We have added a new lessons page for budding blues guitarists.
This shows the first three positions of the Pentatonic blues scales. It provides illustrations and theory on those scales and the blues format in general.
There will be a follow up where we provide a series of licks taken from those patterns for you to study. There will be video links and tabs showing
how these licks are played and the notes used.
Please feel free to visit the page.
Pentatonic Scales lesson
Guitar Lessons and Courses
Since I started work on building this site, the primary purpose has been to promote the music I write. Whether it be albums or single items of music. It has since grown to cover the albums videos and books that I have released over the intervening years.
One question that has been asked on a regular basis is do I teach guitar or music.
Initially the answer was simply no. Unless it was the occasional one off situation where I personally knew the student. Life has been very full and having both the time and place to teach have been limiting factors. To that end I decided to write some of my ideas down# into a project format. The intention was to publish them as a series on the site.
However I'm not an avid blog writer, and keeping to a regular schedule for publishing
something of this nature would not work.
The eventual result of this was the writing and publication of the little book on the caged guitar system followed by the Sharp flat or both study on the circle of fifths theory system.
Both of these methods I used on a regular basis in various ways over the years.
Due to the surprising amount of interest, and the unexpected volume of sales achieved by both these books. Plus the fact that the question is still being asked.
I looked at other options, and decided to create a series of study courses.
The idea originally for these was simply to be an ebook, However, they evolved into
both video and ebook products. Through my NLP practice I learned that for many
people learning is a multi tiered experience. For me effective learning works best when I read up on the subject, see an example of it happening then physically do it.
With that in mind I created my courses with text, graphic and video based presentation formats.
The first course is a study of blues guitar. It consists of six modules.
The first five modules explore the five pentatonic blues scales. The theory explains
the relevant blues scale, plus the underlaying modal scale.
The videos show examples of guitar licks generated from those specific scales..
The sixth module takes this further by covering all the relevant scales
pentatonic and modal, The videos show an instrumental passage covering a full blues progression. There are three of these covering a standard blues, a slow blues and a fast blues. Each passage is then broken down into separate shorter examples showing the components licks of each passage.
This particular course has been made available in the six
modules. Each one accessible for a moderate price
The second course follows a similar format, and is a study of modal scales.
It basically shows all the modal scales across the guitar fret board using the
key of C major as the focus point.
There are many ways to find modal scales, many people use the intervals.
For me it's easier to learn scales by shapes, then learning to find the feel of the scale by playing the shapes in different locations in different keys, or over the parent key.
In this way I learned that the same pattern can be applied to the scale whether the pattern starts on the sixth string or on the third string.
This course consists of a ebook. The theory explains
the relevant scale, the graphics illustrate the shape of that particular modal scale.
and the videos show examples of the scales being played.
Videos are accessed via links in the ebook and are all downloadable.
There are approximately 32 videos available for view.
The course is currently available at heavily discounted price for new subscribers.
For further information please click on the link below or the title link above
Guitar lessons and courses
Wishing you all well in your practice and guitar playing careers.
All the best
My version of the George Gershwin Classic
This tune is is taken from a collection of jazz guitar improvisations
which I did over existing backing tracks.
The album is called My Jazz Guitar Moments
When I put this collection together, the start point was simply a list of titles. Tunes I fancied trying to play over. My task was then to source the backings to use. Some of the final choices came from midi files. Some were wav format files. Most were free, some were purchased
The backing for this particular tune was originally a midi file. The problem was it sounded like it. I imported the midi file into a sequencer and converted the midi format into audio which gave me a fairly realistic sound. I also changed the key from Bb minor
to G minor which made the improv slightly easier to work over.
After a lot of practice I managed to get the guitar line down. It took several attempts, and what you hear is a single take.
The next issue was mixing, I wanted the guitar line to come out
from the backing. But also wanted the backing to have a fuller sound.To accomplish this I placed two guitar
tracks at about 25 on both sides of the stereo field.
Three tracks of the backing were also used.
One in the center and two others at around 55 in the left and
right sides of the stereo field.
This gave me the thickness in sound I was looking for.
My recording procedure is simple. I record using either a PC or mixing desk facilities depending on the project.
For this particular tune the only recording was the guitar line
However under normal conditions my sequence of recording
goes more or less along the route of rhythm guitar guide track.
Percussion track. Bass line, rhythm guitar tracks. Vocals,
then final lead guitar tracks.
Once that stage has been completed I use software based editing
facilities to clean up my recorded tracks.
