Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Brian Setzer at the Hollywood Bowl & More - WOW!!!!!!!!!!

Brian is a very busy guy, always has been for that matter. Stay home and practice or stay home - right! Well, Brian Setzer is currently touring in Australia but soon he'll play the Hollywood Bowl! This September 14, 15, and 16th the Brian Setzer big band will rock your socks off - Details here! That is not all! The Brian Setzer Orchestra has multi-tracks available on the limited addition Deluxe set - Songs from the Lonely Avenue! Seriously, is there a busier group of guys out there....? With the multi-track you can listen to each track or you can play along with the tracks - Great Fun!
Honestly, you don't have to be a huge Rockabilly fan in order to appreciate loud big band music or a big band fan because if you cannot feel the energy exuded by The Brian Setzer Orchestra - you might be dead....

Monday, February 27, 2012

Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly warm up!

Soon Las Vegas will be teaming with Rockabilly fans! Viva Las Vegas is April 5th through April 8th!

One band that will NOT be there is Cousin Harley. But if you get the chance - See them!

Another band that is hot is Omar and the String poppers!

Rockabilly lifestyle!

Brenda Lee Rockabilly Pin up

Viva Las Vegas!
Dustin Chance and the Allnighters - who opened for Imelda May in San Francisco - The Independent!

Gretsch Guitars!
Fender Guitars!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review of excellent current blues players

Ana Popovic - Check her out.

Laura Chavez

Just two players that are currently kicking some serious gluteus maximus.
Support talent!

Johnny Winters - Happy Birthday!!

Johnny Dawson (Johnny) Winters was born February 23, 1944. One of the greatest living slide guitar players ever. In this clip he kills it only to receive a backhanded compliment from David Letterman. Johnny Winter has had his trouble with addiction but is out there playing and if you have never seen him then you owe it to yourself to see Johnny Winter live.

Link to Johnny's site - click here!
Happy Birthday Mr. Winters!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jeff Beck and Rhonda Smith at the White House - Red White & Blues

Watch closely because listening to Jeff Beck is a mind game. Rhonda Smith and Veronica Bellino lay down a fat groove that allows Jeff to slay us with his famous tone that goes from baby tears to lightning bolts in an immeasurable short length of time. Sit down, hold on to your chair and listen!

Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck - Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guitar Play Along's - - They help you learn!

A solution to this abysmal dilemma is the Hal Leonard Guitar play-along tracks.

That's right! The series provides you with the guitar sheet music in both musical notation and guitar tablature.
You too can learn the diabolical fire laced riffs of guitar maniacs like Greg Koch - If you dare!

But wait - There is more - Ah and does the name Van Halen ring a bell, stir your soup, cook your bacon???? Well, Hal doesn't have the Van Halen brothers - He has David Lee Roth and that collection includes back up tracks that will get you moving!

You can find these collections at AMAZON or Hal Leonard!

I've used Jamey Aebersold for years for JAZZ for years and it's the bee's knee's and facilitates learning at a faster pace while training the ear and keeping great time!

Lastly, I also recommend Alfreds sheet music and play alongs!

Playing music with other musicians is one of the greatest joys of life. But you need to know the language in order to communicate. These tools mentioned above provide you with premier musicians that you can play along with and you can also determine the meter. PLUS - learning this way is a lot of fun - Not as fun as playing in a band but you also can count on the music being there and on time!

Try it - You'll like it!

Check out the JEFF BECK play along!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jimmy Page - One of my favorite guitarists

One of my favorite guitar slingers of all time is Jimmy Page. Jimmy Page's music has the sophistication which commands my interest and challenge my senses.
Gibson certainly needs to thank Joe Walsh for selling a Les Paul to Jimmy because the guitar is an epic icon for Gibson guitars. How many people have studied the guitar that Jimmy plays? Have you tried to find the voodoo switch or mojo knob that places that guitar into a meteoric stream of guitar irrationality? The mysticism of Jimmy Page goes beyond the outer limits of the world as we know it.

