Sunday, 31 January 2010

POST # 267 Steve Khan on Wes Montgomery's Compositions

Wes' octaves, chords, and sound were wonderful, but his writing is perhaps the most memorable aspect of what he did. His tunes were very clever and used a lot of blues-based material. Unlike a lot of guys who write only a line and wait for the accompaniment to take care of how things are really going to sound, he wrote tunes that were complete in terms of the line, the rhythmic feel, and the chord voicings that punctuate the line. Each of his tunes-including "Four On Six," "Mr. Walker," "Movin' Along," "West Coast Blues," and "Twisted Blues"-is great in its own way. - Steve Khan

( I love how Wes' tunes have interesting chord progressions yet never just to be clever and always so melodic at the same time! - Ed )

Friday, 29 January 2010

POST # 266 Angus Young on his Stage Antics

See, when I first started to play, I was very shy, so Malcolm would sort of pull me forward. Then I put on a school boy suit on, I was so scared, standing out there onstage dressed like a loony, that I finally decided that I had to start moving around. I figured, I’m just going to keep on moving because I’m a target here. Especially when we were playing in clubs and bars God knows where in the middle of Australia, it was much easier to dodge things like bottles if you didn’t stand in one place. I thought, if you keep their visual interest and the guitar happenin’ and hold it all together, you might come out alive at the end of the night without the natives getting restless and say, “Let’s spear that little f*****. - Angus Young

( Bluesy rock 'n' roll at its best! - Ed )

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

POST # 265 Jeff Beck on Vintage Guitars

"Not really. I don’t really care. I don’t want to get attached to any more inanimate objects (laughs). I’ve got cars and stuff like that… I’ve become a little more worldly wise about things and not as fanatical about owning something. Obviously if it helps forward your career, but it’s not all about vintage Tele’s anymore with eight million bucks on the price tag (laughs)." - Jeff Beck

( You would probably sound amazing on any guitar if you play like Beck! - Ed )

Monday, 25 January 2010

POST # 264 Sheryl Bailey on Essential Books for learning Jazz

My book has come from subjects I’ve worked on with students, mapping out II-V-I arpeggios, simple re-harm studies, drop two voicings, some ideas for altered dom7 voicings and lines – it’s certainly not the ultimate guide – I’m always developing it too. I think the essential books are The Charlie Parker Omnibook, Joe Viola’s Technique of The Saxophone, Brett Wilmotts’ Chord Voicing Book, The Barry Galbraith Comping Series, and Mick Goodrick’s Advancing Guitarist. - Sheryl Bailey

( Check out music inspirations from other instruments too, although we are guitarists are also musicians! - Ed )

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Saturday, 23 January 2010

POST # 263 Dave Grohl on Nirvana's Nevermind

“I was in awe of what was happening with Nevermind. I was in awe of those songs. And intimidated. I didn’t feel like my own songs were anywhere near the ones that we were doing. When you’re in a band with somebody like Kurt, who’s an amazing songwriter, you do anything you can to keep from polluting the songwriting process. I thought, I don’t want to be the person responsible for ruining these songs. There’s a famous old joke: ‘What was the last thing the drummer said before they kicked him out of the band? “Hey guys, I got a new song I just wrote.” - Dave Grohl

( I am dreading the 'grunge' revival, which can't be far away, why do every cool music style gets bastardized 20 years later?? And was there really a Grunge style? Here Nirvana pays tribute(?) subverts stereotype (?), taking the piss (?) in the music video as clean cut 60's rock group. Haha cool. - Ed )

Thursday, 21 January 2010

POST # 262 George Fullerton on Leo Fender's Feeling on the Sale of Fender to CBS

“I think he did eventually. Not at the time when he was sick. At that time he thought it was the right decision. Leo wanted to be in charge and would never at that time have given in to letting someone else run it. And he was willing to sell it due to health. It was sold not because he wanted to ~ but I think he felt he was dying.
Later on, he definitely regretted it, especially after he saw CBS run it down. He was so angry that’s why he never used his office that CBS had for him at Fender and had one down the street. He wouldn’t have an office at that factory he was so upset. - George Fullerton

