the right note for each string. If you are tuning the G string, for example, and the tuner registers F or Gb (G flat), then you must sharpen the note (make the pitch higher) until the tuner registers a G, and then continue to tune until you centre the needle or light on the display. Use the mnemonic above if you can’t remember the names of all the strings!

Many tuners have different modes, and can operate in guitar mode, chromatic mode, or bass or violin mode – so make sure your tuner is in guitar or chromatic mode! Other problems can occur if you inadvertently change the reference frequency. Pianos and keyboards and most orchestral and band instruments are tuned to a reference frequency of 440 Hz for the pitch of A. Most tuners allow you to change this reference frequency up or down, and if this happens you will be out of tune with records, radio, pianos, keyboards etc! Make sure that the numbers 440 appear on the display, and not 445 or 436 etc! Tuners often allow you to tune flat by one or more semitones. This is often indicated by one or more flat symbols, which look a little like a script lower case ‘b’, in the display. Make sure there are no flat symbols showing when you tune your guitar, otherwise you will be out of tune with other instruments! (Though you will be in tune with yourself!)

Tuning to a piano or keyboard
Just play the note on the keyboard that corresponds to the string of the guitar, and adjust the tuning peg until the two notes sound the same. Listen for the two notes beating against each other, making a “wah wah wah” sound. This should get slower and slower until it disappears when the two notes are in tune. If you don’t know the names of the notes on the piano keyboard, use the picture below!

Tuning with a tuning fork or other reference pitch

If you have a tuning fork for A 440, tap the tuning fork on your knee, and hold the stem of the tuning fork to the body of the guitar, where you won’t damage the finish. This will make the sound of the tuning fork much more audible. Then play the A string and tune until the pitches match. Once again listen for the beat between the out of tune notes, which sounds like “wah wah wah”, and adjust the tuning peg so this beat slows down and disappears. This is easier if you play the harmonic on the 12th fret of the A string, as the tuning fork sounds an octave higher than the string.

When the A string is tuned, tune the other strings to the A string, using the following diagram:

(1) Place finger on the 5th fret of the bottom E string. Turn the tuning Peg of the bottom E string until the pitch matches that of the A string which you just tuned to the reference pitch. Listen for the “Wah Wah Wah” of the beats getting slower and slower until they stop when the two notes are in tune.

(2) Place finger on the 5th fret of the A string, which gives you a D. Turn the tuning peg of the D string until the two notes match.

(3) Place finger on the 5th fret of the D string, which gives you a G. Turn the tuning peg of the G string until the two notes match.

(4) Place finger on the 4th fret of the G string, which gives you a B. Turn the tuning peg of the B string until the two notes match.

(5) Place finger on the 5th fret of the B string, which gives you an E. Turn the tuning peg of the high E string until the two notes match.

Your guitar should now be in tune. Strum a chord, such as a G major, C major or E major. If they don’t sound right, you will need to repeat the process again, taking more care to match the notes. As this is a skill that requires practice to get right, keep persevering, and ask your teacher or a friend who plays to help you tune up. If your guitar doesn’t tune up properly, even for your teacher or an experienced player, you might need new strings. If new strings don’t help, you might need a set-up on your guitar from a luthier (ask at your local music shop), to adjust the intonation. If you have a cheap guitar, it is probably time to get a better, more expensive model!

Tuning with harmonics

Harmonics are bell like tones produced when a finger on the left hand lightly touches the string without exerting any downward pressure, at an exact location (e.g. above the 12th fret), while the string is plucked. To sound a harmonic, lightly rest your finger on the bottom E string exactly above the 12th fret, without pressing down as you normally would. Pluck the string, and immediately remove your finger. A note an octave higher than the open string should sound. Harmonics can also be found at the 7th fret, and the 5th fret, and many other positions on the neck.

To tune using harmonics, first adjust the A string using a pitch reference such as a tuning fork.

(1) Sound the harmonic on the 5th fret of the bottom E string, and at the same time sound the harmonic on the 7th fret of the A string. Adjust the tuning peg on the bottom E string until the two notes are the same. As above, you will hear the beating of the notes (the wah wah wah sound) slow down and stop when the strings are in tune.

(2) Repeat with the harmonic on the 5th fret of the A string and the 7th fret of the D string, tuning the D string until the harmonics stop beating.

(3) Repeat with the harmonic on the 5th fret of the D string and the 7th fret of the G string, tuning the G string until the harmonics stop beating.

(4) Sound the harmonic on the 7th fret of the bottom E string, and the open B string. Tune the B string until the notes stop beating.

(5) Sound the harmonic on the 7th fret of the A string, and the open top E string. Tune the top E string until the notes stop beating.

Your guitar should now be in tune!

It may take you several attempts to get your guitar in tune, but persevere. It is a skill that improves with practice!