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Guitar Musician e-zine     06/07/2006

In This Issue:

  "I'll say Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton and the Grateful Dead - they are people still here, you know, and they're here because the music was just as valid today as it was then. Music that is not necessarily to sell lollipops or trucks or beer or anything like that. You know, it's music to pick up hearts like a crane and put hearts in a different place ... you know, and guitars are like cranes to pull people's hearts from self-imposing misery... And then they put them in a place where people can fly and say... You know, now I feel like I'm a winner because every time I play in a certain place I can tell that I command the attention without having to be phony or flash. In other words, the music of Hendrix and people like that wake people up to their possibilities. It's more than just dreaming about being a guitar hero."

                                                                                         - Carlos Santana

Some Humor

  One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife
decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"

"Reading a book," she replies, (thinking, "Isn't that obvious?")

"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her.

"I'm sorry, officer, but I 'm not fishing. I'm reading."

"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman.

"But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden.

"That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."

"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.

A Lesson For The Learning

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


Cordoba Guitars

Classical and flamenco instruments with genuine Spanish hand luthiery

By Derek Masters

Classical and flamenco instruments with genuine Spanish hand luthiery

Cordoba has built a very solid reputation by producing quality guitars in Spain with precision hand craftsmanship and fantastic attention to detail. Unlike most concert-quality classical and flamenco guitars--which commonly sell for upwards of $10,000--Cordobas deliver superb tone and playability for prices almost any serious student can afford. I played five Cordoba models and found each of them to be surprisingly sweet sounding and supremely playable. Given their price range, these are among the finest instruments I've played. All five models would be excellent for students and the 45FP, 55RCE, and especially Solista models would make excellent crossover instruments for professional steel-string players who want to incorporate some Spanish guitar into their repertoires.

A bevy of beauties

For this review I received a Cordoba 32E, a 45R, a 45FP, a 55RCE, and a Solista Flamenca. They are light to the touch, all made with thin back and side wood for increased resonance and lively response. Guided by traditional design concepts, these Cordobas have been redesigned with such innovations as scooped neck blocks and buttressed top bracing to produce amazingly vibrant, free-breathing instruments. Their Spanish cedar necks are expertly carved to provide hours of playing comfort and easy fingering on difficult passages.

Each of these guitars impressed me with its obvious minute care in manufacture. Precision work on natural-fiber bindings and gorgeous rosettes is matched on the inside by careful joints and bracing noticeably free of rough edges and excess glue. I found no finish flaws on any of these instruments.

32E: I played this guitar first and remained deeply impressed with it even after I'd played the more expensive models. Though there was an evident increase in quality with the higher-end instruments, the 32E strikes me as the best value. Its tone is sonorous and sweet, lacking the unmodulated tinny timbre that too often plagues inexpensive student models. Special cosmetic touches include an added ply of ebony under the maple top binding, a rosewood headstock veneer and bridge, and a sapele heel cap to match the back and sides, plus gold filigreed tuning machines.

Cordoba 32ECordoba 45RCordoba 45FPCordoba 55RCECordoba Solista Flamenca

45R: It's immediately apparent where the extra expense went in the construction of the 45R as compared to the 32E. The money went into the woods. Gorgeous rosewood back and sides are enhanced by a maple/rosewood double binding including a back stripe and rosewood heel cap. The rosette is a gorgeous pattern of detailed all-wood marquetry (as is true of all Cordoba rosettes). The ebony fretboard and wide, flat neck carve are a delight to the digits. Canadian red cedar on the top provides sweet round tone with a dark sonority that does wonders with emotional compositions. The rosewood back and sides are lined with sapele, adding additional warmth and clear definition.

45FP: This flamenco guitar makes an immediate impression when you take it out of the case. It feels like stepping back into 19th century Andalusia when you tune the traditional-style ebony pegs. Tuning a guitar with pegs rather than tuners proved to be easier than I feared. And it was well worth the effort. The solid European spruce top, sycamore back and sides, and low neck angle generate the bright, kinetic, slightly buzzy tone that gives flamenco its unique sonic signature. This guitar really shone for percussive dance-oriented flamenco improvisations.

