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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
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?
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.
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?
Q: And what were you doing at that time?
Q: She had three children, right?
Q: How many were boys?
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?
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?
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
Q: Did you check for breathing?
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
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
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.
Let your ears be the deciding factor to which devices you use to create your ultimate guitar sound.
Hope this helps!
Yours in Music
One Step at a Time
By Michael Anderson
Songwriting as Structure
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.
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.
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
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.
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