33 Ways to Make More Time in Your Life For Music-Making

by nicholas tozier

1. Disconnect. Power down your computer–or if you absolutely need the thing for some reason related to your practice and studies, sever it from the internet by disabling wireless.

2. Banish Television. According to Nielsen, the average American watches thirty-four hours of television per week (figures in your country are likely similar). Thirty-four hours of television! You know how much time top-shelf violinists spend practicing each week? About twenty-seven hours.

Read More: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1Idfkg/nicholastozier.com/words/33-ways-to-make-more-time-in-your-life-for-music-making/

25 things I Wish My Music Teacher Told Me on Day One

Here’s a great article by Chad Mundt.  Some of these tips apply more to Bassists but most apply universally to any instrument.

25 things I Wish My Music Teacher Told Me on Day One

1)  In order to master an musical concept, you must understand not only what it sounds like, but what it looks like and what it feels like.

2)  If your fellow musicians can’t describe in a concrete way what you just played, then your idea either killed or flopped. Which of the two will be obvious.

3)  Learning music from a book is okay, learning music from a recording is good, and learning music from a video is great, and learning music from the artist himself is optimal!

4)  Harmony can be understood in two distinct ways, as color ie. hearing harmony as a thing in and of itself, or as multiple melodic lines ie. hearing each individual voice as distinct melodies.  Each method has it’s own strengths, but the latter choice is more difficult to achieve and is ultimate the more powerful.

5)  The piano is the single best instrument for the comprehension of music:  It covers an enormous range, it is polyphonic, and has become the instrument of choice for the computer age in the form of MIDI.

6)  One of the most under-practice skills in music is coordination.  Coordination is musical multi-tasking; it is your ability to hear multiple freely-moving ideas all at once.  Bach could improvise six-voice fugues with complex musical phrases interloping in perfect counterpoint.   You should start with two simple ideas: a bassline and a melody.

7)  It is better to be told to turn up than to be told to turn down.

8)  Drum Machines are your friend.  They don’t complain, they don’t get tired, they work for a one-time fee, and they sure beat the heck out of a metronome.

9)  The most power force in music is Entrainment. Check out Barry Green’s The Mastery of Music: Ten Pathways to True Artistry to see what I mean

10) Practice habits should be just that: habits.  Reinforce them with other healthy habits.  Try writing out your practice plans beforehand, giving yourself a treat before or after practicing, and/or practicing at the same time everyday.

11)  Make sure that you don’t practice with your sound source parallel to the walls.  I very nearly quit music forever before I realized that the weird, out-of-tune noise sound that I was hearing from my trumpet bell was a strange harmonic ringing in my bedroom!

12)  Most guitar and bass amplifiers have very low quality speakers factory installed.  Hook your iPod to the input of your amp and sample just how poor it sounds.  Some recent high-end amplifiers such as the Markbass CMD 103H Bass Combo Amps and theWarwick Hellborg Amps have good quality speakers, but they are in the minority.

13)  Knowing how to get your bass to sound like a p-bass is just as important to you as learning how to sing in a falsetto is to a professional singer.

14)  Whether you like it or not, playing the upright will make you a better electric bass player.

15)  If you want to sound like Marcus Miller, study Louis Johnson and Larry Graham.

16) If you want to sound like Christian McBribe, study Ron Carter and Ray Brown.

17) If you want to sound like John Patitucci, listen to Anthony Jackson, Michael Brecker, and Brazilian rhythms.

18) If you are going to college for music, make sure to take advantage of other opportunities there, even if they lie outside your major.  I guarantee you’ll use the information you learned in those Accounting, Marketing, and Web Development classes way more than the information you got in Atonal Harmony.

17)  You should have both a mirror and a portable recorder in your practice area.

18)  When practice difficult time signatures, try to feel a 2-count as short and a 3-count as long.  For example, Dave Brubeck’s Take Five should be felt as long, long, short, short.

19)  Putting a little compression (not too much) on your bass can do wonders for your tone.  Exceptions include many single coil pickups, as the hum will be compressed along with your tone, amplifying it.  But, then again, this hasn’t stopped me from pushing a Danelectro bass with single-coil Lipstick pickups pushed through my Boss CS-3.

20)  You may hear of people boiling their strings to make them last longer, but don’t expect a miracle.  This only works on flatwounds and it only works for maybe one show’s worth of playing before your strings are deader than ever.

21)  Learn to sing harmony.  Your value as a bass player has just tripled.

