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Collaborating With Other Songwriters (But Not Co-Writing!)

I'm not talking about co-writing songs. I'm referring here to getting other songwriters to help you evaluate your work. I am a big advocate of songwriting groups such as NSAI. Here you can meet with other writers, learn something valuable about writing from an industry pro, and take some time to listen to each others songs and offer constructive criticism. If you've never done anything like this, it can be a bit nerve-wracking. It's one thing to play your songs for an audience of mostly non-musicians, with the only feedback being the ...
 
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How To Make A Living In The Modern Music Business

According to a recent report by Berklee College of Music, the average musician earns $55,561 per year. More than half of all respondents reported generating income from three or more different jobs. For a lucky few, though, a full-time gig can translate into a six-figure salary. Buoyed by selling a chunk of his eponymous headphone line, Dr. Dre pulled in $110 million last year. His earnings were easily the most of any rapper, rocker or pop star in the world—and, according to a recent report released by Berklee College of Music...
 
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How Many G Chords Do You Know?

I sat down the other day to make a short, simple video about two different ways to finger a G chord. I find that many people tend to use one or the other consistently, whichever one they learned first. Once I started getting into the topic, though, I found more and more to say about it. Next thing I knew, I had a fifteen-minute video on different ways to play a simple G chord. You might ask how it's possible to have that much of value...
 
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Live Review: Trampled By Turtles and Honeyhoney Impress In Santa Ana, CA

Americana music has had such a huge impact in recent years that it has given rise to international stars, from England’s Mumford & Sons to Sweden’s First Aid Kit. But Friday night a capacity crowd filled the Observatory in Santa Ana to celebrate two homegrown champions of the sound, Trampled by Turtles and honeyhoney. The mighty headliners from Duluth, Minn., brought major-league game to ...
 
Josh Graham and Rick Russell of Lucky Ned Pepper.

New Artist Spotlight: Lucky Ned Pepper

If Westerns are your type of film, then the name Lucky Ned Pepper might ring a bell: It’s the bad guy in True Grit, a nasty, cantankerous character typical of those that prowled the plains and prairies. It’s also the name Josh Graham and Rick Russell chose for their new duo. While there’s nothing particularly villainous about these two Bakersfield-based singers, they do infuse their music with some wide-open, big-sky...
 
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The Unmitigated Weirdness Of The Whole Tone Scale

When I think back on my favorite scales to play in, they tend to have a certain elegance in common. The simplicity and intuitiveness of the Major Scale, the floaty dreaminess of the Lydian Mode, the exotic Jason Becker-like vibe of the Hirajoshi Scale - they're all beautifully melodic, and they all have a built-in ability to resolve nicely, providing a satisfying emotional and musical conclusion to a musical phrase. Then there's the Whole Tone Scale. What is it? It's simply a scale built out of a whole bunch of whole tones. Every note of the scale has a two-fret leap either way to find the next note of the scale. And whatever...
 
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How To Build Your Own Basic Pedal Board

Let’s examine what it takes to build a pedal board. Things to consider are the foundation, or the “board” part of the pedal board, fasteners, power, cables, the effects themselves and how they’ll be chained. And finally the transportation and protection of the board. The latter affects your decisions about the first. Several manufacturers make prefabricated open-and-play pedal board boxes. These tend to cost between $60 and $300 and...
 
joesatriani

10 Greats Say Practice Makes Perfect

There’s no getting around it: for any beginning guitarist who aspires toward excellence, practice is the essential component in achieving that goal. But what about players who’ve already reached the pinnacle of their craft? Do they continue to practice, and what exactly does “practice” mean to them? Below, ten six-stringers who’ve climbed the ladder to greatness share their thoughts on the topic.
 
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Slide Guitar Basics: To Mute Or Not To Mute?

Conventional wisdom when playing slide dictates that guitarists mute with the palms of their picking hands in order to keep extraneous sonic activity to a minimum. That’s part of how Duane Allman, Joe Walsh, Ry Cooder, Derek Trucks and scores of others have achieved warm, buttery well-defined tones over the decades. This is especially true when playing electric guitar, where strings can rattle, buzz and sustain wildly given a little...
 
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Most Anticipated Alt Rock Albums of 2013

13 could be a lucky number for alt rock fans with a slew of heavyweight releases due this year. Here’s a possible Top 10 of skewed and inventive guitar goodness coming your way. Eels – Wonderful, Glorious Eels’ first album in four years is out February, after Mark Everett was busy with numerous other projects, including the Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives documentary movie about his quantum physicist father, Hugh ...
 

Relaunched Myspace Is a Success as Music Service But What About As a Social Network?

The redesigned Myspace finally opened up to the public Tuesday. A year and a half in the works, the site is both a social network and a music discovery destination. The new Myspace would be a success if success were determined on style points alone. But as its predecessors have proven, a music site needs functionality to be competitive. Myspace appears to have a good set of tools. It works ...
 
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SoundBetter: Online Networking for Musicians, Engineers

SoundBetter, an online networking platform for musicians and audio engineers, has launched. SoundBetter showcases listings from niche-genre home producers all the way to large-scale remote mastering houses, and everything in between. It allows users to find a mixing engineer who worked on a particular album they love, a recording studio near them at a specific budget, a mastering engineer across the...
 
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10 Things You Might Not Know About Joe Bonamassa

No one could accuse Joe Bonamassa of not staying busy. This year alone, the guitar sensation has released three albums—a solo disc titled Dust Bowl; a group album titled 2, with Black Country Communion; and a duet album of soul classics, titled Don’t Explain, with acclaimed singer Beth Hart. Amazingly, as recently as last fall, some scribes were still calling Bonamassa “the best living guitarist you’ve never heard of.” Guitar ...
 
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Live Review: Blackfoot Gypsies at The High Watt in Nashville, TN

Phil Spector had his "Wall of Sound", but I wonder if one's ever truly experienced it until catching the indie alt-rock, Delta blues styled band Blackfoot Gypsies in concert. Comprised of Matthew Paige (guitar and vocals) and Zack Murphy (drums), Blackfoot Gypsies can fill a venue with a full-band sound by just the two musicians and no backup players. Matthew Paige's vocals are perfectly suited for the style of music...
 
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How To Sound Like AC/DC’s Malcolm Young

Rock history was built on a foundation of rhythm guitar. Think about it. The two main musical pillars of the style – Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley — were primarily rhythm players. And the list goes on to include a wide range of six-string rhythm kings who’ve created distinctive sounds, ricocheting from James Hetfield in metal land to Catfish Collins in funk nation. Malcolm Young has been among the world’s most...
 
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