Tuesday, December 18, 2012

No More Tears solo w/Tabs

No More Tears was really the guitar world's introduction to the maniacal, shred crazy Zakk Wylde. He is a monster shredder who, in the Eric Johnson mold, does it primarily with the good ole-fashioned pentatonic scale (and a plethora of pick harmonics!). This song and solo helped cement him the role as Ozzy's sideman, desperately needed in the years following the tragic passing of the one and only Randy Rhoads. Although nobody can ultimately fill those shoes, this song helped move Ozzy's music into the consciousness of a younger generation.

This solo is a pretty classic blues really... There is a LOT of swapping out of the major and minor third as Zakk weaves the tonality between these two. This is common in blues. The solo is mostly D minor pentatonic, with the added b5 (making it a Dmin Blues scale) licks and double stops. He ends the solo with repeating groups of 6, moving up the different forms of the pentatonic scale. Until the last bar - where he simply (harmonically that is!) follows the background chords with Bb Major arpeggio - moving to a CMajor arpeggio. Then the money resolution - bending up to hit the tonic note (D) on the closing chord. It's pretty fast and my picking hand struggled to maintain the closing 4 bars.

Getting the sound
Les Paul loaded with Humbuckers - through a Marshall. The real key though is in double tracking the recording takes. 

The files
Here is the TAB sheet for your downloading pleasure.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Practice routine development - Stay focused

Lots of guitarist seek to develop a practice routine that will take their playing to another level. No matter what that level, there is a common mistake to overwhelm oneself with too many technical drills. Now technical drills SHOULD play some role in your practice time... But what amount is the right amount? Well, one thing to me is abundantly clear: What you practice comes out when you perform. SO if you are always running scales etc - what do you think your improvs will sound like? ... so if that is true then how would one make their playing more creative and musical? (hint: maybe by practicing creativity and musicality more)

Before I say this let me say - these amounts change depending on your current place on the curve. This is to provide you a basic guideline or food for thought.

This would be my breakdown:
  • Technical drills 5% - including scales, keys etc (ALWAYS to a click of some kind)
  • Expanding your Chord Vocabulary 5% (ALWAYS to a click of some kind)
  • 20% spontaneous composition (ALWAYS to a click of some kind)
  • 20% planned composition (ALWAYS to a click of some kind)
  • 50% ear work - learning entire albums - NO TAB ... EVER. 

Away from the guitar:
  • Song analysis - write out the album songs you figured out and figure out , the key, time signature, the chords (break them into a I, IV, V - type numeric system), the scales, look at the solos and find the chord tones used.
  • Read Theory books, also practice sight reading without the guitar. Tap the rhythms, imagine your fingers playing the notes.
  • Read musician biographies looking for the little pearls of wisdom buried inside their words
  • Explore new genres of music - ALWAYS seek out new music.

Three things make a great musician to me
1. Imagination
2. Sense of Rhythm
3. Ear

With these 3 things everything else falls into place. So make sure whatever routine you do it addresses these areas.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Merry Christmas to you all!

All the best to you and yours this holiday season! In the spirit of that here is my feature track from this years Figgy Pudding Vol.3 album. The Vince Guaraldi Trio classic "Christmas Time is Here" performed and arranged by yours truly. Perhaps if you have been a good boy or girl all year, a certain elf will slip a vintage Les Paul under the tree .... or not : )

No matter your beliefs I truly wish you all well.