An Ethereal Guitarist's Path

Friday, December 18, 2009

gig reviews

So lets see, ill start with my frist Beacon night. It was Nov, 20 2009. I played two songs, Sapphiric Lightning and The Gold Falls. Both went very well. I got up on stage, wasnt even nervous. I did some improvising in S.L. which was fun, but i mostly stuck to the structure of the song. I got a decent crowd reaction, but I think they were a bit confused, or may be they werent. Once I started playing the song, I was so drawn into it that time went by so fast. Right as I hit the first note, I thought "well theres no going back now" or something along those lines, and i just took off. I had one major mess up that was clear, but it was really no big thing, I just kept on going. The Gold Falls went very smoothly. I changed the very ending of the piece because its very hard to play cleanly since it involves me picking my wrist up from the bridge as well as picking fast with the pick and my finger. It still sounded spot on. This song flowed smoothly. Of course it was a solo peformance, so i just played the chords. It was very awesome, I was completely absorbed in this song.

The second beacon night. I played two brand new songs. The majority of the songs were improvised. The songs i did were The Stars Will Lie To You and Hurling Words Like Stones. TSWLTY was inspired from the previous gig. I believe i touched upon this in another entry. Anyway, I messed up a bit in that song and got frustrated at the beginning, but pulled everything together as it went on. The song came out to only 8 and a half minutes. I could have easily gone another 15. The second song was very cool. I began and ended it in the same exact way. I could talk about it in depthly, but i think the recording will cover all that.

Soon to and commentary about my individual songs

Saturday, November 21, 2009

played my first gig!

It went very well. The day before i was nervous, but then when i actually performed i was not nervous at all. My hands shook slightly, but that was it. I played 2 songs, Sapphiric Lightning and The Gold Falls, both went very well. I dont think most of the audience understood the songs,but thats ok, i had an amazingly fun time playing.

I played at an open mic night up in Beacon ny. Its a very nice place, great crowd and musicians with great acoustics.

Needless to say, afterwards, (today) I felt motivated to begin writing again. It took me a while to jam out some ideas but now i have got them. I am writing music, distorted and clean, to be played along with a female singer. The idea is for me to perform duets, just guitar and vocals. I was also inspired to begin practicing vocals, yet again. I think this time im going to be sticking with it. I would also like to start writing about voice technique, at least from the little that i understand of it. The other music I am going to be exploring, learning, and writing will be derived from middle eastern music. I just started working with the harmonic minor and the phrygian with a raised 5th. They are both basically the same, just constructed differently. A Bphrygian#5 is the same as the E harmonic minor. I have found a very useful sight with a lot of different middle eastern pieces, and i will be printing them out and studying them and playing through them. I will also be eucating myself about the culture/music.

This may seem rather random of me, but I assure you it isnt. I was very attached to the middle easter sound after hearing John McLaughlin play with Shakti. Hes one of my favorite guitar players. Also, last night, there was a middle eastern couple who played. It sounded great. I have taking much liking to the middle eastern scale a bit more than the normal major and minor thus far. Just from improvising in it, it feels easier to move around within the scale and its just really fucking fun.

I think thats enough for this update :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

havent updated in a while

well, ive had some ups and downs with practicing, but ultimately im learning and progressing. I have 3 songs 100% complete, plus 2 that im working on. One is half finished. Demo will 90% be out this year. I took a break from learning jazz chords and all that, just need a break from it. Ive been doing a lot with scales (though not enough) Scales can be very fun, especially once you pass major and minor. Im working mostly with modes at this point. Not a whole lot to update

Sunday, August 23, 2009

so i figured out why ive been so inconsistent lately. Its because of stress. Stress from my family/living situation. I wish there was a way around that. All other stress is fine to me, i can easily deal with it. Not only that but there is constant noise in my apartment, and i mean constant. It really drives me insane. I get home from work and either my parents are shouting or the radio is blasting. Its wrong and immature. Id just like some peace and quiet for once, whats so hard about that?

