Jacques Nel

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Monday, February 10, 2014

I need a bass guitar I guess

Hi

This will be a quick one.

If anyone has ever listened to any of my songs, they would notice the complete lack of bass.  Apart from "Sometimes" on which I used a synth to create a bass sound. 

I've been working around the bass parts my whole life but in the end I guess it all comes down to the fact that I really need a bass guitar.

I've come across this plug-in called Trilian, where you can basically use your pc to create bass guitar parts.  I though this would be my answer, alas it was not, because to use it effectively you need a MIDI keyboard which I also do not yet have.  

I'm guessing I'll get the latter first as it can be used for more than just creating bass sounds, but also to create various others.

Anyway, keep rocking!
8:28 am - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, January 20, 2014

Tips on learning lead [Yes again!]

Current mood: determined

Heya 

So as previously reported, I am learning lead.  It's going surprisingly well at this stage.  If I had to do a little timeline I would describe it as follows:
1. Started learning scales [again], playing up and down slowly with few mistakes.
2. Playing scales and patterns up and down fluently, learning new speed and strength exercises.
3. Playing most exercises on around 150bpm and starting to learn solos from Iron Maiden
4. Playing 2 Iron Maiden songs fluently, playing all exercises fluently on 150bpm.

So that's where I am now after around a week of practicing.

I am actually quite pleased with my progression.  A local teacher also told me that if this is how far I am in a week it's actually quite good, better than average, so as long as I can stay on this trend I will be happy.  

So now, I want to share some of the tips with whoever ends up reading this and I'll go into detail on each, however these are just guidelines I use, no one has to follow them to the letter.  Here we go:

1. DEDICATION
I know this has been said so many times and it is sometimes dismissed as one of those stupid inspirational messages, but dedication is the main thing needed to become a lead guitarist.

You need to dedicate at least 30 minutes to an hour daily to practice and keep this up. 

To keep myself motivated, I think of the fact that Slash used to practice up to 12 hours a day! So I play every single chance I get, I'm doing well over 2 hours a day in the week, and around 6 to 8 hours over the weekend.  You need to stay focused on becoming better and not stopping till you reach your goal.  

Beware of losing interest in the beginning when you are playing boring endless exercises over and over again. This is how you build speed and strength.

2. CAN'T GO WRONG WITH IRON MAIDEN
The first person to teach me anything on the guitar told me that learning Iron Maiden songs is the best way to learn lead. I can't stress ho many of the players I've known over the years learned lead by playing Maiden.

You don't have to use Iron Maiden though, but take some of your favorite bands who have killer lead guitar in them and sit down and learn the songs. [Guitar Pro is a must]

By doing this you end up seeing how scales are used in lead guitar and you learn popular phrases that are used in many other songs. Believe me, a lot of phrases are shared and almost never exclusive to one band.  

In short, learn songs from your favorite bands.

3. SPEND TIME ON THE BASICS
Everyday I make a point of playing scales and patterns up and down to get them burnt into my mind.  This is an important part in training your muscle memory.  Knowing where the notes sit on the neck and knowing how to move between them is imperative to becoming a master of the fretboard.

Spend time everyday playing scales, you can use different exercises [there are a lot out there], or make up your own.

This will build your speed and strength.

4. DON'T ALLOW MISTAKES TO SLIP THROUGH
You don't need to make a cut in your arm every time you make a mistake, but generally if I do, I start from scratch.  This becomes annoying but it teaches you the right way instead of allowing your mind to register the wrong way of playing as acceptable.

When a note is not clear, or you go to the wrong one, start the phrase over again until it is right.

5. TAKE BREAKS
If you push yourself hard enough, you will reach a point where your fingers get numb, or your wrist gets sore or your fingers just plain don't work together anymore.  I usually get to the point where I literally can't play the correct notes, all my fingers want to move together or not at all.

It's important in these cases to take a break, either play some rhythm or go have a coffee and a sandwich.  

In most cases, when you come back you will get better every time you come back.  I've actually seen this happen.  I played for around 45 minutes the other day on 130 bpm until my hands shut down.  When I came back, 130 bpm felt extremely slow, and all of a sudden I was up to 150 bpm. 

6. ANYTIME IS A GOOD TIME TO PLAY 
One of the best ways to make practice more fun is to do it while you're 'doing' something else.  

When you're sitting in front of the TV, your hands are idle [I hope], pick up the guitar and play.  You don't need to plug in and it won't disrupt your viewing pleasure.  It's actually a lot of fun.

7. JAM TRACKS / FAVORITE SONGS
Try soloing over jam tracks or your favorite songs.  It's easy to get discouraged if you end up making a mess of it but don't get discouraged.  

It's just the way it goes in the beginning. You will realize that over time it sounds better and better.  

