East Indian Scales and Bends

East Indian music is full of very cool sounding slides and bends built from interesting scale tone combinations. It can be a fantastic direction to study for introducing some very different sounds into your guitar playing...

Many years ago, (probably around the mid-1980's), I started getting into the guitar playing of Larry Coryell. Several of his songs included interesting chord drones as a foundation for some of his pieces. To me, at the time, it was a really cool East-Indian sounding effect and one that I spent quite a bit of time studying.

Years later, I read an article with him where he'd mentioned how he composed several songs where his primary influence for the piece was East Indian music. He mentioned the various, "Chord Drone," effects and how he was going for the, "Indian-like," foundation by fretting unique voicings for some fairly standard chords, which included open strings. 

I tried to copy some of his ideas and quickly began to notice some similar concepts take hold. The Indian sound I heard him use was applied with arpeggiated ideas. Played either straight upward or downward from strings always organized to include at least one open tone. 

Take a look at the chord I've given in example one below for an idea of how this can be done.


The chord shown above is a slightly unconventional version of a, "D Maj.9," chord. Notice that there is an open high, "E," string applied up at the 1st guitar string. 

By playing the chord in an arpeggiated fashion we can achieve a very interesting sound. This sound can function perfectly for playing along with some very cool - yet very simple scale ideas.

One of Larry Coryell's scale ideas for this, "Indian-like," sound was from Indian Neo-fusion violinist "Lakshminarayana Subramaniam." 

The scale includes five notes out of a basic major scale, (1, 2, 3, 5, 7). Created from off of a "D" root, we would get the following tones:

If playing strictly traditional Indian music, only these tones would be used. But, Larry would often add the 6th (B), as well. 

I personally began to experiment adding in the use of a #4 (G#) to produce an interesting "Lydian Mode" effect. 

While these added notes do depart from the traditional scale, they can create new accidental phrases that give us some very unique variations useful within a Neo-fusion approach to this sound.

Another area to explore with this powerful sound is bending. The way we can achieve, "Indian-like," bending effects is somewhat different from rock bending. Indian bending uses quick bends and releases to produce a fluid move from one note over into the next. Normally, these bends are found as a half-step away, and back down.

When bending, find your strong finger and use it to produce the rapid response. Move fast, applying good strength and support through the movement. Experiment with bends both to the floor and to the ceiling. Add in other embellishments such as slides. And, try applying extra phrasing concepts such as hammer-ons, and pull-offs across the scale to produce an even greater, "Indian-like," effect.

Below, (in audio examples two and three), I have improvised demonstrations of the use of the backing chord of, "Dmaj.9," played behind the traditional scale, as well as, my accidental-laden version (which includes both the 6th used by Larry Coryell, and the #4 'Lydian' version that I added in).

First listen to the audio tracks to hear a few of the ways that I've phrased some lines using these scales. Then record the chord in your home studio and try making up a few of your own improvisations as well.

Improvisation Using the Observed Indian Scale Version

Improvisation Using the Indian Scale Version with the added 6th and #4 Tones

The sounds that are possible using these unique Indian scale and chord approaches can be a lot of fun to experiment with. It is certainly a move away from rock or traditional jazz and blues sounds. But, as we continue to expose ourselves to new and different musical styles, scales, chords and techniques our playing and musicianship will always grow.

This growth is not only important for expanding our way of musical thinking, but it is vital to both the creation and to the development of our own personal musical style.

I hope you enjoy this lesson.
- Andrew Wasson

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Music Publishers Pull the Trigger, Launch ISP Piracy Lawsuit...

The lawsuit by BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music says that Cox Internet and Media (of Atlanta, Georgia USA), blew off several copyright notices from two Rightscorp clients.

BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music have sued Cox Communications for copyright infringement, arguing that the Internet service provider doesn't do enough to "punish" those individuals who download music illegally.

Both BMG and Round Hill are clients of Rightscorp, a copyright enforcement agent whose entire business model is based on threatening ISPs with a high-stakes lawsuit if they don't forward settlement notices to users that Rightscorp believes are "repeat infringers" of copyright.

There's little precedent for a lawsuit trying to hold an ISP responsible for users engaged in piracy. If a judge finds Cox liable for the actions of users on its network, it will have major implications for the company and the whole cable industry. It's one thing to terminate an account on YouTube, but cable subscribers can pay well over $100 per month—and BMG and Round Hill claim that they've notified Cox about 200,000 repeat infringers on its network. Further Reading “You could be liable for $150k in penalties—settle instead for $20 per song”

Growing copyright cop Rightscorp hopes to be a profitable alternative to "six strikes."