Any extraneous noises are cleared and
removed to give me a clean track
Mixing and Sequencing software is used to refine my mixes.
I place my cleaned tracks in various places on the stereo field
and listen to the results via headphones.
This process tends to run over several days.
I come back to each one
with a fresh ear so to speak. When I’m satisfied with the mix
I move on to the mastering stage.
For this process a software based mastering suite is employed, which enables me to tweak levels and eq’s with ease. It also offers a series of presets which can be used for specific music styles. This helps me get a clean sounding mix very quickly.
Once the piece had been produced, I will leave it for several days and once again come back to it with a fresh ear. If I like what I have the tune will be published via my website
Hope that explains some of what I do, and a little more
about this tune.
To play the tune click the link below
All the best
This tune is essentially a techno style piece with some rock guitar layered over the backing.
I was asked to produce some martial style rocks tracks, which were to be used as backing music underpinning some fight sequences for an instructional martial arts video.
The sequence this was specifically written for was some full speed sparring where the participants were using double sticks. The martial art is Escrima or Kali. This is a Phillipino fighting system where weapons and empty hand styles use essentially the same techniques.
This one was quite literally written from the percussion tracks up.
The main percussion track has a wooden
block incorporated into the mix,
This I used to simulate the sound of the sticks hitting each other as it
would sound in the actual sparring session.
There was a second percussion sequence, which was woven into
the mix to create a break from the main theme.
The next step was to marry the two sequences together musically. This was achieved by creating a kind of rolling bass line.
This essentially gave some support to the percussion
and allowed the thing to be developed in a
more sequenced manner.
Keyboards and various effects were layered over the top to create the techno feel which gave the thing the dynamics
I was looking for.
The final guitar line came about after a substantial amount of improvisation during which several versions were recorded.
Once the piece had been produced, I was tasked with doing the videos, all the production and editing.
The video series was eventually published in it's entirety.
via the martial arts club website two years ago,
and again via my e-commerce site last year.
This tune has been released on the Firestreak album
and has also been used as the backdrop for a
video promoting the new graphic designs now
available on our updated product range.
Hope that explains some of what I do, and a little more about this tune.
All the best
I’m not a major blog or article writer, but I was recently asked about my experience of submitting music for placement in a commercial environment, whether it be films television or computer/console games.
When it comes to placement in films, I have never tried as I’m not an orchestral writer, however submission of music and songs for music libraries. I have submitted to many of them with varying degrees of success.
My first submission attempts got me a deal with an online recording and publishing company. I simply provided the recorded and mastered album. They promoted it for me. The result was I got lots of radio coverage and sales of songs via my own website and via theirs. I also sold my album at my own live gigs. To have a deal of any kind gives you an element of kudos. However it is not the be all and end all. My album was dropped in favour of newer more marketable artists after a year.
Since that time I still submit to the occasional listing, but it can be a costly endeavour. So make your submissions wisely
First of all though I’ll give a brief explanation of what a music library actually is and does.
Music libraries, or to coin the professional term. Production music libraries offer music for commercial use to interested parties.
It works thus, the composer writes specifically for, or submits music to the music library.
The music library offers a licensing agreement on which the composer gets paid, if the music is used. In many cases the copyright passes over to the music library as they will want the exclusive rights to market and license the music in whatever way they deem suitable.
Income generated from music libraries is based on two methods
License or synchronization fees
These are the fees paid upfront to the library for permission to use or synchronize its music to a piece of film, video or audio. These fees can range from a few pounds up to thousands of pounds subject to the usage. The library receives the the fee and pays the composer
his/her percentage of the fee.
In some cases the library will employ and pay the composer directly to produce music.
This is more commonly known as a work-for-hire fee. In this scenario copyright of the music passes to the music library. The composer will only receive the initial payment and credits as the composer.
Performance income (or performance royalties)
Performances income is generated when music is publicly performed ie television or radio. The users the music do not pay these fees. Instead, they are paid annually by broadcasters (such as television networks and radio stations) to performing rights organizations such as ASAP and BMI in the US and the PRS in the UK.
These agencies then distribute those royalties amongst their members. Once again, there will be a percentage split on the royalty between the library and the composer. To ensure accurate distribution. Broadcasters are required to keep records of the music they have used, when and length of time. This data is used by the performing rights organizations to allocate the royalties accordingly.