8. DIVERSIFY YOUR PRACTICE
Work on all aspects of playing lead.  Work on speed, strength, scales and phrasing.  You must spend time on all of these and develop these aspects parallel to each other.  You can know every scale from the top of your head but if you don't have any speed or accuracy in your playing, or you can only play them up and down they are completely useless.  

These are the guidelines I follow while I'm learning lead but there are those that can't be taught.

You need to have a genuine interest and desire to become a good guitar player.  

If you idolize a particular player, no matter who it is, remember that they spent hours and hours every single day practicing to become as good as they are.  But you should also remember that you need to have your own identity in playing.  All the greats have their own signature style.  If I look at players I idolize [I'm sure many do], listen to this list and hear their sound in the back of your mind:

Slash
Eric Clapton
Jimmi Hendrix 
Jimmy Page
Jack White
Tony Iommi
Michael Paget

All of these guitarists have one thing in common: They were and are dedicated to becoming great at what they do.

Thanks

JayMan
6:58 am - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, September 02, 2013

oDe To MY PaST...

Current mood: accomplished

Ode to my Past

As I start a new chapter
and close off the last
I discard my burdens 
With an ode to my past.

To all the strangers
I then had to see
And those who thought
they knew something of me
To all the desires
with Sirens as songs
and trustful minions
with less right than wrong

Selfish friendship
means nothing to me
Circles in forests 
turned me into me

Sweet departures
I'm glad for your glee
Straight and narrow
and bliss made for me

As the others 
fall and remain
in the same hole
in which they came

I spread my forgiveness
for all of your sins
Suffer in silence
While my life begins
Without the weight of
inadequacy
Resting upon
the minds of the free
Insignificant
ones I forget
Truthful allies
are harder to get

The love I have now
for always will last.
The winds of forgiveness
will empty my glass.

And as I embrace
the future at last
I leave my sorrows
with an ode to my past.
8:26 am - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, October 01, 2012

My Songs Part III - Black Sheep

Black Sheep

Black sheep, black sheep no more demand.
I know you're angry and I know you're sad.
This little world's gonna swallow you.
What can you do?
What can you do?

I know this lady who still beats her man.
She says it's just to make him understand:
Times are hard and our problems too.
What can you do?
What can you do?

One two stupid flu always around.
Three four Nothing more to dream about.
Five Six Meds I mix breaking me down.
Seven eight I can make barnicle stu
What can I do?
What Can I do?

Black Sheep Black Sheep no more demand.
Raped by hypocracy they took your land.
Now you lie here with your stupid flu.
What can you do?
What can you do?
10:43 am - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Song Part II - I do

I Do

You say you're sorry but you never mean it too
You say you like me but it's never 'I Love You'
You say you want me but you always make me blue.
You never knew it but it's always been just you.

I never knew the things that love can do
I do
I never said I want it easy.

I've always loved the way you make me smile.
I loved the way we used to drive for miles.
All the pretty things we paid for with our dreams.
All the silly things that you made me believe.

I never knew the things that love can do.
I never said I want it easy too.
Another coin inside this hopeless well of dreams.
It's a meaning locked inside of memories.

So this message I am sending out to you.
I've always liked the bad things that you do.
Dreams have a way of always coming true.
And I never knew your ways but now I DO!

I never knew the things that love can do
I do
I never said I want it easy too
I'm sick of you just trying to hide it.
So this is something I've decided
I DO!
3:34 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Songs Part I - Emo Fairy

Emo Fairy

I wish she wasn't here.
She always makes me bow down to these fears
I wish she wasn't cool
Cause everyday she takes me for a fool
Her wings are made of tears
They're burned away by fear.
The melody of all her pain
just makes mine feel all in vain.

Emo Fairy don't you cry your tears upon me.
Emo Fairy what's your magic making you see?
Don't prey on the fear of the broken ones
Regret all the bad things that you've done.
Emo Fairy will I ever make you believe?

I wish I couldn't hear
Your voice when you're not near
You scream when you can't cry
You crawl when you can't fly
You wear your tattered dress.
You always seem depressed
Your eyes will drive a man insane
Till a bullet eases the pain.

Emo Fairy don't you cry your tears upon me.
Emo Fairy what's your magic making you see?
Don't prey on the fear of the broken ones
Regret all the bad things that you've done
Emo Fairy will I ever make you believe?

I guess you died alone.
It says so on your stone.
I guess you couldn't be
Another tragedy.
The raindrops on your face...
This eerie open space
I look into your eyes and see
a dream in reality.

Emo Fairy don't you cry your tears upon me.
Emo Fairy what's your magic making you see
Don't prey on the fear of the broken ones.
Regret all the bad things that you've done
Emo Fairy will I ever make you believe...?
3:19 pm - 1 comments - 0 Kudos