In their complaint (PDF), the music publishers describe the Cox network as an out-of-control den of piracy. "Today, BitTorrent systems are like the old P2P systems on steroids," BMG lawyers write. "Despite its published policy to the contrary, Cox's actual policy is to refuse to suspend, terminate, or otherwise penalize subscriber accounts that repeatedly commit copyright infringement through its network in any meaningful numbers."

Cox has ignored "overwhelming evidence," and the complaint lists a few examples. A "Cox subscriber account at the time of the infringement, believed to be located in Fairfax, Virginia, was used to infringe twenty-four particular copyrighted works 1,586 times since December 9, 2013," they note. "Another Cox subscriber engaged in 39,432 acts of copyright infringement over 189 days."

BMG and Round Hill, through Rightscorp, told Cox about all these infringements, but to no avail. The complaint states that Cox "actually has taken measures to avoid and stop receiving those notifications," suggesting the ISP was basically treating e-mails from Rightscorp like spam. Who's a repeat infringer?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed in 1998, does require ISPs to have a policy to terminate "repeat infringers," but there's not a lot of clarity as to exactly what that means.

Does someone become a "repeat infringer" when a judge rules they have repeatedly violated copyrights? If so, the music publishers and Rightscorp have many more hoops to jump through before they have any hope of beating Cox in court. Conversely, if a judge believes Rightscorp's notifications are enough to find a user is a repeat infringer, then Cox could be in trouble.

It's a question most big rights-holders haven't been eager to resolve in court, because it's a huge gamble. A copyright-maximalist outcome could give them more enforcement tools, but if legal precedent gets set in a defense-friendly way, they could end up with far less leverage over ISPs than they have now. Since most major ISPs are compromising on the issue and slowly moving forward with a "six strikes" system, there've been incentives on both sides not to go to the mat on this issue.

Cox, which declined to comment for this story, will surely fight back hard. YouTube came under legal fire from Viacom for not doing enough to boot out copyrighted material, and Google spent $100 million defending the case—even though the economic consequences of shutting down YouTube accounts is almost always inconsequential. Cable companies often bundle Internet with television and phone services, and a subscription can cost well over $100 per month. Since BMG and Round Hill have accused 200,000 Cox accounts of being "repeat infringers," the consequences of a loss on Cox's side could be massive.

BMG and Round Hill are seeking damages for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement and a judicial order requiring Cox to "promptly forward plaintiffs' infringement notices to their subscribers."

The lawsuit takes place against the background of serious difficulties at Rightscorp. The company is near bankruptcy, having lost a whopping $6.5 million since its founding in 2011. Last week, a proposed class-action suit accused Rightscorp of violating federal law by using "robocall" equipment to demand $20-per-song settlements from Internet users.

Cox is far from alone in blowing off Rightscorp's notices, so it isn't clear why the Atlanta-based provider was chosen as the test case. In a recent earnings call, Rightscorp CEO Christopher Sabec said the 150 or so ISPs that work with Rightscorp cover only about 15 percent of US Internet users.

Micro Lesson 031: "Bb Major" Jazz Progression

Welcome to...
"Micro-Lesson 031" 

This micro lesson teaches a jazz progression in the key of, "Bb Major." 

This Micro Lesson takes a look at a 4-bar jazz progression known better through harmonic analysis as a, "I, IV, II, V7."  The interesting thing about this progression is how we find extended chords mixed with altered chords across the 2nd through 4th measures. Cool sounding Maj.9 and Min. 11 chords get paired with Dominant #9 and b9 to produce a wonderful sounding series of chord changes across the harmony. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 031: "Bb Major" Jazz Progression

Pressure Groups Still Hope to Tax Music Fans for Copying Their Own Music!

Music industry bodies criticized a UK Parliament bill that finally made it legal for music fans to make copies of music, including ripping their own CDs, for failing to give compensation to the owners of the music.

Industry pressure group UK Music criticized the legislation for “failing to include fair compensations for musicians, composers and rights holders”. It asked that the legislation is taken to judicial review because the system is totally unfair.

UK Music said that while it welcomed the purpose of the new measures, “this is a bad piece of legislation”. The private copying exception, which allows users to make copies of their music from CDs or records, “will damage the musician and composer community”, it said.

Many European countries gave compensation to rights holders when they made the change, and the rule is a part of EU law. But the British government said that its copyright law was more restrictive already, and so it didn’t have to pay the levy.

UK Music, the Musicians Union and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) have all criticized the legislation.

Vicki Bain, CEO of BASCA, said: “We fully support the right of the consumer to copy legally bought music for their own personal and private use, but there must be fair compensation for the creators of the music”.

Micro Lesson 030: "A Minor" 16th-Note Pentatonic Lick

Welcome to...
"Micro-Lesson 030" 

This micro lesson teaches a fast Pentatonic Lick in the key of, "A Minor." 

