Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Scotty Moore!

Happy Birthday Scotty Moore!!!!!!!!!!!

The man who played guitar on Elvis's "That's alright," has inspired millions to pick up the guitar and play it. His finger picking style was gleaned from Chet Atkins. Scotty Moore is listed by Rolling Stone magazine as #44 of the all time guitarists! Scotty's role in Elvis Presley's band help bring the guitar as a lead instrument to the forefront of the band. Scotty played Gibson ES-295's, Gibson L-5, and then Gibson Super 400's. He employed slapback echo (Ray Butts echosonic) that has become a standard among many players including Brian Setzer.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Reverend Horton Heat Rig Run down


Large and in charge, Rev. Horton Heat runs us through his rig and set up. If the Rev. Horton Heat comes to your town - Go see them. They rock hard and earn your respect. The music is no non-sense good ole' Rock and Roll! Check out his merchandise here!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fret Buzzing?


Just another day, nothing new, but the weather is swinging from hot to cold? Has the relative humidity changed in your region?? Ambient temperatures have a significant impact on wood and therefore most guitars are affected by weather. My strat (which I love) suddenly sounds dead. In my region of the world the weather is fairly benign but it still changes with the season. Therefore, since the weather has changed a lot lately my guitar started buzzing and sounding dead. I keep records and found that when the ambient temperature drops about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, while the relative humidity has risen 20 %, my guitar swells and the neck straightens (Tell tale sign is my guitar is out of tune and all of the strings are to the sharp side), while my action drops due to the lack of relief. My quick remedy is to loosen the truss rod. However, I have tools to measure the relief before and after. If I screw up I go back to the position I first measured and start over. Nothing too scientific, you can use automotive feeler gauges to check the gap. I induce more relief and presto - chango my guitar is back to it's non buzzing condition - Until spring when the temperature rise and the counter measure is to tighten the truss rod. BEWARE - ONLY MOVE YOUR TRUSS ROD A SMALL AMOUNT! A half rotation on the truss rod could be too much. Make a quarter turn, let the guitar stabalize for 2 hours and try again >> Adjust, wait, and try - repeat but NEVER OVER TIGHTEN THE TRUSS ROD - YOU CAN DAMAGE YOUR GUITAR! 



This is the best list of possible origins of BUZZ by Frank Ford of Gryphon stings


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Keith Richards! Lucky 69!

Happy Birthday goes out to Keith Richards who turns lucky 69 today. (laughing) Many thought you'd never make it to this age Keith and now it seems like, why the hell not..... Rumors of his demise or potential demise have always been greatly exaggerated!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEEF!

He's looking good and feeling well!

DV Mark Amplifiers - Awesome amps from Italy!

DV Mark amplification hail from Italy! These amps are compact and light weight. They still have the ability to cut through and over a heavy handed drummer. Well engineered products that are known for their durability. A very cool thing is the amps are self biasing. You can install a multitude of tube combinations for tonal experimentation or necessity! Some of their amps feature continuous global power control which allows you to dial in the exact amount of power vs over drive or head room needed - on the fly! Their typical combo weighs in at approximately 45 lbs. which is a significant reduction compared to a Fender Twin Reverb. Part of the way the achieve the weight reduction is by utilizing the neodymium speaker magnets.

The DV Mark company has a nice variety of amplification products. Take some time and review some of their product! Guitar Center is just one of the representatives selling this product in the United States.

DV Mark Home page link!



Paul Riario at Guitar World reviews the entire line!


The Frank Gambale 1x 12" combo



Compressed awesome legato lines via Vlatko Stefanovski and his DV Mark amps


Nat Janof plays the DV 40 2x12" - Really nice clean tones - reminiscent of Fender Twin tone without the bulk.


Simone Gianlorenzi demonstrates the DV Mark triple Six - A very nice amp that makes your decision that much more difficult when you have so many choices in the DV Mark line!


Great clean tones with loads of head room. DV40 with 2-12" speakers. Alessio Menconi


DV Mark Combo head! 


************** But wait! There is more!!! In addition to amplification, DV Mark also selling effects! Yesss, they have a Fuzz pedal that is pretty fuzzy! A boost pedal with controllable EQ - DV-7!

