Jazz Chord Workout...

GuitarBlog: Jazz Chord Workout...

This week on the GuitarBlog we work on playing through three challenging Jazz Chord Workout exercises. 

The exercises begin with the seventh chords, then move on to using chord extensions and finally progress to working on altered chords. 

When I work with my own students I like them to understand that the foundational chords will be the Major 7, Minor 7 and the Dominant 7th chords. Once these chords are well developed, I will add the 9th, 11th and 13th chords next. 

After working on the extended chords, there are the more challenging altered chords like b9, #9, b5 and #5. It will take awhile to learn them all, but once you learn these, you'll be playing jazz tunes in no time.. Enjoy the lesson!

Jazz Chord Workout

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Is There No Chance to Succeed in Today's Music Industry...

A shrinking market, slumping sales, and more music artists than ever... is it official? ...is there now, "No Chance to Succeed in Today's Music Industry"

Imagine for a moment that you're a music /entertainment industry music critic for a major news service. Every day they cascade in packages, thump-thump-thump, through the letterbox, five or six at once. More arrive in your email inbox as downloads or as digital streams. This past week you have had more than 30 to listen to: it would have taken you 24 hours to do so in full. So many albums, so little time.

As a pop critic, you would be overwhelmed and baffled by the quantity of new music you would be sent. Surely such fecundity reflects the busy workings of a healthy market. But isn’t the music industry meant to be in crisis?

Recorded music sales have slumped. In 2000 they totaled $26 billion globally; last year they were down at just $15 billion. A declining economic sector usually results in a shrinking workforce. But musicians march to the beat of a different drum. Despite the travails facing the business, their numbers keep growing.

In 2001 the UK’s annual Labour Market survey reported 25,000 musicians in full- and part-time employment. Last year there were 41,000. PRS for Music, which collects royalties on behalf of songwriters, reports a similar trend. Five years ago it had 70,000 members. Last month the figure was 112,000.

The 100,000th PRS member, joining in 2013, was Nicholas Rognli-Olsen Noble, frontman for a Sheffield band called The Gentlemen. FT Music tracked Noble down to the Norwegian town of Eidsvoll, where he now lives. Things haven’t quite worked out as hoped for The Gentlemen.

Formed in 2005, with roots in Christian music, they play melodically punchy indie-rock with arena-ready choruses (untested, alas, in such a setting). They sold 10,000 copies of their first album Smile Back at Me, and supported fellow Sheffield-ite Jarvis Cocker and soft-rock chart toppers the Feeling at gigs. But the label to which they signed, the Stereo Tree, folded in 2009, leaving The Gentlemen to go it alone.

“We were slightly naive in thinking, ‘Great, we can do whatever we want now’,” Noble, now 30, recalls. “But we couldn’t. The whole network the record label came with was very valuable, and that sort of went away. So whilst we still had a fan base, reaching them was a lot harder than we understood. It became a sort of cottage industry and our career lost a lot of moment­um as a result.”

Noble and his three bandmates soldiered on, releasing albums up to 2013’s Departures. His father Keith was a songwriter too, and in the 1960s had been a member of the Screaming Abdabs, the band that went on to become Pink Floyd. “He says that back then, if you had a guitar and long hair, you’d get a record deal,” says the younger Noble.

Despite the publicity resulting from their front-man being the 100,000th PRS member, The Gentlemen have remained unsigned. They spent around four years working full-time on the band but, latterly, had to take casual jobs in order to support it. The band are still together — they’re playing a Christian music festival in Slovakia next week — but are no longer making new music.

In 2014, according to the Official Charts Company, 47,751 albums were sold for the first time. The comparable figure in 1994 was 11,654. The quantity of recordings has multiplied — and so too have listening figures. Although 1m-selling albums are in danger of extinction, the rise of music-streaming services such as Spotify has introduced a whole new order of superlatives. Ed Sheeran, for instance, was Spotify’s most-streamed act in 2014 with more than 860 million listens, while his album X was streamed 430 million times. That’s almost the equivalent of the populations of the US and Mexico added together.

At the annual Ivor Novello songwriting awards in London this month, the host, veteran radio DJ Paul Gambaccini, joked that Sheeran’s streaming success would have earned the Suffolk singer-songwriter less than when he was a busker. The great and the good of the UK music industry, gathered at a Park Lane hotel, laughed bitterly into their Châteauneuf du Pape. It is an industry tenet that tech companies are vampires draining money from music’s creators.

