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alternate (Tunings) Universe


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CONTENTS 5 A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER Bridging the digital divide

6 SACRED SYMBOLISM & BODY ART An interview with Alex Morgan on guitar design

18 DWEEZIL ZAPPA: DWEEZOLIGISMS Music, the way and the truth with Dweezil Zappa

26 LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION…IN THE JAM TrueFire’s new educational platform is firing up the Jam in bedrooms everywhere

34 KELLY RICHEY: ROAD QUEEN

DWEEZIL ZAPPA: DWEEZOLOGISMS In The Jam features world-class artists including Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Keith Carlock, Steve Smith, Carl Verheyen, Stu Hamm, Frank Vignola, Julian Lage and Tony Monaco. The project took the better part of two years to produce and make available to students due largely to technology development and the many production challenges involved in creating the content. While everybody at the ‘Fire played a major role in its development, Brad Wendkos and Tommy Jamin led the charge and Godfathered the project, which is why we bring you the following in their own words… What was the Inspiration behind In The Jam?

BW: My father loved jazz and played several

instruments. He would have other musicians over all the time to jam and very often they’d ply over a variety vinyl records called Music Minus One. The recordings featured professionally recorded rhythm tracks ‘minus’ the vocalist or one of the instruments. They had a blast with the records and the jams sounded great. That was definitely one of the ‘spark’ concepts for In The Jam. Primarily though, TrueFire students love to jam over tracks during their practice sessions and so, we started exploring ways that we could make jamming with rhythm tracks more like jamming with real musicians, and pro musicians at that. And to do that we had come up with a way to immerse the student ‘in the jam’ and simulate what really

Life on the road with the consummate performer and blues(wo)man

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Truefire recently launched In The Jam, a new educational platform for all instruments featuring a series of multi-track Music, way and videothe jams performed by topthe artists.truth with Dweezil Zappa

40 LESSON: FRETBOARD MASTERY IN SIX

EASY STEPS

happens on the bandstand. What ‘really’ happens on the bandstand?

Andrew Leonard’s system makes fretboard knowledge a breeze (even from the bus stop)

BW: Music is a language and just like any

other language, musicians are listening and communicating with each other in real time when they perform together. Learning how to listen is the primary skill that needs to be developed. If you don’t have the opportunity to play out with other musicians, you don’t have the opportunity to develop that skill. That’s the key educational value of working with In The Jam — you learn how to listen.

44 LESSON: BANJO MAGIC - TUNINGS,

How?

MOODS & STYLES

TJ: We give students the ability to mute, solo

or adjust the volume of any of the tracks — in essence, they are mixing their own jam. That process alone requires students to focus on each of the instruments and really hear what’s going on. Once you’re tuned in to what the other musicians are doing, you then have to learn how to interact with your own part. How does In The Jam help with that?

BW: We struggled with that at first but during the

third round of sessions Tommy and I thought we’d have each of the artists record a commentary — like a director’s commentary on a DVD — over each of the tracks where they would talk about what they were hearing from the other band members and how they were responding to it musically. Bingo! Those commentaries reveal so much about

SACRED SYMBOLISM & BODY ART An interview with Alex Morgan on guitar design WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION ...IN THE JAM

LESSONS

Cathy Fink talks banjo, bluegrass and tunings for all kinds of flavor

SKILL LEVEL - LATE INTERMEDIATE

TUNINGS

TrueFire’s new educational platform is firing up the Jam in bedrooms everywhere

BLUEGRASS

48 LESSON: BEBOP DOJO - POCKET TAI CHI

BANJO

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Get in the pocket by really moving your body to the rhythm

50 LESSON: CHORD SHAPES FOR

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IMPROVISATION

Joe Pinnavaia shares how some standard chord shapes open the door to improvisation

BANJO MAGIC: TUNINGS, MOODS AND STYLES

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54 FRANK VIGNOLA: GOJI BALLADEER Written by Cathy Fink

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While the banjo has often been associated with movies and television that caused some disrespect, it’s a new age of banjo respect thanks to Bela Fleck, Tony Trishka, Adam Hurt, Paul Brown, Rhiannon Giddens, Evie Laden and countless other players both famous and not, who have driven the sound of the five-string banjo into genres and places an old timer couldn’t have imagined a hundred years ago. Each of these players, and their banjo buddies, have drawn their sounds out of what started as a gourd drum with a neck on it and 2-4 or 5 strings.

BANJO MAGIC - TUNINGS, MOODS & STYLES

ROAD QUEEN

Life on the road with the consummate performer and blues(wo)man

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Cathy Fink talks banjo, bluegrass and tunings for all kinds of flavor WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6

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Up close and personal with Frank sheds light on melody, life lessons and the occasional kale chip

Jump forward and there’s banjo everywhere – both bluegrass and old time styles. First, what’s the difference? In bluegrass, the player uses a thumbpick and fingerpicks on the index and middle finger. The sound is crackling, bright, often loud and can be driving. Think Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Ralph Stanley in earlier generations. Old time styles include fingerpicking of a less regimented type and often less drive as well as “clawhammer” otherwise known as frailing, rapping or even knocking. Think Grandpa Jones, Tommy Jarrell, Lily Mae Ledford and sometimes Pete & Mike Seeger. That gourd became a flour sifter with a skin stretched over it, and eventually, a manufactured instrument with options of various tone rings and setups that make for the wide variety of tones that various banjos get. Gut strings, nylon strings and steel strings provide more variety.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

P

Written by: Brad

FROM

FRANK VIGNOLA: GOJI BALLADEER

Up close and personal with Frank sheds light on melody, life lessons and the occasional kale chip

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PLAYER ANDREW FORD: FUNK IS ON THE ONE

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Bass master Ford gives us the scoop on fame & family while keeping it funky

Bass master Ford gives us the scoop on fame & family while keeping it funky SIX-STRING AFICIONADOS: STUDENT PROFILE

70 LESSONS FROM PINBALL EVERY GUITAR PLAYER SHOULD LEARN

76 SIX-STRING AFICIONADO: SERGIO LONGHI

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.

A spotlight on TrueFire student Sergio Longhi WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6

TF: What do you do for a living? LONGHI: I’m an entrepreneur! In 1999, I started up an

years old I found a lot of the meaning of life, first in photography and now in music. Other than that, I can only say, try it yourself and you will see ;)

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e-commerce company in Italy (when e-commerce was a foreign concept), working my way up. Now the company has 15 employees and I’m constantly trying to improve and optimize the business. Running a business means that you work 24/7, you are always connected to your job mentally speaking. Of course with the bad comes also the good, being the owner means also you can decide, if possible, to give yourself some hours or some days off whenever you want and need. Being able to choose how I manage my life is a wonderful thing.

TF: If you could learn to play any one thing, what would it be? Song, solo, piece etc.

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FROM

PLA

Guitar player, educator and pinball maven Marc Schonbrun reflects on the flip of pinball

SERGIO LONGHI

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62 ANDREW FORD: FUNK IS ON THE ONE

STUDENT PROFILE

FROM

LESSONS FROM PINBALL EVERY GUITAR PLAYER SHOULD LEARN

Guitar player, educator and pinball maven Marc Schonbrun reflects on the flip of pinball

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TF: If you could be in any band (current

or past) which band would you like to be in?

LONGHI: I would like to be my own

so, my own band. However Full listing and interactive links from the featured artists andsuccess, educators if I have to chose a band I think I

LONGHI: Parisian Walkways from Gary Moore, but the way HE plays!

80 RIFFAGE: FEATURED ALBUM COMPILATION TF: Who is your favorite guitarist and why?

would have a LOT of fun playing and writing songs with the Foo Fighters.

TF: Finish this sentence, ”If everyone

LONGHI: Gary Moore is my favorite guitarist. I think he Get your FREE download of featured music from Riff artistson the planet played guitar….” has the complete package, an enormous amount of talent,

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

an incredible technique, soul, intensity, and passion. My preferred style of music is blues, thus giving me a very long list of very talented artists to choose from. With this said, I would still say Gary Moore is the best.

82 CLOSING SNAPSHOTS

LONGHI: Practice, method and persistence are the fundamental keys for success in everything, in life as it is in music. Like everybody else I have to share my time over the daily activities: sleep, eat, work, spare time and hobbies (did I mention my wife? She will kill me if I don’t). So please don’t tell me that you have no time; we all have time and we all decide what to do with our time. Going back strictly to the guitar, I practice at least one hour, if possible, two each day. Let’s say 70% of the time trying to have fun while practicing, means jamming on a backing track, the other 30% of the time is spent trying to learn and practice something new (these can be the frustrating things to practice!)

LONGHI: Well, that would be too

many people being able to play guitar and make it harder for me to be a good guitar player. LOL. So to everyone else, please do something different or just and learn a another instrument!

TF: What musician would you like to have dinner with (living and on the road Photos from backstage, behind-the-scenes

TF: Why do you think music is important to someone’s life? LONGHI: Music is art. Art is beauty and expression of ourselves, expression of humanity, and expression of the soul. Many people talk about spirituality, but how many are willing to embrace for real this spirituality? I’m a lefty,

or dead)?

LONGHI: I know, I know…I just said that I love the blues;

you would think I would say Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa, or BB King, but the person I hope to be able to meet is Tom Waits. I think he has a huge charisma and he is the personification of art and talent. If you ever heard his music, paying attention to his lyrics, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. His art would open my mind and help me grow even more.

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).

LONGHI: Absolutely my Gibson Les Paul Custom R0

1960 Reissue VOS that plays like a dream. At the end of my days, it will most likely look exactly like the Holy Grail

TF: Describe your biggest ‘aha’ moment on guitar.

LONGHI: I, personally, had two aha

moments. The first one was a year ago when for the first time I suddenly forgot what I was doing, which fret I was pressing and the musing was just flowing. I was in a trance. The second aha moment was couple of weeks ago, when I played a jam I did along with a backing track, a ballad, just before going to bed. It felt so nice for the first time, no squeaky sounds or weird notes (yes I’m very critical of myself, let’s just say a perfectionist),

STUDENT PROFILE: SERGIO LONGHI A spotlight on TrueFire student Sergio Longhi

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CONTRIBUTORS “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.

RIFF BAND

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 singer-songwriter, production gear & tech enthusiast and family man.

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.

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facebook.com/riffjournal

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.

KYLER THOMANN Music Editor

With Creative Utility Knife skills, Kyler bridges web and print, video, and digital images and has a passion for live events and all things musical. With his finger on the pulse of the live music scene, Kyler brings a keen editorial spirit to the magazine..