Prior to the Les Paul guitar, Jimmy played a 1959 Fender Telecaster that Jimmy inherited from Jeff Beck. Jeff left the guitar behind when he left the Yardbirds. Jimmy stripped off the blonde finish and repainted the guitar and put a green, red, and orange dragon image on the front. The Fender Telecaster was used until April 1969 which is when the Les Paul was acquired.

Nevertheless, no matter which guitar Jimmy holds in his hands. He seems to have a certain knack for inventing sounds and music that we all seem to enjoy so well!

Check out one of Jimmy's favorite sites - click here!
Check out Jimmy Page here!
Check out Led Zeppelin here!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Other Guitar blogs I follow.......

I heart Guitar - is a excellent blog with tons of information that is useful to pro's and bedroom rockers alike! I Heart Guitar is updated often and well written. But wait! There's more!!! Martin Edwards Luthier blog gives you step by step details on building acoustic instruments.

Do you like guitars from the 60's era? Check out this link!! Guitars-a-GO-GO!

Falling asleep at the keyboard? Wake up! Check out TONE FIEND. Tone Fiend is written by Joe Gore who is a local musician (San Francisco) who has recorded with Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Les Claypool among other great artists. Got Jazz? How about The JAZZ GUITARIST BLOG? Or Victor Baker a consummate guitarist and luthier - you can buy his music or his guitars!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Glued in Guitar necks and screwed in Guitar necks?

Leo Fender really made screw in (bolt-on) necks popular and he had a prudent reason for applying this method of application. With most designs work to make our life better. The best make something that looks like it wasn't really designed at all because it's inevitable. Poor design often mistakenly focus on profit where profit is the primary motivating factor. With a glued (set in) in neck; any failure down the production line might require scrapping the entire instrument and that would be irresponsible and timely in terms of production loss. With a bolt on neck; any problem occurring later in production would only mean a rework of the neck or replacement of the neck. In terms of time and money - Bolt on because a huge advantage.

Some people claim that glued in necks in the traditional violin style greatly enhances string sustain. Any fixture as long as it is ridged will allow sustain while density can remove vibration energy according to the resonance frequency spectrum. That said, you should still pick the guitar by how you it sounds and feels to you and not wholly based on engineering data. There still is magic and I wouldn't want to remove the romantic experience of the purchase of a favorite instrument.



— Latest From Emmy Award-Nominated “In Performance at the White House” Series
Also Features Keb Mo, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and More, Airing February 27 —

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” is a PBS special taped in the East Room of the White House celebrating Blues music. President and Mrs. Obama will host the concert event on Tuesday, February 21 in recognition of Black History Month. The evening will include program host Taraji P. Henson and performances by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark, Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Keb Mo, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader. (Program subject to change.) The sixty-minute television special is produced by WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, in association with The GRAMMY Museum®, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC). The television special is part of the Emmy Award-nominated PBS “In Performance at the White House” series and will premiere Monday, February 27 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings).

“In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” will honor the musical form that sprang from the Mississippi Delta and flourished in the Westside of Chicago with deep roots in Africa and slavery. The performances will explore those roots and pay homage to the great figures of the Blues and the songs they made famous by tracing the influence of the Blues on modern American music from soul to rock’n’roll. This event, including the President’s remarks, will be available for press via the White House Press Corps pool feed and streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov/livewww.pbs.org/whitehouse andwww.blackpublicmedia.org. The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.

“It is our ongoing delight to bring this concert series to the American people in collaboration with the White House,” noted Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA. “This event marks the forty-eighth production of the WETA ‘In Performance at the White House’ series and continues to demonstrate how public broadcasting brings rich cultural experiences to a wide audience.”

