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Guitar Musician e-zine     04/12/2006


In This Issue:


  "I don't use all my fingers, I can play chords that way but to me it sounds sloppy, I don't like the sound that I get. Joe Pass does it very well, but he uses more of a classical technique. Sometimes I use a finger and the pick for pairs of notes, together or alternately. Lenny Breau plays a harmonic under the chord, he showed me how to do it but I don't do it too well. By making the harmonic on the fourth or fifth string, the bottom voice moves up an octave in between the other notes, where it wouldn't be possible to finger them. He gets a very good close harmony sound that way. He uses a thumb pick all the time, so that makes it easier for him and he plays fast with it."

                                                                    - Tal Farlow - Jazz Guitar


Some Humor

  Disorder in the American Courts

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

Q: Are you sexually active?
A: No, I just lie there.

Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July 18th.
Q: What year? A: Every year.

Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact? A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget? Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?

Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.

Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.

Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or the occult?
A: We both do.
Q: Voodoo?
A: We do.
Q: You do?
A: Yes, voodoo.

Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
A: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?

Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?

Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
A: Yes.
Q: And what were you doing at that time?

Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?

Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?

Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?

Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

Q: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral.

Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.

Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

A Lesson For The Learning

Interested in guitar lessons? - Be sure and check out the guitar lessons offered by Andrew Koblick at Amazing Guitar


 
Click here for all products by Fender�.
 

Fender 60th Anniversary Stratocaster

Fender innovation in celebration of a milestone

By Jimmy Nichols

Fender innovation in celebration of a milestone

In 2006 Fender celebrated its 60th company anniversary and, for Fender, there's only one way to mark such a momentous occasion: lots of special-edition commemorative guitars, basses, and amps. There already are special limited-edition versions of the American Series Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazz Bass, and Precision Bass, as well as a Standard Stratocaster and Precision Bass. Each model offers special 60th anniversary touches and combinations of features never before available on a stock Fender instrument. These facts push the appeal and collectibility of these axes through the roof.

The song remains the same

It was in 1946 that Leo Fender incorporated Fender Musical Instruments Manufacturing Company in sunny southern California. An incorrigible tinkerer since childhood, Leo was always looking for ways to improve existing products and ideas for inventing new ones. His first love was radios and after graduating from college with an accounting degree, he founded Fender Radio Repair. After a friend asked him to repair a PA system, he became interested in musical equipment and together with Doc Kauffman started K & F Manufacturing, where they delved into the repair and manufacture of guitar amplifiers, guitar pickups, and Hawaiian-style lap steel guitars. In 1946 Leo opened the first Fender shop at Santa Fe and Pomona streets in Fullerton, officially leaving behind forever his days as a radio repairman. The innovations he developed with his workers and various artists would change the face of popular music�and the guitar�forever.

Something old, something new

60th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster
60th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster

60th Anniversary Commemorative Standard Stratocaster
60th Anniversary Commemorative Standard Stratocaster

60th Anniversary Commemorative Telecaster
60th Anniversary Commemorative Telecaster

While Leo invented a lot of things we now take for granted, none of them may be as iconic or as closely tied to him as the Stratocaster. The Fender American Series 60th Anniversary Stratocaster features subtle but distinctive touches that set it apart from a stock Strat. The most visible appointment is a "Diamond" inlay on the headstock. It features a shiny, classy-looking faux diamond (actually a rhinestone) set into the wood within a banner that reads "Sixty Years." There's also a special chrome neckplate with the classic Fender logo over a special 60th anniversary diamond graphic and the words: Diamond Anniversary 1946-2006. As a final touch, the Fender hardshell case in which the guitar arrives is covered in a special Silver Solarium material and the interior is lined with a dark red plush and embroidered with a 60th anniversary logo.

The American 60th Anniversary Strat's other special touches bring together old-school Fender style and tone with new-school thinking in a one-of-a-kind way. The first of those features is a set of three American Original '57/'62 Strat Pickups with the middle pickup reverse wound and reverse polarity. It's the first time Fender has ever done that trick with these more-vintage-than-vintage pickups, which have the original-style staggered, beveled-edge Alnico 5 magnets and Formvar magnet wire.

