Friday, September 27, 2013

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

It seems to be a popular contest of who is better. Is The Beatles or the Rolling Stones the best group. If you choose just the studio albums then The Rolling Stones have The Beatles beat by 2 albums with a total of 29. The Rolling Stones also lead by a large margin with 109 singles compared to The Beatles with a mere 55. But, who's counting? I find it ironic that The Rolling Stones have a bad boy reputation when they hail from the suburbs of London while the Beatles come from a industrial roughneck town of Liverpool. Frankly, I doubt too many people saw either members of these bands in street brawls or caged death matches. Nevertheless, we the public in our infinite wisdom must find a reason to compare. The truth is neither are "the best." The are both very popular but that doesn't mean either is the best. For example, Miley Cryus and Justin Beiber are popular but best only applies in terms of marketability. Sorry to mention those two on here... I'll refrain! :)

Beatles - it wasn't always a contentful relationship for them!

Tom Jones has a funny story about The Beatles

Keith Richard and James Cotton

This video is rare and unadulterated. Therefore, save the comments about whatever technical deficiencies you might find in their playing for your homeroom tittle-tattle. Juvenile ramblings about how this guy might suck and "that" guy is better; I find to be rather dull and boring.

What's new this week?

September 26.................

I am still using my basic warm up prior to playing as outlined in a previous post (link). First, I stretch then I set my metronome to a comfortable 92 bpm and play a major scale 3 notes per string, 2 octaves in length. I start on the 5th string with the C major and work my way up chromatically until I reach high C. After this I usually run through chords. What I do is pick a chord and then play it in five different positions. I switch between the strings at a tempo that is at first slow then I move to a more challenging speed. Starting out fast will not help you. Try for accuracy first and later the speed will come to you.

Okay, with that out of the way... I'll let you in on what I am listing to and playing this week.

Derek and the Dominos - Great stuff. Tom Dowd and Phil Specter produced parts of this album. It's a monumental record. Many people believe this album has always been a success but it's start was rather bleak and yielded mediocre sales but the album has now reach heroic status.

The Black Keys - El Camino - Good stuff. There are some deep riffs being played this album.

Steve Morse - Mostly Dixie Dregs stuff.... Love the  alternate picking (reminds me of Al Di meola) and technical nature of Steve's playing.

Willie Nelson - The great divide! Wonderful song! Willie is an American treasure!

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings - David Rawlings is a master and the pairing of these two great talents is fabulous. I find them difficult to classify and I also see no need to really try to classify them as any one particular genre. They are very gifted artists and entrancing entertainers.

Guy Clark  - I wish I could write as well as Guy, or Townes Van Zant. Guy could sing the periodic table of elements and make it musical.

One non-musical thing I did this week was adjust my action on my Fender stratocaster a little high,  I lowered the action and reset the intonation. I also take a fine painters brush use that to get all the assorted debris off the guitar. Works great! Then I clean the guitar up to get all the sweat off. (Beware!!!) I had some sweat that stuck to the top of upper bout of my Taylor 514ce, I rubbed the sweat with the edge of my finger nail and actually left dents in the finish. I should have known better as it was a warm day and the finish was probably a little soft. It's there for good now!

Another way I warm up is to run root 6 and 5 string scales by first playing a major scale, then a dominant 7th scales, and finally a minor scale. I run it the scale from low C to high C. Be prepared as that one is a hand and forearm burner.

Besides practicing songs, I find that my basic scales and chords are an excellent way to burn an hour straight away. Start off slow and slowly increase the tempo. Speed will come eventually and accuracy is very important!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Who's riffs am I stealing this week?

I have found that transcribing songs is a great way to learn riffs. This is a list of album from which I am listening to this week. Again, I am all over the map stealing riffs from everyone. This week I am stealing from:

Neil Young - Live at Massey Hall 1971
The Reverend Horton Heat - Live at the Fillmore
George Harrison - All things must pass
The Beatles - With the Beatles
The Beatles - Hard days night
The New Kentucky Colonels - Live in Holland 1973
The Decemberists - The King is Dead

I don't consider this group of bands or artists are too outlandish or eclectic. There is a common thread of American Folk music. Most of the music listed above is rooted in Folk Music. All the above mentioned albums are indeed long playing album experiences for me. Sorry, the pictures have nothing to do with the above music selection. Steal from the best!