Technology has also transformed the creation of music by dramatically lowering recording and distribution costs. Sheeran is among those to have profited. In the days before he signed a record deal, he self-released his music as extended-plays (EPs), having recorded it in a professional studio costing £500 a day with a producer and engineer. Not only is that cheaper than in the past, but improved equipment reduces the time taken by recording sessions: two days in the case of Sheeran’s five- or six-track EPs. He then distributed his songs on the internet, the cheapest, most powerful self-promotional tool in history.

Sheeran’s do-it-yourself efforts, including a relentless schedule under which he played as many as 300 gigs in a year, led to his first hit with “The A Team” in 2011. Only then did he sign a deal with Atlantic Records, a self-made success, not one talent-scouted by the label. But not everyone with a guitar is the new Ed Sheeran. “Making music is cheap, but making a living from music is difficult,” says Noble, ruefully.

To compensate for falling record sales, musicians are seeking out other sources of revenue. Live music has risen in value — in 2008, its UK earnings overtook those from recorded music (£904m, against £896m), partially offsetting the sales losses. But gigging is a less lucrative option for smaller acts: there are too many intermediaries such as promoters and venue owners taking a cut.

Publishing rights represent a rising proportion of income. Gone are the days when a piece of music was seen to be ruined by association with an advertisement. Electronic musician Moby was scorned by bien-pensant music fans when his 1999 hit album Play became the first to have every track licensed for commercial use in adverts or film soundtracks. These days the practice is unremarkable. Dan Auerbach, frontman of the blues-rock duo the Black Keys, the most- licensed act on Warner Music Group’s roster in 2010, has dismissed “the whole idea of ‘selling out’” as an “archaic indie-rock ideal”.

It’s a whole different ballgame being a musician in 2015 than it was even 10 years ago,” says Will Kennard, one half of the London dance music production duo Chase and Status. “The younger generation, who I’m working with really closely now, they don’t really understand the concept of selling out, whereas the generation before mine, the one I grew up listening to in the 1990s, definitely did think it was all about the integrity of the art form.”

Kennard and his partner Saul Milton, the “Chase” to his “Status”, have a successful recording career: their 2011 album No More Idols won double-platinum certification, selling over 800,000 copies. But they also produce work for other acts, including Rihanna.

“Artists have to be a bit savvier now about how to sustain their career if they want to continue in music,” says Kennard, who is also the co-founder of East London Arts and Music, a school for 16- to 19-year-olds specializing in music education, which opened last September.

It teaches business skills as well as performance and technology. “While we’ve got performers who are ridiculously talented, I’m more interested in finding that young rapper or singer who might not go on to be the next Jay Z, but who has a really sharp eye for artist-and-repertoire or management. There’s more to the music industry than being a pop star.”

Philippa Hanna, 31, is the wife of The Gentlemen’s drummer, Joel Cana. Based in Sheffield, she is a full-time singer-songwriter with a three-album recording career behind her, mainly self-funded. She has an audience in the niche Christian music market with her acoustic gospel-pop, selling 30,000 units in total, but is trying to break into the mainstream. “It’s true of lots of artists today,” she says. “We’ve only ever known a culture where you build your own career. I guess there was a glory day when people used to get scouted and discovered and it was more important to find a label at an early stage of your career.”

In the absence of record label patronage, crowd-funding is a popular method of raising money — today’s equivalent of 18th-century poets advertising for subscribers. Alexander Pope earned about £5,000 for his translation of The Iliad in the 1710s, equivalent to £100,000 today.

Hanna isn’t doing too badly in comparison: she has raised £25,000 from fans to be used to support her career rather than record an specific album. “The end goal”, she says, “is to take you to the next level, to where you can attract the right partner, either a label or a manager with some real clout.”

Recently she was flown to Nashville by Warner Music for a showcase. “You have to have the perfect pitch,” she says, sounding not unlike a contestant on The Apprentice. “You have to have a sales record, a client base, you really have to have a career to take to someone like a label and say, ‘This is working, would you like to come on board and invest?’”

