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Guitar Musician e-zine     04/19/2006

In This Issue:

  "I did several shows with Jimi Hendrix, that's when I got to know him better, I knew of him, I met him [when he was playing] with Little Richard... And he was kind of quiet, shy, he didn't open up too much, but there were questions as we all ask each other. You know, "how do you do this" and "why do you do that..." We had very small discussions on things like that. And he was very polite, I thought [he was] a very nice guy..."

                                                                                             - B.B. King

Some Humor

  Little Old Lady

A little old lady is walking down the street, dragging two plastic
garbage bags with her, one in each hand. There's a hole in one of the
bags, and every once in a while a $20 bill is flying out of it onto the

Noticing this, a policeman stops her...."Ma'am, there are $20 bills
falling out of that bag..." "Damn!" says the little old lady....."I'd
better go back and see if I can still find some. Thanks for the

"Well, now, not so fast," says the cop. "How did you get all that
money?" " Did you steal it?"

"Oh, no", says the little old lady. "You see, my back yard backs up
to the parking lot of the football stadium.Each time there's a game, a
lot of fans come and pee in the bushes, right into my flower beds!"
"So, I go and stand behind the bushes with a big hedge clipper, and each
time someone sticks his little thingie through the bushes, I say: $20
or off it comes!"

"Hey, not a bad idea!" laughs the cop. "OK, good luck! By the way,
what's in the other bag?"

"Well", says the little old lady, "not all of them pay up"....

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 Boss.

Boss BR-600

Eight-track portable digital recording with big-studio flexibility

By Brad Genett

Eight-track portable digital recording with big-studio flexibility

The Boss BR-600 gets my vote for the slickest new digital recorder on the market. It is supremely powerful, super compact, a breeze to record with, and incredibly inexpensive. Eight simultaneous playback tracks and 64 virtual tracks, onboard effects and drum machine, built-in stereo mics, battery power, 1"-thick portability, and a carrying case make the BR-600 a potent self-contained home studio and a bootlegger's dream.

Secret weapon

The first things that gripped my imagination about the BR-600 were its tiny profile and the pair of built-in mics, one on either side of the unit. With this, thought I, I can record live music with pristine digital quality and very little hassle. I popped in six AA batteries (included), hid the unit under my trench coat, and strolled nonchalantly into The Plastered Pelican, where my little brother's band, Heidi and the Perps, has been playing every Friday night for almost a year.

I've tried to record Heidi and the Perps three times in my home studio and the results have always been disappointing. They all get nervous in the studio and everything sounds tense and canned, unlike their live sets, which are totally killer. The BR-600 was my ticket around all that. I sat facing away from the band for the first tune and set the levels, then turned my chair around and sat between the band and the unit and watched a great set by the hard-rockin' Perps.

Carrying the BR-600 in my coat, I avoided the band between sets and ended up recording a full hour and a half of music. I was astounded at the quality. Using the BR-600's onboard effects, I mixed the recording down at home, axed the sloppier tunes, and produced a live master that completely blew the band away. My brother borrowed the BR-600 and added some rhythm guitar parts. Then he gave it to Heidi, who added a few harmonies to her vocals. We then sent the file to my computer via USB and burned a CD. Now the thing sounds great and they're planning to sell it at their gigs. And we recorded all of it on the BR-600. It would have been worth the price of the BR-600 just to make this recording for my brother.

Going it alone

Boss BR-600
Boss BR-600

My next test for the BR-600 was playing all the instruments and recording myself on a song I've been working on. I'm no drummer, but the BR-600's built-in drum machine gave me almost 300 built-in patterns to work with. It also has velocity-sensitive pads for programming it yourself. This time I didn't need them; I quickly found a couple of patterns I could patch together for a very cool, organic-sounding drum part.

For the guitar and bass parts I plugged directly into the Hi-Z input on the front of the BR-600 and took advantage of a full set of studio-quality effects derived from Boss's high-end recorders and multi-effects processors. The COSM guitar and bass amp models are amazingly accurate while chorus, delay, reverb, and EQ for each channel make generating exactly the right tone and overall ambience a piece of cake. The BR-600 even has pitch correction (but you'll never catch me admitting that I used it).

