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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
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
GUITAR Q AND A
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
Common Problems With Rhyme
By 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:
I never knew how much I'd missed
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.
Is rhyme necessary?
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 Amazon.com and bookstores everywhere. For info about John's critiquing and consulting services, go to www.johnbraheny.com.
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