The entrepreneurial pattern is repeated at the highest level. Dr Dre’s headphone empire Beats and Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal are prominent examples. Endorsement deals have deepened into “creative director” link-ups, a role that Lady Gaga played at Polaroid until last year, or “brand ambassadors”, as with BeyoncĂ©’s work for Pepsi Cola. In a sign of the lengths to which stars will go to protect their own brand identity, Taylor Swift has successfully trademarked lyrics such as “this sick beat” for commercial use.

Nobel Prize-winning economist (and keen music fan) Paul Krugman calls this the “celebrity economy”. In March he appeared at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, with a panel including members of the band Arcade Fire, expressing the fear that an ever greater proportion of musical revenue is accruing to the one per cent at the top, those with the strongest name recognition. “I actually don’t quite understand how the bands I like are even surviving,” he said.

In the UK, there is a related anxiety that musicians are being driven away through lack of private resources. “It’s not possible for working-class people to sustain a music career . . . if they don’t have records labels and stuff,” former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher complained earlier this year.

Yet even if the proposition is true — that music is growing more unequal — how to explain the question of why more and more people want to be musicians, or why my slush pile of promotional CDs is getting bigger and bigger?

Guy Fletcher, PRS for Music’s chairman, is a songwriter who has written songs for the Hollies and Elvis Presley. He remembers PRS’s membership of songwriters and composers numbering 6,000 in 1965. Back then they collected £6m — around £100m in today’s prices — in performing rights on behalf of their members. Now the figure, split between 112,000 people, is £665m.

The pot has shrunk while the number of songwriters has exploded and it has become harder to negotiate a path between success and failure. The rise of music-streaming and download services allows listeners to cherry-pick albums for hits, diminishing the bread-and-butter of the songwriter’s trade.

It used to be slightly more even before the internet,” Fletcher says. “You didn’t have to have a string of hits to make a living. You could be a competent writer — I speak as someone who was a competent writer for many years. The mainstay of my income was the middle ground of stuff, album tracks. I’ve had album tracks by Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, Cilla Black, Cliff Richard, not necessarily the hit tracks from those albums.”

Professor Geraint Johnes of Lancaster University’s Work Foundation relates the rise in numbers of people involved in music to historic changes in Britain’s economy. Services have replaced industrial production; hospitality is one of the fastest-growing sectors. “Large numbers of people aren’t getting anything like the compensation that the stars are getting,” he says. “They’re working in hotels at weekends or doing wedding receptions. A lot of them have regular jobs that they’re doing as well as music.”

But not all jobs in music are remunerated hobbies. The Labour Market Survey has recorded a rise in people describing themselves as being fully employed in music — from 15,400 in 2001 to 24,000 last year.

You can’t look at the music market in isolation; you have to look at what’s happening in the labour market elsewhere to explain why people might be changing into music,” Johnes says. “In recent years, there’s been a decline in job security in many sectors of the economy. For some, the decline in security in other jobs may have made music appear more attractive, or at least less unattractive.”

It’s not a tremendously encouraging prospect for the swelling ranks of musicians. But there is something admirable in their economically irrational actions too, a determination driven by qualities that can’t be measured or even always accounted for — hope, fulfillment, ambition, doing what you want to do to.

“We are completely in agreement that we have no regrets,” says Nicholas Noble of The Gentlemen, surveying the wreckage of his band’s hopes. “We have had great times, but very little to show for it financially. I met my wife through the band, I wouldn’t have moved to Norway if it hadn’t been for the band. It has changed our lives substantially.” And who can put a value on that?

Breaking the Rules of Songwriting...

While there isn't an official songwriting rulebook, there are quite a few tried-and-true songwriting conventions that over time have essentially make up a few of its basic rules. In almost all instances, these "rules" are there because they tend to make songs more commercial or catchy or both.

That being said, breaking these rules can be a very effective tool, assuming it's done with the full understanding that you are doing so. In other words, breaking the rules by accident doesn't count and can often result in a song that isn't as effective as it could be. This article walks through the when, how, and why of breaking some of the rules of popular songwriting.

Breaking a songwriting rule should be done when the end result actually draws the listener's attention to that moment in the song for the better. I think the best way to illustrate this would be by example. One songwriting rule that's fairly commonly observed is that your lyric should be conversational. Part of what I take conversational to mean is that you put the accent on the proper syllable of each word.

The best time to break this rule would be when you're trying to draw the listener's ear to a particular word. By emphasizing a syllable in that word that usually doesn't get emphasis, your listener will most likely notice what you've done.