This Micro Lesson takes a look at a fast paced pentatonic minor lick in the key of "A Minor." The lick is comprised entirely of sixteenth-notes and connects two minor pentatonic patterns using slide technique. The picking is all alternate. It is recommended that the lick be memorized first, then slowly built up to speed with a metronome. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 030: "A Minor" 16th-Note Pentatonic Lick

Is the Pop Music Industry Designed to Discourage Good Music?

If you think the Internet democratized music, think again. The top 1% of musicians earn a whopping 77% of the revenue from recorded music, and it's only getting worse. There isn't a crisis of money in the industry — there's a crisis of equity.

Derek Thompson reported in the Atlantic on the rampant inequality produced by our new music industry. Even in the Spotify era, the "10 best-selling songs command 82% more of the market than they did a decade ago." That's right: The famous are getting more famous. And soon we might not have much else in our musical culture beyond Taylor Swift.

If you think the Internet democratized music, think again. The top 1% of musicians earn a whopping 77% of the revenue from recorded music, and it's only getting worse. There isn't a crisis of money in the industry — there's a crisis of equity.

Derek Thompson reported in the Atlantic on the rampant inequality produced by our new music industry. Even in the Spotify era, the "10 best-selling songs command 82% more of the market than they did a decade ago." That's right: The famous are getting more famous. And soon we might not have much else in our musical culture beyond Taylor Swift.

It's happened over the last decade, especially. Thanks to unprecedented data from YouTube, Spotify, Shazam and even Wikipedia, the industry can see not only what listeners like but also when, where and on what platform they like it. And thanks to a flailing industry, they're less likely than ever to take risks on artists and sounds people don't already like.

For instance, a label executive who sees his artist's song gaining Shazam tags in Pensacola, Florida, can suggest a week of circulation to the local FM station with numbers to back it up. A boy band — say, One Direction — can notice an otherwise unknown boy band — say, 5 Seconds of Summer — racking up YouTube views in Australia, then find them, purchase them, take them on tour and make them the next pop sensation. With numbers indicating what audiences want next based on what they already like, the business opportunities are near-boundless and risk-free. And the music is boring as a result.

Computer programs can even gauge which songs will sell. The aptly named HitPredictor— founded in 2002 by Guy Zapoleon of iHeartMedia (née Clear Channel), the nation's largest owner of radio stations — correctly guessed 48 of 50 of last year's hits, Thompson reported. They assign numerical values to songs based on an online listener database polling. The system is so successful it even pegged Christina Aguilera's smash hit "Beautiful" as a breakout track despite execs' inklings to the contrary.

With this unprecedented hard data on what audiences want, the "big three" labels — Warner, Universal and Sony — are able to churn out hit-makers at a faster rate than ever. And in the process, they're slowly strangling all originality from our music.

We're partially to blame. Listeners are wired to want more of the same. People tend to like songs that sound familiar, so producing music that sounds like other popular music is a surefire way to score a hit. For that reason, pop has always been a top-down business. Since familiar sounds are comforting and also easier to process, a song's sheer inescapability helps audiences warm up to it. All a label has to do is play it over and over and over again.

It's a feedback loop so powerful that, as Thompson notes, radio stations played the top 10 songs nearly twice as much in 2010 as they did a decade ago, and today's hits have objectively less melodic variety than their counterparts from a half-century ago.

That sounds paranoid and subjective, but it isn't. The "On the Verge" program by iHeartMedia is a perfect example of how the industry turns statistics into hit songs. The program identifies the artist the radio conglomerate wishes to make a star. Then, it forces its 840 stations to broadcast the chosen artist 150 times to their 245 million monthly listeners. Roughly three get picked each month. Unsurprisingly, Iggy Azalea was an On the Verge artist, and so were Sam Smith, Nick Jonas, Tove Lo, Sam Hunt, Echosmith, Vance Joy and Ella Henderson. All of them are riding the Billboard Hot 100 right now.

These practices mean that real artists are getting squeezed out. You like what you like, and a million extra Robin Thicke fans won't make him any more or less unbearable. But as the top-10 sound inches closer to homogeny, there's less incentive for labels to invest in risk-takers — and without risk-takers, music will get very, very boring.

It could even get to the point where we lose a whole class of musicians. By Thompson's numbers, the current landscape in music leaves 99% of artists sharing 23% of industry revenue. But that 99% is growing, and that means that lesser-known musicians are getting less and less support for their art. Even though those bands have 23% of the revenue, they have more than 23% of fans. Most bands mean something to somebody somewhere, but in this climate, they'll never get a shot at a wider audience.

The good news, though, is that the listeners hold the power. If we want a fair musical culture we can create it. It's all about how we choose to listen.

