Micro Lesson 118: "Key of E" 12-Bar Blues Jam

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 118"

This Micro Lesson explores a 12-Bar Blues Progression in the Key of "E." 

The jam moves across the I-IV-V chords found in the key of "E Blues." Blues progressions are marked by the use of harmony from the world of "Dominant 7th" chords. In the key of, "E" this gives us, "E7, A7 and B7."

Once an outline of harmony, (using Dominant chords), works its way across the changes we establish a very popular common sound. This particular progression applies a finger-picked, 'electric style,' blues concept. 

This blues-jam employs a bass-note punch upon each measure which pushes in chord tones directly after it. This push ties in each of the chords found in the 12-bar jam. Those chords are the, "E7," with the chord tones of "E, G#, B, D." The "A7," chord establishes the chord tones of, "A, C#, E, G." And the, "B7" chord tones include, "B, D#, F#, A."

Work slowly to target the chord tone finger-picked melody with the proper dynamics. Be sure to apply a shuffle feel to anchor the blues style. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 118: "Key of E" 12-Bar Blues Jam

Micro Lesson 117: "D Major" Pop-Instrumental Melody

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 117"

This Micro Lesson shows how a pop-instrumental melody (in the key of "D Major"), can apply several basic melodic ideas to produce a strong and flowing melody under a common I-IV-V chord progression. 

The melody begins with a pick-up note phrase using 16th-notes to pull-in the tonic note of the key, (D). Chord tones are inter-dispersed between scale tones to create a strong melody statement that floats around the Root and "Maj. 3rd" chord tones. 

In measure two, the 5th and Maj. 3rd are targeted of the V chord (A Major). A similar 16th-note melodic phrase (as we applied in the beginning) pulls in the third measure. 

The third measure focuses upon the IV-chord of "G Major." The "G" chord is highlighted by an 8th-note scale phrase that targets the "G Major's" Root and 5th chord tones. 

Our fourth measure accomplished two tasks. It punches the tonic chord of "D Major," and it prepares for the loop of the progression by applying the V-chord as well as, the same 16th-note phrase we started off with. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 117: "D Major" Pop-Instrumental Melody

Micro Lesson 116: "E Minor" Aerosmith-Style Rock Riff

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 116"

This Micro Lesson runs through a classic rock rhythm guitar idea in the style of "Aerosmith." 

This "E Minor" riff operates off of the 5th string 7th fret "E" power-chord and balances several 4th intervals between the 4th and 3rd strings. 

In the first measure we conduct a unique bend at 11th fret relaying the "Aerosmith" style and feel. Second measure has a Minor Pentatonic scale run also bringing in that "Joe Perry" guitar style. 

The third measure has some interesting 4th ideas played against 'E Minors' 6th chord of "C." The last measure plays off of the keys 7th chord "D." A blues /rock turnaround lick takes us back once again to the top to repeat the riff and loop the phrase. 

Take your time developing this riff. It is best played with a combination of flat-pick and hybrid style plucking. Check out Aerosmith songs like "Rag Doll," to better associate this style of classic rock guitar playing. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 116: "E Minor" Aerosmith-Style Rock Riff

Micro Lesson 115: "Key of C" Ragtime Blues Lick

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 115"

This Micro Lesson explores the musical ideas of a Ragtime Blues Lick in the key of "C." 

The lick moves through several smooth surrounding tones of the "C7" chord to highlight the effect of not only the sound of the chord, but also the Ragtime sound. 

In measure one we begin the lick by working off of the chords Root of "C" and the Minor 3rd chord tone against the Diminished 5th and Perfect 4th intervals. 

The second measure introduces the Perfect 5th and Minor 7th tones against the chords root of "C" and that strong Diminished 5th once again. 

The third measure is where we accelerate the lick through a busy set of chord tones and finally introduce our Major 3rd at the end of the phrase resolving into a couple of three note chords based upon the Dominant 7th sound. 

It's a fun lick that really takes advantage of our classic blues color tones, phrased with Ragtime flare. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 115: "Key of C" Ragtime Blues Lick

GuitarBlog: Phrasing with Multiple Modes...

GuitarBlog: Phrasing with Multiple Modes...

This week on the GuitarBlog we will discuss how to phrase melody lines over chord progressions that leave the key signature and in doing so include multiple modes. 

Modes are often thought of as being used within a single modal progression. But, when modes are used in a; Jazz, Classical, or in a Progressive Rock situation - to cover more than one modal harmony idea - things can get a little more complicated. 

