Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The making of an EP - Part 1

Heyyyy Rockers!

Geeze Louise, how has everyone been? It's been awfully quiet over here, 'cause I've been BUSY.

Busy doing what?

I'm finally making a real cd! I feel that I've finally become an artist, and I'm warming rapidly to the idea. I'm SO EXCITED about this project, and I'd love to take y'all into the studio, at least via blog, and have you join in.

It's gonna be a wild one. I'd be honored to have y'all right there for the journey, from the songwriting, the equipment choices, and the whole creative process. Then, when it finally drops, and goes multi-platinum (errr.....), you'll know it like an old friend.

The Goal

To make a great record - on my own.

I'm not dealing with any other musicians, and while I'll probably get help mastering the audio, I plan on recording the entire project in my humble little home studio.

It's gotta rock! I wanna be able to hand to people, and say "check THIS."

It's gonna be meaningful - no stupid love songs.

It's gotta be doable live as a solo act - but I CAN use a laptop!

Whew, I feel like David Copperfield telling you how I'm gonna make a building vanish. Cool!

Pull up a chair, and get some ideas for your own project!

10:26 pm - The blogging begins - Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

I'm sitting in my studio, blogging. I need to be songwriting. Songwriting is a skill all of it's own. It's not learned by sweep picking. D*arn.

I'm installing Superior Drummer 2.0 by Toontracks. It's the cure for drummers. Woot!

(It's a drum sampling program, and I'm gonna program some beats those suckers can only dream of playing! HA!)

I'm going to write a song for people with cancer now. Just the lyrics part, 'cause the computer is bogging down with the drum program install. My Aunt's got cancer pretty bad. A buddy has decided he needs to get chemo. The sunlight illuminated the incredible sadness in his face. The people in the hall today waiting to talk to a counselor looked pretty darn sad. The little girl sat on the chair sniffling. There's blues everywhere, and the blues are the best healer I know. So I guess it'll be a blues song.

(And I need to grab a tofu sandwich for dinner.)

Rock on!

- Josh

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



I'm between lessons again, waiting for a bowl of ramen to finish, and darn FedEx to bring me some gear. I'm chomping at the bit for this stuff!

So, I bring you the latest insight of the week. I was showing one of my clients my patented wicked cool five step solo-in-a-box lesson. (See "A Beginner's Guide to Soloing.")

In a nutshell, how I usually get students to turn a scale into music is:

1. Play the scale (usually A minor Pentatonic), while I play chords.

2. Play the scale, but vary the duration/value of the notes. Play some fast, play some slow.

3. Repeat some notes several times in a row.

4. Mix up the order.

5. Add "croutons" to the sonic salad - bends, pull offs, etc.

Bam! Music! And be sure to check out the article for a more detailed perspective.

But anyway, interestingly enough, step two proves to be the hardest for people to get expression into.

Nobody uses enough space. They play notes fast, but are unable, or unwilling, to play them slow.

Check it out - In my opinion, contrast is a vital part of improvisation. We all have a speed limit as to how fast we can play. Yngwie's is a bit higher than mine, but hey, he's got one, too. So, if one constantly plays at the speed limit of their particular ability, well, it will sound dull. To quote a client - "If you do something special all the time, then it's not special any more." (Thanks, Brian! A great thought!)

If you want to soup up your soloing, and let's face it, who doesn't, try adding contrast. And add contrast with space.

Really let a note ring. Let it sing! It takes a lotta guts to sustain a note for two measures or so. But it can be very effective. It'll give the music room to breathe, and make the blazing runs all the more incindentary.

Just as a flashlight in your eyes bursting suddenly out of the darkness seems brighter than staring at the sun on a hot summer's day, contrast sets us up beautifully.


And rock on!

- Josh

PS. My own MOTHER has 11 followers on her blog, and I only have 8. And one of 'em is her. Follow my blog, PLEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSEEEEEE! :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just Fo' Fun


No music today, just some comedy for ya. Actually, the greatest action story ever told!

Hasta La Vista!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A two minute lesson

I've got a student coming in in two minutes, so, here's a long winded blog REALLYFAST!

I photoshopped myself yesterday as Dr. Phil. Not because I'm a fan, but because it was mustache Monday on Facebook with my buddies. My mom started this. It's a long story. (But if you're not my friend on Facebook, you should be!)

Regardless, I went looking for Dr. Phil quotes...And I'm not even sure if this is his, but I like it:

You'll never get what you don't ask for.

Rock on!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yes! Follow on, loyal followers!

I've got seven of you guys an' gals so far! Rockin'!

Now, for the blog...Geeze, I got kinda down today. It was overcast, rainy, and I was lethargic and depressed. Believe it or not...!

SO, I wrote a song! It made me feel better. Sorta. But that doesn't matter! At least I got a song out of it!

Check it out on my myspace. It's called "One of Those Days." (The sound quality is err...not quite up to my standards, but I can't figure out why. Myspace seems to have overcompressed the thing. Let me know if you've got any ideas.)

So, here's what I suggest to you rockers. 1. Write more songs. 2. When you're sad, happy, or ticked off, or whatever...Write a song, or play something heartfelt. It can even be one note. Really put your soul into it.

Give it a shot! Now.

Remember, if you never write songs, you'll always be playing somebody else's thoughts.

Rock on!