A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER Photo by: Alison Hasbach

B

ack in the day, you didn’t have a lot of options if you wanted to learn how to play guitar. They didn’t teach it in band. No guitar instructional CDs, DVDs or software. No internet. No tab. And there were very few instructional books available focused on the other popular styles of the day. Younger players today couldn’t even imagine a world without all of the learning resources available today. How did so many millions of us manage to learn the instrument? We studied with local instructors. We learned from our buds. We’d jam and interact with other musicians every chance we got. And what we learned, we passed on to others. Today we have more options than Carter’s got liver pills (If you don’t recognize that saying, then you were just a sparkle in your momma’s eyes back in the day referenced above). You can stock your library with thousands of instructional books, CDs, DVDs, software, apps and the like. You can feast on YouTube or hook up with online companies like TrueFire and tap into thousands

of on-demand lessons. The digital age is a dream come true for musicians. But there’s a down side. Yes, we have incredible resources at our fingertips, but we’ve lost touch with each other. We now learn in isolation. The information flows from our desktop and mobile screens in a single direction. There’s no one to tell us what we did right or what we did wrong. There’s no one to motivate us. There’s no mentoring. We’re that family in a restaurant mesmerized by their own phones. The digital divide. Technology may have spawned the divide, but it will also bridge it. Skype lessons, video messaging, online jamming and video chat webinars are all just now becoming recognized as viable ways for students to interact with instructors, well as with other students. Pick one of these platforms and give it a go. Somewhere out there in the wide blue yonder is your ideal instructor and mentor. And now they make house calls.

Brad Wendkos || Head Smoke Jumper

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Yvonne de Villiers was the visionary, co-founder and designer for Luna Guitars. Alex Morgan is a freelance designer based in the UK who partnered with Yvonne on many projects. YVONNE’S STORY WAS A STAINED GLASS ARTIST

for 30+ years. Since my designs were primarily in public places, it was crucial that they be an organic extension of both the architecture, as well as the people that inhabited each space. Because I often created glass for sacred spaces, many designs employed cultural or universal symbolism to please the eye, nourish the spirit and allow the viewer to forge an emotional connection to the building. I am a firm believer that energy follows intent, so I always aimed to bring as much attention to detail and authenticity as possible to every project. When I turned my eye to guitar design, I applied the same philosophy. With every instrument, it was my hope to enchant the eye, apprehend the heart, and foster connection. I view guitars as miniature sacred spaces and the relationship between a player and his or her instrument as a sacred equation…it is always an honor to be a small part of that equation.

In 2007, I was intrigued by the look and feel of laser-etched wood, as it was reminiscent of henna on skin. Subsequently, I envisioned an intricate henna design on a guitar soundboard using this relatively new technology. It was important to me that the design be genuine so I initially contacted Catherine Cartwright-Jones, a scholar in the field, who was preparing a dissertation on henna for her PhD at Kent State. Because she was too busy to take on the project, she providentially put me in touch with Alex Morgan and the rest is guitar history! Alex immediately “got” the idea and the henna “Paradise” guitar was born, followed by many more designs drawing on henna and other indigenous ornamentation. Yvonne sits down for an exclusive Riff interview with Alex.

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PICTURED

ALEX MORGAN

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WITH EVERY INSTRUMENT, IT WAS MY HOPE TO ENCHANT THE EYE, APPREHEND THE HEART, AND FOSTER CONNECTION. I VIEW GUITARS AS MINIATURE SACRED SPACES AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A PLAYER AND HIS OR HER INSTRUMENT AS A SACRED EQUATION… - YVONNE DEVILLIERS

Yvonne: What ignited your passion for design? Alex: I’ve always made patterns and loved drawing. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t draw, even as a small child I made patterns all the time. I decided I wanted to be an artist when I was four years old so I think it’s always been part of who I am rather than just something that I do. Yvonne: What was your reaction when first asked to design a henna guitar?

Alex: It was a perfect moment, simply wonderful! I totally connected with the project, the intimacy of marrying the artwork to the musical instrument to create something strong and special for the musician. At that time I was working on a collection of Medieval Spanish henna patterns so the historical connection between that place and period and the origins of the guitar itself fell perfectly into place. Yvonne: Your designs have all been laser etched. What is your design process like to prepare the art for the guitar manufacturer? What tools do you use on a daily basis? Alex: Drawing is a physical process so the tools you use do influence the end result. For me the creative process usually begins with a pencil, a very pointy pencil sharpened with a knife for preference! Finished ideas have to be translated to digital medium for manufacture, but I find it can be limiting to start with the computer. The pencil easily keeps pace with my thought process, visual notes can be generated and any that show promise can be worked up to a finished state for consideration. I really like working with laser etching as an artistic end point because it does not interfere with the voice of an instrument. Many other ways of applying decoration to the soundboard of a guitar would have a damping or dulling effect upon the sound quality. RIFF Pictured: Detail from the design Paradise Henna, Alex's first Henna design

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PERHAPS IT’S THE CONCEPT OF THE GUITAR AS AN EXTENSION OF THE BODY. MUSIC AND PATTERN ARE QUITE COMPLEMENTARY ART FORMS.

Pictured: Alex Morgan with her design of Vicki Genfan Signature Guitar

Yvonne: Why do you feel that players have been so attracted to instruments featuring body ornamentation? Alex: Perhaps it’s the concept of the guitar as an extension of the body. Music and pattern are quite complementary art forms. I personally like the way they come together in guitar design to result in performance. Yvonne: Vicki Genfan is a TrueFire educator and your artwork graces her signature guitar. Where do you start and what is the process like when asked to create artwork of a personal nature for a musician?

Alex: The starting point is the artist for whom you are creating and what is important to them. A personal design has to be a good fit and shouldn’t be imposed upon them. It has to represent them in a way they can relate to. Vicki wanted to work with the Om symbol so that is where we began the journey adding other layers of meaning and symbolism as the idea developed. The Om symbol needed

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a framework of some kind to anchor it onto the canvas (guitar body) like a jewel in a setting. I began creating this element of the design by looking for a way to use a soft organic plant motif (as a frame as if growth were springing from the Om). Once the placement of the design was established I began to work out the detail of the foliage. It was important to me that we brought in some more layers of meaning in the artwork. Vicki suggested flames and we created a visual fusion of flames and foliage with one other. My daughter was reading a Russian folktale about the Firebird and this idea is woven into Vicki’s design both at the sound hole and also hinted at around the main motif. If the Firebird gives you a feather it will light the path and guide you safely home through the dark forest. It is a positive symbol of hope, a blessing and illumination.

Yvonne: What kind of music do you like to listen to when

you work?

Alex: If I’m working for a specific artist then I listen to their voice. Otherwise with a twelve year old in the house I don’t always get a choice about what I’m listening too.


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Pictured: Paz Lenchantin with her Paz signature bass designed by Alex Morgan

Yvonne: How would you describe your design style? Alex: I’d try not to! People love to define everything, but for art I think defining it inevitably creates limitations and being an artist should be about trying new things and bringing your own voice to different applications and media without fear and self imposed boundaries. Yvonne: Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work? Alex: Yes I do :o) Sometimes I play with the symbolism of motifs, sometimes I just hide elements within a design as unexpected little surprises for anybody who really cares to study things in detail. Yvonne: What inspires you? Alex: Inspiration comes from all sorts of things often when I’m not looking for it. It’s important to be open to the possibility of inspiration. If you believe

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THIS WAS A SIGNATURE INSTRUMENT FOR PAZ LENCHANTIN. SHE WANTED A "HENNA" LOOK WITH A PAISLEY MOTIF. RESEMBLING A TWISTED TEARDROP, THE FIG-SHAPED PAISLEY IS OF IRANIAN ORIGIN, BUT ITS WESTERN NAME DERIVES FROM THE TOWN OF PAISLEY, IN WEST SCOTLAND, A CENTRE FOR TEXTILES WHERE PAISLEY DESIGNS WERE PRODUCED. DESIGN SCHOLARS BELIEVE IT IS THE CONVERGENCE OF A STYLIZED FLORAL SPRAY AND A CYPRESS TREE.

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THE DESIGN FOR THIS TRAVEL GUITAR WAS BASED ON THE FAERIES AND NIGHT CREATURES WHO INHABIT THE FOREST OF SHAKESPEARE'S MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

you don’t have any ideas, then it will be so. I always carry a notebook around so I can jot down ideas that flit through my mind before they escape. Inspiration can be a place, a color, a person, a random chance comment, perhaps a song or a lyric, a piece of text, almost anything. I’m especially fond of superstitions, folklore and fairytales.

Yvonne: Do you do anything special to get your "creative juices"

flowing?

Alex: It’s helpful to look outside the box even when working on a very specific brief. I like to draw in threads of interest from many directions to bring something new or unexpected to a project.

Written by Yvonne deVilliers You can see more of Alex’s work and contact her here: http://www.spellstone.com

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Cracking open the area titled “Music,” it seems that one Dweezil Zappa penned this salient bit of advice, and it reads: “Listen to everyone and learn to do your own thing with it. It’s all one big conversation to respond to.” Sage advice ancient human. It would make sense if Dweezil was included in the time capsule as his playing is often described as otherworldly. He has established himself as far more than just a rock guitarist, but more purely a musician who uses rock guitar as his main mode of expression. Rock guitar, however, did catch his attention at 12 years old and the light bulb went on and stayed on. “I remember hearing Randy Rhoads and Edward Van Halen, thinking to myself I want to do that! I had always been a fan of my dad’s music and his guitar playing, but knew that it was really

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Captain’s Log: Stardate 4813.7 - A large black monolith has been discovered on a far away planet. It’s contents are being scrutinized, and seem to include a time capsule from a long forgotten orb known as Earth. This planet seemed to have some artistic diversity and passed on wisdom from many of their pioneering artists in this capsule.

!! !

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"In order to play in context to my dad's music, I had to try to speak his language with the guitar."


THOSE ROOTS GREW DEEP AND LED TO BECOMING A RECORDING AND TOURING PRO. DWEEZIL DIDN’T JUST FLOAT THROUGH THOSE TIMES, HE LEARNED AND ABSORBED. “THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I’VE LEARNED FROM TOURING IS THAT YOU MUST ALWAYS REMAIN FOCUSED ON THE PRESENT MOMENT. IT’S ALSO VERY HELPFUL TO DO THAT IN LIFE!”

hard. I figured I would get to it one day. I had to start somewhere though and for me Randy and Edward provided a road map to develop technique and a style rooted in hard rock.” Those roots grew deep and led to becoming a recording and touring pro. Dweezil didn’t just float through those times, he learned and absorbed. “The most important lesson I’ve learned from touring is that you must always remain focused on the present moment. It’s also very helpful to do that in life!”

