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alternate (Tunings) Universe


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CONTENTS 5 A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER The sparkle of your china & a fable to consider

6 AUDIO CHRONICLES WITH JEFF BECK

Exclusive audio interview with Andy Aledort

12 WORKING HARD AND HARDLY WORKING An interview with Shane Theriot and his perspective on the demands of today’s gigging guitarist

18 TONE QUEST

AccuGroove’s Marc Cooper addresses the ultimate quest

24 THAT BOY CAN PLAY

Nashville transplant Corey Congilio plays the blues like nobody’s business

AUDIO CHRONICLES WITH JEFF BECK Hear Andy’s conversation with Jeff on Clapton, Hendrix and more

30 LESSON: BREAKING DOWN THE BLUES Kelly Richey makes the pentatonic scales easy

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34 LESSON: MONSTER-METRONOME

PICKING

Scott Allen tries to convince us that the metronome is simply misunderstood

38 LESSON: PICKING AND FINGER

CONTROL

The fingerboard master, Frank Vignola, shares his pre-performance workout

TONE QUEST

AccuGroove’s Marc Cooper shares his journey on the quest for tone

42 LESSON: SPANISH ROMANCE

THAT BOY CAN PLAY 18

Corey Congilio talks shop, the blues and the music biz

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Classic repertoire piece is demonstrated, notated and explained by Jamie Andreas

46 LESSON: INTERVALLIC PLAYING

Creative ways to use the 4th and 5th by Maurice Arenas

50 THE VOICE WITHIN

Andy Timmons’ approach to the guitar, music and happiness

FRANK VIGNOLA’S WARM-UP REGIME

The master reveals the exercise that he uses to warm-up for a performance or efficient practice session

56 UNBOXING THE MUSIC BUSINESS

UNBOXING THE MUSIC BUSINESS 38

Robert Williams and 10 Guiding Principles for Young Artists

Robert Williams and 10 guiding principles for young artists

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62 CATHY FINK & MARCY MARXER:

YIN & YANG

An interview with the Grammy-winning duo SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CATHY FINK & MARCY MARXER: YIN & YANG

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Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer share history, music and love of Americana

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TONY SMOTHERMAN: FERRARI DREAMS

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THE ROAD: FRANK VIGNOLA AND JAN KNUTSON

An interview with World music rocker and educator

Profiles of students in their journey to master their instrument

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STUDIOWIRE: TOP 3 GEAR INVESTMENTS FOR MAXIMUM SONIC EXPERIENCE

Part 3 of a three part series on home studio recording

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GEEK SPEAK

Expand your vocabulary with guitar terminology

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TONY SMOTHERMAN: FERRARI DREAMS

Rock n’ roll dreams, one goal at a time

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SIX-STRING AFICIONADO: STUDENT SPOTLIGHT A spotlight on TrueFire student Sam Papas

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RIFF JOURNAL ARTIST DIRECTORY

Full listing and interactive links from the featured artists and educators

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RIFFAGE: FEATURED ALBUM COMPILATION

Get your FREE download of featured music from Riff artists

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CLOSING SNAPSHOTS

Photos from backstage, behind-the-scenes and on the road

STUDIOWIRE: TOP 3 GEAR INVESTMENTS FOR MAXIMUM SONIC EXPERIENCE Last installment in the series

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CONTRIBUTORS

RIFF BAND

“And, in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” - Paul McCartney

Meet the Riff Band. We can’t wait to present our edition to you and share our passion with readers each quarter. In the meantime, shout out to us anytime online with feedback, questions and tasty tidbits. riffjournal@truefire.com

@riffjournal

ALISON HASBACH Editor-in-Chief

Ali (a.k.a. prioress of the ‘Fire) is a founding partner and chief shooting & branding officer who likewise holds a M.B.A. (master of brewing administration) in Coffee Imbibement. She is fanatical about all things artistic (especially TrueFire Artists).

BRAD WENDKOS Publisher

Born in a cross-fire hurricane to itinerant Appalachian mountain people and then sold for a barrel of gunpowder to a wandering clan of Eastern European gypsies, Brad (thankfully) found his way home at TrueFire.

TOMMY JAMIN

Studio Department Editor

Tommy Jamin is a graduate of the Recording Arts program at Full Sail University and has been crafting top-quality video and audio content as a professional digital media producer over the last 14 years. In addition to being Director of Production at TrueFire, he’s also a singersongwriter, production gear & tech enthusiast and family man.

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

facebook.com/riffjournal

AMBER ROPELIS

Creative Director Amber is a easy going pixel crafter with a flair for all things typographical and music related. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design & Digital Media from the University of North Florida and has cozied into her niche as Creative Director here at TrueFire.

JEFF SCHEETZ

Educational Department Editor

Jeff is the Director of Education at TrueFire, has released 8 music CDs, and 6 video instruction courses. He’s been a teacher for over 30 years and brings his own method and style to students from around the world. He has written guitar columns for many magazines and conducted workshops and clinics throughout the US, Europe and Mexico.

ZACH WENDKOS

Technology Department Editor

Zach holds a real M.B.A. and scavenges the planet for the latest and greatest in online marketing and technology applications. He leads the charge in honing the student online experience at TrueFire and dreaming up the new and cool.


A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER Photo by: Alison Hasbach

O

nce upon a time, the Bodhisattva (aka the Buddha in a previous life, on his path to enlightenment) lived as a lion in the woods near the Western Ocean. Nearby, in a grove of palms and bilva trees, a hare enjoyed his lunch under the shade of the trees. Contemplating his life as he digested his meal, the hare had a frightening thought, “If the earth should be destroyed, what would become of me?” No sooner had the thought struck him, then a ripe bilva fruit crashed to the ground behind him making a thunderous thump. The hare jumped to his feet convinced that the earth was ending, he ran in a panic towards what would be a sure death in the sea. As he ran for his life, other animals asked the hare why he was running. “The earth is breaking up,” he screamed. The fear was infectious. All of the other hares, elephants, tigers, boars, deer, elk, rhinoceros and oxen also took flight behind the hare. Learning of this terrified stampede and the cause for it, the Bodhisattva (with his speed as a lion) raced to the head of the herd, and roared three times. Startled by his mighty voice, the animals stopped in their tracks and huddled together. The Bodhisattva quelled the hysteria by explaining what had actually happened and with that, all of the animals returned to their normal routines. If it weren’t for the wisdom and compassion of the Bodhisattva, the animals would have let unfounded fears and rumors lead them to perish in the sea.

The music business could use the Bodhisattva right about now. Everywhere you turn there’s another article chronicling the perils of being a musician. Many musicians themselves perpetuate the fear by complaining about low record sales, gigs drying up, and the general lack of opportunity to make a decent living as a professional player. I’m no Bodhisattva, far from it indeed. But I am fortunate to be surrounded by professional musicians, who rather than whine about the changing landscape, adapt to it and make things happen for themselves. They inspire me and they are living proof that the music business is very much alive and well. This issue of RIFF is filled with their stories, their insight, and their sound advice. Bodhisattva Would you take me by the hand Can you show me The shine of your Japan The sparkle of your China This RIFF’s for you.

Brad Wendkos || Head Smoke Jumper RIFF 5


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Photos by Alison Hasbach

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Legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck is many things: an iconoclast, innovator, trailblazer, pioneer, musical genius, one-of-a-kind daring adventurer, a challenger, rule-breaker, envelope-pusher, simply brilliant musical force, as well as one of the most influential guitarists in musical history. In an incredible career than has covered more than a half century, Jeff Beck’s worldwide stature as one of the absolute greatest guitarists is carved in stone. Geoffrey Arnold Beck was born June 24, 1944 in Wallington, England, was first inspired to play at the age of six when he heard Les Paul’s 1951 recording of “How High the Moon,” which featured — along with Les’ incredible playing — many of his innovative recording techniques. By the late fifties, Jeff’s musical fascination led him to attempt building his own guitar so that he could play along to the recordings of his favorite players, such as Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps’ guitarist Cliff Gallup and blues legend B.B. King. By the early sixties, his interests expanded to the soul/R&B sounds of Steve Cropper and the futuristic blues soloing of Buddy Guy. Jeff joined his first band in 1963 at the age of 19, a Chiswick group called the Tridents, with whom he was given free-reign to develop his electrifying, no-holds-barred style within the realm of blues and R&B. Then in March of 1965, he was called on to replace England’s leading axeman Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds, with whom Beck would immediately cut a distinct profile via his cutting edge guitar work on seminal classics such as, “Over Under Sideways Down,” “Heart Full of Soul” and “Train Kept A’Rollin’,” among many others. In this accompanying audio interview, conducted following Beck’s 2010 tour opening for and performing with Eric Clapton, Jeff discusses candidly such topics as the complexity of his relationship with Clapton, the elements that contribute to his wide-ranging signature style, his experience as a member of the Yardbirds, the emergence of the Jeff Beck Group, the ground-breaking London scene in 1966 and his close friendship with Jimi Hendrix. The interview begins with Jeff revealing the nature of his past and present relationship with Eric Clapton…

Full Exclusive Audio Interview

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DIALING IN JEFF’S TECHNIQUE With Andy Aledort

1: One of the signature elements in Jeff’s early soloing style is the use of unison bends and heavily vibrato-ed unison bends, heard gloriously on tracks such as “Rock my Plimsoul” and “Blues Deluxe” from Truth. In my Progressive Blues Power course, I demonstrate how to incorporate unison bends into soloing phrases and ideas over many different grooves as well as in different keys. 2: On tracks as early as Truth’s “Let Me Love You” and as recent as Who Else!’s “Brush With the Blues,” Beck demonstrates his ability to move seamlessly from slow, deliberate phrases to fast “cramming” licks built from blazing clusters of notes. In my Slow Blues Power course, I offer many examples of how to start with a simple melodic phrase and develop it into more complex and technically challenging improvised ideas.

WANT MORE? VIEW ANDY’S COURSES ON TRUEFIRE

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INTERVIEW EXCERPTS Jeff: “I was almost subservient to [Eric] when I joined the Yardbirds because he was such a big face here. But when I developed my own wacky style on the Yardbird albums, I didn’t feel that I was encroaching in any way on his patch at all, and never again since then, too.” Jeff: “When George Martin came along [and produced Beck’s innovative Blow by Blow and Wired albums], he gave me the confidence to play on an instrumental album, which absolutely cleared me from any kind of direct challenge from Eric — or anyone else from that point — in terms of clashing styles. And yet I think Eric wanted to be “the guy” associated with the guitar, which he subsequently became. You stop anybody on any street around the world and they all know who Eric Clapton is. They don’t know who I am [laughs], but we’re gonna change that, aren’t we?”

Jeff: “The shockwave for me [in 1966] was Hendrix first. That was the major thing that shook everybody up over here. Even though we’d all established ourselves as fairly safe in the guitar field, he came along and reset all of the rules…in one evening!” Jeff: “The initial thing that broke [The Jeff Beck Group] in the States in no small way was the gig opening for the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East [on June 14, 1968]. We then had to go “down market” and play six nights straight at the Scene Club, and Jimi came to sit in the last five nights in a row. Around about the halfway mark, he’d come from whatever recording he’d been doing, and the buzz was incredible. The place was always packed anyway, but when he came they’d be standing on each other’s shoulders. He sometimes showed up without a guitar so he turned one of my guitars upside down and played it, and I actually played bass at one point. I’ve got a photograph of that—thank god!”

Written by Andy Aledort

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*

HIDDEN HISTORY The helmet on the jukebox in this photo of Shane belonged to Professor Longhair, born Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd (December 19, 1918 – January 30, 1980), the famous New Orleans pianist and singer. It has “Byrd” stenciled on it and it resides in the collection of Leslie Smith, daughter of the New Orleans photographer and Jazz Archivist Michael Smith who was friends with Professor “Fess” Longhair throughout his life.

