Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I am going to learn this inprovisation stuff. I feel the Fewell book is helping. Will NOT give up. Did you hear that? I will NOT give up. Even when I miss a day or so of practice. That doesn't mean anything. I will get this thing in my hands so I can express myself using guitar sounds in a sonetimes beautiful and sometimes dissonant and sometimes funky way. Will not give up. The commitment and tools are there. 

Tuesday Practice

First of all, I know that the last paragraph of my last post should have been edited, but in not sure why it wouldn't let me edit.
But I had a good practice day: went over repertoire and adding a page of knowledge from the Fewell book. 

! ! Announcement ! !

Very proud to announce that my 17 year old son (who goes by the name "New-Hope") has released his first EP called "Not Tangible" on iTunes:

Not Tangible - EP by New-Hope:

One thing I find cool is that one song is called "Treestars." When he was a small boy, me and him were going to form a band and he wanted to call the band the "Treestars."him were going to form a band, 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Florida State University

My alma mater Florida State University beat Notre Dame last night and that is just fantastic. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Trek

Went to visit an old town today; had some good food, and met up with a high school friend who introduced me to the Rolling Stones many years ago.
Practiced my repertoire and continue to work on the Fewell book.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Christmas

Went over some Christmas songs with the band tonight. Did a rough recording of John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)." Took the recording home and added tracks. This is me on everything except one background vocal and mandolin:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Practice, Learning, Garrison Fewell

Practiced repertoire and the Fewell book. This improv stuff will take some time. Yesterday I actually tried to learn some stuff about modes.

I know I've probably said this before in different contexts, but yet again, I'm learning the fact that LEARNING TAKES TIME. There ain't no magic book. (Though Robert Conti's "The Assembly Line" is an exception!)There ain't no way of learning a musical instrument easily (for me, anyway). What I'm really talking about it that there is no real easy method out there that teaches inprovisation for me. 

So what I ended up doing is getting a bunch of books that teach guitar inprovisation. I have a hunch that dedicating one's self to any one of these books can lead someone to improvise. But it ain't easy! These books are not easy. 

So this is one tactic that I used: 
I got my improv method books and listened to the accompanying CDs or downloads to hear what I might sound like as a result of using the method in question. 

I kept coming back to Garrisin Fewell's "Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach." So this is the book I remain committed to. Now I may gain some knowledge from other stuff, but this is the book for me. 

Not to say this book is easy. For someone at my level, it is quite a challenge. But my habit is usually to quit one method and go to another when the going gets tough. I don't think I'll use that escape this time.

If I want to learn to improvise jazz, this is the method for me. The solos sound musical and not like just a series of notes. So it's time to stay committed, knowing that it will take a long time to get through this book, and there will be times of frustration, but the rewards might just include helping me to do what I want to do: express my spirit and soul using the language of melody and improvisation.

So thank you, Garrison Fewell!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

As a kid, I thought the Batmobile was so cool

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Not the Best Practice Day

Seemed like brain and fingers just refused to cooperate. Perhaps I'm tribe to do too much than what is recommended. So I'll just go back to following along most of recommended paths. Yesterday played guitar at Mass at Church and it went ok.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Had rehearsal tonight with the rock and roll band to prepare for a few Christmas gigs. Added some new stuff. We probably sounded ok, but this was one of those nights where I wasn't really happy with my guitar playing. Sometimes my limitations really get on my nerves, and tonight was one of those nights. I think part of the blame lies in the fact that during rehearsals I do not use my own amp but rather a friend's. This leads me to not really get the sounds I want and can get with my own amp. 
Sometimes my goal of improvising seems so distant, and tonight was one of those times. But I refuse to capitulate !!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lennon / Rock & Roll / Jazz

First things first. Happy Birthday to John Lennon who is 74 years old today! 

Practiced some stuff in preparation for our rock and roll Christmas practice tomorrow. I added "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon.

Practiced a few repertoire songs today. Also reviewed some stuff from the Fewell book. Trying to play some of the stuff backwards to get them learned better. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rock & Roll Christmas

Our rock & roll band who be doing a couple of shows this upcoming Christmas season. Looking forward to practicing  some rock & roll Christmas tunes this Friday. Specifically, I'll be singing: "Run Rudoph Run," "Merry Christmas Baby (Sprinsteen version)," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Sprinsteen version)," and "Jingle Bell Rock." Some other rock/blues Chistmas songs we'll be trying where I won't be the one carrying the arrangements might include (but not limited to): "Blue Christmas," "Merry Christmas Baby (Blues version)," "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree," "White Christmas (Drifters version)," and I think "Winter Wonderland (Fats Domino version)." 

Not A Lot of Time

Did not have a lot of time to practice today. Did manage, however, to go over Fewell's stuff and two of the more difficult chord melody songs. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Not giving up on this guitar stuff. Practiced some repertoire as well as some stuff from the Fewell book.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Monday Monday Monday

Played the "Christmas Song" trying to stay on track. Added another jazz Inprov part from the Fewell book.