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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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Sailing to Denver in 2014

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Come out tonight to the Tin Roof Cantina. We have lots of gigs coming up we would love for you to join us.

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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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Music without genre classifications

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Some of acoustic musics greatest contributors are often overlooked, usually from a lack of material that is easily marketed and turned into profit. This is no coincidence, this is a symptom in the nature of our times. Music is it’s own language, in and of itself. We must move past using names like, “Country, Bluegrass, Jazz and classical,” to define what is an art form with it’s very own vocabulary.

Players like Jordan Ramsey, Dave Peters, and Tim Connell often play multiple styles within a single song. In terms of genres this music must fall into, “all of the above.” What makes music hard to define is exactly what gives it more interest and intrigue. No more pigeon holed definitions are needed.

Chris Thile just released an album, which consists only pieces composed by the great J.S. Bach. Before the release of this album Thile was not considered a classical player, nor we he be in the future. But his classical mandolin playing is up there with the best I have ever heard. Do you see the problem here? I can same the same for Mike Marshall’s/strong> playing of classical music. Another player not considered in the classical genre.

Both have devoted lots of time and effort into this particular style. Naturally, after a certain amount of time a new style, or composer is needed freshen things up. An example of this would be Marshall’s change to playing Brazilian music. Another good example is Tony Rice’s movement towards Jazzier playing, and away from what we call bluegrass. Bluegrass is unique in that it is a genre created by a single man, the master Bill Monroe. There is one and only Bill Monroe. “So it goes,” as Kurt Vonnegut would say.

Jethro Burns called many names, but never a conformist, broke all the right rules. As a musical revolutionary, he lead the way for David Grisman’s Dawg music, as well as all that was labeled Newgrass, and jazzgrass, over the years. Well before that players like Dave Apollon played music beyond definition.

Dave Apollon a Russian mandolin player wrote and performed beautiful music, later called Gypsy Jazz. Django Reinhardt’s very own musical genre creation. Not bad company, but their music must speak for itself, two words do not do it justice. Don’t listen to me, or any other critic for that matter, listen to the emotional, and powerful music they played.

Every artist named is in bold print for a reason. The reason being so one can listen to these artists and draw his or her own conclusions. No one song, or name, can suffice in revealing the broad, yet strong foundations these men have built for future generations of musicians. With inspiration from the masters of the past, one’s own unique voice can be found and expressed.

We must adapt and continue building onto an art form that has luckily been built to last. The ones most willing to adapt, and change with the times, are in my opinion the most fit to be truly original and innovative.

“What is in a name?” Just that, nothing more. Do not mistake the name for the thing it represents. Be it a person, place, or thing, let your heart do the deciding. Your analytical rational mind will always be there to fall back on. Music is beyond names, it evokes emotion not logic, inspirational not instructive, feelings not answers.

We all could be a little less critical and more accepting in thoughts and actions. This is a ticket that can unleash creative prowess beyond imagination. Tapping into the true source, as many before us have.

Paying homage to the traditions of the past holds huge importance. The assumption that the builders wanted us to carry these traditions unchanged, like relics of the past, is inevitably impossible. Build off of traditional music in ways that feel good to you, and chances are it will have the same effect on others. Trust your gut, and play from your heart.

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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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What a Wonderful World

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Jazz standards for arranged for one mandolin. Recently I bought an “iReal Book.” Recording is great practice, one can re-create interesting parts, and omit the less inspirational parts. Below I share my arrangement of a classic song.

What a Wonderful World

This is the bare bones, “before,” rendition.

Today is the very first time I have attempted to play this piece for one mandolin, in a week or so I will upload what I will then call an, “after.”

A more polished recording, arranged with melody decisions I feel best fit in the song, and on my fretboard. Using a melting pot of ideas, tossing them off my band, I then attempt to make my own unique musical statement within the context of the song. Arranging a tune so one can improvise within it takes time. My goal is to show how this time can help the greater good of the music as well as that of our ears.

I have found that chord solo playing on one instrument helps me really learn a song inside and out. It is good practice and much more fun than running through scales or theory, although they can be applied in this context. Try this yourself and share! Learn to play the chords first, then find the melody within them. Any song popularized works, from Nirvana to Debussy.

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Temperance Reel on J.Bovier A-4

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

This mandolin lends itself to playing melodies and rhythms with sustaining notes. This is part due to the oval hole, and part just good construction and tone. I like how it sounds on some traditional Irish tunes, below is a video with me playing The Temperance Reel.

If people are interested I would be happy to post chords and notation for this arrangement.

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Skype lessons, giving away one for free!

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

I recently got an HD webcam for recording videos and giving skype lessons. Since I am new to using the web for real time lessons I am giving my first away for free. First come first serve. Click on the contact link in the tool bar and if you are the first we can set up a time for your free lesson.

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Jethro’s Tune, the A part

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Jethro Burns is one of my favorite all time musicians. He really changed what was considered mandolin music for the better. From bluegrass to Swing, to Gypsy Jazz and back. Beyond description. Below is a video of me playing half of a tune he wrote, so this is in honor of the man himself.

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