Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Importance Of..................

Welcome to the second installment of "The Importance Of." This installment is gonna deal with the importance of listening. Sound weird? Its something you don't normally think about and sounds simple but its something that gets overlooked way to often. There are several ways of listening I am talking about and all are important. The first one is listening to the people you are playing with. That means when you are playing, listen to what they are doing and try and compliment it. Not do your own thing or try and play "against" them. Make sure every ones levels are set right so that everyone can be heard and that your not to loud or to quiet. The second one is, if you are playing a cover song, listen to the subtleties of the song. Even when a band is doing their own version of a song there are, alot of times,key parts and phrases that are very identifiable to the song that you need to be doing. If you are trying to do a "spot on" cover of a song you defiantly need to listen for all the intricacies of the song. Something as small as a little "ping" of a cymbal or a pinch harmonic in a certain spot can be crucial. The third thing? Listen to how you sound when you are laying. Are you in tune? Is your eq out of whack? Are you drums tuned? how does your instrument sound through the p.a. you are playing through? How does your instrument sound in the room you are playing? The next thing? How are people reacting to what you are playing? What do they say? Are they applauding? Are they booing? If you are out playing in public or putting your music out for people to hear, you are automatically putting yourself out there for criticism. Listen to it.Learn from it. Don't get pissed off or overconfident from bad and good criticism. Take it and improve. If you ask for an opinion be prepared for bad answers as well as good ones. There are many things to listen to when you are a musician. These are just a few. So keep your ears open and remember the importance of listening.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Student Spotlight"

Hello everyone! We are back with another installment of "Student Spotlight." This months student is Donald Davis. He is a 24 year old guitar player from right here in Augusta Georgia. Donald is a very determined person. We have worked hard to get him playing. H e is the only musical person in his family and he does not have a back round in music. That has not deterred him. He has worked harder than the average student to get his fingers moving. He has EXTREMELY long fingers that are double jointed near the tip. The double jointedness has made him have to work his fingers more than average to get him strong. The extra long fingers and double jointedness will prove a great asset to his guitar playing in the future. Donald wanted to play guitar because its just a cool instrument that he wanted to play for a long time. He got his guitar 2 Christmas's ago and started lessons with me on March 14, 2009. Some of his favorite bands are Gazette and Papa Roach. If he were ever to be in a touring band he would love to tour the United States more than any other place in the world. His favorite guitar player is Jimi Hendrix. James Brown is his musical hero. He loves James Brown's music. On one of his birthdays he got a ticket to James Browns birthday show and was floored by the skill of the band and Mr. Browns stage presence. He hopes to be in a band in the next couple years, showing off his skills and having fun. So here's to you Donald...keep rockin....keep playing...and keep having fun!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Berkshire Guitars

There are some pics of some beautiful Berkshire guitars. I had the pleasure of being the 1st ( I think) local musician to buy a Berkshire. They gave me an endorsement dael and i have been pushing them hard ever since. They are a father ( Ron) and son (A.J.) team that have built an outstanding business from the ground up. I recently sat down with AJ and picked his brain. The company started up in 2007. Originally from Washington state, where AJ worked(among others) for Fender guitars. He studied under master luthier Jack Pimitel.They recently opened up a store in downtown augusta Georgia on the corner of Reynolds and 13th street. They do ANY repairs on ANY instrument with strings.That includes banjos, violins, guitars, etc. They also build ANYTHING that has strings. I remember being hesitant at first when i met AJ about playing their guitars. He handed me that white strat style guitar (its pictured above)and i almost gagged. I HATE strats. I tried it to be nice. I touched it and from the instant i plugged it in i knew it was different. It was , pure and simply, amazing. I loved the guitar. It played with ease and had a creamy, yet bitey tone that i craved. I happened to have a big show coming up and he let me play the Les paul style guitar. Again, a home run. These guitars would make Jack Pimitel proud.At their shop you can see an amazing amount of guitars being worked on. From gibsons to fenders. Fender guitars are what they see most, for upgrades and Jackson are what they see most for repairs. I asked AJ what was the most expensive guitar he has worked on and it turns out it was a 1946 Martin d-28. A $28,000 guitar. They built me a guitar similar to their most popular model, the "Twin Coupe." Their most serious repair was to a 1965 Gibson 45. It had been stepped on and crushed and was pretty much destroyed. I saw the pics when it was done....YOU COULD NOT TELL IT WAS IN LITTLE BITTY PIECES!!!!! It was astonishing, to say the least, that they could have fixed the guitar. AJ does most the building and repairs while hid dad is the main businessman, artist and painter. AJ's wife ,Christina, contributes to some custom graphics as well. To sum it up Berkshire is an amazing company with endless possibilities for musicians. They work, build and repair FOR MUSICIANS. They back up their work. The number for them is 706-823-5800. They are open mon-fri 1030-530 and sat 11-5. Go to www.berkshireguitars.com and check them out. And one last word from Berkshire that was passed down to him...." Don't play the headstock.No matter what the cost of a guitar, if it plays good and sounds good, it is good." Great words from a great company who can build high dollar guitars, high quality at down to earth prices that can and will compete at the level of Gibson,Fender, Guild ,Taylor and all the greats.