This Italian manufacturer is serious about tone! Maybe that is important to you or maybe not!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Reverend Billy Gibbons!

Happy Birthday Reverend Billy Gibbons! 
That's right, Rev. Billy G was born on this day in 1949. Noted as Jimi Hendrix favorite contemporary guitarist Billy G is one tone monster. His solos are complex in their simplicity often punctuated with pinch harmonics, growling chordal arrangements and just the right note at just the right time.

One little nugget of triva, ZZ Top opened for the Rolling Stones in 1973. The also played on the Stones big resurgence/resurrection tour in 1981. As an already established act, ZZ Top's presence as a opener for the Rolling Stones solidified their play in rock and roll history.

Happy Birthday Rev!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Music Business basics

Wham, it's large and it's in your face. If you don't acknowledge the intricacies of the business it will soon smack you in the face. Think about it like this, the customer (generally the music consumer) as the pinky, the there is the band manager on the ring finger, the middle finger is the agent, the pointer is the act, and the thumb is the promoter. All of them together makes a mighty fist.
Music is a business. You must keep your wits or you will perish. For every hard living fabled rock star that has a tale of addiction and misery there are literally millions of near do well's who perish and their story is never heard.


Do what you say and say what you are going to do. Stick to it. Beware of the fist. As explained above, each finger of the fist wreak havoc.

Tips:

  1. Be to your gig early
  2. Check your gear long before the gig
  3. Have back up gear
  4. Keep back up supplies, strings, sticks, tape, zip ties, bubble gum
  5. Never miss a gig
  6. Present a professional image
  7. Don't show up loaded (drunk, high, or hung over)
  8. You never have a bad day on stage - Get it? You never project your anger (Billy Jo?)
  9. Leave your personal life at home
  10. Have fun!

This is the best guitar in the world!

Yawn! This is the best and that sucks. An argument that will continue long past my stay on this planet. What IS the best might be completely subjective to what song you play and what amplifier is projecting your noise. There isn't a correct answer to this problem but I love listing to the futile arguments and their creative sources.
 Whether you are talking acoustic or electric instruments - there are going to be differences and besides the design, material, craftsmanship, glue, lacquer, Polyester, Urethane, and date of birth. The most important factor is that YOU, yes YOU, like it and feel comfortable with the tool of your desire.
 To me the most important part is that I am not having trouble with the instrument. It isn't a source of distraction or an annoyance. Your focus should be on the music and the fun you are having.

It's not about the instrument. The more involved you are in finding the perfect instrument the less time you spend practicing. Time goes by and you could spend more time in your quest for the guitar grail than you do playing. But hey, whatever makes you happy.


Pick your instrument based on the tone and songs you like. Look and listen to the players of your favorite music and get the basics. Tone is in your hands so don't spend too much time obsessing over the materials or composition of the parts. Some of my favorite guitars are Frankenstein guitars!


A $68,000 dollar guitar doesn't mean it will play well. The price is based on the rarity of the instrument and not the tone.


Some of the best guitars are ugly ducklings. I really like the Martin 000-15SM series. In no way do I mean to imply that the aforementioned model is the best - I just like the size, feel, tone, and look of that guitar.


Practice makes perfect. Do it while you can because otherwise you are betting against time that you will be able to do it later. Sometimes later never arrives. Now go practice!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Some new pedals....... Bogner! Ecstasy Red and Blue

I ran some of the following pedals through a Fender Deluxe 65 reissue and found the Bogner Red to be a very dynamic pedal that give you the heavy metal sound. The pedal is adjustments are very interactive and distinct. The variac was very interesting, yielding tone reminiscent of the famous brown sound. The Variac gave the pedal a very forgiving spongy feel as outlined in the video. The follow video is very accurate as to the tone this pedal is capable of producing. As mentioned above, I was using a very clean amp and the pedal  gave me thick tones and yet cleaned up well. If I had to sum up the tone it is very much like a Supercharged VOX AC30 class A tone. I used a Stratocaster and a Les Paul for my testing which by chance happens to be what they used in the video below. Nevertheless, these guitars are the standard baseline guitars I use for rock regardless of what type of equipment I am using. The Bogner pedals will leave a significant dent in your wallet but they are productive. Try out the Ecstasy Red and see if it is for you!



