Archive for May, 2011

Quote, Unquote

Posted by Brian on 25th May 2011 in General Music, Performing

“First of all, you have to be honest and acknowledge it. Admit to yourself, ‘I can play like crazy in my bedroom, but the moment I have to walk on stage I crap myself.’ Then you have to find a way of overcoming that. The first thing you gotta know is that the audience is not the judge and jury. They are not against you. The audience is with you. It’s hard to believe that when you’re terrified, but one of the best things that you can do is go out and say something like, ‘Hello. I’m nervous as Hell. Look at my hand. You should see the other one.’ Find a way of telling the audience that you’re gonna do your best but you’re very nervous. And you’ll find a surge of emotion will hit you from the audience, and it will make you feel a bit better. Practice being in front of an audience and it will slowly disappear.”

“Choose your songs wisely, and get out there and give ’em all you’ve got”

— Tommy Emmanuel on dealing with stage fright (from the July 2011 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine).

Warm Up!

Posted by Brian on 24th May 2011 in Guitar, Practice

One thing that I found has become more and more important, both as I age and as I develop more complex material, is a proper warm-up before I play or practice. I’ve always found that I play better after playing for a few minutes, but I’ve never been deliberate with my warm-ups. More recently, however, I’ve found that when working on new tunes where I tend to repeat complicated passages for minutes at a time, I’m waking up the next day with various aches and pains in my hand and arm. The problem is that I tend to just grab my guitar when I have a precious few minutes to play and start right into the new material without a proper warm-up, so I’ve decided to actually do what what I’ve always told my students to do and incorporate a deliberate warm-up into my practice routine. (Which also means being disciplined about only working on new material when I have a proper block of time!)

Here is warm up routine (starting at 2:22) from Joe Satriani that is part of a series on using your metronome (a subject on which I have a lot to say – and I will… eventually…)

Ten Things…

Posted by Brian on 17th May 2011 in Guitar, Performing, Playing well with others

I recently came across this list that was posted on my favourite guitar forum: 10 Things All Guitarists Should Be Able To Do. It is a list of ten things that any guitarist who plans on performing should work on. (And, in my humble opinion, all guitarists should have “performing” on their bucket list.)

This particular list caught my attention because number 2 is one of my pet peeves: Tune your instrument! It seems that so many musicians these days don’t bother to tune their instruments before performing, or more accurately, they don’t tune to the instruments around them; so while they may be in tune with themselves, they are not in tune with the other performers.

Like most top 10 lists, this one has its flaws. There is some overlap – for example, item numbers 3 (sustain), 4 (vibrato) and 8 (timing) are really just subsections of number 5 (phrasing) – and it is definitely weighted towards playing electric guitar. But it is all good advice, nevertheless.

If you’re interested, you can read (or join) the discussion generated by this list at Guitars


Songs You Should Know: Watermelon Sorbet

Posted by Brian on 12th May 2011 in Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitar, Making a Living, Songs You Should Know

This tune by Eve Goldberg is the tune that we would all love to write. It was picked up and used for several years as the theme song for Bill Richardson’s afternoon radio show on what is now CBC Radio One. As I understand it, the income that was generated by daily national radio play allowed Eve to do what we all want to do – quit her day job at Borealis Records and play music full-time.

As fingerstyle tunes go, this one is pretty accessible. It uses familiar open position chords and a strict alternating bass line throughout. And it sticks in the listener’s ear for hours!

Have look at the video and see if you can figure it out!

Video of the Month: Craig D’Andrea

Posted by Brian on 1st May 2011 in Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitar, Guitarists, Video of the Month

This month’s video features another CandyRat recording artist, Craig D’Andrea. This tune, called “As We Go” is from his most recent CD: “…and the B.L.T.s”. Once again this month, biographical information is hard to find as his website is still under construction, but I can tell you that he is roughly 26 years old and that this CD is Craig’s third release on CandyRat records (who seem to have a monopoly on solo fingerstyle guitar players). I also know that he won the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in 2007 and that he lives in Connecticut.

Tuning: GBbEbFBbD
Craig’s Website:
Craig at CandyRat Records: – sheet music available