In this lesson, I'm going to run through how the modes of; Dorian, Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian can be combined to blend a melodic idea across a chord progression that flows through more than one mode within a group of chord changes. Enjoy!

Phrasing with Multiple Modes:

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Lemmy Facing Serious Health Issues - Motorhead Cancels Shows...

Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister is once again facing health issues.

As Blabbermouth reports, Lemmy was taken to a hospital yesterday (April 25) after "suffering from gastric distress and dehydration."

The health issues have forced the band to cancel their appearance on Brazil's Monsters of Rock festival, while Kilmister is reportedly undergoing tests at a local hospital.

As a last-minute replacement, the remainder of Motorhead - guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee - organized a jam session with Sepultura's Andreas Kisser and Derrick Green, along with several other guests.

Mr. Kilmister has been facing serious health issues in recent times. In one of the recent updates, he noted that he was feeling much better, explaining how he stopped drinking "evil" Coca-Cola and reduced his smoking to just one pack per week.

"I stopped smoking about two years but I started smoking again but I'm only doing a pack a week as opposed to two packs a day, which I was doing," he told Full Metal Jackie.

"I stopped drinking Coca-Cola. I haven't had a Coke in two years because I think they're evil. Ten spoons of sugar in a can of Coke and I've got diabetes. ... I drink vodka and orange now. It's very much less." 

Making a Living as a Session Guitarist...

How Do You Make a Living, as a Session Guitarist? Just ask Ron Zabrocki... This Q and A session with him breaks down his thoughts about session gigs, how the music business has changed, why he writes for Guitar World, (among others), and the value of saying no.

Ron Zabrocki didn't plan to spend his life in a studio. He wanted to be on tour, shredding guitar licks in front of an audience every night. But life intervened, and he had to figure out how to make a living.

For the last three decades, he has worked as a session guitarist, playing for anyone and everyone. Zabrocki took a break from "one of those weeks where I'm sitting here mixing and mixing and mixing" to talk to Pacific Standard about how the business has changed, why he writes for Guitar World, and the value of saying no.

What do you tell people you do when they ask?

I start with the dream. I always say, "I'm a guitarist." And I am a guitarist. That's what I'm supposed to be. But in this day and age, you do a little of everything. I've always done everything. My creative field is as a guitarist, but I got really good at doing all these other things out of necessity. You can get a job or you can diversify.

In the music business, you can make money or you can make music. What people don't realize is that it's called the "music business." It's not called the "music pay to play." It's not called the "music have my stuff for free." Anybody who doesn't get that better be so good, have a great team, and have $5 to $10 million to break into the business as an artist. If they aren't going to do that, they have to remember this is a service business.

You need to do things to make people like what you do. People want to make money being their creative selves, and that's not what it's about. You can play for yourself anytime you want, but you're not going to be in a business. You make money by diversifying.

What are some of the other things you do?

I live in Litchfield, Connecticut. I moved up here after 9/11 because you go where you have to go. September 11th shut down the music business in New York, so you run to the hills, literally. Half of my house is a recording studio, as good as any professional studio anywhere. I record people, but it's my house also, so it's not a recording mill. It's not about that at all. I mix. I edit. I produce. Jingles and things like that.

But I also play guitar. I really am a session guitarist. In the old days, you'd go running from studio to studio. Nowadays, it just shows up in your email. It's a lonely business. Someone sends me a track, I add the guitar as best as I can, and I send it back.

While I'm doing the guitar, I listen to the track and, after I've gained their trust and they like what I do, I suggest that I could help them in other areas. You start easing your way into doing extra things for them. I sing backing vocals.

I love to teach guitar. I haven't had much time lately, but I do teach. And I teach music production. All of that alone is a pretty busy thing. I play out occasionally. And I record my own music and sell it. That's a lot.

How long ago did you start diversifying?

We gotta go back to '86. I'm 55 years old. I'm not afraid to say it. I'm not trying to be the next big thing. That has nothing to do with my life right now. I just like being a guitarist.

It's 1986. I'm 25, 26 years old. I'm out playing a lot. It's all good. It's fun. Just doing a lot of live shows, breaking into the session world. And then my father dies and my mother gets sick, and I have to stay home to take care of her. Out of necessity, I have to figure out a way to work from home because I ended up spending literally the next 11 years locked in a house taking care of her. Life took over.

I could get a job or I could figure out how to make it work in the house. I started buying home recording gear. It wasn't totally impossible to get decent results at home. I started putting a few studios out of business here and there. That was good. It meant I was taking their clients. You do everything you can at the beginning. But I'd still have to run out and play guitar in studios.

