Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Drop Two Chord - Lesson Five

Cmaj7 - x3545x
C7 - x3535x
Cm7 - x3534x

Cmaj7#5 - x3645x
Cmaj7b5 - x3445x

C7#5 - x3635x
C7b5 - x3435x

Cm7#5 - x3634x
Cm7b5 - x3434x

All chords are movable - 9 chords X 12 postions  = 108 chords plus the previous 432 for a total of 540 chords.

Cool Site #12

100 Greatest Guitarists (All Genres)

Actually 200 total in the list. The first fifty include links to Nutsie which is a Pandora like radio station that plays tracks featuring that guitarist. Use it as a tool to hear players you wouldn't normally be exposed to. Like...

21. Sabicas (flamenco) 
22. Blind Blake (ragtime, blues) 

41. Baden Powell (brazilian) 
42. Nino Ricardo (flamenco) 
43. George Van Eps (jazz) 

85. Tony Rice (bluegrass) 
86. Bola Sete (brazilian, folk fusion) 
87. Richard Thompson (british folk) 
99. Debashish Bhattacharya (indian) 


Monday, May 30, 2011

The Drop Two Chord - Lesson Four

Fmaj7 - xx14141313
F7 - xx13141313
Fm7 - xx13131313

Fmaj7#5 - xx14141413
Fmaj7b5 - xx14141213

F7#5 - xx13141413
F7b5 - xx13141213

Fm7#5 - xx13131413
Fm7b5 - xx13131213

All chords are movable - 9 chords X 12 postions  = 108 chords plus the previous 324 for a total of 432 chords.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Justin Bieber - Baby featuring...

... yours truly. Bummed that my double tracked 70's Martin D-35 sounds like it's under water on this Youtube version but I swear it doesn't on the original recording.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Drop Two Chord - Lesson Three

Fmaj7 - xx10101012
F7 - xx10101011
Fm7 - xx1010911

Fmaj7#5 - xx11101012
Fmaj7b5 - xx9101012

F7#5 - xx11101011
F7b5 - xx9101011

Fm7#5 - xx1110911
Fm7b5 - xx910911

All chords are movable - 9 chords X 12 postions  = 108 chords plus the previous 216 for a total of 324 chords.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Drop Two Chord - Lesson Two

Fmaj7 - xx7968
F7 - xx7868
Fm7 - xx6868

Fmaj7b5 - xx7967
Fmaj7#5 - xx7969

F7b5 - xx7867
F7#5 - xx7869

Fm7b5 - xx6867
Fm7#5 - xx6869

All chords are movable - 9 chords X 12 postions  = 108 chords plus the previous 108 for a total of 216.

The strings on my Hofner..

