Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting into Music Shape

Whoever thought that starting a podcast would be a breeze. Not much sweat involved, unless it was kinda hot outside. Well, then I remembered I am making a music based podcast. 100% of the music will be written by me.

I haven't really picked up my guitar or my bass much over the past two years.So, the question now is how do I get back into shape with my playing. If you're asking yourself the same questions, here are a couple of ways to get yourself back in:

Exercising your fingers:

This is probably the most painful part of learning a stringed instrument. The best way I've found to do this is to use one of those hand grips that the MMA guys use to work on their fingers. Resold under the Planet Waves brand, this handgrip has on one side a rubber bumper that fits on your palm and the other side has four hard plastic bumpers on springs. Then you kind of just work on your fingerings as though you were playing.

Another technique I read about in an interview with Dino Cazares (of Brujeria, Asesino, and Fear Factory fame), where he used to strap scuba diver ankle weights to his wrist and put black electrical tap on his finger joints. He did this until he finally got to playing at his regular speed without the extras. He then would remove the tape and weights and all of the extra resistance increased his speed and accuracy. The article is no longer available on its former site, but the excerpt is still on the website.

Playing your scales

Practicing scales actually have several different uses when playing a guitar. First off, it helps you learn notes and positions. Second, they help you learn how to switch strings seamlessly. That seems to be a  more difficult concept when you're first learning how to play. Third, it helps you learn how to time yourself. Pick up a metronome from Sam Ash or Guitar Center and play along to the pace it sets.

Here is a good link that shows the different guitar scales available
Here is one for the bass
Here are the triads and progressions

Listen along

My favorite bassist ever, Tony Campos, mentioned in an interview several years ago that one of the ways he learned to play was by listening to Cannibal Corpse and other death metal and metal bands and trying to figure out what notes they were playing and then try and recreate it himself. By doing this, you also come to respect the different styles of music you play, which in turn makes it easier to remember and pick up.

Another reason to play other peoples music is that its easier to learn techniques and notations that you would look at on a sheet of music and wonder how the hell you would play that. I remember when I first was learning to play, I was looking at an old copy of Guitar World that had the sheet music for Schysm from Tool. It was my first time seeing triplets. I never even saw those when I was playing in my school band. Then I listened to the song 50 million times, and then I was good to go.

Get out there!

My last but not least tip is to just get out there and play! get some type of decent and find an open mic, join a band, or just jam with some dudes (and/or ladies) who enjoy the same style as you do. I was in a very short lived band and it was one of the most fun times of my life! Just make sure they live near you or you all must be willing to meet in the middle. Concerts are a great way of finding others that share your interests, of course. And have fun out there playing music!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Sounds of Hell

I was sitting here and thinking about what I wanted to write about. At first, I was going to write my next entry for starting a podcast, but then after I had written everything out, I thought I would like to mention something I've found interesting since I was a little kid. The Sounds of Hell!!!

This clip was taken from my most favorite radio show ever, Coast to Coast AM. Click Here to read the backstory.

I actually listened to that recording when it played live on the radio about 8 or 9 years ago. At the time I was a delivery driver for a pharmacy, a job I strongly disliked. When you are on the road for 8 hours a day, you end up listening to talk radio. Well, I used to drive from midnight to about 4 AM every night. So I had just returned to the pharmacy after finishing up my delivery run.I had to drop off my paperwork and split. The pharmacy was located in a commercial zone that was virtually empty in the middle of the night. Nobody driving on the road and the pharmacy was closed.

So I pull up to the entryway from the street and sit there to listen to this recording. It kinda freaked me out. and all of a sudden from the right side of my car, I see this  tiny orange glow come out of nowhere. I started freaking out, and then I see it was a homeless man sitting on the lawn of the business and I jump like 4 feet into the air! OMG!

I thought that was the best piece of radio I had heard ever, that is until they had on the guest who was the spokesperson for the Maitreya and the guests who shared their recordings of EVPs and Exorcisms. Very compelling radio! To be honest the exorcisms are the best but the EVPs are the freakiest. Especially when in one area you hear the voice of the kid and in another you hear the voice of an adult and its determined that they are the same spirit messing with the investigators!

Unfortunately, people get a little too upset when great topics such as this get talked about. Mostly, its done by people who take religion a bit too seriously. Its worth it to take a step back and just enjoy life. Tightwads!