“The Blues are not only the most American of art forms, but the fundamental inspiration for some of the most important artists of our generation,” said Paula A. Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “Since 1978, ‘In Performance at the White House’ has spotlighted some of our nation’s best performers, and celebrated our nation’s heritage. The upcoming special on the Blues continues in this tradition and celebrates music born out of struggle that touches the soul and inspires the mind and holds a unique place in American arts.”

“The quintessentially American tradition of the Blues, which combines African roots with New World sensibilities, speaks eloquently to our unique history as Americans, reaching back to the founding of this nation during a time of slavery. It is an honor to bring the songs and great performers of the Blues to the White House and to the American public in a broadcast during Black History Month,” commented Jacquie Jones, executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium (NPBC).

“This concert at the White House celebrates the musical contributions that the Blues have made to our culture,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Through public media, all Americans are able to explore and experience this unique part of our country’s heritage.”

Educational Program with the White House

In addition to the evening concert, the afternoon of the concert taping the White House will host “At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America,” an educational workshop for middle and high school students from across the country, held in the State Dining Room. The event will be produced by The GRAMMY Museum® and led by Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum®. Santelli is a leading musicologist and music educator who will give the participating students an overview of the origins of the Blues, discuss important artists from throughout its history, and cover the genre’s evolution from African American spirituals and work songs to its influence on the chart-topping hits of today. Santelli will be joined by special musical guests who will share their experiences as well as answer students’ questions. The White House “At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America” workshop will be streamed live onwww.whitehouse.gov/livewww.pbs.org/whitehouse and www.blackpublicmedia.org.

“At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America” will be accompanied by a broader educational program, also developed by The GRAMMY Museum®, consisting of visits to Greater Washington-area institutions and a special student press conference where student journalists will be able to question production staff for articles in their school’s newspapers. In addition, The GRAMMY Museum® will offer downloadable curriculum and educational materials for middle and high school teachers, available atwww.grammymuseum.org and www.pbs.org/whitehouse. This is the fourth educational workshop at the White House that The GRAMMY Museum® has organized, in cooperation with the “In Performance at the White House” concert series.

“In Performance at the White House” Series

“In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” will be the eighth “In Performance at the White House” program during President Barack Obama’s administration. From February 2009 to the most recent broadcast in November 2011, these latest “In Performance at the White House” events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring the music from the Civil Rights Movement and Motown; explored the rich roots and resiliency of Country music; and spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical. The star-studded line-ups have included Marc Anthony, Tony Bennett, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Jamie Foxx, José Feliciano, Dave Grohl, Herbie Hancock, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Jonas Brothers, Alison Krauss Nathan Lane, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Lyle Lovett, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Smokey Robinson, Darius Rucker, Seal, Jerry Seinfeld, Esperanza Spalding, Elaine Stritch, James Taylor and Jack White.

“In Performance at the White House” has been produced by WETA since 1978 and spans every administration since President Carter’s. The series began with an East Room recital by the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz. Since then, “In Performance at the White House” has embraced virtually every genre of American performance: pop, country, gospel, jazz, theatre and dance among them. The series was created to showcase the rich fabric of American culture in the setting of the nation’s most famous home. Past programs have showcased such talent as cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, dancer/choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov, popular music singers Linda Ronstadt and Alison Krauss, the United States Marine Band, soul and jazz singers Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin, leading Broadway performers, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

“In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” Production

“In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” is a production of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with The GRAMMY Museum®, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC). The executive producers are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson for WETA; and Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of The GRAMMY Awards®, and Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum®, for AEG Ehrlich Ventures. The producer is Renato Basile. The program director is Louis J. Horvitz. The music director is Booker T. Jones. The “In Performance at the White House” series was created by WETA Washington, D.C. The series producer is Jackson Frost. Foundation support is provided by The Annenberg Foundation and the Anne Ray Charitable Trust. Major funding is also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers.