Combine that with the Delta Tone wiring�which features a no-load tone control for the middle and bridge pickups�and this axe is capable of scorching vintage tones. Delta-Tone wiring is an old Fender trick for producing just a bit more midrange and hotter output from the Strat. The no-load tone pot works like a standard tone knob from positions one-to-nine, but at ten it is removed from the wiring completely so that you get the full, unadulerated sonic output of your pickup. It means more output and more treble without using a booster pedal or active controls. An American two-point trem with stainless steel saddles, pearloid fretboard dots, plus parchment knobs and pickup covers complete the 60th anniversary package.

Cosmetic appointments aside, the Strat is a performance machine. Even though I'm not a Stratocaster player, I'm always amazed at what an incredibly playable guitar the Strat is. Each one is light, balanced, and just feels right in my hands. It makes playing nearly effortless. This 60th Anniversary Strat is definitely a thoroughbred. Yesterday and today meet in this Strat, making it an instant classic.

Features & Specs:


  • Sixty Years jeweled headstock inlay
  • 60th anniversary stamped chrome neckplate
  • US Vintage Reissue pickups
  • Reverse-wound/reverse-polarity middle pickup
  • Delta Tone wiring
  • 2-point tremolo with stainless steel saddles
  • Original alder body
  • Modern C-shaped maple neck with satin finish
  • Rosewood fretboard with rolled edges
  • Pearloid dot position markers
  • 21 medium-jumbo frets
  • 3-color sunburst finish
  • Parchment knobs and pickup covers
  • Custom Silver Solarium case with embroidered dark red plush interior

 

GUITAR Q AND A

 

Getting a Great Distortion Sound

Flora Henson; Denmark

 

Q: I am a beginner playing the electric guitar. I purchased an entire Peavey Backstage Guitar Package for Beginners. The Rock House DVD that came with it was quite informative in teaching me how to play.

The question I want to ask is how to create the 'electric' sound that John McCarthy has when playing the section about the Blues? Every time I practice I can only get the typical acoustic sound not even close to his.

Thanks for your support!

A: The sound that you hear in that section is called distortion and there are two ways to achieve this sound.

  1. Using your amps settings you can get a good distortion sound; turn the master volume down to two then put the gain, or saturation knob, up all the way. Then use the master volume to get the overall level you desire. I like to start with the bass and treble knobs half way up and adjust them to the room I am playing in higher or lower.
  2. You can use effects pedals to generate the distortion sound. There are many on the market to choose. Look for either a distortion or overdrive pedal.

Let your ears be the deciding factor to which devices you use to create your ultimate guitar sound.

Hope this helps!

Yours in Music
John McCarthy
Rock House


Feature Paid Advertisement

 


 

Songwriting Basics

One Step at a Time

By Michael Anderson

 

Michael Anderson Songwriting as Structure
Most people I meet in my business have a dream. They want to write a hit song. Sometimes they've pursued that dream with no compromise with a full-time career in the music business. Sometimes they've pursued it on the side while they went to school, held other jobs, or even had another career.

But they hear songs on the radio and wonder, why is that a hit? Why couldn't my song be a hit? Well, maybe it could. It's a long shot. But it happens. Somebody wrote every song you hear on the radio. And I'll guarantee you, each and every one of them wrote a lot of bad songs before they wrote that hit.

But each one of them had two other things going for them�the drive to keep making mistakes and learning, and eventually, an understanding of the elements of a well-crafted song.

A hit song can be a matter of luck, but before you even get to roll the dice on that, you need to be able to write a good song.

I have been in the music business a long time. Because of my experience, people ask me for advice. The following e-mail is an interesting example.

Hi Michael,

Dean and I were thinking that as long as we were going to be in Nashville in April, we could check into having two to three of my best songs recorded down there. It would have a truer country sound than my originals. Maybe with a better demo I might have a chance of getting published?

Isn't this the next logical step? I don't know. I work on my writing craft, to improve it, and as you know based on my demos, I'm not the greatest arranger on the keyboard, and my vocals are OK, but not Country sounding. I know what my strengths are, as well as my weaknesses. That's what's going through my mind. I'm walking blind through this process. You've been down this road before. I haven't. I really need your advice.