The Bogner Ecstasy Blue is similar to the red but has a bit less modern tone. True, this is subjective to the listener. To me this pedal yielded a tone similar to class A/B. Afterall, that is they have Plexi modes and such so they are going after what most will associate with the late 60's and early 70"s classic rock overdrive. The Ecstasy Blue is the same price as the Ecstasy Red  but if you think about it this way, as least you don't need to go out and buy a Plexi and a AC30 for arsenal - buy a clean sounding amp and these two pedals and save yourself truckloads of money! Check out the video's and or go to your local dealer and test these for yourself. One of these or both of these models might be the pedals you've been looking for in your quest for the ultimate tone.




Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dave Brubeck has passed away


You have got to love Dave Brubeck! He made the song "Take five" famous which was written by Paul Desmond (Alto sax). Really don't know where I should start with Dave as he is a California native and grew up in the bay area. For me Dave was the catalyst that hipped me to odd time signatures.

Dave wrote Blue Rondo a' la Turk in 9/8 time and it's a brilliant piece of work. At 91, one damn day before his 92 birthday his number finally came up! Somehow somewhere he is laughing about that odd timing......... December 6, 1920 to December 5 2012.


Use the embedded links to read more about Dave Brubeck who was hailed as a living legend. Here's a nugget of trivial knowledge, Dave was drafted into world war II and was a member of General George Patton's third brigade! Prior to his military service, Dave thought he would help his father on their farm whereupon he attended what is now University of the Pacific to study veterinary science but transferred after the head of zoology told him to his mind is not here, it's across the lawn in the conservatory. Then he was nearly expelled when his professor learned that he could not read music. So many wonderful stories surround Dave Brubeck. He did wonders for jazz and for me in terms of learning.






Rest in peace Dr. Brubeck!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Led Zeppelin will appear on David Letterman

(Getty Images)
That is right; Led Zeppelin will appear on David Letterman on Monday night. Fresh off their appearance at the 2012 Kennedy Center honors event, Led Zeppelin will appear on David Letterman Monday December 3, 2012. Hopefully, they will announce a tour at last but don't hold your breath because in the arena of entertainment publicity they are both cagey and clever. Look for David to ask the questions that would make most squirm in their seat while the soft spoken Jimmy Page will more than likely tantalize us with current events and historical reflections.
(Kevin Wolf/ap)

In addition, don't look for the band to perform as another musical guest is scheduled to appear - I hope this other act uses this organic publicity to their advantage as I am certain the amount of people tuning in will be copious at the least.

Led Zeppelin (John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) received their honors along with Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman and Natalia Makarova.

And here is a taste of the interview and from all accounts - Everybody had fun!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jimi Hendrix - 70th birthday

Happy Birthday Jimi Hendrix
If Jimi was alive today 11.27.12 he would be 70 years of age. Jimi was simply captivating and quite frankly is still  as relevant and compelling as he was over forty years ago. Jimi was an extremely dynamic and creative person; flamboyant on the stage, quiet off the stage, weld the guitar like a sword, play it like a Stradivarius, play a gentle melody, and sting the ear of the audience with searing guitar tones. It will be a long time before someone comes along that will affect us as Jimi has for decades.

Bill Graham once criticised Jimi after a performance backstage at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Bill told Jimi that he did all the moves but forgot to play. Albeit a bit taken back, Jimi came out for the second show that night and played in a manner that left Bill Graham almost speechless and for a New Yorker, and Bill Graham - that is unusual.

It is not my place to hypothesize as to what Jimi would be doing today if he was still alive. Nobody knows and that is just a waste of time. What is true, Jimi did more for the guitar than anyone to date. He's top 5 even in a mixed crowd of jazzers, classical, and country. I think of him as a great blues player and if you think the blues are easy and I just cut down Jimi - I am not implying that and I believe the opposite even though for many years I would only play jazz. To this day, people are still imitating Jimi's style, tone, guitars and timbre. Nothing more really needs to be said as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Jimi played his own and covered everybody's music. Here he covers the Beatles!


