Saturday, June 25, 2016

Moon Fly

A little disappointed with guitar stuff today. Didn't sound too fantastic today during band practice. That's ok; learned I'm not quite ready to improvise on the fly. Practice needed. 
Came home and recorded "Fly Me to the Moon." I wasn't satisfied with my improv so I did it a number of times until I liked it. Learned that staying in the Ionian scale (mostly) was a good idea. I like this improv because to my ears it actually sounds like jazz that I'd like, rather than sounding just like notes. Here it is:

Friday, June 24, 2016

As Time Goes By

Worked on "As Time Goes By" for a recording. I love sounds; maybe that explains why I like to record and play around with sounds on the recording. On this one, I tried to get the feeling of someone putting on an old vinyl record of the song:


I love sounds that are in musical compositions. That's why I like this quote: 

"I play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible" 
Jeff Beck

Although I'm not a big Jeff Beck fan, happy birthday to him!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wichita Lineman

Well I had a hard time playing this as a piano solo, so here it is as something a little different than what I usually do. Here's "Wichita Lineman."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wichita Wednesday

Spent some time today on the piano tonight playing around with one of my favorite songs of all time: "Wichita Lineman." Beautiful tune. 
Can I hit the right notes? Yep.
All the time? Nope.
Can I play in a steady rhythm? Nope.
So that gives you some idea of how it sounded! 


Here's a link to yesterday's ear playing and improv to "What a Wonderful World":

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What a Wonderful World on Tuesday

Worked on some improvisation and playing by ear on the song "What a Wonderful World." Didn't write out any patterns, but used Silver's patterns along with some stuff I learned from the book I've recently worked on. I feel good about it.
For the past some years I have wanted to learn how to improvise. I've asked if a book would help, or what has others used to play improv. A lot of times, (if not all), I have asked something like, "Will this help me to learn how to improvise over standards like "WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD."
There you have it. I have wanted to learn how to do what I can say I can now do. It will take more work, but I did it. 
I can improvise over a song and it's changes if I do some work before hand with it. Now I'm not sounding like Joe Pass, but I'm sounding ok. 
Thank you God. Thank you Jesus.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Post

Back from vacation. A time to reevaluate. Do I really want to play piano? YES. Of course. But I wonder if I'm willing to do the work or if I'm just too old for new information to be imprinted in my brain.
Tempted to take the Duanne Shinn Crash Course. 
Must reevaluate what I want to do with my health. Do I really want to lose weight and take better care of myself? YES. Of course. But I question my willingness to do the work.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Day 1

Day 2

Practiced a lot today, utilizing the Silver material as well as the book: "A Common Sense Approach to Guitar Improvisation" by Joe Negri, compiled & edited by Tim Bedner.  Also worked out a solo guitar arrangement for the Beatles' "Michelle."
Here it is (recorded in our vehicle; my wife was driving, and my daughter held the phone recorder as I played):

Day 3 

There has been a mass shooting in Orlando, FL earlier. This has become an unbelievably scary world to live in.

Day 4 - Hollywood Studios

Day 5 - Magic Kingdom

Mickey pointing at me????

When you wish.....

upon a star...

A beautiful song for me, with memories of my late mother taking me to see "Pinocchio" as a kid. 

Hearing horrible news, though, that an alligator got ahold of a two year old child near Disney's Magic Kingdom. In watching the fireworks, we noticed a helicopter with a spotlight; later we found out that this was a helicopter searching for the child.
This makes the third piece of terrible news to come out of Orlando this week.

Day 6 

Relax Day. Been trying to learn more about improvising and played guitar a little today. 

Day 7 - Universal Studios 

First, some respect given to the Godfather: 

At "Hard Rock Cafe" in Orlando:

Here's one of Paul McCartney's Beatle suits:

Chuck Berry (depicted in a stained glass window):

Cool jacket worn by Buddy Holly:

Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel" -

Guitar with built in speaker that Keith Richards used during the recording of the "Let it Bleed" album:

Drawing by Stuart Sutcliffe donated by his sister:

A letter written by Paul McCartney to a fan. The fan is requesting one his his picks, but he suggested it's getting too expensive to keep sending out his picks to fans, so he sent his matchbox instead:

At Universal Studios:

Saw a terrific Blues Brothers show. The sax player started it by walking down the street while playing. Awesome!

Day 8 (Last Full Day in Florida)

Went to see "Finding Dory" (in 3D) at a movie theatre where you can order food while watching the movie. 
Getting some guitar practice in, working on my inversions / improvs using the Joe Negri book.

Day 9

Happy 74th Birthday to the best bass player ever and one of my all time favorite music makers:


Spending the night in South Carolina and will be leaving for home tomorrow. Reading some stuff about music theory. Also reading what is turning into a cool read: "The Picture of Dorian Gray," by Oscar Wilde. My son purchased C.S. Lewis' Signature Classics; he wondered about "Mere Christianity," and he ended up buying it with my endorsement. I like how he's being open to Christian apologetics. That book, along with Lewis' "Screwtape Letters" are a couple of my favorite books.

Day 10

Happy Birthday to Nick Drake whose album "Pink Moon" is one of my favorite albums.

Happy Father's Day to me as a received a cool wallet with monsters on it as a gift.

On the way home today from South Carolina:

Learning a lot about improvisation from the Negri book during the ride home.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Practice continues with integrating  and adding new knowledge gained from the Marc Silver book: ""Contemporary Guitar Improvisation." 
Earned some cash from last night's gig to add to my "Martin Guitar Fund." I sang lead on "Mustang Sally" and had a good time with it. We ended "Goodnight Sweetheart" with an unplanned accapella ending that was quite nice. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Blogging from a break in our gig. We got a flat tire on the way down and a Good Samaritan changed our tire and refused $20 from my friend!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Pentatonic College Modes

Got $170 saved for my Martin. Getting there! Tomorrow playing a paying gig with a band so I'll add more cash to the Martin fund.
No guitar practice today with the guitar in hand. However.....
I was the passenger in a couple of long car rides today and I was able to study a few things from the Marc Silver book. Started to try to memorize some pentatonic stuff, worked on memorizing the modal names, and went over the original patterns in my mind.
Went to college orientation for one of my kids today and we await the start of this new chapter in his life.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday / The Piano

Thinking of taking however long it takes to save for Martin guitar that I fall in love with. It might take awhile as I have only $155 now (!)
Played around with guitar patterns tonight. 

Oldies But Goodies. Found these tonight. Got me interested in piano again. I had a time when I immersed myself in piano and it was a lot of fun. Tempted to go back to it to learn Sundow-type arrangements of songs on my piano bucket list.  Songs that want to play. 

Here's "Blackbird" -

Here's "And I Love Her" -

Here's me singing "Blue Christmas" with guitar in a band I used to be in:

Lastly, here's an old version of "Honey Pie" performed by me and my youngest daughter:

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Last day of May... Worked on improvising over "Misty" today,and this is how its sounded: