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Musicians check in here. If you play, tell us about it!

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by DaveP, Mar 20, 2011.

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  1. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    The other day a discussion about music popped up in the outside. Several of us decided that a thread on music would be good to have in the lounge, so here it is. Do you play an instrument? Have you ever played in a band? Are you a musician who would like to learn or help others decipher the finer points of playing an instrument?

    Tell us about your background and let's start some talk about what you do and share some stories, musical theory tips, and anything that will support a discussion beneficial to those who love to play!

    I'm one of those who played in bands constantly through the late 60s, 70s, 80s, and forward. I played in weekend warrior classic rock bands that played the top 40 mix for people who loved to dance. I play lead guitar, enough keyboard to support my home studio, and do backup vocals. Sometimes, I was forced into doing 5 or 6 lead vocals a night, but I'm happy just paying guitar.

    Five years ago, a bass player friend and I started a Praise band at church. We do the popular christian tunes during a contemporary service at church. I've found that this is a great outlet for old classic rock players. We get to jam here and there and the congregation loves it as much as we do! Occasionally, we will take an outside gig and play for a birthday party, wedding reception, or other celebration.

    What's your interest or niche in the music field?
     
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  2. loden813

    loden813 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 3, 2011
    tampa, fl
    Cool idea!!
    Played drums since the mid sixities...still play in studio sometimes
    Started guitar several years ago...now play a bit of both when needed, tho still suc.
    Been in too many bands to list...just small stuff - :-((
    Music has saved me many times...mostly rock and metal, but also love my classical and jazz!
     
  3. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    Music is a form of expression that those who don't play never get to experience. It's also relaxing to pick up a guitar and jam with yourself to keep the chops strong and clean. I have an Alvarez acoustic/electric that plays a lot like my Les Paul. It's great to build forearm strength, kind of like using a weighted bat before you step up to the plate with a lighter one.
     
  4. Safira

    Safira Super Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 14, 2009
    Plainfield,IL
    Well, I don't know if I would call myself a musician but I've been learning to play the acoustic guitar for about a year now. All through my school years I played trumpet for the concert band and jazz band, not really ever in a real band though. I missed music and I have always thought guitar was an instrument I would like to learn. I can just play basic songs like "American Pie", "Fast Car" (kind of, I need to work on my 16th note strumming more) and "Tears in Heaven". So I have a long way to go before I'm a "playa". I do play strumming songs but lately I've been picking finger picking songs, because then I don't have to worry about singing. (my voice sucks IMHO)

    Another instrument I would like to start learning "someday" is bass guitar. I can't really tell you a logical reason why other than I just love those instruments too.

    This year along with working on my skills with things like scales and such, I would also like to work on music theory. I never paid all that much attention to it in school since I didn't feel I needed to understand it for the trumpet, now I'm realizing how foolish I was.
     
  5. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    Safira, if you were able to play trumpet, you have the "fingers" for guitar. It's just a matter of exercising them and strengthening the digits. The key to increasing your guitar skills to start with is to learn the most used chords (major, minor, 7th, major 7th, minor 7th, diminished, and augmented) and learn to make and change them quickly. You can add things like C#7flat9 and the other variations as you need them. The basics will cover 3/4 of the songs you learn.

    The right hand is as important as the left. Strumming is more than an arm movement. It's a combination of right arm movement and various movements of the wrist and hand. Picking individual notes for soloing is very dependent on developing a double picking technique.

    Two good basic exercises for the left and right hand are these:

    1. Exercise your left hand by playing scales and also by positioning your hand across four frets and run fret by fret, string by string up across the fingerboard. i.e. Play the A note on the 5th fret with the pointer, then play the A# with the second finger, followed by the B with the 3rd finger, and the C with the pinkie (yes, to be good, you need to develop the pinkie!).

    Next, do the same on the 5th, 4th,3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings. Now, do it in reverse. Repeat until your feel the burn in your muscles, rest and do it again. Double pick as you do this. Make that a daily exercise.

