North East Indie

How to Learn Guitar

Playing a musical instrument, especially one you can take with you wherever you go, is one of life’s greatest joys. But learning can seem daunting. Music lessons are expensive, practicing takes time, and it’s not always easy to see results immediately. And once you’re an adult, it becomes harder to learn a new skill. However, learning to play guitar isn’t out of your reach. Getting a basic understanding of the instrument is easier than it might seem at first, and is ultimately fun, rewarding, and a great way to impress new friends. Here’s a quick, easy way to get started.

1. Find a guitar.
You might already have the one you bought in high school and promised yourself you’d learn to play. In that case, you’re all set! If not, you can find a decent acoustic guitar for around $60 if you look around for deals online. If you’re a leftie, you’ll have to get a left-handed guitar — yes, it makes a difference.

2. Get used to holding and strumming the guitar.
Prop the guitar on your knee so the neck is in your off hand and your dominant hand is over the middle. You’ll be strumming with your dominant hand, using either a pick or the side of your thumb as preferred. If you need help, there are videos and tutorials online showing good hand positions for strumming. Don’t worry about picking just now; these are the basics.

3. Learn some chords.
Just doing a search for “guitar chords” will turn up entire libraries of them. The grid that the chords are marked on is the top of the neck of your guitar, unless there’s a number indicating how many frets below the top you should start. The black circles indicate where your fingers go, with the leftmost line indicating the lower E string (the one on top as you hold the guitar). Hollow circles mean you strum the string but don’t have a finger on it; an X means you don’t strum the string at all. To start, try learning E major, G major, and A major, then move on to more advanced chords as you feel ready to try them.

4. Practice.
Learning to switch between chords is arguably the hardest part, and takes a lot of practice. Practice moving your fingers between positions until you get faster at it and it becomes second nature. Do this with any new chords you pick up. Even if you’re short on time, half an hour a day can produce results.

4. Look up some simple guitar tabs.
Many popular songs only use a few chords. Do a search for songs that use only E, G, and A; you’re sure to find several. (Try “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, for example.) Whenever you learn a new chords, search for a tab that gives you an opportunity to use it.

5. Go as far as you want to.
You might be happy to just know a few songs. Or you might want to keep improving. If you want to learn new chords, picking, or more advanced techniques, the Internet has a wealth of videos available to help you learn as you go. Just keep practicing, and you’ll be amazed at what you can do!

Top alternative rock concerts in 2016

The top alternative rock concerts for 2016 will likely come from some of the oldest names in alternative music. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews, just to name a few, have North American tours kicking off as early as February. In addition, Weezer has performances in the U.S., UK and Amsterdam, Modest Mouse has a U.S. spring and summer tour beginning in April, and Kings of Leon play the Firefly Music Festival along with some slightly younger bands, including Florence & the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Death Cab for Cutie and Blink-182.

Red Hot Chili Peppers begin 2016 in Los Angeles, California, at the Ace Hotel for the Feel the Bern Benefit in support of Senator Bernie Sanders for Democratic Presidential nomination. Their U.S. tour includes additional big shows at Pier 70 in San Francisco and the Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans.

Pearl Jam’s big shows include the Jazz & Heritage Festival, two nights in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center, two nights in New York at Madison Square Garden, two nights in Boston at Fenway Park, and the coup de grace at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The band also has big performances scheduled for the American Airlines Arena in Miami, the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, and two nights at the Air Canada Center in Toronto.

Dave Matthews Band’s 2016 tour starts out in May and lasts throughout the summer with really big performances at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York, the Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida, and at University of California, Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. Dave ends the summer at the band’s annual three-day Labor Day weekend show at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Eastern Washington.

Modest Mouse’s summer tour features shows at Red Rock Amphitheatre in Colorado, Madison Square Gardens in New York, and homecoming finales at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington, and the Moda Center Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.

Indie Bands to watch in 2016

The new year is here, and it’s about time for some new music. While Kanye West is constantly changing the title of his upcoming album, we’re still waiting new Frank Ocean, and Drake is recording Views from the 6, there’s tons of new and fantastic music being pumped out by lesser-known indie artists. Here are three great indie bands to watch in 2016.

Hinds
After changing its name from Deer, Hinds got started on completing its New Year’s Resolution early. In 2015, Hinds toured with Glass Animals and The Black Lips, but 2016 is all about them. The four-piece girl group from Madrid released its first record, Leave Me Alone, on January 8 through Mom+Pop & Leave Me Alone. Known for an honest, messy lyrics and an exciting garage-pop sound, Hinds has upcoming tour dates in Europe, America, and Australia…and that’s just for the first few months of 2016.

Twin Peaks
With two albums under its belt, Twin Peaks has come a long way since its debut in 2009. But Twin Peaks the television show isn’t the only thing coming back for a third time around in 2016. The Chicago stoner-rockers are releasing a third album, Down in Heaven on May 13; it’s said to be the band’s most mature and professional album to date.

Local Natives
Ok, so there’s nothing official yet. It has been three years since the acclaimed indie rockers released Hummingbird, and even though the band announced it was working on a third studio album in 2014, not much else has been said. Judging by the lovely combination of Local Natives’ dreamy qualities, hard-hitting drums, and ethereal vocals in its first two albums, however, good things take time. 2016 seems to be a good year for Local Natives; it will be worth it to keep the band on your radar this year.

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