Sunday, 31 May 2009

POST #079 Mark Ribot on Coltrane's Ascension

“Ascension (Coltrane’s modal piece), where is the chorus? It requires a different set of devices to build the tension. McCoy works with melodic motifs. He plays with an idea and has the space to play with it in. Great bebop players were also using motifs, but something about the free jazz setting allowed him to pursue those ideas, well more freely.” – Mark Ribot on McCoy Tyner

( Have become bit of a cliche in rock guitar solo where you have to build up to a 'climax' at end of your solo with screaming high notes or played super fast! Why not take another path and pursue your solo as a journey with many mini climaxes throughout the solo...or eschewing the notion of climax altogether and simply go on a musical journey? I cant really get into this free jazz stuff too much in one sitting but you can certainly hear emotions of pain and anguish in Ascension...there is no carefully calculated 'climax' as such as simply a display of pure emotion...kinda like how Hendrix described the Vietnam War sonically with the guitar in Star Spangled Spanner - Ed)

Saturday, 30 May 2009

POST # 078 Charlie Parker on Studying your Instrument

I put quite a bit of study into the horn, that's true. In fact the neighbors threatened to ask my mother to move once when we were living out West. She said I was driving them crazy with the horn. I used to put in at least 11 to 15 hours a day. that's true, yes. I did that for over a period of 3 to 4 years. is absolutely necessary, in all forms. It's just like any talent that's born within somebody, it's like a good pair of shoes when you put a shine on it, you know. Like schooling brings out the polish of any talent that happens anywhere in the world. Einstein had schooling, but he has a definite genius, you know, within himself, schooling is one of the most wonderful things there's ever been, you know. - Charlie Parker

( Bird grooving high - Ed)

Friday, 29 May 2009

POST # 077 George Lynch on Absorbing Influences

The difference between then and now is that back then, nobody was hearing anyone else and copying them. That didn’t start until Eddie came along. Then everybody wanted to be Eddie, just like later everybody wanted to be Yngwie. Before that every player had his own unique approach and style. – George Lynch

I’ve done that with a lot of players. Instead of copying them, I react to them. I’ll think, “Well, Di Meola does this thing. I can do some alternate picking, so I won’t copy it but I’ll embed that little bit into my tool box and do it my own way……I’ve tried to do that with any player who has influenced me….I couldn’t play any of their stuff note-for-note to save my life, but I can capture the gist of what they’re doing by being exposed to it. I can get the essence. The guys who do the note-for-note thing do themselves a disservice because they erase their own voice. It makes it much more difficult to do their own thing. That’s definitely something I try to teach: if you can’t play other people’s stuff note-for-note, you need to take pride in that. – George Lynch

( Assimilate then innovate! - Ed)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

POST # 076 Juan Manual Canizares on difference between Flamenco and Classical Guitars

There are structural difference, such as the types of wood used, body depth, and the position of the bridge. One of the most important differences is that the strings on a flamenco guitars are closer to the frets to create the typical flamenco sound. – Juan Manual Canizares

It is more of a “broken” sound, especially with the fourth, fifth and sixth bass strings. It is a “nastier” sound, like when a singer’s voice cracks. Flamenco guitar is more aggressive, has more attack, and sometimes sounds less clear. – Juan Manual Canizares

Classical guitar is sweeter. The articulation and phrasing are softer, more elastic. Flamenco is much more rhythmic and percussive. - – Juan Manual Canizares

( Hear Paco de Lucia play with flawless technique! - Ed)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

POST # 075 Juan Manual Canizares on Improvisation in Flamenco and Paco de Lucia

We flamenco players usually improvise with the interpretation and the expression of the music from within, as it is composed, unlike with jazz improvisation, which typically involves scales and patterns. – Juan Manual Canizares

From the maestro (Paco de Lucia) I gained much experience and above everything else I learned the importance of small details. I learned to do subdivide well in terms of rhythm – triplets, sixteenth notes, etc and that much must have order within its space. – Juan Manual Canizares

