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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Songwriting goals

Over the next month, I'm playing out at some LA open mikes. Need to get my song playing chops back up. From there, get a couple hours of material on tap.

From there, I've got several new songs on deck, and some old ones to re-record with my voice where it is now and my current style of recording and instrumentation.

I want to make an album I'm proud of.

Here's the names of some new songs I'm working on:
  • Ari are you in there?
  • Stay in Bed
  • Helping hands
  • Comfort Nest
New songs fromthe pastyear
  • Question Yourself
  • My Sweet Brazilian Girl
  • Linger
  • Come and Stay with Me
  • Good girl dies at the end
  • It's not so serious
Old songs
  • Gray
  • Gone
  • Caffeine
  • Tell Me What It's Like In London
  • Ann's Story
  • All Mixed Up in You
  • Young Man's Blues
10:01 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, May 16, 2011

If anything could ever feel this real forever

I've been focused on right hand exercises for a few weeks now. Yesterday, I'm at lessons, I talk about how I'm building up tension in my right shoulder that I think is slowing me down, and also how I've never really had a solid up strum. I suppose I've focused on solos and arpeggiated things forever and ever.

Brendan talked about letting the hands loosen up and focusing on the sound and not the technique. Nothing really cool happened during my lesson.

Then, I got home, went out, ate lunch, came back and plugged in. It didn't take but a few minutes, when for whatever reason, the pick slid the to front of my thumb and my index finger curled around the front to grab it, and bam, my upstroke snapped into place. I immediately had a clean, even, effortless strum in both directions without any tension in my shoulder.

Having the pinky grab the edge of the bridge pickup to orient my hand tothe strings has been huge. Giving my right hand two points of contact on the guitar gave my hands the stability to experiment and find my strum.

By the end of last night, I was so relaxed I was sight reading with a metronome out of the Berklee books. I feel like a solid guitarist now who knows the techniques he needs and can execute them comfortably. I'm going to thoroughly enjoy this new plateau I'm on, going through the modern method books again at a higher level, focusing on rhythm and tone instead of fretting and comfort.
6:35 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Practice Journal

Right hand exercise in Bk 1.

C Major in 5 positions in Bk 2.

Tempos 56 and 80.

Spent several hours recording a new version of Ann's Story.

Noticing new levels of right and left hand independence. The way I'm holding the pick is getting much more stable.
4:15 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Saturday, April 30, 2011

Practice Journal

Today is the first time I'm having a concentrated practice session in a long time.

I meditated for about 30 minutes before picking up the guitar, I think that really helped bring my concentration into focus.

Next, I got a metronome app for my phone so I could have one on the music stand at all times. It's called metronome: tempo. It's a super technical cool app.

The first thing I went to work on is the Right Hand Technique Exercise on pg. 88 of modern method book 1. Starting with a tempo of 43 and ending at 60 for about 10 minutes. The first couple measures.

The next thing I worked on was page 5 of modern method 2. The first position and the transition to the next position. So starting with the A-pattern and moving to the G-pattern. Tempo of about 60.

Tried to play through All Of Me with metronome at 56

And Dover Intro.. as always.

7:15 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Friday, April 22, 2011

Practice Journal

Not a lot of playing yesterday. Picked up the acoustic for a few minutes before I went out last night. Focused on the way I'm holding the pick, and the smoothness of my right hand movements. Playing in straight lines over the same area over the strings in both strumming and solos.

Yesterday was the first time I've played Layla in a long time.
5:26 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, April 18, 2011

Practice Journal

Yesterday I spent more time on the Dover introduction.

I'm going to start a synth recording project today. My MIDI toys and half of Logic are far underused in my little studio. Maybe I'll straight up punch in scores of music in, and then arrange and dub vocals andguitar parts over it. That sounds fun.
5:23 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Practice Journal

I can play the riffs in everlong perfectly, but when it comes time to sing a long with it, that asymmetric strumming pattern usually gets me everytime. At times like these, the problem is not in the hands, it's in the head.

Headwork: I conquered the strumming pattern to Everlong by breaking it up intokick (6th string) and snare (5th and 4th) strings. Dave is a drummer, it obviously informs his guitar playing. It's no coincidence that it's simply harder to play and sing Foo Fighters songs simultaneously because they require more comfort with uncommon rhythm variations.

The pattern for Everlong:KKSK |SSKS | KKSK| SSSK
Other patterns are obvious when pieces are taken out
It's a basic kick snare rhthm: K--- | S--- | K--- | S---
KK-- | SS-- | KK-- | SS--
The reason this pattern throws people off is because of the 2nd half of the groups of 4 eigth notes.
--SK | --KS | --SK |--SK
That one little kick snare variation on the second group provides all the interest for the Everlong rhythm.

Once I had it laid out on paper, it was straightforward to sing along while playing the actual rhythm of the song. Now I get to sit back on my tiny elitist throne and watch YouTube videos where people simplify the rhythm while covering this song... bahahahaha... man I'm cool. jk

I ripped the Dover intro as per usual a few times yesterday, too. The things I'm discovering with that song have to do with how tightly I should be holding the pick. I'm getting used to gripping the pick harder and finding hand positions where the pick doesn't slip around. Picking position and technique has to be silky smooth and consistent if one ever dreams to play as fast as Eric. I only break into 70% on the intro, and I spend most of my time in the 50%-63% range. I keep making discoveries in that zone, but I'm quickly getting bored with it, so I expect to be moving up in speed shortly.
4:33 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, April 11, 2011

Practice Journal

Played through the introduction of Dover at different speeds and played everlong a lot.
7:00 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, April 04, 2011

Practice Journal

I keep revisiting this lesson: it is depth, not breadth of practice which is most important.

A guitarist gets the most out of learning the songs and riffs he knows more deeply than he does from learning a thousand new riffs.

Yesterday, I went to guitar lessons, then came home and did some recording on a song called "Where Nothing Is Hiding" and a cover of "Last Kiss"

I also practiced the Intro for Cliffs of Dover at different speeds. I've learned more from that intro than just about anything else I've done on the instrument. I've been playing it since Early 2009 and it continues to inform my playing.

It has to do with the density of sophisticated movements. That, and just when I reach a new level of ability, there's always taking another step closer to 100% speed. Stepping up speed always reveals new mistakes and places where my playing needs to become more refined.

I also learned to start singing through the microphone, not at it. Sing as if the microphone weren't there, and then just place it in the field of your voice. Don't make it the target, otherwise your vocals will be screwed.
6:32 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Saturday, April 02, 2011

Saturday, Practice Journal

Opened my practice file for Dover. Went through the intro from speed starting at 40% and went all the way up to 100. Clean up to about 70%, then I started breaking up.

Everlong. Acoustic version. Played along with Dave, vocals and guitar, from 65% all the way up to 135%. Clean up to 110%. 135% was physically demanding.

I've been playing with the warped effects in logic. I feel like I've spent too many of my years playing in clean tone land, keeping myself critical to get my chops up. Well, I've pretty much got the chops now. My interest is in creating and arranging whole songs now.
11:56 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
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