Sometimes it's not something they consciously notice, but it can make the song more fun to sing thus, more memorable. However, if your song is full of words where you're accenting an unusual syllable, it will not only lose its effectiveness but also make the song uncomfortable to listen to.

Breaking songwriting rules can be done in a variety of ways. As I mentioned above, you can take a specific rule and just break it once to draw attention to a particular moment in a song. However, you can also take a more global approach.

For example, if the general rule in country music singles is to keep the songs short and the topics relatively light, then writing a song that is over four minutes about a teenage girl losing her virginity would, in most cases, be considered pretty seriously breaking the rules. Yet that's exactly what the songwriters of "Strawberry Wine" did, and it was still a huge hit and career song for the artist (Deana Carter).

My experience is that the best reason to break a songwriting rule is that the song will be less effective by not breaking it. There are simply times when taking the safe route will water down a song that would otherwise have that magic "thing" we all look for when we write. If that's the case, then by all means, break the rule and make the song the best it can possibly be. I'd only suggest that it should be an active decision and that you be aware that you are, in fact, breaking a rule.

Personally, I'm not convinced that breaking any of the many unwritten songwriting rules is something you should make into a regular part of your songwriting practice. As I mentioned earlier, these rules exist because they tend to make your songs more commercial and effective. However, if you find yourself in a position where breaking the rules is your best bet, then I'd recommend embracing it fully.

Micro Lesson 134: "G Major" Country-Folk Guitar Riff

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 134"

This Micro Lesson covers a fun open-string sounding Country-Folk riff in the key of "G Major." 

The riff explores the use of several finger-picked arpeggiated organized segments of the; Root, IVth and Vth (G, C, D), chords of the key of "G Major."

In measure one the, "G Major," chord is performed as a finger-picked pattern using the 6th string bass-note of, "G" against upper 4th through 1st string chord tones. 

In measure two the, "C Major," chord appears and applies several busy sixteenth and grace-note ideas around the structure of the "C Major." 

Measure three brings back in our root chord of "G" with open 4th and 3rd string concepts filling up a punchy "G Major" effect. 

The progression wraps-up with the V-chord of the key moving back into the root "G Chord" once again. This progression should be performed finger-style to achieve the best technical response from the arpeggio patterned chord movements. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 134: "G Major" Country-Folk Guitar Riff

5 Ways to Kill Your Guitar Success

Nobody said being an independent musician would be easy. And if someone did, they totally lied. The DIY route is as arduous as its name implies. All of your endeavors are your own responsibility, and while some things are subject to chance and luck, your success is also primarily of your own making. 

Naturally, all that weight can sometimes bog you down enough to that you feel absolutely unmotivated about moving forward.

There are ways to combat that tendency, though. Below is a list of red flags to look out for – behaviors and habits that make the burden of a DIY musician's life feel impossibly heavy.

Avoid them if you can, and if you're already experiencing them, address the issues promptly. Motivation is everything in independent music-making, so keeping your drive running smoothly is crucial.

1. Dwelling on the negatives
Is it getting more difficult to find good gigs? Are you running low on money? Did your singer just quit two weeks before a gig you've already been promoting? Those are all serious bummers, but not uncommon ones. Whenever you hit a hurdle, remind yourself that it's happened to a ton of other people – and loads of those people found a way to get through it.

The worst thing you can do when something goes wrong is to dwell on it so intensely that you forgo finding a remedy. Working toward a solution – practicing harder for a better set next go 'round, organizing a big merch sale to raise funds, or replacing that lost band-mate – is the only way to avoid the narrow, stifling path of negativity and move into a more positive and productive place.

2. Not determining a future musical direction
If you're just practicing twice a week and playing a show once a month, you might find yourself feeling aimless relatively quickly. Failing to set direction for you or your band is a potential route to losing motivation. Without milestones to reach for, what's the point? Some might argue that simply playing for the sake of it is enough, but it's easy to feel stagnant after a while if you can't count any achievements.

3. Setting lofty /unrealistic goals
Goals are definitely important, but it's paramount that the markers you've set for yourself are realistic. If your goal is incredibly lofty – like to play an arena or win a Grammy within a few years of forming – you're being, well, kind of ridiculous.

Try instead to set achievable goals, like to perform before a crowd of 100 or release a debut EP in your first year. Then set up mini-goals that'll help you get there – grow your fan-base on Facebook, work the local venue circuit, write plenty of material, find someone you trust within your budget to record your band, and so forth.