Thursday, May 26, 2011

10 Solos...

... that made me want to quit playing guitar. (But then ultimately inspired me)
As I was progressing on the guitar through junior and senior high school and later in college, there were often times of great triumph, times of leaps and bounds and inspired moments of musical ability that gave me hope of all I could do. And then there were the times of great tragedy, (ie: band breakups), times of plateaus and inspired moments of someone else's musical ability that made me ask myself, "will I ever get there?". But those times didn't kill me (or make me quit playing guitar) they just made me stronger. Stronger as I resolved to figure out those solos, study those guitarists, continue taking guitar lessons and learn more about music. 
Now keep in mind in the list below I avoided classic solos, like the solos from Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Steve Vai and other generally accepted "gods" of the guitar. The ones below are solos that blew me away and made me cry and made me call out for my mommy. OK, I know, TMI. These are mostly from the late 70's and early 80's which were very formative years for me. I'm sure you would create a very different list. Feel free to post yours in the comments.
In no particular order...
1. My "need for speed" came directly from one guitarist who came up in the 1970's, Al DiMeola. Discovered at Berklee School of Music by Chick Corea, he played with Chick's band Return to Forever for a couple of records and then on to a solo career. The album that reprioritized my studies in the guitar was Elegant Gypsy, and particularly the song "Race with the Devil on a Spanish Highway". Al favors minor keys, phrygian, locrian, melodic and harmonic minor scales that are a new challange for the fingers.
Elegant Gypsy
Race With Devil On Spanish Highway
2. George Benson's Breezin' album was clearly a watershed record for me. However two albums later he released a live recording, Weekend In LA, which featured a song, "Ode to a Kudu", the outro of which made me seek counseling. I'm kidding. However the fluidity with which he plays is astounding. Especially considering he is playing clean, not with massive amounts of distortion, which is more exposed, and thus more difficult.
Weekend in L.A.
Ode To A Kudu (Live Album Version)
3. A sometime Los Angeles studio guitarist but more often sideman Robben Ford bleeds LA cool on his solo on the song "Imperial Strut" from the self-titled first Yellowjackets album, a band he wasn't credited as being a member of and yet he's all over their first two releases. Just learning the tune's melody is a serious challange. Now he fronts his own blues band and has released some serious records of his own.
4. All of these guitarists inspired me greatly, but Larry Carlton was one of the guitarists who led me to decide to move to Los Angeles to become a studio guitarist. I envisioned myself in the studio working for Quincy Jones or Steely Dan laying down solos that guitarists all over the world would later be trying to learn themselves. This hasn't really happened, so much for me being a prophet. Larry's solo on "Kid Charlamange" off the Steely Dan's Royal Scam CD is a standard must know. The way he weaves triad substitutions over the chord progression is pure genius. Probably one of his best solo's ever!
The Royal Scam
Kid Charlemagne
5. A remake of the song "Strawberry Letter 23" from the album Right on Time by The Brothers Johnson, two brothers who did a lot of studio work themselves, was a hit during the disco craze of the 70's. The syrupy groove alone makes this a tune to listen to, but LA session regular Lee Ritenour's take on Shuggie Otis' original solo is an otherworldly, echo/phaser-laden, triplet-16th note escapade that jumps out of the tune an into outer space. An excellent example of how effects can help make an "effective" solo. Lee's rhythm percolations are too coo as well.
Right on Time
Strawberry Letter 23
6. Jay Graydon was another session ace that influenced me. He did the classic solo on "Peg" from Steely Dan's Aja. Rumor has it that the duo of Fagen/Becker had already had most of LA's and New York's session aces in for a shot at "improvisational immortalization" When Jay, who they knew little of, walked in, sat down and played that gem on the first pass! Eventually he got involved in producing in the 80's and is best known for giving Manhattan Transfer and Al Jarreau their hit records. It's from one of those records that one of the most jaw-dropping solos I'd ever heard was recorded. On the song "Twilight Tone" from the Manhattan Transfer's Extensions album is a tribute to the 50's/60's television show Twilight Zone, he composes an astounding triple-tracked guitar solo that combines more than the stock stacked thirds Eventide Harmonizer type harmonies. He uses unisons, seconds, thirds, fourths and fifths, to bring the song from a subdued instrumental bridge back into it's percolating chorus.
Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone
7. The 80's saw a changing of the guard in the LA studio scene. While Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour pursued solo careers, Steve Lukather (of Toto fame) became the go to guy. I bought some of the crappiest albums simply because Steve's name was on the credits. I transcribed and learned dozens of his solo's with Earth, Wind and Fire, Boz Scaggs, Olivia Newton-John (remember "Let's Get Physical"?), Quincy Jones and others. When I transcribed his solos I would often write "The Chaotic Stylings of Steve Lukather" at the top of the page, as if I was doing a dissertation. "Chaotic" was the best way to describe his style, especially for me as I was approaching his solos from a more traditional jazz/classical background. The solo that seems to epitomize his style the most was the modest hit by The Tubes "Talk to You Later". Many of the solo's lines are on played vertically up the neck, using only one or two strings at a time. At times you swear he's falling off a cliff! I talked to him about this solo at the NAMM show one year. He said it was the first pass but he wanted to do it again because the last note is out of tune. But they wouldn't let him. His advice to me? The same advice Carlton had given him, "Don't think, play."
Best of
Talk To Ya Later
8. I almost gave my life to the smokey Holiday Inn circuit because of one guitarist, Joe Pass. His album rightfully called Virtuoso features him and only him playing live. I thought "this is perfect, no more band squabbles", assuming I didn't become schizophrenic. His solo arrangement of the standard "Night and Day", well, let's see, I'm running out of superlatives here. Oh well, let's face it, it rocks! 
Night And Day
9. Albert Lee's record Hiding featured a song that later Ricky Scaggs had a hit with called "Country Boy". With the aid of an echo unit he creates a sell-all-your-gear- and-go-back-to-college solo. Eventually I nailed it out (in my 30's I think). I even had the audacity to play it for him a the NAMM show a few years ago to see if I had it right. There wa no amp handy so he had me play his guitar and he put the headstock to his temple to hear it. I was so nervous and didn't want waste his time so I played it about 20 ticks too fast. He smiled at me said, "I think you've got it."
Hiding/Albert Lee
10. I was working in a record store in Indy called aptly, The Record Company, when Christopher Cross' self titled record hit the shelves. Since I was planning on moving to LA to become the next Larry Carlton or Jay Graydon, it caught my eye since Larry and Jay both had two solos each on it. Before I'd heard even one tune on the radio I had it home and spinning. Nice solos by Larry and Jay, and Chris himself even did a respectable job on "Ride Like the Wind". However the solo that really caught my ear was the recording debut of some kid named Eric Johnson on "Minstrel Gigolo". His smooth style is unmistakable even as a kid. Didn't hear from him again for almost 10 years!
Christopher Cross
Minstrel Gigolo