He says his playing “changed a great deal” from his decade of playing his father’s music. “I worked really hard to build a new

!!

!

It certainly is. Dweezil is present in his own music, as well as the highly successful Zappa Plays Zappa, which finds him touring and playing material from Frank Zappa’s exhaustive catalog. Fans of the elder Zappa were afraid the opportunity to see these amazing compositions performed live was lost with his passing, but Dweezil not only does the music justice, but brings his own flare and energy to the show.

vocabulary from which to draw ideas for improvisation. In order to play in context to my dad’s music, I had to try to speak his language with the guitar. His playing was rooted in the blues, but was informed by his intense knowledge of rhythm and harmony. I had to develop a lot more rhythmic diversity first and then start applying new harmonic concepts. All of that work influenced the writing for my new album. You can hear an example of that in the very first song called “Funky 15,” which is an instrumental in 15/8 time signature and it’s a composed piece that incorporates live string quartet, brass textures, and creepy-crawly intervallic guitar lines.”

z Dweezil’s new album Via Zammata’ is the first of his own music in 10 years. “I wanted to make a record that allowed me to explore all of the new insights and musical vocabulary that I’ve picked up in the last decade of playing my father’s music with Zappa Plays Zappa. One of the things that might surprise people is that the guitar is, for the most part, a part of

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v i a

"THE TITLE COMES FROM A STREET IN PARTINICO, SICILY. I RECENTLY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRACE MY FATHER’S FAMILY HISTORY TO THAT VERY STREET. IN SOME WAYS, THIS RECORD IS ANALOGOUS TO THAT JOURNEY. IT TRACES MY EARLIEST INFLUENCES IN MUSIC AND SCATTERS THEM ALONG THE PATH AS YOU LISTEN TO VIA ZAMMATA’."

z the ensemble and it picks its moments to step forward. In the past, I treated the guitar as the most prominent instrument in my music. This record, for lack of a better description, is more like a singer-songwriter record with heavily orchestrated instrumentation. The title comes from a street in Partinico, Sicily. I recently had the opportunity to trace my father’s family history to that very street. In some ways, this record is analogous to that journey. It traces my earliest influences in music and scatters them along the path as you listen to Via Zammata’. This eclectic scattering of influences can be heard in songs that drip with variety such as, “a vocal intro that sounds like the offspring of the Beach Boys mating with the Bulgarian Women’s Choir.” Or a combo of “Farfisa organ and a marxophone.” “Dragon Master” is the only

z a m m a t a


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! ! ! ! ! !! ! !

!!!!!!!!!

! ! ! ! ! !! ! !

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song Dweezil ever had a chance to co-write with his father. “My Dad wrote the lyrics and asked me to write the music. The goal with the production of this song was to create a legitimate full throttle metal song that could support the preposterous lyrics. I also added an Arabic melody that is a repeating theme throughout the song. It gave me an opportunity to play the oud, which I’ve recently begun learning.” Variety is indeed the spice of Dweezil’s guitar life, including other players he listens to. “Some of my favorites of the moment are Oz Noy, Tim Miller, Richard Hallebeek, and Tom Quayle. I’ve been getting into microtonal music as well, so I’ve been listening to oud music and sarod, players such as Prassana for the Indian style and Dave Fiucynski for the microtonal style. I’m also very inspired to learn some phrasing

from the Bulgarian clarinet player Ivo Papsov. That guy is nuts!” The new year starts with Dweezil playing to support Via Zammata’, then doing the Experience Hendrix tour. Then it is Zappa Plays Zappa, with some extra Zappa thrown in for good measure. He will be opening ZPZ shows with his own music. Sort of a ZZPZ. Dweezil puts it best when he says “There’s a lot going on!” So when that monolith is cracked open in the distant future, and those words of wisdom are consumed by some 12 toed, 4 tongued alien beatnik musician looking for a gig, let’s hope he has the soul to respond in kind to the “big conversation.”

www.dweezilzappaworld.com

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An exclusive look into TrueFire’s new educational platform is firing up Jam sessions everywhere

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TrueFire recently launched In The Jam, a new educational platform for all instruments featuring a series of multi-track video jams performed by top artists.

In The Jam features world-class artists including Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Keith Carlock, Steve Smith, Carl Verheyen, Stu Hamm, Frank Vignola, Julian Lage and Tony Monaco among others. The project took the better part of two years to produce and make available to students due largely to technology development and the many production challenges involved in creating the content. While everybody at the ‘Fire played a major role in its development, Brad Wendkos and Tommy Jamin led the charge and Godfathered the project, which is why we bring you the following in their own words… What was the Inspiration behind In The Jam?

BW: My father loved jazz and played several

instruments. He would have other musicians over all the time to jam and very often they’d play over a variety vinyl records called Music Minus One. The recordings featured professionally recorded rhythm tracks ‘minus’ the vocalist or one of the instruments. They had a blast with the records and the jams sounded great. That was definitely one of the ‘spark’ concepts for In The Jam. Primarily though, TrueFire students love to jam over tracks during their practice sessions and so, we started exploring ways that we could make jamming with rhythm tracks more like jamming with real musicians, and pro musicians at that. And to do that we had come up with a way to immerse the student ‘in the jam’ and simulate what really

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happens on the bandstand. What ‘really’ happens on the bandstand?

BW: Music is a language and just like any

other language, musicians are listening and communicating with each other in real time when they perform together. Learning how to listen is the primary skill that needs to be developed. If you don’t have the opportunity to play out with other musicians, you don’t have the opportunity to develop that skill. That’s the key educational value of working with In The Jam — you learn how to listen. How?

TJ: We give students the ability to mute, solo

or adjust the volume of any of the tracks — in essence, they are mixing their own jam. That process alone requires students to focus on each of the instruments and really hear what’s going on. Once you’re tuned in to what the other musicians are doing, you then have to learn how to interact with your own part. How does In The Jam help with that?

BW: We struggled with that at first but during the

third round of sessions Tommy and I thought we’d have each of the artists record a commentary — like a director’s commentary on a DVD — over each of the tracks where they would talk about what they were hearing from the other band members and how they were responding to it musically. Bingo! Those commentaries reveal so much


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TRUEFIRE STUDENTS LOVE TO JAM OVER TRACKS DURING THEIR PRACTICE SESSIONS AND SO, WE STARTED EXPLORING WAYS THAT WE COULD MAKE JAMMING WITH RHYTHM TRACKS MORE LIKE JAMMING WITH REAL MUSICIANS, AND PRO MUSICIANS AT THAT.

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about the listening, interacting and improvisational process on such a high level way beyond anything we’ve ever done before. How many have you produced and with whom?

TJ: So far we’ve produced eight editions of In The

Jam. We’ve got Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Robbie Calvo, Frank Vignola with Julian Lage as a duo, Fareed Haque with Tony Monaco on B3 and Steve Smith on Drums, Stu Hamm with Carl Verheyen and Jonathan Mover on drums, and finally there’s Chris Buono with Steve Jenkins on bass and Keith Carlock on drums. We actually just wrapped up a second ITJ edition with Robben where we took all of the content we captured during his album recording sessions for Day In Nashville and we produced additional in-studio performance and commentary content for that. It’s going to be a great one. Is the In The Jam series just for guitarists?

BW: Absolutely not. This is really the first

educational platform we’ve designed with all instruments, even vocalists, in mind. Not only can you mix in or out the guitar parts, you can mute the drums and take on that part, you can mute the bass or keys and join in on those parts. Even horn players can jump in anywhere they like. Every edition of In The Jam is optimized for all instruments. You guys worked with Keith Carlock and Steve Smith on drums; what was that like?

TJ: Yeah, with Keith there’s just a massive quality to his sound. That guy absolutely crushes the drums! I mean, it all has a killer feel, of course, but his energy on the kit was just intense, and he’s got a great sense of dynamics and power. You can see it in him physically. It’s funny; even when he counted in the grooves he would scream it in! He just drives the groove. Great player. Steve is a master of feel. With his sound, there’s a rhythmic tightness that you don’t hear every day. He’s definitely a powerful drummer but he’s also so

interesting to watch because he seems so centered and calm throughout. I mean the guy wears his shades while he plays! He’d pull off these intricate timings in his fills and patterns, but gracefully and effortlessly. It’s really fun to watch. We don’t get to do as much drum content as I’d like to, so it was a pleasure working with all of them; Jonathan Mover is another killer drummer that we really enjoyed working with. What were some of the production challenges?

TJ: The production sort of evolved naturally from

project to project. I mean, in the very first edition we shot, which I think was with Robben Ford, we shot him solo and only used audio for all of the other instruments that he had pre-recorded. Each tune only had two video angles, one rhythm performance and one lead performance. In fact, some of the tunes only had a single performance video where he just took a couple of solos power-trio style. Those productions were relatively straightforward and we were able to use our typical course setup to shoot everything. How did the production evolve from there?

TJ: Years ago when we built this studio, we built

it envisioning the potential of bringing a full band in - so we had the space for it. After we had a couple of these in the can, the natural evolution was to get some trios in, so that’s what we did. The first one we did was guitar, Hammond organ, and drums. Adding two more players meant more cameras, but with drums and keys you’re not just talking about an additional camera; you need several more for each. We needed to capture foot angles for both, overhead views for both, and depending on the shoot we’d incorporate overthe-shoulder and medium shots as well. With multi-camera setups like that you have to stay on top of your operation or you’ll lose something and inevitably ruin the best take from the performers, so it took managing for sure.

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One of the greatest aspects of getting to produce these was just being a part of the process; seeing the guys work out the parts on the spot. No doubt, it would have made an already enormous product too big to deliver, but one day I’d love to capture and include the whole process! The guys would come in basically with lead sheets, spend a few minutes working out the changes with each other, and then we’d roll and they’d just improvise like ninety percent of it! Ultimately we ended up shooting something like twelve camera angles including the commentaries. It’s great to get that sort of detail and insight into the way the guys not only play their instruments but also be able to see the way they play off of each other. Another thing we struggled with in post was whether or not to include tab. I think Brad and I went back and forth a dozen or so times on it - whether this product was about the tabs or not. We ultimately decided that it needed to be in there. It’s one of the things we’ve learned about the way our customers use our products. The tab is always a big bonus; so it’s in there!

For audio we ran everything into Pro Tools. Audio was definitely on a larger scale than our regular course shoots, and on top everything has to be mixed and synced to the video, stems exported and loaded into the player, testing, mix-preset designing, and lots of other things that made these way bigger projects than your average recording session. One of the things that came along later was a huge overhaul to our technical production setup; as we continued producing more of the trio editions, we’d inject time code into all of the video captures from a master driver in the audio setup, which meant that every camera angle and every audio track locked up automatically in post.

