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Guitar Musician e-zine     05/10/2006

In This Issue:

  "... the hardest studio music to play is Tom & Jerry -- cartoons. The music makes absolutely no sense, as music. You can't get into hearing it. There's nothing to hear--'bleep!, blop! scratch!' and it comes fast; everything's first take. That'll change the way you look at life."

                                                                            - Howard Roberts - Jazz Guitar

Some Humor


Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place.  Looking up toward heaven, he said, "Lord, take pity on me.  If you find me a parking place, I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up Irish Whiskey."

 Miraculously, a parking place appeared.  Paddy looked up again and said, "Never mind.  I found one."


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 Steinberg.

Steinberg Virtual Instruments

Real is the new real

By Oscar Sommers

Real is the new real

Recording a well-tuned, masterfully played, expertly crafted instrument which has been lovingly cared for over the years is an undeniably powerful experience. And in a good acoustic environment? Heaven. Those are precisely the sounds and vibes you want for your music but often, due to schedules and budgets, it simply isn't a possibility. So for the times when you can't capture those special musical performances yourself, Steinberg delivers them to you with The Grand 2, Groove Agent 2, Virtual Guitarist, Virtual Bassist, and others in their series of virtual instruments.

With Steinberg, the only thing virtual is the name and the delivery. Every sound is a real sound recorded with utmost care to faithfully capture the full experience with the performances played by trained and talented studio musicians. When a note decays, it's real decay. And each note is recorded at multiple (up to 16) velocities, so when you play a little softer or a little harder, you hear a natural note, not a modulated one. From those samples expansive sound libraries are built and designed to stream off your hard disk for more detailed and expressive play. Steinberg practically wrote the book on software instruments with cool interfaces. Their interfaces are designed by an award-winning team of programmers and musicians to deliver a unique and satisfying experience that's fun, powerful, and intuitive all in one sweep.

The Grand 2

Steinberg Virtual Instrument Collection
Steinberg Virtual Instrument Collection

The Grand 2 is real, natural, expressive . . . I could use all the adjectives in the world, but perhaps it's best just to say it sounds like a real piano - no qualifiers needed. And with this update to the celebrated sound set, Steinberg has incorporated even more reality by including those organic noises you only hear when playing a real piano: key clicks, hammer noise, and pedal sounds. Of course, there's also more of everything you loved about The Grand: slightly upgraded sounds, control over sound elements, intuitive controls, and a more powerful and efficient sound engine adapted from Halion 3. There's also an additional concert-level grand model with a warmer, softer midrange for an alternate performance flavor.

The playing experience is enhanced by the use of a nice controller. I used a Yamaha P120 as a controller through an E-MU 1820M and Yamaha's new HP50M monitors, and the combination of response, depth, and expression was amazing. I was playing The Grand 2 on a PC running XP with a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 and 1GB RAM, but thanks to a new feature called Eco Mode, you can use the Grand 2 on much slower computers. Eco Mode is also great for those times when you're using the Grand, but don't need the full experience, like when composing or practicing. There's no economy setting for the 3GB sound library that makes the Grand, though. Yes, three gigs is big for a single instrument's sound set, but it's also the reason that The Grand is capable of sending cold chills up your spine. Once installed on your hard drive, the advanced hard disk-streaming engine provides seamless and convincing play.

Groove Agent 2

Groove Agent 2 is the digital embodiment of the phrase "locked into the groove." It gives you multiple ways to build a beat, but makes it impossible to lose it. And Groove Agent never sounds mechanical, thanks to controls like Humanize, Random, Random Fill, Accent, 1/2 Tempo Feel, Fill, and selectable Snare/Sidestick hits. They give you the freedom to easily shake up the feel, vibe, and rhythm to give your beat a boost. Like any good drummer, Groove Agent plays well with others and can sit in with authority in nearly any genre or style.

I found Groove Agent's interface easy to use, with a smart layout. Starting from the top and moving down is how you build your rhythms, with fast and easy control over all the individual elements offered along the way. Each kit - of hundreds to choose from - has up to 25 complexity levels and 1/2 tempo feels for thousands of options. Steinberg keeps things from being complicated with simple, powerful controls that make it easy to get the most out of each kit. Plus many of the controls operate in real time, which always makes things more natural feeling. Using a MIDI controller, I was even able to fluidly switch between beats and initiate fills on the fly. You can also export your beats as a MIDI track to a sequencer, or simply save the output as a MIDI file to use elsewhere. Best of all, Groove Agent 2 sounds fantastic. Its brilliant Timeline of beats nails kits and styles from the dawn of music to the most cutting-edge percussion used today.

Virtual Guitarist and Bassist

Steinberg Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition
Steinberg Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition

If piano isn't your speed, you can get your kicks with Virtual Guitarist. It possesses an arsenal of 27 six-string virtuosos on electric and acoustic guitars - in styles that range from folk to metal - ready to rock for your productions. Organized to function in a similar fashion to a drum machine, you can choose from prerecorded phrases and customize them to your needs, all in real time. Virtual Guitarist also makes it possible to completely warp the vibe and feel of each phrase into new and fresh progressions. Virtual Guitarist's phrases are also recorded to sound right in the midst of full arrangements, so you don't have to worry about the guitar part disappearing in the mix.