Micro Lesson 029: "A Major" Jazz Walking Bass line

Welcome to...
"Micro-Lesson 029" 

This micro lesson teaches a Jazz Walking Bass-line in, "A Major." 

This Micro Lesson breaks down an example of a Jazz Walking Bass-line riff. This riff functions around the popular progression of: II, V, I, VI, within the key of "A Major." Each chord is approached from either a half-step above or below. The walking bass-note direction alternates between each chord to create better balance between each of the chord changes. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 029: "A Major" Jazz Walking Bass line

Micro Lesson 028: "E Minor" Arpeggiated Riff

Welcome to...
"Micro-Lesson 028" 

This micro lesson teaches an Arpeggiated Riff in, "E Minor." 

This Micro Lesson takes a look at performing a selection of diatonic chords from the key of "E Minor" as an arpeggiated idea. The riff is performed with palm muting, giving the sound of the riff a more percussive effect. The riff could be picked in several ways including alternate, finger-style or by sweeping technique. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 028: "E Minor" Arpeggiated Riff

NEW STUDY: All Music Can Be Boiled Down To 9 Basic Elements...

A new study turns music theory on its head, making it easier for non-musicians to understand elements of music — perhaps, there are more commonalities than you might have thought.

TV On The Radio’s lead singer Tunde Adebimpe once told Rookie, “Songs are like spells, you know? You put a spell in someone’s mind… it’s a pretty effective thing.” What determines if the spell cast is of a metal variety, or jazz, or rock, or country? A new study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America may have the answer.

According to study researchers, our perception of music can be boiled down to nine elements:

1). speed
2). rhythmic clarity
3). rhythmic complexity
4). articulation
5). dynamics
6). modality
7). overall pitch
8). harmony
9). brightness (if it’s dark or light).

This rivals existing models used to predict an individual’s preference for certain genres, which analyze audio signals, musical elements, musical genre, as well as resulting emotions: happy, sad, and tenderness. The nine elements at the center of the present study are also known as perceptual features, and it’s these features researchers predict offer a better understanding of the music people like compared to computational models.

Getting a group of people to agree on anything having to do with music is — as any DJ can attest — not easily done,” the press release from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology prefaced. “But by focusing on nine key features of music, the team was able to find some commonalities in perception that could prove useful.”

The team at KTH conducted an experiment on 20 people, in which they listened to 100 ringtones and 110 snippets of music featured in film. Then, participants rated what they heard based on the aforementioned perceptual features.

Essentially, these features reflect how non-musicians try to understand what they’re listening to, thus what they do or don’t like. And for the most part, researchers found the focus on perceptual features generated more agreement among participants than traditional models.

The nine perceptual features work, and the test subjects’ own references and cultural differences do not matter,” lead study author Anders Friberg said. “We could take 20 new volunteers, and the result would be the same.”

Friberg is saying the reason traditional models don’t often show musical commonalities is because non-musicians don’t approach music the same way musicians do; music theory is lost on those who don’t study it.

For example, in this study, speed is one of the perceptual features. In musical theory, this is known as tempo, or the amount of notes in a given time. Non-musicians easily associated speed with movement, whereas they struggled to infer this from a word, like tempo.

When music can be easily approached and understood, it's easier to see the commonalities otherwise muddied by musical jargon.

Source: Friberg A, Schoonderwaldt E, Hedblad A, Fabiani M, Elowsson A. Using listener-based perceptual features as intermediate representations in music information retrieval. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 2014.

The Power of the Six Chord in Minor Key's...

When it comes to getting our Minor key chord progressions to have a strong sound, there's one chord degree that just can't be beat for gaining strength and that's the sixth degree of Natural Minor.

This particular harmonic degree offers the composer an extremely substantial use of harmonic power during both the beginning and at the ending of a minor key chord progression.

In getting started, we should review Minor Key Harmony. We can quickly examine the triad harmony of a minor key to refresh how the Minor Tonality applies chords across it's degrees.

In example one we have a harmonized, "A Natural Minor" scale. The chords are each indicated above the staff and the harmonic degrees, (Roman Numerals) are indicated below the staff.


The sixth chord in the key of, "A Natural Minor," happens to be the chord of, "F Major." This particular chord is part of the Sub-dominant family of chord type. The job of the Sub-dominant is to produce a "moving away" effect. In our Minor keys this just so happens to be very strong and it really creates a powerful impact.

In example two, I have an "A Minor" chord progression that begins with an embellishment (slide) into the tonal center chord of, "A." The next chord is that power-house "VI" degree, (the "F Major"). Right from the start of the movement into the VI chord we really gain a substantial feel for the quality of the minor tonality. Listen to the audio and then practice playing through the chord progression for example two below.