All of that sounds like it would be tricky to capture from a technical standpoint?

With all of that content in the specialized player software, we also really had to test limitations of different types of computers, download times, playback quality, etc. We had to develop a clever way to effectively play a dozen HD videos and a dozen stereo mp3’s simultaneously without bogging down everyday, run-of-the-mill home computers and laptops. The technical team here worked really hard on that for a long time, and they pulled off a bit of magic I think, really.

TJ: It is for sure, and the biggest challenge of having

How have students responded thus far?

that many cameras in a set is to shoot clean angles without a sloppy mess of grip and camera equipment in the background. I think it really came out well and we were able to accomplish it with mostly gear we have in-house for our course shoots. We set the guys up in an L-shaped configuration with the drums against our cyclorama wall and the other two along the longer wall of the studio. Using a single Image 85 coupled with an eight foot by eight foot diffuser, we lit the subject. We put a similar setup in front of the other two players. We set up some smaller fills for lighting the feet but that was pretty much it. With both sets, we were able to get clean white backgrounds for that TrueFire look with just a pair of 600W incandescent cans and some simple grip for controlling the wash.

BW: We’ve never had such a massively positive response to one of our new educational platforms as we’ve had with In The Jam. Usually it takes a little time for students to feel out something new but that was definitely not the case here. We really have our creative and technical folks to thank for that as they worked really hard on the interface, making it very intuitive and fun to work with. The project took a very long time to bring to fruition largely due to countless versions of that interface. Looking back now, it was all well worth the wait. Anything new planned for In The Jam, artist or featurewise?

BW: Stay tuned…

Written by Brad Wenkos & Tommy Jamin

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LEARNING HOW TO LISTEN IS THE PRIMARY SKILL THAT NEEDS TO BE DEVELOPED. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY OUT WITH OTHER MUSICIANS, YOU DON’T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP THAT SKILL.

From Upper Corner Left to Right: Robben Ford, Carl Verheyen, Chris Buono, Fareed Haque, Julian Lage and Frank Vignola, Julian Lage, Keith Carlock, Larry Carlton, Jonathan Mover, Robbie Calvo, Steve Jenkins, Steve Smith, Stu Hamm, Tony Monaco

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Feat kelly richey

ROAD

queen written by:

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jeff scheetz


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S

Photos by: Alison Hasbach

So you have had a few gigs and now consider yourself a “road warrior.” Before getting the tattoo, you might not want to compare your grueling gig schedule with Kelly Richey’s.

You might walk away feeling a bit like Wayne and Garth, “We’re not worthy”! Kelly started touring in 1986 doing 275 shows per year with an Arista records band “Stealin’ Horses.” That lasted for 4 years until she officially launched the “Kelly Richey Band” and built a local following. Then in 1997, she started touring with her band at a much more reasonable schedule of just over 200 shows per year...for the next 13 years! Yeah, better get your abacus out if you want to keep track. To say she has “been there and done that,” may actually be more of a factual statement than a catchy cliché. I asked Kelly what keeps her out there on the road? “I like the challenge. You never know what’s going to happen once you hit the road. Weather, travel conditions, band dynamics, vehicle issues, traffic, and other events you compete against from town to town. I’ve seen parts of the country I would have never seen, met people I would have never met, woven in and out of cultures I would have never experienced, and become aware of how different, yet how much alike we all really are.”

AND I’M CONSTANTLY REMINDED THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO BE REAL, BE WHO YOU ARE, AND SHARE THAT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE.”

But it sounds like hard work. “Touring is not for everyone, and I can honestly say that I’ve always found it to be hard and fairly unappealing in many respects; however, I LOVE to play and it’s the only way I know to get an entirely new audience each and every night of my life.”

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“FOR ME, TOURING IS ABOUT HITTING THE STAGE AND SEEING WHAT I’M MADE OF: AS A PLAYER, A PERSON, AND AS AN ARTIST.”

Maybe it is that tenacity that has been with her all along. Kelly didn’t start playing until she was 15. While she grew up playing piano, it wasn’t until she started playing drums that her guitar career emerged. “One day my Dad said to me, ‘Kelly, if you quit playing those drums I’ll buy you whatever you want!’ So, that’s when I got my first guitar!” That is some sort of musician’s reverse psychology at work! Back to all that touring, Kelly says the times have changed. “The landscape of music has drastically changed since I first started touring. The club scene is not what it used to be, with the development of 500 cable stations, the internet bringing in so many affordable forms of entertainment into your living room, and artists of all stages of development having access to recording. This fills the airwaves and internet with music, photos, sales pitches, stories and ads. It takes a lot to get people’s attention nowadays, and I’m constantly reminded that the most important thing is to be real, be who you are, and share that with your audience.”

But as with most worthwhile pursuits, you have to be motivated to do it, in spite of all the odds against you. With this change of the music business comes even more sacrifices if you want to pursue the dream. Kelly shares, “The hard costs of touring have doubled, and in some case tripled! Gas, hotels, vehicle maintenance, and food have all gone up. Pay is seldom guaranteed, but rather based on ticket sales. Often people don’t realize that an artist can drive 20 hours to play a show and he or she may not make a dime.” Still that driving force can pay dividends. “For me, touring is about hitting the stage and seeing what I’m made of: as a player, a person, and as an artist.”

Isn’t that what we are all after, to see what we are made of? Many of us have to search for ways to discover that, but Kelly has a spot she can go to night after night to reveal that to her. Kelly also shares all of her passion and knowledge with her students, and loves the interaction that comes with the educational territory. She lists knowing her students’ personal music goals, learning style and natural abilities as the key elements to be explored when teaching. For her, writing, recording, touring and teaching all work hand in hand. “You need an album to promote yourself, and you need to promote yourself in order to book gigs successfully, and you need to tour successfully to sell records. All that helps you reach students who want to learn to play and perform. In combination with performing and recording, teaching is woven into most days of my life.” And perform she does. Kelly has just released her 16th album titled Shakedown Soul. She plans to hit the road with both her band and a solo show. “I have an amazing band, a fresh new sound that blends electronica, funk, hard rock and blues, and I have a new record that represents the best work I’ve ever done. I’m already starting to get booked up for 2016 with band shows and solo shows, so I’m very excited to see what’s in store for all of us!” Lots of hard work and dedication, never ending schedules, and non-stop creativity make up Kelly’s world. Is it all worth it in the end? “I can honestly say, it’s worth it, but in the middle of a snow storm in North Dakota with the highways shut down and no Starbucks in sight, some days I do question my choices!”

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - ADVANCED

EXERCISE FRETBOARD MASTERY

PRACTICE

FRETBOARD MASTERY IN SIX EASY STEPS Written by Andrew Leonard

Quick: Name the notes across the 8th fret, from low E string to high E. Include sharps and flats. Ready. Go! One one thousand‌two one thousand‌If you cannot rapid fire the answers without having to think, there could be some confusion in your guitar playing. Having to take time to think about the names of the notes you are looking for adds an extra step to your thought process, slowing all of your playing down. Developing the ability to quickly recall notes anywhere on the fretboard, will make all aspects of your guitar playing better including: finding chord tones when improvising, sight reading or finding barre chords up and down the neck. By the way, the correct answers for the 8th fret from low E to high E string are: C, F, A#/Bb, D#/Eb, G, C.

5 MINUTES A DAY AND 6 EASY LESSONS

There are 6 exercises to complete in order. Each exercise builds on the previous one. The first two exercises focus on learning to instantly recall where all natural notes lie on the fretboard. Once this is mastered, notes with sharps and flats are found in relation to natural notes-either a fret up or down. We are not going to be thinking of every fret on the neck chromatically. It is far too cumbersome to think: A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, etc.

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Practice each exercise until you achieve mastery. Once you do not need to look at the guitar to name notes, without hesitation and can complete all exercises with 100% accuracy you have succeeded. Plan to spend five minutes (or less) per practice session. These exercises were designed to speed up the learning process with a minimal amount of time investment. Pep talk over - Let’s get started!

APPROACH:

Use the exact syntax described below. Repeat the exact same process over and over again so this will quickly be internalized. Commit to being 100% correct. Proceed at a pace where you can easily think about the name of the next note before saying it. As I say to my students “Your Brain Must Be Ahead of Your Fingers at all Times.”

EXERCISES:

1. Name Natural Notes Up & Down Each String. Begin with the open 6th string and continue to the 1st. The syntax for you to say (to yourself or out loud) is: a. “I am on note X, the next note is Y, it is a half or whole step away. Then play the note. b. I know this may seem to be overkill. If you repeat this every time your results will come quickly. c. Example using the 3rd string G. Say the following: i. The string is G, the next note is A, it is a whole step away, play A on second fret, third string. Go on to the next note. ii. The note is A, the next is B, it is a whole step away, play B on the fourth fret, third string, etc. See diagram below for full example. iii. When you arrive at the 12th fret you should be naming the same letter as the open string - an octave higher. If not, something has gone wrong. iv. After naming notes up to the 12th fret, name them backwards down to the open string. This may be a bit more challenging. v. Use any left hand fingering you want. We are just identifying notes on the fretboard, not scale patterns etc.

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2. Pick A Letter, Find it on Every String a. Pick any letter A-G. It does not matter which you choose. b. Proceed as in exercise 1, using the same syntax. Once you arrive at the note you have chosen on each string, go on to the next string and find the same note letter. It may be an octave higher. Proceed until you have found the note on all strings. c. See Example for F on every string.

3. Pick A Letter, Find on Every String: Add Sharps and Flats a. Same as exercise two, just pick a sharp of flat (# or b) b. Find the natural note first, then adjust up or down for the sharp or flat. c. Sharp Example, G# on the 6th String: Name notes using the syntax until you reach G (third fret, sixth string.) The sharp adds an extra half step so move up an additional half step to G# (fourth fret, sixth string.) d. Flat Example, Bb on the 6th String: Name notes using the syntax until you reach B (seventh fret, sixth string.) The flat lowers a note a half step so move down a fret to Bb (sixth fret, sixth string.) See Example below of G# and Bb.

e. Be aware of “enharmonic equivalents.� For example: G# and Ab are on the same fret. If you are unfamiliar, this is normal.

4. Pick A Fret, 1-4th Fret, Name Notes Across Each Fret. (Pick one per practice session). a. Name notes from the open string up to the fret you have chosen. By this time, naming sharps and flats should be easy. Just make sure to name both the sharp and flat note when necessary. See example of notes across 5th fret.