( I wonder how much input Leo was allowed to have on guitar designs after the sale? Don't you just hate big companies that simply 'buy'the competition/market instead of doing the hard work themselves by being innovators, wonder what would have happened if CBS had setup their own guitar company and left Fender alone? Epiphone would surely make much more interesting guitars today if it was still competing with Gibson! Its now pretty much just churns out Gibson clones. Although I do love my Epi ES-295 :) - Ed )

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

POST # 261 Jim Hall on Playing what You are Hearing

Players should force themselves to hear something and then play it, rather than just do whatever comes under the fingers. I try to make my playing as fresh as possible by not relying on set pattersn. When I practice, I tie off some of the strings with rubber bands to force myself to look at the fingerboard differently. For instance, I might play on the G and D strings only, or even just the G and A strings. - Jim Hall

( Sometimes limitation can lead to creativity! Whats that cliche...necessity is the mother of invention? I remember breaking the top E string during a guitar solo once and just had to wing it with 5 strings live! I think we have all done that one time or another. - Ed )

Sunday, 17 January 2010

POST # 260 Joe Pass on How to Practice Scales

If you just play a scale for two octaves, you’re doing it by rote. You don’t really learn anything because you’re not exercising your mind—which you must do if you want to improvise. Play the scale using interval skips. - Joe Pass

( Exercise your mind :) I like that. We shouldn't just be guitar playing robots! - Ed )

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Friday, 15 January 2010

POST # 259 Ray Brown on Jazz

Well, jazz is to me, a complete lifestyle. It's bigger than a word. It's a much bigger force than just something that you can say. It's something that you have to feel. It's something that you have to live. - Ray Brown

( Live the music you love. Three bass players jam the blues - Ed )

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

POST # 258 Jim Marshall on Hendrix and Marshall Amps

I met Jimi Hendrix through one of my drum pupils, Mitch Mitchell. Jimi was playing at Ronnie Scott's in London, the group there was using a Marshall and so he had to too. He liked it a lot and he told Mitch he had to have some and that he also wanted to meet me because we shared the same name - as you may know, Jimi's full name was James Marshall Hendrix, you see. When Mitch brought him into the shop the first thing Jimi said to me was "I've got to use Marshalls" and I immediately thought, "Bloody hell, here's another American guitarist wanting something for nothing." But straight away Jimi said, "I want to pay for everything at the going rate. All I want is service wherever I'm playing in the world." So, we had his roadie spend two weeks at the factory with Dudley learning how to change valves - or tubes as you call them - do the bias and so on. The chap picked things up really quickly and must've done a great job because we never got called out to do service by Jimi even once! - Jim Marhsall

( I think Hendrix have voided his warranty on that strat though :P - Ed )

Monday, 11 January 2010

POST # 257 Beethoven on Music

Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth. - Ludwig van Beethoven

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. - Ludwig van Beethoven

( Can you imagine having to compose music when you are deaf? Wow. - Ed )

Sunday, 10 January 2010

POST # 256 Pablo Picaso on Procrastination

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. - Pablo Picasso

( Seize the day, celebrate life! Love the life you lead and lead the life you love :) - Ed )

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Friday, 8 January 2010

POST # 255 Ted Dunbar on Wes Montgomery's Amp

One day I asked Wes how he got such a fantastic sound out of his old Gibson amp. He took me to a raggedy radio shop where a guy with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and glasses down on his nose did something that made it respond the instant you'd touch the guitar. You could play his instrument with only your left hand-that's how sensitive his set-up was.

Wes once said, "You know, I don't have to play." He meant that he wasn't going to die if he couldn't play the guitar. I learned a lot from that statement. He had a large family, and he was going to do whatever it took to fulfill his responsibilities. Playing came so damn easy to him. He was always just smiling and laughing like it was nothing. He was one of those unique human beings who understands the qualities that make good music. He didn't try to impress anyone. Even though he practiced, he didn't have to do it 18 hours a day. I've never seen anyone like him. - Ted Dunbar

( Great guitarist wonderful human being. - Ed )

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POST # 254 Frank Zappa On Love Lyrics