For more information about “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” visitwww.pbs.org/whitehouse. An electronic press kit, including downloadable talent photos for promotional use, is available at pressroom.pbs.org. To follow “In Performance at the White House” on Twitter, use hashtag #PBSipwh.

WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television. Other WETA productions and co-productions include “PBS NewsHour,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal,” “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize” and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including the premiere this fall of “The Dust Bowl.” More information on WETA and its programs and services is available atwww.weta.org.

The GRAMMY Museum® pays tribute to music’s rich cultural history. This one-of-a-kind, 21st-century Museum explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the premier recognition of excellence in recorded music — the GRAMMY Award. The GRAMMY Museum® features 30,000 square feet of interactive and multimedia exhibits located within L.A. LIVE, the downtown Los Angeles sports, entertainment and residential district. Through thought-provoking and dynamic public and educational programs and exhibits, guests will experience music from a never-before-seen insider perspective that only The GRAMMY Museum® can deliver. More information is available at www.grammymuseum.org.

AEG Ehrlich Ventures is led by Ken Ehrlich, and is a division of AEG, one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. For more than 25 years, no individual has produced more music related and non-traditional programming for television, as well as single and multi-artist and concept specials for network, cable, syndication and home video programming than Ken Ehrlich. With hundreds of hours of highly acclaimed specials to his credit, from the annual GRAMMY Awards®, which he has produced since 1980, to a yearly slate of award shows including his fifth and most recent Emmy Awards show in 2008, Ehrlich’s credits are unmatched. Ken began his career with public broadcaster WTTW in Chicago, creating and producing the seminal music series “Soundstage.” More recently for public broadcasting, he co-produced “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” in 2010, which had the White House debut of Bob Dylan. More information is available at www.aegworldwide.com.

The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) was founded in 1979 and is dedicated to developing black digital authorship and distributing unique stories of the black experience in the new media age. Since 1991 NBPC has invested more than $7 million dollars in iconic documentary productions for public television; trained, mentored and supported a diverse array of producers who create content about contemporary black experiences; and emerged as a leader in the evolving next-media landscape. NBPC distributes engaging content online at BlackPublicMedia.org, and via broadcast through its AfroPoP: The Utimate Cultural Exchange documentary series; and facilitates the community engagement project Public Media Corps (PMC). More information is available at www.blackpublicmedia.org.

PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 124 million people on-air and online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and is steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,100 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services. More information about CPB is available at www.cpb.org.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jeff Beck's upcoming show at the Paramount has been canceled

Due to delays in his recording schedule, Jeff Beck's upcoming shows at The Paramount in Long Island has been postponed. Jeff had planned on The Paramount show to be a launch for his new album, but will regrettably have to re-schedule. Tickets for the postponed dates will be honored for future shows to be announced soon or can be refunded at point of purchase.

Grammy Award's 2012

The Grammys actually caught my attention for a change and I managed to watch the entire show. There could be a few reason's for this: the show was great, Whitney Houston died the day before the show, the prevalence of Chris Brown, Paul McCartney's presence, or I had nothing better to do? Whitney's death was not the catalyst for me and nor was the prevalence of Chris Brown. Indeed, I have far more important things to do and therefore the production of this years Grammy event and Paul McCartney must have been the reason I stayed glued to the couch and TV.

I don't understand the prevalence of Chris Brown and wonder why they would put him on stage? I have a problem with a man who beat's women yet is celebrated by the music industry! In fact, the term, "I would let Chris Brown beat me" actually trended on Twitter is deplorable. The misogynistic themes in music need to change. Featuring Chris Brown IS tasteless and irresponsible. Sure, I could have changed the channel but then that would be tantamount to looking away from an injustice and I can't do that. I'd like to see less Chris Brown and more acts featuring talented nonviolent people. In addition, the fact that "who is Paul McCartney," trended on Twitter and that people don't know who the Fab Four were and this is disconcerting.