(Clip of Paco De Lucía, José María Bandera, Juan Manuel Cañizares- Ed)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

POST # 074 Bruce Eisenbeil on Stockhausen, Taylor, Coleman and Hendrix

"Stockhausen was a major force. He was the kind of person that restructures a given musical vocabulary and comes up with something completely original, and that’s the kind of force that motivates and inspires me. Two examples within the jazz tradition would be Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman – but Jimi Hendrix did a similar thing coming out of a rhythm and blues tradition. I think he’s one of the greatest innovators in modern music, and I can’t imagine a single genre that hasn’t benefited from his work. He was a great guitar player, but it was also his sound, man." -Bruce Eisenbeil

"One technique that I like is a kind of fast remolo, which Django used a lot…not just on single note lines, but also on chords – I could really move things around through the range of the guitar." - Bruce Eisenbeil

( We interrupt our regular programming to bring you something a little more Avant Garde...Coleman's free jazz actually still sounds quite swinging compare to the others...Cecil Taylor playing free form but composed of little melodic phrases and moves from atonal to melodic and back, Stockhausen and Totem is very out there...Number 9 anyone?...well Hendrix needs no introduction! - Ed)

Monday, 25 May 2009

POST # 073 Joe Pass on Scales and Practice

No, my father would say, 'Play a scale,' and I'd play one and he'd say, 'What about the rest? There must be one above,' so we'd figure them out. I'd start the scale on the root of the chord and I'd go as far as my hand would reach without going out of position, say, five frets, and then I'd go all the way back. So when ! practised I'd start right away on scales. As well as the usual ones, I'd play whole tone scales, diminished, dominant sevenths, and chromatic scales. Every chord form, all the way up, and this took an hour.

Another thing I'd do which is something I get my pupils on, is make up scale patterns. You do this so that the head and the fingers are doing the same thing. You continue making up these lines for as long as you can without making a mistake, and if you do make a mistake then you go back over it. I think one of the things about speed is . . . people say, 'He sounds fast and clean': it's not really as fast as you think, it's because your fingers and your head know where they're going. This is subconscious of course. You should be able to hum along with whatever you're playing. I don't sing out loud, but it's there in the head; you have to have a melodic thought

Well yes, I think that I started to get a feeling for the instrument. I think that you have to have the instrument in your hand till it feels like an extension of yourself, and for me holding the guitar for seven hours a day and going (plays more scales) - and hating it, did just that.

- Joe Pass

(Joe is one of my favourate guitar players! Looked like Joe sacrificed a lot of his youth on the guitar (well better then on video games!) but what an absolute command he has on the guitar! I still remember first hearing the Virtuoso albumn having never heard any jazz guitar before that, with all the walking bass, chord melody, fast single lines wow...Joe playing a blistering version of Donna Lee with NHOP - Ed)

Sunday, 24 May 2009

POST # 072 Steve Morse on Target Notes

Employing different target notes positioned either as the highest or lowest note in each phrase lends solos a sense of development. Fast phrases provide the feeling of energy but may not convey a sense of melody; establishing a target point at which the melody turns around, stops or is accented is a simple way to establish the movement of the melody from one place to the next. I have found that one can get away with playing a very complicated phrase as long as there is something simple built into it that makes it easier for the ear to follow – Steve Morse

( I find that I used to play too many notes when I am not too sure about the chords and so just throw everything at it, now I realize I was just playing fast to cover up my lack of knowledge! Steve here plays very melodically and very nicely. - Ed)

Saturday, 23 May 2009

POST #071 Bireli Lagrene on Gypsy Jazz picking technique

The secret of this music is not that much the left hand, it’s more the right hand. The pick is very important, too. You have to have those thick picks to have the round sound. When I play that music, my wrist automatically inclines, like a broken wrist. But if I play on an electric guitar, my wrist lays right on the bridge. Because if I do it while playing the Gypsy music, I don’t have enough strength when I play with my wrist on the bridge. It has to be floating, sort of. And this is where the sound comes from. [He plays the same lick with the wrist floating and then resting on the bridge.] With the wrist on the bridge, it doesn’t sound as powerful. It’s a little different approach.