I think love lyrics have contributed to the general aura of bad mental health in America. Love lyrics create expectations which can never be met in real life, and so the kid who hears these tunes doesn't realize that that kind of love doesn't exist. If he goes out looking for it, he's going to be a kind of love loser all his life. Where do you get your instructions about love? Your mother and father don't say, "Now, son, now daughter, here's how love works." *They* don't know, so how can they tell their kids? So all you love data comes to you through the lyrics on Top Forty radio, or, in some instances, in movies or novels. The singer-songwriters who write these lyrics earn their living by pretending to reveal their innermost personal turmoil over the way love has hurt them, which creates a false standard that people use as a guideline on how to behave in interpersonal relationships. "Does my heart feel as broken as that guy's heart?" "Am I loving well?" "Is my dick long enough?" - Frank Zappa

( The great Frank Zappa having some fun. - Ed )

Thursday, 7 January 2010

POST # 253 John Abercrombie on How to Practice

I advise my students to transcribe solos by the great improvisers as a way of learning the language of jazz. You need some generic lines—just like if you’re learning German you have to be able to say “good morning” in German. But as you get better at the language, you get away from just saying things you’ve memorized, and start having actual conversations. A good exercise is to study someone else’s line to see how it works, then try to re-write it your own way. Another instructive thing is to take a standard tune, and just improvise quarter notes or half notes over it. Then, record yourself playing through the tune, listen to the results, and see which notes work and which don’t, and figure out why. This will guide you towards better note choices. Ultimately, you want to be able to spontaneously take the harmonic information you have—the chords, the extensions, the approach notes, etc.—and craft an interesting, flowing, and meaningful melody line. - John Abercrombie

( Composing in real time! - Ed )

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

POST # 252 Mark Knopfler on Sultans of Swing

“ ‘Sultans of Swing’ was originally written on a National Steel guitar in an open tuning, though I never performed it that way, I thought it was dull, but as soon as I bought my first Strat in 1977, the whole thing changed, though the lyrics remained the same. It just came alive as soon as I played it on that ’61 Strat—which remained my main guitar for many years and was basically the only thing I played on the first album—and the new chord changes just presented themselves and fell into place. It’s really a good example of how the music you make is shaped by what you play it on, and is a lesson for young players. If you feel that you’re not getting enough out of a song, change the instrument—go from an acoustic to an electric or vice versa, or try an open tuning. Do something to shake it up. As for the actual solo, it was just more or less what I played every night. It’s just a Fender Twin and the Strat, with its three-way selector switch jammed into a middle position. That gives the song its sound, and I think there were quite a few five-way switches installed as a result of that song.”

( Live Aid - Ed )

POST # 251 Jack Grassel on Listening when Playing

I totally subscribe to what Miles said. He said “you have to listen to the music before you play and then decide what you can do to make the music as good as possible.” One of the choices is not to play at all. Everything I do is governed by that Miles Davis viewpoint.

I saw him play once and he just stood there and didn’t play for about half an hour. Ever since I saw that I’ve always felt that I had the option to not play at all. And sometimes the music’s better when I don’t, an option that a lot of other musicians should think of taking more often. - Jack Grassel

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

POST # 250 Kurt Rosenwinkel on Bebop

One of the revelations I got from listening to Frank Hewitt is that at the core of bebop there’s an inventiveness that’s also reinventing the harmony as it’s happening; you can take many harmonic pathways through these songs, so the harmony itself is being improvised in a very changeable way. I learned from Frank Hewitt that, in addition to the context and structure, and everything else that already exists in the song, there’s a whole world of imagination and magic. The song is the nucleus, but there’s an entire atmosphere around the nucleus. It’s this atmosphere that is the most exciting and engaging and important thing in the music.

Even though you might compare a band that’s playing at Small’s—let’s say Ari Roland and Sacha Perry—with my band, and think that they have nothing to do with each other, the truth is that we have a lot in common. I think mostly it is this concept, this idea, this truth that the most important thing in music is the atmosphere around the literal nucleus of the actual nuts and bolts of the music. But also, there is a language commonality between my band and bebop. Definitely, if you’re going to play in my band, you need to have that foundation, because that language is part of where we’re coming from, even though the rhythms are different and the harmony is different. - Kurt Rosenwinkel

( Beautiful tones, gorgeous chords and lines. - Ed )