That's what got me started. Before that, I had no intention of being a studio guy. I wanted to play live. I didn't know if I was going to be an artist. I wouldn't mind being the backing guy, road warrior-type, but I knew I didn't want to be sitting at home, playing in a studio. But life took over. Once you're established, it's like, OK, it's not that bad.

I don't like it much anymore because you don't have the camaraderie. Back then, you'd still see a lot of people. Over the last five to 10 years, it's really gotten isolating.

How do you get new clients?

You have to get your name out there. People used to pay for advertising, but you don't advertise anymore. You have to have your name in the game, and you do that through endorsement deals. I have a few of those with companies like Line 6. They keep me at the forefront of technology and in my studio career, it helps me get more work than my competition. I write for Guitar World, and guitarists find me. I could teach all day through Skype because of that, but I'm too busy playing and enjoying it.

It's also important to look ahead. I'm planning a video instruction series for guitar and production. You do things like that because they will sell on their own. It's just like an online business. You don't have to run it. People just download them.

The music business is the Wild West right now. It's every man for himself, and that's a good thing. I like that. You don't have somebody telling you what to do; you tell yourself what to do and then you do it.

If I relied only on local, I would be in financial debt. I am in farm land. There is no music scene. You have to open yourself up to the rest of the planet on the Internet. When you do that, your client potential opens up exponentially. Right now, I'm working on people from Manchester, England; Beijing, China; Milan, Italy; and Bangalore, India. It's a global thing. That's really important.

I found you by Googling "session guitarist." You were one of the first names that popped up. Did you actively try to make that happen?

Yes. I'm the first one that pops up. Why? Because I contribute to one of the largest, if not the largest, guitar magazines in the world on session guitarists. You build up a reputation. When people ask me to play for them, they want me to play something that sounds like something today. They aren't in this for their health. They are in this to make money too.

What percentage of your income comes from the different streams?

I would say 50 percent from guitar session work, maybe 30 percent from production work, and 20 percent from teaching, writing, and the other extra stuff.

Do you actively push to do other things to a track beyond the guitar?

I would if I heard that it was required. It happens all the time. If they like you, they hang on to you. I have had some clients for 20 or 30 years. Those people will always be around. Well, they are getting older so they won't be around forever because they'll be stopping it at some point. But you always have your old friends.

You have to make them happy. You can't make yourself happy. You try. That's creative. I keep myself happy creatively by doing my own thing. I'm trying to make more time for that. I hope to be doing 50 percent of that in the next year, just because I can. You get your name out there enough, and it can become a viable thing. Anyone else my age would be retiring and moving into something else that they enjoy doing. But it's hard. Once they get you, oh my God.

You have to keep saying yes.

That's the other thing. Saying no is tricky, but I'm learning how to do it. I say no 80 percent of the time. You can tell the signs. Sometimes you make money, sometimes you make music. If you can make money and music, that's great. But you can tell if the person is going to be a real pain in the ass. This is the music business. There are a lot of really crazy people out there. They'll say something like "I want to hear something like blue skies," and you just know there's no way to make them happy. Or, they are going to do something that will get you nowhere. If you are just making money, it's not worth it. Run away. Just run. There is always another job, in any field.

I could have made a lot of money transcribing music. I did it once. I made incredible money. But I hated it. I put it off for two weeks, and I finally did it. This was years and years ago, and I think the guy paid me $3,000 for a job that ended up taking 10 hours. That was a lot of money back then. I'd rather drive a cab. I hated it so much. It didn't hurt me by saying no.

Micro Lesson 114: "E Minor" Classic Rock Riff

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 114"

This Micro Lesson Jams out on a Classic Rock Riff in the key of "E Minor." 

The riff begins from off of an open, "E," 6th string and applies the, "E Power-chord," from the 5th string seventh fret position. The 5th string root, "E," power chord becomes a sus4 before dropping down a whole-step to a, "D," chord prior to the 2nd measure. 

Once in second measure, a Pentatonic lick creates a statement that pulls in measure three's, "G and A," power chords. 

Measure four not only ties in the keys tonal center tone, (E), as a bass-note, but it also applies a nice turnaround lick on the 2nd and 3rd guitar strings. 

Take your time developing the patterns and watch your fingerings closely when building the speed. Use a metronome or drum machine to build speed. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 114: "E Minor" Classic Rock Riff

How to Start Writing Music for Commercials...

Have you ever wondered how a musician could become a jingle writer and how it's possible to have a career as a songwriter and a career as a composer? The truth is everyone who writes for ads has a different story of how he or she landed into the world of writing a 30-second film score. Here's one such story...