4. Not being adaptable to conditions
No one likes relentless, pronounced complaining. And among musicians when a single person (or small group within a larger group) goes on and on about the same unfavorable conditions, most of us get really tired of that - really fast. Being a musician can really suck sometimes. But, we have to deal with all of it.

Sure, everybody can get a little miserable from day to day. Problems come up, and we all have bad days weeks and sometimes even months! But, whining about it to everyone and getting really worked up is not helping anything. It makes everybody, yourself included, feel worse.And, if you really let it get to you, things will eat you up inside.

Musicians need to compromise when it's necessary. Being a life-long musician definitely requires some strong psychological control, (this business is totally nuts), and if you can't work through those bad times, you might end up as the culprit in causing your own demise.

5. Comparing yourself to others and expecting perfection
Your situation is unlike any other musician's, so it's unfair to compare yourself to another player's situation. Just because they started after you and have hit some highs you haven't doesn't mean you're doing something wrong. It's just that they're doing something right – for them, and for them alone.

We're all unique like snowflakes, right? That sounds silly, but it's really true that we all have qualities that set us apart from other people. That said, nobody's path, whether successful or unsuccessful, can be compared to someone else's.

Basically, you are going to make mistakes. Again: you will make mistakes. Accept them, learn from them, and try again with renewed courage and ambition – or risk a dive in self-confidence or necessary, parasitic self-loathing that can lead to the demise of all of that necessary creativity that is so required to be a successful player.

Micro Lesson 133: "E Minor" 4th Interval Rock Riff

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 133"

This Micro Lesson riffs out on a 4th interval double-stop rhythm guitar idea in the key of "E Minor." 

Using a stream of steady 4th intervals, this riff covers a lot of different chord changes rapidly moving throughout the key in a busy succession. 

The fourth interval is an inversion of the popular fifth or better known as the "Power-Chord." This chord is used in almost every style of music out there. So, when the Power-Chord is inverted into the fourth, we achieve a very similar punchy effect which is very similar to the effect of the Power-Chord. 

The shape of the 4th is easy to play since across a majority of the strings, this pattern is simply produced by creating a barre. However, due to the tuning difference between the 3rd and 2nd strings the fourth interval shape is staggered by a 1/2 step. 

Learn this busy rock riff "measure by measure" and take your time building the speed. The final measure has a fun sounding turnaround riff that helps to pull the riff back around to the top. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 133: "E Minor" 4th Interval Rock Riff

9 Tips for Starting Your Own Guitar Teaching Studio

Teaching guitar lessons is a necessary part of almost every working guitarist's income these days. If you have a good mind for business (which you probably do if you already make your living via music), there are many benefits to starting your own teaching studio rather than joining up with another business. However, getting started can be tough work.

If you're up for the challenge, and in for a bit of work, it'll all pay off in the end. Here are nine tips for how to go about starting your own guitar teaching studio.

1. Figure out your teaching identity
First things first: your new teaching studio is a business, and you have to give that business some sort of identity. Many private instructors simply go by their own name, which is the simplest option. However, you may also choose to create a name for your new teaching studio specifically.

If teaching is your thing and what you really want to do, then this would probably be a good idea. It can really help with branding and gives your business a certain sort of legitimacy.

For many freelance musicians, however, teaching is just one of the many musical services they offer. If you fall into this category, creating a new name and web presence for your studio can really increase your workload (basically like running two small businesses as opposed to one), so often, the best option is to just stick to your own name.

If you are able to attain recognition as a player, your own name can actually be a good selling point when trying to attract potential students.

2. Decide on a location
Where are you going to teach? If your home space is clean, comfortable, and well enough equipped, operating your teaching studio from home is a great option. However, this is difficult if you live with roommates, you have a small family, or if you live in a quiet apartment /condo-complex with irritable neighbors.

If teaching at home won't work for you, then the other option is to rent a space. Many music stores will rent rooms to private instructors to use for lessons. Though this is an extra expense, teaching from a location outside of your home can add a little more legitimacy to your business, and may allow for you to justify charging a higher rate to compensate for the extra rent on your studio space.

Don't forget technology! Many teachers are finding students from all over the world through the use of video chat services. If you have the gear for it, this is another great way to bring yourself additional students.