silence is just as important as sound

Monday, August 17, 2009

long update

So ive noticed, no more wrist pain. When i played, i would always push too hard with my left hand and put strain on my tendons ad joints. I have finally learned to relax enough and not have this problem, it feels great and helps tremendously of course.
I also noticed, this may sound obvious, that just playing makes you a better player. I was unsure of what to practice, so i was kinda just playing notes and improvising over nothing, and low and behold i felt some improvement.
Another thing, i am taking more frequent breaks when i play. Its harder for me to concentrate on exercises for a long time. Distractions end up doing some good.
I have been practicing 3-4 hours a day, besides today and one other day. I have noticed great improvement and my songs are coming together a lot quicker.
A great way to learn scales...scale ladder technique. Basically its where you play the scale on the top string. Then start it on the top string but then switch to the next string, etc. Doing this and going back and forth in different positions helps put all the missing links together, its what ive been needing to do. Practicising ascending and descending scales in one pattern wont do too much good. Right now ill be woking with a major, relative minor, and a mode. I will choose one key and do it till it feels comfortable then move on.
Of course, ive been working more with the blues scale. I also just learned a 12 bar blues, but i kinda suck at improvising over it. Thats just because i dont listen to much blues, but thats going to change. Im working on using the blues scale in differet positions right now.
So ive got this idea. I like how in jazz, they have alternate takes of the same songs. Im going to pretty much make variations of m songs and have music written for more instruments. Ive already begun experimenting with one song, but i need to get to know the others more first. This will be an eventual goal of mine. Theres so much you can do with one song and most musicians never touch upon this aspect. Its always one song, played this way, with the exception of some live performances but they usually dont deviate from the actual composed piece.
Another thing id like to do is write liner notes in my demo, ep, cd whatever. I think its very fascinating to get into the mind of a musician, and thats what i want to write about. I want to tell people what i was thinking when i wrote a song, or how i wrote it, what the recording process was like, what i imagine when i hear the song, etc etc. With that being said ill start with one song of mind.It started late at night, i dont remember the time, but i should have been in bed. I just started playing this short melody with A as a bass note. I thought it sounded good and then continued from there. After that, nearly every other note was done in one take. I just played and naturally, the first thing i played sounded good. The song came about naturally. I then had the song go into this dark, augmented seciton which i am currently writing now. When im playing the song it reminds me of blue colors, as if the strings turn blue and engage my mind completely. Its hard to explain and i will expand on this idea further.
Another thing, I need to learn how to transition from one topic to the next lol.
I started to learn a bit about jazz song structures, mostly from listening. Jazz is becoming much more familiar with me and doesnt sound like such a blur. That realization made me want to analyze the structures of my songs thus far. I noticed that each song is like a collage of multiple songs, but they are strng together in a smooth manner. Its a really cool concept, and knowing this will give me more creative control when i write another song. I will be able to decide if i should deviate from that strucuture or change it up in some way.

LASTLY, heres a poem i wroteI need all of you,but outwardly wont admit it.A stonw structure and stoic sculptureatared with acidity, through my broken eyes.
I never knew how to feel,but i have learned.Love for something nullifieswhat you had always thought to search for

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I continued the song i was working on. Its coming out fantastic, though now im unsure where to go from here. The song makes me visualize the color blue a lot, i might name it something to do with blue. Other than that im practicing scales in different positions as well as working oln my speed picking. I got in a good amount of practice time today, probably at least two hours

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

started on a new song

I just started playing something and it came out fuckin great. Its a classical-ish piece. Has a melody and accompaniment so far. Sounds gorgeous. Its in Dminor, by accident. I just went with me ear. Im not sure where im going to go with this phrase yet.

more to come
Ok, Ive practiced at least 2 hours so far, probably a bit more. Im going back to practicing death metal for a number of reasons. It greatly develops better dexterity in both hands and since its very fast it can increase your reaction time. Above all else, death metal is still fun to play. Im also going back to Augmented. I love this song still. I can play it a lot better now but its still tricky. Im also learning severed savior, One by One.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

bought the wrong strings

I bought the wrong strings. Too thick and werent flatwounds. Im a moron. Now i cant get the bridge to be level because theres too much tension


blah, 3rd day of no practice...SO FAR. Im tired and dont want to be bothered with guitar. Im gonna drink some soda to try to get me more energized. Im feeling lethargic but i want to write about me fighting through it, it seems i get that a lot

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

quick update

Ok, so yesterday i got a good 3 hours in, perhaps more. Been practicing the same stuff, trying to write a little more. I focused a lot on playing my own songs, and also figured out an arrangement for Hollowed Skies for solo clean guitar.