I really do appreciate your mentoring me. You have given me hope that maybe I am getting better as a writer. Lisa.

Lisa:

I understand your frustration in trying to "crack the code" for success in this business. I have also sensed your willingness to set aside your personal feelings toward your songs and really listen to constructive criticism in order to get better. That is why I take the time with you to help when I can.

In my opinion it all depends on the song itself. A clear vocal and guitar (or piano) demo of a great song is still a great song.

A full production of a song with structural flaws is still just a song with structural flaws. That's a lesson I have learned over and over again in this business. You can build a mansion or cottage on an unstable foundation and it will never be right. I have seen many people waste ridiculous amounts of time and money making great demos of songs that had structural problems the production couldn't hide.

If you want to hear what your songs sound like with a full production, then the process you are considering in Nashville should give you that experience. It will be a learning experience, and that is usually a good thing.

But personally, I would make sure the songs are as structurally sound as possible before you take that major step.

Songwriting as Art
Songwriting is an art form, not a formula. Good songwriting is a delicate balance between talent and skill. I'm defining talent as a natural ability and as the essential ingredient in creating artistically satisfying results. But when it comes to translating talent into success in the music business, the key is determination. Stubbornness.

If you have no talent for songwriting, nothing will change that.

If you have no determination, forget the music business.

I have seen people with very little talent go a long way in this business, and I've known very talented people who couldn't survive the ride.

People are talented or gifted in different ways. Some have the knack for drawing or painting; some can't draw a straight line with a ruler. Some people are great dancers; some aren't. Some people are good at becoming another character and acting, or directing. Everybody seems to have something.

If you have some natural ability for songwriting, you can focus and maximize your gift, and craft better songs on a more intuitive level.

Like all living art, songwriting is a form of action that is impossible to codify and force to conform to strict rules and conventions. That's why it is art, not science.

For every basic elemental guideline of songwriting presented, many exceptions surely apply. You should listen to observations and suggestions, opinions, and perspectives, defined through the lens of personal experience. Take or leave anything you like.

But songwriting, like any art form, is also an individual path. Reading about it, studying it, going to seminars, listening to others speak about it can all be encouraging, enlightening, and even inspiring. But ultimately it is actually doing the work yourself�writing songs�that teaches you the most about the art form.

This article is excerpted from "Michael Anderson's Little Black Book of Songwriting" available at www.michaelanderson.com.


Brought to you by TAXI: The Independent A&R Vehicle that connects unsigned artists, bands and songwriters with major record labels, publishers, and film & TV music supervisors.


Recommended Listening - A Must For Your Collection!

 
Bob Brozman, Blues Reflex
By Ian Zack
The Bob Brozman who first blew listeners away with his picking and slide-guitar skills as a 27-year-old on 1981�s Blue Hula Stomp is older and wiser now, with an expanded melodic and rhythmic vocabulary developed during decades of continent hopping to study traditional Third World music. Blues Reflex, self-released in 2004 and available now in wider distribution, marks a return to Brozman�s roots. It is his first solo �blues� CD in quite some time, but blues as only a gifted ethnomusicologist could play it�with ideas and licks borrowed from musicians in Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, India, and other far-flung locales. Brozman plays his version of Skip James� �Cypress Grove Blues� in the sega rhythm favored by stringmeisters on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. The original �More Room at the Edge� features Brozman overdubbing himself on Hawaiian guitars, a Greek baglama, Chinese temple blocks, and a Spanish cajon. (Brozman likes to tell live audiences that �if you�re not living on the edge, you�re taking up too much space.�) All this multiculturalism might make for a hodgepodge in a lesser musician�s hands. But Brozman has an extraordinary ability to fuse his collected bits together into exciting music�unique, yet squarely in the blues tradition. His vocals have always taken a back seat, but they�ve gotten better with age, and here he modulates his trademark growl for some of his most expressive singing yet. (Ruf Records, www.rufrecords.de)

 



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