Steinberg Virtual Bassist
Steinberg Virtual Bassist

Virtual Bassist was programmed and assembled by the same group responsible for Groove Agent and Virtual Guitarist. Steinberg draws Virtual Bassist, Virtual Guitarist, and Groove Agent even closer by providing prematched grooves for all three. Virtual Bassist also uses an upgraded, muscular playback engine for more efficient and expressive play. You can use cool stompbox-style effects as well as speaker and mic modeling for intensive tone-sculpting to get your great bass sounds.

If you're in search of real sounds and authentic vibes for your computer-based music productions, a Steinberg Virtual Instrument is about as close as you can get. Real sounds from real performances played by real musicians, ready to steal the stage in your songs and productions.




The Blues Scale Formula

Jimmy Edwards; Memphis, TN

Q: Okay, I see that minor/major scales follow a certain pattern using steps and half steps, etc., but on the "E" Blues scale I can't see a similar pattern? Am I correct in this observation and can you give any particular reason this is the case if it does not follow a pattern?

A: The Blues scale is simple in its own right and does have a definite formula.

The Blues scale formula is: 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7

In the key of "E" the Blues scale notes are: E G A A# B D

The Minor Pentatonic scale formula is: 1 b3 4 5 b7 

In the key of "E" the Minor Pentatonic notes are: E G A B D

The Blues scale just has a #4 note added and this note is referred to as a Blues Tri-tone. This gives it the very distinctive Blues sound.

Hope this helps!

Yours in Music,
John McCarthy
Rock House


New Band Members and
Departing Band Members

by Jeffrey and Todd Brabec


Jeffrey and Todd Brabec

The record company will always demand that any new member of a contracted group ratify and sign the existing recording agreement before becoming part of the group. This is true whether the new performer is replacing a member of the group who has left or is being added to the group without any current member leaving.

The ratification form that is signed by the new member can take a number of different forms, but usually will provide that the new member has read all the provisions of the recording agreement, has received independent legal advice from outside counsel, and agrees to be bound by all the terms and conditions of the recording agreement as if the new member were an original signatory to the agreement.

The effective date of the new member's acceptance of the contract is usually the earlier of the date of his or her signing of the ratification agreement or the new member's actual rendering of services to the group.

In the case of a band member's leaving the group, the recording agreement will always provide that the leaving member must send written notice to the record company.

Within a certain number of days after receiving the notice, the record company will usually have the right to elect a number of different options relating to not only the leaving member of the group but also the remaining members of the group. These options include the right to terminate the recording agreement with the group, the right to require the remaining members of the group to provide a substitute performer for the leaving member, and the right to have the remaining members perform as a self-contained act without replacing the leaving member.

The record company will also have the right to negotiate with each performer of the group with respect to the signing of a new recording agreement.

For example, the company may have the right to acquire the individual services of any member of the group by sending that member notice of such within 30 to 90 days after a leaving member has given notice.

In many cases, if the record company elects to sign an individual remaining member or a leaving member, a provision will bind the parties to good-faith negotiations concerning the terms of the new agreement.

If within a certain time period (e.g., 60 days or 90 days) negotiations do not result in an agreement, the artist will normally be able to negotiate with other record companies, with the proviso that the current record company will have a certain number of days (usually 30 to 45) to match any offer from another record company. In other cases, the record company, if it so chooses, will elect to have the leaving member sign an identical contract to the one that he or she signed as a group member, the term of which usually consists of the remaining balance of the group contract.

In addition, some record companies will require any leaving member to go into the studio to record a number of demonstration recordings pursuant to either a budget approved by the record company or one that is mutually approved by the artist and label within certain previously negotiated guidelines.

The record company will then usually have a specified number of days after it receives the finished demo recordings to decide whether or not it wants to exercise its right to sign the leaving member as an exclusive recording artist. Under this type of provision, the record company is giving itself the opportunity to listen to what the leaving member can do as an individual artist and make a decision only after it is able to review newly recorded performances.

� 2005 Jeff Brabec, Todd Brabec
This article is based on information contained in the new, revised paperback edition of the book "Music, Money, And Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Industry" written by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec (Published by Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales).

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!

Ray Davies, Other People's Lives
By Derk Richardson
Releasing his first solo studio album at age 61, Ray Davies doesn�t sound that far removed from The Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur, or Lola vs. the Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Pt. 1�classic albums he recorded with the Kinks from 1968 to 1970. The main difference is that this �quintessentially English writer� (that�s how people think of him, he says in the liner notes) wrote much of Other People�s Lives during and after an extended stay in New Orleans, Louisiana. Davies sought a deeper understanding of the American culture that originally inspired him to pick up a guitar and play rock �n� roll, and came up with a potent program of songs that bounce between portrayals of individual struggles (with personal demons, romantic relationships, career exigencies) and commentaries on contemporary culture (from tourism to tabloids). While many songs begin with acoustic-guitar strums, hinting at the stripped-down sound of the Kinks� 1994 To the Bone retrospective and the �Storyteller� solo concerts Davies inaugurated in the late �90s to promote his autobiography, most are built up with a grandiose production style that owes too much to the 1980s. But ultimately the melodic hooks, razor-sharp lyrics, and distinctive lead vocals transcend his infatuation with digital overdubs and give Other People�s Lives the classic Ray Davies edge. (V2,


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