Here is a video tour of the Berkshire Guitar Workshop http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kbPA5-a_kY

Monday, April 12, 2010

check this out!!!

I did a REALLY cool internet radio show called confederation of loudness. I talk about teaching and music. Check it out atwww.confederationofloudness.com

There is "adult" language used in this. It is on every sunday at 9 pm and you can listen at any chance you get (its a podcast also). So check it out if you get a chance.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Importance Of............

This is going to be a regular thing I am going to call "The Importance Of." Its going to feature something that is very important to becoming a good musician. The first thing I am going to feature is the metronome. The importance of practicing with one cannot be overstated. You should always use one and it is very critical when first starting out. I have my students use them when doing our finger exercises and chord progressions. It helps you get faster and stronger. It helps you be able to play in time. When using one start off at the speed you can do everything cleanly at, namely your exercises. As time goes on you speed up the beats per minute. If you have a particularly difficult piece to play you can use it to play slowly and then build up your piece of music to the desired speed over a couple days. A metronome can help you get better a whole lot faster than just doing exercises without one. IT IS A MUST HAVE for drummers. If you are a drummer and you cant play steady, you are not a good drummer. It does not matter how many toms,bass drums or how expensive your cymbals are... if you cant play in time you are not gonna be good. That saying goes for every instrument. So go get yourself one. You don't need to spend a whole lot of money on one, $10-$15 should do you. An expensive one does the same thing as a $10 one. You can pick them up on the cheap at any music store. This ends our first installment of "The Importance Of." PEACE

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fall 2009 Student concert at Big City Music


Here is some more video Karen Romer took of the fall 2009 student concert at Big City Music's Live on the Lawn.

student concert video footage


here is a link from karen romer, mom of singer karrissa romer. she posted the concert up and its better footage than mine. this is from the spring 2010 concert at columbia county amphitheatre.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Product Review: Intellitouch PT 10

This is the first "product review" I have done for this blog. Being the 1st I figured it needed to be something kinda cool. So here is the product- The Intellitouch PT10. I have always hated hand held tuners and especially clip on tuners, I have always been a rack tuner guy. That has held true to me until Aaronn Bradshaw , from Big City Music, convinced me to try the intellitouch. It is a clip on tuner that reads vibration and not sound. That is something I liked because there is nothing worse than picking up outside noises while trying to tune.He sold me on it when he told me the accuracy of it.The accuracy is comparable to my Korg rack tuner. This tuner also works well clipping on and tuning anything from a violin to guitar to banjo to anything you want. That was a plus for me. It made tuning up for all the different instruments I teach a breeze.I have even just clipped it to my amp and it read the vibration on it and I tuned that way. The intellitouch is a chromatic tuner ( it tunes sharps and flats) that lights up green when in tune. It has a huge lcd screen to see this with. It swivels and turns all kinds of directions to get you the best possible view too. It runs on a simple watch battery that lasts forever. It is , in my opinion, the best of all clip on or hand held tuners i have used.It has replaced my rack tuner when i play live and is even easier than a Boss floor tuner. It is on sale at Big City Music right now for $29.99,of course students get their discount. They go out of stock as soon as we get them in. So if your looking to get a new tuner get down to Big City before they sell out(they always do, very quickly).