Photo courtesy of Greg Vorobiov

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WORKING HARD Shane Theriot

AND HARDLY WORKING by jeff scheetz

RIFF

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G

LIV

FRES

Whether you’re looking for a great software engineering job or a cushy job with a law firm, it’s not always easy finding work you love. Good work is hard to find. It’s no different in the musical world. We all know that guitar player who is always looking for a gig, or maybe “almost” getting a great gig, but most of the time “unemployed.” Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum…there’s Shane Theriot. Granted, Shane has been doing it for awhile. He says “I clearly remember watching a Beatles documentary when I was about 9 years old and that night I asked my parents for a guitar. I was originally a drummer and played trumpet back then, but once I got the guitar it was over. I’ve been pretty serious about it since I was 11 years old.” But we all know that time alone doesn’t make you great at your craft. Shane put in the time and excelled, graduating from GIT and moving into a teaching position there after none other than Scott Henderson recommended him. After that gig, it was on to playing for 8 years with the Neville Brothers. He continued to hone his playing as he became proficient in both studio and live settings. Shane says “I’ve always

thought that one sharpens the other. To me the studio gigs keep your playing precise and consistent, but the live gigs are what keep your ideas fresh and spontaneous. My favorite players are the guys that can straddle the fence in both worlds.” Shane has been on both sides of that fence. “I recently did a 6-day recording session with Rickie Lee Jones and though they weren’t the easiest sessions I’ve ever done, it’s nice when you work with an artist that has a real vision rather than just going in and banging out as many songs as you can do in 4 hours. She’s a real artist. But I enjoy playing live gigs too. Right now I’m fortunate enough to be in a band with an unbelievable catalog of songs that you don’t get tired of playing each night (with Daryl Hall and John Oates) and that makes it enjoyable.” Over the years Shane has enjoyed gig after gig that would make most other players envious. I asked him what advice would he give another player looking to score some sweet sideman gigs. “In order to be a good sideman you have to be able to play well, but that’s a given, there are a lot of great players out there nowadays. I would say that attitude is really what separates the guys that get a lot of work from the ones who maybe don’t get a lot of calls. No one wants to be on the road with someone that is a downer all the time. You have to be easy to get along with. It’s the same in the studio. You have to know when to offer a suggestion, but also when you should keep your mouth shut. Some people just can’t do this and I’ve seen it happen even with great players.” Any other things you would tell a player to work on? “Work on your sound and tone. Make sure your time

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VE SESSIONS

SH AND SPONTANEOUS

WANT MORE? VIEW SHANE’S COURSES ON TRUEFIRE Shane on the Set of LFDH with duo Johnny Swim (Photo courtesy of ianjphoto.com)

“I would say that attitude is really what separates the guys that get a lot of work from the ones who maybe don’t get a lot of calls. No one wants to be on the road with someone that is a downer all the time. You have to be easy to get along with. “


“We don’t do each song to death and beat the spontaneity out of it.”

Shane on the Set of LFDH with Gavin Degraw (Photo courtesy of ianjphoto.com)

is together, that you have a good feel and can play in time and in tune. Try and get the best sounds you can out of what you have and know your gear inside and out. Experiment with different styles and instruments. If you want to tour and go on the road as a sideman, you will be at an advantage if you can sing backup vocals. Take some vocal lessons, they will payoff someday. Learn how to read music or at least basic chord charts. Be confident and professional. Particularly in ultra-competitive towns like L.A. and N.Y.C. you have to learn to walk into any situation and be ready. And if you have all of that stuff down, which a lot of guys do, then it simply comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Just make yourself available and meet everyone you can.” One of the coolest gigs a musician could have is being the guitarist and musical director for “Live from Daryl’s House.” With all of the amazing guests they have, it keeps Shane on his toes. “Shooting an episode is anything but laid back for me… haha. It’s a full day of running through tunes with the band and correcting arrangements, keys etc. Once the guest artist shows up though, it’s a lot of fun. Then it gets a bit more laid back. We don’t do each song to death and beat the spontaneity out of it. Daryl likes to keep everything down to 1st or 2nd takes so what you see and hear is pretty much what went down that day, if there is a mistake here and there, so be it.” All this time touring and gigging as a sideman has led to many epic jams. I asked Shane if there was anyone who he’s played with that makes him really smile. “Oh man there’s lots of players! Scott Henderson from way back, he was super intense especially since I was 20 years old at the time, but I learned so much from playing with him. Warren DeMartini from Ratt is another. Trading licks with Willie Nelson, that was fun and I was smiling inside. Dweezil Zappa

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Shane on the Set of LFDH with Billy Gibbons (Photo courtesy of ianjphoto.com)

and I finally met last year at a guitar festival that we were both teaching at and we had a good time playing together. Larry Carlton has that tone and command of phrasing that will grab you; it was fun working with him. I love playing with Mike and Leni Stern. They’ve been friends of mine for years. Now that I’m in NYC a lot, I go to their apartment about once a week and we all sit around and just play each other’s tunes. John Scofield has always been one of my favorites too.” Shane is not only a smokin’ guitarist, but in 2015 he won a Grammy… as a producer for the JoEl Sonnier record. “We worked really hard on that record and it was nice to be recognized, Jo-El really did deserve it. I get asked now and then to produce records and it’s something that I’ve enjoyed.”

“I’ve always thought that one sharpens the other. To me the studio gigs keep your playing precise and consistent, but the live gigs are what keep your ideas fresh and spontaneous...”

Is there any slowing down for Shane in the future? No, that is not how someone who always has a cool gig rolls. They are in demand and keep busy. Besides working on more “Daryl’s House” shows, Shane has some new music of his own in the works. “I’ve been writing a lot of music for my next record. I think I have some strong tunes and I’m looking forward to getting into the studio with some new musicians and doing some live shows with my own band. That’s really my priority for the rare free moments I have to work on my own music at the moment.” Trying to find those free moments is tough when you are the guy who always has the great gig. With Shane’s knack for being a great team player, and just a great player, those free moments will most likely always be at a premium. www.shanetheriot.com

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TONE

QUEST BY MARC COOPER SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


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“ONE UNIFYING ASPECT OF ALL GREAT MUSICIANS, REGARDLESS OF GENRE, IS THEIR SONIC TONE. IT’S DRIVEN SOME MUSICIANS TO DRINK, AND OTHERS TO NEAR INSANITY SEARCHING FOR IT. “

Photos courtesy of Marc Cooper

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Throughout my music career, I have always been on some quest for better tone. Even in my earliest stages of my musical development on guitar, I was in explicitly drawn to musicians over entertainers, and particularly those that sounded incredible.

o

Players such as Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Jan Hammer, Larry Carlton, (and countless others) made a huge impression on me, as I was formulating my ideas of what drew me to music over other arts. ne unifying aspect of all great musicians, regardless of genre, is their sonic tone. It’s driven some musicians to drink, and others to near insanity searching for it. While some seem to always have this dissatisfaction regarding their tone, it made such an impression on me that it constantly drove me to look for the next big thing such as a more expressive amp, wilder effects pedals, another guitar, ad nauseum. I suppose for some musicians, they will always be on that quest and nothing will ever be good enough. So be it. Over the years I have been asked by many music companies to have me consult for them to help create, or refine amps, guitars or pedals and thatʼs taken me all over the globe to over 65 countries. Manufacturers (like players) everywhere are drawn to find great tone, sometimes they find it going down their own path creating unorthodox instruments and unusual effects (the Ebow was one of those great and unusual creations). My journey took me down a road where, a few years ago, I tried out an Axe FX Ultra and it was the first time I heard a modeling guitar preamp actually show promise. When the Axe FX II arrived that changed everything for me, I was able to dig in and start to find tones that I heard in my head, but hadnʼt yet found on my instrument. In my quest for sonic bliss, it quickly became

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Photos Courtesy of Marc Cooper

obvious that the cabinet was going to be an equally important part of the equation. I met tone guru Mark Wright in 2009, president of AccuGroove, creating bass cabs that “were just like studio monitors, but on steroids.” Being a road warrior, studio owner and session player himself, they piqued my interest. I asked whether he could create a guitar cab, and he responded with a resounding “Yes!” When I first heard the Full Range-Flat Response cabinets (36Hz - 18KHz), I was amazed at the clarity. Mark shared some perspective, “We all know that a luthier building a custom bass can change the tone and playability by opting for a different bridge, preamp, pickups, pickup placement, frets, neck (bolt-on or neck-through), body wood, strings, etc. In the same way, there are at least 31+ different physical parameters, component materials and Thiele/Small parameters that make up the characteristics of a speaker driver. A few examples are power handling, frequency response, impedance, Xmax (maximum linear excursion) and SPL (sensitivity). An array of building materials can be used for the voice coil, magnet basket, type of cone edge, etc. Change any one of these and youʼve just changed the tone of the driver and the cabinet.” I continued touring with my cabs that Mark had built for me, and everywhere I travelled, musicians were commenting positively about the tone of my cabs. In 2013 it eventually became a logical choice joining forces with Jim Sletner and its founder to create AccuGroove LLC and broadening the line to include guitar cabs, both traditional guitar cabs and the FRFR cabs, along with the bass line of cabs that AccuGroove had become well known for.

“THERE ARE AT LEAST 31+ DIFFERENT PHYSICAL PARAMETERS, COMPONENT MATERIALS AND THIELE/SMALL PARAMETERS THAT MAKE UP THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A SPEAKER DRIVER.”

As I continue to tour the globe and spread the word about AccuGroove, I’m also educating players to expand their minds as they search for THEIR own tone. I’ll leave you with this Billy Holiday quote. She said it very well: “You can’t copy anybody and end with anything. If you copy, it means you’re working without any real feeling. No two people on earth are alike, and it’s got to be that way in music or it isn’t music.” Hear, hear Billy…we’ll keep questing for our own tone!

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SPECS & SOUND accugroovellc.com

ACCUGROOVE 3-WAY ESPRESSO WEDGE CAB SPECS:

1 - 12” custom lightweight neo-woofer with die-cast aluminum frame 1 - 6” mid range 2 - soft textile dome tweeters with circuit breaker protection 2 - speakons/1/4” combo Jacks Freq. Re. & SPL: 39 Hz - 18 kHz (36 Hz@-6db) 100 dB SPL Dimensions: 23 ½” W x 18” H x 16 1/8”D Weight: 29.8 lbs Power Rating: 400 watts RMS @ 8 Ohms

ACCUGROOVE 3-WAY LATTE CAB SPECS:

ACCUGROOVE 4 WAY EL WHAPPO CAB SPECS:

1 - 15” custom die-cast aluminum neo sub-woofer 1 - 12” Custom die-cast aluminum neo mid-woofer 1 - 6” mid range 2 - soft textile dome neo tweeters with circuit breaker protection 2 - speakons/1/4” combo jacks and removable 2.5” pop-in casters Freq. Re. & SPL: 35 Hz - 18 kHz (29 Hz@-6db) 102 dB SPL Dimensions: 32 ¼ H x 24 ¾ W x 18 ¼D Weight: 58 lbs. Power Rating: 800 watts RMS @ 4 Ohms

1 - 12” custom lightweight neo-woofer with die-cast aluminum frame 1 - 6” mid range 2 - soft textile dome tweeters with circuit breaker protection 2 - speakons/1/4” combo jacks Freq. Re. & SPL: 39 Hz - 18 kHz (36 Hz@-6db) 100 dB SPL Dimensions: 16 ½” W x 21 ¼” H x 17 ¼”D Weight: 31.4 lbs Power Rating: 400 watts RMS @ 8 Ohms

Watch (and hear) Marc play on his AccuGroove

Written by Marc Cooper AccuGroove, LLC RIFF

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Photos by Alison Hasbach

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H Irons

in the

Anyone working with TrueFire’s blues courses is likely also very familiar with Corey Congilio. His playing is impeccable and soulful. His teaching skills are absolutely top notch. And his courses sell like hot cakes on a Sunday afternoon. How we began collaborating on blues courses is a bit of a funny story. We had worked with Corey for almost two years before we had any idea that he played electric guitar, let alone had such blues prowess. Our first projects together were acoustic demonstrations that we were producing for Fishman. Corey was one of Fishman’s top clinicians and they sent him down to us to film instructionals for their new acoustic pedal products. Besides his mastery of the blues, Corey is also an exceptional singer-songwriter and producer. We established a mutual respect during the Fishman sessions and we had planned on doing an online classroom or new course for singer-songwriters. During a visit to TrueFire, Corey was invited to a local blues jam by Red, a long-time friend of the ‘Fire and very talented local blues singer and guitar player. Corey asked to borrow a guitar and I drove him down to the jam, but couldn’t stay myself. I remember thinking as I drove away, “Poor Corey, he’s going to get eaten alive at this jam.” OK, I was chuckling a bit too, but admired Corey for having the guts to participate. Red called me the next day to say that Corey had

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fire

blown the roof off the place and that everybody wanted to know who this new guy was. What?! I called Corey to ask him about it and he very nonchalantly replied, “Oh yea, I’ve played blues for many years.” He gave me a few video links to check out and I was totally blown away. That boy can play the guitar like nobody’s business! You know the rest of the story — six chart-topping, highly acclaimed TrueFire blues courses later, Corey is now one of our lead blues instructors with a very avid fan base of students. What you might not know about Corey is that he’s also a gleaming example of a musician who, rather than whine about how awful the music business is, goes out there and makes things happen for himself. Corey was born and raised in a small town in western New Jersey called Phillipsburg. It’s about an hour and a half from New York City and about 20 minutes east of the Martin guitar factory (a company he would later work for as a clinician). Corey recalls, “My father and three uncles all played either guitar or bass. I grew up watching them all play and I wanted to be a part of it. I actually played saxophone first from about 3rd grade to about 8th grade, and then started playing guitar in the 8th grade. I took to it like a duck to water. At that age you’re looking to find yourself — I found myself through the guitar.”