Meet Cheryl B. Engelhardt, she admits to only having one career: "I create music while sharing my process. The whole kit 'n' caboodle (composing, songwriting, touring, speaking, writing e-courses and articles, hosting apprentice programs) is what I do to make a living, to stay creative and wake up excited about my day of work ahead of me."

And, another thing - she states clearly, "I've never really written a typical "jingle," you know, like Folgers' "The Best Part of Waking Up" or "The Joy of Pepsi" or McDonald's "ba da ba ba ba." I write what I'd call music underscores – the kind of music that you can maybe hum along to, but usually doesn't have lyrics and is often specific to a certain commercial (versus an entire campaign), like this Honey Nut Cheerios ad."

After a lifetime of playing the piano, a double major in biology and music, and dabbling in writing piano music and a few lyrics (mostly about rainbows and unicorns), Cheryl always thought music was a hobby. So after college, she landed a job as a scuba diver for the USGS doing water quality research (in the Delaware River, not as glamorous as it sounds).

After six months, she realized she missed music. So she started looking to write music for anything she could get her hands on, including a friend's website’s landing page and several (terrible) low-budget indie films. Through a connection of her sister's, she ended up getting a job as a messenger for a post-production company in New York City – the folks who edit the video content, mostly for ads. She became fascinated with how the whole process of creating a commercial worked, especially where the music comes from.

"I started to think that if I had my own music recorded, I could ask the editors to slide my songs under their edits of the ads, in hopes that the clients would fall in love with them! So, I started writing songs, putting together a band, doing a few gigs, and finally recording my first record. Yet even with a mastered record in hand and a full-time position at a post-production house, it turned out that placing my songs in ads was harder than it sounded."

After a year, Cheryl transitioned to a job as the assistant tech at a composing studio, also known as a "jingle house." She had caught the gigging bug and performed around New England every weekend, and did longer tours all over the USA and Europe on her two-week vacations. Luckily, Cheryl was able to take extra time off for touring since the company she was working for was run by musicians and past performers.

Quote - "I knew this was the direction for me: to be a "music creator" and not stuff myself into a single bottle labeled "performer," "songwriter," or "composer."

While Cheryl was at the jingle house and not on the road, she started staying late, using the empty composers' studios to write on whatever jobs were in-house. The next morning, she would present her tracks to the bosses, and they started to include her compositions in the batch of tracks they sent to the clients. And pretty soon, cheryl started "winning" jobs.

Unfortunately, her, "winnings" came at the same time that her touring was becoming slightly more profitable and exceedingly more addicting. her second pop record was about to be released and she saw herself on the songwriting-artist path more than she saw herself as a jingle composer.

"This realization hit me when I was sitting in the composer studio, coming up with a musical theme for the cartoon germs that were infesting a cartoon toilet for a cleaning supply commercial. I thought, "Is this what I want to be doing, creatively, forever?"

Three years into the job, she left the jingle house and continued touring for another two years, until producing her third record. At this time, she was missing the consistency of working at a full-time job (read: money was tight!) and tired of the logistics of booking her own tours.

"I was at a crossroads: take on the artist lifestyle, or establish myself as a freelance composer, or get another day job? 

I decided to do the first two. And as soon as I made the decision to do both – be an artist and composer – I was signed on to score two documentary films and compose original scores and remix songs for CollegeHumor.com web series and parodies. I knew this was the direction for me: to be a "music creator" and not stuff myself into a single bottle labeled "performer," "songwriter," or "composer."

Cheryl decided to reach out to all the jingle houses and ad agencies she'd had met over the years of working in the ad industry to see if she could get on their freelance call lists. She put together a great looking reel and looked up film productions that were still in pre-production (the time when they are choosing their team) and film auditions on Craigslist to see which directors were in the early stages of creating their films. She hired an intern. and then kept writing songs, booking small tours, and moving forward.

Cheryl say's her favorite part about writing for jingles is that the fast turnaround (usually the whole process goes down under two weeks) caters to her need for creative diversity.

"I get bored – fast (this may or may not have anything to do with why I married a mountain guide). Working on creating a whole musical story in 30 seconds is ideal for me. Yet, I'm not going to ever quit writing songs, as there's a level of personal expression in a song that could never be captured in a jingle. So, for now, I'll do both."

Now, Cheryl's benchmark for accepting a composing job is whether or not she can get to help someone (or brand or company or film director) express themselves and tell their story through creating music. The partnership and creativity that results in self-expression is now the reason why she likes to write for commercials, films, and co-write with other artists for their new records.

