• Creating a Cult (of Personality Solo)

    Creating a Cult (of Personality Solo)

    One of my students recently wanted to learn the hard rock song Cult of Personality by Living Colour. This is a great tune with a rocking riff and catchy chorus. While these parts are slightly fiddly to play they aren’t impossible to master. However the solos are something else! Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid is known for his “out” jazzy playing and his tendency to shred a million notes a second making it very challenging to learn his solos note for note.
    To get around this I decided to create new solos for the tune that were more playable while following the spirit of Vernon Reid with high energy and fast phrases. Both solos here are over the main G Mixolydian (G A B C D E F) riff which means that G Mixolydian, G minor pentatonic and the G blues scale will all work well here. Read More

  • Mixolydian Mode Blues Magic

    Mixolydian Mode Blues Magic

    Another way to make your blues solos sound magic is to use the mixolydian mode. This can expand your playing beyond the often used and predictable minor pentatonic scale. The mixolydian mode is a major scale with a flattened 7th note.
    So while a G major scale uses the notes G A B C D E F# the mixolydian mode uses the notes G A B C D E F with the F being F natural and not F# as it is in the G major scale.

    This makes the mixolydian mode a suitable scale to play over the dominant 7 chord which are used in the 12 bar blues. For example the notes of the G7 chord are G B D F which are part of the G mixolydian mode. Read More

  • Better Blues Solos With 3 Essential Notes

    Better Blues Solos With 3 Essential Notes

    Want to play better blues guitar solos? Move beyond the minor pentatonic scale with these 3 essential notes. These 3 extra notes will spice up your solos and make your licks sound fresh and interesting.
    The Blues Note
    The blues note is the flattened 5th in a scale. For example in the A minor pentatonic scale this is an Eb note. Adding this note to the minor pent scale (A C D E G = A minor pent) creates the Blues scale. (A C D Eb E G = A blues). The “blues” note is often bent into from a note ½ step below whether by bending a string on the guitar, or on a harmonica (blues harp) or with a singers voice.
    The ½ bend is played from the 4th note (D in A blues). This means that the note effectively goes up one fret in pitch (D to Eb in A blues). Read More

  • Melbourne Guitar Show 2016

    Melbourne Guitar Show 2016

    Last Sunday I ventured out to the Melbourne Guitar Show for the afternoon. I mainly went to check out the Guitar Players Acoustic Session and The Finale Jam. Of course there were also all the exhibitor stands full of guitar and bass gear to check out too.
    At these sort of events I personally find it hard to hear or play gear due to so much noise going on and am happy enough just to window shop as I walk by. Any way I probably have more than enough gear and guitars even though there were some good deals on offer! However there were a few products that grabbed my interest and I would recommend checking out.

    Fican Guitars are a range of guitars created by Australian luthier Stuart Monk that looked really interesting. Read More

  • Song Writing Solutions – Modulation, Relative Keys and Chord Substitutions

    Song Writing Solutions – Modulation, Relative Keys and Chord Substitutions

    Here are some ideas to get your music out of a one key or chord progression rut when song writing. A great way to make your song or track more interesting is to change or modulate the key for a bridge / middle eight / break down section. Follow these few simple rules to learn what chords work together.
    Relative Major & Minor
    One common way to modulate (change) to a different key or tonal centre is to move the song to its relative minor or major. For example if you have a song in the key of C Major, A Minor is the relative Minor due to both chords sharing the C and E notes.

    C Major & A Minor | Download
    Listen to the audio of C & Am.

    If the song is in D Minor the relative major is F Major again because both chords share two notes. In this case F and A. Read More