Saturday, June 27, 2009

M.J. R.I.P.:This About Sums It Up

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pre-Sale Today: FREE Virginfest Tickets

This year's Virgin Festival is at Merriweather Post Pavillion on Sunday, August 30th.

The show is FREE if you pick up the tix at Will Call or just $10 if you have 2 sent by mail. So you can't say Richard Branson hasn't ever done anything for you....

The password for today's 10 am presale is:


(It's Gross, and it's true.)

Go here to get your tickets to the event featuring:

Public Enemy
Franz Ferdinand
The National
Girl Talk
The Bravery
The Hold Steady
St. Vincent
Taking Back Sunday

Do note the Will Call dates: you'd have to pick up your tix the week before the show, ending that Friday night; otherwise they release them back into the wild. But the show's not til Sunday, so plan carefully....
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

DC Guitar Tries The Jetslide

What the Heck is a Jetslide?

It's kind of hard to describe. And from what I'm told, nobody reads nowadays anyway. Apparently everybody still likes pictures though.

So the good news is that instead of toiling here at the computer typing, I can just cull a few thousand words from the internet.

Here's Jetslide's own 1000 words about itself with their company logo:

The pix above show you, clockwise from bottom left: a jetslide, a Jetslide with a glass sleeve, Jetslide in use, jetslide 'standing by'. This mosaic gives you, or I think, should give a fairly good idea of Jetslide's intended use.

For those still unsure of the Jetslide's unique properties, this .gif from Tone Toys fills in the blanks, I think:

The conceit of that the jetslide, a brass or steel bar mounted on a ring, is that it allows you to play slide, yet it also has a 'standby mode' where you regain the capacity to use all of your fingers for fretting: This clever little toy allows you to switch from fretted playing to slide literally instantly. Quite a boon for those of us who favor fancy fretwork along with our slide.

I've looked through Youtube to find a really good video of it. The best one is in German. Watch here:

Here's Sven's own translation.

"To give you a brief translation of what I'm saying in in the video. 'Flaschenpost' means 'Message in a bottle' and it's the title for a series of articles I wrote in my weblog about bottleneck and slide guitar stuff. This is the second video and especially about the JetSlide which I really like as a alternative to standard bottlenecks because it allows you to use all of your fingers for fretting and I really like the brass version because it's warm tone (on electric guitar I prefer the chrome one). I talk about that there are 3 versions of the JetSlide and that I've got the brass and the chrome one and I look forward to test the glass version one day. And then I show how easy it is to use the JetSlide and that the main advantage for me is that the bottleneck-finger isn't forced to be stiff all the time like on a standard bottleneck." Sven Augustin

I received a few Jetslides a week or so ago and I've been testing out the different sizes, materials, and learning about how this clever little device can be useful. I already find the Jetslide very comfortable. More comfortable than a traditional slide IMHO.

I'll be back with more things to say about the Jetslide. For now, however, I take it as a very good sign that I have been playing a lot more slide guitar since I received my Jetslide. That can't be bad.
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

When The Saints Come Diddley Bowed

One of the most natural things for a beginning guitarist to do is to learn to play melodies on one string. Playing this way, it is easy to 'visualize' the music along the string. Higher frets, higher note. Lower frets, lower note. Playing along one string makes the left hand movement directly analogous to the melodic movement. It can thereby also serve as a mnemonic aid for learning melody.

There is an instrument called a 'Diddley Bow' that is played exactly in this way. In some ways, rock guitar playing, particularly lead guitar playing, owes a great debt to diddley bows and to playing on one string.

Check out Diddley Bow Virtuoso Lonnie Pitchford:

Jazz players of the highest caliber also have a heavy respect for the practice of finding and improvising melodies on one string. Mick Goodrick devotes an entire chapter of his book, The Advancing Guitarist, to one string playing. Jim Hall once also told me that he took off every string but the D string on one of his guitars when he was studying one string playing.

Maybe it's the jazz connection, or perhaps it's because I simply never get tired of hearning this classic melody. I'm not sure. But here it is: have a go at playing 'When The Saints Come Marching In' on one string on your guitar.

I've included the solfege syllables so you can sing along using another favorite mnemonic device of music teachers.

Enjoy this song and these practice techniques. What other songs can you figure out using this one string method? What songs can you solfege?
Advancing Guitar Lessons:
Washington, D.C.
Professional Musical Fun
for Beginners and Beyond

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