55RCE: While this instrument steps outside the realm of traditional classical guitars, its tone is worthy of the classics. A deep cutaway provides refreshing access to the higher scale and arpeggio registers, making it a true delight for modern improvisational styles. A narrower 50mm nut width and Fishman Classic 4 electronics make this a perfect choice for a professional stage guitar in modern settings. Its plugged-in sound is full and round. Gorgeous rosewood back and sides enhance the natural highs from the solid European spruce top. A heavy ebony fingerboard and ebony reinforcement provide a very stable neck while multi-ply binding and a tri-layer headstock veneer grace it with sublime looks. Cordoba also offers the 55FCE Gipsy Kings model, like the 55RCE with a thin body Fishman ProBlend Electronics, and Flamenco low neck angle.

Solista Flamenca: This is the creme de la creme. With its solid cypress back and sides and solid European spruce top, this guitar sings out brilliantly in both heavy contes jondos and light contes chicos. Its visuals are just as strong with multiple binding on the top, back, tie post, and even on the ebony neck reinforcement. The multilayer headstock veneer and gorgeous rosette are elegant finishing touches. This is an instrument even an accomplished flamenco player will appreciate.

Cordoba sent me a very impressive handful of guitars. I found all of them to be worth more than their modest price tags and I was truly inspired by the 32E for its amazing value, the 55RCE for its snappy versatility, and the Solista Flamenca for its sublime tone, light touch, and stunning looks. Clearly, Cordoba has hit the mark for affordable classical and flamenco guitars with genuine handmade character and phenomenal quality.




The Difference Between Minor and Minor Pentatonic Scales

Jesus Santana; Puerto Rico

Q: First let me tell you that your DVD's are great, I purchased the Learn Acoustic Guitar, beginner and intermediate levels and have learned more in 3 weeks then in the previous 8 months!!! Also the support website is awesome ... great job!!!

I have one question, I was reading on the internet (not on about scales, they call a "minor scale" what you refer to on the DVD as a "minor pentatonic scale", this difference in names caused me confusion, are they different scales?

A: Yes, there are many different types of scales and it can get a bit confusing when people start calling them different names but here is the deal with the scales you are inquiring about.

The scales that I taught in the DVD are Minor Pentatonic scales. They consist of 5 different named notes; this is where the prefix "Penta" comes from. There are full minor scales (Natural Minor) that will contain seven different notes. These scales are exactly like the pentatonic scales but with two added notes. Both are considered Minor scales but are just different versions of the scale. I'll give you an example using the key of "A" Minor.

A full "A" minor scale consists of the following notes:


To make an "A" Minor Pentatonic scale I play the 1st-3rd-4th-5th-& 7th notes from this scale.


By just isolating these five notes from the Natural Minor scale we create the Minor Pentatonic scale and it's very distinctive sound.


Hope this helps,
Yours in Music
John McCarthy
Rock House Guitar

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Tips for Writing Effective Band Bios

By Bobby Borg

Bobby Borg Promotional materials, such as demo tapes, photographs, biographies, and press clippings, help people to get to know you. When these materials are assembled in one package or folder, they are most commonly known as a press kit. An important part of the press kit is the biography (bio), yet it is surprising just how many bands don't understand its purpose when making submissions. A bio should be written clearly and concisely without a lot of big words and flowery adjectives. It should be as informational as possible containing facts about your band such as group and members' name(s), date your band formed, and most importantly, accomplishments and goals. Here are a few more tips you should consider when writing your next biography:

Band Name / Logo Design / Contact Info: Centered Across Page: List band name, address, phone number, fax, e-mail, and Web site URL. This could be your contact or band representative.

Date and City Band Was Founded: First paragraph: List the city and state or country in which the band formed. If the group has relocated to a new territory, briefly state where and when as well.

Full Name of Band: First paragraph continued: List the band's full name. If you failed to choose a band name that everyone can read and pronounce correctly, than include the phonetic spelling as well.