"Ask me in another six months, and I'm sure there will be different iterations of this, but it all comes down to self-expression, creativity, and partnership!"

Can you write a great jingle? Get paid a minimum of $10,000 and have your song used in a national ad campaign by submitting to these free opportunities:

Midem Presents: Grey Sync Session 2015 - Folgers

Micro Lesson 113: "Key of A" Jazz-Blues /Fusion Lick

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 113"

This Micro Lesson takes a Jazz-Blues format in the key of "A" and spices it up with a Fusion twist. 

The lick combines elements of Jazz and Blues concepts with chromatic passing tones to create a smooth flowing line that works great to cover a typical I-IV-V chord progression in Blues Harmony. 

The lick starts off in the 8th position covering Blues ideas mixed with short chromatic ideas along the fourth and third strings. This continues until the third measure where the line becomes very geometrical across the string sets in 4th position. 

More chromatic ideas are performed at the top of the phrase on the first string. The lick finishes off by applying a fast pedal-point run based from off of the second string fifth fret. 

The upper melodic movement is another chromatic line moving across frets 8, 7,6 and 5 on the first string. Work at developing the fingerings and memorize the fretboard positions of the lick first. Use a metronome to help build the speed. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 113: "Key of A" Jazz-Blues /Fusion Lick

Who destroyed the music industry?

A new book called How Music Got Free uncovers the story of the man who was the most prolific leaker of recorded music in the wake of the MP3 revolution.

The new edition of the New Yorker carries the story of one of the most important people in the history of the music industry, someone you’ve never heard of. Dell Glover never made music, never occupied a significant position in the record industry, never put on a gig, never ran a magazine, never did any of the things people who are supposed to be important in the music industry do.

The New Yorker piece is written by Stephen Witt, and it’s based on his astonishing forthcoming book How Music Got Free. The book tells the story of three people: Glover, Karlheinz Brandenburg, the German academic who was the key figure in the invention of the MP3, and Doug Morris, the music industry executive who made Universal the most powerful record label in the world.

But it’s Glover’s story that is the most compelling. His sole qualification for changing the face of music forever was that he had a job at Universal’s CD pressing plant in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, and that he became a member of a file-sharing group called Rabid Neurosis (RNS). It was this combination that meant that, in Witt’s words, “from 2001 on, Glover was the world’s leading leaker of pre-release music”.

With his access to music – during this period Universal was cornering the market in hip-hop, which was becoming the most popular music in the world – Glover was able to get albums to RNS weeks ahead of their release. Over its 11-year span, RNS was responsible for leaking more than 20,000 albums.

What’s fascinating about this is that none of the principals were bothered about making money. The code of “the Scene” – the group name given to filesharing groups – was that they were not pirates. They were not interested in financial gain, or even leaking the albums to the wider world. They just wanted to be first: that was the badge of honour. And, of course, if you supplied the Scene with new material you would be granted access to the films and music other Scenesters had uploaded. 

For Glover, as much as anything, it was a way of making sure he never had to pay for entertainment (though he also made serious money selling pirated movies, especially). Needless to say – as everyone with music they didn’t pay for on their hard drives, which is everyone, knows – the music didn’t stay inside that closed circle for long. As Witt writes in the New Yorker: “There was scarcely a person younger than 30 who couldn’t trace music in his or her collection to [Glover].”

It seems as though music industry executives simply couldn’t comprehend the notion of not-for-profit theft. The labels only started taking notice of the MP3 format only when technology companies started making MP3 players – at which point they came down on the first manufacturers like a ton of bricks. If there had been a clear economy built around leaked music, the labels might have felt as if they had a target. Instead, it was as if a fiendish gang had robbed a jewellery store only to put all the diamonds out on a help-yourself stall. It simply didn’t compute.

In the end, the authorities caught up with Glover. In October 2009 he pleaded guilty to one count of felony conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. He served three months in prison. Not that it could save the music industry. In the three years after Glover started leaking Universal’s music in 2001, the company laid off 11% of its workforce. They never knew the name of the man who had caused them to lose their jobs.

• How Music Got Free is published by Bodley Head on 18 June.

Micro Lesson 112: "Key of C" Blues Guitar Lick

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 112"

This Micro Lesson takes a run through a Blues Lick in the key of "C." 

This Blues idea starts out in the 8th position, "C Blues Scale." The patterns used in this lick are all very common phrases leaning toward the style of Eric Clapton. 

The phrases within this lick apply techniques like; "Hammer-ons," "Pull-offs," "Slides," "Double-Stops," and "Bends." 