“The best advice I could give to anybody seriously considering a career as a professional musicians is to learn as much as you can about all aspects of the music business and get as many irons in the fire as possible. It’s not just about how well you play. Take business courses. Learn how to engineer and produce. Teach privately. Work as a clinician. Immerse yourself in the business, be persistent and behave professionally — you will ultimately find your way! RIFF

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() Corey was one of those kids we all knew back in school that got real good on guitar, real fast. His parents recognized his passion for music and encouraged him to pursue his dream of becoming a professional musician. He learned how to earn as a guitar player very early on, and made good money gigging, teaching and selling gear at the local music store. Corey enrolled in the Art Institute of Pittsburgh to study audio engineering and gigged as often as possible to pay the rent and his tuitions. Over the course of the ten years he lived in Pittsburgh, Corey earned the respect of the local music community and played in a wide variety of bands, across a wide range of styles including a gig with a top blues band on the Memphis circuit led by Barbara Blue. He supplemented his income producing other artists, teaching students and freelancing as a clinician with top music manufacturers. Corey moved to Nashville in early 2014. As you might imagine, Nashville is chockfull of very talented musicians and competition for work is fierce. Corey wasted no time networking, auditioning and earning the respect of the Nashville music community, just like he did in Pittsburgh. His first big gig was playing guitar with Laura Balbundy who was signed to BMG (and is also an actress on the show Anger Management with Charlie Sheen). He’s currently touring with Columbia modern country recording artist Steven Lee Olsen. I asked Corey to share his thoughts about what it takes to making a living today as a musician. “The best advice I could give to anybody seriously considering a career as a professional musicians is to learn as much as you can about all aspects of the music business and get as many irons in the fire as possible. It’s not just about how well you play. Take business courses. Learn how to engineer and produce. Teach privately. Work as a clinician. Immerse yourself in the business, be persistent and behave professionally — you will ultimately find your way! Corey practices what he preaches. Anyone whose worked with Corey will attest to the conviction, diligence and professionalism that he brings to any project he undertakes, big or small. And on top of all that…the boy can play that guitar like nobody’s business. www.coreycongilio.com

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RIFF

WANT MORE? VIEW COREY’S COURSES ON TRUEFIRE

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - BEGINNER

BLUES

PRACTICE TIPS

PENTATONIC

SCALES

BREAKING DOWN THE BLUES: PENTATONIC SCALES MADE EASY by Kelly Richey

Pentatonic scales are the foundation for blues and blues-rock guitar soloing. Most people break the pentatonic scales into five separate patterns, but I like to break them down into two basic patterns that expand. The expanded patterns cover the entire neck of the guitar and allow you to play using your 1st and 3rd fingers for maximum power and mobility. Throughout my years of teaching, I’ve found this system to be the fastest and most effective method for developing a “roadmap” for playing lead guitar. A pentatonic scale is a 5-note scale (penta) with its name coming from the root (tonic). Here is an example of a root 6 and root 5 minor pentatonic scale in its basic form:

BLUES SCALE OR ROOT 6 AND ROOT 5 MINOR PENTATONIC *Red note = Root, Numbers = Fingering

Root 5 Minor Pentatonic

Root 6 Minor Pentatonic

1

4

1

4

4

2

1

3

1

3

1

3

1

3

1

3

1

4

1

4

1

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

4

1

4

SOLOING


Here is an example of a root 6 and root 5 minor pentatonic scale in its expanded form:

ROOT 6 MINOR PENTATONIC 1

4

1

4

1

3

1

3

1

3

1

4

Expanded Use 1st and 3rd fingers ONLY!

ROOT 5 MINOR PENTATONIC 4

1 2

4

1

3

1

3

1

4

1

4

Expanded Use 1st and 3rd fingers ONLY!

RIFF

31


Minor pentatonic scales work well with blues and blues-rock music because they consist of the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of the scale, which musically supports a 1, 4, 5 chord progression, which is the most common chord progression used in blues and blues-based rock. The pentatonic also has a minor 3rd and a b7, supporting two common sounds found in blues music. In order to turn my pentatonic “roadmap” into something useful for guitar solos, you must be able to play the scales with fluidity and precision. Start by learning my pentatonic roadmap in its basic form and once you’ve mastered that, begin playing it in its expanded form using your 1st and 3rd fingers only. Be sure to use a metronome when practicing. Once you’ve begun to master the expanded form, begin playing it along with your favorite rhythm tracks in multiple keys. The key of E and A are two of the best keys to start with as so many classic blues and blues-rock are played in those keys. How you put the notes of a pentatonic together is how you play lead. Making the notes of any scale come to life requires playing the scale until you own it, until it’s in your DNA. Once you master playing these scales throughout the neck of your guitar, you can add various techniques such as hammer on’s, pull off’s, pinch harmonics, vibrato, and bends. Building a solid connection with your instrument is the single greatest thing you can do. Also, never underestimate the power of playing just one note; one note played with conviction can move an audience and leave them on the edge of their seats! One final suggestion: never confuse practice time with play time. A solid 30-minute practice routine 5 days per week can open the door to hours of fun playing. I always tell my students — practice to perfection and play to have fun!

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Kelly Richey Kelly Richey is a master blues guitarist who has been playing and touring worldwide for over 30 years. Richey has been a guitar instructor just about as long as she’s been playing, with over 1,000 students, to date. With near 4,000 shows under her belt, Richey is a seasoned pro, who has a solid understanding of blues and blues-based rock guitar techniques. Richey is an outgoing, deeply dedicated guitar instructor with a unique teaching style. She welcomes all students, beginner to advanced.

VIEW KELLY’S COURSE LIBRARY

RIFF

33


LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - LATE BEGINNER

METRONOME PENTATONICS

PRACTICE TIPS SOLOING

MONSTER-METRONOME PICKING by Scott Allen

When I first started out as a player, I was feeling pretty unsure of how to start. All of my heroes possessed an almost godlike precision and a fluency that I was sure I could never grasp. The key to not throwing in the towel is to take things one step at a time. Break down mechanics into smaller steps and practice until you master them before moving on to the next level. One of the things that has helped me develop my chops is the steady practice of scale sequences. Practicing sequences works on so many aspects of your playing it is incredible. You are developing visualization, fret hand finger independence, picking, left- and right-hand coordination, speed, vocabulary, and more. When it comes to developing speed and control there is no better tool to employ than the metronome. Yes, the dreaded metronome, long feared by guitar students everywhere. But much like Frankenstein’s monster, the metronome is simply misunderstood. In fact, students looking to develop speed and picking technique have never had a better friend. The key to using this beast for your improvement is to play all examples slowly in the correct rhythm and then gradually and incrementally build speed. I would recommend increasing the metronome tempo no more than 8-12 bpm for each example as you increase speed. By playing everything slowly you are burning into your fingers the proper technique that will serve you well as you progress as long as you use the exact same technique slow as you would fast. Don’t hold your breath, don’t stiffen up. These things will only serve to build tension into your playing. Let’s get on with it shall we? All of our examples today will use our good friend the box pentatonic shape in A minor. This first example is a group of 4 sequence. This is one of the most commonly used scale sequences and is a very good place to start. Notice the repetition that is going on throughout the pattern and be sure to use alternate strokes as you play. Start off by playing it through without the metronome just to get a feel for it. Then add the metronome somewhere in the range of 40-55 bpm to start.

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


16th Note Pentatonic Group of 4 Sequence Building a Monster by Scott Allen

16TH NOTE PENTATONIC GROUP OF 4 SEQUENCE

Standard tuning

Building a Monster by Scott Allen

= 120 1

2

3

4

E-Gt

5

5 8 85

5 58 58 57 57 57 7 57 7

5 5

57 57 57 57 57 7 58 8

58

5 8 5 85 8 5 7 75

5 75 75 5 7 75 75 75 7 75

5

5 7 5

7 5 8

8 5

Our next example is the pentatonic triplet sequence. This one is a favorite of David Gilmour’s among others. Again, notice the repetition and use alternate strokes as you practice. Start this one in the 50-65 bpm range.

16th Note Triplet Pentatonic Sequence Building a Monster by Scott Allen

16TH NOTE TRIPLET PENTATONIC SEQUENCE

Standard tuning

= 120

Building a Monster by Scott Allen

3 1

3

3

3

3

3

2

3

3

3

E-Gt 3 3 3

3

58 58 57 57 57 58

57 57

57 57

3

3

58 57

3 3

85 85

85 75

75

75 75

75

75 75

75 85

Last but not least, we have the pentatonic sixteenth note triplet sequence. This one is played 6 notes per beat and is a favorite of such players as Eric Johnson and Shawn Lane. While it is the least complicated sequence, it will still feel challenging because of the large number of notes played per beat. Start this one around 40 bpm.

RIFF

1/1

35


SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


Pentatonic Triplet Sequence Building a Monster by Scott Allen PENTATONIC TRIPLET SEQUENCE Building a Monster by Scott Allen

Standard tuning Standard Tuning

= 120

1

3

3

3

3

3

3

2

3

4

E-Gt 3

3

3

3

3

5 5 5 5 57 5 57 57 7 58 8

3

3

5

7 5

3

3

57

5757

5 8

58

3

3

5885 8

3

3

3

5 8

8 5

85

7

7

5 7

75 75

5 7

75

6

5 7

7 5 7 5

5 8

8 5

That is all for this lesson, and please remember that the metronome is not a monster, it is your friend!

ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Scott Allen Scott Allen is a graduate of Musicians Institute GIT, and has been a recording artist, performer, instructor and session player based out of Northern California for the past 19 years. He has released three albums of high-energy instrumental progressive hard rock including his latest album titled III. He has also appeared on several compilation albums including Mad Guitar Records, Melodic Soloists and the Vigier Guitars Compilation. His band, Scott Allen Project has opened for such notable artists as Steve Morse, Lynch Mob, Michael Schenker, and the Aristocrats to name a few.

VIEW SCOTT’S COURSE LIBRARY

RIFF

37


LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - INTERMEDIATE

PRACTICE TIPS PICKING

SPEED FINGER CONTROL

PICKING AND FINGER CONTROL by Frank Vignola

I have been performing for over 30 years, with at least 150 gigs per year. I am telling you this because just recently it came to me that the most important part of my warm up before a show are the picking exercises that I have developed and learned through the years. I sit and practice picking exercises for at least 15 minutes before a show. This warms me up, gets me tuned in to the guitar and gets me ready to play a show. To me, the most important part of playing guitar is to produce a good tone. We all tend to practice for speed. However it is rare during a set that we play using speed. Most of the playing for me is playing melodies or simple solos based on the melody of great American popular Standards. These beautiful classic songs are mostly quarter notes, half notes, whole notes and some eighth notes. Therefore, why do we spend so much time as guitar players practicing to gain speed? While it is important, it is far more important to produce good quality tone. The way to achieve this is to practice daily picking and finger control exercises. These two picking and finger control exercises are from a book of 25 picking and finger control exercises that I have developed strictly through trying to figure out the best exercises to achieve the goal of being able to play beautiful, melodic and clean melodies. These are my “go to” exercises every time I pick up the guitar. We need to practice every day. Sometimes for me it’s 3 or 4 hours of playing between practice, sound checks and performances. Other days it’s only 30 minutes. I spend at least 15 minutes per day on picking and finger control. The other time is spent playing songs and learning new songs as well as developing new exercises and ways to learn the fingerboard. I hope these exercises help and I can almost guarantee that if you practice these exercises daily your picking and finger control will improve drastically over time.

