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Guitar Musician e-zine 10/12/05
In This Issue:
| "... I just didn't know what direction people want, you
know music was going down a path, and I couldn't turn on a radio without
being disgusted completely. And now it's just gotten to the point where I
can't listen to anything, it's trashy. It's just a hundred channels of
garbage all over. And not just here, it's in England as well. It's almost
just like a global effort to knock the sense out of you if you're a musician
(laughs). There's not any little morsel for musicians to latch on to. It's
all glossy, lipstick s--t. More tits and bare midriffs. Unless you go to a
blues club, or some outrageous, hip dive somewhere that nobody knows about
until the night before, the pickings are slim for inspiration... I still
listen to Django Reinhardt, his catalog. I'm just catching up with that
after several years of not really listening to him proper. You know he's the
greatest... it's the fear thing. ... but now I'm getting used to it... He (Django
Reinhardt) was God. Just amazing"
- Jeff Beck / Yardbirds / Jeff Beck Group
This sign is posted at a Golf Course in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
1. Back straight, knees bent, feet shoulder width apart.
2. Form a loose grip.
3 . Keep your head down.
4. Avoid a quick back swing.
5. Stay out of the water.
6 Try not to hit anyone.
7. If you are taking too long, please let others go ahead of you.
8. Don't stand directly in front of others.
9. Quiet please .. while others are preparing to go.
10. Don't take extra strokes.
Well done! Now flush the urinal, go outside, and tee off.
A Lesson For The Learning by Andrew Koblick
I want to share a story with you.
The Karate Kid
Recently I was with my 8 year old son who is really into Karate. Not just watching it. He is taking lessons and recently won two first place trophies in competition. Proud Papa. We were watching the movie The Karate Kid
I imagine most of you have seen one of those 'Karate Kid' movies. Do you remember the part where the Sen sie (teacher) tells him to wax the car? At first he waxes nonchalantly but the teacher shows him how to make each stroke count. 'Wax on wax off'. The kid thinks he is being picky. He makes him wax 3 cars. The next day the Sensie tells him to paint the fence with only up strokes and down strokes.
The kid just wants to learn the Karate moves. The Sensei makes him do other chores each one he shows the exact movements he wants the kid to make. The kid still doesn't get it. Finally after a week the kid is ready to quit. Then sensei, as the kid is about to leave confronts him with a blow to the face. The kid blocks with the waxing motion. The sensie then tries to kick the kid. The kid blocks with the painting motion. Again the Sensie attacks and each time the kid uses one of the motions, he learned doing ordinary chores, to block the sensie.
Now the kid gets it.
And thats when it dawned on me why my Amazing Guitar Video gets such great results . The video takes each of the CORE FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENTS and teaches the user to MASTER each movement with
No Wonder I have been comments like:
I've got to say, I wasn't sure if it would work. I thought there was no way I would be able to notice an improvement in my playing in only seven days.
I was wrong!
The first day the excersises were a little tough but I stuck with them. I practiced about an hour everyday and the excersises started to flow together. Today when I completed the video and my final practice session I decided to just jam out for a little while and see how I improved. I could tell that my picking was alot stronger then it had been and when I started to play 'Sweet Home Alabama' the song just came together. I didn't have to stop 20 times to correct my hand postition, everything just seemed to flow. I could tell then that something pretty amazing had happened in the past seven days that I didn't expect to. I actually improved!!!
I want to thank you so much, your email's kept me motivated and your step by step instruction made the excersises easy to follow.
I will definetly tell all my friends about your wonderful product. I plan using your excersises in all my practices as long as I can hold a guitar. You have made me a believer!!! Thanks again... Not just I did it... We did it!!!!
Noel Camron White - St. Louis, MO.
Another one from the U.K.
'The Amazing Guitar Video was great. I'm glad I did stick with it, because it helped with parts of guitar playing that I was having serious problems with prior to watching the Amazing Guitar Video. Problems like down stroke up stroke. Which I find improves the sound of scales massively as opposed the down stroke, down stroke sound. This links in with speed, which also became much easier.
Thank you very much, glad I heard about the video, and i just can't wait to show it off to everyone!'
Dave Troule - U.K.
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The Karate Kid became a champion in one week because of these principles and you can make fantastic progress on your guitar using these powerful techniques.
