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Friday, May 7, 2021

Featured Artist of the Month Kalya Ramu Jazz Vocalist




    In my featured artist of the month blog, I decided to start with new and local talent. I like to reiterate the fact that this guitar lesson blog is intended for my music students that I teach privately and online, but it is also open to anyone else who is willing to read my blog and hopefully learn something from the articles. We won’t go into the benefits of why listening to good music and good musicians are important for the development of the musician or guitarist. If you want to learn why and who you should be listening to you can go read my last lesson blog: Are you just getting into jazz improvisation? Who should you be listening to?

  Our featured artist of the month is Kalya Ramu jazz vocalist who resides in Canada, Toronto Ontario. She has been gigging regularly in her local scene. You can catch her performing live in any one of the local Toronto jazz & blues bars. Some of the venues she has performed in are the Rex Hotel, Old Mill Inn, The Silver Dollar Room, Hugh's Room and the list goes on. Her style is versed in the old classic jazz vocalists of the 1920’s, 30’s & 40’s. You can hear all sorts of influences in her style from Billie Holliday, Sara Vaughan Ella Fitzgerald, and Bessie Smith. I like hearing new talent paying tribute to the old, because I feel the era of Frank Sinatra & Billie Holliday is dying out and we need a revival that will keep that music alive. She is certainly doing justice to the tradition of classic jazz with adding her own unique twist and voice to that classic era. With the lack of talent in the music scene and popular culture today,  Kalya Ramu brings a wealth of exceptional talent and taste for a music industry that is much in need of it. She certainly can be a role model for young teens and can be someone to look up to and idolize. Most of the women in pop culture today can’t offer that that type of sophistication in their look or talent.
  
 As for her music you can’t go wrong, especially if you want to listen to good live music. If you happen to be in Toronto one night go check her out and support our local talent and future stars. She always delivers a great live performance. To buy her music or see her current list of upcoming shows you can visit this link: http://www.kalyaramu.ca/shows--albums.html

Amazon Links:
 
 By Phil La Viola
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Friday, November 20, 2020

Struggling with your jazz picking technique over fast tempos (Then read this article it may help you)

 

Photo by Carlo Cavero on Flickr
Photo by Carlo Cavero on Flickr

 If you are having trouble learning Charlie Parker licks on guitar or from your favorite jazz guitar heroes. Then it is time to have a second look at your picking technique. Your guitar picking technique may be in for an overhaul.  The alternate picking that you are currently using at the moment may not work at fast tempos as it does for slow and moderate tempos. You will notice things start to fall apart when you bump up the metronome over 200 bpm.

  From my personal experience I tried alternate picking and economy picking and had no success with both. My alternate picking would just break down when I tried to learn Pat Martino lines at the at the proper tempo. The tempo would usually be over 200 and I had no trouble playing the guitar phrase at a slow and a medium tempo, but at the regular tempo it just wasn't cutting it. I did this for almost 30 years trying to make alternate picking work for me. What a colossal waste of time and it was like trying to open up a locked door with the same key. All I got was the same results all over again . The idea of getting a locksmith to cut and make the correct key that would open up the door would of made more sense. Instead, I kept using the wrong key for 30 years. That is what alternate picking felt like. So the moral of this story is to find the right guitar picking technique that will work for you. Find the right key that will open up a new door to speed and bring your picking skill up a notch. Finally, the door opened up for me and picking fast lines were made easy where I could execute them with ease at a quick tempo. If I can do it, so can you and don't be discouraged. Use the internet and keeping researching different stringed instruments and their related picking techniques. It doesn't have to be guitar, it can be derived from a lute, mandolin, or different styles of music like classical or bluegrass.

  In part two of Struggling with your jazz picking technique over fast tempos I will demonstrate the picking technique in a guitar lesson. I will show you exactly what I'm doing in terms of picking motion and movement. I will give you a back story on where I got this picking technique from and which of one of my guitar heroes influenced me to play this way. All I can say that the picking technique was inspired by a New York based  jazz guitar master who as since passed on. I took some lessons from one of his students who showed me the technique. So stay tuned for the second part of this blog guitar lesson article.

  One more important note: I'm not telling anyone to give up on alternate picking because that picking technique is great for playing other styles of music like rock, blues etc... I'm just sharing my experience that alternate picking doesn't work for jazz guitar, at least for me it didn't work out.

 Click Here: to see  a video of me using the picking technique with a Wes Montgomery solo:


 

 In this video I'm using a #wesmontgomery guitar solo as a study to work on my chops for fast tempos. Playing fast tempos and licks is something that I struggled with for a long time. I think I figured out a picking technique that works for me at these quick tempos. If you are struggling with your jazz guitar picking please don't hesitate to contact me if you want a lesson on this particular #guitarpickingtechnique that I'm using. 

If you are interested in hearing more or purchasing some of Wes Montgomery music check some of his albums on the links below: 

Amazon Links:
Smokin' At The Half Note [VINYL]

 Wes’S Best: The Best Of Wes Montgomery On Resonance 

 Full House

 

                                                        

 

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Monday, October 26, 2020

Danelectro Cool Cat transparent overdrive pedal

                                   Put some magic and sparkle into your clean jazz tones

 I discovered a great overdrive pedal to add to your clean sound. Apparently, this pedal is an exact copy of the Timmy. It offers some great hard driving tones if that’s what you are looking for, but it also can offer some cool clean sounding tones. Just add a touch of overdrive, I have the overdrive set at 9:00 and the volume half way and tone down low. This is where you can put some magic and sparkle into your clean jazz tones without it sounding like a hard rock overdrive. If you ever come across an original Danelectro Cool Cat transparent overdrive pedal I highly recommend you pick one up.

Image courtesy of Phil La viola
Image courtesy of Phil La Viola

Image courtesy of Phil La Viola

 

 


 

 You can read more about the Danelectro Cool Cat transparent overdrive pedal here: 

The Paul Cochrane Timmy compared to the Danelectro Cool Cat Transparent Overdrive pedal

  Check out the Daneclectro Cool Cat on Amazon:
Danelectro CTO-2 Cool Cat Transparent Overdrive V2 Effect Pedal

 

 

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

 Guitar6music.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising revenues by advertising and linking to Amazon.ca.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Configuring Zoom for Music Lessons

                                Configuring Zoom for Music Lessons

  
 

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image courtesy of Phil La Viola

  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. 

Amazon Link:


Amazon Link:
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

Amazon Link: 

Behringer UMC202HD U-Phoria 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


Please Note: All web cam lesson are done through Zoom. You must all ready have it installed on your computer or you can down load the program from the provided link for Desk Top: https://zoom.us/download  
Download for android phone: Zoom For android
Download for i phones: Zoom for Apple


 
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