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Drop Two Chord - Lesson One

Here's a good explanation of the concept. Here's my explanation...

Fmaj7 - xx3555
F7 - xx3545
Fm7 - xx3544

Fmaj7b5 - xx3455
Fmaj7#5 - xx3655

F7b5 - xx3445
F7#5 - xx3645

Fm7b5 - xx3444
Fm7#5 - xx3644

All chords are movable - 9 chords X 12 postions  = 108 chords (so far)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

CAGED Method Review...

Here's just an overview of some of what I showed you about the CAGED method of playing. Playing over a simple progression, Cmaj7, Am7, Dm7 and G7, using the five shapes and their related scales.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The CAGED Method - Scales around the C Shape

C Major Pentatonic - C D E G A - 12 15 12 15 12 14 12 14 13 15 12 15
C Minor Pentatonic - C Eb F G Bb - 13 15 13 15 13 15 12 15 13 16 13 15
C Blues Scale - C Eb F Gb G Bb - 13 14 15 13 15 13 15 16 12 15 13 16 13 14 15
C Diatonic Scale - C D E F G A B C - 12 13 15 12 14 15 12 14 15 12 14 12 13 15 12 13 15
C Mixolydian Scale - C D E F G A Bb C - 12 13 15 12 13 15 12 14 15 12 14 15 13 15 12 13 15

Friday, May 13, 2011

From Music Think Tank...

5 Psychological Principles To Help You Sell More Music

The CAGED Method - Scales around the D Shape

C Major Pentatonic - C D E G A - 10 12 10 12 10 12 9 12 10 13 10 12
C Minor Pentatonic - C Eb F G Bb - 11 13 10 13 10 13 10 12 11 13 11 13
C Blues Scale - C Eb F Gb G Bb - 11 13 14 10 13 10 13 10 11 12 11 13 11 13 14
C Diatonic Scale - C D E F G A B C - 10 12 13 10 12  9 10 12 9 10 12 10 12 13 10 12 13
C Mixolydian Scale - C D E F G A Bb C - 10 12 13 10 12 13 10 12 9 10 12 10 11 13 10 12 13