Happy Birthday Jimi!

Here Jimi plays Woodstock. Jimi carries the show and if the band got up and left the stage I don't think the audience would have noticed.






Fly on little wing!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Holidays! ZZ TOP La Futura

Tone is in your fingers and your hands.
Hold your tone!
La Futura! An excellent gift for the ZZ Top fan in your life.
Produced by Rick Rubin and Billy F. Gibbons.
All the plank spanking, board ripping, hot roddin' music you could want.

Led Zeppelin reunion


Led Zeppelin held the concert  at the O2 to raise funds for Ahmet Ertegun's education fund that he established before his death. But as a byproduct, they have now released an album. The much ballyhood Led Zeppelin reunion has yet to materialize and Rolling Stone caught up with Jimmy Page who put the rumor in proper perspective. Jimmy said that Robert Plant was already committed to tour with Alison Krause. He didn't deny that the band auditioned vocalists to front the band but ultimately, "I thought we needed a credible album, not do something that sounded like we were trying to milk the O2."

**Some record stores are including a commemorative poster with the purchase of the CELEBRATION DAY CD. While supplies last!** update>11.25.12<

Stay tuned. One of the reason I love well established bands - Rolling Stones indefinably tour LOL!

Current Musical Instrument Deals - !

Want to buy a new guitar at bargain basement prices?
Time is running out!
At the time of this writing it's the Black Friday (post holiday event invented by capitalists to fill the coffers - only recognized in the United States) weekend. From what my economic indicator's indicate that there is an inclination where sales objectives are not being met (tongue inserted firmly in cheek). Those who's job is to analyze economic patterns anticipated that this season would be slower than last year and if you don't recall, there was a mild up swing last year. Last year was good while the two previous years were blood baths where most industries  saw terrible sales due to the world wide collapse of the shady banking industry. (wiping the sweat from my brow) So, ultimately what I am trying to say is that if you are holding out for better deals. There aren't any.

The time to buy that gift for Christmas is now. You might find a better deal on something that nobody wants closer to Christmas time and if you wait until after Christmas, you will find a cheap but probably unplayable instrument. Beginner electric guitars start at a minimum of $300.00, and about the same for acoustics. However  keep in mind that you need to buy an amplifier for the electric and that will increase the cost of the electric package by least $100. If you think you can repair a cheap broken new guitar yourself - that is fantastic! Beware of voiding the warranty through modification. If you take it to a Luthier, don't try to work a deal with him as a ill-conceived/poorly made instrument isn't worth the money to fix in most cases and if he takes the work, be prepared to spend more on the repairs than the instrument actually cost. The truth hurts sometimes.

I digress - If you are buying an instrument for a student and you are not certain they will stick with the instrument, you might fear that this will become another toy that is played with once. Then a viable alternative is to RENT and instrument for a few months. Most reputable instrument dealers will allow you to apply the rent towards a new instrument. Be a responsible consumer and DO NOT rent, then apply rent towards a new instrument only to determine a year later that the new musician quit and therefore you'd like to return the instrument to the dealer. If you do attempt to return the instrument then the following should be your expectations; you will unlikely receive your money back, you will be expected to be returning a unused instrument in excellent condition, if you bought a damaged instrument at a discount - you must prove that pre-existing damage with a written note. Off my soap box.

Back to the deals - Fender is currently offering a $100 rebate on SELECT guitars. Gibson's guitars are very competitive and priced to move. Takamine acoustics, Ibanez, Ovation are additional brands where you can find good deals. Some of my friends have purchased Taylor and Martin guitars from the larger retailers at a great price however I would encourage you to find a good deal at a local shop where you can keep the money in the neighborhood and support your local merchants!

