Friday, August 28, 2009

JPF To Webcast Music Awards August 29

This is going to be good...This is a cool music organization,and quite impreesive for a grass roots effort!My hat goes off to Brian Austin Whitney for such a huge effort that has turned into such a huge success!

...Hi Everyone,
We're really excited to announce that the 2009 Just Plain Folks Music Awards will be webcast LIVE from the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, TN on the JPF Homepage at All you need to do is log on there and the show will automatically start playing when it goes live a few minutes before 5PM US CST.

The JPF music awards are the largest ever conducted in world history and took 17 months to complete. We had 560K songs and 42K albums entered from 163 countries around the world. It's all done for free and as a labor of love by a staggering number of judges (we had over 10,000 judges assigned in the last round alone). We have 33 performances from artists around the world representing the 93 genres. Among the folks performing include Gretchen Peters, Jeff Oster & Michael Manring, Sekou (tha Misfit), Donna Ulisse, Russell Smith & the Amazing Rhythm Aces, Jasmine Cain as well as international artists from Uganda, Taiwan, Japan, Saint Lucia, Israel, Canada, Guam, Denmark (3 of them.. must be something in the water!), Faroe Islands and many more. Tune in and see our community recognize some wonderful music from around the world.
See you on the web!


Brian Austin Whitney

Just Plain Folks

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tips From Fender On Setting Up Your Guitar

Here are a few tips from Fender on setting up your Fender guitar....
Players with a light touch can get away with lower action; others need higher action to avoid rattles.
First, check tuning. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance between bottom of strings and top of the 17th fret. Adjust bridge saddles to the height according to the chart, then re-tune. Experiment with the height until the desired sound and feel is achieved.
Note: For locking tremolo systems, the individual string height is preset. Use the two pivot adjustment screws to achieve the desired overall string height.

Neck Radius String Height
Bass Side Treble Side
9.5" to 12"
15" to 17" 5/64" (2 mm)
4/64" (1.6 mm)
4/64" (1.6 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
4/64" (1.6 mm)
3/64" (1.2 mm)
Set too high, pickups can cause myriad inexplicable phenomena. Depress all the strings at the last fret. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance from the bottom of the first and sixth strings to the top of the pole piece. A good rule of thumb is that the distance should be greatest at the sixth-string neck pickup position, and closest at the first-string bridge pickup position. Follow the measurement guidelines in the chart below as starting points. The distance will vary according to the amount of magnetic pull from the pickup.

Bass Side Treble Side
Texas Specials 8/64" (3.6 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
Vintage style 6/64" (2.4 mm) 5/64" (2 mm)
Noiseless™ Series 8/64" (3.6 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
Standard Single-Coil 5/64" (2 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
Humbuckers 4/64" (1.6 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
Lace Sensors As close as desired (allowing for string vibration)
There are a few other things that you can do to optimize your tuning stability that have more to do with playing and tuning habits.
Each time you play your guitar, before you do your final tuning, play for a few minutes to allow the strings to warm up. Metal expands when warm and contracts when cool. After you've played a few riffs and done a few dive-bombs, you can then do your final tuning. Remember—with most tuning keys, it's preferable to tune up to pitch. However, with locking tuners, go past the note and tune down to pitch. Finally, wipe the strings, neck and bridge with a lint-free cloth after playing. When transporting or storing your guitar, even for short periods, avoid leaving it anyplace you wouldn't feel comfortable yourself.
and more from Fender...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Doug Rowell ...More Handcarved Guitars

Here is another cool site of hand carved guitars,by Doug Rowell....
And if you missed an earlier post about other hand carved portrait guitars...