22)  Genres of music that will never make you rich: Blues, Metal Ministry, Death-core, Big Band Swing (my heart cries for this one), Progressive Rock, anything not in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, or 6/8…

23)  Genres of music that might make you rich:  Jazz (in the form of an education), Country, 3-Chord Rock, Motown, Pop-rock, Disco, anything with a really hot lead singer…

24)  If you want to find a deal on an instrument, check out pawn shops.  They often have used instruments with fixable damage, ie. a broken tuner, snap-crackle-pop jack, missing knobs, etc.  These instruments can be taken for a song (sorry…)

25)  Tapping licks are cool, but unless you’re playing Thunderstruck in a unison line with the guitar play in front of a frat house, you’ll probably never get to use those licks on stage.  I personally recommend getting that alternating plucking technique and western harmony up to 1940 mastered before you even attempt to tap.

reprinted with permission


Captain Beefhearts 10 Guitar Tips

From Captain Beefhearts Radar Station


1. Listen to the birds

That’s where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren’t going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar

Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush

Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil

Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re brining over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you’re guilty of thinking, you’re out

If your brain is part of the process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone

Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key

That’s your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He’s one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song “I Need a Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty — making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he’s doing it.

8. Don’t wipe the sweat off your instrument

You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place

When you’re not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don’t play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine

Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can’t escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.


This sound advice can be found in the book Rolling Stone’s Alt-Rock-A-Rama (1996) which includes an article written by John McCormick about Moris Tepper.

“Though they bear numbers, they are not arranged heirarchically — each Commandment has equal import.”

What’s stopping you?

Here’s a great article, if you are considering taking music lessons.

Thursday, 03 June 2010 12:49

by Blue Morris

The only difference between people who can play guitar and those who cannot is this: the people who can play guitar DO IT.

You can too.

I often wonder how many guitars are purchased each year only to be abandoned in the closet shortly thereafter. A guitar was meant to be played. A guitar wants to be played. Your guitar wants you to pick it up and play something… anything. When left alone for long periods of time, guitars get lonely. They feel neglected. Please don’t let your guitar feel neglected.

Think you don’t have enough time?

If you want to do something inspiring in your life but feel that you don’t have enough time, take a close look at the things that you do each week that are not fulfilling and stop doing them so you have more time to do what matters to you.

How much TV do you watch each week? How fulfilling are these TV shows for your life? Are you feeling inspired from TV? Watch a little less TV and you can learn to play music instead.

How many movies did you watch last month? Do you even remember which ones they were? I’ll bet many of them had little impact on your life. Instead of watching another movie that is just like the hundreds before you’ve seen, learn to play beautiful music instead.

Work less, play more

How much time do you spend at the office? How important is your job to you? What if you went home at 5pm instead of 5:30 and played beautiful music? Would your boss fire you for working standard hours? I doubt it. And if you think you would get fired for leaving work at a reasonable hour, try to find another job that allows you more freedom.

I found a job that allows me to play guitar, all day, everyday!

A couple years ago I told a friend that it was my goal in life to work less and play more. She laughed and called me lazy. Am I lazy if I love playing music so much that I will stay up until 4am playing guitar because I can’t put it down? Really, am I lazy? She now works very long hours at a job I don’t believe she even likes. I know what I would choose. Work less, play more!

Think you don’t have enough money to take music lessons?

Take a closer look at where your money actually goes. I bet there are things you spend money on each month that are not nearly as valuable to you as music lessons would be.

How much money are you spending on your Blackberry or iPhone bill? Phone bills used to be so inexpensive. Now that we have more sophisticated technology available, many of us have expensive phones, 3G service and instant e-mail. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean you need it.

For most people this stuff is completely unnecessary. Cell phone companies will try anything to get you to sign up for things you don’t need. Don’t fall for it. What’s more important to you: Instant access to e-mails that are not even interesting to read? Or playing beautiful music?

How much money did you spend on your cable bill last month? Cable used to be inexpensive, but now many of us have 100 channels and HD and it costs a small fortune each month. Cancel your cable or subscribe to fewer channels and lose the HD. Go to the library instead. The books are free and they have no commercials to waste your time.

Stop upgrading all the “things” in your life and feed your soul instead. Do you really need a bigger TV? Do you really need a new car if the current one works just fine? Sure, some people will be impressed by all your fancy new “things,” but everyone will be far more impressed if you can play music. Music can “impress” people so deeply they can be driven to tears.

When we buy new things we get a rush of excitement, but that feeling dies quickly. Music never gets old. Most people who make a real commitment to music end up playing and loving music their entire lives. I have been playing guitar since I was eight years old and I still get butterflies in my stomach when I discover something new in music, play something beautiful, or create music of my own invention.

If you have none of these fancy things in life and still can’t afford guitar lessons, call me. I am willing to take on committed students for less, as are many other teachers. Why? Because we love teaching and we hate to see a guitar get lonely.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I regret taking music lessons”?

Music is far more rewarding than most of the things we spend our money and time on. If you’re thinking of taking music lessons, don’t hesitate. Make a commitment to spending a little money on lessons with a good teacher and some time to get through the “beginner” stage, and I can promise you that you won’t regret it. Your life will be richer for it.

Somewhere there is a guitar waiting for you to pick it up. When you do, give me a call.