So go out there and find that instrument that you've been wanting or a nice starter - Got to add that the writers favorite starter guitar is the Taylor Mini GS at approximately $499.99. This guitar will not depreciate rapidly and really plays well and you can easily install a acoustic pickup for about another $100. With Electrics, I prefer the Stratocaster (sort by price)type of guitars because they are well engineered for proper playing ergonomics. However, there is a huge selection in all price ranges.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Birthday to Joe Walsh who turns 65 today

Happy Birthday Joe, now at the youthful age of 65 you look great and sound better than ever.

I like Joe's new album because it's fun, positive, and sincere. Moreover, it's filled with great songs hooks, excellent guitar work coupled to his twisted humor and acute awareness of humanity and trials of life.

Happy Birthday Joe - now get a new guitar!!

This is an super fun special from Daryl Hall's house recording.




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Duanne Allman - !

Remembering Duane Allman today on his 66 birthday. 

Duane needs to be seen in the proper perspective, he had only been playing the slide guitar for about 2 years when he recorded this track at The Fillmore East. Duane was Influenced by Taj Mahal's slide playing and it's boldly apparent that he was gifted.

Happy Birthday Duane!

"Don't keep me wondering - Dreams"...........


and with the Dead.........."It hurts me too"



The Grateful Dead with Duane Allman at the Fillmore East in NYC, 4/26/71. More info on the show can be found here:

http://archive.org/details/gd1971-04-26.113839.sbd.smith.boswell.flac16

And if you liked this make sure you check out the Dead, Allmans and Fleetwood Mac jamming on "Lovelight" from 2/11/70, also at the Fillmore...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0iIx0yl4ug



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gibson - Les Paul Guitars price drop

Gibson Les Paul model guitars have dropped in price. Not all of the models are experiencing price drops but some. The Les Paul Traditional and the Les Paul Satin models are available at a tremendous savings. Rather than bore you with some conjecture about why the prices have dropped - I'll tell you what is going on with these models.

The Les Paul Traditional Pro remains remains unchanged and has the 8 hole chambers. This guitar is selling for almost $1000 less than the Les Paul Standard. Great Value

The Les Paul Traditional Mahogany satin utilizes a bi-layed rosewood fret board and the guitar top is Mahogany instead of maple - Hence the word "mahogany" in the title of this instrument. I am tepid on the bi-layer fret-board but it might be more ridged due to the dual layer and inherent bonding process. Very affordable to the intermediate guitarist.

The Les Paul Classic custom - Approximately $100 more than the Traditional Mahogany due to the maple top but instead of a rosewood fret-board, this guitar has a torrefied maple fret-board. Torrefaction is a process similar to baking that is value adding by modifying the qualities of certain wood. This process makes the wood more stable. Good Value if you like a maple guitar top but with a non traditional torrefied maple neck. It should be noted that Fender has used none torrefied maple for decades [Ex.1].

Typical Fender Guitar Maple neck [Ex.1]
It should be duly noted that torrefaction is preferred to Richlite. Richlite utilizes the wood and polymers to bond and modify the density of materials while torrefaction basically bakes the wood to achieve densification.

The Gibson Les Paul Standard is a great as ever. All of the aforementioned changes do not apply to this guitar. It's not cheap but it's literally a standard of the music industry. Are these instruments made as well as they once were? Depends on which period you would like to compare the current model to because not ever year in the past has yielded great models. During the decade of the 1980's the Les Paul suffered when Norlin was running the company. I prefer the necks shape that have been used for the last 20 years and for me I really like the 1950's profile but the 1960 profile is very comfortable to play. The draw back to this instrument: the price point is similar to a tremendous number of brands of guitars available in this price bracket. Beware of analysis paralysis trying to decide which guitar to buy in this price tier.

My bucket list Les Paul model is the reissue 1959. But I'd take a 1958 VOS. Both of these guitar play well and sound well but they come with a price tag that weeds out the poor or neophyte players.

It's no secret, Gibson has had some problems this past year. They've had lousy public relations and in my humble opinion could have used a professional spokes person. However, this is a apple pie brand and it just needs to get it's name out of the gutter along with some unlikely brother in discourse, i.e., Netflix, Tiger Woods, and Borders books. I'd like to see a huge brand turn around and it has to come from within Gibson.

Two of my most prized instruments are Gibson guitars. They play well, they are built well and they get better with age - Sort of like old American cars.