At the end of measure three the idea begins transitioning away from the 8th position and moves across the 5th and 3rd into the end of the lick at the 1st position. 

The phrase finally resolves into a "C7" chord to complete the run. Take your time with the ideas, and work slowly to connect each position with useful fingering patterns. Use a metronome to build the speed. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 112: "Key of C" Blues Guitar Lick

Kirk Hammett Lost His Phone and 250 Metallica Riffs...

It would seem that the reported figure of 1,200 new Metallica riffs is now down to 950 (958 to be precise), as guitarist Kirk Hammett lost the phone that contained 250 fresh musical ideas.

Kirk explained during an appearance on The Jasta Show: "I put riffs on my iPhone, but something very unfortunate happened to me about six months ago. I lost my iPhone [containing] two hundred and fifty musical ideas. And I was crushed."

He continued (via Blabbermouth): "It didn't get backed up. And when it happened, I was bummed out for about two or three days. I walked into the house. My wife saw me and she said, 'Uh-oh, what's wrong? Did you get a phone call from a relative?' I said, 'No.' She said, 'What's going on?' I told her, and she understood. "I lost [the phone]. I just plain lost it. I can't find it. I'm still looking for it to this day. I just set it somewhere and... It still might turn up. I'm hoping it will. To try to remember those riffs…? I can only remember, like, eight of 'em.

So I just chalked it down to maybe it just wasn't meant to be and I'll just move forward with it." The axeman made sure to point out, "All you musicians out there who use your phone, make sure it's backed up..!

When asked about the sound of new Metallica material, Hammett replied: "Let's just say that the stuff that's coming up is super riffy, super heavy… We've developed a vocabulary of how we express ourselves through riffs and technique, and let's just say that that vocabulary is well versed. I would say, you know, it's a lot similar to 'Death Magnetic' but different in certain parts. is doing a lot of really, really cool melody stuff these days, a lot of vocal layers.

"'Lords of Summer' is a good example of that, the beginning. And we're just jamming the stuff out. But, yeah, I can say if there's any album that I can compare the stuff that we're working on to, I would say it's a lot like 'Death Magnetic'. And, you know, okay, there's a couple of songs that remind me of something on [1988's] '…And Justice for All', but the album doesn't sound like '…And Justice for All.'"

Micro Lesson 111: "C Minor" Bass-Line Guitar Riff

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 111"

This Micro Lesson applies a moderate tempo walking style bassline guitar riff over a harmony in the key of "C Minor." 

This "bassline melody" idea limits the use of bassline notes to the lower four guitar strings. In measure one, we have a, "C Minor Pentatonic," melody for the bassline that tracks off of the root of the scale. It is phrased across both the "Cm" and "Gm" (the I - V) chords of the key. 

Measure two moves into the IV-chord ("Fm"), and also pushes back into the V-chord once more. The turnaround measure at the end of the riff becomes much more "C Minor" scale oriented and flows through a connected harmony of both the root chord of, "Fm" and the VII chord of "Bb." 

To comprehend the full extent of this bass-line riff, I would highly recommend that any players studying this material record the chord changes on a backing /Jam-track. Try experimenting with a Reggae feel on the rhythm jam-track when recording the changes. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 111: "C Minor" Bass-Line Guitar Riff

The GuitarBlog: Jeff Beck - Lead Guitar Style

GuitarBlog: Jeff Beck - Lead Guitar Style...

This week on the GuitarBlog we are covering the lead guitar style of legendary guitarist, "Jeff Beck."

The best way to truly learn how to play in a guitarists guitar style is through the study of their music. 

I'd highly suggest learning some of Jeff Beck's more famous tunes like, "Beck's Bolero," and the piece, "Rice Pudding." These songs really highlight his unique use of bends and staccato in his lead playing ideas. 

However, it goes without saying that his album, "Blow by Blow," is one of the all time legendary collections of where his playing really evolved from back in the 1960's. 

I hope you enjoy this breakdown of a few of Jeff Beck's lead guitar concepts. And, I hope it inspires you to carry on into many more avenues of his guitar style. Enjoy!

Jeff Beck - Lead Guitar Style:

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Get the Most Out of Your Band Rehearsal...

Nowadays, it’s essential to save as much time as possible – and when you’re in an up-and-coming band, you especially need all the time you can get. From promotion to business operations, tour planning to practicing, there are barely enough hours in the day. Not to mention that a lot of musicians balance a nine-to-five job with a music career.

You need to be efficient as possible to accomplish it all. In this article, we'll roll out some rehearsal tips to get you in and out of your practice space in three hours or less.

First things first – it’s all about preparation.