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5. Pick A Fret, 5-8th Fret, Name Notes Across. (Pick one per practice session). 6. Pick A Fret, 9-12th Fret, Name Notes Across. (Pick one per practice session).

ADVANCED PRACTICE TIP:

a. To shorten the thinking process for Exercises 4-7, break down the fretboard into 3 regions. Each region uses only frets with “all natural” notes as a starting point. b. If you are naming notes on frets 1-4, use the open strings as a guide. c. For frets 5-8, the fifth fret is your guide. The fifth fret has all natural notes. d. For frets 9-12, you have two options to use in the following order. First, think backwards from the 12th fret, it is the same note (an octave higher) as your open strings. Next use the 10th fret as a guide for frets 9-12 since it also has “all natural notes.” e. The fret groupings for exercises 4-6 also happen to fall under the fingers quite well when using one finger per fret: first finger on fret 1, 5 or 9.

A FINAL THOUGHT

I have taught this to beginning students and advanced classical players privately, at the University of Kentucky and Wesleyan University. The advanced players mastered note naming in a very short time. More interesting was the progress of the absolute beginners. After practicing the exercises listed above, one per week, for six weeks, most could, without taking their guitar out of its case, name notes on any fret. When I asked how much time was spent note naming, the usual response was (paraphrasing here) “for the first few weeks, about 5 or so minutes for each practice session. For the last few exercises, I practiced without the guitar when I was waiting in line or as I was walking to my lesson.” I hope you too find this exercise helpful. Happy Practicing, Andrew Leonard

ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Andrew Leonard Classical guitarist Andrew Leonard has been called a “guitar phenomenon” by the Portland Phoenix. At TrueFire, Andrew has an 8 Week Workshop: Classical Guitar for the Blues, Rock and Jazz Player. His TrueFire Classical Guitar Classroom: The Conservatory launches soon. He ran the Guitar Program at the University of Kentucky, taught at Wesleyan University and was a Senior Instructor at the National Guitar Summer Workshop. Andrew is a D’Addario String Endorsee.

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - LATE INTERMEDIATE

TUNINGS BLUEGRASS

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BANJO


BANJO MAGIC: TUNINGS, MOODS AND STYLES Written by Cathy Fink

While the banjo has often been associated with movies and television that caused some disrespect, it’s a new age of banjo respect thanks to Bela Fleck, Tony Trishka, Adam Hurt, Paul Brown, Rhiannon Giddens, Evie Laden and countless other players both famous and not, who have driven the sound of the five-string banjo into genres and places an old timer couldn’t have imagined a hundred years ago. Each of these players, and their banjo buddies, have drawn their sounds out of what started as a gourd drum with a neck on it and 2-4 or 5 strings. Jump forward and there’s banjo everywhere – both bluegrass and old time styles. First, what’s the difference? In bluegrass, the player uses a thumbpick and fingerpicks on the index and middle finger. The sound is crackling, bright, often loud and can be driving. Think Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Ralph Stanley in earlier generations. Old time styles include fingerpicking of a less regimented type and often less drive as well as “clawhammer” otherwise known as frailing, rapping or even knocking. Think Grandpa Jones, Tommy Jarrell, Lily Mae Ledford and sometimes Pete & Mike Seeger. That gourd became a flour sifter with a skin stretched over it, and eventually, a manufactured instrument with options of various tone rings and setups that make for the wide variety of tones that various banjos get. Gut strings, nylon strings and steel strings provide more variety.

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But one of the coolest and most magical parts of banjo playing are the 75+ different tunings people use for those 5 strings. The video that accompanies this article will demonstrate a few of these. All tunings will be described from 5th string (the short drone string, closest to your chin) to 1st string, closest to the floor. Open G tuning is the most common, GDGBD. This is the primary tuning for bluegrass players and the tuning where most old time players get started.

G MODAL – GDGCD

You can create some haunting sounds with modal tunings such as the G modal. It is beautiful both for songs and for instrumentals.

G – CUMBERLAND GAP TUNING GEADE

I don’t know an official name for this tuning and lots of players name them after a tune they play often in that tuning. This tuning offers different fingerings, sounds and also works beautifully in Em.

SINGLE C TUNING – GCGBD

Pete Seeger used this more often than other tunings, though he created the long neck five string banjo so he could be in the key of E or F, with the strings tuned to those chords. It’s excellent for song accompaniment and folk tunes, but has a little less drive than other tunings.

DOUBLE C TUNING – GCGCD

Commonly used for fiddle tunes in C and in D (with capo), there is a lot of drive in double C tuning and easy access to notes in fiddle tunes.

D–

I only play 3 songs in this tuning-again, some banjo music is specialized like that. But those 3 songs are MADE by the tuning. Sometimes I simply tune all of the strings down to access a lower tone from the banjo. Sometimes I make up new tunings for a sound I am searching for. The sky’s the limit. Have a look/listen to the video samples of these sounds.

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ABOUT THE EDUCATOR 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.

VIEW CATHY’S COURSE LIBRARY

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - INTERMEDIATE

TECHNIQUE METRONOME

TEMPO

BEBOP DOJO: POCKET TAI CHI Written by Sheryl Bailey

The ancient Greeks categorized music in 3 ways: Melody corresponds to intellect, Harmony corresponds to emotion, and Rhythm corresponds to the physical body. It’s this physicality of music that I’d like to address here, and share some tips for connecting deeper to the seemingly elusive “pocket,” and hopefully hip you to the secrets of relaxed and focused performance.

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A player’s sense of time and rhythm are the elements that make them connect to an audience and to the musicians they are playing with. Since it’s a physical property, it’s what makes you “feel” music. By improving your time and rhythmic clarity you can make leaps and bounds with your technique and have greater impact with your phrasing, regardless of instrument or style. Every tempo on your metronome has a dance, a physical expression, and a factual physical measurement. By connecting with the actual physical space of the tempo, you can intensify your groove and access the state of relaxation that is crucial to all great technique. When you are dancing you are “in the moment” and having fun, you are the antithesis of stress; you are caught up in the joy of movement. It’s important to observe great player’s “dance,” or where they feel the music in their body. Let’s find the actual physical space of a tempo: Set your metronome at 60, stand up and with your hand, make even circles that last for one measure phrases of 4/4 time. You flow from beat 1 to beat 4 in a relaxed and steady motion. You are now creating, your personal rapport to tempo. The factual physical measurement is _________inches. So we could say that the tempo of 60 is ________inches. This is the first circle! Within that and outside of it are several others; to find the inner circle, move your fluid circle twice as fast, keeping the movement smooth and relaxed. The inner circle is __________inches. To find the outer circle, move your hand twice as slow, or in a 2 bar phrase. That circle is __________inches. Now that we have discovered three measurements for one tempo, the next step is to choose the circle that is the most relaxing and natural, the “feel good” circle. Now, with instrument in hand, begin to play, moving your body within that measurement of space. Let the relaxed physical movement direct your breathing and phrasing, move through the space as it moves through you. Now you are “feeling the time!” Let the expression of the circle appear where you are comfortable with it, and more importantly, internalize the space of the circle. All great players have their dance within the tempo, some express it in dramatic ways, others in subtle ways, but it is always there, directing the mechanics of the music and deepening the expression of the notes. Find the dance and you find the joy.

ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Sheryl Bailey As an educator, she has been Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music since 2000, is faculty at The Collective School of Music in NYC, and has hosted master classes and workshops worldwide. Her Mel Bay publication, ‘Moveable Shapes’, is a top seller in their Jazz Curriculum Series. Her latest adventure is ‘The Bebop Dojo’, an interactive, online jazz academy developed for the Guitar Sherpa program at Truefire.com. Her ‘Bebop Dojo Essentials’ course and her ’50 Bebop Licks Everyone Should Know’ are also top Truefire titles.

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - LATE BEGINNER

CHORD SHAPES IMPROVISATION

HARMONIC

CHORD SHAPES FOR IMPROVISATION Written by Joe Pinnavaia

I always enjoy taking simple ideas that students already know and framing it in a way that is useful and can be easily implemented. Most players know chords and basic shapes, as well, as triads but rarely ever think of using them as fuel for soloing ideas. Sometimes when you view something as simple as chord shapes you may think that there are inherent limitations, but actually there is a gold mine of useful ideas. One would never just strum chords for a solo but by breaking up the notes and rearranging them or playing just one or two and connecting them on the fretboard can be a real eye opening experience When I refer to chord shapes or chord runs you could also think of them as triads as well. Chords and triads share the same common core with chords having extensions beyond the root, third and fifth construction. Let’s look a four string chord shape structure for Major, Minor and Diminished. These are a triad with an octave root note.

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EX. 1

The best way to practice these would be in half steps, whole steps, minor thirds as well as around the cycle of 4ths and 5ths. Now let’s condense the structure but add a 7th to now make minor 7 and major 7 chord structures:

EX. 2

The one way to connect these structure is through a shift on the 7th and then slide to the root to the next structure. This provides a gateway to mobility across the fretboard.

EX. 3

We can also take advantage of diatonic neighbor notes as a way to connect these structures and create a fluent line. This blurs the structures inside of a line but creates tensile strength relevant to the harmony being played over. In this example we can look at three different ways to apply this.

EX. 4

There are ways to also use pentatonic structures that are more like sus chord shapes as well giving you a more open and intervallic sound. The Structures here are Amin7 sus 4, Dmin7 sus 4 and the last form can be a C Major sus 9 inversion staring on the G.

EX 5.

I have been a fan of stacking structures on top of each other and seeing what types of results I can get. In the next example we take D Min7, A min7, F Major 7 and C Major 7 structures. There is no limit to what structures you can stack together and experimentation can yield some interesting results. If you are looking for a way to get away from diatonic ideas this is one way to do so from structures that already may be familiar to you.

EX. 6

Of course let us not overlook the actual chord shapes that we all know and love! Major and minor 7th, and literally any other form can be used and makes a more interesting way to stay with the changes. It’s also easy to branch out into other ideas and resolve lines back to key centers or related harmony. This example outlines the chords C Major 7, F Major 9, D Minor 7 and resolves to a line based on G7.

EX. 7

There are so many other chord shapes that can be used. Try exploring with these various chord shapes and try them in different musical situations. Static and two chord vamps are great and then building out to three and more chords is ideal for fully exploring the concept. These can be used as a way to build dense harmonic lines that can also serve to outline a chord progression or add upper harmonic structures. Have fun exploring chord shapes and as always - Stay True, Stay On Fire.