Blue Morris

Here’s Blue with the Pink Flamingo Burlesque Troupe


Time Signatures

Here are some great examples of different time signatures.  90% of western music is in 4/4 time.  Guitarists get used to playing to a safe, natural feeling rhythm. Anything outside of a 4/4 is considered “odd”.  Self-taught players can have notoriously bad timing.  I think that when we start learning to play solos or “lead”, we tend to focus on what and where the notes are, and try to feel the rhythm.  Practice playing ahead of and behind the beat, so that you can sense the difference.  The easiest way to drastically change a song is to speed up or slow down the tempo or change the time signature.
This is from the Pandora Radio series

This is a comment left on Reddit about metronome exercises. Some very good info;

Good metronome exercises (record yourself and listen back to it):
1)Clap along with the metronome on every beat.
2)Clap along on every second beat.
3)Clap a triplet feel over two beats, then on the click for the next two.
4)In 4/4 time, put the metronome on 1 and 3, and clap on 2 and 4.
5)In 3/4 time, put the metronome on 1, and clap on 2 and 3.
6)In 4/4 put the metronome on just the 3 beat, and clap 1 and 4.
7)In 3/4 time, put the metronome on the “and” of 2 and clap the 1, 2, and 3.
8)In 4/4 time, put the metronome on the 1 and 3, and clap quarter note triplets starting on 3.
9)Same as 8, but start your triplet on the 2.
10)In 4/4 time, put the metronome on the 2 for only ever second bar. Clap first one type of clave then another. (Note: each clave is a two bar pattern, and you can reverse the two measures)
You get the idea. From there, you can make up your own exercises.
Tap your foot on each beat as a help at first, but eventually, you’ll want to internalize the feel, so that on the rests, you’re actually resting.
Start with the metronome at a comfortable speed, then speed it up. Then slow it down. It’s all fine and good if you can keep good rhythm at 120bpm, but what about at 240? What about at 60? Or 30? Playing fast is hard, keeping a good rhythm at painfully slow tempos is even harder.
Make it perfect. Don’t ever shrug it off as “meh, good enough.” With music, there’s no such thing as good enough. As you get better at making rhythm, you’ll get better at hearing just how bad your rhythm is. You will never have those exercises down well enough. Work on them for the rest of your life.

Shakin’ Pyramids Video

This is the only live footage I’ve seen of this band. They moved here, to British Columbia(Port Moody) in the early 80s and promptly disintegrated. I got to see them live once, they were wicked but there’s almost no information about what members have done since. They released 3 or 4 records including one with Lonnie Donegan the Skiffle King.







LANEY Cub 8 and Cub 10 Tube Amps

Phil at Bonerattle Music let me try out a couple his Laney Cubs. The 10 is pretty loud, there’s a speaker out to power a cab also. I’d say it’d be loud enough for a gig or band practice(especially if you mic the little sucker). The 8 is a good sized apartment amp, if you’ve got wall-banging neighbors. The CUB 10 is a Class A/B design and produces 10 watts RMS of power from an output section loaded with a pair of 6v6GT’s, driven from a pre amp loaded with 2 ECC83’s. The pre amp compliment consists of a Tone control, a Volume control and a Gain control, along with a set of Hi & Lo input jacks. The CUB 10 houses a 10″ Celestion driver.

The CUB 8 features a classic single-ended Class A design, and is loaded with a single ECC83 in the pre amp section and a single 6V6GT in the output section generating 5 watts RMS, with an 8′ celestion speaker.

I’m looking forward to trying the 10 next to a Fender Blues JR(15watt, 12″ spkr w/ reverb) or a Pro JR (15 watts, 10″ spker). It’s about $200 less than the pro jr.


Dave Gonzales of the Paladins

One of my favorite Players, Dave from the Paladins and the Hacienda Brothers. Check out the Hacienda’s if you like Country/Soul(think Doug Sahm, Sir Douglas Quintet). They were a very unique sounding band. Here’s an example of a player that is very tasteful, he’s got mega-chops but he doesn’t play anything extra. Every note fits, he NEVER rushes and never gets boring. I had the pleasure of opening for the Paladins about 15 years back, when they came to Vancouver.

Notice the way he goes from position to position. Also it doesn’t sound like he is playing a bunch of riffs, tagged together. He tends to play 1 riff and then build on it. This kind of playing impresses me more than Danny Gatten or Albert Lee’s explosive/overwhelming style(their playing impresses me, more from a technical standpoint). He’s not the kind of player that makes you aware that you are listening to a Guitar solo. Taste is much more important that technical ability, that’s why I hate shredding. Thanks to DonLaguna1 for the Vid

Heres the Vid I wanted to post, but here’s some other one’s to watch;


the Hacienda’s “Cry Like a Baby”. Chris Gaffney RIP,  will be sorely missed.


and some wicked Baritone Guitar work