Royalty Free Libraries
These libraries do not charge their customers for licensing the music. Instead, the customers purchase a CD or for a fee, access to a music database . The content of which is licensed for them to use as often they wish. These libraries depend mainly on performance royalties for their income (with a small amount of income from sales of physical CD's or online track downloads).
Royalty-free music is not registered with any performance rights organizations or royalty collection agencies. Libraries which specialize in this type of music license it to their customers on a non-exclusive basis where it can be used as often, and for as long as required. The music is licensed by the customers according to a specific license agreement, they cannot sell it or license it to others. It enables independent musicians to sell and license their own music, and is the method I use in the sale of my own music via this site.
Non exclusive Libraries
These allow the composer to license their composition to multiple user at the same time. The non-exclusive library doesn't own the music rights outside of the licenses that are made by that library. The library does not pay for the piece, and the artist doesn't get any payment until the piece is licensed at which point the library and the artist split the license fee equally.
This method uses music written for specific use, along with music taken from a library catalogue. The project producer defines the areas where the music written specifically for the project is to be used, and where the alternate music from the library will also be used. In this scenario, the music is usually provided by one composer. All the music is then licensed together under single agreement.
Specific Licensing types
These are taken from the source I use for the licenses applied to my music and are as follows
Creative Commons license
With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright, but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit -- and only on the conditions specified. Which are as follows
1 Allow commercial uses of this song: The licensor permits others to copy, distribute and transmit the work. In return, licensees may not use the work for commercial purposes — unless they get the licensor's permission
2 Allow modifications of this song: The licensor permits others to copy, distribute and transmit only unaltered copies of the work — not derivative works based on it.
These licenses are free, so you don't get paid for them.
Paid Licenses: These give buyers or other artists the option to use your song.
Leasing: This allows for the use of the song under specific conditions.
Exclusive: This in effect licenses the music as a work for hire: Thus allowing the unrestricted use of the song in any way the Licensee feels fit. The composer receives no royalties outside of the license. And can no longer lease or sell the song elsewhere.
But must receive credit for the original composition.
These then are a brief outline of music libraries and how they function. Licensing is a very much site specific. As a general rule. I use a paid license. I use the leasing option as I still retain control over my music. I also sell the songs an an mp3 download.
Music libraries provide music for commercial use, they therefore exercise extreme quality control over submissions. The music has to be top quality and relevant to their requirements.
Which brings me to the final part of this article. The listing requirements.
When a music site or library requests for music submissions, they will usually provide a brief giving information on the kind of music they are looking for to fill the listing.
The following are a list of criteria I have found useful when making submissions
Give the submission a relevant title
Your song title should only be the song name and should not include
additional information. As an example
Fading Sunlight, River Ride are ok . Titles such as fadsunmix 4 or rrtake 35 mix 1 are not. Leaving extra information in the title may lead music users to
believe the song is a work in progress.
Represent your song. as accurately as possible
Submitting to Wanted Listings
Before sending your music for the submission, it’s a good idea to research the brief thoroughly. There may be mention of a TV show, film, advertisement or project. That may have music which is relevant to the listing requirements. On numerous occasions I have seen requests for music in a similar style to a specific song. Being accurate with your Wanted submissions will help position your music in a good light.
Applying to listings which fit songs in your catalog this will allow you to use material you already have and save on stress when creating to a deadline. It will increase the chances of being noticed and perhaps licensed. Above all be selective in your submissions and work to your strengths as a composer.
I hope this article answers some of these questions
If it did please feel free to share it
All the best
Added links to new tutorial website with thousands of tutors in over 300 subjects.
Including my personal practice. Click the title
All. the best
Hi all, been a very busy few months for me, lots of things have been completed and the site updated.
Firstly the new album has been posted, it's an acoustic rock album with a mixture of rock and folk influenced tunes.
It's called Sunset Vision. Click the title to go to the page. The tracks can be heard with direct links to the page on soundclick. I've decided to forgo using extracts on video as time was very much against me on this. In fact it is something I'm seriously considering doing with the rest of the albums. Makes it simpler for those who wish to listen to the tunes in there entirety.
I decided to expand the coverage I get for my music, to this end. Nine of the albums have now been published across the net, predominantly Itunes, Amazon, Deezer plus a host of less well known platforms. They are now available from these outlets as well.
As part of the packaging and artwork exercise I found that some of the original album artwork had to be updated. So to this end the old covers for the Everything Counts and Summer Dreams albums has been recreated and posted here.
There is a series of further updates coming soon. I'll provide the details as I do them
In the meantime thanks for your continued support. Wishing you well and success in all you do