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Connecting Chord Shapes

CONNECTING CHORD SHAPES Using familiar shapes for improvisation (WrittenJoe for Guitar by Joe Pinnavaia) Pinnavaia

Standard tuning

= 100 Ex. 1 - A Major, Minor, Diminished and Augmented Forms

S-Gt

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Ex. 2 - A Major 7th and Minor 7th forms

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Ex. 3 - Use of Shifts from the 7th to connect positions

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CONNECTING CHORD SHAPES (CONT) (Written for Guitar by Joe Pinnavaia)

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Ex. 5 - Pentatonic Sus chord forms

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Ex. 6 - Stacking Shapes in C Major

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Ex. 7 - Use of traditional chord forms within a line

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ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Joe Pinnavaia Joe Pinnavaia is a world class Guitarist and Instructor having been a featured artist on Steve Vai's Digital Nations Label. He is now a TrueFire Instructor teaching students of varying levels from all over the world from the U.K., U.S.A and Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Germany and Russia. With nearly 30 years of playing experience and 20 years of teaching experience Joe is able to provide results for those who seek to elevate their playing to another level.

VIEW JOE’S COURSE LIBRARY RIFF

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WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6


FF

written by: brad wendkos

rank and I go way back. We started working together on TrueFire projects fifteen years ago and became fast friends almost immediately. Everyone loves Frank, and what’s not love?! He’s talented beyond words, funny, warm, loving, giving, appreciative, positive, and remarkable in a hundred ways. Unlike most musicians sitting around a table having dinner out with other musicians, you won’t find Frank talking shop or discussing anything related to music or musicians. It bores him. In all these years, I’ve never asked him why, but I dig that he’s that way. Frank would rather talk about his family. He and his lovely wife, Kate have four sons and, as you might expect, there’s always something going on. I love to hear Frank tell me the latest stories, all of which crack me up and all of which demonstrate just how intensely he loves his family.

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S S

omeone should do a reality show because each member of that family is interesting and exceptional in their own way. They say “behind every great man there's a great woman,”’ and Frank’s wife is clear testimony to that truth. Imagine the challenge of working, maintaining the household, and raising their four young sons while Frank tours the world. Unimaginable for most of us, but Kate pulls it off and pulls it off extraordinarily well.

Frank’s not a health nut, but he’s very smart about what he eats when he’s on the road. Every time he’s in the studio at the ‘Fire, he fills the galley with a variety of whatever happens to be his current go-to foods. I recall all varieties of kale, from chips (palatable) to kale smoothies (not so yummy). Goji berries are very big for him as are bananas, protein bars, organic broccoli, spinach, and pretty much all forms of other green things that are eaten raw or juiced. At the same time, he’ll happily inhale a good steak and rich desert with the best of them. Meanwhile, he was born in 1965 and still looks like he’s a thirty-something. Pass the kale shake please. Frank’s one of the most richly musical people I know. He can play anything, with anyone, at anytime, without even thinking about it. And play whatever it is extremely well. No one — and I mean no one — can play a ballad like Frank plays a ballad. Frank’s oneness and mastery with a melody is otherworldly. Les Paul, who Frank worked with for many years, listed Frank as one of his Five Most Admired Guitar Players for the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times calls him “one of the brightest stars of the guitar.” He’s played with Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the

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Boston Pops, the New York Pops, and dozens of other world class artists. Frank loves to teach and jumps on any and every opportunity to do so. He’s written 18 books for Mel Bay, collaborated on 15 interactive video course with TrueFire, has his own online classroom and conducts clinics, master classes and workshops at music universities, all over the world, including Juilliard and Boston University. I love this guy. I feel privileged to get to work with him, but I also feel blessed to call him my friend. There’s so much more I could tell you about Frank, but for now, I’ll share the following answers to Riff’s Proustinspired series of interview questions.

BW: What is it about your chosen instrument that attracted you to it originally, and still fascinates you today? FV: My father plays a bit and always had swing

guitar records playing in the house, so it was natural for me to want to play the guitar. I was five when I started. What still fascinates me to this day about the instrument is how darn hard it is to play. On the other hand, what also fascinates me is how easy it is to play songs once you’ve learned a couple of chord shapes. Once you have the ability to do this, playing with others really becomes fun and energizing. This is what got me hooked.

BW: Your idea of happiness? FV: Being healthy is all that matters. BW: Your favorite heroes in fiction? FV: I love all the Super Heroes. Fun stuff. BW: Name three things a player can do to improve their musicianship.

N


Photos by: Alison Hasbach

NO ONE — AND I MEAN NO ONE — CAN PLAY A BALLAD LIKE FRANK PLAYS A BALLAD. FRANK’S ONENESS AND MASTERY WITH A MELODY IS OTHERWORLDLY.

N

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FV: Learn songs. The great Bucky

Pizzarelli once said, "Everything you need to know about improvisation is in the songs.” Learn some jazz standards, some rock classics, bluegrass and Americana, pop,

WHAT STILL FASCINATES ME TO THIS DAY ABOUT THE INSTRUMENT IS HOW DARN HARD IT IS TO PLAY. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHAT ALSO FASCINATES ME IS HOW EASY IT IS TO PLAY SONGS ONCE YOU’VE LEARNED A COUPLE OF CHORD SHAPES.

classical. Just learn lots of songs is the best advice I can give to anyone.

FV: Many more positives than

negatives for the musician. It’s easy to get your music heard. It’s easy to find fans all over the world. A musician does not need a record label to make it in the business now. Making an electronic press kit is so much easier and cheaper then the traditional mailing out of album or CD, press picture and quotes sheet. It's easier, quicker and cheaper to buy music or educational items because of downloading. One can buy music or education from the comfort of their home now and they can do it instantly. This, in my humble opinion, has caused the demand for music and music education products to soar. As far as pirating, it will always be. Heck, friends used to make cassettes of albums for me and visa versa, so I feel it is no different today just with different technology. Plus the clientele or fans of my kind of music rarely, if ever, pirate and probably go out of their way to buy music instead of pirating.

Play daily. Play your instrument every day even if it’s for 5 minutes. Ear training — learn melodies, riffs or songs from records using your ear only and not the sheet music. This is a great training tool to enhance your ability to play what you hear.

BW: Your favorite food and drink?

BW: Whether living or dead, who would

FV: Blueberries and Icelandic water.

FV: Padre Pio.

BW: The natural talent you'd like to be gifted with (other than music)?

you like to have dinner with?

BW: Given all the negatives about the changing business landscape of the music business and how tough it is to sell records etc. — what are the positives about the current evolution of the music business?

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FV: The ability to levitate. BW: With the changing landscape

of the music business, what do you do today to maintain your career as a musician?

F


F

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PP WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6


THE GREAT BUCKY PIZZARELLI ONCE SAID, "EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMPROVISATION IS IN THE SONGS.” FV: I tour, write educational materials,

teach online and record. Thanks to the internet and my 15-year collaboration with TrueFire, I am given the opportunity to write and produce a lot of educational materials from simple one-concept video lessons to full length guitar methods, as well as being able teach students one-on-one online. I have had 160 enrolled students in the last 3 years alone — pretty cool way to communicate with folks all over the

"PLAY YOUR BEST. YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS IN THE AUDIENCE." world! I receive royalties for recordings, compositions, books, satellite radio airplay, and music that I have recorded for films as a leader and sideman. I simply try to live within my means. I have four children with my wife of 21 years so we really have to watch how we spend the hundreds I make. Lol!

BW: What do you dream about? Literally.

FV: In general, I don't remember my

dreams, but the one I do remember, I was about to sit in with Django at Birdland in NYC, but could not find a pick. I have had this dream twice now. What does it mean?

BW: What are your aspirations professionally? FV: Just to continue doing exactly

what I am doing currently. Some touring,some writing, some gardening, some hiking — I sometimes still can’t believe what I get to do for a living.

BW: If not yourself, who would you be? FV: Brad Wendkos. BW: Your favorite motto? FV: Criticism is the one form of service of which everyone has too much.

BW: In life or in music, what one thing

have you learned that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

FV: Play your best. You never know who is in the audience.

www.frankvignola.com

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Written by: Brad Wendkos

FEATURING

Andrew Ford RIFF

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rothers from another mother,” is how Robben Ford described Andrew Ford to me. We had just finished Robben’s first series of TrueFire sessions and Robben asked if we would be interested in doing a project with a extraordinarily talented bass player that he had worked with several times in the past. We said “yes” and Robben made the introduction. A very fortunate day for all of us here at the ‘Fire because we’d be hard-pressed to name a more professional, more knowledgeable, or more talented collaborator that we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Andrew is also a monster player, composer, arranger and producer, which is why his pedigree reads like a Who’s Who of popular music. He’s performed or recorded with Al Jarreau, Whitney Houston, David Crosby, Robben Ford, Chaka Khan, George Duke, Gladys Knight, James Ingram, Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, The Emotions, The Stylistics, Larry Carlton, Oleta Adams, Melissa Manchester, Graham Nash and that’s just a partial list. If you’ve listened to music over the last couple of decades, you’ve likely tapped your feet, jumped on the dance floor, or otherwise just grooved to music powered by Andrew’s remarkable bass magic. Indeed, Andrew’s pedigree is impressive, but his educational prowess is mind-bending. That’s why we’ve already collaborated on five projects together and that’s why I don’t even think twice when I’m asked to recommend a bass course. A hundred years from now, musicologists and music educators alike will thank their lucky stars when they discover the treasure trove of Andrew’s educational work. Andrew is also one of the brightest, good-natured, generous, humble and loving family men that I’ve been privileged to know across the twenty-five years that we’ve been stoking the ‘Fire here. You can hear that in his music, and you can pick up on that up as he guides you through his courses. I asked Andrew if he’d be cool sharing a little more insight and revealing a little bit more about himself here in Riff by answering our Proust-inspired series of questions. True to form, he stopped everything he was doing and delivered the goods overnight. Andrew Ford — the consummate pro, and exceptional human being.

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REALIZE THERE ARE SUBTLETIES IN EVERY STYLE OF MUSIC, THEY OFTEN EXIST IN NOTE LENGTHS, TIMING, SWING, TECHNIQUE, PHRASING OR OTHER ASPECTS OF MUSICALITY, NO STYLE OF MUSIC IS EASY, ESPECIALLY IF IT APPEARS TO BE.

BW: What is it about the bass that attracted you to it originally, and still fascinates you today? AF: It’s about being the foundation, the solid rock and supportive force behind the madness, and besides that, the bass player is always the coolest and smartest one in the band. Lol! BW: Your idea of happiness? AF: A loving wife, healthy children and a job that I love (most of the time). Whether living or dead, who would you like to have dinner with? Abraham Laboriel just seems like such a warm spirit besides being a phenomenal bass player, maybe some of that would rub off on me.