3. Set your rates
Deciding what to charge can be tough. Though it's really up to each individual teacher, you can take examples from other instructors in your area to give you a base-line market idea of what music lessons typically cost, and you can go from there.

When deciding on your rate, there are a number of things to factor in. Your years of playing experience, years of private teaching experience, amount of music education, and demand all play a part. Don't be afraid to adjust your rates once you start getting a better idea of what your time is worth, and as you gain more experience.

4. Create your policies
Lay your lesson policies out clearly in writing so that you have clear agreements with your students from the very first lesson. What's your policy on lesson cancellations and makeup lessons? What forms of payment do you accept, and when does the student need to pay?

Are there specific dates where you don't teach (such as the weeks surrounding Christmas and Thanksgiving)? If your rates change, are current students affected, or only new ones?

These are things to decide upon and lay out clearly in order to protect both yourself and your student. The more you teach, the more things you'll find to add into your policies, so be sure to update your teaching policies regularly!

5. Gather teaching resources/materials
Nothing says "pro" like preparedness. Are you using any method books with your students? If so, have a copy of each at your studio so you can refer to it and as a precaution should your students forget theirs.

Are there certain exercises or songs that you find yourself (or predict yourself) giving to almost every student? Rather than scribbling it out at the end of every lesson, digitize a clean copy and turn it into a handout that you can have readily available.

Make sure your studio is also equipped with tuners, amplification (if necessary), a metronome, and plenty of paper and writing utensils. You can never be too prepared!

In this day and age, every teacher should have a computer hooked into the internet in their studio. Also, a high-quality laser-jet printer will be essential to print out any song charts and work-sheets you keep on your hard-drives for students.

Your studio should also have the ability to record personalized demonstrations of examples you're working on with every student at each class. Use email to pass along any important lesson related material digitally to your student at the end of every session.

6. Make your studio unique
Now it's time to really get rolling. With the enormous number of music teachers trying to work these days, plus the plethora of online materials that are readily available for self-taught players, you need to figure out a way to separate yourself from the crowd if you plan on running your own teaching studio. Why should somebody take lessons from you rather than the person /music store down the street?

Of course, all of the factors that I mentioned above that you used to determine your rate can be cited. What else can you offer students? If you have recording equipment readily available at home, why don't you offer recordings of each lesson so that the students can refer back at their leisure?

Do you have any specialized skills or styles on your instrument that you can teach? Do you teach multiple instruments? Are there other musical topics that you can teach (theory, composition, songwriting, etc.)? Can you offer any hospitality services (free coffee/tea/snacks)? Anything that you can use to separate yourself from the crowd will work to your advantage.

7. Establish a web presence
Now that you've got a solid identity, you can start setting up a web presence. If you're a freelance musician, this may be as little as an extra page on your website mentioning your teaching services and what you can offer. If you're starting a new business identity with its own name, you might want to consider making social media pages and a website specifically for your teaching studio. The easier your are to find, the more students you will attract!

8. Advertise
It's time to start reeling in the clients. Once you have a good number of students, it becomes much easier to attract new ones through word of mouth. However, when you first get started, you'll have to work to get your first leads. Ads on Craigslist and other classified services are generally free, and make for a good starting place. You may also have some luck using Facebook or Google ads. Give it a shot, and if you find it helping, then it's money well spent.

Don't neglect the power of physical advertising. Printing out a little flyer and posting it up in music stores, coffee shops, local book stores, event venues, shopping malls and schools can help your visibility in the community. Don't be afraid to reach out to your friends and family to see if they have any leads either!

9. Teach!
Once you're all set up and have started with your first few students, your top priority is to teach great lessons. You've pitched your service with some success at this point – now it's time to deliver the goods.

Be ready everyday. Be on time, be well dressed, showered and in a good mood. If you're always late getting going, or dress sloppy, or a bit "ripe" (because you forgot to take a shower for the 3rd day in a row) - you WILL turn-off certain people. Keep in mind that everybody is different in what they'll tolerate. And, that goes for your attitude as well. If you're always; miserable, moody or complaining certain people will quit (they'll get fed-up).

If you've got a real knack for teaching, and you really do it right, your students will often talk about it to all of their friends and family, and word will start to spread about your teaching studio, your methods and your skill.

If you're still on the fence about teaching independently or working for a studio, here's some advice to help you decide.