Overall, it was a fun show. Paul McCartney (The Beatles) played the back side of Abby Road and who cares if his voice cracked - He was superb! Having The Boss, Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl, and Paul all up on stage jamming was more than memorable - it was FUN and the Grammy's haven't been this fun since Jeff Beck's and Imelda May's tribute to Les Paul and Mary Ford in 2010. Also, The Foo Fighters rocked! Jennifer Hudson showcased her outstanding voice kicking our collective butts. Adele made it all very human when she quipped that "Oh, I got a bit of snot." All said, production of the 54th Grammys must have a predicament to put together a Whitney Houston tribute while while not ruining the night by make it all about her passing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Keep it simple - Arctic Monkeys riff

Spending all day trying to make some complex riff that will amaze Mozart? Forgettaboutit!
K.I.S. (keep it simple).
Check out this riff based on the Arctic Monkeys song; Don't sit down 'cause I've moved your seat!

This is the Arctic Monkeys showing you how it's done!

Arctic Monkeys!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Adjusting your guitar strap to proper height

Most people have seen a picture of Jimmy Page with his guitar slung low near his waist line but most of us are not Jimmy Page. Another favorite guitarist is Slash, he too wears his guitar very low. I cannot argue that this doesn't look good because these people are archetypes of guitar neophytes. But (behold the underlying truth) playing in this position for practice will cause a myriad of problems because your wrist, back, neck will be canted to unnatural positions. You can solve two area's of difficulty by simply raising your guitar up higher. The secret is to minimize bent limbs - Your guitar should be at arms length (unless your are Jimmy Page and last time I checked - there is only one!) and your wrist should be at a minimal angle. Your playing position should be comfortable enough for you to not feel the need to remove the guitar or adjust. If you must adjust while playing then you should re-examine your position.

Raising your guitar to a higher position decreases the angle of your wrist and will facilitate better technique. This position will also reduce fatigue and potential tendinitis. Another advantage with adjusting your guitar to a reasonable height is; while seated the guitar will be held up by your strap which is the same position it will be in while standing. What does this mean? You will not find that there isn't any difference in your guitar's position against your body regardless of whether you are seated or standing and that position aids muscle memory while decreasing unfamiliar positions. Proper posture should be common sense but common sense isn't so common today!

Coupling correct position to a good warm up routine will facilitate  better comfort, performance and increased performance longevity. For example; John Petrucci has great technique and his position is conducive to comfort and good posture. Other players who also employ good posture are Steve Morse, Al Di meola, Steve Howe, Greg Howe, Steve lukather, and many more. Yngwie Malmsteen, suffered severe nerve and tendon damage from excessive playing. Therefore, even good posture, position and technique cannot protect you from frequent use damage. So don't be in denial of the perils of playing the guitar. At least try a new uncool looking posture friendly position; if the position appears dorky, daft or stupid then put the guitar back to where you want it to be against your body.  Stay home and practice or stay home!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gryphon Stringed Instruments

When I was very young, my grand parents fulfilled my dreams and gave me my great grand fathers banjo. I coveted that banjo and I still have it, I love it and it has soul. It's a Washburn Banjo and it had real ivory tuning keys. However, as nice as it was, it needed repair in order to make it playable for me. Many many years ago, my grand parents and I walked into Gryphon's original shop on Old El Camino way in Palo Alto. I remember my grand mother telling me to not touch or break anything, I put my hands in my pockets and obeyed. In what seems like a lifetime but was probably a week or two. My banjo was restored and I commenced to learning how to play it. I also was taking classical guitar lessons simultaneously and as life turns out - The guitar playing seemed to stick more to my tenancies. My brief experience became a life style and part of that is due to my early experiences with these cool guys who ran a small shop that was simply a few blocks from my grand parents home. That shop is Gryphon Stringed Instruments! Partial, yeah, I am...

Gryphon Strings from Mike Collins on Vimeo.

The stringed instrument selection is unparalleled. Repair capability is revolutionary. Go see for yourself!