Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Configuring Zoom for Music Lessons

                                Configuring Zoom for Music Lessons


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                    The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music
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  Ever since the start of the Covid 19 music teachers have been switching to online teaching. I’m sure the switch from live one on one to the virtual classroom must have been hard. For those music teachers and students who have not yet made the move to online music lessons I’ve compiled a list of materials you need and certain configurations  you need to make in Zoom. Hopefully all these recommendations will make your first time online teaching experience run more smoothly.

1. Desktop computer, laptop or even a smart phone: The faster the device with a great sound card is preferable but not necessary when starting out. Work with what you have and upgrade to a better and faster computer when you can financially afford it.

2. Buy a good quality microphone: A good quality mic will ensure you are getting a clean and clear sound and will make sure your  getting great sound quality. Either a good USB mic or one you can plug into an interface.  Below are some examples you can purchase one online. 

FIFINE USB Microphone

 Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone


3.  Interface: The interface is an important one to get.  More so for a music teacher than the student. Most students who are beginners won’t be interested in spending a lot of money on equipment. Most likely the student will only be using their stock sound card and USB mic that they just plug into the computer or laptop. Some students might just rely on their android or i phone for the lesson. So the sound quality on their end might not be the greatest. For the music instructor who has a large clientele base is definitely worth the investment. The interface will allow you to mic your guitar or piano in a more professional manner and achieve a studio quality sound. Here some links to affordable interfaces that you can purchase online.

 Behringer UMC202HD U-Phoria USB Audio Interface 


 Focusrite SCARLETT-SOLO-3RD-GEN USB Audio Interface 


 Both teacher and student should do step #4

4. Zoom Configuration: Both parties should take the time to configure your audio setting in Zoom. This will give us the best sound quality and get rid of any delay in sound. It also will allow us to perform or jam in real time. To configure Zoom please follow the instructions in the 2 pictures below.      


                                                Step 1:  
Go to your Zoom Settings which is indicated by the grey wheel on the right hand side and click on
Audio. Once you are on the Audio page, click on the Advanced Tab in the bottom right hand corner.




Step 2:
Under Audio Processing:  Disable Suppress Persistent Background Noise and Suppress intermittent Back ground Noise.
Leave Echo Cancellation on Auto

You can download zoom from the following links:

the program from the provided link for Desk Top:  
Download for android phone: Zoom For android
Download for i phones: Zoom for Apple

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Odd Couple Theme Song

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If you are a fan of Jazz music and the 60's TV show The Odd Couple, then you probably love the theme song. For jazz guitar lovers Russell Malone has a great version of the song that I transcribed for your performing pleasure.

You can click on the link below to get
your free copy the Pdf version of the song here:
From my web site: The Odd Couple

Transcribed by: Phil La Viola
 The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Devilette Solo Transcripiton for guitar by Dexter Gordon

Devilette Solo  Transcription for guitar by Dexter Gordon

I will be uploading a new jazz solo transcription from any random featured artist every couple of months.  The first Jazz transcription solo will be by American jazz tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon. There are many reasons for transcribing and for me it is to help with my jazz phrasing, ear training and to learn the many soloing tricks and devices that the pros use. So download the notation and  guitar tab at your convenience and enjoy. Cheers

Here is  Video link to the song. Dexter's Solo starts at the 50 second mark

Here is a demo of me playing the entire solo
with the recording

The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music
and is a amazon associate.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Bye Bye Blackbird melody as played by Miles Davis for guitar

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Bye Bye Blackbird

   From now on I've decided to learn any new jazz standard by ear and keep way from learning the melody from a fake book. Every couple of months I will post a featured jazz artist solo or melody transcription. I wanted to learn Bye Bye Blackbird when I recently heard the version played by Miles Davis. So learned it by reading the version from my fake book and soon realized the one fake in the Fake book sounded lifeless and boring. So I decided to lift the melody from the Miles Davis version and man the phrasing sound so much better and melodic. I didn't have time to write it out neatly on my computer with tabs and notation software, so I will be posting it with my chicken scratch hand written on manuscript paper. The song is in F major with one flat (Bb). Hopefully anyone who comes across this post can read music. In the future, I will edit this post and republish with neater notation and tabs to go along with it. Enjoy! and if you can't read music, please visit my past blog post on how to get started in learning how to read music on guitar.

To view the a larger image please click on the image to view and print:

Transcribed by: Phil La Viola
 The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Advanced jazz blues Improv Part 2

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 How and where to outline chord substitutions within the blues form

  In the last lesson blog we talked about using some of the most common scales, arpeggios and minor pentatonic scales that  can be used over  a basic  B flat jazz blues. In this lesson we will talk about how we can spice up the blues by implying chord substitution and what scales we can use over these substitutions. Most of the substitute chord changes will either take place at the last measure or the last 2 measures of each line. Keep in mind that these soloing ideas will work over the basic changes or the advanced chord changes of the blues (Charlie Parker style blues or Bird Blues). Even if the rhythm guitar, piano or bass player does not play these subs they should still sound good. It will create some tension and release, it should give your lines a more sophisticated jazz sound. Have and fun and happy practicing.

