Sunday, January 27, 2013

Matt Schofield - War we wage solo w/tabs

This song; "War We Wage" from his 2009 album: Heads, Tails & Aces. (Get it! a great album) made me break my "complete the video in one hour" rule! It's so great when a player comes into your consciousness and their playing hits you right to the core. This was the case for me when I first heard British guitar great Matt Schofield. His playing has so much soul and blues spirit I was instantly grabbed. His ability to seamlessly phrase with intelligence and melody is rare indeed. You get the feeling this guy could continue to solo for hours and it would never get old. 

This is basically a Bmin Blues which goes back and forth between Bmin and E7. Matt typically plays pentatonic minor over the one chord and often moves to Mixolydian over the V chord (so Bmin blues pentatonic E Mixolydian). But the beauty of his playing lies not in the note choices entirely. Take a look at the chart and check out how much expression is in his playing. Tons of bends and slides and hammers/pulls. Different pick attacks the whole gamut. He doesn't just play a series of notes he PLAYS them! Beautiful.

Getting the sound
Pretty simple here, Fender strat through a tube amp. Add a tube screamer type overdrive (He uses a Klon Centaur through a two rock amp). You aren't gonna nail this tone with gear. It's all in your hands.

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Benefits of fitness on your playing

(What a great excuse to put a hot chick on the page. This blog could use a little more zip)

Oh no! Don't tell me I am another one of these 'newly-on-a-workout-kick-go-preach-about-it' types. Sorry folks, but yes it appears to be true. Lucky you! For the past 3 weeks I have been really working hard at getting back in shape and eating better. Will it stick? Will that bag of Doritos make their way back in my hand in short time? I really don't know... but I sure hope not. Getting fit and eating healthy is quite like learning guitar - if (when) you stumble, all you can do is keep getting back on the horse. Which I plan to do.

edit: A friend of mine Mark Wein (who has a great blog) just did a similar post on health benefits. Click here to hear his story and process.

So, what does this have to do with guitar?
Well, after 3 short weeks I have already noticed a few things. My energy level is slowly notching higher (after some initial fatigue in the first week). This new energy is beginning to lead to increased productivity. When I get snack cravings, I grab my guitar instead. Having this distraction is helping me escape temptation, whilst improving my playing. My thoughts seem a little clearer, attention span a hair longer. Memory seems a little more vivid.

Overall THESE FEELINGS are beginning to become addictive... exciting in a way. No, I don't yet jump out of bed in the morning knowing I am headed to the gym. Nor am I thrilled at having a salad (instead of a combo #3, one hard, one soft with an iced tea and a burrito on the side : ) But at least now some of the benefits are showing. Which makes the idea of sticking to it less awful.

The diet side was really hard in the first few days/week to not fall back on old eating habits. But now I seem, just a little, more OK with it.

OK Richard Simmons What's your point.
The point is; that without your health all your practicing can go for naught. Spending some time working on your health, can have an exponential impact on how you think and therefore how you play. If you want to be your best, you (I... we) must make this part of the equation. Yes it is hard, NO it isn't easier for others... they just prioritize it higher (a lesson my lovely wife has taught me). NOBODY finds this easy, they LEARN to find joy in it... Just like we do with an instrument.

Give it a shot, ya might even score some more tail too! A benefit that CAN'T be overlooked.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Paul Gilbert - infectious dude

Seriously, how can you not love Paul Gilbert. This guy is not only one of the best shredders on the planet, but clearly a guy who truly loves guitar. Whether you are a fan of his music or not, you should listen to his words, because this is a guy who clearly gets it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Time - Guitar solo w/Tabs

Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon - released in 1973 - was a ground breaking album that stands up to this day as one of the greatest pieces of recorded art there is. It catapulted Pink Floyd out of smaller venues and into stadiums based on the strength of the album. Although the song "Money" was the decisive hit that caught the public's attention, the song that stood out to me on first listen was the song "Time". I still remember that first listen clearly - the sounds of the clocks and the ticking lead in. With it's 12 bass heavy chimes (cooly placed on the "and" of beat four BTW!) Leading up the the first lyric of the song. Well thought out, simple and beautiful delivery of a concept.

David Gilmour is quite simply put; one of my very favourite players. Whenever I am struggling to keep things simple and musical, I always draw inspiration from him. Pink Floyd's music was like the sound track for my teenage Sunday mornings (and end-of-the-night Saturdays!). I HIGHLY recommend any guitar player to spend some time with their tunes. The focus is always on serving the song, creating environments and musical landscapes first - NEVER seemingly ego driven. This was a true BAND, that understood the importance of the sound of the whole, instead of featuring the players themselves.

The solo weaves through the (F#min, A, E) then (D, A, D, A, D, C#min, B, A, E) backing chord tones. Overall key of F#min. Hitting strong notes of the chords all the way - VERY typical of David Gilmour. When you are trying to learn his solos, lift the chords first - as 95% of your notes are right there. For example, the first arpeggio of the B section (D,A,D...) is a D Major chord straight up. Also in the beginning of the solo (end of bar 6) he does a double stop which is simply the 5th and 3rd of the A Major chord - played as 6ths. Check it out for yourself, do a quick analysis. It's a great exercise. His bends almost always resolve up to chord tones, creating that 'majestic' sound. Couple this approach, with his amazing tone, beautiful touch and taste and you have the recipe for his soloing approach.

Getting the sound
This is a classic David Gilmour strat tone. Neck pickup (I used the bridge as my amp was pretty dark so the cut of the bridge pickup seemed to work better). The Uni-vibe gives it that squishy tone coupled with a nice slow delay and fairly generous reverb.

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