Best of all, while the BR-600 offers eight tracks of simultaneous playback, there are eight virtual tracks for every track--it actually holds 64 tracks of music per song. I cut tracks over and over again without having to delete earlier takes. With layers of vocals recorded with the included XLR to 1/4" mic cable, multiple guitar solos, multiple rhythm guitar tracks, rhythm keyboard tracks, a bass solo, the drum machine tracks with added percussion accents, and even a few mandolin and flute solos thrown in for good measure, I could then pick the tracks I wanted to play back in groups of eight until I found just the right mix.

Of course I could have bounced six tracks onto a stereo pair, added more music on the newly freed-up tracks, and repeated the process for a virtually unlimited number of final tracks. But I usually find that eight tracks is just enough for solo work. It's too easy to garbage up a mix as it is.

Painless process

Perhaps the coolest thing about the BR-600 is the amazing ease of recording. Most functions are immediately accessible from a large array of top-panel buttons--42 in all--including the familiar transport buttons similar to those you'd find on a tape recorder. Three knobs let you control input levels on channels one and two and record level. A jog wheel lets you control time and value functions. The eight sliders move smoothly and provide precision control of levels.

The BR-600 records onto an included 128MB CompactFlash memory card. With multiple cards you can store individual projects on their own cards and do cross-country collaborations with buddies who have their own BR-600s.

I couldn't be more pleased with the BR-600. It's very clearly the product of a lot of deep thought and brilliant engineering, and its price tag makes digital recording available to people who spend most of their time playing rather than trying to make more money.

Features & Specs:

  • 8 simultaneous playback tracks
  • 64 virtual tracks
  • CompactFlash memory card slot
  • 128MB card included
  • FX processor, including pitch correction and COSM amp models
  • Drum machine with almost 300 presets and velocity-sensitive pads
  • Built-in dual microphones
  • Hi-Z guitar/bass input
  • 2 mic inputs
  • Line in
  • Lines out
  • Footswitch expression pedal jack
  • USB port
  • 10"W x 1"H x 7-1/4"D




Bi-Dextral Hammer On?

Larry Simmons; Nagoya, Japan

Q: What is a Bi-dextral hammer on? I read this in a product description and it got my curiosity.

A: Those fancy names they put on common techniques really make them sound intriguing.

Bi-dextral means two hand, this is a two-handed hammer on technique that incorporates tapping on the neck with the fingers on your picking hand. Eddie Van Halen is probably one of the best known players for using this technique.

If you want to hear good examples of this technique, listen to "Eruption" or "Hot for Teacher" by Van Halen.

Hope this helps!


Yours in Music
John McCarthy
Rock House

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Common Problems With Rhyme

By John Braheny

John Braheny A common failing among songwriters is to say what you want to say in the first two lines and, instead of finding an equally strong statement to finish the verse, settling for a weaker line for the sake of the rhyme. Sure, you save some work, but you've also effectively weakened your song. Better to have written several versions of the first two lines to come up with a root word that offered more rhyming possibilities. Don't reach for the easy rhyme if it dilutes your efforts. And beware of these possible rhyming pitfalls:

This involves reversing the natural, conversational order of words to achieve a rhyme. It almost always feels awkward and brings undue attention to the rhyme. Putting the object before the verb causes a momentary glitch for the listener in following the content as he reassembles the sentence. Here's an example:

I never knew how much I'd missed
Until your candy lips I kissed

In this situation, I'd go for "lips" as the end rhyme, even though it lacks the perfection of "missed/kissed." "Till I kissed your candy lips" just feels more natural.

These are not rhymes. Identities are: the same words, words with the same consonant preceding the same final sound (buy/goodbye), words that sound identical even though spelled differently (homonyms) like "bear" and "bare," "no" and "know." You won't get arrested for doing this. It's just lazy writing. Common exceptions include building of parallel constructions like, "Gonna talk about it/Gonna shout about it/Gonna sing about it/There's no doubt about it," which uses the "shout/doubt" rhyme before the last word, Also acceptable is the repetition of a variation of a line for emphasis: "Goin' downtown, goin' way downtown."