One thing ive been working on is to use my middle finger as if it were my index finger. For instance, doing hammerons and pulloffs with my middle and ring or middle and pinky. Much to my expectations, it is rather tricky. The key is to apply as much force as possible to the fret with your middle finger, than the rest will be easier to perform. The blues scale in particular really helps with this.

Today im taking a break. This morning, my tendons on my left hand were aching, so im gonna play it safe.. Rest is good anyway

Monday, August 3, 2009


Ok, so two days ago i was working with the blues and harmonic minor. I got a good 2.5 hours in. Yesterday i did about 3+ hours. My main focus is the harmonic minor and blues scale. Im working on getting a lot more familiar with them and being able to shift up to different octaves and parts in the scale. Ive also been taking 4-5 note patterns in the scales and working with those.

My improvisation has improved and changed greatly.

Ive been working with some new jazz chords and started a new song. Ill write out the progression later on. Today, I plan on practicing a good 3 hours at least. Perhaps ill do some reading as well.

Friday, July 31, 2009

reference scale chart

E F# G A B C D E F#
B C# D E F# G A B
F# G# A B C# D E F#
C# D# E F# G# A B C#
G# A# B C# D# E F# G#
D# E# F# G# A# B C# D#
A# B# C# D# E# F# G# A#

D E F G A Bb C D
G A Bb C D Eb F G
C D Eb F G Ab Bb C
F G Ab Bb C Db Eb F
Bb C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb
Eb F Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb
Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab

G A B C D E F# G
D E F# G# A B C# D
E F# G# A B C# D# E
B C# D# E F# G# A# B
F# G# A# B C# D# E# F#
C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C#

F G A Bb C D E F
Bb C D Eb F G A Bb
Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb
Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab
Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db
Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb
Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb

C Eb F F# G Bb C

Harmonic minor
A B C D E F G# A
E F# G A B C D# E
B C# D E F# G A# B
F# G# A B C# D E# F#
C# D# E F# G# A B# C#
G# A# B C# D# E Fx G#
D# E# F# G# A# B Cx D#
A# B# C# D# E# F# Gx A#

D E F G A Bb C# D
G A Bb C D Eb F# G
C D Eb F G Ab B C
F G Ab Bb C Db E F
Bb C Db Eb F Gb A Bb
Eb F Gb Ab Bb Cb D Eb
Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb G Ab

I need to fill in the 6 note blues scale in and i want to do the other variations of the blues scale and then do all the modes.

Good reference, easier to memorize this way.

Im thinking im going to split my practice time into an hour of music studying and the rest of it, technical practice

Thursday, July 30, 2009

mind = blown!

So i just learned a few key things to jazz.
1. The use of the harmonic minor scale and modes
2. the use of the blues scale
3. Chords are often used as support and arent the main focus in the songs
4. Drummers keep time on the hi hat or ride

I read in this book that jazz uses them, and i didnt really understand. I then learned them and started experimenting, and then i was able to hear it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ive got a bit to work on

My technique has slipped a bit. I need to go back to practicing with a metronome, just gotta get batteries for it. My hands are VERY relaxed when im playing, which is so important. Thats something that comes with time.

I need to work on better finger dexterity, mostly with my ring and pinky. Im doing a specific exercise that goes like:


Obviously im keeping my hand in the same place. The tricky part is the 9898 part. Doing that fast will take some time. The other hard part is repeating the pattern as there is no rest. Im also adding random hammerons/pulloffs where they sound cool.

Im also working on simple scale runs repeating 3 or 4 notes and moving down. Its hard to keep it smooth when shifting positions.

Im practicing my current songs a lot because they need it. While they are simple, they are rather hard to play and express the right way. I also dont like the strings i have on now. Im going to try flatwounds and see how that goes

Ive practiced a lot today. I forgot to keep track somewhere around 2-3 hours. Im gonna get about another hour in hopefully, or read. Then afterwards im watching a documentary on Charlie Parker.

Lastly, I have acquired a Big Muff pedal from Electro Harmonix. Should be sweet. Gonna mix that and my Boss Chorus Ensemble

Oh yea, october 3rd i will be doing a very short set with Dom and another Steve. It will be quick and fun. Nothing serious though.

back on track

Ok. First off I have decided to take a break from bodybuilding. I would like to focus a little more on my own music as well as not be broke. Spending 2-300 dollars on food and supps. is no joke. I have 3 songs completed for Undermind. 2 of them are all guitar one is all bass guitar. I have 3 other songs in the making. Im working on a new setup so that i will be able to play live by myself. My songs are composed so that i can play them on guitar solo, or another instrument may join. I will have recordings shortly.