Establish roles and responsibilities
Every band needs a leader and band-mates who understand their own dynamic within the group. After defining the goals of your rehearsal, it should be the leader’s job to develop the structure and delegate roles and tasks to make sure the rehearsal is running as efficiently as possible.

Based on your particular band setup, your roles may need to be tweaked a bit, but this list is a good starting point for any group:

Schedule Organizer: This person organizes schedules. Doodle, Google, and Apple Calendars are all great ways to manage and share different timetables.

Sheet Music Distributor: Usually the songwriter, this person sends everyone the sheet music and lyrics to learn their parts, whether for an original song or a cover.

Sound Engineer: Sound is everything, so having a designated person responsible for checking levels is a huge aspect in ensuring you practice how you play. (As a side note, use a recording device for the practice. You'll be able to know how to improve your sound, and even have a rough demo.)

Roadie: Everyone can offer to help with moving equipment, which will earn automatic appreciation from all band-mates.

Now that roles and preparation are out of the way, you can map out your practice. Here's a typical schedule that you can use to prepare for an upcoming show. Feel free to adapt it if you need to budget time to work out new material or write songs.

Rehearsal layout
Set-up (15 minutes): Taking care of your gear is obviously important, but, as an up-and-coming band, you want to be as efficient and fast as possible setting up. You’ll usually get a very limited time to set up for shows with other bands, so why not practice getting set-up and ready to play quickly?

Warm up (30 minutes): There are many exercises and jams that you can use to warm up as a band. Dust off the cobwebs, play some oldies, some top-40 and always include some improvisational jams.

Work on transitions (30 minutes): Some of the trickiest parts of songs are transitions to different sections, chorus to bridge, bridge to verse, etc. Take some time to work them out.

Band-Break (15 minutes): Relax, but try to stay focused by discussing; songs, parts, and show ideas. Don't drift off topic to; TV Shows, Movies or your current relationship issues.

Intros and outros to each song (30 minutes): These are your first and last impressions. If you mess up, people won’t give you a chance, or they’ll be left with a bad taste in their mouths. Best to make sure everyone starts and ends the songs on-point.

Run your set (45 minutes): Now is the time to put it all together. Combine all those transitions, intros, and outros to create your ideal set. Learn this front-to-back – it'll help in all aspects of your live performance.

Shut-Down (15 minutes): Check that all the gear is shut off. Kill power to all the power-bars and any computer gear. Double-check everything. Leaving sensitive gear on for a day or two (or even over-night) can seriously damage equipment. Double-check everything, but keep it quick!

As you can see, the key here is organization and preparation. If you’re prepared for your practice, you’ll practice well. If you practice well, you’ll play well. If you play well, then who knows what the next big opportunity might be for you... but being prepared is half the battle.

5 Recording Mistakes All New Bands Make...

Your songs are written, the time and the money have been set aside... You've picked the studio and the person who will record them. So what can go wrong? ...A whole lot. 

To make sure you only have to deal with the small fires that flare up during every studio session, try to avoid these following recording mistakes at all costs... 

1. Not playing the material live first
It's not a great idea to wander into the studio without having played your songs in front of other people. It's not like after your set is done you'll poll the audience, but if you're perceptive at all, you'll know when something is effective and when it's a lead balloon. Going from your practice area to the studio is just going from one bubble to another, and you need to give your songs space.

2. Not letting the material cool
It's important to let your songs breathe. You don't eat a cookie right off the baking sheet, and you also shouldn't record a song that you wrote the day before or even a couple weeks before. Songs that seem amazing right after creation may wind-up pretty irritating given enough time. Demoing songs and listening to them over and over will allow you to figure out if what you have is actually ready to record, or maybe the song needs to bake a little longer.

3. Practicing too little
It's hard to top the awkwardness, frustration, and dreariness of being in a studio when one member of the band just can't get something right. It can happen even to the most seasoned musicians, but it definitely happens to those who don't spend their free time beforehand working on their parts and wind up flubbing them for way too long while the rest of their band-mates cringe behind the engineer.

4. Not acting as a "Band"
If your guitar solo was perfect on the take where the drummer dropped a stick, then you need to figure out, as a band, which is more important. You write music together and you play shows together, so you should be able to decide what is better for the record. But so often it turns into crab mentality, where each member cares only about how good he or she sounds. And that not only makes the process take longer and increases the chances for a blowup, but focusing on one instrument is rarely what makes a song sound good.

5. Dwelling too much on the final product
Recording is both exciting and stressful. Everyone involved wants the very best music to come out of the project. But even if you do everything right, when it's completed, you may think to yourself, "This is it?" 