I play with the rounded side. It’s a much warmer sound. It shouts less.

- Bireli Lagrene

(Bireli playing like Django , at age 12! -Ed )

Friday, 22 May 2009

POST #70 Dave Hunter on Fender vs Gibson Scale Length

You can also “cheat” your scale length slightly if you want to elicit the sound, feel and bendability fo a different string gauge, particularly if you’re starting with a longer scale instrument. Fender-scale players who are seeking a looser, more “Gibson-y” feel can try detuning a half step or dropping their string set down a gauge. The reverse doesn’t work quite as wel, though upping the string gauge on your Gibson, Gretsch, Guild, Epiphone, or other 24 5/8” electric will indeed give it a slightly tighter feel, firmer lows, and a tad more twang in the highs. “ – Dave Hunter

( Stevie Ray Vaughan always (?) tuned down half a step but then he uses heavier gauge stringes , I wonder if his guitar feels more 'Gibson-y' or 'Fender-y' or maybe neither! Here SRV gives a lesson to a clueless interviewer who thinks Stevie might have been influenced by 'Mersey Beat'! )

Thursday, 21 May 2009

POST #069 Mark Ribot on McCoy Tyner

“His ideas of modal playing, his idea of voicing chords in fourth – a lot of things he did just became part of the language of jazz, so it influenced me and everybody else. Inside a mode, you don’t have a dominant seventh chord that implies the key you are in, so the root is less fixed….One thing he did was very interesting was creating a much slower concept of a dramatic arc.” – Mark Ribot on McCoy Tyner

( John Coltrane doing My Favourate Things with McCoy Tyner - Ed)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

POST # 068 Harry Manx on sliding between the notes

“When you travel between notes with the slide you also cover the notes in the middle, and you can do it in such a way that they are sounded and given some space. You don’t usually stop on them, but it’s a way to give the tone an edge, like in blues, when you bend the note just a little bit. “ Harry Manx

“…somtimes I am reckless, and I do break the rules. I love that expression, “Truth is whatever works.” Harry Manx

(Harry Manx does his blues meets indian raga thing on the Mohan veena. - Ed)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

POST # 067 Andy McKee on his technique and Toto's Africa

Take it one hand at a time, and then put them together. I recommend checking out the video…of Toto’s “Africa” The beginning is a good example of how I incorporate interlocking right and left hand rhythms. It helps immensely if you can write the patterns down on paper in order to see exactly how they fit together. – Andy Mckee

I snap my wrist and slap the side of my thumb against the 5th and 6th strings for a whapping, snare-like sound that creates a backbeat as I pluck with my fingers on the upper strings….I’ll thump the heel of my right hand against the lower bout to create a sound similar to a kick drum, and roll my fingers for a bongo-like effect. – Andy Mckee

I’d like to believe that my music has caught on because the compositions themselves are meaningful. There are lots of players who slap and tap, and some seem to do it more for its own sake. In the end, the songs have to connect with people. – Andy Mckee

(Drumming and pulling off the riff on the guitar at the same time! Very cool - Ed)

Monday, 18 May 2009

POST #066 Fareed Haque on Playing Freely

A lot of music is taken really seriously , and that's a shame

I had another talented student who simply needed to listen to himself. I told him "Sing the note you want to play, and then play that note". Two hours later, he became relaxed enough to do that. He played beautifully for 15 minutes before saying, "You know what, that freaks me out!"

The biggest obstacle for most musicians is the fear of being in the flow.