    2. Develop your right hand for double picking by moving across the strings while double picking each for a few seconds and then move to the next string and the next. When you get to the last string, repeat in reverse across the fingerboard. Make sure you keep your forearm muscles relaxed. They will tend to tighten up if you let them. Use the wrist to double pick or a rotating movement of the pick, whichever is most comfortable to you. Rest and repeat.

    Buy a book that teaches scales and modes. Learn the major and minor scales, mixolydian, lydian, locrain, phrygian, etc. You will find these "sound" like solos you hear in records. Phrygian is commonly used in metal since it lends itself to really fast note picking spanning 5 frets. Major and minor scales are heard all over popular music. Mixolydian is a blues scale.

    It takes lots of practice, but you'll be surprised how much progress you can make in a couple of months.

    Here's a link to a scale lesson. You can find more on the sidebar from the same source.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtRcVF4RTdw
     
  6. Joey S

    Joey S Super Member ECF Veteran

    In the late seventies I was brought to a studio by my older cousin and his friend, a guitarist and a drummer. i was handed a bass and told do this, when I nod my head switch to this. My big introduction to playing.

    By the early 80's, I was in several different garage bands but never really went anywhere with it. Life happens and I ended up trading my old Cort bass for an acoustic guitar. I fiddled with it for the longest time, never took it too serious, but it was there to relax with on the sofa after dinner.

    Years later, my daughter tells me she likes playing around with the guitar but wants a bass. Wasting no time, I not only pick her up a bass but I get myself a new guitar. I taught her what I know and she took the bass further than I ever did. We jam together now and it is one of the most rewarding things in my life. Nothing like sharing music.

    And the old acoustic, my daughter has possession of it now. Maybe someday it will be an inspiration for the next generation.
     
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  7. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    One of the best gifts you can give a child is music lessons (but only if they show interest). I was pushed into drum lessons at 6. After 6 months, I wanted a trap set because I was tired of beating on a practice pad. My parents realized that a drum set would be loud in the house and wouldn't buy one. At 12, I asked for a guitar for Christmas and the rest is history.

    Music is something children can be proud of, something that their friends will envy, and a great way to express an inner creation. If you can hum a tune in your head and then play it on an instrument, you can communicate it to the world.
     
  8. JollyRogers

    JollyRogers Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 30, 2009
    Virginia
    Guitar & Banjo here. Started guitar when I was 10 (I am 45 now) and banjo in my 20's. At one time, I was actually pretty good on both... over the last couple years I kinda backed off, mostly due to wrist, hand, shoulder, and back pains. I have a custom banjo with a left handed neck and a right handed (I play either lefty or righty) and a Martin guitar. My son(s): One plays Mando, guitar, violin, and bass (he is pretty talented) , the youngest plays guitar (Gibson Les Paul) and is actually pretty good now, and my oldest played guitar growing up (he has his Martin with him).

    Play old rock, and Bluegrass here. My youngest plays rock... he aint figured out any bluegrass style guitar yet. Kinda cool this Christmas... all the boys were home... and they talked me into breaking out my banjo and we did a few tunes that I could still play at a decent clip.
     
  9. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    Jolly Rogers, I was in Virginia about once a year for decades at our corporate training center in Leesburg. One of the instructors invited me out one Friday night to a weekly downtown bluegrass jam in a small town nearby. I had a blast, especially considering that I'm a classic rock player who isn't really a country fan other than some of the modern country music. He had two acoustics and let me borrow one. We walked around to different groups who were playing outside and joined jams all over. It was an experience I'll remember for a long time.

    Teach him the major and minor scales and patterns and he'll use it to pick into just about any country song out there. Teach him that any tune is in the 12 notes of the scale and if you learn the scales and become familiar with using them, any tune in your head can be reproduced quickly by the fingers. I was right at home picking bluegrass leads with these guys and my background is mostly rock.
     