My new setup will be:
Schecter hell raiser FR6
line 6 spider II amp head
line 6 3X12 cab
Loop station (not sure which yet)
chorus pedal
Electro Harmonix Russian Muff/boss ds1 distortion

Pretty cool setup especially on a budget. I have found I like the spider II better than the spider III

Anyway, since the last time I updated, Ive had numerous noise jams with Dom. These are very liberating. Talk about improvisation. While I made "noise" on the guitar, i still kept a consistency in my playing. I did not play the guitar like a guitar, but other instruments fused in one. Its basically taking everything i know how to play, and blending it into one instrument. Ive been opened up to a lot of new music as well.

Currently, I am averaging 3-6 hours nearly everyday. I do not believe it is best to be practicing rigorously everyday. Your mind and muscles need rest. Resting is how you grow.

I just watched Nevermore's dvd, Year of the Voyager. Truely motivating and inspiring. Jeff Loomis is the best metal guitarist there is. He plays flawlessly and writes very interesting and thought provoking music.

I will start analyzing and writing down what im practicing from day to day. All I know is that i am going to teach myself how to play jazz. Ive been getting a lot of chords down and have started working with modes. Im also learning other scales such as the harmonic/melodic minor and the idminished scale (half-whole)

Anyway, I will be back to updating on a regular basis!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Im aching to write. Ive had a great deal of emotions and thoughts stir in me. Ive just been very tired. Im about to have an outburst of writing though and i cant wait. Im trying to figure out Back to back by the Montgomery Brothers, really cool jazz piece. Im also working on a cover of Elevation, by Blut Aus Nord. Next up, im going to learn more metallica and Dream theater

Also, im going to write down what i need to practice. Ive reaalized i have a lot of the basics either mastered, or i know it well enough that i need to finally move on from them, (not 100% of course). and yes i realize my grammar is off..

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

im studying the fretboard
what the hell does that mean

im looking at everything as notes instead of numbers. Next step is to start visualizing intervals and predicting how they will sound. Im also looking at the guitar from more of abird's eye view rather than focusing in on one point. It helps connect the dots when it comes to soloing and learning scales or modes.

Theres a point where a guitar player will know exactly what his fingers are doing without looking at them. That is when you can start looking elsewhere on the guitar more efficiently. Thats basically what im doing

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ok, 2 hours a day on average so far. Thats ok. Gotta take small steps before i go higher. So many things influence my mood and desire to practice, but im finally getting my motivation back. Ideally I will go through another summer averaging 6 hours a day, or at the least, 30 hours a week. Im a little mixed about practicing so many hours per day. Your body and mind need rest in order to grow.

I have 3 songs almost complete for my Undermind project. I have another one that im slowly working on as well. Those will be recorded in a few months, im working on familiarizing myself with them a lot more. Itd also help if i recorded them, but im lazy and stubborn. This will change though.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

new music

Luciano Cilio, Italian songwriter, only made one album, which is a shame. Classical guitar with piano and strings. Amazing ambience/classical music. Very inspirational

John Mclaughlin. I never paid attention to him much for whatever reason. Mahavishnu orchestra is one of the best groups ever. Im still learning about these artists so now much will be said in this post

Im kinda re-finding all the jazz thats on my computer or mp3 player and its wonderful.

My current obsession is Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. Words can not express what that album is like.

Ive moved so far away from death metal at this point. So much of it is so repititious and not ground breaking enough.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

jam session/band

had a great jam session with my brother on cello and his friend josh on guitar. Josh knows a ton of shit about theory that i dont. Im happy i finally found someone who can school me with knowledge. I cant wait to learn more. Jamming was very interesting and different. I never really improv jammejd with three people so it was really cool. We connected really well i liked a lot of what we had played. So now, the band has officially started. This is my new motivation to practice.

Im getting much more serious with Anthromorphic. Going to be practicing the songs for hours, since they are that hard. I really want to get serious about it.

thats all for now...the fire has been rekindled

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


its been a bumpy road. Many periods of motivation and demotivation. Ive learned a lot about stress and how it effects the body and am currently learning about how nutrition will help lower stress, thus helping my practice better. I have a lot of shit to update.