George Benson Says The Blues Is Musics Universal Language

I was reading an interview with George Benson... .He mentioned playing with Jack McDuff,and how Jack always wanted George to put more blues in his playing.George soon discovered that no matter where he was playing on the planet,people related,or had a connection to the blues,it is universal!
And...i forgot to mention that John McLaughlin also is on the video with George Benson...and...i do believe that is George Duke on keys,along with Dennis Chambers on drums :-).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quick Music Fact...There Is No One or Universal Scale

Another Quick Music Fact...i recently noticed a search result for one of my hits on Statcounter.It was the search "Universal minor Scale + Guitar".This takes me back,waaaay back,to how i first thought about that "universal or magic scale" that all the jazzers were using!I was thinking the same thing...the ol' one scale fits all...scenerio.Well there is no ONE scale,there are many,many scales/Eastern,Western music,you name it....many!The basics are your Majors,minors,augmented and diminished.Noticed the Major(s) and minor(s) were plural.
So the jest of this is...there is no one scale,just learn the basic scales,then go on to learn the modes and hybrid scales and modes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Two Fingered Jazz Guitarist...Django Reinhardt

Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt was an incredible jazz guitarist,and without even mentioning the hurdles he had to overcome,amazing.He is ranked up there with Charlie Christian and other great jazz guitarist.There is a nice article about "Django"(Jango) at the Jazz Guitar Gazette...

Jean "Django" Reinhardt was a Gypsy jazz guitarist from Belgium, who can be easily considered one of the top 5, all time influential guitarists in history. He is arguably equal to Charlie Christian, but in terms of the pre-electric era, Django reigns as the number one catalyst.
...he could only use his first two fingers to fret notes, while his burnt fingers were barely able to fret notes on the first two strings only....

Greg Howe Slows It Down

Greg Howe slows it down in this lesson to show you a style of playing using the barring technique.

One of the methods that I use to achieve this texture involves the use of partial barreing, which is, quite simply, the idea of flattening the tip of one or more of the fingers of your fretting hand over two or more strings in order to perform high-speed licks with minimal finger motion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dumbing Down Guitar Tracks

Magic Tempos
This is an interesting article at Premier Guitar.It is written by John Bohlinger,he is a Nashville guitar slinger who has recorded and toured with over 30 major label artists. His songs and playing can be heard in several major motion pictures, major label releases and literally hundreds of television drops...
He talks about having to dumb down tracks for movie and commercial tv purposes.This is the "hook" approach to me.I've always known about the ol' saying...Create the melody so that one can "hum" to,otherwords simple!Of course this bewilders the mind of an advanced guitarist :-).It really is all about the song and commercialism.Your smooth jazz artist have caught on well to this analogy!Make the melody simple/hook,and then on the vamp you can stretch out more progressively!Anyway,it can become a problem when the song/groove/audio byte needs to appeal to the masses and you are trying to "burn down the house"!
... "Perhaps it’s all part of the decline of Western civilization, but complicated melodies don’t seem to work today. You can literally play your way out of a gig if you go too cerebral. Go online and listen to television themes from the past like, Family Feud, The Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune. They have real melodies you can sing, usually played by horns. Now compare today’s competition, shows like Idol. Modern television music doesn’t use songs, but riffs. Maybe our brains have atrophied to the point that we can’t process anything complicated, or maybe the shift in music stems from the hypnotic effect of big dumb riffs. The listeners don’t have to think to process the information. Instead, they absorb it unthinkingly into their central nervous system, which reacts by sending more oxygen to their muscles, pumping out some endorphins and generally getting the audience pumped to watch some mindless programming. The vast majority of modern television tracks strive to do one of two things: 1)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Santana - Soul Sacrifice (Woodstock 1969)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Getting Inside Oz Noy's Head and Fingers

