Fun with Arpeggios Part 2

Hello again everyone. In my last blog, I discussed and demonstrated a cool exercise to add some zest to your lead work and to help you to learn the fretboard by using arpeggios derived from the major scale. In this blog I would like to address the same topic but instead of using the major scale I would like use chords, specifically 4 types of chords that all guitarists and musicians should be familiar with. Continue reading

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How to Get and Keep the Gig.. and Get More of Them

Happy New Year! I hope that the year has started off on a good and positive note, pardon the pun, for all of my readers and I wish you all nothing but success and happiness in 2013.  The one thing that I am most proud of in my career is the fact that I have always gotten the gig I wanted. Without fail. Whether it was passing the audition for a band, getting accepted into a conservatory, creating a successful teaching business or getting shows, I have gotten the job done. These accomplishments did not come by accident. Some say I am lucky. But all successful people, musician or not, know that luck=hard work+opportunity. In this blog I will discuss some of my personal philosophies and strategies that I have used over the past 30 years to get and keep the gig that you have always wanted. Continue reading

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The Art of Phrasing: How to Make Your Leads Sing

When one of my guitar students wants to learn lead guitar I usually show them the minor pentatonic first. Once that scale is down in all keys, I play different and familiar chord progressions and have my students solo over using the scales they just learned. Almost always the same thing happens: the students leads sound like a continuous scale. I call it the musical equivalent to a stomach virus: the notes just keep on running out with no end in sight. The same thing occurs when they advance and learn the extensions of the minor pentatonic and the modes. They know the notes and the connections very well but it just sounds like one big run on sentence. Sometimes I’ll see cover bands in which the more experienced guitarist will do the same. In short, there is no phrasing. ┬áHere are some methods I have used to make lead playing more melodic and dynamic. Continue reading

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Lessons Learned: How To Be A Better Student

Before I go any further I would like to say I am sorry to my all my past teachers and instructors. After writing this blog I realized how for the first 15 years of my career I never really followed the advice I am sharing with all my readers. Please accept my humble apologies and I realize now that if I would have followed my own words, I would have saved myself a lot of time and grief over the years. In my previous blog, I wrote about how to be an effective teacher. In this weeks blog, I would like to discuss the flip side of this topic: how to get the most out of your teachers and become a better student , guitarist, musician and ultimately a better person. Continue reading

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Surviving The Gig: How To Make It Through The Nightmare Show

The following are true stories. No names have been changed to protect the guilty. Have you ever played a gig in which your gear inexplicably went dead in the middle of a face blistering lead? Have you ever been on your way to a show and have the back of the van pop open and watch a drum set and keyboard spill onto the New York State Thruway at 70mph? Have you ever watched the singer of your band run a bar tab so high that it exceeded what your band was supposed to make that night? Have you ever had your drummer pass out drunk behind the drum kit halfway through the 3 sets you were scheduled to play that night? Has your band ever broken up on the way to a gig? Have you ever had your drummer throw a heart attack 5 days before your first gig? At first glance these events look like the new script for Spinal tap 2, 3 and 4 but all these events happened to me throughout my 30 years of playing in bands and gigging around the tri- state area. And I’m still standing. At the time, these seemed catastrophic. But looking back I can say with certainty that they made me a stronger performer and musician able to deal with any adversity thrown before me. This blog is dedicated to different ways we can deal with difficult gig situations. Continue reading

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