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


EXERCISE 1 Exercise #4

Play this exercise in other areas of the fingerboard.

D = Down Stroke

Play this exercise in other areas of the fingerboard

D = Down Stroke U = Up Stroke U = Up Stroke Alternate AlternatePicking PickingThroughout Throughout

Guitar

4 &4

fingering Guitar

Gtr.

T A B

Picking/Finger Control

œ #œ œ bœ œ bœ œ œ bœ œ œ # œ œ œ #œ œ bœ nœ œ œ # œ œ #œ œ

..

1 2 D U

. .

3

3 D

4

1 2 U D

3

5

3 1 U D

4

3

5

6

Gtr.

Gtr.

2 U

3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 D U D U Etc... 3 3

5

4

4

3

5

4

2 3 3 2 1 3 2 1

4

5

5

6

5

4

6

5

4

& bœ œ œ bœ œ #œ bœ œ bœ œ bœ nœ œ œ # œ œ bœ œ bœ œ #œ nœ œ #œ 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 2

Gtr.

Picking/Finger Control

5

4

6

5

4

6

5

1

4

3

6

2

1

5

1

4

2

3

3

4

5

1

2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3

3

4

5

3

4

5

3

4

5

bœ œ bœ œ œ bœ œ #œ œ œ #œ œ bœ œ œ bœ .. & œ #œ bœ œ bœ bœ œ bœ 7 1

2

3

3

4

5

1

2

3

3

2

1 3 2 1 3 2 1 3

3

4

5

6

5

4

6

5

4

6

5

4

6

2

1

5

4

3

2

1

6

5

4

3

2

1

6

5

4

. . RIFF

39

Gtr.


EXERCISE 2 Exercise #6

Play this exercise on each of the 6 strings.

D = Down Stroke Stroke UDU === Down Up Stroke Up Stroke Alternate Picking Alternate Picking Throughout Throughout

4 & 4 ..

Guitar

fingering

T A B

Guitar

Gtr. 4

&

Play this exercise on each of the 6 strings.

Picking/Finger Picking/FingerControl Control

œ #œ œ bœ œ œ œ nœ œ bœ nœ œ bœ nœ œ #œ œ œ #œ œ nœ #œ œ #œ 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 D U D U D U D U

.3 .

4

5

6

4

5

6

7

1 D

2 U

5

3 4 1 2 D U Etc...

6

7

8

6

7

3

4

1

2

3

4

1

2

3

4

8

9

7

8

9

10

8

9

10 11

œ bœ œ bœ œ nœ bœ œ

œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ bœ œ nœ bœ œ bœ

4

3

2

1

4

3

2

1

4 3

2

1

4 3 2

1

4

3

2

1

4

3

2

1

12

11

10

9

11

10

9

8

10

8

7

9

6

8

7

6

5

7

6

5

4

9

8

7

Gtr.

Gtr. 7

&

œ #œ œ bœ œ œ œ nœ œ bœ nœ œ bœ nœ œ #œ

œ œ #œ œ nœ #œ œ #œ

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

1

2

3

4

1

2

3

4

1

2

3

4

1

2

3

4

3

5

6

7

8

6

7

8

9

7

8

9

10

8

9

10

11

4

5

6

4

5

6

7

Gtr.

Gtr.

&

10

œ bœ œ bœ œ nœ bœ œ

œ bœ œ œ œ œ œ bœ œ œ bœ œ nœ bœ œ bœ

4

3

2

1

4

3

2

1

4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1

4

3

2

1

4

3

2

1

12

11

10

9

11

10

9

8

10

8

7

6

5

7

6

5

4

9

8

7

9

8

Gtr.

©FrankVignola.com

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

7

6

.. . .


ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Frank Vignola Frank Vignola is one of the most extraordinary guitarists performing before the public today. His stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops, the New York Pops, and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitarists List: for the Wall Street Journal. Vignola’s jaw-dropping technique explains why the New York Times deemed him “one of the brightest stars of the guitar.”

VIEW FRANK’S COURSE LIBRARY RIFF

41


LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - LATE INTERMEDIATE CLASSICAL FINGERSTYLE

REST STROKES

ARRANGEMENT

SPANISH ROMANCE

SPANISH ROMANCE by Jamie Andreas

This piece is well known to all guitar players, especially the classically-minded folks. You will find it in most collections of music for the classical guitar, and many guitar students have had a go at it during their training years. The piece is a three-part texture, with a bass line played by the thumb, an accompaniment in the middle, played free stroke with the index and middle fingers, and a melody on top, played rest stroke with the ring finger (called the “a” finger in classical speak). If you are new to mixing rest stroke and free strokes, I have included some powerful training techniques to develop the easy and flowing right hand action required by this piece. Of course, this skill will help you play any kind of fingerstyle music with more comfort and better sound. Even though rest strokes (playing the note and letting the finger come to rest on the next string, creating a more powerful sound and fuller tone) was developed for classical guitar, I use it all the time while playing steel string, as do many steel string players nowadays. The left hand presents some considerable challenges in this piece as well, as we are required to perform numerous shifts into bar chord shapes, while keeping the 3 musical parts intact and flowing. I give you detailed guidance on exactly how to have your fingers behave to accomplish this, showing you how to prepare right and left hand fingers before each shift, which is the secret of successful shifting of positions on guitar. At the end of the lesson, I give you instructions on how to go about systematically learning this piece, how to bring it section by section to a slow speed with accuracy, and over time, moving the whole piece up in tempo. How well you do in learning and playing this piece will of course depend on your present level of playing ability. In any case, you will find learning and playing “Spanish Romance” to be a rewarding educational and musical experience. One last note, I have played this piece for decades, and would always list the composer as “Anonymous” on concert programs. However, research in the last few years has uncovered the fact that it was actually composed by the great Spanish composer and guitarist Fernando Sor. Now we have even more reason to revere this great guitarist who did so much to develop our instrument in its infant years at the beginning of the 19th century.

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


Spanish SPANISHRomance ROMANCE

a(ring)-Rest Stroke a(ring)-Rest

m Free Stroke mi Stroke i Free Stroke i Free Stroke

m 3 i

a

        2       3       4                         4

7

3

7

0

0

3

7

0

3

7

0

0

0

0

3

1

5

0

3

0

0

3

2

3

0

0

3

3

3

3

1

2

0

0

0

3

3

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

3

0 0

0

3

1

3

0

0

0

3

1

7 0

0

0

0

3 3 3 3 3 3 3       7 6   8    5                    4

3

2

4

4

1

1

0

12

12

0

12

0

0

12

0

0

0

0

0

10 0

8

0

0

0

8

7 5

5

5

5

5

5

7

5

5

0

0

CVII

5

0

8

5

5

5

5

5

0

3 3 3 3                                        

9

7

8

7



3

3

7

7

8

3

3 10 4

7

8

11

8

7

8

7

3

8

3

3 11

7

7

3

3

8

7

7 8

7

0

3

1

5 0

12

2

3

0

0

13

3

3

3

3

3

14

3

15

3

4

2

2

2

2

Jamie Andreas

2 3

2

2 3

2

2 3 2

4

3 0

0

3 2

4

2 2

4

2

3

1

0 2

0

3

16 1.

3

0 0 2

0

2 0

0

0 0

0

0

0

                                     CII

0

0

0 0 3

0

  Fine

17       2

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

www.guitarprinciples.com

RIFF

43


2

3 3 3 3 21 3 3 3  18        19                                    3

4

3

3

3

20

3

2

4

1

1

 

 CVII

4

4

0

4

0

1

1

4

0

0

2

0

1

1

0

0

0

1

5

1

3

4

2

Hinge Bar

4

2

4

0

0

2

4

4

2

4 4

2

0

3

2

4

4 4

2

4

22                       24                     3

3

0 9

7

3

9 8

7

3

9

11

7

8

7

3

4

3

8

7

9 8

7

9

3

1

3

3

7 9

9

7 9

9

7 9

0

3

3

3

25

3

4

3

4

2

9

8

7

3

3

4

3

9

7

8

3

23

9

9

9

9

11 9

9

9

0

3 3 3 3 28 3 27 3            26 29                                      4

1

3

2

3

4

2

1

3

1

1

2

12

9

12 9

9

12

12

9

9

9

0

11

9

9

9

10 9

9

0

3

3

3

1

9

9 9

9

7

6

7 0

11

7

9 6

7

9 6

7

7 0

7 6

0 0 10

9

11

0 9

 30                                               4

3

3 31 4

3

3

4

3

4

3

32

3

3

3

33 1.

34 2.

3

4

0

2

4 4

0

4 4

0

4 4 2

0

0

2

1

2

1

5 4

0 0

2 1

0 0

0 2

2

0

0 1 2

4

0

0 1 4

0

0 1 0

0

2

 

D.C. al Fine 0

0

0

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

Jamie Andreas

www.guitarprinciples.com


Alternate Measure 27-33 ALTERNATE MEASURE 27-33 

3

3

3

3

3 3                                     4

12

1

1

12

9

9

9

12 9

9

3

2

3

3

4

2

12

9

9

0

3

11 9

9

10 9

9

9

3

3

9

7

6

9 6

7

9 6

0

0

3

1

7

9

3

5

7

5

6

5 6

5

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Need Help Learning This? ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Jamie Andreas

Join My Online Classroom:

Jamie Andreas is the author of the world acclaimed method for guitar “The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar”. Called “The Holy Grail” of guitar books, and “The International Bible Of Guitar”, the Principles has enabled thousands of students worldwide who tried and failed to learn to play guitar for years or even decades, to become real guitar players. “The Principles” is a two-time winner of Acoustic Guitar’s “Players Choice Award” in the “Guitar Instructional” category.

Effective Practice Techniques For All Styles JAMIE’S COURSE LIBRARY where your guitarVIEW playing problems get solved! RIFF

Jamie Andreas

www.guitarprinciples.com

45


LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - ADVANCED

SOLOING FUSION JAZZ

INTERVALLIC PLAYING LICKS

ROCK

INTERVALLIC PLAYING - CREATIVE WAYS OF USING 4THS AND 5THS by Maurice Arenas

One thing that has been evolving through the years recently is the application of wider intervals in lead guitar solos. This territory has been explored from fusion jazz artists like John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, and John Scofield to studio rats like Carl Verheyen, to rock instrumentalists like Eric Johnson, John Petrucci and Steve Vai. All the examples here will work nicely over an Emin7 chord (E G B D). All these lines will be utilizing 4ths and 5ths methodically in different ways.

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In the 1st example we have a very pianistic oriented way of soloing over Emin7 using quartal harmony (chords or arpeggios built on 4ths). Jazz pianists from McCoy Tyner to Chick Corea have used ideas much similar to this example in their virtuosic solos. On the electric guitar, I have heard fretboard wizard Frank Gambale utilize this concept on a good chunk of his fastest playing with his sweep picking style. The harmony in this line is modal and is climbing up systematically in E Dorian (E F# G A B C# D).

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ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Maurice Arenas Maurice Arenas is a studio musician with over 40 years of playing and over 25 years of teaching under his belt. Originally from NYC and with some time also in Long Island, he absorbed the best musical scenario for his musical tutelage in classical, jazz and modern guitar. Projects for 2015 include a self-titled album, a TrueFire course and online workshops and writing columns for TrueFire and Just Jazz Guitar Magazine.