(Fareeq playing some classical and jazz guitar - Ed)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

POST #065 Joe Bonamassa on Keeping the Blues Alive

If there’s not a new generation of kids playing this music, there won’t be a new generation of fans. And that will ultimately hurt guitar music and roots music in general. – Joe Bonamassa

(Joe then and now...bringing back the Thermin ! - Ed)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

POST #064 John Jorgenson on Django Reinhardt

To me Django made the acoustic guitar sound as exciting as the electric guitar, if not more so. And the fact that he had played all of that fantastic stuff with just two fingers due to a disfiguring injury on his fretting hand is just phenomenal. – John Jorgenson.

(Not only an amazing virtuoso and imaginative improvisor but also originator of an entire musical genre! One guitarist I am happy to listen to all the time :) Coincidently Django passed away 56 years ago today, but his music lives on in the hearts and playing of gypsy jazz musicians today (Bireli, Stochelo, Jimmy Rosenberg, Tchavolo etc) and fans alike! -Ed)

Friday, 15 May 2009

POST #063 Andy McKee on his Influences

Michael Hedges motivated me to be fearless. His playing knew no boundaries, and he never sacrifieced the composition for the sake of technique. Billy McLaughlan (…) he almost always plays with both hands on the fretboard, and his melodies linger in your mind. Don Ross…taught me the importance of timing. – Andy Mckee

(Few clips from these new acoustic pioneers. - Ed)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

POST #062 Fareed Haque on Playing Bebop

To build a bebop castle, start by arpeggiating a chord 1, 3, 5, 7 and then play whatever chromatic notes in between the notes sound good leading to them. If you approach them from below, you have 4 half step notes, giving you 8 notes to choose from....(approach from above)..4 more half step notes. Now you could also approach the 4 notes from a whole step above or below, giving you eight more notes. for a total of 20 to choose from. So there are more than 12 notes when you start thinking about how notes lead to each other. And at that point u're no longer just dealing with the notes, but the FUNCTION of the note.

(Basically if there are 20 notes to choose from and there are really only 12 notes in the chromatic means you can pretty much start on ANY note as long as you resolve it correctly! The key is to have the changes so well memorized that you can start on any note and resolve to the right chord tones/scales/arppegios according to the underlying harmony and where its going. There are no wrong notes! The genius of Bebop. - Ed)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

POST #061 Fareed Haque on Improvising and Genre

I'm just thinking melody and chnages whether I'm playing Bach or Bebop

I've come to think about music in pure terms rather than genre or style, and I approach, say, a classical piece in much the same way I would any other type of music.

Rather than memorizing something, I study it until I really understand the structure and harmony, and how it was created. That's how you approach jazz standards, or any tune involving improvisation, and when you do that with classical music, it ceases to be classical music per say, and just become music.

(An interesting guitarist interviewed below - Ed)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

POST #060 Joe Bonamassa on his first record with Bloodline.

I learned that there’s a certain charm in the struggle….I hear the struggle to get the notes out, to sing the parts, and the struggle of writing the tunes. I think that’s why some people are drawn to it: it’s real….For an artist, there’s the struggle to make it, and there’s a fire and a hunger that fuels that. Then, if you make it, the challenge is to keep the fire and the hunger that is reality don’t exist anymore. The whole reason those players did make it is because of that ifre. It’s a very strange phenomenon. If things get too easy, it definitely translates into recordings and live shows. – Joe Bonamassa

(Best white blues/rock guitarist since Stevie Ray Vaughan? Definately not just another SRV clone. - Ed)

Monday, 11 May 2009

POST #059 Joe Pass on Guitar Choices

It was a solid-bodied guitar donated to the Foundation. It was a Fender, but I had to use it as I didn't have one. I had to get used to it though because solid guitars are generally very fast, the neck is fast. Without an amplifier there's no tone at all, but you can really skate on it. Before that I'd used a Martin round-hole fitted with a De Armond pickup. I used that for years and then I used all the various Gibsons. Those guitars I consider good for road work because they take a lot of punishment and although they have no tone un-amplified, they have a better tone than a solid body, much better. - JOE PASS