  10. Safira

    Safira Super Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 14, 2009
    Plainfield,IL
    Hey Dave thank you for the link. Can I ask a question on the way they show the fingering for the F maj chord. They show it like an Fmaj 7 but just barring the first finger to the high E string.( mini barr) I thought that was more of an alternative fingering and the F chord is usually done as an E shaped barr chord. I always hear how must of a pain barr chords are to learn so I spent a good 6 weeks working on the barr F chord. I'm still not 100% confident going into a barr F chord especially from something like a D maj or G maj so I still spend a few minutes everyday working on at least one song with those kinds of changes in them. On a good note when I see something like am F# minor chord my mind thinks "piece of cake".

    I'm very familiar with the finger exercise you talk about, I learned that one early on and had to start way up the neck because my fingers couldn't stretch out. I still do it as a warm up, I just started doing another exercise with hammer ons and pull offs, I still find that my pinky wants to be the lazy finger, but I won't let her.
     
  11. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    When I was in my first band, the bass player told me one day,"You are going to be a good guitar player, but you'll never be great unless you learn to use your little finger." My reply was the common one, "My little finger is too weak". His reply was, "It always will be unless you use it!" So I kept on until it got stronger and that was over 40 years ago. The F bar is the same way. It's the chord that is the hard one to do until you keep doing it and build strength.

    An F chord is anywhere you can put together the notes F A C. The killer on most guitars is a high nut. If your top nut is not cut properly, there's too much space between the strings and the first fret and you have to really press down to make a clean F barre without buzzing. You might want to take your guitar in to a music shop and get them to set it up for you. It's worth the few dollars you pay to obtain proper action and easier fretting.

    You can also do barre chords using other patterns. The A barre is also very commonly used. You form the open A chord and move it up the neck, using your pointer finger to add the 5th string (root) note. Move the A up two frets and press the 5th string 2nd fret behind it and you have a B. Use an A barre on the 10th fret with the 8th fret note on the 5th string and you have an F chord. Here, you are using the pointer finger like a capo and making the A barre in front of it. The pointer will always tell you the root note and name of the chord.

    Here's an example of using the F barre to make a G chord and using an A barre to make a C chord. You can move the C shape up two frets to make the D. Your pointer finger tells you the root note of the chord. You can also use the Am shape in this way, just like you use the Em shape with an E barre. Once you learn to use the open shapes up and down the neck, you will open up new possibilities with your playing.

    http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/chords/bar_chords_and_associated_exercises.html

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. angelique510

    angelique510 Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    This is a great idea for a thread. I can see it becoming on of those 50 page threads, or more.

    I played French horn in symphonic bad in high school. Band was the only reason I bothered to show up for school. So I agree with music being important for kids. Two of my kids were in band. The oldest plays trumpet and branched out into doing sound for school plays, and now does music editing and sound effects for indi films. My second son played flute in school, and then switched to guitar. He's not in band, but plays at home. My husband plays guitar and bass. Music has helped teenage boy and step-dad bond.

    I hadn't really played since high school. Shortly after joining a church about six months ago, I realized that my singing voice is horrible - definitely not something with which to make a joyful noise. I wanted to play music again. French horns are expensive, and I doubt the other people in my apartment building would appreciate it. I am fond of baroque music, so I picked up a recorder. I saw Michala Petri in a concert on PBS, and she amazed me. I have found some incredible recorder players on Youtube. A recorder is capable of so much more than "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in fourth grade music class. I found an online radio station that plays all recorder music. I now play alto and tenor. I don't often take the time for the reading and praying of daily devotions, but playing hymns is a way for me to worship. There are several musicians in my church, and every few weeks we are treated to a special performance. When I am able to play "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" without passing out from lack of oxygen, I am going to play at church. I probably should have started with something a bit easier, but I love that song and like a challenge.

    Another musical obsession of mine is a midi editing program I found. I spend hours at a time arranging and transposing all sorts of songs. With headphones, I can do that at 4am in an apartment. There are tons of midis available for free, or a dollar or two, online. Recorders have a limited range, especially the alto, and it takes quite a bit of tweaking to get a song into the range of a single recorder. I have quite a collection already. Every genre from Vivaldi to Queen to Webber to Poledorus to Meatloaf to Beethoven. I think I spend more time on the computer than I do playing my instrument.