Keep on Pickin,
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GUITAR Q AND A
Relative Minor Scale 101
Randy Harper; West Virginia
Yours in Music
Joe Satriani: In my experience with the stars I've met, they're the ones who make the difference. Mick, Brian May, Billy Gibbons�these guys that I've met and played with�they're unique human beings, they're so nice. They probably could sense that what they needed to do was to put Joe at ease. And they quickly do that. It's natural when you've followed somebody as a static image or on a video and finally you meet them in the flesh, you just can't help but stare at them for a while. And it throws you off balance and you forget what you really wanted to say and you say something else.
But the response from the star is really what sets the pace. All it takes is a gesture from the artist, a hand on the shoulder, a smile. Wait; just give the fan some time. If they say, "I'm really nervous," just say "That's OK. I can wait; I'm not in a rush."
MF: Is a compliment about something specific you've done easier to deal with than if somebody comes up and says you're the greatest guitar player in the world?
JS: Yeah, I think all artists are suckers for a compliment [laughs]. And usually if it's an obscure one we like it even better. And sometimes it can be a criticism that makes you think this guy's really listening. But you can never be prepared for the variety of comments, feelings, and anecdotes that fans talk to you about. Some of them are funny, some are so tragic you feel like bursting into tears when they tell you�stuff about how your music has somehow worked into their life.
I try not to impose any conditions on fans, other than they don't physically just start freaking out [laughs].
MF: Don't jump on you.
JS: Yeah. That would be dangerous. Because there's always security nearby and the fan could get hurt. But I've had a lot of really good experiences hanging out with people that I used to admire from the back of album covers and concerts. I remember when I was about 16 I went to see Humble Pie at, I think it was, Gallic Park up in the Bronx. I used to go to these concerts with a friend of mine who was a really big, strong kid. He looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger, except he was in high school. He was great to go to concerts with because he would always get us backstage as extra roadies.
So at the end of the concert we'd go to the back gate. I was just a skinny little kid, but I'd stand next to my friend Jeff. And he'd say, "Hey, you guys need some help?" They'd let us in and we'd find ourselves onstage wrapping cables or something. It was very exciting for us. I remember walking up the ramp towards the stage and there's Steve Marriot from Humble Pie looking at me like 'Who's this kid? What's he doing here?'
I said "Steve Marriot!" and that was about all that could come out of my mouth. He must have known I was petrified, but I was a big fan. I remember him giving me a pat on the shoulders and saying, "Hi. Thanks for being here and listening to the music," and walking off. And that gesture remains with me today. Because he could have turned to someone and said, "Get that kid out of here!" or "Bug off, kid, I'm busy." He could have said anything, and some stars do�they're so impersonal it's disheartening. But he was the first star that I ever met, and that brief encounter made me think 'A star can take the time to be genuine with a fan. And they do appreciate it and they never forget it.'
MF: How much do you practice now and what do you consider practice?
JS: The second part of that is a very good question. I think that anytime someone has gone through intense woodshedding and has played for a couple of decades, the question 'What do you practice now?' kind of looms over your head. Because once you know all the chords and you know all the scales in every key and you've harmonized them in every harmonization, and there isn't a chord that you hear coming out of the radio that your brain doesn't say, 'Oh that's a minor 13th chord,' you realize that what you need to practice is not written down anymore. It's not the kind of stuff that's based on theory that's been sitting around for a couple of hundred years. When you start out you're basically trying to play catch-up with a couple hundred years of Western music.
If you decide not to drift into music outside of your culture�because you could spend another lifetime studying Indian music or Arabic music or other forms of music from around the world�you start to think more about what it is that you want to play. If you're a writer like I am, then it's all about the writing. It's always been more about the writing. When I was younger there was a bit of a conflict when I would have to spend four or five hours a day practicing scales and it would leave me no time to work on my writing, which I really love doing.
MF: Four or five hours a day?!
JS: Yeah, that was nothing. I started with a half hour, then worked up to an hour, worked up to two, worked up to three. I started waking up before school and practiced for two hours, and then I'd practice after school. Then when I was out of school and touring with top 40 bands, between tours I'd spend two months practicing literally 13 hours a day. Then I'd have to go out and find a job again.
It was really about discovery: 'How fast can I play? How slow can I play? How many different key signatures can I play exactly the same?' You just keep pushing yourself to every boundary, whether it's intellectual or physical, that you can think of.