Step 1: Simplify your thinking by simplifying the chord changes. The picture below will demonstrate on how you should think. Less thinking means you get to concentrate on the creative side of the brain. For more on drawing from the creative side of the brain read my article: The Right Brain Effect Will Help You Improvise With Ease 

Step 3: Start learning some of the scales ideas and inserting them in measures 4, 8 or 12. Start of off by implying the simple harmony and by the 2nd or 3rd chorus you can start employing some of the substitution ideas into your lines.  Use them sparingly going back and forth from simple to advanced lines.  You will have a variety of ideas to choose from and it will give your playing style a more sophisticated sound. 

Review the last lesson before you move on to the ideas below:

When comping you can play the 1 chord in measure 4, the 6 chord in measure 8 and the V chord in measure 12. Or you can experiment with replacing it with the tritone substitute which are the chords in brackets. 
  In the last blog we talked about the basic scales, minor petatonics and arpeggios that we can place within the jazz blues form when improvising. The list below is a guide of what scales you can insert in measures 4, 8 

Soloing ideas: Measure 8= Bb7 F melodic minor= Bb Lydian b7 for the #11sound, B melodic minor= Bb Altered scale for the b9, #9 and #5 sound

E7 Tritone sub= B melodic minor for the= E lydian b7, F melodic minor= E7 altered for the b9 #9 #5 sound. Notice how B melodic minor and F melodic minor work over both Bb7 and E7

 Minor pentatonic ideas:Db minor pentatonic works over Bb7 it gives you the altered sound.  On E7 it gives you the 13th, root,9th,3rd and 5th

 Tip: add the 3rd of Bb7 D to the Db minor pent. I find it outlines the chord and sounds better

 1/2 whole diminished ideas: use the Bb 1/2 whole diminished scale:  it gives you the b9 #9, #11, natural 5 and 13th
Arpeggios: Bo7,Do7, Fo7 and Ab07
Dominant 7 arpeggios: Bb7, Db7, E7 and G7  

Soloing ideas: Measure 8= G7 Ab melodic minor= G altered for the b9 #9 and #5 sound, D melodic minor= G lydian b7 for the #11 sound
Minor pentatonic ideas: Bb minor pentatonic works over the G7 It gives you the altered sound. On Db7 it give you the 13th, root, 9th and 5th Tip: add the 3rd of G7 B to the Bb minor pent. I find it outlines the chord and sounds better

1/2 wholle diminished ideas: use the G 1/2 whole diminished scale: It gives you the b9 #9 #11, natural 5 and13th sound 
Arpeggios: Abo7, Cbo7, Ebbo7 (Do7), Fo7
 Dominant 7 Arpeggios: G7, Bb7, Db7, E7
 Note:All these scale ideas also work over the tritone Sub Db7

 Soloing ideas: Measure 12= F7 C melodic minor= F Lydian b7 for the #11 sound,  Gb melodic minor = Gb altered scale for the b9 #9 and #5 sound

 Minor pentatonic ideas: Ab minor pentatonic works over F7: it gives the altered sound. On B7 it give you the 13th, root,9th and 5th
Tip: add the 3rd of F7  A to the Ab minor pent. I find it outlines the chord and sounds better

 1/2 whole diminsihed ideas: use F 1/2 whole diminished scale: It give yous the b9 #9 #11, natural 5 and 13th sound

 Arpeggios: Ao7, Co7, Eb07, F#o7    Dominant 7 arpeggios: F7, Ab7, Cb7, D7
Note:All these scale ideas also work over the tritone Sub B7

 Note: when using melodic minor scales in jazz keep the notes the same ascending and descending. The scale is not to be played using the classical method.

Here is an example of how you might use the scales:
The Diagram and video below illustrates my thought process when soloing over a Bb Jazz blues.

The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music
and is a amazon associate.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

How to solo over a Basic jazz Blues Part 1

How to solo over a Basic jazz Blues
Part 1

Here is a guide on how to get started on improvising over a Bb jazz blues for beginners. Click on the images to view the examples of the the types of scales I use when improvising over a Bb jazz blues.