Oz Noy's guitar playing is fresh and exciting.I like his concept of laying down a somewhat simple or basic groove and then improvising over it in a modal way.Like he says,just hanging out and grooving on one chord gives you a lot of possibilities when coming to improvising.And besides i am a sucker for the groove thang...anyway!Here is some of his ideas on improvising,he talked about in a Guitar Player article...
“If you’re grooving on one chord you can color it many different ways,” says Noy. “And if you have some different approaches at your disposal, those colors can be extremely vivid. Scales offer some great ways to create different vibes over a one-chord vamp.”
To illustrate his point, Oz has me strum a background groove—a funky mid-tempo rhythm-guitar vamp on the G7 chord in Ex. 1. His lead starts where many guitarists’s solos would—with lines improvised from the minor pentatonic scale fingering in Ex. 2. He’s playing the same five notes that most people taking a blues solo might, but his inflections—his vibrato, bends, attacks, slides, and general pocket—are what set him apart from the average blues/rock hack. There is a solid, articulate snarl to his pentatonic phrases that gives them that elusive vocal quality that is the mark of every great player. What’s more impressive than that, though, is that Noy can deliver that same vocal sound using scales far more jazzy than the blues scale....

“The next color you might hear me play over G7 is the whole-tone scale [Ex. 3],” shares Noy. “Of course, the Mixolydian mode always works too [Ex. 4]. I also like the ‘half/whole’ symmetrical diminished scale [Ex. 5], which I think of as a diminished arpeggio—in this case, G#-B-D-F—with neighbor tones added a half-step below each note. Or, I’ll use a G altered dominant scale [Ex. 6], which, as you may know, is the same fingering as Ab melodic minor. There’s only one other color I’d throw at this vamp, and that’s what I simply call the augmented scale [Ex. 7]. It’s constructed much like the half/whole scale in the sense that it’s simply an arpeggio—this time a G augmented arpeggio spelled G-B-D#—with pitches added a half-step below each note...

“Between those scales, you can create many different sounds, and that alone can take you to new places. And when you start experimenting with phrasing and rhythms, you’ll open up a whole other universe. Plus, you can mix styles—rock, jazz, funk, blues, whatever—though I don’t actual think about music in those terms. The concept of labeling styles is just so limiting.”

Some nice info :-) ....

Oz's Newsletter ...
Oz @ Electronic Musician...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Guitar Player Magazine's 2009 Guitar Super Star Competition

Guitar Player Magazine's 2009 Guitar Super Star Competition
Check it out,some great playing goin on...I was going to do the blog on it but
already has,so here is the link....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Legend Les Paul Passes

Comments from the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame:
“Without Les Paul, we would not have rock and roll as we know it,” said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “His inventions created the infrastructure for the music and his playing style will ripple through generations. He was truly an architect of rock and roll.”

A true icon has passed,at the age of 94,so he at least lived a long and successful life!
Some quotes from Les Paul... "When I was a kid there was only one person in my hometown that played the guitar, and that was me. It was all piano in the old days. The guitar was rare.
What we did was take an acoustical instrument -- which was a very apologetic, wonderful, meek instrument -- and turned it into a pit bull. And that's what happened"
"And there was no such thing as amplifiers, so I had to build my own -- I took my mother's radio and I turned it into one"
"I remember I would go into a club in the very early days with my electric. I didn't care who was there with his saxophone or trumpet or piano or drums, I could drown them out. It became a monster, from a wimp to a monster"
the article from Spinner...|main|dl7|link2|
The details... Electric guitar icon Les Paul passed away today, the result of complications of severe pneumonia, at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York. He was 94. Born June 9, 1915, as Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin, he later adopted the stage name Les Paul and, in addition to his contributions as a performing artist, played a major role in the development of the solidbody electric guitar, most closely associated with his namesake instrument, the Gibson Les Paul, Gibson Guitar's best selling instrument....

Rhythm Guitar Playing...A Lost Art ...No

Everybody wants to play solo guitar,the rock star image right!Well that is all good,but there is a whole different side to guitar and that is a rhythm side.It requires a whole different way of thinking!It is more team work and takes much more consistency.
Today most players want to solo,they don't even consider rhythm playing.But rhythm playing can be fun and inspiring,and opens up a whole different view as far as the band as a unit and what your job is to contributing to it unit!When you are on stage playing with the band,you are all grooving,the sound is tight and poppin,there is an awesome feeling you feel and get.This is reward and gratitude from being a team player!Complementing each other,filling a role,and nailing the accents together,can be a rewarding experience too!
Just like soloing,playing in a group context can be challenging also.Rhythm guitar playing requires practicing over and over just like soloing does.Here are some quotes and links i have found that may help the guitarist achieve rhythm guitar status!In addition,there is much to be said about playing funk guitar,from the likes of Earth Wind and Fire,Prince,James Brown,Curtis Mayfield,Johnny Guitar Watson and others....Oh...did i mention Jimmy Hendrix :-)