VIEW MAURICE’S COURSE LIBRARY RIFF

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THE V

ANDY

TIMMON BY JEFF SCHEETZ

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OICE WITHIN

NS

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DANG “BUT YEAH,

I’M A ROCK GUITAR PLAYER”

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Images courtesy of Andy Timmons

I remember the first time I saw Andy Timmons live. It was at a NAMM show, at the Ibanez booth. Frank Gambale was doing a demo and asked Andy to get up and jam. Most “NAMM jams” turn into a “head-cutting” contest with players seeing who can out-shred the other guy. Frank soloed first and, of course, played searing lines, ridiculously fast economy-picking arpeggios and, in general, just churned out mind-boggling, technically crazy lick after lick. When he was done, it was Andy’s turn to play. Many of the folks gathered ‘round looked with anxious eyes and angst of “how can you top that?” I’m pretty sure nobody wanted to be in Andy’s shoes. But Andy simply turned his guitar up and laid into one of the most soulful bends you could imagine, followed by a smooth, melodic, slow building of notes that made the perfect statement. The statement wasn’t a typical NAMM show response of “hey, check me out, I am going to try and ‘out-Frank Gambale’ Frank Gambale.” Nope. It was “I’m Andy Timmons and here’s how I play.” He clearly had his own voice. That voice has led Andy to many places in his musical career. Growing up in not-yournormal-music-mecca of Indiana, what would spark this musical journey? Andy says, “It was hearing the guitar solo in the Beatle’s ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ when I was 2 or 3 years old. I didn’t really know it was a guitar solo, but it was certainly my favorite part of the song! (It was drenched in that luxurious Abbey Road reverb which explains my love for lots of echo on my tone to this day). I think I had a toy plastic guitar around the age of 4 and remember my older brothers (I have 3) showing me how to play ‘I’m Not Your Stepping Stone’ on one string. I was hooked.” That sounds reasonable, just another average American 2 year old spending their time watching the Beatles. Was that early childhood an influence on Andy’s playing? “Absolutely. In my case, my folks divorced when I was very young so my mother worked very hard to raise 4 boys. That meant working outside the home a lot, so I was alone quite a bit. My older brothers were my heroes and their musical tastes were a huge influence on me. I was born in 1963 and my oldest brother Mark was 12 at the time and bought every Beatles single, Dave Clark Five LP and lots of British Invasion. Obviously this is my foundation and still an era I’m quite fond of. I was quite shy growing up and I think the guitar became an emotional solace, as well as a means of expression for me as there wasn’t much discussion about feelings in the household.“

“I REALLY DO LOVE TO PLAY JUST ABOUT ANY TYPE OF MUSIC AND LOVE THE INFLUENCE THAT JAZZ, COUNTRY, LATIN AND BLUES BRING INTO MY PLAYING. BUT YEAH, DANG IT...I’M A ROCK GUITAR PLAYER.” RIFF

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T

“ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO I FELL BACK INTO THE HABIT OF PLAYING JAZZ STANDARDS EVERY MORNING AND LISTENING AND TRANSCRIBING MORE OFTEN. WITHIN A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, I NOTICED SMALL IMPROVEMENTS IN MY PLAYING AND MY OVERALL HAPPINESS!”

R O C K S TA N D Images courtesy of Andy Timmons

Once Andy got a few more years into his playing, he left to study Jazz at the University of Miami. After that his career took a decidedly un-Jazz turn when he got the gig with pop-metal band, Danger Danger, which allowed Andy to record, sell a million records and tour the world in rock-star fashion opening up for bands like KISS. So when asked which personality won out, the rocker or the jazzer, Andy has to answer the age-old question of what style do you play? “I usually say ‘everything’ when people ask what style I play, though I suppose most folks may consider me a ‘rock guitar player’ first and foremost, and that is certainly where my musical roots lie. My long-time sound engineer Rob Wechsler once referred to me as a ‘rock guitar player’ on a session and I remember feeling slightly offended by being so narrowly categorized. I really do love to play just about any type of music and love the influence that jazz, country, latin and blues bring into my playing. But yeah, dang it...I’m a rock guitar player.” But don’t think all this success keeps Andy from moving onward and upward. He says, “I’ve really re-discovered myself lately as a practicing musician. What I mean is that for many years my career and life had taken me away

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WANT MORE? VIEW ANDY’S COURSES ON TRUEFIRE from being a proper student. I was always playing and writing, but I wasn’t learning or pushing myself in other areas that I enjoy, particularly jazz. About three years ago I fell back into the habit of playing jazz standards every morning and listening and transcribing more often. Within a relatively short period of time, I noticed small improvements in my playing and my overall happiness! I’m currently in a huge Charlie Christian and Barney Kessel phase. Listening to jazz constantly is such a big part of the learning process. Sure, you can learn some licks and string them together, but you really need to HEAR and FEEL it.” Still honing that voice on guitar. That is what makes someone sound unique. Andy has several projects in the works including a new Andy Timmons Band record and new release with Simon Phillips and “Protocol.” Andy says about this project, “this band, that features Steve Weingart on keyboards and Ernest Tibbs on bass, is a wonderful opportunity to stretch out in a ‘70s-style fusion vibe. Simon is incredibly inspiring to work with.” And in keeping with the versatility moniker, Andy says there is

DARDS Ventures, Dick Dale and Bubble Puppy.”

“I ALWAYS GIVE THE EXAMPLE OF THE GREAT STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN, WHO DIDN’T NECESSARILY KNOW MUCH ABOUT SCALES AND THEORY, BUT REALLY JUST PLAYED THE BASICS WITH SO MUCH HEART AND CONVICTION THAT YOU COULDN’T HELP BUT BE MOVED.” even more in store, “I also have a surf record waiting in the wings called “Beach Blanket Ringo.” It’s a high-energy ‘60s Instro-type record equally inspired by mid ‘60s

So what advice can Andy offer to others who want to better themselves as a player? “You simply just have to do it. You have to play to improve. It takes time. That being said, we certainly have an endless amount of information at our fingertips via the internet. I always recommend to all players to learn by ear, then refer to the transcription or video. It will internalize much deeper that way. You need to really get a firm grip on the basics first and play to your heart’s content. I always give the example of the great Stevie Ray Vaughan, who didn’t necessarily know much about scales and theory, but really just played the basics with so much heart and conviction that you couldn’t help but be moved. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Take on small chunks at a time and feel the joy of those things surfacing in your playing. “ Great advice from a great player. While considered a master by most, is still finding his own voice, in every style that moves him. www.andytimmons.com RIFF

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“As a manager, your job is to dispel the myths and capitalize on the truths. True artists have a vision but are usually singularly focused; that’s great, and it’s a trait that’s the gift of being an artist. But in today’s entertainment world, if you don’t think outside of the box, you might as well get out of the business.”

B

Foreword by: Brad Wendkos

ehind every commercially successful artist is someone you’ll never see in the spotlight — the manager. They won’t make the cover of Rolling Stone or Time Magazine. They don’t have fans asking for autographs at dinner, the paparazzi could care less, and they won’t be accepting any awards at the Grammys.

Make no mistake about it — managers are just as responsible, if not more so, for the commercial success that an artist enjoys. And the really, really good ones are rare birds indeed. I personally know only a few, and one of them is Robert Williams, manager and business partner of Larry Carlton. I’ve personally witnessed the impact he’s had on Larry Carlton and many of his other artists’ careers. I’ve personally learned volumes about business from him — and not just the music business. I‘m proud to call him a mentor of mine — even prouder to call him a friend. Robert’s philosophies, strategies and vision for achieving success have formed over an impressive 40+ year career working with a roster of over 700 musicians, comedians, performance groups, and touring events. He’s represented everyone from Blood Sweat and Tears, Ritchie Havens, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld and Dennis Miller to the Gorky Bolshoi Drama Theater of Russia and Harry Blackstone’s Broadway Magic Show. You learn a lot about success with an experiential background like that. “As a manager, your job is to dispel the myths and capitalize on the truths. True artists have a vision but

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are usually singularly focused; that’s great, and it’s a trait that’s the gift of being an artist. But in today’s entertainment world, if you don’t think outside of the box, you might as well get out of the business.” Artists, not unlike entrepreneurs, tend to be unrealistic about how long it takes to establish yourself, hone your craft, build an audience and start ringing the register. Shows like American Idol, the X Factor and the Voice seem to foster the belief that overnight success is commonplace, and while that’s true for a very few, its clearly the proverbial ‘exception to the rule.’ “There’s no question that the core naiveté of this business is the misconception of growth time. In reality, our industry is no more or no less difficult to enter and succeed in than any other industry. Granted, there are those who may get a break and have success early on, but in those situations, the lack of knowledge and experience often has the artist ‘pay the piper’ later on.” While the landscape of the music business has changed dramatically over the past few years, and continues to evolve, it’s really only the marketing tactics that need to be changed along with it. As will always be the case, success comes to those that work hard, stay confident, exercise patience and act professionally. “Of course, you must always be a realist. But while being a realist, if you’re not positive, if you’re not patient, and if you don’t believe in yourself, you will not succeed. It’s just not possible.” I asked Robert what career advice he’d give to young artists today. He generously contributed the following 10 Guiding Principles for Young Artists.


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10 GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR YOUNG ARTISTS Written By: Robert Williams

1 2 3

KNOW THE ARTIST YOU ARE

Know the artist you are today, and the artist you want to be tomorrow. Work relentlessly on your playing and performance skills. Hire professional guidance for your singing, playing, performance presentation — this will be the best money you’ve ever spent. Success is built on hard work, education and follow-through.

4

PLAY OUT AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE

Every opportunity you get to play in front of an audience is an opportunity to work on your artistry. It’s also an opportunity to develop your fan base even if it’s one person at a time. In the beginning, it doesn’t matter how large or small the gig is, or how much or little you get paid — get out and play!

STAY CURRENT ON THE BUSINESS

The music business has changed dramatically over the past several years, and it continues to change almost weekly as it finds its footing. Stay current by reading all of the industry trades and blogs. The key word is “current” because last month’s articles are likely already out of date. Read Billboard cover-to-cover religiously to keep your fingers on the commercial pulse of the business. Know what genre your music connects with and become an expert in that genre. Stay open minded. Make informed career decisions. Don’t be a know-it-all, be a learn-it-all!

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5 6

STAY POSITIVE

You will hear the word “no” far and away more times than you will hear the “yes’’ word. Brush it off. Stay professional. Stay positive. Keep in mind that by becoming an artist, you have started your own business, and YOU are the product. It takes time for any company to establish and then be successful with their product. Persistence, drive and positive thinking are the tools you will use to realize your dreams. Napoleon Hill said, ”What man can conceive and believe, he can achieve.” That’s pretty solid advice in my opinion.

DON’T LOOK TO THE PAST

The music business is moving and changing too fast for you to compare your path to success with the paths of current or older successful artists. The past is gone, as is the process that worked for those artists. Stay in the present and look to the future. Innovate. The past is just that…the past.

TEST MARKET YOUR MUSIC

To be commercially successful in the music business, you have to compose, record and perform music that people like. The more people that like your music, the more successful you’ll become. Ask for feedback about your music from everyone you can. Talk to your audiences, to other musicians, to professionals


7 8 9 10

in the business. Put your music online, on Facebook, on YouTube, anywhere you can and ask for feedback there as well. You may not always like what you hear, but you will learn from it.

PROTECT YOUR MUSIC

If you write your own music, copyright it to protect it. Your music is your most important asset — it’s your intellectual property. Go online and check out ASCAP, BMI and SECAC. Decide which is best for you and join. Review all of the information you find there and follow their advice. If you’re unsure, consult with a good music business attorney (yes, there are many good ones out there to choose from).

PUBLISH OR PERISH

Authors publish books and musicians make albums. Composing, recording, packaging and distributing your EPs or LPs is essential — it’s what artists do. Despite what you might be hearing about the music business, artists are still selling albums. And many of them are doing so very successfully, through independent or major labels, selling direct to their fans at the merch table, from their website and from independent online music sites. There’s a lot of good advice online for how to go about the entire production process and then how to promote your albums. Publish or perish!  

BE PROFESSIONAL

There are far too many very talented musicians who don’t have a clue how to behave professionally. And it’s usually these same musicians who complain about everything that’s wrong with the music business and how difficult it is to make a living. The music business is a business, just like any other business. Musicians are professionals, just like any other professional. To succeed in any business, you have to behave professionally. Be reliable, communicative, prompt, courteous and respectful - be professional.