This powerful sound, of the tonic chord moving directly into the sixth chord of the minor harmony can be heard very clearly in Tony MacAlpine's song, "Key to the City," from his 1987 album "Maximum Security." Have a listen below. The VI chord enters at [00:21] four bars after the Verse progression begins, (after the intro). You immediately get the effect of the minor key reinforced when the VI chord appears.

Tony Macalpine - Key to the city

Another strong effect for the use of the VI chord in minor keys happens when we apply a scale passage (as a riff) in between the measures. We can end off in one measure from the VI chord, play the riff idea, and then return back to the VI chord creating a very robust sound within the minor structure.

In example three I've created a chord progression in the key of "E Minor," which produces this type of concept. Listen to the audio and then practice playing through the chord progression for example three below.


One of the more classic applications of the use of the VI chord in Minor Keys is when this harmonic degree is used to 'pull in' the appearance of the VII chord. This can be heard perfectly in Iron Maiden's song, "Aces High." Both the song's Intro., and the Verse employ this harmonic movement right at the very beginning of the piece. Have a listen to the song, and play along to really notice this very pronounced minor effect of the I chord moving up to the VI and then up to the VII chord.

Iron Maiden - Aces High

To further enhance the powerful effect of the movement of the minor key's I chord to the VI and then up to the VII we can add one more harmonic idea into the mix. In example four I've created a riff that applies the key of "E Minor's" I chord moving into the VI and to the VII, but to further the effect I've added the raised VII chord borrowed from the key of Harmonic Minor. This is a great way to add slightly more pull for a more active resolution to the root of the key.

Listen to the audio and then practice playing through the chord progression for example four below.


In wrapping up, I want to emphasize the staunch effect that this type of minor key movement offers us when composing in minor keys. It's a fantastic minor sound. And, it not only helps us develop strong minor progressions when composing original minor key chord ideas, but it works excellent for our ear training. The reason being that the strength of this movement will really connect easily and help build another sound that we can lock in on when transcribing, or playing live.

Thanks for checking out this post, have fun practicing this information.

- Andrew Wasson

Slipknot's Jim Root: Top 5 Tips for Guitarists...

Guitarist Jim Root shoulders most of the composing duties in his band Slipknot. When asked about his writing style Root says, "For the most part, I just try to imagine our live show and think of the kinds of things that would sound good when I'm up on stage. When you can get a picture of songs like that in your head, stuff starts coming to you."

Root, who shares axe responsibilities in the band with Mick Thompson, noticed a marked change in how he approached his guitar parts during the writing of the new album. “I really spent a lot more time trying to play things in different positions on the fretboard," he says.

"That happened whether I was moving from a verse to a chorus or a pre-chorus. Paul did that kind of thing a lot, and it rubbed off on me. He would flip a guitar around and play it that way because he was a lefty, and he would find every possible variation of a chord that he could. That kind of thing really opens songs up."

Jim's Top Five Tips...

“For one reason or another, a lot of guys wind up with a guitar that isn’t really right for them. The guitar can be kind of close, but something about it is just a little off. And when that happens, you don’t feel inspired by the guitar. It kills your ambition."

"On the other hand, if you find a guitar that you really love and it just feels totally right, you’ll be more apt to want to play it; you won't wanna put the thing down. And, of course, we know what happens then: You’ll become a better player, because the whole act of practicing won’t feel like work – it'll be fun."

“My first guitar was a Takamine that my dad got me. I loved it and just couldn’t put the thing down. It just worked for me. So really, just make sure that whatever you get that you’re happy with it. Don’t shortchange yourself. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive guitar in the world; it just has to be the guitar that's meant for you."

“I’ll admit that I don’t have a lot of discipline when it comes to practicing. I’m not the type of guy who sits at home with a metronome and runs through scales and stuff like that. But I do go through phases when I’ll be more diligent, and I always notice that warming up and working on some finger-board technique patterns will make my playing a lot cleaner."

“On tour I’m probably more into practicing. I’ll sit backstage or on the bus with a little amp, and I’ll run through scales to warm my fingers up. I’m at the point now where I’ve learned all of the three-note-per-string Paul Gilbert scales. Only thing is, I learned them all in one position; it never occurred to me to move them around the fretboard, which can help when you’re trying to stay in key to a particular song."

“That was a huge 'light-going-on-over-my-head' moment. So now, I’ll work those scales and move them around. It’s really easy for me to rip them in one position – I don’t even have to look at the guitar – but playing them in different places on the neck takes some doing. It’s definitely good warm-up stuff to study daily.”

“It’s easy to get a good amp that might not be the right amp for you. When you go to a music store, really turn the amps on and turn ‘em up – hopefully they’ll let you – and work through the sounds. This is an important decision, so take your time and be methodical."

