Thursday, June 10, 2010

About twenty cents


It's been a little while since I've thrown my two cents into the vast swirling void that is I'm overdue!

I hope everyone's been good and is progressing nicely on their path toward world domination!

Dealing with a negative Ned?

My brother Noah calls them...

The Most Essential People

They always say the critics are our best friends, but sometimes that's hard to see, so caustic can these critics be sometimes. I'll run with the chemistry example, because success can be viewed as a process, a reaction if you will, with many agents causing ignition.

I'm sure we've all had the experience of a naysayer beautifully illustrating the path we're on if we don't change our ways. My favorite cosmic 2x4 in the face is when the party matter-of-factly states that we'd better start measuring the drapes for our house of failure, and they don't even realize it. They're dead on right, because, sometimes, the rest of the world isn't as blind as we are, and if we keep on the same path, we will need to order some extra-mediocre shades, indeed.

It's usually said like "Well, so when are you gonna go into sales? Wouldn't it be nice not to play dive bars?"


Thank you, thank you, thank you.

These are some of the most essential people - the arsonists who light that fire under us, and burn us into action. The acid that eats through the blinders, and gets us to wake up, smell the chemicals, and say "Hey man, I'm gonna get some better gigs, and make this happen!"

They're usually about as strong as the chemicals used to bleach my hair, and Jimi bless 'em for that, because you know that's some darn good stuff! The faster the blinders come off, the faster we can strike a ready pose, and say, "eat my dust, suckas!"

Jeff Beck...

Was the most amazing guitarist I've ever seen. I caught his show at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, and promptly had a reason to buy a new mind. Mine is in tatters. I've been on a new tone quest...that doesn't involve gear. He got so many tones out of his strat without even stepping on a pedal. He used the volume and tone controls, whammy bar, and hit the guitar occasionally to make it sing alien.

Very inspired, I've been having my students jam through a Fender Blues Jr. (15 watt tube amp) and pay super close attention to details like vibrato, slides, picking attack and intensity, and the like. Jeff showed me, as he filled the concert grounds with the magnificent sound of his soul, that...if you think it sounds good, it can sound even better.

I made the grevious mistake in the past of saying to myself "I'll concentrate on tone when I can play fast." This makes about as much sense as a chef saying "I'll make the soup taste good when I can chop the food really fast."

Play fast! But make it sound like a million bucks. A student jokingly asked me yesterday if sounding like $999,999 was good enough. And my answer?


Rock on! And start paying attention to your tone TODAY. It's just awareness.

- Josh

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