The Importance Of Strap Locks

I have to tell you the story of my beautiful Surf Green, Jeff Beck Signature Fender Stratocaster. My Jeff Beck Signature Strat was the perfect storm of all the right fender parts coming together in one guitar. I have the 1998 model with the double single coil lace sensor setup in the bridge position and the single lace sensors in the middle and the neck positions. I loved the Lace Sensor Pickups and the LSR roller nut. The neck was a little fat but I got used to it quickly and it’s very comfortable and comparable to my Les Paul Custom.    Continue reading “The Importance Of Strap Locks”

Musician’s Friend Stupid Deal Of The Day

   Let’s face it, music is a business. We have to cut costs just like any other business out there. We all need tools and we want the best tools at the best prices. That’s why it makes sense to bargain hunt. Musician’s Friend has a great promotion every day called the Musician’s Friend Stupid Deal Of The Day.
Musician's Friend Stupid Deal of the Day

I suggest clicking it every day just to see what they’re offering. Sometimes the deals are so good you can buy from it Musician’s Friend, then re-sell it eBay and make a couple bucks profit. I hope you get some value out of this promotion. I know I have and I check it regularly.

The Best Guitar Strings; Dean Markley Blue Steel Strings

The best guitar strings I have used with my collection of electric guitars are Dean Markley Blue Steel strings.

Regular Electric Guitar Strings
Dean Markley Blue Steel Strings

   I’m a Musician and can play a large variety of musical instruments. People always ask me “What instrument do you play?” and rather than explain how many instruments I can play and risk looking like a egotistical fool I just tell them “The Guitar”. The guitar really is my best instrument. I love it the most and I play it better than any other instrument I can play. Even though I’ve played in bands on keyboards, bass and various horns I am a guitar player.      Continue reading “The Best Guitar Strings; Dean Markley Blue Steel Strings”

The Best Vocal Mic (for the money) Shure Beta 58A

The Shure Beta 58A is the perfect combination of quality, value and performance in a vocal microphone.

    I’m the lead guitarist in my band. I also sing. I sing lead on a lot of the songs and I sing backup on most of the rest. It doesn’t matter what instrument you play, being able to sing is going to increase your value exponentially.    Continue reading “The Best Vocal Mic (for the money) Shure Beta 58A”

Rock Band – The Video Game

As musicians, we’ve all heard the same word repeated over and over our entire carreer…Practice! I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned, if you love to practice you’re probably not playing out very much. I personally don’t love to practice. I love it when I have a brand new instrument or when I’m learning a new instrument but that newness wears off quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I practice regularly and so should you. But don’t you like to practice when you’re having a lot of fun at the same time?
I have to tell you that the new game Rock Band by Harmonix has had a profound effect on my singing. I knew the game would be fun, whacking away on a toy guitar controller and pounding on electronic drum pads but I didn’t give the singing a second thought. When we got the game, I found the singing portion to be easy and fun. The game detects when you sing in tune, sing on the beat and say the correct phrases. Then you get scored on those abilities and if you suck too badly, you kill off your whole show. I have to admit, that’s real world when it comes to bad singing. People don’t stay at your shows very long when you have a bad singer.
Since I’ve been playing Rock Band it’s helped my singing several ways and I’ve noticed it when I’ve played gigs. These are the ways it’s helped me the most in terms of singing:

  1. I sing a lot more in tune now.
  2. I have tons of stamina and can sing a whole show without losing my voice.
  3. It’s helped my timing with getting the words into the rythmic groove with the rest of the band.
  4. I can hit high notes a lot easier now.
  5. I can hold notes out longer and keep them in tune.

That’s just how Rock Band has helped me with my singing. It helps on the other instruments as well although not as radically. The next instrument it helps the most with after singing is drums. It doesn’t help you with technique such as the proper way to hold sticks or the proper striking technique. It does really help with hand and foot coordination. In fact, it radically helps with that. It also helps you keep a steady beat. If you’re not steady, the band gets booed off the stage. Again, true to life.
On guitar, Rock Band helps primarily with rhythm and a little bit with finger coordination. You probably get the least real-world benefit from playing guitar in Rock Band.
On all instruments, it helps you as a musician to follow a chain of notes or phrases that you must complete on the beat to be able to continue playing. This does somewhat translate into reading music notation even though you don’t have to read the entire musical staff. It does help you keep your eye on the page while playing without looking at your hands all the time.
So I’m recommending Rock Band for all of those reasons. It really is a good purchase for a musician. Is it the same as playing in a real band? Kind of, but not nearly as fulfilling as a crowded room of people going crazy over a killer performance that you really played. Does it help your live playing? YES IT DOES! So get it, I put some links in this post so you can find the game easily. Have fun!

What music should my band play?

   Ahhh, the question that has made or broken many a band. What music should we play? Well, I’m going to tell you right now that Dance music has made me more money than any other kind. I’m a rock guitar player and I sing lead quite often as well. I love Rock-N-Roll. That’s my music. Especially the hard stuff like AC\DC, Led Zepplin, Dream Theater and The Who. But it’s hard to get people on the dance floor playing that type of music. I still play Won’t Get Fooled again by The Who, but mainly at the beginning of the night or during encores.    Continue reading “What music should my band play?”

Fun and Easy Practice

   As musicians, we’ve all heard the same word repeated over and over our entire carreer…Practice! I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned, if you love to practice you’re probably not playing out very much. I personally don’t love to practice. I love it when I have a brand new instrument or when I’m learning a new instrument but that newness wears off quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I practice regularly and so should you. But don’t you like to practice when you’re having a lot of fun at the same time?      Continue reading “Fun and Easy Practice”

Song Selection

   “I know what music I like, and I’m going to play it!”.

Man, if I had a dime for every time a band member said that to me I’d be rich. We all have our favorite music and we’re all partial to it. But is that what you need to play to keep an audience happy? Well, it really depends on where you’re playing.

  If you’re playing in a dance club, you sure better be playing music that the audience can dance to. If you don’t, you’ll hear about it and it usually won’t be kind.

  In the Song Selection category, I’ll be discussing how to choose music to suit your audience. There are a lot of tools out there and a lot of reference material you can use to increase your chance of playing music that people are going to get out of their chairs for. Check back often, as I’ll review song collections and make suggestions as to what CD’s should be in your collection.


Equipment

  One of the biggest hurdles to playing a live concert is equipment. Sure you may have a guitar and an amp, but what if it’s not powerful enough to fill the room you’re playing in? It may sound great in your garage but will it fill up a room that can hold 300 people? You’re going to need some way to run it through the P.A. System. The same goes for drums, keyboards and singers.

  In the Equipment section I will be looking at various pieces of gear that are essential to playing live. I’ll discuss their uses and great ways to get the absolute most out of what you have. I’ll discuss some equipment that you can pick up that won’t kill your budget too.