The term "rhythm guitar" is often used. This describes a style of playing where you become half guitarist half percussionist. You can use you plectrum to either pick single notes or strum all six, or combinations of both. A common way of playing rhythm is to pick the root note of the chord and then strum the rest of the chord.

*** What is the function of rhythm guitar?
What are we doing up there in the first place? How do we do what we do? Why do we do all the work while the horn players get all the glory? Given my earlier letter regarding Freddie's focus on playing a tenor harmony line, the guitarist, as we all know, is a member of the rhythm section. This means we are responsible for establishing and maintaining the underlying meter. What is meter? Meter is a regularly recurring accented pulse, followed by an unaccented pulse or pulses.* Think about that for a moment - 3/4, 7/8, 4/4 - whatever the subdivision, establishing a meter is simply to establish a regularly recurring accented pulse, followed by an unaccented pulse or pulses. We've all heard the description of Freddie Green as being the 'heartbeat' of the Basie band, and that refers, of course, to Freddie's solid and even (definitely regularly recurring) 'thunk' which gave the band its pulse. It was Freddie's 'thunk' that enabled drummers like Sonny Payne to concentrate a bit more on showmanship because he knew Freddie was laying it down - the meter, that is. We've also heard the phrase "... plays with good time," or "... has good time." What does this actually mean? For a rhythm section player it can mean that the person is able to self-sufficiently establish and maintain the meter. In addition, it means, and all this of course applies to every musician, that everything played within the meter is rhythmically even. Now we approach the definition of rhythm. Is it the feel one plays with? No, someone playing with a good feel does not necessarily mean someone playing with good rhythm and vice versa. Rhythm is the arrangement of note and rest values within the meter.* Returning home one night from a job with drummer Eliot Zigmund, he put it simply: "I know by the first four bars of the gig whether anybody's listening to and playing with where I'm putting it." Rhythm is defined by where you put it. Everybody in the band should feel rhythmic figures the same way, place them in the same spot, and of course in order to do that must also be feeling precisely the same tempo.
Have a recorder in place (one which you can listen back to quickly with a minimum of fuss) to record your practicing together with your metronome set at 80. Start by playing (I suggest using only downstrokes, letting the pick rest on the next string) and recording just one octave of an ascending/descending scale or arpeggio of your choice, at the rate of one legato note for every two clicks of the metronome. Initially, you don't want to play more than that at a time until/unless you've developed the ability to hear your practice objectively and self-critically as you play, otherwise you'll probably spend more time practicing it wrong than getting it right. When we practice, and this may seem self-evident, the idea is to practice consistently correctly. Don't practice something by fumbling it 10 times then moving on after finally playing it right just once or twice. Always slow it down to the point where you can play it correctly, relaxed, and can be 100% in control of both hands 100% of the time. Then speed it up bit by bit while always playing it right. That way you build a firm foundation - that's the way to be able to play something perfectly after you've been given the downbeat. Listen back to what you just played - are your half notes falling square on the nose with every other beat of the metronome? A little ahead or sometimes a bit behind? It's entirely possible at first, if you've never before practiced such simple rhythmic placement in such concentrated fashion, that you honestly can't tell one way or another. When I first tried this, when I thought I'd been playing evenly, I wasn't. If you've already been playing for a number of years and never developed this awareness/ability from the outset, it's always more difficult to work through and correct an ingrained bad habit than to learn something new off a clean slate. It is possible - I'm proof - but it requires much more effort. When we practice, as when we play, we must always be listening - we should be aware of every sound we make and of every facet of those sounds. Absolute silence should be the empty canvas upon which we begin to apply color with the sounds we produce. Do the notes all possess an evenness of tone and are they played with a similar attack? Are they all legato, each note ringing into the next? Am I maintaining a consistent dynamic level throughout? When playing in a group, all this is compounded by the fact that not only must you be aware of every sound you make, but you must also be aware of every sound produced by each of your bandmates, and of course, your relationship to those sounds.