FIND A GOOD MANAGER

The days of clueless artists and cigar-smoking managers who collect their percentage without taking an active role in their client’s career are over. Today’s artist should certainly be informed and savvy about all aspects of the music business. At the same time, artists don’t have the time, nor do they necessarily have the skill set to act on those decisions and manage their business on a day-to-day basis. A good manager behaves like a business partner. Find one that will take a personal and vested interest in your career, and be there at your side every step of the way.

Written by Robert Williams

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SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


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Photos by Alison Hasbach

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


If you look up the definition of yin and yang, you’ll be informed that “in Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.“ You’ll then notice how our conversation with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer reveal this this wonderful interplay and textbook definition. Marcy is soft-spoken. Cathy, not so much. Marcy is passive. Cathy is anything but. Marcy may have an opinion, but will usually keep it to herself. Cathy always has an opinion and you will surely know it. I love their yin and yang and I love them both individually and as one. I can relate very well to them because we share a demographic spawned in the great age of peace, love and happiness. They are indeed complementary, they are wonderfully interconnected and they are surely and impressively independent in their natural world. They love old time music, folk, bluegrass, swing — anything and everything Americana. They are also Grammy-winning musicians and superb teachers. Here are their stories, largely in their own words…

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My earliest recollections of music are of me standing next to my mother, singing my heart out WANT MORE? VIEW CATHY’S COURSES ON TRUEFIRE

TF: What inspired you to become a musician? MARCY: My family played music. My

grandmother played barrelhouse piano and hammered dulcimer. She would often get hired by Henry Ford to play for dances and parties at his large house. Her name was Florence Kohnke. Her mother, my greatgrandmother, played the fiddle and was known as quite a wild woman because she had a car and would drive from Detroit to Cicero, Illinois by herself to play for parties and dances. Her last name was Bennett. Great-great grandma Monzo disapproved of both of them from what I hear.

CATHY: I always loved music. My earliest recollections of music are of me standing next to my mother, singing my heart out, while she accompanied me on piano. Favorite songs then were “Little Brown Jug” and “Beautiful Dreamer”! I had a music bug from day one

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and sang in every chorus possible throughout school. I sang along on all of the popular music heard on one station on the radio, at the same time you could hear the Supremes, Temptations, Beatles, Weavers, and more. Each radio station was diverse back then. My first official concert was the Temptations and the Supremes at the Baltimore Civic Center in Junior High. Awesome.

TF: Why the guitar as your first chosen instrument?

MARCY: The guitar spoke to me before any

other instrument. My aunt lived across the street from us and she played the guitar and sang only gospel music. I remember being too small to get up on her couch by myself. She sat me up there and pulled out her guitar and sang for me. I loved it. She went on to do something else and came back later and I was still sitting there waiting for more. She did play some more. I still feel like that. I just can’t get


enough music and I love to hear people play.

incorporated music and instruments.

CATHY: I started on piano at about age 10, but didn’t stick with it after about three years. When I was 12, my best friend and next-door neighbor started guitar lessons, so I simply HAD to. I had six months of lessons and they were a financial stretch for my mother (my father died that year). She hinted that I may have had enough guitar lessons, probably assuming that without lessons I would stop playing. Wrong!

CATHY: I left home before the dream of playing music full time had really solidified. I was living in Montreal and had completed my first year at McGill University. I also played coffeehouses, open mics and made some money subbing in day care centers. Word got out for folks to get the girl who would sub for teachers and bring a guitar and play music. That summer, I got a grant to take 10 musicians into institutions in and around Montreal and play music. We called it the “Devil’s Dream Traveling Folk Festival.”

TF: What did your parents think about your decision to become a professional musician?

MARCY: My mom loved that I became a musician.

It took her several years for her to stop worrying about me, though. Every time she came to visit she would sneak a peek in the refrigerator to make sure I had food. She didn’t start to relax until Cathy and I won our first Grammy. Ha! My dad thought pretty negatively about the arts. He changed his tune in the 1970s when Michigan fell on hard times and I came home and got a job on the assembly line at Chevrolet Truck Assemble in Flint. I bought a mobile home for us to live in and paid the bills for 3 years. Dad never questioned me again.

We were definitely hippies living the dream. I ran the group at 19. We made about $70 a week. At the end of the summer I thought, “I’m rich. I’ve got $560! I’m gonna try to make a living at this. I have enough to live on for a year if I never get a gig, and I’ll have more if I do get a gig. I knew gigs wouldn’t come to me, so I went through the phone book and wrote handwritten notes to every community organization I could find and offered to do a concert or a workshop on the guitar or Appalachian dulcimer. One gig led to another, and another and I had a career playing music for both kids and adults and seniors and whoever.

Cathy and I have been on a world tour for years now. We should have jackets made up that say “Fink and Marxer World Tour 1984-?”

CATHY: No one in my family really understood what

I was doing. I ended up leaving school twice – the first time from Oberlin to be an intern at Rough Rock Demonstration School in Chinle, Arizona. I did many things there, but it is where I started playing music for kids. There was no music teacher and so I was invited into classrooms with my guitar to sing with the kids. The next year, 1972, I went to McGill University in Montreal (where I ultimately left again). There was a very active folk and coffeehouse scene there and I immersed myself in it. I actually never asked my mother or grandparents what they thought about my decision. I knew they all thought I should get a college degree.

TF: What was it like leaving home to become a professional musician?

MARCY: I left home in the summers of high school

to study acting and quickly ended up getting parts that

One thing was clear to me. There were only five coffeehouses, so if I wanted to make a living, I’d learn to work and adapt outside of traditional venues. That has served me well. In 1974 my former partner, Duck Donald, and I hitchhiked across Canada playing house concerts, health food restaurants and giving lessons and workshops. We auditioned for the 1st Winnipeg Folk Festival, held in August 1974 and were accepted. We joined the musicians union there and a few months later, made Winnipeg our home base. At that point, we were doing about 250 shows a year at schools, coffeehouses, concerts, etc. and driving about 70,000 miles a year. And, I took up the BANJO!

TF: A quick synopsis of your gigging career? MARCY: My first gigs were street festivals around Detroit with my grandmother. Then I played in bluegrass and old-time string bands in the midwest.

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The best known was the Bosom Buddies. We were regular guests on Prairie Home Companion and played festivals and clubs around the country for a couple of fast years, then the Robin Flower Band out of San Francisco for a year.

MARCY: Number one would be; Success is doing

what you love. Number two; Never compare yourself to others. Play like yourself and enjoy the playing of others. And number three; Respect your elders so much that you learn about them, go see them, meet them and look out for them. You’ll be “in the club.”

I met Cathy in 1980 while I was in the Bosom Buddies. We started playing together regularly in 1984 or so. Together we played with Patsy Montana for about 12 years. Cathy and I have been on a world tour for years now. We should have jackets made up that say “Fink and Marxer World Tour 1984-?”

CATHY: Number one, practice early and often and make it fun. Second, the more versatile you are, the more different and interesting gigs you will have. And third, do not fly with anything irreplaceable and do have excellent insurance on your gear.

CATHY: Between 1974 and 1979 there were hundreds of gigs in Canada, north, south, east and west. Also, many coffeehouses and festivals in the States. Between 1980 and1983, I performed solo all over the US, Canada and UK.

I usually fly with good instruments, but not the ones I am most emotionally attached to. And I always use a high-end carbon fiber flight case and Colorado Case cover along with TSA locks. But, shit happens and insurance comes in handy for damage, loss or whatever.

Number one, practice early and often and make it fun. Second, the more versatile you are, the more different and interesting gigs you will have. And third, do not fly with anything irreplaceable and do have excellent insurance on your gear.

From 1983 on, Marcy and I became a full-time duo. Our touring has taken us throughout the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and recently China, Malaysia, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. We also curate and run a few annual festivals and events such as the Annual Tribute to Hank Williams at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia and the Uke & Guitar Summit at the Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, Maryland. We also do the Old Time Banjo Festival in Alexandria and Takoma Park along with the Ashokan Family Camp in Olivebridge, New York.

TF: Name the three most important things you

learned — and now practice — about earning a living as a musician?

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TF: What do you do today to maintain your career as a musician?

MARCY: I love to practice and write up new

arrangements. Any day that includes working on music is a great day.

CATHY: I write songs, practice, just released Cathy

& Marcy’s 44th Album, DANCIN’ IN THE KITCHEN, mentor other musicians, produce other artists’ recordings and do most of the management for the Cathy & Marcy Duo. We are also recording engineers and have a list miles long of projects we want to do both collaboratively with other musicians, and with each other. The business takes up a lot of time and I long ago reconciled that it is simply part of the deal.


My grandmother played barrelhouse piano and hammered dulcimer. She would often get hired by Henry Ford to play for dances and parties at his large house. WANT MORE? VIEW MARCY’S COURSES ON TRUEFIRE

TF: What advice would you give a young player who is thinking about a career in music?

MARCY: Learn, be generous, enjoy, listen to

everything, take chances and don’t forget to eat and sleep.

CATHY: Don’t give up your day job until you feel

confident you can cover your living expenses, car expenses and health insurance. Be patient. This is a tough time in the music industry with people expecting more music for free than ever before.

Never hesitate to hire a great music attorney before signing anything important. Don’t give up your dream, but be realistic about it and build your dream so it becomes a solid career. There you have it — the inside scoop on TrueFire’s very own Yin and Yang and the seeds for our vision to build a diverse and meaningful Americana music category. Thanks to this dynamic duo, you can already learn clawhammer banjo, swing guitar, ukulele and bluegrass guitar — no moss growing under Yin and Yang’s feet!

So, build your career over time and make the jump when you have a strong email list and large social media following or get an offer to join a solid band.

www.cathymarcy.com RIFF

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D SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


Dreams IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

FERRARI FOREWARD BY BRAD WENDKOS

I don’t know too many guitarists with a Ferrari in their garage. Even the thought of that seems a bit incredulous unless we’re talking about the likes of Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page.

I am, however, privileged to know and work with an astonishingly talented guitarist, who hasn't yet been featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, but does indeed have a Ferrari in his garage, bought and paid for with savings from playing or teaching gigs. His name is Tony Smotherman. Here’s his story, largely in his own words…

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Guitar chose me as muc as I chose the guitar SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3


TONY: I was born in Athens, Greece, but grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. My family was lucky to have escaped the war in Beirut, Lebanon back in the 70s. They had one shot to get out of Beirut and they took it, relocating to Athens. From Athens they seized the opportunity to immigrate to America and start life over after that horrible war. We ended up in Jacksonville, Florida. BRAD: What inspired you to become a musician? TONY: My mother would always play Greek, Lebanese and Indian music in the house while I was growing up. That was really my first musical influence and I still have an affinity for it today. But ever since I discovered a guitar magazine in the grocery store as a young teenager, I’ve been drawn to the guitar. I remember opening the magazine and seeing a black and white picture of Andrés Segovia sitting in front of an orchestra — that changed everything for me! BRAD: Why the guitar as your first chosen

instrument?

Just looking at that picture, I could almost hear his classical guitar against the orchestra — how beautiful that must be. And that was it. I knew for sure, at that exact moment, that I wanted to play the guitar. And I wanted to play classical music. My mother let me buy the magazine, which I read cover to cover, but was particularly interested in the article about Segovia. I started listening to his music and was just blown away. I also became obsessed with Bach shortly after. My parents didn't have a lot of money, but eventually they were able to get me my first guitar and then found me a teacher.

Photos by Alison Hasbach

ch

BRAD: Where are you from?

