Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For The Curious

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crate V-Series Best Bang For Buck

I have been reading and looking at the Crate V Series guitar amps recently and have decided they are the best bang for the buck in amps.The 18 watt/1-12 model got great reviews and the prices are great too.It is a Class A amp with 2 EL 84 power tubes,my favorite.It is a single channel with Master volume and reverb,and ALL TUBE.The EL 84's have a warm sound,with a softer attack,than say a 6L6.If you are looking for an amp to play metal,this is probably not the amp for you!This is more your traditional sounding amp,ala,Clapton,AC/DC.And the clean is "chimey" highs.Um...i'm getting excited just hearing it in my head!But seriously,for what you get ,average street price,around $178.00 is an all tube amp with reverb and 18 watts of warmth.That folks is a great price!

More on new V-Series features!

* 18 watts RMS
* Class A, all tube circuitry
* 1 x 12" speaker
* Single Channel with Master Volume
* 2 x EL84 output tubes, cathode biased
* Spring reverb

Sunday, November 23, 2008

San Francisco Blues Festival

The Annual San Francisco Blues Festival is the longest continuously running blues festival in the United States.And over at site,there are some killer photos,so check them out...(Johnny Winter above)and Thanks Michael Shea for some great pics!
Michael Shea's personal collection of guitarist pictures...

The Circle Of Fifths and Fourths...Sharps and Flats

This post will aid in the previous post.I talked about the Ionian mode or the Major scale.
Well the Circle of Fifths is used to tell you the sharp keys.if you move clockwise you will see the movement in 5ths,beginning on C.And if you move counter clockwise,beginning with C,you will be moving in 4ths,or the flat keys.So when playing the pattern of the Major scale in whole and half steps,after C,move to the first sharp key(clockwise,starting on C) or the key of G Major.G Major has one sharp,F#.The next key,or the 5th of G is D.It has 2 sharps,etc.Now if you start on C and go counter clockwise,and move in 4ths,you will have F as the first key,it has one flat,B flat,etc.It is basics that you know about this Circle of fifths and fourths.So,do your wood shedding and get it learned!Scales and the Circle of 5ths
Taking a scale through the circle of 5ths is an essential form of practice for aspiring lead guitarists. Here’s how to do it:
1. Begin by playing any of the scales or modes in this guide in the key of C. Play it ascending and descending in position.
2. Switch to the key of of G and play through the scale or mode ascending and descending.
3. Repeat step 2 in each key of the circle of 5ths, from D to A to E, and so on.,then the flats or 4ths.
Also...Chord Progressions and the Circle of 5ths....
You can use the circle of 5ths to create chord progressions. However, in general terms, no more than three or four chords on the circle are used in any particular key. For example, starting with C and picking a chord from either side (F from the left and G from the right), you have the chords that make up the I–IV–V progression, the most popular progression in rock, blues, and folk.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quick Music Fact...The Ionian Mode

Hi...the Ionian mode is actually the Major scale.It's the basis for Western music.
The sound of this scale is the basis of most Western music.It's formula for whole and half steps is...
Formula: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Construction: W W H W W W H
(whole step is two frets apart,half step is one fret apart)
Remember this formula of whole and half steps,and you will be able to play the Major scale in any key
Then get to work on memorizing the notes in each of the Major keys(including sharps and flats)...

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Wah-Wah...Solo From Sing To Scream

The wah-wah can be a very useful effect.Along with the typical use of it...wacka-wacka,it can be used as an active type tone control.When in the up position it creates a dark hollow tone,and in the down position it can make your solos reach new horizons.And all in between are more tones!
I did an earlier post on the wah-wah,but in this one i am including more guitarist that have used the wah-wah.Everyone knows of Johnny Guitar Watson,along with Curtis Mayfield.They both are legends in the wah-wah world.But here are some more,with the songs that the wah-wah was used on....
Frank Zappa extensively used a wah-wah pedal but did not always use it in the conventional way of rocking it back and forth. Zappa often left it set in different positions to get different tones, using it as a filter or distortion device. He also often used the pedal in combination with the acoustic guitar.
Jimi Hendrix did much to popularize the wah-wah in the late 1960s. Possibly the most iconic track of all time using a wah pedal is "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" which heavily used at the time, an original Vox Clyde McCoy Picture Wah. The song "Little Miss Lover" introduced percussive wah-wah effect, made by muting guitar strings. This effect was later used by many funk and soul musicians throughout the 1970s including Rufus' "Tell Me Something Good" (which also includes the Talk Box effect) and James Brown's "The Payback".
Eric Clapton first played wah-wah with Cream on "Tales of Brave Ulysses" on the Disraeli Gears album and used it for both background riffs and an extended solo on "White Room". Clapton used a Vox Clyde McCoy Picture Wah in Cream. Clapton also used the pedal for his guitar solo in Blind Faith's "Presence of the Lord" as well as his solo-era classic "Bad Love" from the album "Journeyman".
Jimmy Page of the band Led Zeppelin sometimes used a wah-wah pedal in an unorthodox manner. Instead of rocking the pedal to produce the wah tone, Page kept the pedal depressed, producing a wah tone that was much sharper. He does use the wah in a more traditional manner on songs like "Dazed and Confused" from Led Zeppelin's first album, "No Quarter" from the Houses of the Holy album, and "Custard Pie" from the album Physical Graffiti .
Slash of Velvet Revolver (and formerly Guns N' Roses) is famous for his use of the wah-wah pedal and received his own signature Dunlop Crybaby in 2007.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Drummer Mitch Mitchell Passes