This is a great style, and again requires a really deft right-hand technique. Many of the great funk players such as Jimmy Nolen, Cornell Dupree and Curtis Mayfield have always utilized their right hands to great percussive heights, and this is really what is at the heart of these kinds of runs. The all-important 7th and 9th chord positions will be mostly utilized in this lesson, and a lot of “sliding” of these positions as well will be incorporated.

Thoughts on Rhythm Guitar...

List of rhythm guitarists:

Some Funk Rhythm Guitar:

How Often Should You Change Your Guitar Strings

This would seem to be a logical question,right.Well it really depends upon a lot of things like,the players personal preference,how often he or she plays,will the strings tune up and even weather conditions and the environment.
I personally change to a new set every three days when playing regularly or daily,three to four hours.In addition,it depends on the humidity also.This affects the strings life also.The heat makes my hands sweat,and sweat kills string life.Where i am from,the southeastern U.S.,humidity and heat are a problem and this contributes to shortened string life.And if performing along the coast,the salt air also shortens string life.That is why i always keep my strings wiped down!This alone can dramatically increase the strings on the other hand,i have at times just kept the same sey of strings on until they start breaking or just want tune up!In this case,it may be two to three months before a string change!But,regardless of how clean you kept the strings....they die!That means no tone,no brightness or sustain and invariably tuning and intonation problems.
So there you have it.How often you should change your strings is really an individual preference.If you are a beginner or just starting,i would just play on them for at least a month or so.Most strings will last that long,with an average one hour of playing time daily.
...BTW,can you tell which two brands i use :-)
D'Addario Strings : Home Page:
Ernie Ball | Home:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For The Curious...Greg Waters/G


Sunday, August 9, 2009

America's Local Guitar Shops

There is a cool project done on local guitar shops around America.And the pix are eye candy too :-).Here is the link,along with some store links.It is,so far,a 2 part story,so read and look on...

America’s Best Guitar Shops:
Still trying to plan your summer vacation? We suggest plotting it around some of the nation’s best music stores. While the chains are great for finding a quick bargain, why not go a little out of your way to discover some of the more idiosyncratic places that dot the country, where passionate employees and magic dust conspire to help you find that guitar you’ve always wanted....

Quick Music Fact....Guitar Lessons

Here is another Quick Music Fact...Guitar Lessons

School will be starting soon,again :-).That means kids are back from their vacations and their summer activities are coming to a close.The whole family and singles are getting on a set schedule again.And what does this all mean?It means guitar lessons will begin again for many kids,along with many new guitar prodigy's starting guitar!
My advice is not have a you a favor,and give you free lessons,and just teach you bad habits,and get you off on the wrong track!Getting solid technique and knowledge in the basics is critical.So shop around your hometown and find a good,seasoned and accredited guitar teacher.Also,remember,there can be an awesome player around that teaches,but,they just can't teach what they play!There is an art to teaching,it is called communication,being able to convey to the student what he or she is playing or teaching.This is where many "guitar teachers" fall short!
So all i am saying around,ask other guitarist also,talk with different teachers,ask them about their regime.