Style & Comparable ("Like") Bands: First paragraph continued: Every band fits into a format of music. If you don't know what categories you fall under, examine the formats radio stations use: Modern Rock, Alternative, Adult Contemporary (AC), Rhythmic Crossover, Jazz, etc. Also, though every band likes to think they are unique, there is at least a few comparable or "like" bands that you could open up for on tour. List these bands to give your reader an idea of your target audience.

Members': Names / Instruments / Age Range: First paragraph continued: Be sure to list your members' names (nick names) as you would like to see them in print along with the instrument they play. Additionally, list the age range from the youngest to the oldest musician in order to give your reader some idea of your target audience and your long-term career potential as a musical act.

Brief History (Interesting Story of Band): Second paragraph: Noting interesting pieces of information about how your band came together gives press people something to talk about and helps the reader draw a picture about your personalities. Think of interesting hooks such as: members knew each other since kindergarten, members have famous parents, members were part of other famous groups, members have success in other fields such as acting, and members formed as a result of some tragedy (911, etc.). Just be creative, but be truthful. You get the idea.

Accomplishments & Quotes to Back Them Up: Third paragraph: Listing your accomplishments says a lot about a band's work ethic, which is one of the top credentials record and publishing companies, personal managers, and attorneys look for in new artists these days. People are attracted to those who help themselves. List recent successes such as: record sales, the number of people in your fan club or who visit your Web site, the average number of people who attend your shows, the amount of college radio play you get and whether or not you charted on CMJ, any placements of your music in film and TV, successful bands that you toured or opened for, song writer's competitions you won, the producer or co-writer who teamed-up with you to make your record, type of merchandising you sell and designed, reviews in well-respected magazines, and battle of the bands awards. Additionally, if these successes can be supported by one or two quotes of someone note-worthy, than all the better. Be sure to include the person's proper spelling, company name and the source if the quote was published.

Where You're Going From Here (Do-It-Yourself Goals): Fourth Paragraph: Rather than sound like you are need of someone else to take you where you want to go, show your reader that you're unstoppable and that you already have a plan of attack to move ahead to the next level of your career. Make people think that you're going all the way whether or not they help you. You'd be surprised at how infectious pro-activity and confidence can be. Attract the attention of those who can help you by first helping yourself.

Re-state Contact Information: Last line or paragraph: It is always helpful to include your contact information as many times as possible-and leaving it at the end is the proper writing format for business anyway. Being that it is the last thing that your reader will view, it is also going to be one of the last things on his/her mind. Who knows, they just might be inspired to contact you.

Bobby Borg is the author of "The Musician's Handbook: A Practical Guide To Understanding The Music Business," which is available now at or in a store near you. Contact


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!

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat
By Scott Nygaard
For her first solo endeavor outside LA alt-rock band Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis has created an intimate, acoustic-based album that flirts with a few roots traditions but doesn�t stray far from the melodic, acerbic pop songwriting she�s known for. There are tinges of gospel in the vocal harmonies (provided by the delightful Leigh and Chandra Watson) and God is mentioned numerous times, but Lewis� point of view has little to do with mainstream religion: �In the desert underneath the charging sky / It�s just you and God / But what if God�s not there? / But his name is on your dollar bill / Which just became cab fare� (from �The Charging Sky�). Her lyrics often read like journal entries�wry, pointed comments on cosmetic surgery, AIDS, adultery, �destructive appetites,� political polarization, romantic betrayal�and while they sometimes refuse to scan with any kind of rhythmic sense, they�re always tied to strong, hummable melodies. Since Lewis never takes herself too seriously, her potentially �too-personal� lyrics become charming and funny, filled with colorful specifics (�her father was in cuff links with slicked-back black hair,� from the title song). The spare arrangements�acoustic and electric guitars, a bare-bones rhythm section, subliminal keyboards�flirt with �50s, �60s, and �70s pop and country but remain stubbornly contemporary, the perfect cradle for Lewis� flexible, expressive voice, which can be girlish and breathy or soar with radio-ready pop power. Lewis� oeuvre may be best expressed in the vaguely Hawaiian-sounding �Happy,� in which the chorus repeats the title numerous times, allowing you to forget that the line actually started with the words �I could be . . .�. (Team Love,


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Guitar Musician

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