Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Song for your Seasonal pleasure

cover art: Gary O'Brien

I just wanted to take a minute to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays - whatever your preference : ) This time of year, it is good to share with those around you some good vibes. So through the magic of the interwebs here are my best 1's and 0's to you and yours.

Each year, a local studio puts out a Christmas CD called "Figgy Pudding". It is a fun-filled project with lots of different contributors - of which I am one. Here is my track from this year's CD. It is a rendition (an extremely loose one!) of Jingle Bells ... We titled it "Slay Ride". It's on my myspace page so head over and give it a listen:

The song features Rahlen Sullaphen on bass, Rob Brown on the kit for your smashing pleasure. Two wonderfully skilled players whom I have the privilege of working with. Thanks boys!

A Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rhythm Trainer

Some rights reserved by kamalaboulhosn

I wanted to share with you all a rhythm trainer I created for myself.

What is it?
It is a small audio file for you to use or click here to download. The file contains a drum click type track which moves you through the even breakdowns of a beat up to a 32nd note (Quarters, then eighths, triplets, 16ths, sextuplets, 32nds). There are 2 bars of each. I didn't put in odd numbers (5's or 7's) as I wanted to make this accessible for everybody.

The idea is to play back the sound file on a loop setting in your audio application. You can practice scales, arpeggios, improvs, whatever you choose, along with the click. I personally use an App called Transcribe! which allows me to slow it down or speed it up, it also has a gradual speed increase feature which is super handy.

Working on rhythm is probably the most important thing you can do for your playing. No matter your level. You can get away with almost any note if it is solidly placed in time. So working on this should be a regular part of your routine.

So have at it and enjoy!

Rhythm trainer by Jeremy_green

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Blues - get you some!!

Copyright All rights reserved by bastet in the sky with diamonds

This post was written in response to a thread on one of the forums I frequent. The topic was that the Blues are harder than some players think. I COMPLETELY agree with this. Below is my post and I thought it came out pretty succinctly. So I thought I would share with y'all:

As a youngin I grew up in the birthplace and blossoming of shred - late 70's early eighties and beyond was where my awareness of guitar was born. So I spent most of my formative years learning to shred with EVH and Randy Rhoads, Vai, Malsteen, Satch, Gilbert, Eric Johnson - and grew VERY technically proficient fast. I remember listening to the blues and thinking ... "pffft! That's way too simple, it's boring".

Before long... actually it was quite long, but in the grand scheme, not really... I uncovered the link between it (blues) and most of the hard rock I was playing... I learned that it was the father and grandfather of all these genres that I loved. Players like SRV, who could shred in their own right, drew me in to investigate more. The more I learned the more I realized that is a DEEP genre filled with subtlety and really a different brand of "shred".

Today I have a GREAT respect for it. Not because I am older and sentimental but because I now truly understand it's complexities. It makes me laugh when I hear youngins or player says "I hate the blues" meanwhile MOST of the stuff they play was born there. So I am glad to hear when players start 'getting it'. They are going through the awakening I had.

Learning the Blues was a HUGE leap forward in my rock playing abilities. More-so, learning to respect it and study it opened my eyes to a great many things. It is NOT a simple genre just cause you can play the notes. Playing it well is an art form and few bands really have it down. Sure they THINK they do - just as I thought I did.

I really believe if you want to learn to solo well, you need to spend some quality time getting the blues under your fingers. Not just the cliche licks, but the whole trip - MOSTLY the harmonic understanding (chords, substitutions, turnarounds, forms, Major(dominant) and minor, scale forms and strong resolve points). This stuff gets into your playing in the larger picture.

Above all else subtlety, dynamics and learning how to express yourself in an emotional way. THIS forms a bond with an audience - they can feel it... they may not know what it is, but they respond to it when you really dig deeper emotionally. THIS you can take back to your genre and instantly improve it.

"I don't really like the blues" huh? Dislike taxes, or government or the dentist or something. But the blues??? Hell we all owe those boys and girls a debt of gratitude. Ya gotta investigate deeper to know if this is true or not... least I did

Functional Harmony ... for everybody!

Here is a REALLY great video that demonstrates functional harmony in a way anyone can understand. This is so well done.

For those of you who don't know what this term means here is an excerpt from Wikipedia that will help you understand:

In tonal music theory, a diatonic function (also chord area) is the specific, recognized role of each of the 7 notes and their chords in relation to the diatonic key. In this context, role means the degree of tension produced by moving toward a note, chord or scale other than the tonic, and how this musical tension would be eased (resolved) towards the stability of returning to the tonic chord, note, or scale (namely, function).

See the entire page here