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Soldier’s Joy tab and video

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

I recently slowed down one of my favorite fiddle tunes for use as an instructional video. Here is the tab for the arrangement shown. You can listen to the midi on Tabledit for free as well.

Below is the video of me playing through Soldier’s Joy. I play all of the rhythm parts and really slow down the A part.

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Musix and all things Dix Bruce

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Dix Bruce is a guitar and Mandolin instructor who has published for, “Mandolin World News,” as well as, “Flatpick Guitar Magazine,” and his own publishing company. I highly regard all of his material as well as his authentic playing across many genres. From old-time fiddle music, to hot club gypsy jazz and all across the spectrum.

I learned this tune from a book of his on Gypsy Jazz

His playing is always tasteful and to the point, not a wasted note. A lesson in melody, and that less is often more. The flashy tricks are overrated in music. Tone, clarity, and expression are first priority. I encourage players at all levels to check out his contribution to the acoustic music world. Dix is up there with Steve Kaufman and Happy Traum in his legacy of clear accurate instruction for the self motivated musician.

Dix own website

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New two-point mandolin

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Below is a video where I play Bourree II by J.S. Bach. I am playing my Korean built, oval hole, mystery mandolin. No serial number, but sounds and plays great. Especially in Jazz or Classical context. Tabs and notation for this provided by Mel Bay’s, “J.S. Bach for Mandolin.”

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Part of, “The Godfather,” suite.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Below is a video where I explore an exotic scale. An exotic scale being any scale that contains intervals specific to a region or cultural sound. More of these to come. This is a scale I think sounds best in Italian music or even some Eastern, Chinese or Japanese traditional sounds. I can tab out this specific scale and song if people request it.

Also, playing songs in the key of F major is touched on towards the end of the video. More tips and tricks on use of exotic scales. Ie. (Harmonic Minor,) in French hot “gypsy,” jazz. Often pigeon holed as the snake charming sound. This scale’s applications also work really well in flamenco music, specifically a mode of the harmonic minor called Spanish Phrygian. Also, more in depth analysis of playing in F major to come, so stay posted.

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Duke Ellington phrasing, make it swing.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The chords for this little exercise are as follows:

G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, D7, G
G, D7, Em, D, C, Bm, Am, G

Jethro Burns published this a while ago as a way to get your playing swinging. < - -, < - -,.... < means strong or accented, - meaning weak or not accented, Think: STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG This can be used with a band or a metronome to accent your favorite melody or any playing one wants to get away from the straight 8th notes feel.

Every player has rhythmic nuances that literally need to be heard to understood. Books and notation can only touch the surface. Think of Clarence White in the bluegrass world, or Wayne Shorter in the Jazz world. Playing right in front, or or behind the downbeat of a tune can really make a song chug along or glide smoothly. Wayne and his band create lots of movement with the phrasing of his horn and the comping of the piano and bass in the backdrop. They don’t change the tempo as much as they play, “around,” the beat not right on top of it. Below Horace Silver really gets it on piano!

In terms of lead playing, Miles Davis as well as guitar greats like Charlie Christian, Pat Martino and Django are great guys to listen to for new poly-rhythmic ideas to wrap one’s ears around. In terms of piano playing and comping, Horace Silver as well as Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett are players with great senses of time. Below is a video of Wayne Shorter playing some Ellington-esque phrasing, as well as some other ideas I must call all his own. Altered timing is a great way to reveal one’s own unique voice, while dodging the ever tempting trap door of playing too many notes. One clear convicted voice is the goal, don’t be afraid to borrow from your favorite players. Use the stepping stones provided, but remember to tread your own path along the way.

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Georgia on My Mind, style of Tony Rice.

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Below is a video I recently recorded of me playing my guitar as a change. Guitar will always have a special appeal to the solo artist. This arrangement is borrowed from Tony Rice, almost note for note. His playing of jazzier tunes is some of my favorite listening out there so I can’t help but try to imitate parts of his playing from time to time.

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Turnarounds, uses in Jazz and beyond.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Below is a video where I examine the 1-6-2-5 turnaround, using all dominant chords. Ie. G7, E7, A7, D7. Watch for yourself, they are fun to play and come in handy at jam sessions.

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New music video for studio recording of, “Blame.”

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Here is our most recent addition to our growing you tube channel. With many live performance videos we have added now our second professional music video from a recording from our very own music studio.

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Spice up bland guitar chords, and learn to read chord charts

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

In the video below two different concepts are touched on. The first concept is how to give a simple G chord a more powerful and unique sound without making it any more difficult to play. I learned this way to play by listening to Tony Rice, and later at an Orinn Star workshop I found very helpful for my playing.

The second concept exemplified are what are called chord inversions. Often they are listed with a (/) on chord charts.

The (/) is a more concise way to write and read chord charts once you understand how they work. Also using theoretical names like first and second inversion make the chord seem much more difficult than it it. C/G was shown and heard in the video above. What C/G tells us is that we are playing a C chord, a simple C chord would do just fine with a G note as the lowest, or Bass note in the chord.
To cover a particular song the, “right way.” or to compose a guitar piece with some added sonic depth the G tells us that a G note is played/strummed over the C chord. Keep in mind in this model ({)/(}) or C/G the first letter is the chord being played. The second letter after the slash is the note in this Base a…G note. The G note is played as the bass note within the chord, it can also be strummed within the chord again

To go more into the theory, a simple chord like C only has three note C (root), E(third), and G(fifth). Playing the E in the bass (C/E) is called the first inversion. Playing the fifth in the bass is know as the second inversion. These names for inversions carry over to all chords. The second inversion is more common in most guitar styles of playing, it is also easier to play on the fret board. The above example is the video only focus on second inversions, (inversions of chords with the 5th in the bass.) Below is some tab to help.

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Live videos from the Goat Farm

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Live performance videos! This winter we went to the Goat Farm in Atlanta for a day of music. We recorded three covers, “Willin,” by Little Feat, “After You’ve Gone.” by Henry Creamer, and “Angel From Montgomery,” by John Prine.

Also three original tunes were done. “Pretty Like the Moon,” with words and music by Mason Lutz, as well as, “Soul on A Shelf,” and “Nightwalk,” with lyrics by Brent Sandel. “Nightwalk,” can be heard on our debut self-titled album.

“Soul on a Shelf,” will be featured on our next album which is currently in progress. No need to wait till the next album release, check out a video of this powerful song below.

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