If you are looking for a gift for the guitar player in your life, you might consider some of the guitars I listed above. If I had to pick a non traditional Les Paul as the winner it would be the Maple Top with the satin finish. I find the price to value ratio on this instrument though subjective - to be the best bang for the buck!

One observation: Gibson is decreasing the cost of introductory instruments while increasing the cost of the premium products. The decrease is to bring in new consumers and lock in brand recognition while those old time guitar snobs are already sold on their dream Les Paul and more than willing to pay the cost to play the boss! Smart move Gibson!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Imelda May - Jazz at the Barbican

Imelda May rehearses for Friday's Jazz Voice concert at the Barbican.

Photograph: Emile Holba/London jazz festival 2012


If you made it - Good on you! Though, I doubt you heard much Rockabilly that night! Cheers!

Honestly, if you work hard you can get what you want. Darrel and Imelda are now a trio and I am betting that in about a year and a half they will get a preview of their daughter's sonic abilities LOL! 

Circle of Fifths - Bring new life to your practice scales

Practicing in general can get tedious. This feeling can become your undoing and unravel your dreams to become a better player. But this doesn't have to happen as there are many tools that can be used that are fun, educational and interesting. One such tool involves the circle of fifths.

Take your favorite modal scale, for example the Pentatonic scale (see Ex.1 below) and find the root position for the note "F". Let me share a trick that I learned as a kid by using mnemonics to remember the order of the circle of Fifths - With sharp keys [#] use - Starting with the key of "F" = Fish, "C" = Can, "G" = Go, "D" = Down,  "A"  = And, "E" = Eat, "B" = Bait. Fish can go do and it bait = F, C, G, D, A, E, and B accordingly. If you are viewing this in another language you can add a mnemonic that works for your language. 

Pentatonic scale examples (root 6th string and root 5th string). [Ex.1]

With the flat keys [b] use the word - BEAD - GC. The actual [flat] keys are Bb, Eb, Ab, Dd, Gb and Cb (Cb sounds the same as the note "B"). In this case instead of using a sentence I employ a simple word with two letters following the word that aids in remembering the FLAT KEY'S in the circle of fifths.

My intent is to give you an alternative to the often used chromatic (progressing in semitones) progression method of practicing scales. That too is a wonderful tool but my attempt is too broaden your scope and help you learn the circle of fifths which is a music fundamental. Using this you will hear the difference in key intervals in fifths and the difference is very apparent. It will also help you identify a fifth. Being able to identify intervals is also a fundamental and if you have ever had ear training, you will realize identification could be difficult but the ability identify intervals is essential as identifying keys. Nevertheless, lets not get too involved in music theory and keep practice fun.

I find using my favorite scale, the Locrian [7th note of the major scale for those interested] mode, then jumping around on the guitar neck using the circle of fifths as a map can be a wonderful way to keep my playing fresh and fun. The Locrian is only one example; please 7 modes to be thorough.


From the soap box: Learning this is essential if you want to know you $%$##$%. I've played all types of music and as a guitarist you must learn something other than the key of "E". Other musicians make jokes about guitarists because most cannot read music and only play in the key of "E". Try to break that trend and learn because if you don't you can get shot down. I have a real life experience where I was in the college big band, the Professor was a fantastic musician who could play the piano, flugal horn and lead the band. Each year we had try outs, I watched quite a few players who could hold people in awe at a party or at Guitar Center but as soon as the teacher put a chart in front of them - SILENCE. The teacher sent them packing with the immortal words that I will never forget as long as I have my faculties, "Stay home and practice or stay home." *Quote - Joe Davis - ! 

Joke - How do you make a guitar player shut up? Put a chart in front of him!

Practice! Don't be the butt of a joke!!!!

Led Zeppelin Black Dog Celebration Day [unofficial]

For those of you who follow this blog - I'd just like to remind you that on November 19th, Led Zeppelin will release their Celebration Day CD, DVD and Blue-ray recording.

This is a great gift for yourself or any Rock and Roll fan in your life!

Meanwhile, enjoy their YouTube video release of them performing "Black Dog," in front of a sold out crowd at the O2 arena.

