Friday, September 28, 2012

Stay put...

Want to get hit in paintball? Don't move.

What to get busier in the music business? Also don't move.

OK, first move to where you want to be in the biz.

Love Steve Gadd. Don't mind the cold. Have lot's of savings. Happy to use studio amps and sometime studio guitars. Maybe New York is for you.

Love Jeff Porcaro. Don't want to worry about a heat bill. Have some savings. Prefer to use your own gear. Maybe LA is for you.

Love Floyd Cramer. Don't mind developing a southern accent. Have a savings account. Have country chops. Maybe Nashville is for you.

Other towns that tend attract the best and brightest musicians, artists, writers and producers...

Atlanta - Big urban scene.
Miami - Big Latim Music scene.
Austin - Alt. Country and blues.
Chicago - Blues, rock and urban.
Seattle - Rock and arty.
Detroit - Motown.
Boston - Jazz and rock.

These are all generalities. I only really know anything about the LA scene. Do your own research. Having family and/or connections in your final destination doesn't hurt.

Check out the city or cities. Drive/fly there. You're more likely to make the move if you commit to a visit. Once I turned 21 I flew from Indianapolis to LA and stayed with friends of friends in Riverside. Not very close to LA. The reason I waited until I was 21 was so I could go to all the clubs, like the Baked Potato, and see/meet some amazing musicians. Spent an hour talking to Russell Ferrante, met and took a lesson with Carl Verheyen, saw Abraham Laborial, Richard Elliot, among others.

Find an area that you could live in long term. Visualize maybe marriage and kids. Still want to live there? You can always move, it's not a hard and fast rule, but every time you do it tends to cost you money and connections. Also when you stay put you tend to learn your way around. The shortcuts. The good deals. The best eateries.

Now that you've chosen your new home. Get a number. I originally had a 213 number when I moved to LA. Then it became 818. Then 626. Once cell phones came about I stuck with 626. It's Pasadena, where I am, and many points East. However, if I wanted to get producers, etc to think I was in the Record Capital of the World I could've gone with 213. 818 or 323. That's LA (Hollywood), the Valley and the Westside respectively. So chose your prefix carefully if you chose to change your number at all and then stick with it.

Also pick up a map of your chosen city and put it on your wall. Learn it. I did this before moving. Cities I'd never been to, Burbank, Pasadena, Malibu, Santa Monica, sounded familiar and I knew where they were.

We've been in the same place for 25(!) years and we love the area. Our kids were raised here. It's felt like home for a long time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Electric Grooves Lesson 2

Get these down first...

And then get this one down....

A Recent Session

I did this one last week. It was fun to get the Beatle bass out, as well as the Epi Casino and my ol Gibson Folksinger to try to replicate the sounds and parts of the original.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keep Your IMDB Up To Date

See mine here...

Tom Strahle's IMDB Page

Notice I don't just have music credits (scroll to the bottom of the page)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Here's a song I played on last year for the great singer from Ecuador Paulina Aguirre.

I played my 70's Martin D-35 and my Fender Strat through a Keeley compressor to get that slippery sound on the fills. Also did some Edge type dotted eighth delay at one point.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Electric Grooves Lesson 1

The chord used is an Eb9 - x65666

The patterns...

< Just muted 16ths

The four patterns on the four different 16ths of each bar.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jazz Soloing Tip #2b - The Blues

Here I talk about the use of Mixolydian Scales when playing in the blues.

The progression is a very simple, stripped down blues progression...




The scales used...

Over A7 - A Mixolydian - A B C# D E F# G A
Over D7 - D Mixolydian - D E F# G A B C D
Over E7 - E Mixolydian - E F# G# A B C# D E

To learn more about the Mixolydian scale watch these videos...

Intro to Modes-
The Modes Formulas -
The C Mixolydian Mode -

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jazz Soloing Tip #2a - The Blues

A simple alteration to your basic minor pentatonic scale can make your blues playing more interesting, nay, more "jazzy".

The progression is a very simple, stripped down blues progression...




The scales used...

Over A7 - A minor pentatonic - A C D E G
Over D7 - A minor sixth pentatonic - A C D E F#
Over E7 - E minor pentatonic - (E G) A B D E G

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jazz Soloing Tip #1b

An addendum to the previous post.

Again the changes are...



Voicings I used -
Fm7 - x81089x, Bbm7 - xx81099, Eb7 - x6868x, Abmaj7 - xx6888
Dbmaj7 - x4656x, G7#5b9 - xx3444, Cmaj7 - x3545x

Ab major - Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab
C major - C D E F G A B C
C Harmonic Minor - C D Eb F G Ab B C
(common tones - C, F & G)

A relative C scale to Ab major is C Phrygian.

C Phrygian - C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jazz Soloing Tip #1a

Here's a tip to help you navigate through chord progressions that change key.

The changes are...

Chords - |Fm7|Bbm7|Eb7|Abmaj7|
Key -     Ab----------------------------


Voicings I used -
Fm7 - x81089x, Bbm7 - xx81099, Eb7 - x6868x, Abmaj7 - xx6888
Dbmaj7 - x4656x, G7 - xx5767, Cmaj7 - x3545x

Ab major - Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab
C major - C D E F G A B C
(common tones - C, F & G)

A relative C scale to Ab major is C Phrygian.

C Phrygian - C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C

Sunday, September 9, 2012

iChat as File Sharing Tool

A good file transferring system in paramount to being a session musician nowadays.

All Macs come with iChat and I've used it for years as a way to communicate with composers and collaborators as we are working. But to transfer files I use to use iDisk. But as of June of this year iDisk is no longer. I was bummed and I started using DropBox, which I love. But lately I've noticed that dropping into and through iChat has gotten much faster. And they are accepting much bigger files. It seemed to handle 20-40 mb files with ease. Other files transfer sites include...


Friday, September 7, 2012

Is This Right?

Having a skill set in some form of chart preparation software like Finale or Sibelius can come in handy for many things but I learned this week it can be a help when trying to replicate a sampled guitar track.

I use finale every week to create hymn lead sheets from hymnals for the hymn service at my church, so my chops are fairly tight and ready to go. Recently I was working for a client who had sent me a track to play on. He sent me an mp3 of the track sans guitar plus a sample guitar mock up of what he wanted the guitar track to do.  The problem was that his samples had some strumming effect on them that made it pretty unclear as to what pattern he wanted me to play.

I didn't know how unclear it was until I sent him what I thought was a finished track and he informed me that it wasn't what he wanted. Usually we don't have a problem with my interpretation of his guitar parts, but in this case he was really married to the sample he sent me. Upon a closer I was even more confused. But I figured out the pattern. Or what I thought was the pattern. Opened up Finale. Created a mini chart. Took a screen shot of the chart (command-shift-4). And sent him the jpg through iChat. With the question, "Is this right?".

"Yes" he shot back immediately. I was tracking within seconds and had the files sent to him within the hour. Here's the chart I created on the fly...