BRAD: What did your parents think about your decision to become a professional musician? TONY: My parents supported my interest

in music, but were concerned about me becoming a guitarist. Even though it was classical music that I was interested in at the time, they associated it with the somewhat negative stigma of the wild electric rock and roll guitarist. They wanted me to play piano. I remember them saying, ‘Son, you have such long fingers. You’d be a great piano player.’ But piano just wasn’t for me — guitar chose me as much as I chose the guitar. Tony channeled his passion for guitar and classical music into an almost fanatical practice routine, sometimes practicing as much as six hours a day on Bach Lute Suites and Paganini Caprices, all while going to high school and keeping up with his homework. The practice paid off. With only three years of classical guitar lessons behind him, Tony was recognized as Middleburg High School's Most Talented Senior. Tony was also selected as a member in the annually published Who's Who Among American High School Students. In his senior year, one of his teachers submitted some of his musical work to Queen Elizabeth II, who in turn, replied personally with high praise calling his classical guitar skills, ”highly sophisticated.” Tony was also drawn to other players and styles of music; everything from Jimi Hendrix to Yngwie Malmsteen to Ravi Shankar. He approached the electric guitar with the same zeal and commitment as the classical guitar ultimately fusing all of those influences into a distinctive and highly expressive sound.

BRAD: What was it like leaving home to become a professional musician? TONY: I was 22-years old when I decided to leave Jacksonville. Things just didn't seem to be going anywhere for me professionally. I was playing some gigs with my band, The Tony Smotherman Project, but just wasn't reaching enough people in my mind. Granted, my music was pretty eclectic, but still, I believed there was a bigger audience out there somewhere. RIFF

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I packed my bags and with less than $20 in my pocket, I headed to Orlando - the nearest place I could think of that held the promise of opportunity, but was still close enough to home if I needed to get back. The first door I knocked on was a music school on Lee Road in Orlando. If I could get a gig teaching, I could put a roof over my head and some food on the table, while I put together another band or got a steady playing gig. As luck (or fortune) would have it, they just had an instructor leave the day before and I got his spot — my first lesson was the next day! A couple of months later, that school closed, but I kept the students and opened up my own teaching studio. Over the next year, I built my teaching business up to 70 private students. While the teaching work in Orlando paid the bills, my dream of finding great gigs didn’t work out. I moved back to Jacksonville, and with the money I had saved, set up shop there. All in all though, Orlando was a great experience —I leaned how much I enjoyed teaching guitar and that I could earn a good income doing so. Tony’s teaching business took off back in Jacksonville, but he also started getting some great gigs for his band, and as a sideman. He opened for Rick Derringer, Leon Russell, Adrian Legg and many other top artists. He opened and performed with Buddy Miles of The Band of Gypsies and Carlos Santana. Buddy was quite impressed, "Tony is the most exciting and innovative guitarist that I've played with in many years. He’s very professional and a pure joy to work with. Watch out — this young man is destined to be a star!" I had a great run with Buddy Miles. Buddy and I got along really well and we toured a lot together over a three-year period. I learned so much from him — he was very encouraging and motivating. Every night on stage with him was another lesson learned. You just keep your mouth shut and take it all in.

BRAD: Name the most important things you learned — and now practice — about earning a living as a musician? Over the years, there are many things that I’ve learned and now practice diligently to earn a living as a guitar player. Having patience is one of them — you can never have enough of that. To make a living as a guitar player, wherever you’re at in your career, you have to have the diligence to stick at what you’re doing, do

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it as well as you can, and patiently wait for things to happen for you. Don’t ever give up! It’s also important to develop a solid business sense. Being a professional guitar player is not just about honing your chops. It’s also about learning how to make money with your instrument. If you gig out, you learn to play the music that people like to hear — not just your own preferences. Give your audience what they want. If you teach (and you can make a very good living teaching) you need to learn how to accommodate each student individually. Some students want acoustic lessons, some want rock or blues, others want jazz, funk, R&B, classical, world music, bluegrass and so on. Good business sense dictates that you learn how to teach as many styles and techniques as possible — not just your own bag. Of course, good business sense also means that you need to manage your money smartly — don’t go buy that new guitar that you want so badly until you can really afford to do so — that’s hard to do, but it’s the smart thing to do if you want to succeed as a professional. Playing out live is also very important to maintain your career. It doesn't matter if it's at a coffee shop or a big venue — playing in front of people is really, really important. It makes you a better musician and it creates a relevance of who and where you are musically. Setting both short- and long-term goals for yourself and then relentlessly striving to achieve them is probably the most important thing. Too many people only see the big end goal and the get discouraged because it always seems so far away. The key is setting up a series of short-term goals that lead to a longer-term goal. Once you achieve that longer-term goal, you set up another series of short ones that lead to the next long-term one and then go for that. Working this way week-b- week, month-by-month, year-by-year motivates you in amazing ways. Ultimately, you’ll work your way up to the really big one!”

BRAD: How did you put a Ferrari in your garage? For as long as I remember growing up, I loved European sports cars and I would always fantasize about having a Mercedes, a BMW and a Ferrari. The


Work hard, work smart, set goals

and strive relentlessly to achieve them. decision to become a professional guitar player may have made that dream a little unrealistic, but I set those goals for myself nonetheless. It took a long while, but I did wind up with the Mercedes and then a short time after, the BMW paid for from savings that I had socked away from my earnings as a musician and teacher.

That left the Ferrari, a very-long term and very big goal. But as fate would have it, just a few weeks later, a friend called to say there was one available nearby. I told him, ‘there was no way I could afford it with my wife being pregnant and having just bought the BMW, but I’d love to see it.’ My wife and I headed over and the moment we saw it, my wife turned to me and said, ‘There’s your car.’ With her blessing, we dug deeper into our savings and worked out a deal that we could afford. A dream come true for sure, but a dream that I made a reality practicing what I’ve preached in this interview. Work hard, work smart, set goals and strive relentlessly to achieve them. There’s way too much negativity in the industry about not selling records anymore, gigs drying up and the general lack of opportunities for musicians in today’s music business landscape. I love Tony’s story because it affirms that you don’t have to become a platinum-selling rock star to become financially successful as a professional musician. Tony is 36-years old, married with kids, and has his Ferrari in the garage. Tony is living proof that if you work hard enough, and smart enough, you can make your dreams come true — even as a guitar player. www.tonysmotherman.com

RIFF

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HOUSE NEWS

THE ROAD

PROFILES OF STUDENTS IN THEIR JOURNEY TO MASTER THEIR INSTRUMENT Jeff Scheetz, TrueFire’s Educational Director Interviews Frank Vignola and his student Jan Knutson.

Jan Knutson may have only been playing guitar for 4 years as he hits the ripe old age of 16, but he has released his first CD “Out of Nowhere,” which showcases his amazing solo jazz chops. The record was produced by Jan’s teacher, TrueFire’s own Frank Vignola. Jan has been a student in Frank’s online TrueFire classroom, and the two have performed together onstage as well. I caught up with them to talk a little about the student/teacher relationship and learn about Jan’s plans for the future.

JS: Jan, what is it that you love about guitar? JK: The thing about the guitar that hooked me from the start was the infinite possibilities of the sound. Around the

time when I started playing in 5th grade, I was listening to a lot of Van Halen, Mike Stern, and “Discipline” era King Crimson. I didn’t really listen to music based on a particular genre when I started, all I knew was that all of the people I listened to utilized lots of guitar, and I loved it. I loved how each player sounded yet each was vastly different. When I first listened to Django Reinhardt, I was taken aback by the way he would build intensity by playing at different points on the guitar, as well as his use of passionate vibrato, similar to that of a violin player. There is a versatility on guitar that doesn’t seem as easy to come by on other instruments.

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JS: So Frank, tell us what do you feel are the traits

JS: Frank, you have worked with many, many

FV: Jan’s practice habits are amazing. Every day he

FV: His ability to get up on stage with me on occasion

that make Jan a standout student?Â

gets up before school, takes a walk and visualizes a new arrangement or an arrangement he is working on. Then he practices it after his walk. His ear is fantastic and his ability to play solo guitar just blew me away from day one of his entrance into my online classroom. His desire to learn is also what makes him a special and natural musician.

JS: Jan, what makes Frank a great teacher that resonates with you?

JK: Frank has a staggering repertoire, and has had me learn many new tunes that I probably never would have learned otherwise. He never limits the music that he plays - if it is good music it should be played - and he shares this music with his audience. As a teacher he is very concerned with helping me bring out the music in what I do. When I play with him, he always keeps me on my toes, helping me learn the necessity of communication and conversation within music. He is an extraordinary musician and teacher, and I am very lucky to learn from him.

students. What has surprised you the most about Jan?

and play solo guitar in front of an audience without even seeming nervous. Also, his general attitude towards school and learning. He is high honor roll at a special science and math school where he lives, plays classical violin, trombone and piano. He is just a gifted kid who has a good stable family and in my opinion is destined to be one of the next generation great guitarists.

JS: Jan, as you look ahead, what are your ultimate goals as a musician? JK: Ultimately, I want to express myself within my music and share it to as many people as I can. I don’t exactly know how I will do it yet, but I am keeping my mind open. I hope to go to a music school after I graduate from high school, and I want to play at as many places and with as many people as possible.

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STUDIOWIRE

TOP 3 GEAR INVESTMENTS FOR MAXIMUM SONIC EXPERIENCE: HOME STUDIO TUTORIAL PART 3 A Three-Part Story on Home-Studio Recording \\ Written By Tommy Jamin

After learning the basics, there are those of us that eventually will want to raise the bar, even in our home or project studios. Even if you start small, you’ll probably want to upgrade your gear. There are things like better reference monitors to help you better hear your mix, outboard gear and even things like upgraded cabling, but here are three places you’ll get the maximum sonic improvements for your hard-earned dollars.

1) UPGRADE YOUR AUDIO INTERFACE

This is where you should put your money first. The interface is your DAW’s translator from the analog realm to the digital realm and bang-for-buck-wise, you won’t see any bigger jump in sound quality. The interface takes the electrical impulses from your analog sound sources and chops them up into digital data that your computer can manipulate before sending it back out the other way to your mixer/speakers. Remember that saying about garbage in, garbage out? This is where most of the junk in your sounds will come from when you’re just starting out. Cheap-o electronics just don’t move electrons like the good stuff. I’m not going to recommend any specific models, as what you need is a very subjective topic, but do the research and listen before you buy. You will hear a difference. Check out units from Lynx, Apogee, Universal Audio and Avid.

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Check out Part 1 and 2 in the previous two issues of Riff Journal!

2) HIGH QUALITY PRE-AMPS

DAW trends come and go, but a high quality pre-amp coupled with a high-end audio interface and a great mic – that’s putting your best foot forward. Some of the manufacturers that make high end recording desks like Neve, API, and SSL are starting to make smaller individual preamp modules that can be bought separately and loaded into 500 series rack chassis or even a more portable option often called “lunchboxes.” This allows for producers to phase in the costs of high-end signal paths by buying some of their favorite preamps and dynamics modules a la carte, at stripped down costs, and slowly build their “money channels” that they use for recording the featured elements of their productions. Check out options from API, Neve, and others. I’d also take a look at Vintech, who makes some killer 500-series preamps modeled after classic sought after units for a fraction of the price for originals.

3) A VARIETY OF MICROPHONES

Building a mic closet that’s full of classic microphones will go a long way. As we all discover along this road - one of the most effective ways you can make a particular source sit in a mix right is to use the right mic for the job. Not all high-end mics cost as much as a car. By researching and acquiring the right microphones for your applications, you’ll take your studio (home or otherwise) to the next level. Commercial studio what? If you can get past the inherent flaming nature of online forums, check out www.gearslutz.com for plenty of advice on which mics to try for your next project. It wasn’t until years after my formal production education when I was working with some of the best engineers in the biz that I discovered the true challenge and art form in recording music. What it’s really about is capturing and delivering to a listener, in the most authentic and unaffected way possible, a truly musical experience. The sound of a talented singer’s voice - the way it sounds when it’s right in front of you and you can actually hear air being shaped by a human instrument. Hearing the sound of the fingertips on a finely handcrafted acoustic guitar and its fundamental resonation of wood and wire. That’s what people come back for and it’s what we consumers of music seek out and (hopefully) pay for. Heck, that’s where it all started, when people actually had to physically be there to experience music. I’ll close with this, home-recording revolutionaries, the essence of a great production (whether home studio or otherwise) is keeping the focus on the natural element, and although we may use our tools to enhance it at times, we must always avoid blurring the image of the music.