Thought Process
Here is a sample of how you can mix and use these diffent Scales
over a basic Bb Jazz Blues:

Watch my Instagram video to see how I put these ideas to use:

If you need the tabs to any of these scales please email me and I will send you the tabs to the some of the scale patterns that I use. Visit my website link below to send me a message:

Thursday, May 23, 2019

My Thoughts on Learning How to Sight Read on the Guitar

My Thoughts on Learning How to Sight Read on the Guitar

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  Usually when you are jamming at the rehearsal studio, the guitar player is the loudest in the room which can even overpower the drummer at times. With all of our pedals and the distortion, whaling away on the guitar can be a distraction or annoying to other members in the band. Especially if you are trying to lock in and listen to the rhythm section. We all heard of the joke that the best way to silence the guitarist is to put some sheet music in front of his eyes and ask him to sight read what's on the paper. When you mention the word sight reading for most guitarists they shy away and a feeling of fright and nervousness will start to come over them. I once had a piano player friend who can sight read any style of music from classical, jazz, rock and gospel music, say to me why are so many guitar players terrible readers? I think there are a few answers to that question and the most obvious answer is that number one it is boring.  It is boring because most method books start off by teaching you how to read simple children's songs like Mary had a little Lamb or Row Row Your Boat. A typical teenager would probably want to learn how to shred or rock out by learning one of their favorite Metallica songs. They would get turned off very quickly by practicing that kind of material. The second reason is that the guitar is a difficult instrument to sight read on because of all the different possibilities of positions and fingerings one can use to sight read with on the guitar neck. With that in mind it can become a daunting task and an overwhelming experience for a beginner or intermediate guitarist. Also to top it all off you have to memorize those little black dots on the music staff which are called musical notes. All of this makes learning to read music on the guitar a mundane and laborious task which is why most guitarists prefer to learn on how to read tablature instead.  Learning how to read tabs can be useful for learning how to get the notes under your fingers quickly.  It can be limiting in terms of not being able to understand the rhythms that the musical phrase is based on and in music rhythm is King. So the knowledge of being able to read will help you develop your melodic and rhythmic capabilities. Learning how to read the the rhythms and note values is where you will benefit the most.

Tips on how to make learning how to read music on the guitar more interesting & fun:

- If the student is going through a  beginner guitar method book make sure to supplement it with a  book that has some familiar songs that he or she (the student) is familiar with. Learning to read the melodies of a pop or rock song that the student is familiar with will keep boredom from setting in. Hopefully this will keep the student motivated to stick with their reading studies and not give up on it so quickly.

Here are some book recommendations that the beginner guitarist can use in conjunction with their regular reading studies or method books.

1. Easy Pop Melodies for guitar book 1

2. More Easy Pop Melodies book 2

3. Even More Easy Pop Melodies book 3

Image courtesy of https:

 The advance stage of sight reading on the guitar:
Reading in Positions on the Guitar Fret Board
  Once the guitar student has mastered to read in open position on all 6 strings, it's time to move on and start to learn how to read on the other parts of the neck. This will be known as reading in a position or a certain part of the neck such as the 7th or 12th fret. Reading in positions on the guitar neck will have no open strings. Learning to read in different postions of the neck is also a great way to learn the names of the notes on the fret board.

Some advice if you are just starting to advance in this area with your reading abilities:

- Don't go crazy and try to read every position on the neck when you are staring out. 3 or 4 positions will do. The positions that I started out with were the 5th, 7th and 12th positions. After you get proficient enough with reading the notes in those positions you can move on to master other positions. (Tip: remember the 1st finger determines the position you will be reading in) So for example, if you are reading in A major in the 2nd position your pinky will start on the 5th fret of the 6th string. If you look at the tab below you can see the 1st finger will strike all the notes on the 2nd fret. So the rule is wherever your 1st finger hits 90 to 100 percent of the time will determine what position you are sight reading in. Sometimes you will have to accommodate a note that is not in the position by stretching out of position with either your 1st or 4th finger.  In the tab below the 4th finger in brackets is on the 4th string of the 6th fret which indicates the 4th finger will be stretching out of position.

 An excellent book that I highly recommend is:
Reading Studies for Guitar: Positions One Through Seven and Multi-Position Studies in All Keys By: William Leavitt
  It has studies and exercises that will help you get familiar with the first 7 positions on the neck. Once you get the hang of the first 7 positions, you should be able to figure out the 8th position and up on your own. I highly recommend this book because it's an excellent book that will help you improve reading and your ability to read in any of those 1st 7 positions on the guitar.

   Once you have mastered and learned how to read in a few positions on the neck it is time to move on to the next step: Learning how to read melodically with a variety of syncopated rhythms. This will help you with many styles of music and learning how to read these types of rhythms should benefit your improvising skills also. Another book that will aid you in your development is: Melodic Rhythms for Guitar. This book is also written by Willam Leavitt. Don't forget to supplement your melodic and rhythmic development by finding other material to read. Sight reading jazz standards, Bossa Nova's, Latin and funk heads are other styles of  musical material that can help improve your reading. For metal or rock players you might want sight read violin studies which doesn't have much syncopated rhythms, but is great for learning how to read long eighth note lines and great for speed and technique.

   Hopefully this article will shed some light on how to get started with learning how to read on the guitar. The key thing you should take away from this is to make it interesting and fun. Try practicing your reading 15 to 30 minutes a day. Every few months try to introduce new material to keep boredom from setting.

The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music