“It can be a very personal thing, finding just the right amp that makes the right sound. Sometimes it’s all about hitting that one note that makes you go, ‘That’s it. That’s the sound I’ve been looking for.’ When you hear an amp give that sound back to you, it’ll make you wanna keep playing."

“Finding the right amp can be a process, especially when you’re young and just starting out. When I was a kid, I had to rely on whatever I got for Christmas. Then my mom got me a Peavey VTM 120. I used that for a few years. After that, I took everything I had, sold it all, and I saved all the money I made from washing dishes to get a Mesa/Boogie amp."

“But back then, I had to rely on what everybody told me about amps. Now you can go on YouTube or different manufacturer’s websites and actually hear what things sound like. So do your homework and check things out. But when you actually go to a store and test amps out, take your own guitar and really spend the time to be sure of what you’re buying.”

“I not really into modeling amps, but on the other hand, if you’re just starting out playing gigs and you don’t have people helping you, you might want to try one of those things out. It beats hauling a big heavy head and a pair of speaker cabinets around with you."

“Or try a good combo amp. You can get a decent Peavey 5150 that sounds absolutely raging. As long as you’ve got a good sound and monitor guy, you’ll sound incredible, and you’ll be able to hear what you’re doing just fine."

“Just keep it simple, especially if you’re just getting your feet wet with playing out. Even today, I try not to over-complicate things. I’ve got a rack and a couple of heads, but I’m running everything off of one head into an iso cabinet; the other head is there as a backup. And I use pedals straight into the front of the amp. I do use a GCX switching system, which is like a true bypass for the effects, and I can program different combinations and do channel switching, but it’s essentially just like having a pedal-board in front of me. The cleanest, straightest path you have from your guitar to the amp is always the best.”

“There’s no 'one way' to do anything in the music scene. There are no rules; there are no written instructions to follow. So whatever you want to do, just get going. I started out playing with different drummers in basements before there was even a band. It didn't matter, though, because I was already on my way, I was jamming with people."

“Playing with people who are better than you is the absolute best. That's something I'd HIGHLY recommend. Up your game. It could be guys in a garage, guys at a Saturday jam-hall, or just hanging out with a great guitar teacher. It might be a little daunting at first, but there’s no better kick in the ass than by striving to get to the level of some other guys. The first band I was in was a speed metal band, and the other guitarist was the guy who was teaching me how to play. He was four years older and could rip all over the fretboard. The only thing I could do was try to keep up. It was a fantastic learning experience."

"So give yourself a challenge, and just get on with it, you'll never make it to the next level by sitting at home every night - you'll have to get out there.”

Which songs are played the most at funerals?

Pop songs, humor and sport themes sit alongside traditional hymns and classics, with Frank Sinatra’s My Way toppled off the top spot for the first time in more than a decade. 

The research, carried out by the UK’s largest funeral director, is based on over 30,000 funerals and charts the tunes of choice being played at services to celebrate and remember the lives of loved ones.

Here is the overall chart for 2014 in full:
1. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Eric Idle - From Monty Python's 1983 film "Meaning of Life")
 2. The Lord is My Shepherd Psalm 23/Crimond (Traditional)
3. Abide with Me (Traditional)
4. Match of the Day theme (Theme Tune)
5. My Way (Frank Sinatra)
6. All Things Bright and Beautiful (Traditional)
7. Angels (Robbie Williams)
8. Enigma Variations - Nimrod (Elgar)
9. You'll Never Walk Alone (Gerry and the Pacemakers - Adopted by fans of Liverpool FC, and Celtic)
10. Cricket Theme / Soul Limbo (Test Match TV Theme / Booker T. and the MG's)
11. Canon in D (Pachelbel)
 12. Love Theme from Titanic / My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion) 13= Last of the Summer Wine (Theme Tune)
13= Only Fools and Horses (Theme Tune)
14. Time to Say Goodbye (Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bochelli)
15. Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
16. Ave Maria (Schubert)
17. Coronation Street TV Theme (Theme Tune)
18= You Raise Me Up (Westlife)  18= Over the Rainbow (Eva Cassidy)
19. Rugby Theme / World in Union (Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and other versions)
 20= Nessun Dorma (Puccini) 20= Adagio (Bizet/Albinoni)

Nimrod has remained the most popular classical piece over the last decade, while in Wales, Katherine Jenkins’ Time to Say Goodbye is the most popular classical piece.
1. Enigma Variations - Nimrod (Elgar)
2. Canon in D (Pachelbel)
3. Time to Say Goodbye (Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bochelli / Katherine Jenkins)
4. Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
5. Ave Maria (Schubert)
6= Nessun Dorma (Puccini)
6= Adagio (Bizet/Albinoni)
7. Pie Jesu (Faure)
8. Air on a G String (Bach)
9. Clair De Lune (Claude De Bussy)
10. Cavalleria Rusticanna Intermezzo (Mascagni)