Celebration Day will be released on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray on November 19. Pre-order it Here

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Triad in Inversion

Learn this and you will know one more thing that will help make you better because not everybody is savant.

A triad is said to be in inversion when some note other than the root is in the bass. When the third is in the bass, the triad is in (first inversion); when the fifth is in the bass, the triad is in second inversion. Therefore, there are three possible triads, i.e., root position, first position and second position (there are more possible but I'll stick to basics, figured bass blah blah blah).

Chord in inversion are found in musical compositions for two reasons.
  1. To give variety to the vertical sound. A composition consisting of the chords with root in the bass only is less interesting musically than alternation of chords with root in the bass and chords in inversion.
  2. To allow the bass line to be more melodic. Use of inversion allows more step-wise movement and smaller skips in the bass line.
Below is an Inversion chart:
             BASS

Root pos.      >  Root   example = C

1st inversion   >  3rd >>>>>>>>> E

2nd inversion  >  5th>>>>>>>>>>G

First inversion of the example above = 
E
G
C

Second inversion
G
C
E

A great musician once told me, learn all the rules and then forget them. This is just one of the tools in a huge bag of tricks that some people call rules or music theory. But don't get overwhelmed, my use of the term "rule" does not imply strict adherence. I use rule in the same sense as when one says, "as a rule, the bus is usually late." I hope this helps you add some diversity to your playing and isn't too confusing!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Viva Las Vegas - Start preparing for the 2013 event NOW!

Viva Las Vegas is revving up again for 2013. Get your friends together for a weekend of retrospective and tons of cars, music, burlesque, and fun. There are plenty of festivities for everyone's delight and this year there will be a Janis Martin tribute along with a Roy Orbison tribute and there is always a car show!

Now is the time to start preparing for attendance. Make your reservations now so you don't miss out and or get stuck in some flea bag motel.

Go straight to the source by clicking on this line to get to the Viva Las Vegas webpage!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Just because it's a vintage guitar.............

Just because it's a vintage guitar doesn't mean it plays well. Just because she's pretty doesn't mean she's flawless. I would be a rich man if I had a nickel from every person who told me they bought a vintage instrument that looked awesome; is described as awesome on Ebay, Craigslist, or Gbase but plays like scrape wood with strings attached. Try it before you buy it and buy it locally. If you don't live by wonderful vintage dealers then move because you probably live on an island where I want to live so make room and move out! If you live in Maui - LEAVE Immediately and make room for me. I digest, or digress... Er ahem - I am slightly kidding about the deserted island.

If you buy up every vintage piece you see find you've bought poorly playing instruments, this might be the universe and it's own divine way of telling you that you have too much money. I too can remedy that situation, send me your money and I'll put it to good use saving the wild life in my house. Let me be frank, play the instrument before you pay for the instrument and you'll fare better in terms of purchasing a really fancy instrument that also plays well. That leads me to look at the word, "fancy," as looks aren't everything. I've met some plain Jane guitars that are serious butt kickers in terms of tone. Better yet, I'll let you in on a little secret, I try the ugly ones first and later try my luck on the prettier guitars. This is starting to sound like advise I'd give to a teenager........ Ugly guitars sometimes are sleepers and should not be overlooked.

So, if you do have the money ( I don't) - Here are some awesome vintage guitars. I happened upon a few guitars that a fine gentleman and purveyor of quality instruments left behind as he moved on to a ever-green ethereal pasture. The following photo's are just a hint of his collection.

Get out a handkerchief as this will make you weep!
1950 Fender Broadcaster

1966 Fender MusicMaster
1964 MusicMaster
1966 Telecaster

1950 Gibson ES 150

1968 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top

1933 Gibson L7



Nice 1968 Fender Telecaster


The Fender Broadcaster is really a beauty as are most of the guitars above. I reiterate; never buy one unless you've tried it or if you trust your deal implicitly. Most of all, buy it to play it and not hang it on the wall. Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Practice!!!! I know I need to practice too as I am spending too much time writing this blog instead of playing. However, my neighbors are probably happy about my blogging.............