Like a lot of people, I felt a bit like my world had stopped turning when my state went on lockdown this past March. I remember staring out from my Brooklyn rooftop, taking in the city that I loved but at that moment was essentially off limits to me. However one of the hardest things for me to grapple with, as I’m sure it was for many other musicians and performers, was this feeling that my art and creativity would have to be put on hold. My band War Honey went into 2020 strong. Within the first week of the year, we put out a 2-track demo that people seemed to really like and received some airplay from a college radio station in Florida. We played some shows that went as well as we could possibly hope for, including that was probably the best show I’ve played in my life (and I’ve played over a hundred at this point). We had some promising gigs coming up that we were extremely excited for, and beginning to think ahead towards booking studio space to record an EP and planning a small DIY
With its roots in the dirty, unpolished side of rock music, punk boils rock and roll down to little more than its most essential ingredient: attitude. Punk has mutated into many different sounds and subgenres, but a sneer and a healthy disrespect for oppressive authority have linked the various forms that it has taken over the years. Despite its fast tempos, punk can be one of the most beginner-friendly genres to learn to play. This piece is going to be a primer on how to play punk guitar, primarily aimed at players who don’t necessarily have too much experience playing the genre. In it, we are going to cover power chords, palm mutes, punk strumming, and riffs. The Power Chord We are going to start with power chords. Power chords are in many ways much like the chords you likely already know, but they have some key differences. The notes that make your classic open chords major or minor are removed from power chords, meaning that they don’t fall squarely i
Effect pedals (often referred to as stompboxes or, simply, pedals) are small, self-contained devices that can greatly impact the sound of your guitar or other electric instrument when you plug into them. Pedals come in a wide of effects, brands, prices, and more, and the sheer number of options available can be overwhelming, but the right pedal or set of pedals can completely transform your guitar tone. In this piece, we are going to look at the different types of pedals, explain what they do, and look at some of the better-known pedals on the market. There are many more types of pedals than the ones we’ll be looking at in this piece, and it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list of all of the types of pedals out there. Rather, this piece is meant to function as a primer to guitarists just beginning to look at purchasing pedals. Distortion, Overdrive, and Fuzz Sometimes referred to as “dirt” pedals, distortion, overdrive, and fuzz pedals are a family of effects that make your
Practicing and playing music is good for ourselves and others. There’s a famous phrase, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned” which expresses the idea of totally missing the point in a moment of crisis. It’s based on the story of the famously depraved and ineffective Emperor playing his violin on the walls of Rome as a great fire swept the city. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, this story isn’t literally true, since violins didn’t develop for another thousand plus years. However, it is quite possible that Nero played a cithara during the fire, which was an early version of the lute–which in turn evolved into the guitar. Shakespeare referenced this in Henry IV when he wrote: …I will; and like thee, Nero, Play on the lute, beholding the towns burn. Yep, Nero blew it. Let’s not be like Nero. But…what if a healthy and positive response to living in a world that sometimes seems full of what is wrong includes a regular practice of sitting down with your guitar? In this
Students often tell me they want to learn a song exactly as it is on the album but it’s not always a good idea. As teachers, we often simplify songs to make them more accessible to beginners but that’s not the only reason to make changes. Take the song Creep by Radiohead for example. Johnny Greenwood has written a great arppegiated guitar part using a number of barre chords. The drums and bass are in from the top of the song and everything fits together. Greenwood leaves some space in his part and it’s filled in by the rhythm section. When you hit the open mic with this song you will not have Radiohead’s rhythm section with you. In fact, you probably won’t have any rhythm section right? So it makes sense to translate the song to the language of solo acoustic. I had a professor who would describe this as adapting to the culture of your instrument. There’s lots of ways to do this. One of them would be to do a classical style arrangement where every not
Would you like to be able to hear a song and know what the chords are before you even pick up your guitar? Are you interested in writing songs but don’t know where to start? Find out the most important thing you need to know about music theory in this free handout. Fill out my online form.
Musings From Parenting In Quarantine Like me, I know that you and your family are well into a reality that includes coronavirus, and probably some anxiety and uncertainty as well. For most of us, our children are in the lower risk category, which is a relief. Our society’s response is, quite properly, focused on preventing the spread of coronavirus to protect those who are at more risk, like grandparents, or those with weakened immune systems or complicating health risks. But now I’d like to invite you to contemplate another risk. NYC public schools are closed along with virtually all other New York schools, team sports, theatre programs, after school programs, and, well, almost every organized activity our kids were doing. So our kids suddenly have or may have much more free time. Question: What will happen if our kids (and us) don’t consciously plan ahead of time for this? Answer: (for many of our families) Netflix, Youtube, Snapchat, Instagra
Secret #4: Make Practice a Priority with Time Blocking Make an Appointment with Yourself to do What You Love COMING SOON! Here’s a sneak peek at all the secrets to finding the time to do what you love we’ll discuss in this 4-part series! Secret #1: Make It EASY To Practice Guitar AKA Priming Your Environment To Reduce “Activation Energy” Secret #2: Turn Practice Into A Motivating HABIT AKA Create A Practice Ritual With Habit Stacking Secret #3: To Practice More, Eliminate The Competition AKA Distraction Is Stealing Your Time. Here’s How To Take It Back. Secret #4: Make Guitar Practice A Priority With Time Blocking AKA Make An Appointment With Yourself To Do What You Love Fill out my online form.
Secret #2: Turn Practice into a Motivating Habit Create a Practice Ritual With Habit Stacking COMING SOON! Here’s a sneak peek at all the secrets to finding the time to do what you love we’ll discuss in this 4-part series! Secret #1: Make It EASY To Practice Guitar AKA Priming Your Environment To Reduce “Activation Energy” Secret #2: Turn Practice Into A Motivating HABIT AKA Create A Practice Ritual With Habit Stacking Secret #3: To Practice More, Eliminate The Competition AKA Distraction Is Stealing Your Time. Here’s How To Take It Back. Secret #4: Make Guitar Practice A Priority With Time Blocking AKA Make An Appointment With Yourself To Do What You Love Fill out my online form.