(Joe Pass playing the solid body guitar in the following video. Just proves you can play straight ahead jazz on anything provided you are swinging like Joe! On a related note a video of Kenny Burrel on an acoustic guitar more a folk guitar then jazz. Australian Jazz Guitar great George Golla plays just about anything and still sounds amazing, I've seen him with Archtops, Hamer SG shaped guitars, Rickenbackers, Les Pauls, 335, Teles... - Ed)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

POST #058 Joe Bonamassa on Gibson Les Paul

The switch is in the middle and it’s 75 percent lead pickup and 25 percent rhythm pickup. It doesn’t do that two-pickup thing, the Steve Cropper sound. This gives you more lead pickup, but it mellows out the sound just a bit so it had a different tone. – Joe Bonamassa

(Joe shows off a few licks on his Les Paul, stick around for the cool bend behind the neck Jimmy Page style in the end that will make your day! - Ed)

Saturday, 9 May 2009

POST #057 Joe Pass on Practice as a Youngster

I guess it came sort of easy for me; I have certain difficulties, not a lot. But you've got to remember that I grew up playing the guitar. I started when I was nine, and by the time I was nine and a half or ten, I was doing seven or eight hours' practice every day. I did two hours' practice at six o'clock in the morning before I went to school, and another two hours as soon as I got home from school in the afternoon. Then I did four hours at night before I went to bed.

I did that until I was fourteen or fifteen. I didn't like it - I hated it, but my father was very firm about it; he saw a little something happening, so he figured he'd just push. I don't remember too much how I felt about it except that I'd rather be outside playing ball and things. I never could ride a bike, like even today I can't do these things. But, I know how I learned, and what I practised. Like, for instance, somebody would play the guitar on the Sunday morning radio programme, any guitarist - maybe Vincente Gomez or somebody, and my father would say, 'Get the guitar Joe, and copy it.' And I'd sit there and try, and he'd say, 'Did you get it?' and I'd not got it ,cause I don't know what I'm doing. Then he'd say, 'OK, learn this song,' and he'd whistle a tune and I'd find the notes, and then he'd say, 'Fill it up; don't leave any spaces.' That meant to do all the runs in between the phrases of melody. - JOE PASS

(7 hours a day for for 7 years! Didn't know who Vincente Gomez was until I youtubed it, apparently you still get to hear real guitar music on the radio in the good old days! - Ed)

Friday, 8 May 2009

POST #056 Nuno Bettencourt on Developing own Style

“Don’t get too obsessed with particular guitar players. In my day, we used to sit down with a record to learn a lick, and because we couldn’t see what a player was doing, we would learn to play the lick in our own unique way. And this slowly helped us develop our own identity as players. Today, with so much instructional material and the advent of YouTube, players place far too much importance on copying their favorite players exactly rather than finding their own way of interpreting things. “ Nuno Bettencourt

(Sometimes I think the Internet is a blessing and a curse, you get exposed to so much great stuff but at the same time there is too much information to absorb! - Ed)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

POST #055 Joe Pass on Starting Out

No, I started on a Harmony guitar, an acoustic model with steel strings. I began on simple chords like most everybody, and then I studied for a year on the Nick Lucas book. After that I got on to the Carcassi classical method for a while because the pieces in it were a lot better. They had a lot of movement in them, more chord changes and sophistication than the books of chords I'd come across. So I think that developed some sense of harmony in me. - JOE PASS

Then I had a couple of music books; the Nick Lucas and Carcassi, like I said, and every day I had to start from the beginning and go through them. And then he'd also bring home piano music, anything . . . like, once he brought home the Flight of The Bumble Bee and said, 'Play it.' That was the way I learnt to play, by actually playing a lot and filling in all the spaces and not leaving gaps in the music. And then he would say, 'Play me a song - make it up.' He might do this every day. He didn't know anything about music, he didn't play an instrument; but he wanted us to become something more than a steel-worker like himself. For instance, he had the idea that my brother who was eight or nine was going to be a writer, so he had him write stories every day, books of stories; he'd say, 'Make up a story and write.' - JOE PASS