You learn�especially when you reach the mid-twenties�'This is the body that I've been given [laughs]. And I've put it through every possible pace with this instrument, so now it's time to pull it together.' Some of us walk faster than others; have a larger stride than others. And it's the same with the way we approach our instruments. With guitar it's pretty obvious. But that speed or that stretch really doesn't apply to success or to genius or the ability to write great music and perform it to move millions of people.
Year after year we see fascinating new guitar players come along. They may not have the skills of this guy or they may have a little more skills than that guy, but what they give us is something very unique. That's why there's no way to say who's better: Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page�all the guys that came from that era. They're all equally amazing for what they accomplish and they're all completely different. Their fingertips make a different sound. They go about playing things rhythmically quite differently. It's like comparing apples and oranges.
MF: Getting back to the question, do you practice now, and is it anything that the rest of us guys would recognize as practice?
JS: Yes. Absolutely. Just about every day since I was 15 years old I've done a series of simple chromatic exercises that I've published in magazine articles and in my book Guitar Secrets, simple exercises to warm up with. Some people pick up an instrument and try to play their fastest or most strenuous stuff right away. Your muscles and tendons are not ready for that. So you do need to warm up, just like a singer or a drummer or any other performer. You've got to somehow sort of warm up and stretch before you ask yourself to do something really intense.
So I'll do two or three of these things that I've picked up over the years. I'll do some intonation exercises to get in touch with whatever instrument I happen to be playing. Because some of my guitars have nines on them, some of them have tens. Although I probably do most of my practicing on my Ibanez guitars, I have a small group of vintage guitars that I have set up differently. Your Tele and your SG are going to have a very different string tension than your JS1000. So sometimes I'll just spend an hour getting used to a guitar.
I'll play along with records. There are some records that are really great to play with. Like Eric Clapton's From the Cradle. It's a great blues record to play along with. You can just put that thing on and play through the entire album. That's the greatest warm-up. Or sometimes I'll bring out my seven-string and put on a Linkin Park record and play along with that. I'll be like the annoying soloist that they decided not to have in the band [laughs].
Then I have quite a few of my own records that I've made mixes of without the solos or the melodies. That usually helps when I'm preparing for a tour. I'll make sure to run through an entire set at least twice a day for about two or three weeks before a tour.
I come up with most of my techniques as I'm writing the song. And then I teach myself the technique well enough to record it. And then if I don't play that song the technique fades. So sometimes I have to rekindle the technique behind a song.
I have some recordings of unusual progressions that I'll sometimes play melodies and solos against. And I'll specifically say, 'OK, I'm going to try to do this thing using the whammy bar every possible way,' and that's all I'll do for hours�just go whammy crazy. Other times I may take the bar off or just not use it or pick up a JS6 or one of my other Ibanez prototypes that doesn't have a vibrato bar, like the JS1200, and then I'll play for hours without any bar, just as a discipline. That's pretty much it, though.
MF: That's pretty much more than most people ever do.
JS: You'd think there'd be more time. But when you're a professional musician and you've got records you'd be surprised how many hours a day are spent doing stuff without your guitar around your shoulders. But those hours are necessary to keep the band together, keep the record going, press appearances...
MF: It's a business.
JS: It is. And there's a lot of waiting around. I remember that quote from Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones on that 25-year anniversary video they put out. And they said, "So, Charlie, what's it been like playing with the Rolling Stones for 25 years?" He took a long pause and said, "Well, five years of playing, and 20 years of just waiting around." [Laughs.] Because that's what he was doing. He was just sitting outside a rehearsal place drinking a coffee and having a cigarette. There's a lot of that, where you can't do anything because you're removed from an environment where you could do something constructive and you're forced to wait. Backstage, in the dressing room, at an airport, on a bus�there's a lot of waiting around.
MF: You've mentioned various instruments you play, how much of a role did gear play in the development of your personal tone?
JS: I would think quite a bit. I wound up gravitating toward a Fender-scale guitar with Gibson-style pickups�humbucking pickups on a 25-1/2"-scale instrument with a locking vibrato bar. So that's pretty specific. That's not like my '56 Tele or my 1960 Strat or my 1960 Les Paul or my '58 Junior. Those guitars are different worlds compared to modern instruments that people play today.
