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Tonestyler Mod for your guitar.

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (1496)

4 Scales to Master

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM Comments comments (3324)
Many of my students want to know how to play lead guitar or at least integrate single note playing into their music. Who wouldn’t?
If you like American music then there are 4 scales to master.
The major scale (7 note) and major pentatonic scale (5 note).
The minor scale (7 note) and minor pentatonic scale (5 note).
Not necessarily in that order.
Then add the passing tone (blue note) to each pentatonic scale.
In the major pentatonic scale it’s the #2 and in the minor pentatonic it’s the #4.
You should be able to play each with or without the passing tone.
The major and minor pentatonic scales are what sets American music apart.
Practicing scales with scale patterns is very helpful because:
They mix up the patterns and get you to see them in different ways.
They help you to get a 360 degree view of a scale versus just playing it up and down diatonically.
They help you to hear the scale in different ways and develop your ear.
They are great for developing hand strength and dexterity.
They are musical sounding and great toward developing your creativity when soloing.
Learning and memorizing solos is a great way to expand your musical vocabulary.
Practice with a metronome and you will speed up the learning process.
Music is derived from scales just as speech is derived from the alphabet.
There are 12 keys in music. Learn all scales in 12 keys. There is nothing else!

Joe Walsh

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 10:33 AM Comments comments (3590)

JOE WALSH                                                                   Daryl’s House 2012
Taken from a conversation Joe had with Daryl Hall. What do you think?
Record sales, record stores, it’s all gone
And it’s up to the young musicians to figure it out
There’s no money in it, there’s no record companies
It’s free, you can download it, nobody gets paid
So they can’t afford to make music
That’s what’s happening
They’re cranking out music that is just recipe
Nobody’s playing together at the same time
Everybody’s adding on virtual instruments that don’t exist
Onto a drum machine that somebody programmed
And you can tell in the music that’s out now
There’s no mojo, there’s nobody testifying
There’s not the magic of a human performance
Which is never perfect
And the magic of the human performance
is what we all know and love in the old records by the way they were made
and it’s all gone
So we’ll see what the digital age has in store

James Taylor

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 5:27 PM Comments comments (3551)
One guitarist acoustic players want to play like is James Taylor and who could blame them. I’ve learned and taught many of his songs but if you’re going to learn one song by him learn Carolina On My Mind. It’s a great workout and it’s filled with most of his guitar tricks. This link is from his site and has a bird’s eye view of both hands. He has some unorthodox fingerings for some of his chords and I use his fingerings in a couple of places because it plays better. My advice is to master one section at a time and learn to play them together as you go. Be patient, he didn't learn to play it overnight either.   [email protected]    


Posted on November 17, 2012 at 5:02 PM Comments comments (11015)
Vibrato is rarely discussed but is very important. It is to music what icing is to the cake. Vibrato is a steady change in pitch. It expresses emotion like nothing else. There are 2 ways it’s done on a stringed instrument.  
  1. – Think of the way a violinist or cellist moves their hand back and forth on the neck while playing a note.  On the guitar this is the most subtle type of vibrato. The idea is to keep the finger firmly pressing down on the note/string while moving the fretting hand back and forth or left to right. Changing the speed of the movement changes the speed of the vibrato. I use this type of vibrato for soft passages and for long tones, not short, staccato notes.
  2. – This is the most popular type and takes the longest to do well. Here’s the catch. With this type of vibrato the idea is to holdonto the fretted note/string and move the hand back and forth bending the string steadily. Anchor the base of the index finger to the neck. What beginner students do is move the fingers instead of the hand, which sounds like a spring going “boing”. It will never sound good or express the desired feeling.  
  There are 2 aspects of vibrato that must be mastered.   A)   The speed at which the pitch changes. i.e. slow – fast B)   The width. i.e. how much does the pitch change.          Practice these variations: slow and wide Clapton (bluesy and soulful) and fast and narrow (B.B. King).  The last thing to master is applying vibrato while bending a note. This is the most difficult but it’s powerful. When bending a note it’s important to first establish the pitch and then add the vibrato, not the other way around. Ever hear a opera singer or violinist with such a constant vibrato that you can’t really hear the exact pitch? Nasty stuff. There are many types of vibrato. Angus Young and Jimmy Page are 2 guitarists that have a vibrato when they bend a note that is distinctly British (o.k. Angus is Australian). Angus uses it half way through his solo on You Shook Me All Night Long and Led Zeppelin’s Since I’ve Been Loving You. Also, listen to the solo in All Right Now by Free. There’s soulful vibrato, 60’s San Francisco vibrato, of course all the many blues players have there own sound.   Finally and mysteriously to me I’ve never heard 2 guitarists with the same vibrato. It is a unique stamp on a person’s playing in much the same way that no 2 voices are the same. Listen for different types of vibrato in music and you’ll find the ones that appeal to you. Use different types of vibrato for different styles of playing and you’ll sound like a seasoned player.

The Black Keys

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM Comments comments (2489)
Love the Black Keys. I read an interview with Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) and Billy Gibbons (the guy with the beard). When talking about the old blues players and what I would call roots music Dan said "I want to say it's simple, but it's deceptive because there is so much soul involved. It's not simple, but minimal". Well said.

Marcus Miller

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 3:58 PM Comments comments (1607)
Here's another view from the great bassist Marcus Miller. He said about one of the players in his current band, "he has the whole thing; tone, technique and passion, most musicians are missing something." I interpret the word "passion" as inspiration because passion doesn't always translate into something inspired but inspiration is always passionate.When something is inspired people connect to it. That's why something as easy as playing the blues can be very difficult. No matter how much you know, if blues is not inspired it falls flat and it can leave you standing naked!

Wayne Krantz

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 3:41 PM Comments comments (2255)
 I read an interview with the guitarist Wayne Krantz recently, and he said there are 4 essential elements of music;  Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, and Sound (or Tone). Nothing new about that, but he went on to say that every musician has an ability or particular strength in one of these areas. It doesn't mean they don't have abilities in the other 3, but rather they create or get their inspiration through one. I thought of many of the musicians I've worked with and listened to and I tend to agree with his view. He said his strength was Rhythm and you can hear that in his playing. He is a very rhythmic player, interesting phrases, grooves etc. I find it interesting to think of these concepts to better understand myself as a player. Mine? Rhythm.