Post-recording doldrums are very common because the record has sounded one way in your head for so long that you can feel you wasted so much time and energy just to hear it sound another way. That's why the first day you get back to the practice space, you have to put those songs, and the studio, and the whole process completely out of your head and start writing something new.

Micro Lesson 110: "Dsus4" D-A-D-G-A-D Open Tuning Riff

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 110"

This Micro Lesson takes a look into the world of open guitar tunings with one of the all time most popular guitar tunings, "DADGAD." 

This tuning is unique in how it doesn't generate a standard Major or Minor chord as an open harmony. Unlike "Open D" or "Open G" tunings, the DADGAD tuning produces a suspended chord. 

The suspended concept means that the chord is neither major, nor minor. The chord instead has no quality, and offers musicians a light, floating effect harmonically. 

The "Open" non specific sound can produce very unique opportunities for phrasing. And, this Micro Lesson effectively demonstrates this.

This riff begins from the harmony of two major chords "A Major" and "G Major," (the V and the IV of the tonal center "D Major"). The riff then drifts across a generous use open strings to resolve to the tonic of the key. 

Measures three and four duplicate the effect, however into another register of the tonic note. Use fingerstyle guitar technique to play through the lines of the riff. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 110: "Dsus4" D-A-D-G-A-D Open Tuning Riff

VIDEO - Roland Announces SY-300 Guitar Synth...

Frankfurt, Germany (April 15, 2015) -- BOSS is proud to announce the SY-300 Guitar Synthesizer, a groundbreaking analog-style synth designed to be used with normal guitar pickups. Yes, with "Normal Pickups."

Powered by cutting-edge BOSS technology, the SY-300 allows musicians to play latency-free polyphonic synth sounds with any guitar, with no special pickup needed. Users can also process their regular guitar sound with the SY-300’s synth parameters and effects to achieve a limitless range of unique tones.

With the SY-300, BOSS presents an all-new approach to guitar synthesis that unlocks an extraordinary world of sound creation for every guitarist. Unlike other products that require a special GK pickup and 13-pin cable to access synth voices, the SY-300 can be used with any guitar or bass via a standard 1/4-inch cable. It also integrates easily with stomps and pedalboard setups, thanks to its compact size and versatile I/O.

Powered by ultra-fast DSP and newly developed innovations from the BOSS engineering team, the SY-300 performs its amazing synth magic in real time, with no lag whatsoever. This delivers a latency-free playing experience that’s a natural extension of the user’s normal guitar, allowing them to play freely and organically without altering their technique in any way.

The SY-300 is equipped with a powerful polyphonic synthesis engine with three separate sections. Just like a keyboard player with a classic analog synth, guitarists have complete creative freedom to build sounds with a full palette of synthesis parameters, including different wave shapes, filter/amp controls, and LFOs. There’s even a step sequencer (with tap tempo control) for creating dynamic melodies and arpeggios by playing a single note. And with the cool Blender function, users can mix and match synth settings from other patches to discover new sounds instantly.

Beyond its synth voices, the SY-300’s synth engine can also be used to process a normal guitar sound to create an endless supply of unique textures. Users can apply synth filters, change attack and decay characteristics, and create cool dynamic movement with the LFOs and step sequencer.

The SY-300 also includes powerful multi-effects to enhance both synth and straight tones for maximum impact. Four simultaneous effects engines are available, each packing a number of effects types including overdrives and distortions, Slow Gear, Isolator, Slicer, and many others. Some types can perform two effects at once, such as chorus and delay or delay and reverb.

With its graphic LCD display, three assignable footswitches, and dedicated on/off footswitch, controlling the SY-300 while performing is simple and intuitive. Two external footswitches or an expression pedal can also be connected for even more real-time control if needed. There are 70 preset patches that are ready to play, plus 99 user patches for storing custom sounds.

The SY-300’s versatile I/O provides seamless integration with any setup. The Thru output can send the dry guitar sound to an amp or pedals, or be used along with the Return jack as an effects loop. Dual output pairs (Main and Sub) offer assignable signal routing options, while MIDI In and Out/Thru jacks are provided for interfacing with switchers, drum machines, and other MIDI gear.

The SY-300 includes a USB audio interface to capture audio tracks directly into music production software on a computer. Via USB, users can also route existing tracks into the SY-300 to “re-synth” sounds using the synth engine and effects to create new sounds for music productions.

The SY-300’s USB connection also enables players to build and organize patches with the dedicated BOSS Tone Studio editor and download new patches from the BOSS Tone Central website.