Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spotlight Licks: Ken Gabriel

This "Spotlight Lick" is brought to you from Rock Bottom Music's Aiken South Carolina locations manager, Ken Gabriel. Ken is an accomplished player and plays currently with the band Palmatto Groove and is a former guitar player for James Brown. Palmetto Groove has a release coming out in the next month or so on KHP records. His lick is a chickin pickin lick based in D. Make your d major shape but leave the high E string open. You want to use your pick for the bass notes and pluck the higher string with your middle and ring fingers. As you move to the different bass notes make sure you keep the original D major shape going on. The tuning on the video is set at A=430. So make sure to change your tuner setting or just catch the first open d note and tune by ear. This is a complex lick so start slow and build up speed. If the hybrid picking proves too much at first just use your fingers only, thenbuild up to the pick/finger hybrid. Check out the video at

check out more of Ken and his music at as usual click on tab and it will get bigger

Friday, April 22, 2011

Learn From : Rush

In this edition of learn from I am going to focus on one of the forefathers of progressive rock....Rush. Rush is a three piece band from Canada formed in 1968. They are made up of Geddy Lee on bass, lead vocals and keyboard, Alex Lifeson on guitars and drummer and lyric writer Neil Peart. Rush is a band that has NEVER conformed to trends. They are one of the biggest and most influential bands on the planet. They have some simple catchy songs, some hard rockers, some ballads, some 1/2 hour progressive monsters and any other kind of song you can think of. They write music as a band but the drummer , Neil Peart, writes all the lyrics. Geddy Lee is known as a master of bass playing and a pretty good synthesizer/keyboard player. He is also known for having a voice higher than a woman sometimes !!!! Alex Lifeson is known for his unique tone and riffs and searing solos. Perhaps the most famous member of the band is the drummer, Neil Peart. The drummer is hardly ever the most known member of a band. In Rush the drummer is. That should tell you how good he is. Many people consider him the best drummer in the history of music. If you listen to Rush you can see how people can make that argument. There are four main breakdowns to the Rush career, so the hard core fans say. There is progressive rock era from 1977-1981, the synthesizer period from 1982-1989, returning to their roots era from 1990-1997 and the hiatus and comeback era from 1998-present. In those periods there are lots of great records to get. Here are a few to check out- Fly By Night, 2112, Moving Pictures, Signals, Counter Parts,Vapor Trails and the newest album, Snakes and Arrows. There are many good videos of their live performances to check out too. The documentary on the band was incredible. It is called Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage. It will take you on the journey the band has been on. It is a must see for any fan. It will also be good for anyone who does not like Rush also. It is so good it can appeal to a non music fan as well. Here are a couple Rush things to listen to right now. Here is the song YYZ

and here is 2112

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chris Livingston : Rock Bottom Spotlight

Chris Livingston has contributed a "Spotlight Lick" before and I thought it would be cool to spotlight another teacher from Rock Bottom Music. Chris has been teaching for 10 years now and has been playing for over 25 years. He currently plays in 48 Volt. Chris started playing because his cousin had an Ibanez Destroyer guitar and jammed out on Def Leapard and other kick butt rock n roll and it gave him inspiration. He started learning from a buddy back in high school when he moved here from North Carolina. It snow balled from there to him learning from anyone he could and by ear. He also had an uncle that showed him some things. Why does he teach guitar? It's what he likes to do. It also makes him learn more by teaching. Teaching re-lit his fire for guitar. Seeing a new players smile when they learn their first song or chord is highly rewarding. His enjoyment helps the kids enjoy it and vise versa! Chris teaches ages 9 and up and a variety of different styles- blues , country, metal, rock and modern popular music. He caters the lessons to what the student likes. He will start a new person with with basic fundamentals and get them playing the songs they like as soon as possible. Anyone out there who thought of learning but has never taken that first step your first lesson is free! Give Chris a call at 706-589-2112 and get started!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Student Spotlight: Oscar Ystenes

This edition of "Student Spotlight" features 22 year old guitar student Oscar Ystenes.Oscar has been a student of mine since February 19th, 2010. I got to start Oscar right from the start. He is a psychology major at Augusta State and will graduate in 2012. Oscar got into playing because his father played and urged him to play when he was younger. He did not start playing until he was older and developed his own liking of music and wanted to start playing and writing his own songs. Along with having a dad that played, he has a brother that plays drums and has a girlfriend ( Candice Litsey, another of my students) that plays bass, ukulele and sings. He sites his favorite bands as Breaking Benjamin, Five Finger Death Punch and Three Days Grace. He would love to play in Japan or Australia because of his love of both of those cultures. Oscar's dream guitar would be a Gibson Les Paul or a Fender Strat. Right now he has a Yamaha acoustic guitar and a Schector Omen Extreme electric guitar. His first concert was Sick Puppies, Janus and Shotgun Opera right here in Augusta Georgia. If he could ever be a fill in guitarist for any band it would be one of his faves, Breaking Benjamin. In the future when he is out playing gigs his dream bands to be on tour with would be Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin. Where does Oscar see himself musically in five years? He sees himself in a band playing gigs locally and having a blast doing it! Oscar sites being persistent and motivated to continue practicing everything he needs to play as one of the things he has got the most out of lessons with me. Some advice for someone thinking of playing from Oscar is "Practice daily. You won't master your instrument and get good unless you put the time in." The most embarrassing thing on his Ipod? The Pokemon Theme Song by the boy band N' Sync!!!! When Oscar finishes school he wants to get into being a crime scene forensics worker and work on criminal and crime profiling. He is a very smart and persistent person. I can very easily see him being able to do that. Working with him has been great. He puts in the time and effort it takes to be a player. It is paying off for him now and will continue to pay off for him in the future. Every week he comes in prepared and having shown progress from the week before. He is a model student. I enjoy seeing him get a song down. He is going to develop into a hell of a player. So here's to you Oscar.....Keep Rockin'........Keep Playin'........and Keep Having Fun!!!!!!

John Berret

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spotlight Licks: L.I.E.

This edition of "Spotlight Licks" is brought to you by the local favorites, L.I.E., and in particular Micheal "Dr. Dork" Dinkins musician extraordinaire. His band L.I.E. has a new album out and it is neato good. I will let Dr. Dork take it from here......

Greetings. With several licks and tabs being shared from various individuals, I thought it would be neato to share the 'lead guitar' section from my band L.i.E.'s song "Cross Your Arms and Go Outside." The challenge here is not necessarily in the difficulty of any particular passage but in execution of the multiple time signature changes throughout, which makes for a great exercise is rhythm. Below are a two JPG files of guitar tabs that follow the section of the song from 4:02 to 5:56.

You can stream or download the song from our bandcamp site where you can also access anything else that we have released to date.

Take note the song is in "Drop D" from standard pitch. Enjoy!!!

Micheal "Dr. Dork" Dinkins