Guitarist’s have different brains than everyone else

It’s true. Science doesn’t lie. In a 2012 study in Berlin, it was revealed that guitarists can synchronise their brains. 12 pairs of guitarists were asked to play the same piece of music. Their brains were scanned during the process and it was discovered the guitarists’ neural networks would synchronise. Here is the cool bit… the brains would coordinate during the piece and slightly before. Yes, they could read each others minds. You have heard the terms ‘A band’s chenistry’ and ‘ this band is tight’. Well this could explain it. The study showed that this could happen because the parts of the brain that are triggered are the social cognition and music creation. The study all showed that we guitarists are very spiritual and intuitive beings. How many times have you gone to a gig and watched the guitarist play, gone home and ripped the licks off verbatim?  The Vanderbilt University showed guitarist can learn this way unlike guitarists who use sheet music. I listened to an interview with Michael Anthony on Eddie Trunks podcast, where he said in the early days of Van Halen, David Lee Roth asked Eddie to turn around so guitarists couldn’t see what he was doing. I went to Deep Purple gig and Steve Morse’s solo, especially the volume swells, stuck in my head. I did a guest spot in Adelaide shortly after and I don’t remember using my volume swell as part of an intro off the cuff. When we shred, it was revealed that our brain shifts from conscious to sub-conscious thought. The area that deals with big-picture goals shuts down...

Tips for playing slide

No one knows when it started. But the Father of the Blues W.C. Handy was awakened by a guitarist who pressed the strings of his guitar with a knife. “…The effect was unforgettable. His song too, struck me instantly: ‘Goin’ Where the Southern Cross the Dog.’ The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on the guitar with the weirdest music I had ever heard.” Sometimes called “bottleneck” playing because some slides where made from necks of beer bottles. Joe Walsh uses his “F.. you finger” Use a light touch Play over the fret (wire) not in between Mute the strings behind the slide Use your ears like never before… This is mostly about your ears  Take your time and get your intonation down first Play along with backing tracks to get the intonation Go see slide players play. There are probably some blues jams in your city. If you’re in Melbourne, you have to visit the MBAS jams. Learn the definitive slide song, Elmore James “Dust my Broom” Metal slides sound louder and warmer. Raise your action so you don’t get fret noise Glass slide have a sharper more brittle sound and SMASH to pieces when dropped on a gigs hard floor Try heaps to find the right one for you Lap up Duane Allman’s beautiful slide on “Layla” Here are some tunings to try: Standard tuning E-A-D-G-B-E Open G: D-G-D-G-B-D this is the most common tuning. A tonne of Rolling Stones songs “You got the silver“ Open E: E-B-E-G#-B-E Mr Walsh and Mr Allman most popular – this will take you down Rocky Mountain Way to...

I Love Album Cover Art 1 – Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’

During the summer of 1971, Joni just had broken up with with Graham Nash and started a relationship with James Taylor. Even with Taylor having a heroin addiction, Mitchell felt like she had found her partner. She was devastated when he broke off the relationship. The tracks “Blue” and “All I want” reflect the relationship and adversities with Taylor. With all these emotions, Joni went into the studio and recorded this masterpiece. Album cover designer Gary Burden wanted to design a cover that was “simple, classic and classy”, as he described in the documentary Under the Cover – A history of 1960’s album art. Because of the title of the album, Burden turned a  black and white photo into a blue color. This process is called Ferro cyanotype, which produces beautiful rich blue prints. I don’t think you can find an album cover that exudes such emotion and totally complements the contents and expressing Joni’s very honest lyrics. Keep Strummin’ Al   Please share this by keep...

The future of Music??

This isn’t about the latest trend or superstar coming through. It’s about what will become of us musicians. It’s not about the money money money It’s going to get harder for musicians to earn a living. I know what you are thinking “we do it for the love and not the money.” I thought that way too and it should be the only reason you play music. Every musician starts off like this, but even the most famous ones, regardless of their humble beginnings, have stories complaining getting ripped off by their management or accountant. In the early days, Queen’s manager was riding around in 2 Rolls Royce while John Deacon just got married and couldn’t get 200 pounds out of him. This is documented in Night at The Opera’s Death on Two legs. Billy Joel who was allegedly ripped off by his former brother-in-law of $30 million. Wouldn’t you get a bit pissed off and think about the money? The days of selling millions of copies of albums are over because of the digital era. Well, this wasn’t a big money earner anyway. David Lee Roth on the Joe Rogan podcast revealed the money he earned in royalties from the early Van Halen records, which sold 10 million and 5 million respectively, was 8 cents for each album. 12 cents for the remaining albums. The real money is earned in touring and merchandise. Catch 22 But, without a million selling album how can you have a world tour? The emergence now is to tour attached to a festival or support/double bill an equal or more popular act. Motley...

