Testimonials

“You said something to me once….don’t practice things that do not serve you personally. I’m paraphrasing but it would creep in as I was wasting valuable time on techniques and speed that, looking back, I didn’t really care about. I guess it was a mindset of “if I can’t do this this and this then I’m not good enough” or something like that semi subconscious ego fear. Long winded? Yes but thank you for the things you said to me. By planting the seeds good stuff grew out in time.”  Steve S.

One of my former students sent this to me the other day and I thought I would share it with you.  I think “wasting valuable time” is the real concern and maybe anyone can relate to this insight by adopting it to whatever it is they do or spend their time pursuing.

In the coming months there will be a lot of cleanup on the various platforms (google, FB, and souncloud) if you haven’t taken a look in awhile you might discover something there that might soon be gone, so don’t miss out.

 

Return to Facebook Live

Last Night (music starts 43 minutes in)


Tonight

Playing at Umass Dartmouth tonight in New Bedford MA, the second hour of the “Star Series Week” from 7pm-8pm.  Live stream on Facebook only, that’s Here

 

10 observations of and for beginning guitar players

Just a few points that might help…

1. Beginners are mesmerized and dazzled by guitar frets, the mathematical and sonic relationships waiting to be discovered with a rubix cube kind of wonder, it’s evidence of the guitar players preoccupation with the left hand (fretting hand) and subsequent “box playing.”

2. There’s often ideas about using one method over another to improve quicker; these are analogous to a baby learning balance and walking (these things have to be done in their own time). In the early beginning there’s simply nothing that replaces hurting fingers and awkward right hand (strumming) clumsiness in coordination. It simply must be toughed out before the application of any ideology or music is applied. That being said, having someone personally teach you will raise you faster.

3. In contrast to piano leaning (and reading) guitar players typically learn pieces of songs instead of entire songs. The intro to Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” but not the guitar solo or the chords to a Tom Petty song but not the Jeff Lynne guitar solo. Why? See #9.

4. Rhythm is the hardest because it must be sustained and little can be sustained for long because the guitar is physically challenging. The shortest way to this seems to be to player easier material, despite most beginners being attracted to more advanced guitar displays -thus you have a lot of great guitar “licks” being played really badly at guitar center.

5. Few instruments contain a layout that faces “away” from the player: In order to see what is being played a player must turn the guitar “up” causing strange left hand problems, or tip their head “over” so they can see what it is that they’re playing causing neck pain. Advanced players don’t often look at the neck.

6. As the unschooled counterpart to the piano the guitar is historically the peasant instrument. Most guitar players don’t read, don’t cross pollinate well with other musical styles, and not until this last century, agree on a few things about the instrument (thanks largely to Andre Segovia). Playing music will always be more important than reading music, the guitar proves that but the guitarists that read have access to much, much more (imagine not being able to read language right?).

7. A little goes a long way. Playing every day for 30 minutes inevitably improves you rather than trying for marathon sessions. While this is true for most things, the physical difficulty of the guitar makes this even more true.

8. There are no “correct” ways to achieve sound on the guitar. Wes Montgomery used a thumb instead of his pick, Django Reindhart achieved velocity with two working fingers and Jimi Hendrix used his thumb. Also, there are no “correct” ways to left hand finger chords, if it works for you then do it. I get my students to “tamper” with all of the right hand methods.

9. Historically the guitar is an accompaniment instrument to the voice and not a solo adventure (Flamenco music, early European music, or Blues music). “Soloing” is a relatively new concept and thus the exploration of sound, electric guitars, effects, and amplifier combinations. Accompanying and soloing compliment each other and are of two different mindsets, thus beginners learning both in an entire song is seldom.

10. Beginners tend to want to do to much. It’s important to skip around and have different things to play and work on but the advanced idea is that the beginner really wants to focus on just a few things and really work them until they’re solid. It’s a greater use of time to get really good at a few things versus lightly touching on everything.

A jazz record?

Once upon a time I started making a jazz record.  I wrote, rehearsed and recorded with my jazz group “Sauce.”  Then I became busy doing other things which is often the case when you play different styles of music.   I was most likely writing “Burn” at time.

I’ve uncovered a jazz record that I recorded 3 years ago with “Sauce” and I’ll be mixing it and releasing within a few months.

Just a heads up, for those of you who have a taste for jazz, or what I refer to as “street jazz.”

Wear the hat, don’t wear the hat, enough with the hat

NYC sometime in 2005.

Once upon a time I used to wear a kufi.  I would make up fun reasons for why I wore it but the truth was I just liked it and I could be wearing almost anything and it kind of put me on the stage “mentally.”   I could put it on and get to playing.

Some people didn’t like it, others hated.  Some accused me of being attached to it as if I were an infant with a blanket.  Others loved it and hated me a little when I stopped wearing it.

The thing is, everyone had an opinion.  It was a great exercise in not caring what other people thought.

2009 revisited

It happens

5 years ago

It’s amazing what you find when you go looking for it….
No So Social Distancing in the Caribbean.

In Beverly MA 2011

October of 2011…
Long lost discovered things that we find on old hard drives…


All she sees is god

I’ve had more questions about and discomfort over this song than any other one that I can remember in the recent past.  Hint: it’s not about god, it’s about believing in something that you don’t or won’t question, could be any sort of behavior or decision that doesn’t do you good or make sense.  

All she sees is god

The whole world could be falling and still all she sees is god
I tried to tell her without breaking her heart

I spent too much time waiting in the sun
waiting for her to come home to me

But all she sees is god
All she sees is god

I tried to use the words but they all came apart
it’s a man made religion
everyone sees through that house of cards

I was waiting
Waiting for her in the sun
If she wakes up now she might make it home to me

But all she sees is god
All she sees is god

she closes her eyes and hopes for the best
and blame it on anyone else when her plans fail
when the sun rises he’ll be somewhere else
and she’ll be alone

I was waiting
Waiting for her in the sun
If she wakes up now she might make it home to me

A morning in March a long time ago…

The original St Barths Crew on our way to the Caribbean, 2007.

Tim Mayer, myself, Rick O’Neale, and Matty Alger.

One year ago

Before it all came apart…

 

Vids and vids

Working on the next record and I was breezing through some screen shots and came across this one. It’s indicative of the mindset I get in when I work in-between songs, imagine that each shot here is a different song in my mind, I flip between them and hold them up to each other, to see if they “go together.”
It’s strange, the creative process, but rewarding.

ALL the VIDS