Is Jazz Dead

I was reading a recent article claiming jazz was all but dead.Somewhat,the Big Band era is in the past,but the elements used from jazz are all around us.Yes,you all but never hear of the Big Band or Swing Bands anymore,but elements of jazz are all around,in all styles of music.Jazz,per se,has many limbs and branches off of the trunk!It has branched out into Smooth Jazz,Fusion,R&B,Funk,and even some rap.People like Chick Corea,John McLaughlin,Pat Metheny,Herbie Hancock,have reinvented jazz and kept it going.And now there is a whole new generation of jazzers.So,to me at least,jazz is not dead,just constantly reininventing itself.....
Can Jazz Be Saved?
• In 2002, the year of the last survey, 10.8% of adult Americans attended at least one jazz performance. In 2008, that figure fell to 7.8%.
• Not only is the audience for jazz shrinking, but it’s growing older—fast. The median age of adults in America who attended a live jazz performance in 2008 was 46. In 1982 it was 29....
Jazz sites...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Jazz Guitarist Charlie Christian

There is a great read on guitarist Charlie Christian,his life and equipment.It is over at site really has a wealth of info on jazz guitarist,in addition to lessons and jazz theory,a great site.
Charlie Christian was one of the first guitarists playing electric. He used the first electric guitar that was a commercial success, the Gibson ES150. This guitar together with the Gibson EH150 produced enough volume and sustain for single note lines to be heard in a big band, something that's hard to achieve with an acoustic guitar. Partially thanks to "modern" technique, Charlie Christian brought jazz guitar out of the rhythm section...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Free George Benson At Smooth Jazz Site

George Benson model by Ibanez

George Benson
has always been one of my favorite guitarist.He is so soulful and his execution is right on.I have seen him and the band,they sounded so good.He actually played cuts off of the Breezin album note for note.
But if you want to hear the real Benson in his prime check out Cookbook or the song Oleo on the After Hours album.They are old and before the time that Benson's vocals were the main attraction.He blisters the whole way through,just blazing his way through with true jazz lines,making you dizzy!
Anyway,there is a free download at his site.So if you like the lighter side of jazz with some soul thrown in,check it out at Benson's site.And to get the blistering side of Benson,check out Cookbook.
And enjoy Smooth Jazzes site on other smooth jazz artist,like Peter White...
...Singer, composer and guitarist George Benson is now offering a free download of the first smooth jazz hit single from his upcoming CD Songs and Stories. “Living in High Definition,” an original song written by Lamont Dozier, includes Benson’s guitar and scatting. In addition, there’s Greg Phillinganes on piano, Marcus Miller on bass, vibes and string production, and John Robinson on drums.

George Benson's site...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Quick Music Fact...Increasing Finger Strength and Speed

To strengthen your fingers,practice on your acoustic guitar.This will dramatically increase your power and speed.That is if you have heavier gauge strings on your acoustic :-).

Peter Wolf Talks About The Music Industry

If you are interested in news on the music industry and it's position in this frail global economy,read this article at Modern Guitar website.They interview Peter Wolf,who worked with Paul Reed Smith company....
Modern Guitars: In this climate, does a manufacturer decrease high-end product production and increase low-end? Peter Wolf: I’m sure some manufacturers have been considering this approach. However, the lower price segments are very crowded and are actually hurting more right now. Of course, there are exceptions....

Peter Wolf: It depends on the individual situation, the brand, product line, financial situation, demand, manufacturing capabilities, dealer/distributor network, media presence and so on...

Modern Guitars Magazine - Front Page...

and Peter Wolf ...

Pandora Internet Radio...Your Music and More

I thought i would mention Pandora Internet Radio.It is the best on line music player i have found.The way it works is,you sign up(free) and create a station by simply typing in a favorite artist.It then plays selections by this addition,it suggest artist that are similar to the one you chose.For me,as enlightened as i am...supposedly,it will find and introduce me to artist that i did not know about!From these new artist you can choose which you like and which you do not and Pandora remembers your choices and saves them.Thus creating a personal library of your favorite known artist,along with newly discovered ones!Pandora has a very deep knowledge base of artist,so you will be pleasantly surprised with the results...a great list of your favorite known artist along with new and refreshing artist!And there are other members with similar interest,so you can also play their stations and discover even more artist.This is a great program,i highly recommend it....
Pandora Radio - Listen to Free Internet Radio, Find New Music
About Pandora®...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shroeder Guitars