Fretboard Fact 6 – ELO’s ‘Don’t bring me down’

In ELO’s song ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’, Jeff Lynne sings “Don’t bring me down, grroosss”. Grroosss is a non-sensical word Lynne made up because there was a hole in the song and it was the first thing he thought of. The engineer at the time said to Lynne ” I didn’t know you knew German.” “i Don’t” said Lynne. It means greeting in German. The common misconception is that Lynne sings Bruce. When performed live, the audience would sing “BRUCE”. In the end Lynne joined the crowd and now on his new album Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, he has re-recorded the song with “BRUCE” in stead of “Groos”. The new album Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, Lynne re-recorded ELO tracks, playing all instruments and vocals. Because of the audio limitations back in the 70’s, due to bouncing multiple tracks which created tape saturation, caused some instruments to be muffled. With this new recording, the songs now are crisper and more dynamic. Here’s ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ complete with BRUCE chorus. Please share this by keep...

10 Best Concert movies

With the release of Led Zeppelin’s O2 concert in cinemas, I have compiled my list of 10 Concert films that influenced me to love music as a visual form. This is not the definitive list. I know there are some great Concert footage that I will miss. I think that when you go to see a performer live you should see an experience beyond the music. Concert footage takes you closer to the action. Nothing can replace the feeling of being at a concert of your favourite band. You are chock full of adrenaline as the gig draws near. And when the lights go down, the magic happens. This should also go for when you perform live. If it ain’t a show, you might as well stick to the album. I have included some of the trailers of the films to entice you to take the journey I took and see them in all their glory. Enjoy! Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day This trailer gets me all excited down under if ya know what I mean. Let There be blood ACDC. This was my first rock concert seen on the big screen. I felt like i was there. I was fourteen full of testosterone and all i wanted to do was ROCK!. Sadly, Bon Scott died two months after filming. What a way to go out. On top. The quality is pure 70’s, check out the opening typography, but the power this band has, has not diminished through the years. It’s amazing what 3 chords and a pentatonic scale can create. Rattle and Hum – U2 The silhouettes of...

Baby you can drive my site…

So, you have a cool looking website, you’ve uploaded some great shots and uploaded you’re new recording. The next gig should be packed. Right? Just having this cool looking site doesn’t secure a packed house because the only people that know about your site are the fans you have already. Back in the day you had to rely on word of mouth and some legwork to get people to your gig. When I was in L.A. in the early 90’s, the trend along Sunset Blvd on any given night was to handout flyers promoting your next gig. In today’s world you can be your own marketing department and promote yourself very effectively. If you are getting minimal or no airplay and want the world to sing your tunes (sorry about the pun), using Social Media tools can increase your chance to be heard. There are tools and techniques that will increase traffic to your site, ultimately to your gigs and to your online store to buy your music. Just look at Justin Beiber, who’s mum once uploaded a YouTube clip. Social Media Tools – Let’s get geeky You have probably heard the word page rank, it is in regards to how websites appear when you Google. Ideally you want to appear in the first 4-5 pages of a search. Below are some tips you can try today to increase your page ranking: Domain Name – Have a domain name with keywords in it. eg. www.thebluesridersbluesband.com Choose Keywords on your site that are relevant to your musical style and band name. e.g. If you wanted to market to the blues fraternity...
Faith and Gasoline

Faith and Gasoline

Highway rolls to dark This is latest offering from Melbourne duo Faith & Gasoline, which is the team of Gary Trovato and Frank Vadala. The 6 track EP ‘Highway rolls to dark‘ is a mixture of driving rock to atmospheric ballads and entwined with thoughtful, personal and socially insightful lyrics. Producer SAM PANETTA (who produced such acts as Kylie Monogue, Kids In The Kitchen and Among Thieves in the early 90’s. Who now develops artists from the ground up through Melodic Music Management, such artists as Kisschasey and Angela’s Dish.) has really done justice to the duo instrumentally and lyrically without overproduction and keeping the vocals dominant. On first listen this sounds like a long lost Def Leppard unplugged album via vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gary Trovato with a Joe Elliotesque tone that complements the range of lyrical content. The 6 tracks form a sonic narration of a pyramid of emotions, starting from a lover lying on Dangerous Mistake, the first single, to Never enough, a politically socially conscious track with underlying tones of greed and racism ” The name on the door is changed but the bigotry remains the same”, tells of a problem that still in need of a solution. Reality Hurts the next single, a driving catchy tune about concealing our feelings. A thing we all do but shouldn’t, even if the reality isn’t what we want to hear and it contains my favourite line ‘losing our spines to save our necks’. Check out the behind the scenes footage of the making of this video. Fave track The gamut of emotions conclude dramatically on Believe. “No saviour,...