I spent most of my formative years playing a Telecaster. I owned a late '60s Telecaster with a Bigsby on it that I bought used from some guy in the paper. I really loved that instrument but the thing would go out of tune constantly and it was a little shrill in the high end. Even though it was the instrument of choice for Jimmy Page when he started out and made those first two records�it features into a lot of Jimmy Page's stuff, and the band I was in in high school played a lot of Led Zeppelin�it still wasn't quite cutting it.
I eventually moved into a Les Paul, but then I had the problem that it was chunky, but it didn't really poke through and it also went out of tune constantly. Of course, being a fan of Hendrix and Beck I wanted to use that vibrato bar. But just the thought of playing a Strat with a bar and dealing with the tuning was even more daunting. I just couldn't stand not being able to play good chords and keep them in tune while doing the soloing.
And this all stems from the fact that I was an aggressive player. I would bend the strings when a more sensible guitar player would say, "I'm not going to bend that string because my guitar will go out of tune." Every measure of music I'd just be going for it and by the end of it I'd destroy the instrument. So when the Floyds came out I thought, 'This is a great idea. This thing will stay in tune. I can do all those bends and make all those noises and still go back to playing the chords.'
By then I started building my own instruments. There was a company called Boogie Bodies. I don't think they're still in existence. But they were the first company to start offering body parts for Strats and Teles and things. So I bought two Strat bodies of hard rock maple, and I got an ESP neck that was a real V shape, late '50s style with an ebony fingerboard. I put humbucking pickups on there and I had a universal route on it. So eventually as I got more money I would buy different pickguards with different pickup configurations.
For albums like Not of this Earth, Surfing with the Alien, and Flying in a Blue Dream, that black guitar was the Les Paul sound and the Strat sound for every one of the records. After I'd do a chunky rhythm part, I'd tell the engineer to take 20 minutes and I'd take off the strings, change the pickguard, put the strings back on, and do the Strat part [laughs]. Because I couldn't afford to have a whole bunch of guitars so it was like, 'this guitar will be great.' And I started to see the benefit of the longer scale with the humbucking pickups.
I could see where it wouldn't work�like maybe when I was layering and you just really wanted that shorter-scale sound�but I found myself playing more melodically and it seemed like the longer scale allowed you to put out a melody and have it be more expressive.
After Surfing when DiMarzio approached me about helping me with pickup stuff, we really got closer to what I was looking for, which was to really create a special tone with the use of the pickup. Then Ibanez that same year was willing to build me a guitar based on what I was looking for. So over the years we've been refining it: the wood, the size of the frets, the kind of pickups, the potentiometers, the bar. We get more and more detailed. Every year we release a new model or a variation of an existing model.
And that has a lot to do with it. As painful as it is, I actually watched myself on the Live in San Francisco DVD. I was trying to get a perspective on the difference in the production and my playing versus the G3 DVD we just released. The San Francisco concert is 2-1/2 hours of me playing guitar and I realized I could never play that stuff if I just had a Telecaster or a Les Paul or an SG or a Les Paul Junior or a Strat. I'd never be able to do half of it. So it has become my modern tool that allows me to play vintage as well as to play the latest techniques.
And it keeps it together. There's like 99% accuracy in the tuning, which I think is really great. With the other ones it's a certainty that you will be out of tune by the end of the song [laughs]. That's if you play in that aggressive style.
MF: What about pedals? Being a Hendrix fan, Hendrix had cool gadgets; you must have been through quite of few of them.
JS: The first pedal I ever bought�when I was about 15 I sent away for an Electroharmonix Big Muff Pi through an ad I found in Circus magazine. I think it was 40 bucks. And I still have that pedal. I had to have the little germanium thing replaced. But like most people from that generation, we fell in love with distortion and it has been a great part of music to this day. You could write a thesis on why people like distortion.
But that was a big deal. Having that distortion was like opening up a new creative world. I started collecting as many of these little funny things as I could. And it eventually led me to using a Boss DS-1 as my main source of gain for a couple of years while I was touring. Because it was the most reliable and the widest-sounding source of distortion that was also the quietest. These days I use Fulltone effects on tour.
And Ibanez has been reissuing their original Easter-egg-color pedals, I call them�the Fanger, the chorus pedal, and they're coming out with a delay that's really good. And their original Tube Driver, which doesn't have a lot of low end. But if you play it through, let's say, a Fender amp that's got a ton of low end they can sound really great and give you that Stevie Ray Vaughan kind of tone.
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