(I had a old Carcassi book too! Unfortunately thats where the similarities ends. Time to dig out the old Carcassi book see if I get some inspirations! - Ed)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

POST #054 Nile Rodgers on Rhythm guitar and Style

One thing about what I do is that while I’m playing the song, I’m also embellishing it- I’m playing it differently, all the time. But it still sounds like the song. That’s because when I learned to play, every band had a style, and you worked hard to sound like yourself….you had to have a style that added but didn’t take away, and didn’t distract or detract from the core vibe. I had to figure out a way to sound original so that no matter what record I’m playing on, people are like, “Oh, that’s Nile playing.” – Nile Rodgers

(Chic playing Le Freak live with special guest - Ed)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

POST #053 Andy McKee on Acoustic Playing style of Preston Reed

I saw Preston Reed give a clinic on acoustic guitar, and it changed my life. He was using all sorts of unusual techniques – such as two-handed tapping and body slapping – and I was hooked. I made the switch and never looked back. – Andy Mckee

( Pretty amazing if you haven't seen anything like this done on an acoustic guitar, reminded me of how I felt the first time I heard/saw Kaki King play. - Ed)

Monday, 4 May 2009

POST #052 John Frusciante on Hendrix and Jimmy Page

When learning, say, a Hendrix solo, first you learn the notes, then you practice it enough to be able to play it without forgetting anything, then you start listening to exactly how the notes are being played, which is an entirely different thing. There are people who call some of the things that Hendrix and Page played “sloppy,” but they were actually putting a lot more variation into the sound from one note to another, whether that was because there was some noise in there, or tow notes were being combined for a moment, or a non-intentional harmonic was being played. To me that is much more exciting then hearing someone playing fast, with all the notes sounding alike – something which is only impressive to other guitar players. – John Frusciante

(Jimmy Page doing one of my favourate covers on White Summer/Black Mountain Side and Hendrix covering Dylan's All Along the Watchtower - Ed)

Sunday, 3 May 2009

POST #051 John Frusciante On Playing more Expressively

Determining where you are going to place your accents by conscious choice – rather than just playing them in predictable ways based on how the notes are grouped – frees you up and allows you to play more expressively – John Frusciante

What people called soul, or the right feeling of a piece, is a lot about what kind of muscular force is being applied to the instrument with your right hand, combined with how you are moving the strings in terms of pressure and vibrato with the left hand. – John Frusciante

(Compilation of few solos from John with the RHCP - Ed)

Saturday, 2 May 2009

POST #050 Keith Wyatt on Blues solo sounding natural

“One of the great things about a well-executed blues solo is the amount of emotional mileage that is extracted from a narrow range of notes, just through slight variations in timing and touch. To get so much from so little requires both great attention to detail and a strong sense of musical organization. Ironically, the desired result is a performance that the listener perceives as “natural.” – Keith Wyatt

( T Bone Walker...has a very unique way of phrasing sometimes repeat phrases other times he'd play a long phrase and would extend it pass barlines and stops at unusal places...probably not the best example of what Keith Wyatt is referring to here! But check out Clark Terry's awesome solo...just a few notes..and..just on a trumpet mouth piece no less! Is it me or does he makes the mouth piece laugh in the end?? Stick around for T Bone's swinging solos in the next song. - Ed)

Friday, 1 May 2009

POST #049 John Pizzarelli on Rhythm Guitar

If you’re working with a pianist, you might take turns playing rhythm while he or she plays more rhythmic stabs, and the switch off. – John Pizzarelli

I grew up with a great rhythm guitar player for a father who would always shake his head and say, ‘No, no, no’, when I didn’t play tasteful rhythm. Now I set the guitar’s action up a little higher, with heavier strings, so you really hear that rhythmic snap. You also mostly hear the inner melody. – John Pizzarelli

(John and his father Bucky plays a very nice version of Satin Doll - Ed)

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