The Lord is My Shepherd has regained the top spot from Abide With Me, it has occupied the number one position in all but one listing since 2005.
1. The Lord's My Shepherd Psalm 23/Crimond
2. Abide with Me
3. All Things Bright and Beautiful
4. How Great Thou Art
5. Amazing Grace
6. Jerusalem
7. Old Rugged Cross
8. Morning Has Broken
9= The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended
9= I Watch the Sunrise
10. Ave Maria

Pop, rock and golden oldies
1.My Way (Frank Sinatra)
2. Angels (Robbie Williams)
3. Time to Say Goodbye (Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bochelli / Katherine Jenkins)
4. You Raise Me Up (Westlife)
5. Over the Rainbow (Eva Cassidy)
6. Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)
7. Simply the Best (Tina Turner)
8. You'll Never Walk Alone (Gerry & The Pacemakers)
9. I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton)
10. Angel (Sarah McLachlan)
11. Unforgettable (Nat King Cole)
12. How long will I love you (Ellie Goulding)
13. My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion)
14. Stairway to heaven (Led Zeppelin)
15. We'll Meet Again (Vera Lynn)
16. Flying Without Wings (Westlife)
17. Dancing Queen (Abba)
18. Fields of Gold (Eva Cassidy)
19. Who wants to live forever (Queen)
20. Smile (Nat King Cole)

1. Match of the Day theme (Theme Tune)
2. You'll Never Walk Alone (Gerry and the Pacemakers - Adopted by supporters of Liverpool FC, and Celtic FC)
3. Cricket Theme / Soul Limbo (Booker T. & the MG's -Test Match TV Theme)
4. Rugby Theme / World in Union (Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and other versions)
5. Nessun Dorma (Luciano Pavarotti / Puccini - BBC Coverage of 1990 FIFA World Cup)
6. The Chain (Fleetwood Mac - Synomous with Motor Racing)
7. Simply The Best (Tina Turner Adopted by supporters of Glasgow Rangers FC)
8. I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles (West Ham Utd)
9. Blue Moon (Manchester City FC)
10. Grandstand (TV Theme)

Six Types of People You Might Meet at a Guitar Store!

By Chris Lane | Houston Press

Any guitar player will occasionally venture into a guitar shop or musical-supply store that specializes in guitars. They can be wonderlands to anyone who likes to play guitar and wants to see firsthand what kind of gear is available. Like a comic-book store is a playground for comic fans, a guitar shop is a similar experience for guitar players.

But these paradises of gear-lust are also weird environments with their own social order and rules of conduct. There are also quite a few characters you're likely to encounter if you spend much time there. Some of them are fun people to be around, and others will make you wonder if they have a secret doll-themed torture room in their homes. Proceed carefully.

In general, there are really only a couple of different basic types of guitar shops, but they're different enough to make note of those differences.

First, there are the small, independently run shops, which were common until the big places like Guitar Center (USA) /Long and McQuade (Canada) began encroaching into most larger cities. You can still find some version of these mom-and-pop stores in a lot of places, many being the "all-around music shop" that sells a little of everything from school band instruments to guitar gear. Usually they don't specialize in the really expensive stuff.

Then there are the expensive vintage and boutique-style stores, which generally have pricey vintage gear and high-end newer stuff. Some of them feel like museums, and a person might experience sticker shock the first time he or she walks around one. It's disconcerting to realize that the guitars you're brushing past are all more expensive than a new car.

Most of the people working at either of these places are similar to the types of people you'll find at the big stores (more on them shortly), but you're much more likely to encounter one type of individual at the mom and pop stores:

It seems like a lot of independent guitar shops are owned by moody older guys. That's just been my experience; I'm sure it's not universal. But with places like Guitar Center breathing down their throats, I'm sure keeping a small music business afloat is a cutthroat and stressful endeavor.

I've been in several guitar stores where some gruff owner-person started yelling at his employees or just was an unfriendly ass to customers for whatever reason. Again, I'm sure these folks are probably having to make blood sacrifices to Dark Gods just to stay in business, so maybe the twitchy eye and mean temperament just goes with the territory.

Now, on to the Guitar Centers and Long and McQuades of the world, the giant "big box"-style stores that seem to have a little bit of everything available. Some people love those places, and others hate them. I've personally found that these stores vary in quality depending on location. Some are like navigating the nine levels of hell just to get in and out with a new set of strings, and others are fairly nice to shop at.

I have one tip for shopping at any big guitar chain, or small shop, for that matter: shop during off hours. There's no reason to ever go to a Guitar store on a weekend, for instance; or anytime around a holiday, for that matter. You're setting yourself up for an unpleasant experience, as it's almost certain that the store will be stuffed to the gills with soccer moms and kids.