RIFF

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GEEK SPEAK

GEEK SPEAK Compiled by Rich Maloof

FLORENTINE VS. VENETIAN CUTAWAYS A Florentine cutaway is a crescent-shaped cutaway with a sharp bout. A Venetian cutaway has a rounded bout.

Geek Fact: Despite the allusions to Italian cities, there’s no evidence that the names are

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

FLORENTINE

VENETIAN

traceable to instruments or woodworking practices of Florence or Venice. Gibson may have been the first to use the terms commercially...


SIX-STRING AFICIONADOS: STUDENT PROFILE

STUDENT PROFILE

SAM PAPAS

The life-blood of TrueFire’s student population is the lifelong student of guitar. Each issue we’ll get to know one of these passionistas of guitar.

TF: What do you do for a living? SAM: I am a self-made professional involved in

creative new media technologies and applications. I own a venue The IVC (International Visualisation Center) in Adelaide South Australia, which by day operates as a creative space for meetings, seminars, conferences, workshops, PC training and by night a live music entertainment venue “Philosophia”. I also own True Life Creations, a 3D Animation and Visual FX studio, Mad Academy, a Multimedia, Animation and Design training center, and am a part-owner of True Life Anatomy a small company that has developed 3D Medical Software for orthopedic surgeons with a focus on wrist, shoulder and hip applications. Oh and of course have been a semi-professional musician playing and gigging around Adelaide.

TF: What is your practice regime? How do you go about learning?

SAM: Inspiration usually drives my practice and

learning. It might be a riff, a vamp, a chord, an effect, a groove, a feel that I have come across, a tutorial I have seen or heard or discovered whilst jamming. If I am trying to reproduce what I have heard or felt, I try to work out ways to first copy, and then I try to evolve it to become part of “me,” my spin and my interpretation, sometimes rendering it unrecognizable from the original. Sounds a bit odd, but I guess the analogy is a recipe that you take on board, you learn and then you change to make it “yours” so to speak. And finally, I always record my practice sessions because you never know when something magical will be born out of you! HA. I am also now starting to videotape my practice sessions because listening back I wonder how the hell did I play that?

TF: Why do you think music is important to

someone’s life? SAM: I used to give the Bruce Lee analogy of the water and teapot here. You know, pour music into

your heart and soul and it becomes you, and what you create and play pours out musically as an echo from within your soul. It is a barometer of who you are and what you stand for in life, it reflects your respect and commitment to yourself and your emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. So imagine recording yourself playing through the years, at the ripe old age of 100, the time capsules are opened and you hear your music - your legacy to leave behind to all.

TF: If you could learn to play any one thing, what would it be?

SAM: Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, by Jeff Beck TF: Who is your favorite guitarist and why? SAM: If my life depended on it to pick just one, for

so many reasons and having seen him live on many occasions, Steve Vai, for his passion, his fire, his truth, and his belief in music, oh and of course his melodic chops and amazing musicality !! And one more thing, his support of local Adelaide girl Orianthi!

TF: What musician would you like to have dinner with (living or dead)? SAM: Steve Vai

TF: If you were stranded on a desert island, what one guitar would you like to have with you (yes, electricity is on the island). SAM: My 1980’s Charvel Jackson guitar

TF: If you could be in any band (current or past) which band would you like to be in?

SAM: TOTO

TF: Finish this sentence, ”If everyone on the planet played guitar….”

SAM: I would invest in shares in TrueFire TF: Describe your biggest ‘aha’ moment on guitar. SAM: Playing my first original song to an audience.

RIFF

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HOUSE NEWS

ARTIST DIRECTORY Artists Featured in this Edition of Riff

ANDY ALEDORT Andy Aledort has performed all across the globe with legendary musicians like Buddy Guy, Dickey Betts, the Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble, Edgar Winter, Paul Rodgers, and Jimi Hendrix’s original band mates Mitch Mitchell, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. Additionally, for over 30 years Aledort has served as editor for the top guitar magazines such as GUITAR WORLD and GUITAR FOR THE PRACTICING MUSICIAN. His work as a journalist, instructional columnist and music transcriber is unsurpassed.

SCOTT ALLEN Scott Allen is a graduate of Musicians Institute GIT, and has been a recording artist, performer, instructor and session player for the past 19 years. He has released three albums of high-energy instrumental progressive hard rock. His band, Scott Allen Project has opened for such notable artists as Steve Morse, Lynch Mob, Michael Schenker, and the Aristocrats to name a few.

JAMIE ANDREAS Jamie Andreas is the author of the world acclaimed method for guitar “The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar”. Called “The Holy Grail” of guitar books, and “The International Bible Of Guitar”, the Principles has enabled thousands of students worldwide to become real guitar players. “The Principles” is a two-time winner of Acoustic Guitar’s “Players Choice Award” in the “Guitar Instructional” category.

MAURICE ARENAS Maurice Arenas is a studio musician with over 40 years of playing and over 25 years of teaching under his belt. Originally from NYC and with some time also in Long Island, he absorbed the best musical scenario for his musical tutelage in classical, jazz and modern guitar. Projects for 2015 include a self-titled album, a TrueFire course and online workshops and writing columns for TrueFire and Just Jazz Guitar Magazine.

COREY CONGILIO Corey Congilio has been steadily forming a solid musical foundation as a guitar player, session player, studio producer, and educator. C orey is also a much-sought after clinician and gear demonstrator. The combination of being a multi-instrumentalist and having a solid background in all contemporary musical genres meant that Nashville, TN would eventually become Corey’s new home. Corey is currently on tour with Columbia recording artist Steven Lee Olsen and his own EP will be released this year.

MARC COOPER Coop is a performing musician, clinician and producer. He has performed with a variety of musicians such as Joe Walsh (Eagles), Steve Howe (Yes/Asia), Danny Gatton, Nik West (Prince), Brett Garsed, Jennifer Batten, Seymour Duncan, Pat Travers, Buster B. Jones, Alain Caron, Rhonda Smith and Kat Dyson (Prince), Narada Michael Walden, Gregg Bissonnette, Alphonso Johnson, (Santana, Weather Report) Uli Jon Roth, and Yngwie Malmsteen.

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

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CATHY FINK Cathy Fink is a singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, banjo picker, guitar player and community activist, Cathy Fink lives an eclectic career in the music industry and beyond. She is not only well known as half of the GRAMMY winning duo, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, but for her volunteer efforts and activism within the music industry and on behalf of issues and organizations that care about children.

MARCY MARXER Marcy Marxer, two-time Grammy winner, is a master of several stringed instruments. She is extraordinarily dialed into traditional roots music be it old-time country, folk, bluegrass and of course swing. Marxer has over 50 recordings to her credit and has been honored with 8 Signature Model Instruments from C.F. Martin & Co., Gold Tone Instruments, National Reso-Phonics and Kala. Marcy also happens to be a very gifted instructor.

KELLY RICHEY Kelly Richey is a master blues guitarist who has been playing and touring worldwide for over 30 years. Richey has been a guitar instructor just about as long as she’s been playing, with over 1,000 students, to date. With near 4,000 shows under her belt, Richey is a seasoned pro, who has a solid understanding of blues and blues-based rock guitar techniques. Richey is an outgoing, deeply dedicated guitar instructor.

TONY SMOTHERMAN Tony Smotherman is a guitarist that resides in Jacksonville Florida who plays his own brand of World Rock along with many other genres. His music is an eclectic mix of influences, bringing together the sound and feel of music from around the world into a rock setting with his band “The Tony Smotherman Project.” Tony is a well-respected educator of the instrument having taught at numerous guitar clinics, workshops, and private sessions.

SHANE THERIOT Shane Theriot is a guitarist, composer and Grammy award-winning producer. He is a highly sought after sideman/studio guitarist, he has recorded and or performed with The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Jewel, Beyonce’, Sammy Hagar, Willie Nelson, Rickie Lee Jones, Larry Carlton, Branford Marsalis, Hall and Oates, Harry Connick Jr., Boz Scaggs, Amos Lee, LeAnn Rimes, Little Feat. Shane is currently on the TV show “Live From Daryl’s House” featuring Daryl Hall, in which he serves as Music Director/Guitarist.

ANDY TIMMONS As guitarist for Danger Danger, he toured the world opening for Kiss and Alice Cooper, sold over a million records worldwide, and had two #1 videos on MTV. As a session player, he’s been highly featured on CDs by drumming legend Simon Phillips, a live CD with Olivia Newton-John (Andy has been her music director/ guitarist for several U.S. tours), two CDs by Kip Winger, recording sessions for Paula Abdul, Paul Stanley, and countless radio and television jingles.

FRANK VIGNOLA Frank Vignola is one of the most extraordinary guitarists performing before the public today. His stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops, the New York Pops, and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitarists List: for the Wall Street Journal.

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Lessons COMPILATION ALBUM

RIFFAGE: VOLUME 3 Here ye, here ye! Audiophiles, guitar aficionados and enlightened children of the ‘Fire — prepare thy ears and hearts for magical music from the artists and educators featured in this edition of RIFF. Click the download button below for your personal copy of RIFFAGE Volume 3…

Resolution - Andy Timmons Tico, Tico - Frank Vignola Say What - Andy Aledort Old Men - Shane Theriot Love - Kelley Richey Do This Again - Corey Congilio Gatton’s Gait - Marc Cooper Dublin Jig - Tony Smotherman What Lies Beneath - Scott Allen

Download the FREE Album

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

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BEHIND THE MIX We can’t say it enough — the not-so-secret ingredients of TrueFire are the artists and educators that we are privileged to collaborate with. Not just amazingly talented educators, they are also brilliant composers, arrangers and recording artists in their own right. Enjoy their music and please visit their websites and social media networks.

Resolution - Andy Timmons This track is from the ATB CD “Resolution” - a true “trio” recording with virtually no overdubs. Features Mike Daane on Bass and Mitch Marine on Drums.

Do This Again - Corey Congilio ‘Do This Again’ from forthcoming EP entitled “Well Suited”, a semi-autobiographical blues tune that speaks to those who have loved, lost and would do it all over again!

Tico, Tico - Frank Vignola This track comes from a new album featuring 13 classic Swing Era songs. Guests include Vinny Raniolo, the legendary swing guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, Olli Soikkeli, Julian Lage, Gene Bertoncini, Audra Mariel and Gary Mazzaroppi.

Gatton’s Gait - Marc Cooper ‘Gatton’s Gait’ is Marc Cooper’s moving tribute to the late great guitarist Danny Gatton, whom he got to perform with in 1993.

Say What - Andy Aledort This is version of, ‘Say What?’ was recorded in Austin, TX with Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon, aka Double Trouble. We recorded 22 songs in six days, which was pretty grueling but a lot of fun.

Dublin Jig - Tony Smotherman ‘Dublin Jig’ was inspired by Ireland. Special guests on this track included Concert Master Philip Pan on fiddle and Derek Sherinian on keys. The intro sounds like a melody an Irish fiddle player might play.

Old Men - Shane Theriot This track is from Shane’s 3rd solo record and last one to date. The most- groove heavy collection of 10 original tunes dripping with New Orleans injected-funk and burning guitar.

What Lies Beneath - Scott Allen This track is off Scott Allen Project’s new album “III”. It’s a high energy instrumental progressive hard rock in the mold of Steve Vai and Dream Theater with a little Van Halen thrown in for good measure.

Love - Kelley Richey ‘Love’ is a blues-based, riff driven song written and recorded in early 2015. Lyrically, the song’s meaning speaks of showing kindness and compassion to each other in the face of a harsh, unkind world.

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SNAPSHOTs

day in the h g u o r a ort after ire Andy Aled studio at T rueF

Jeff Bec k’s set list

Corey Congilio, new side man to Steven Lee Olsen

SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

Shane T heriot live on stage


Jeff Bec k on the at Bonn Which Stage aroo

Brad Wendkos photobombs Cat hy Fink

Tony Smotherman goes eastern on his sitar

Larry Carlton and his biz partner Robert Williams at the Grammy’s RIFF

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www.riffjournal.com SPRING 2015 | ISSUE 3

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Riff Journal | Spring 2015 | Issue 3  
Riff Journal | Spring 2015 | Issue 3  

Spring is sprung! Whatever your bag, all of these TrueFire artists and educators inspire us and they are living proof that the music busines...