Micro Lesson 132: "Ab7 Chord" Diminished Scale Jazz Lick

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 132"

This Micro Lesson explores the use of the Diminished Scale with an, "A Diminished Scale," lick that can cover the sounds of an "Ab7" chord. 

The diminished scale is a very interesting sound. While it can be used over a diminished chord, it can also be superimposed over Dom.7 Harmonies. 

This can be done by using the scale whose root is one 1/2 step higher than the dominant chord you want to improvise over. This not only gives us the chord tones of the Dom.7 chord, but it also gives us a "b5" and a "13." 

In the lick found within this micro-lesson, we find chord tones of the Maj. 3rd, flat 5, 5, 13 b7 and the chords root... all in measure one. 

Record the Ab7 chord and play the lick over the chord. It's a very interesting sound that offers a ton of cool jazzy flavor. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 132: "Ab7 Chord" Diminished Scale Jazz Lick

HILARIOUS: Man Creates a Bb maj.7 Arpeggio with a fart - then writes song with it...

This is so dumb and I can't stop laughing...

YouTuber Loz and his melodious butt just created a glorious bit of musical madness. He calls it a "magnificent 7-tone fart symphony" and he's not wrong. 

Here's to his "magnum anus" and his "rectum opus." (Word play is never not fun, especially when butts are concerned.)

Send this video to the fart lover in your life (you know the person! everybody has one!) with the simple message of "you're welcome."

Now, pat yourself on the back (with your butt) and watch it again.
You deserve it!

New PRS all Mahogany “SE Standard” Guitars...

PRS have announced a new series of all Mahogany SE Standard Guitars aimed at the budget conscious player starting at a remarkable low price of just $499 USD. 

Despite being the most affordable PRS Guitars to date they still include bird inlays, PRS stoptail and tremolo bridge designs, set mahogany necks with rosewood fretboards and a high-quality SE gig bag. The four new SE Standard models are: the SE Standard 24, the SE Standard 22, the SE Standard 245, and the SE Santana Standard.

The SE Standard 24 pairs 24-fret versatility with a PRS-Designed tremolo and PRS-Designed HFS and Vintage Bass pickups. For full specifications and to hear the SE Standard 24 in action, visit www.prsguitars.com/sestandard24.

The SE Standard 245 is a short scale length single cut design and a classic control layout with volume and tone controls for each pickup and a 3-way toggle switch on the upper bout. For full specifications and to hear the SE Standard 245 in action, visit www.prsguitars.com/sestandard245.

The SE Santana Standard also has a shorter 24.5” scale length and is designed to go from Santana’s signature lead tone to fat, hard rock rhythm chords. The SE Santana Standard is a tribute to Carlos Santana’s skill and style and offers players a great value and quality. For full specifications and to hear the SE Santana Standard in action, visit www.prsguitars.com/sesantanastandard

Micro Lesson 131: "Key of A" Country-Blues Lick

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 131"

This Micro Lesson takes a look at how to play through a fun sounding country-blues lick in the key of "A." 

The lick applies several really nice Hammer-on, double-stop and Bending ideas. In measure one find some we pick-up notes rolling into a full-step bend on a third string "B." Double-stops enter right away pushing the groove of the part into the next measure. 

A fourth string bend pulls in an "A" open string in the next phrase. Some nice classic country-blues sounds happen next to wrap-up the lick and really highlight the sound of the "A7," chord. 

All in all the double-stops in the final measure can be best performed using "Hybrid-Picking." However, if a flat-pick is used, I would suggest entering into the final lick idea with an up-stroke, just to keep a more balanced sound for the dynamics in that measure. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 131: "Key of A" Country-Blues Lick

Visualizing Melodic Ideas...

GuitarBlog: Visualizing Melodic Ideas...

In this week's GuitarBlog, we'll run through a couple of different guitar melodies and then relate them to the guitar neck as geometrical patterns. 

We will then use these patterns as a way to visualize the melody in small pieces on the guitar. By doing this, we can develop a quick memory for the melodic ideas through pattern association. 

This will help to memorize melodic ideas faster on the guitar fingerboard. It is recommended that the major and minor scale shapes be something which is well rehearsed prior to expecting the kind of results discussed throughout this lesson. Enjoy the lesson!

Visualizing Melodic Ideas

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Willie Nelson's gets Guitar made by Death Row Inmates...

Willie Nelson Receives an Acoustic Guitar Handmade by Death Row Inmates...