BW: Name three things a player can do to improve their musicianship. AF: 1. Learn how to play piano or

guitar if you are a bass player, at least well enough to bang out a variety of chords. If you play another instrument, learn about the role of an instrument other than your own. 2. Explore a variety of music styles, even if you don’t like them, it can enhance your musicianship and possibly bring a uniqueness to your own favorite style of music.

Photos by: Alison Hasbach

WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6

3. Realize there are subtleties in every style of music, they often exist in note lengths, timing, swing, technique, phrasing or other aspects of musicality, nostyle of music is easy, especially if it appears to be.


BW: If not yourself, who would you be? AF: The dude you passed in the grocery store, just a normal working stiff that loves music and his family. I guess I’m still that dude, just with an incredibly humbling resume. Given all the negatives about the changing business landscape of the musicbusiness and how tough it is to sell records etc. — what are the positives about the current evolution of the music business? I teach music business at a college and so I’m especially aware of the changing trends in the industry because I teach about it. The good thing about today’s landscape is that there are opportunities for more people to get their music heard, or their lessons, tutorials and books seen. The playing field has been leveled, which is good, but because of this the market is somewhat saturated, which is bad. Ultimately I believe the cream rises to the top though.

BW: Your favorite motto? AF: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Also, “Funk is on the one”! BW: With the changing landscape of the music business,

what do you do today to maintain your career as a musician?

AF: To earn a living and support a family in this music

business climate I had to diversify and not only use the skills I possessed, but develop new ones. I had an education background and so teaching and doing instructional videos was a natural fit, but I also produce, arrange, and compose music for movie, tv, and independent artists; something I never considered doing. I have had to stretch myself and become a lifelong learner. Ownership is my goal these days, even if it is partial ownership of things that will continue to produce income for years to come. Also being able to play many styles of music and read music have helped me to continue to get calls.

BW: What do you dream about? Literally. AF: I often don’t remember my dreams, it’s weird, my

wife has vivid dreams but not me. I do think a lot about using my gifts to help others though, as a matter of

THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH ADMITTING WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW. AS A MATTER OF FACT, ACKNOWLEDGING YOUR SHORTCOMINGS OPENS YOU UP FOR REAL SUCCESS.

fact, using all my resources to be a blessing to my family and the guy on the street. Kind of corny, but if you’ve ever helped someone in need, then you know the high that comes from that.

BW: What are your aspirations professionally? AF: I have surpassed any of the aspirations that I

ever had in the music business. I had no intentions of even being a professional musician. I have worked with many of my heroes, legends in the business that

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now consider me a peer, me a kid from South Central, Los Angeles. So I’m just continuing on this path of growth and uncovering new opportunities musically or otherwise as they present themselves.

BW: Your favorite heroes in fiction? AF: Sheriff Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, a cool character. BW: Your favorite food and drink? AF: Give me a grilled or blackened salmon filet and an Arnold Palmer and I am good to go. Top it off with a Creme Brûlée and I am in heaven. BW: The natural talent you'd like to be gifted with (other than music)? AF: Well the first thing is I don’t consider myself as a “gifted

musician” as I did work very hard at it. But I marvel at the ears and aptitude of a great sound engineer. Knowing about the science of sound, even programming intrigues me.

BW: In life or in music, what one thing have you learned that you’d like to pass on to our readers? AF: That fame is not all it is cracked up to be, not that I have

experienced it, but I have seen it close up. Be thankful for all you have, don’t be jealous, and never stop growing or being a learner. Seems like too many people today think they know it all already. There’s nothing wrong with admitting what you don’t know. As a matter of fact, acknowledging your shortcomings opens you up for real success.

www.andrewfordbass.com

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FROM

PLAYER WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6


PLAY PLA “ I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. This time, I’ve been thinking about how we learn and some of the challenges we face as students and teachers. Specifically, I have been trying to remember how I learned to play guitar. It’s been over 20 years and I have to admit that I do not fully remember all of the details, but something completely unrelated to guitar has brought up some powerful ideas and memories for me and I wanted to take the time to share them.

HOW IT ALL STARTED I started playing guitar in March of 1994. I remember this specifically because this is when my older brother Bill went on a 3-month study program to Budapest. His parting words to me were “Stay out of my room and don’t touch my guitar.” I did not listen to him. The car pulled away from our house and I ran up there to start playing his guitar. I had been eyeing it for quite some time and now was my chance. For three months, I was up there as much as I could playing his guitar (an Ovation Celebrity). I had no real formal training; I didn’t have a teacher; I was just plucking away and trying to figure it out.

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t gets really fuzzy from here as I don’t recall all of the details, but in the three months he was gone, I got OK enough at guitar to show him what I had learned without being scared of his reaction. It went pretty well and despite my disobeying him, he petitioned my folks to get me lessons.

A FEW YEARS OF ALL OVER THE PLACE I took lessons from a local teacher for about 6 months. I didn’t enjoy it much because he pushed me into jazz pretty hard and I just didn’t want to do that (ironic now given my love for Jazz). I remember a bunch of occasions where I would straight up defy what he told me to do. I was constantly questioning his lessons and homework. So much of what was in front of me didn’t feel like the right thing for me. It was hard to put into words, but I knew that I wasn’t on the right track. I simply wasn’t having any fun. I changed teachers a few times and ultimately ended up teaching myself the guitar while a great music theory teacher at my high school taught me about music. I made the decision about how to apply it to the guitar, and my theory teacher, Mr. Mooney kept me busy. My first years as a guitar student were very unstructured and very all over the place, but I was able to get admitted to music school. The one consistent memory I had about my life before I went to college is that music was fun. I absolutely loved playing the guitar. I’ve always loved making music, but this time, as unstructured as it was ended up being really important as I looked back on it.

PINBALL? For the first time since I started playing the guitar, I had a new hobby: playing pinball. As crazy as it sounds, pinball was the thing that got me to understand and remember the importance of how I learned to play the guitar. Because pinball is a hobby and not tied to anything but pleasure and fun, you get to make your own rules and your own structure. As I learned about the rules of competitive pinball, I started to have a bunch of epiphanies about guitar. First, it was about having fun. You had your good games and your bad games, but the only thing that mattered to me was having fun. Pinball has never not been fun. Secondly, I became aware of a bunch of techniques that advanced pinball players were using very early on. I was aware of the techniques, and I could clearly point them out if I watched someone play. Somehow, I knew that these techniques weren’t important to me yet since they were difficult and far too advanced for me. I made a mental note of things like drop catches and post passes, and kept doing what I enjoyed: playing pinball. Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew that I’d get there one day and learn those advanced techniques, but that day was not today. And then it hit me. This is exactly how I learned to play the guitar. I played for fun. I became aware of a whole bunch of stuff that could make me a better player. I ignored a lot of that because I didn’t want to upset the balance of fun vs progress because I knew that I just wasn’t ready.

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IT WAS A HOBBY When I started to play guitar, it was fun. It was a hobby. I had no realistic notions about making a living playing music. I just wanted to have fun. I was aware early on about techniques like tapping, sweep picking and advanced chords, but somehow I knew and understood that I didn’t have to worry about those yet. Somehow I knew they’d still be there when I was ready for them. I kept it fun, always, and I found fun ways to learn and progress. And I made decisions about my own education that were critical to my success.

IT’S OK TO WAIT In 1995, there were far fewer educational options available for guitarists. There was no YouTube yet and no notion of online lessons. You could buy a VHS tape of your guitar hero going an instructional video for about $50. Those videos couldn’t possibly be appropriate for everyone since they were just a guitar and a cameraman. Eric Johnson didn’t know who I was, or what I could do. But I clearly remember watching his instructional video and allowing the majority of it to just go completely over my head. I remember picking a few pieces out and learning them, but most of it was over my head. I had made decisions about my own education that I just wasn’t ready for everything yet. The thought of sitting front of Eric Johnson, taking a lesson, coming home and saying “Nah, I’m not doing that yet” seemed crazy! But as a 17-year-old kid, I was making those exact decisions.

FOLLOWING YOUR OWN VOICE

IT'S TO WAIT

OK

Today, there are more options than ever as a guitar student. TrueFire is an incredible resource, one that I would have killed to have when I started. But one thing that’s so important is that you have to be your own advocate for your education. You have to know when something is important and to make a note of it and come back later. You have to know when to learn something mentally and not beat yourself up about not being able to play it yet. You have to know when you’re simply not ready for something. You have to know how to keep having fun. It’s just so vital to play and not always be deeply entrenched in something new.

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ER YER AYER AS CRAZY AS IT SOUNDS, PINBALL WAS THE THING THAT GOT ME TO UNDERSTAND AND REMEMBER THE IMPORTANCE OF HOW I LEARNED TO PLAY THE GUITAR.

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CHANGING HOW I TEACH How does this related to teaching? One of the difficult things about teaching an instrument, especially to a beginner is that you’re an expert at it and you’re teaching someone who’s literally never touched a guitar before. You want to use the benefit of your experience as a teacher and player to give them the best start possible. You want your student to learn quickly and avoid the speed bumps that plague so many other students (including yourself). You simply want to get them to play guitar as quickly as possible, because what’s more fun than playing guitar? And then it hit me that this dangerous territory as a teacher. The thing that kept me going as a student was a deep enjoyment of the guitar. If I had listened to my first guitar teacher at the onset of my lessons I would have gained a ton

of skills. I would have come to college with a vast array of jazz chords. I would have been able to sight ready proficiently and I would have known a ton of jazz standards. These are all things I had to learn later on and I struggled with learning later on. These are all things I could have learned at the onset. But they were simple out of order for me.. I couldn’t invest in jazz chords at that time because I had no outlet for them. I could barely play barre chords and strum my favorite songs; my education was simply out of order for me to enjoy the guitar. It’s so important to keep things in the right order. If you’re teaching guitar, you need to help your students as much as you can by presenting relevant information in the right order (and this changes from student to student). If you’re self-directing yourself in your guitar education, listen to your inner voice. It’s OK to guide yourself and say no to things that you’re not ready for or that doesn’t excite you.

Written by Marc Schonbrun

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SIX-STRING AFICIONADOS: STUDENT PROFILE

STUDENT PROFILE

SERGIO LONGHI 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? LONGHI: I’m an entrepreneur! In 1999, I started up an

e-commerce company in Italy (when e-commerce was a foreign concept), working my way up. Now the company has 15 employees and I’m constantly trying to improve and optimize the business. Running a business means that you work 24/7, you are always connected to your job mentally speaking. Of course with the bad comes also the good, being the owner means also you can decide, if possible, to give yourself some hours or some days off whenever you want and need. Being able to choose how I manage my life is a wonderful thing.