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The CAGED Method - Scales around the E Shape

C Major Pentatonic - C D E G A - 8 10 7 10 7 10 7 9 8 10 8 10

C Minor Pentatonic - C Eb F G Bb - 8 11 8 10 8 10 8 10 8 11 8 11
C Blues Scale - C Eb F Gb G Bb - 8 11 8 9 10 8 10 8 10 11 8 11 8 11
C Diatonic Scale - C D E F G A B C - 8 10 7 8 10 7 9 10 7 9 10 8 10 7 8 10
C Mixolydian Scale - C D E F G A Bb C - 8 10 7 8 10 7 8 10 7 9 10 8 10 11 8 10

My Epiphone...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Excellent Sight Reading Book

Robert Ottman's Music for Sight Singing is the standard college text for music theory courses where sight singing is emphasized. A very good progressive study for those wanting to learn how to sight sing. It starts simple but progresses quickly. It's also a great resource for those who want to practice their sight reading. It's designed to mess you up. The melodies sound familiar at times but stray of in unexpected directions which helps to keep you from cheating and guessing where the melody is headed. It also works your bass clef reading, which I highly recommend. As well as all the meters, from 3/2 to 3/16 and then some.

I haven't been able to find it new at a reasonable price. Used is fine. Link through Amazon links below to find one at a price you like. I've had a couple of them. The last one I found at a thrift store for a quarter.

Music for Sight Singing First Edition
Music for Sight Singing [MUSIC FOR SIGHT SINGING 7/E]
Music For Sight Singing Fifth Edition CD
Music For Sight Singing Fifth Edition CD
Music for sight singing sixth edition

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reading in the Studio

Here's a quick one...

Looks easy right?

Here were the instructions...

"I'd love (on steel string) a few different tempos, from moderately slow to moderately fast (ie, not crazy slow, nor crazy fast) of each. And ideally in the octave written and octave below. The tune (#2) can't be transposed an octave down because the D is outta range. Rather than de-tune, substitute the D for B (major 3rd above starting pitch). So that way it's G>A>B(down 4th)>F#, etc"

Got it? OK, here we go... 1, 2, 3, 4...

Reading Studies for Guitar

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Gigging Musician

Here I am playing electric guitar at the Latin BMI awards in Las Vegas. Great band, lots of fun, got put up at the Bellagio, no complaints. The set of music we played was in honor of songwriter, producer, humanitarian Kike Santander.

BMI is one of three performing rights organizations, BMI, ASCAP and SESAC, that collect and distribute royalties to writers and composers. I'm a BMI writer and publisher.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sidelining on Ugly Betty

Another way to supplement ones income as a musician is to "sideline". "Sideliners" are the musicians you see in feature films and network TV shows. Membership in the Musician's Union is a requirement and thus sidelining can result in residuals and special payments that can add up a bit as the shows and movies continue to air through the years. This can be a few dollars or a few hundred dollars.

Sidelining isn't particularly consistent or that lucrative, but a different way to spend your day, get dressed up, hang out with some famous people and maybe even get a free haircut. Below is an example of me sidelining on an episode of Ugly Betty featuring Gene Simmons from Kiss, who I got to hang with a bit. I the guitarist in the blue vest...

The whole scene took about 8 hours to film and my feet were aching after spending the day in prop shoes. They shellacked my long hair back in an effort make me look like an accountant but I was ctually expecting them to cut my hair off. Afterwards the hair stylist who knew I disappointed about not getting a Hollywood haircut gave me a free one after shooting was done. She gingerly cut off my ponytail to give to the Disney wig department. My hair may be famous now.

One funny story-  I was getting my make-up on at the same time as Gene Simmons. The guy doing his make-up was done in about two minutes.

"That's it?" Gene asked.

"Do you usually wear more make-up?" replied the make-up artist.

To which I replied, "Dude, he was in Kiss."