The drummer for Jimi Hendrix,Mitch Mitchell has passed.He was a force to be reckoned with on the drums.He was the group's last surviving member.He was found dead in his hotel room early Wednesday,he was 61.Jimi Hendrix passed in 1970,and the bass player Noel Redding passed in 2003.Mitch Mitchell died of natural causes,and he was actually doing an Experience Hendrix Tour gig!Mitchell was a one-of-a-kind drummer whose "jazz-tinged" style was influenced by Max Roach and Elvin Jones.The work was a vital part of both the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the 1960s and the Experience Hendrix Tour that ended last week, he said.There is a great tribute site with great pics,mp3 interviews,music chronology,even drum transcription.It is... A TRIBUTE TO MITCH MITCHELL:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Berklee Goes To Spain

Berklee College Of Music is creating a school in Valencia, Spain.The building looks pretty awesome.And they are calling the program "Rock Goes To Harvard",or something like that.Berklee has REALLY changesd since the short while i went there.It was quite an experience,and talent and info just oozing out everywhere.And the practice rooms,well,you could walk around and hear any style of music being played,any.But the knowledge that is floating around is incredible,to say the least.But just let me present this section from the article in Wired online....
You might think the music industry's heavily-publicized woes would scare kids into more financially stable lines of work -- say, brokering stocks or managing hedge funds. Those aren't the greatest examples these days, but still, given shrinking labels and dwindling sales, the music industry seems like a hard place to get a foothold. Nonetheless, budding musicians continue to be drawn like moths to the flame of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where applications for Fall '09 matriculation are up 40 percent according, to Larry Monroe, the school's vice president of international programs, and popular subjects include music theory, composition, performance, music management, music education and even music therapy. The Boston location turns out 800 graduates each year, while the Valencia location will produce smaller classes of 250.
Humm....i tend to agree,a bad time for the music industry as a whole,and,by all observations,will be getting worse!Ha...if you love your instrument and music,go for it,but i would be careful in what i chose for subjects.And the mentioning of the increase in students,40 percent up!So a lot of dreaming going on!Now here is another section in the article.I tend to TOTALLY agree with this passage....
"There isn't a country in Europe that doesn't have great conservatories," he explained, "but what we found from doing market research is that there are an awful lot of graduating students from, say, a classical composition school, who've learned to write for symphony, chamber orchestra, ballet and so on, who want to enter the world of film music, or want to get into writing for videogames -- all of the places in contemporary music where the electronic entertainment industry is lurking. And what you learn in a conservatory just isn't going to help if your first movie is a contemporary detective story and they want a funk background in the opening scene."
I also attended classes for classical guitar and studied privately,and this is SO true.The majority of students in my classes were LOST when it came to other styles of music...totally.And...take their sheet music away....well,you get the picture.Although i do totally support sight reading,you got to use your ears some too,and "feel" and be familiar with the other styles of music.
And Berklee like all other businesses has to stay afloat financially.So i can see where offering additional courses outside the norm,or old school,would be beneficial.With times like they are,it is amazing their 40% increase in students!But i remember Berklee as a place for those musicians who were seeking a higher form of music/jazz and one that required improv skills and knowledge of substitution and feel....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Guitarist Steve Morse Warm Up Tips

Steve Morse goes way back with me,to the days when i would see him perform for seventy-five cents!Yep thats right!Back when his band was The Dixie Dregs,and he was doing tunes like Refried Funky Chicken.If you can find it,get the album Freestyle.He is such a versatile player,you name it,he can play it.And in watching this video he seems to have actually slowed down some.And that,i guess,come with age and a different perspective on playing.But he still blisters the me.He also played with Kansas,one of my favorite rock bands,and now i guess Deep Purple.This video also shows you just a pinch of his talent,and the warm ups....well,like i said...SLOW.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Guns N' Roses Drummer Talks About 'Chinese Democracy'

I had to share this video(EQ magazine/tv) with you.It speaks of the drummers experience recording Chinese Democracy.He mentions how the original drummer had played all the tracks and now he was to play...lick for lick,the same songs,just with "his" feel.So he got Sony to transcribe all the drum tracks for all the songs,so he could play them exactly as the other drummer,and he had to record each song "all the way through",not just a section at a time.He said Sony sent him the transcribed drum music,which was a stack of sheets more than a foot high :-)!Needless to took him 7 months to complete the recordings...a cool video.
Guns N' Roses site

Friday, November 7, 2008

For The Curious

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Review On The... Carvin X-100B Amplifier & Cabinet

I personally think you get a lot of bang for the buck over at Carvin,so check them out!
This is the Carvin X-100B,it is a reissue and it got good reviews,so read on.The review was over at Premier Guitar,a cool and informative ezine.
The Specs...
The front panel, from left to right, starts with controls for Power; Standby/Operate; Lead/Rhythm EQ selector switch; and a five band graphic with shelving frequencies for 75, 150, 500, 1.5 and 3K bands with a range of plus or minus 18 db. This is followed by Reverb, Presence, Treble, Middle and Bass tone controls. Next, we have an overall Master volume with a FS Boost mini toggle switch. A Lead master volume follows with another mini toggle for Gain boost. Lead Drive and a mini toggle for channel selection and a Rhythm volume with a bright mini switch finishes up the front control plate. The guitar input jack is located on the right side of this on

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quick Music Fact...Microphones

A quick music fact today favorite,and most other guitarist,mic for recording electric guitar is a Shure SM57 microphone.If you want the sound darker place the mic on the outside edge of the speaker,and for a brighter sound,place in in the center.

Quick Music Fact....Pentatonic Scales

Here is another quick music fact.The word "penta" means "5" in Greek.So the pentatonic scale is a five note scale.