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

LONGHI: Practice, method and persistence are the fundamental keys for success in everything, in life as it is in music. Like everybody else I have to share my time over the daily activities: sleep, eat, work, spare time and hobbies (did I mention my wife? She will kill me if I don’t). So please don’t tell me that you have no time; we all have time and we all decide what to do with our time. Going back strictly to the guitar, I practice at least one hour, if possible, two each day. Let’s say 70% of the time trying to have fun while practicing, means jamming on a backing track, the other 30% of the time is spent trying to learn and practice something new (these can be the frustrating things to practice!) TF: Why do you think music is important to someone’s life? LONGHI: Music is art. Art is beauty and expression of ourselves, expression of humanity, and expression of the soul. Many people talk about spirituality, but how many are willing to embrace for real this spirituality? I’m a lefty, even if I play guitar as a right-handed player. Often it is said that left-handed people tend to be more creative; however I’m not sure about that. However being over 40 WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6

years old I found a lot of the meaning of life, first in photography and now in music. Other than that, I can only say, try it yourself and you will see ;)

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

Song, solo, piece etc.

LONGHI: Parisian Walkways from Gary Moore, but the way HE plays! TF: Who is your favorite guitarist and why? LONGHI: Gary Moore is my favorite guitarist. I think he

has the complete package, an enormous amount of talent, an incredible technique, soul, intensity, and passion. My preferred style of music is blues, thus giving me a very long list of very talented artists to choose from. With this said, I would still say Gary Moore is the best.

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

LONGHI: I know, I know…I just said that I love the blues; you would think I would say Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa, or BB King, but the person I hope to be able to meet is Tom Waits. I think he has a huge charisma and he is the personification of art and talent. If you ever heard his music, paying attention to his lyrics, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. His art would open my mind and help me grow even more. 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).

LONGHI: Absolutely my Gibson Les Paul Custom R0 1960 Reissue VOS that plays like a dream. At the end of my days, it will most likely look exactly like the Holy Grail of guitars, the guitar owned by Peter Green first, then Gary Moore, which is a 1959 Les Paul apparently destroyed, but sold at the last auction at 2 million dollars.


TF: If you could be in any band (current or past) which band would you like to be in? LONGHI: I would like to be my own success, so, my own band. However if I have to chose a band I think I would have a LOT of fun playing and writing songs with the Foo Fighters. TF: Finish this sentence, ”If everyone on the planet played guitar….”

LONGHI: Well, that would be too many people being able to play guitar and make it harder for me to be a good guitar player. LOL. So to everyone else, please do something different or just and learn a another instrument! TF: Describe your biggest ‘aha’ moment on guitar.

LONGHI: I, personally, had two aha moments. The first one was a year ago when for the first time I suddenly forgot what I was doing, which fret I was pressing and the musing was just flowing. I was in a trance. The second aha moment was couple of weeks ago, when I played a jam I did along with a backing track, a ballad, just before going to bed. It felt so nice for the first time, no squeaky sounds or weird notes (yes I’m very critical of myself, let’s just say a perfectionist), that was a taste of my soul.

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HOUSE NEWS

ARTIST DIRECTORY Artists Featured in this Edition of Riff

ANDREW FORD Andrew Ford is a bass player, composer, arranger, producer and educator. He has performed with legendary artists in almost every major genre of music, while also having a Masters degree in Education. He has shared the stage or studio with Al Jarreau, Whitney Houston, David Crosby, Robben Ford, Chaka Khan, George Duke, Gladys Knight, James Ingram, Israel Houghton, Dianne Reeves, Peabo Bryson, Christopher Cross, Jerry Butler, Michael McDonald, Graham Nash, and many others. Andrew has completed 5 bass instructional videos for TrueFire, covering everything from blues to R&B, walking bass, reggae, and overall groove. He has also taught Music Business courses at the college level. Andrew has written or co-written many songs, including “Flame” which is on the Best of GRP CD, Tomorrow Today by Al Jarreau, and the 2013 Grammy Nominated Al Jarreau live project. Andrew has also had success writing for tv and film, with a number of songs in regular rotation. He recently co-wrote the theme song for the award-winning HBO short film “Muted”.

ANDREW LEONARD Andrew Leonard has been called a "guitar phenomenon” by the Portland Phoenix. Northeast Performer referred to his playing as "inspiring...effortless style.” His two recordings, A World of Guitar Music and Music of the Ages have received airplay throughout the country on National Public Radio affiliates. As an instructor at TrueFire, Andrew has an 8 Week Workshop: Classical Guitar for the Blues, Rock and Jazz Player. He ran the Guitar Program at the University of Kentucky and taught at Wesleyan University. Andrew is a D’Addario String Endorsee and has a Master of Music Degree from Yale University.

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.

DWEEZIL ZAPPA It was inevitable that from the moment of his birth his life would be filled wall-to wall with music (his father having listed his religion as “musician” on Dweezil’s birth certificate). Having watched his father perform concerts from the side of the stage since he was in diapers it was no surprise that he began to show an interest in music early on. At 6 years old he received his first guitar, a Fender Music Master from his dad. It wasn't until he was 12 that he began to show a serious interest in manipulating the instrument to make music. To gain more fundamental knowledge of technique and scales Dweezil was fortunate to have some assistance from one of the musicians in his father's band at that time, Steve Vai. Dweezil became remarkably proficient in a very short amount of time due to his intense practicing sessions. Dweezil quickly developed into a musical star in his own right, writing his own material (as well as playing his father’s music), his album Via Zammata' is out most recently.

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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.

JOE PINNAVAIA Joe Pinnavaia is a world class guitarist and instructor having been a featured artist on Steve Vai's Digital Nations Label. He is now a TrueFire instructor teaching students of varying levels from all over the world from the U.K., U.S.A and Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Germany and Russia. With nearly 30 years of playing experience and 20 years of teaching experience Joe completed his musical education at Villa Maria College of Buffalo and at the University at Buffalo.

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.

MARC SCHONBRUN Marc Schonbrun is an educator, writer, and performer. Marc's musical resume ranges from classical guitar concertos to jazz trios and rock concerts. He is a lecturer on guitar and music technology, and the author of more than ten books, including The Efficient Guitarist, The Everything Music Theory Book and The Everything Reading Music Book.

SHERYL BAILEY Sheryl Bailey is a band leader and recording artist. She has toured and recorded with Richard Bona, David Krakauerís Ancestral Groove, Abraham Inc., John Zorn, Irene Cara, George Lea Delaria, Garzone, Jack Wilkins, Shingo Okudaira, Steve Slagle, Harvie S, Ken Peplowski, Kim Plainfi eld, and Gary Thomas. As an educator, she has been Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music since 2000, is faculty at The Collective School of Music in NYC, and has hosted master classes and workshops worldwide.

RIFF

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Lessons COMPILATION ALBUM

RIFFAGE: VOLUME 6 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 6…

Nothing - Dweezil Zappa Sleepytime Gal - Frank Vignola Little Billy Wilson Shenandoah Falls - Cathy Fink You Wanna Rock - Kelly Richey An Unexpected Turn - Sheryl Bailey Transient - Joe Pinnavaia Torre Bermeja - Andrew Leonard

Download the FREE Album

WINTER 2016 | ISSUE 6

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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.

Nothing - Dweezil Zappa ““"Nothing" is one my favorite songs from the Via Zammata album. It has a 60s feel to it. I really like the way guitar melody weaves its way through vocals. The guitar solo is one of my favorite solos I've ever recorded. It captures a great live performance feel. I used the Frank Zappa/Jimi Hendrix Strat on this song.” Sleepytime Gal - Frank Vignola ““This tune is a duet with guitarist Julian Lage. I play the rhythm and Julian plays two brilliantly improvised choruses of the great American popular standard, “Sleepytime Gal.” This is from my latest CD titled Swing Zing. It features a handful of my favorite guitarists on the scene today. I recorded a duet with legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. ”

Little Billy Wilson Shenandoah Falls - Cathy Fink ““The medley of Little Billy Wilson and Shenandoah Falls puts together two of my favorite fiddle tunes. "Billy" is in 3 parts and Shenandoah in the more traditional 2 parts. I learned both tunes the old fashioned way, at jam sessions, and then I learned them on the fiddle to make sure I had detailed all of the melody, and came back to banjo to add embellishments and variations. They are in the key of A, standard "G tuning" with capo on the 2nd fret. ”

You Wanna Rock - Kelly Richey ““This 12-bar blues song uses a drop D tuning, adding extra power to the overall vibe of the track. The I-IV-V progression kicks off with a heavy guitar riff and uses a 7#9 chord voicing on the I chord, which adds syncopation to the IV chord to enhance the groove.”

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An Unexpected Turn - Sheryl Bailey ““This version of "An Unexpected Turn" is from my quartet recording "For All Those Living." The sentiment of this tune is about my feelings about living in NYC; it's a place where, if you have an open mind and playful heart, you can stumble upon friends, great music, great food, and adventures you'd never dream about. This particular recording features pianist Jim Ridl, Gary Wang on bass, and drummer Shingo Okudaira.”

Transient - Joe Pinnavaia ““On “Transient”, it was a great experience starting to write music on the 8-string for the first time. I started with a riff which was the base line and then a chord progression that I liked. Getting new chord shapes and hearing how deep they could sound kept the creative ideas coming, with this track being the end result of that. This was recorded all with one guitar. I almost can't believe it. Garrett caught the vibe of the track and added some height to parts of the tune with some great drum playing. I walked in with no melody part that was improvised when I got to Atlanta to lay the guitar tracks!”

Torre Bermeja - Andrew Leonard ““Torre Bermeja (Crimson Tower), was originally written for piano by Spanish composer, Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909). I arranged it for classical guitar when making my recording, A World of Guitar Music. Torre Bermeja is located in southern Spain (Andalucía), the birthplace of the gypsy guitar music known as flamenco. Thus, this piece has a lot of “guitaristic” sounds in it."

RIFF

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SNAPSHOTs

no il, hear v e o n e o se ins, Buon k no evil k n e J , ck Carlo evil, spea

Brothers Frank V hamming ignola and Brad it up!

Kelly Richey suffers the now infamous photo bomb!

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You said what been a fly on ?! Frank? Wouldn’t you have the wall for th li is conversation ked to have ? Julian Lage and Frank are a hoot!

We love Andrew Ford!

Lucky ap pro ves o f Vicki’s s guitar ignature design ed RIFF

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Riff Journal | Winter 2016 | Issue 6  

This issue both inspires and guides us as we think about how we want to approach learning and embracing our instruments. Read about the elem...