Willie Nelson recently received this new handmade acoustic guitar courtesy of a few fans who have a special appreciation for his brand of outlaw country music. The guitar and its hand-tooled leather case were crafted by death-row inmates at the Polunski Unit in Livingston, Texas.

Nelson posted images of the guitar on his site and quoted from the letter that accompanied it.

“I know you’ll probably never play it,” wrote Ketch, the inmate who built the instrument, “but I am satisfied in my heart that I did the best I could do with what I had to work with.”

He would certainly be surprised to learn how wrong he was. As Willie replied on his site, “This guitar is an absolute work of art. Every single hour you spent on it is appreciated. What an honor.”

Ketch branded the guitar Sawyer, and included the clever motto, “Born on Death Row.” According to an image on Nelson’s site, the guitar is called The Ovaro. The leather case was tooled by Ricky Dotson, and the metal work was performed by Joey Ferrarro.

The Allan B. Polunski Unit is a supermax—super-maximum security—prison and houses all of Texas’s death row inmates. Robert Perkinson, the author of Texas Tough, called Polunski “the hardest place to do time in Texas,” and Mother Jones magazine ranked it one of the 10 worst U.S. prisons in May 2013.

The Sawyer will join another guitar in Nelson’s collection that has done some hard time: Trigger, his Martin N-20 nylon-string classical guitar. Nelson purchased the guitar after his Guild acoustic was destroyed in 1969, and he’s played it ever since, making it the much-loved—and extremely well-worn—iconic instrument that it is today.

You can learn everything you need to know about Trigger’s history in this Rolling Stone film, The Tale of Trigger.

GUITAR THEORY: Effective Guitar Scales

GUITAR THEORY: Effective Guitar Scales

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question... 

Q: Being able to play skillful melodic phrases on guitar is not going very well for me. I want to learn how to have the kind of flowing melody that I'll hear from my favorite players. I'm not having much success and I think it's the way I'm applying the scales. Is there a practice approach that would help me get better at having really effective use of the guitar scales?
Mitch - San Francisco, CA. USA

A: This lesson explains various ways of working on geometrical scale patterns. Building the skill based upon a foundation of very well memorized shapes in order to be able to control how a melody will move. The examples will cover scale tones traveling in various ascending and a descending ways functioning across the neck both horizontally and vertically. In addition, this lesson places a focus on ways that scales can be studied to help them become more effective. In the long run this will help players improve their scale use and scale application.

Sunday May 24, 2015 at: http://www.andrewwasson.com/

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MORE LESSONS: http://www.creativeguitarstudio.com/

Hundred's of FREE lesson Handout PDF's and MP3 Jams. This Video: May 22, 2015 | Search Videos by Title/Date.

VIDEO: When a Label Wants to Change Your Sound...

Must See: Aimee Mann's Brutally Honest Account of When Her Label Tried to Change Her Sound

After 30 years in the music business, Aimee Mann has become one of the most iconic female folk-pop singer-songwriters around. In 1999, she added "label founder" to her long resume when she broke from Geffen Records and started her own company, SuperEgo Records.

Although the decision to break from a larger label is difficult for any artist, in Mann's eyes, it was a chance to reclaim her own voice as a musician and make albums that represented her perspective away from executives who complained her songs weren't "single-y" enough.

Here's her brutally honest story of how she took back her music...

00:00 - When your finished album doesn't match the label's vision

00:53 - On being shuttled between labels amid mergers

01:21 - "If I can't make a record I'm proud of, then I don't care."

01:55 - When to know it's time to start your own label

Would you sign to a label that didn't support your vision if you could "be a star"? Do you think Mann made the right choice? 

First Audio From Satch's New Album 'Shockwave Supernova'

Joe Satriani is streaming "On Peregrine Wings," taken from forthcoming album "Shockwave Supernova," the follow-up to 2013's "Unstoppable Momentum."

"While working on a project for an animated TV show called 'Crystal Planet,' I thought this music would be perfect for a flying character and what would it feel like to jump off a cliff and start flying," says Joe (via Classic Rock). 

There would be fear and exhilaration to be thousands of feet in the air. The movie in my head informed me on how the song developed using unusual scales and the intense velocity of the drumbeat and the crazy solo."

"Shockwave Supernova" is to be released on July 24, and can be pre-ordered from Satriani's website, and via iTunes and Amazon.