This is a great source of new rhymes and many hits are based on slang words and expressions. The only drawback is if you're trying to write a song people will record twenty years from now. By then, the slang we use today may sound really dumb. Would anybody record a song today with the '30s "the cat's meow" or "23 skidoo" in it? "Groovy" puts it squarely in the '60s.

Colloquial Pronunciation
This has a problem similar to slang. Here the drawback is not change in fashion, but the reduced ability of other artists to record the song. It's good to be able to tailor a song to a particular musical style, like country or R&B, and use the pronunciations common in that style (e.g., to rhyme thang (thing) with hang, or pain and again). But bear in mind, you're limiting the coverage of those songs to artists who are comfortable with those styles and pronunciations. Can you imagine Celine Dion rhyming hang/thang or Jay Z rhyming pain/again�pretty much have to be a Brit to do the latter.

Is rhyme necessary?
We hear more songs these days that don't rhyme. In most cases, they're from self-contained bands. They write their own material and aren't that interested in having other artists record the songs. Because they aren't exposed to the same industry scrutiny, they have a more wide-ranging creative palette from which to paint their songs. More power to them. If you can get your message across to your audience without the use of rhyme, there's no rule that says you have to use it. Be aware though, that laziness is not a good enough reason to ignore a powerful tool.

Even in pop music there are examples of songs that don't use rhyme. The standard "Moonlight in " is a good example; Lionel Richie's "Lady," a major hit for both him and Kenny Rogers in the '80s doesn't rhyme. So, why do they work? There are several possibilities:

They're both exceptional melodies.

One of rhyme's functions is to help us remember the lyric, and both of those lyrics, especially "Moonlight in Vermont," are simple enough to remember without it.

In the case of "Lady," the melody's construction is such that it doesn't, through rhythm and meter, set up a rhyme expectation, so we don't ever miss it.

The constant creative challenge is to find the best rhymes possible and still retain the flow of natural speech patterns, while at the same time not compromising content and mood. If you read the lines aloud they should feel as natural as conversation. In fact, keep in mind that a song is a conversation between writer (and artist) and the listener. Every line presents a new challenge and it may be that, after exploring the possibilities, you'll need to choose a less-than-perfect rhyme. It's more important that you opt for naturalness, mood, or clarity of content over convenience or cleverness for its own sake.

This excerpt from John Braheny's book, (The Craft and Business of Songwriting, 2nd Edition) has been edited for length. It's available at and bookstores everywhere. For info about John's critiquing and consulting services, go to


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!

Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Carioca
By Ron Forbes-Roberts
Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima�s latest recording, Carioca, features material composed by several of his countrymen, including Luiz Bonfa, Ernesto Nazareth, and Paulo Bellinati. While Barbosa-Lima sometimes has a tendency to allow his extraordinary technical skills to override his expressivity, this isn�t the case on Carioca. From the CD�s opener, the choro �Cochichando� by legendary Brazilian composer Pixinguinha, his playing is as energetic and emotionally nuanced as it is precise. On this tune and several others, including a version of Antonio Carlos Jobim�s �Desafinado,� he is backed by a rhythm section comprising Duduka Da Fonseca on drums and Nilson Matta on bass. These players�well known for their work with Romero Lubambo in Trio da Paz�give an extra lift to Barbosa-Lima�s already supercharged playing. Among the several solo guitar pieces on this CD are a warp-speed version of Bonfa�s �Passeio no Rio� and �Romance,� a beautiful, lyrical piece by lesser-known Brazilian composer Byron Yasui. Barbosa-Lima also performs three poignant songs by Ernesto Cordero in duet with Danny Rivera, whose powerful, gorgeous voice could raise goose bumps on an iron boiler. Carioca is a treasure for fans of Brazilian guitar music. (Zoho,


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whistle while you work,

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