Sep 12 2009

The Beatles Renaissance…

by Josh

This week marks the release of The Beatles: Rock Band.  I know that Rock Band tends to be a fairly passe’ pursuit for actual musicians, but I find it fun and we just had to get it.  For those of you that don’t know, I was in high school right around the time the Beatles Anthologies came out and this spurred a fairly significant addicition to the Fab Four that has continued in many forms to this day.  The fact that The Beatles: Rock Band contains the newly remastered catalog of songs was just icing on the cake.

Last night, my wife and I were spending a lazy night at home when my phone rang.  It was a buddy from work, Rick.  I had been talking to him earlier in the day about Beatles Rock Band, and he seemed interested.  “Hey, I was wondering if you needed a third for Rock Band?” he said.  Well sure we did!  We were just getting ready to play anyway, so the more the merrier!

He came over twenty minutes later, with a guitar case in tow.  It seems that he purchased a Rickenbacker 325 Capri when he was younger and wanted to show it to me… holy cow was it awesome!  He also had “The Beatles Collection” which was a box set of the original 15 Parlophone UK albums.  Unbeknownst to me, it seems that there was another HUGE Beatles fan in the office.  We played Beatles Rock Band for a good long while, trading Beatles trivia and having one hell of a great time.

It seems The Beatles had a shared love of Rickenbacker guitars.  I found this great site,, that has a great article on the The Beatles and their Rickenbackers.

Getting to hold that Rickenbacker really made my weekend!

Aug 17 2009

Daily Practice Makes Better…

by Josh

I have been working to practice daily, my only break in the action was for a four day trip out of town.  I’ve been working mainly on the songs already listed in the Song Practice category, tonight I added “Don’t Wait” by Dashboard Confessional.  It’s all chords I have been working on with other songs, just a different strum pattern and timing.

I need to make my way out into the wide world and get some replacement strings, mine are starting to smell like rust which means its about time to get them replaced.

I intend to get into my Fretboard Logic books very soon, so expect to see some posts on that.

May 21 2009

Barenaked Ladies and Death Cab for Cutie practice and research…

by Josh

I’ve spent the last week periodically practicing some new songs: Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie and Light Up My Room by Barenaked Ladies.

For both of these songs, I received some instruction from my cousin John via Skype.  Soul Meets Body is only three chords, its a decent song to work on strumming and switching chords.  I still don’t quite have the strumming down, but its getting better.  Light Up My Room is one of my long-time favorite songs and I really wanted to learn the intro to that one.  It’s much more fingerpick oriented, but its not that hard of a pattern to figure out if you listen to the song while you practice.

My cousin was able to dig up a reference video for each of these songs: Soul Meets Body from an old appearance on Conan O’Brien and Light Up My Room from YouTube’s Bathroom Sessions.  Watching those videos helped work out the chord formations and some of the strumming/picking patterns to get more comfortable with the songs.

I’ll put up a more detailed post about each song after I work on them a bit more, so keep an eye out for those!

May 13 2009

Practice: Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty

by Josh

As I mentioned yesterday, I picked up the tab for Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty and gave it a shot.  Free Fallin’ is a song that is well suited to beginners like me because its only three chords and they’re very easy to switch between.

The song is comprised of a D chord, a Dsus chord, and an Asus chord.  The strum pattern is pretty easy to figure out if you listen to the song, and I learned an important lesson from this song: often, a finger or two will remain anchored and will not move as you move from chord to chord.  In the case of Free Fallin’, your ring finger will stay in the same spot on the B string.

You can see this by looking at the chords I listed above:

     D  Dsus  Asus

To move from the D to Dsus, simply add your fourth finger to the e string. To move from the D chord to the Asus chord, leave the ring finger where its at and then shift your index and ring fingers to the D and G string as indicated on the tablature above.  Anchor that ring finger and don’t let it move as you transition your chords, it really helps.

This is a very fun song to play and provides both chord switching practice and strumming practice. With a little work I think I can have this one down!

May 11 2009

Concerts: Fleetwood Mac

by Josh

I live near Denver and as a result get the chance to see some pretty great shows.  Last night was no exception, as I got the chance to see legends Fleetwood Mac in concert!

At first, I was a little apprehensive about spending that much money on a concert.  I have absolutely no reservations after the show!  The whole experience was cool… being an older band the crowd wasn’t rowdy at all.  In fact, a lady that reminded me quite a bit of my Mom was sitting next to us.  She warned me that she always cries at “Avalanche” which I can only figure meant “Landslide”… the band came on around 8:20 and played for around two and a half hours and did TWO encores!

The show was being billed as “The Hits” and it did not disappoint… pretty much every song I could think of that even remotely passed as a hit of theirs they did.  The highlights of the night for me was Lindsey Buckingham doing a completely wicked guitar solo that was so good he got an extended standing ovation after it was over.  Mick Fleetwood also had a pretty rocking drum solo during the first encore, which was pretty fun.  Stevie Nicks seemed a little lower in register than I remember her being from her albums, but still worked it out pretty well.  John McVie just seemed to be there… quietly working it out on the bass without too much involvement with the crowd.  The concert was extremely good overall, and my ears were still ringing this morning!

After doing some research, I found out that Lindsey Buckingham plays a Model One guitar from Turner Renaissance guitars that he helped design.  It seems that you too can own that guitar but since you have to email them to find out how much I’m guessing its probably more than I have to spend on a guitar (I emailed them anyway, curiosity got the best of me)!  Lindsey sure could shred that thing… his fingerpicking alone was outstanding.  There is a YouTube clip that shows the solo I mentioned above as evidence of his superior abilities.  I’m going to use the experience of watching him play as a target… if I can get 1/4 as good as he is at fingerpicking I will consider this venture a WILD success!

It was a very worthwhile concert, if they’re coming anywhere nearby everyone should take the opportunity to see them!  If you can’t do that, it seems that there’s already 33 YouTube clips from our concert to enjoy!

May 8 2009

Sore fingers lead to research…

by Josh

One of the more irritating side effects of practicing the guitar more is sore fingers from pressing down on the strings.  I don’t have a good solution for this problem, but it has led me to doing a considerable amount of research, guitar shopping, and watching skilled guitarists on YouTube while I rest my fingertips a bit.

Tonight, my wife was flipping through channels and I noticed that Counting Crows was playing on palladia, so Adam Duritz is rockin’ it out as I write this post.  I really like his songwriting and I’ve been a fan of Counting Crows for a long time.  He’s got a blog that is very interesting, its worth a read!

Among other interesting things I’ve come across this week is Eric Johnson’s 1958 Les Paul Goldtop on Ebay for a ridiculous amount of money, which took me quickly to YouTube to find this video of him playing Cliffs of Dover.  I have no idea how someone attains that level of guitar skill.  Insane.  I’ve been very lucky to string a few chords together at a time, watching him play is astonishing.

Mores soon!