The cacophony of 20 13-year-olds simultaneously trying out high-gain amps playing badly and out of tune is not something easily forgotten. But go into the same store at 10 a.m. on a Monday, and you're probably going to be the only geezer walking around the place.

These stores also vary in the quality of their employees for some reason, and you're likely to encounter a few basic character types. People like:

These guys are pretty common in the big stores, it seems like at least a couple of them work at each big guitar retailer I've ever been to. I guess they get paid on commission or earn bonuses or something, because they're the music-store equivalent of the used car salesman.

Once you're in their clutches, good luck, because there's a pretty good chance they're going to give you the hard sell on something. You walked in knowing you just wanted an entry level student guitar for a niece of yours, but the Sales Pro knows that what you really need is that $2,400 Les Paul hanging on the wall. Then there's...

This employee is common in the big music stores. Since it's probably an entry-level retail job with high turnover, many people working at these places just don't know much about the gear they're selling. You ask a few specific questions, or have a certain amount of knowledge already, and it will become obvious that these guys don't know anything about the stuff they're trying to sell.

It's understandable in a store with thousands of different items, but you aren't likely to get much good info from some guy who only knows electric guitars are stringed instruments that plug into squarish speaker-box things, and they make sound. But the Know-Nothing is still better to deal with than...

The Sales Liar is often just a more ambitious version of the Know-Nothing. Sometimes these guys actually think they know what they're talking about, and in other cases they'll just spin any old line of bull-s#!t in order to make a sale. Ask one of them anything specific about a guitar or manufacturer, and you will hear all sorts of bogus information.

That Fender Squier that is marked as being made in Indonesia is really "better" than the American Strats being made these days, at least according to the Sales Liar. You'll discover that great guitars are still being built today, but only if you're willing to spend at least $1,000. Inconsistencies and obvious misinformation will be passed off as fact by these folks, so beware.

These days it's relatively easy to research gear before ever setting foot in a store, which is the best way to counter these people's dishonest tendencies. You're also likely to meet...

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the employees at large guitar shops tend to be people struggling to make it in bands. It makes sense. Even though the pay is probably not great, there's likely to be an employee discount on gear, you can look like a rock star, and it's a good place to network for your band.

It almost assuredly beats working at some loathsome fast-food restaurant or other retail job that won't hire people with bitchin' neck tattoos. However, the problem with dealing with the Bitter Band Guy is that if they've been struggling too long, and their band isn't getting the success they think is due, these folks can be total jerks to deal with. Look, I'm sorry your band Death Hippie isn't doing so well, but can I just buy this overdrive pedal please?

If those years of struggling become decades, you might end up facing...

These guys have likely been working in music stores for years and years and years... They've seen music fads come and go, and are still hanging in there. When I was younger, most of these dudes were guys that played in bands in the 60's and 70's and would sometimes have attitudes about the newer trends that had come along since then.

Today they've largely been replaced by middle-aged rockers who still love '80s hard rock or hair metal, and think rock has sucked since then. For the most part, though, they can either be cool cats or bitter a$$holes depending on how angry they still are by their music of choice slipping from popularity. They'd probably still like to be spending their nights playing in L.A. Twyster and doing cocaine out of the butt cleavage of strippers, but those days are long, long, long behind them now.

The Rock and Roll Throwback is often related to...

This class of employee can take several forms, although they are commonly either metal guys or blues-men of some type. Whatever the form, they tend to think their music of choice is the only good stuff out there. At their most irritating, these dudes are just not helpful if your gear preferences, or your look, mark you as someone from another, 'musical team.'

I once worked with a Metal Purist that we nicknamed "Dr. Dio," who was openly hostile to customers who weren't metal musicians. I once saw him argue with a teenager, easily less than half his age, that Faster Pussycat was a better band than Nirvana. Whatever one's opinion on that, it was weird to watch a 40-year-old with hair like Nikki Sixx losing his shit while arguing with a 17-year old. What would the Metal Gods think of that lapse of decorum, Dr. Dio? ...What would Michael Angelo Batio think?

It's not just the Metal Purists who can be jerks, though. I once had a Blues Purist give me attitude when I was trying to buy a guitar he deemed suited for hard rock. I don't know how to counter these people -- like any closed-minded clown, it's probably just better to avoid them unless you happen to play the kind of music they love. If you happen to play their chosen music, you've probably made an invaluable music-store ally. If not, just walk quickly away.

Of course, lots of friendly and helpful people also work at guitar shops. Once you find a place that meets your needs and has employees you like, you are indeed a lucky person. Just never turn your back on Dr. Dio. You never know what that guy is capable of.