Monday, 4 January 2010

POST # 249 Les Paul on Count Basie and Freddie Green

It was a great pleasure playing with Count Basie just before he died. Talking about him, he'd just lift his left hand and take one finger and hit one note. It was the best damn note I ever heard. It's not how many notes you play, you just have to play the right ones! Like Freddie Green pumping a great rhythm. - Les Paul

( The right notes at the right time, the epitome of taste. - Ed )

POST # 248 Kurt Rosenwinkel on Getting into Jazz

Since I was a young kid, I felt like I had an internal impulse to make music. I started writing songs when I was 9 years old. In high school I started to become exposed to jazz through WRTI, the radio station there. I started getting into more advanced forms and more mature and deeper musics. I developed a thirst for the more complicated music. I liked Rush. I went from listening to hard rock, to progressive rock, to electric jazz and fusion, and then into acoustic jazz. Luckily, I was in Philly at the time when I started getting into Jazz-jazz. I’d go to jam sessions with really old-school, hardcore jazz guys—Bootsie Barnes, Tony Williams, Eddie Green, Al Jackson, Mike Boone, Byron Landham—at a club called the Blue Note, this really big community club, packed with people—a good cross-section, but it was mostly a black neighborhood club.

I would learn a tune or two a week out of The Real Book, and my Mom would drive me there from Germantown. They’d welcome me up on the stage, and I’d call “Stella By Starlight” and they would launch into some intro that was all so new to me. I had no idea how they knew it. It wasn’t in The Real Book. It was a great education for me about what jazz really is. It’s not what you learn on the page; it’s this whole tradition. So I really got a good dose of that—the spirit, improvisation, connecting with people, lifting things off the ground. That’s how I fell in love with jazz. - Kurt Rosenwinkel

( Really love his velvety touch and thoughtful lines on the guitar. Beautiful! - Ed )

Sunday, 3 January 2010

POST # 247 Frank Zappa on Rhythm and Composition

Well, unless you're really skilled at sight-reading that type of material, you have to start by reading it slowly. So I think you're referring to bar 15 of "The Black Page". And that's a tricky bar to play. But it CAN be played and it has been played over and over again by a lot of different musicians in and out of the band. And it's a good place to start if you want to come into a direct confrontation with the type of rhythm that I use all the time. Any piece of time can be subdivided any old way you like. And that's what happens when people talk, people don't talk in 4/4 or 3/4 or 2/4- they talk all over the place. And if the rhythm that you play follows along with the natural scan of human speech, it's going to have a different feel to it. And in a way, it sounds weird; in another way, it sounds totally natural. It just depends on what you expect to hear from a piece of music. So, to count that particular bar, you divide the bar into a half note triplet. That's the big bracket. And inside each of the half-note triplet beats, there are further sudivisions. That's all. - Frank Zappa

( Its amazing how tight the band plays given the material they are dealing with! - Ed )

Saturday, 2 January 2010

POST # 246 George Fullerton on Leo Fender's Favourate Gutiar Design

“I think the Strat was what Leo considered to be his best overall design. The shape, feel, and the way length the strap holder, all about it was comfortable. And he liked the design of the vibrato. See ~ Leo like well made solid parts – regardless of whether it’s a refrigerator or a guitar! He was most proud of the way the Strat was accepted by players." - George Fullerton

( No suprises there, "Stratocaster"... even the name sounds cool :) Carl Verheyen takes you through the tones on his vintage strat. - Ed )

POST # 245 Sonny Rollins on What He is Thinking During Improvisation

In fact, in a way, improvisation is making the mind blank. When I’m playing, I’m in a trance. I’m not thinking of anything. Sometimes I’ve thought about a nice pattern I wanted to play, maybe a little riff on the song. It’s very clever and I’d think about it and go, ‘Oh yeah, this song I’ll put in this clever riff, it’ll really sound clever, everybody will think I’m clever!’ But I can’t do it, because when I think about putting it in someplace, the music has gone by so fast that it doesn’t work, so I just forget it. Just absorb it and it comes out at some weird time and for some weird reason from the subconscious, so I’ll play it, but don’t try to manage it and put it in to a solo. So that’s what I have learned about music—about improvisation—and it’s beautiful. I think somebody told me Miles [Davis] said something like that, he learns something and he forgets it because you can’t be creative if you know too much about what you’re doing. - Sonny Rollins

( Think when you practice, hear when you are playing! - Ed )

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