    I am curious to see what other uncommon instruments are played by ECF members. I recently ran across an ocarina player here. I'd also like to see some videos posted in this thread. That would be great, to not just talk about our music, but to see each other play.

    Be well,
    ~A
     
  13. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    I agree that some instruments are tough to play quietly. Brass and woodwind are two. A guitar can be played quietly or loudly. I have a headphone amp for my electric guitars that incorporates effects that I sometimes use late at night. Most of the time, I play unplugged and my Les Paul is loud enough to hear in a quiet room and it doesn't wake anyone up.

    It's surprising how many people at church latch on to contemporary Christian music quickly. Our pastor told us that we might get 10% of the congregation into the contemporary service we were planning to start. He quoted a couple of studies and agreed to let us do it while recommending that we start out in the youth hall instead of the family life center, since we would have a smaller crowd. The first contemporary service came around and we had 100 chairs in the youth center. We served coffee and donuts. The service started to a full house and we noticed there were people crowding around the open double doors in the back. We had over 250 people and there were over 100 standing around outside listening. The aisles were full and this continued for several weeks until the pastor finally agreed that we had something special going on. We moved to the Family Life Center that can seat over 400 and have been there ever since (going into our 5th year).

    The contemporary service is now our largest service at the church, by far. We have two electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboard/piano, two college age horn players who sometimes sit in, and several singers. We get enthusiastic responses from songs that are based in light rock arrangements. You just never know what they response will be until you try it.
     
  14. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    Youtube is full of great guitar lessons. Here's one that is surprisingly easy to play, but sounds complex. It's "Alright Now" by Free, a classic rock favorite. I'd say that it's an intermediate song, but achievable by dedicated beginners. The tonal combinations of this song have made it a classic and also one that few people seem to play like the record. Learn this one and you can impress your friends (who have tried to figure it out and failed miserably). It's also a good finger stretching exercise, since you have to span several frets at one point. It also uses barre chords and some dissonant note combinations that are interesting.



    Once you get the chords, here's the solo tutorial:
     
  15. IanK1968

    IanK1968 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Feb 8, 2011
    Toronto Canada
    I played the drums back in my teenage days. didnt really play in a band, I just enjoyed bangin on the drum all day.
     
  16. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    Drummers (good Drummers) are hard to find. If you want to eventually play in a band, get back into it, perfect your skills, and you'd be surprised how easy it is to find a working band who needs a drummer. $100 a night for something you love to do is pretty good icing on the cake of a 40 hour regular paycheck. That's about the going rate for local musicians these days. FWIW, Our band was averaging that in the 80s, with really good gigs playing twice that. On New Year's Eve, we had a standing gig for years at the Officer's Club at the local AFB. That one was $3000 and it included a filet mignon dinner and breakfast after the gig. Our 5 members made $600 each for a 9pm-1am gig on NY's Eve.
     
  17. IanK1968

    IanK1968 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Feb 8, 2011
    Toronto Canada
    being a family man with 4 kids makes it hard to go out and do gigs. I have thought about playing drums for a recording company, but never really seriously considered it. I might now though
     
  18. loden813

    loden813 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 3, 2011
    tampa, fl
    One of my first gigs in High School was drumming with my band for a grand opening in N.C. in the 60s. the group we jammed with on stage was a band call "Question Mark and the Mysteryions" playing "96 Tears" omg...lol!! Long time ago!
     
  19. IanK1968

    IanK1968 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Feb 8, 2011
    Toronto Canada
    I played in school too in 1984-85. Had a band played in battle of the bands, but I moved, and never really played in a band again, just jammed by myself on music store drums.
     
  20. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    GGGGGGGGG GmGmGmGmGmGmGmGm over and over, then an Em repeatedly for the bridge! One of the songs on my first set list!

    We played in every Battle of the Bands contest there was when I was in my teens. We finally won one in front of 500 people at the Municipal Auditorium. I was shaking a little when they opened the curtain and settled down by the first verse. It's good to be forced in front of a crowd. You finally get used to it and feel totally comfortable. Knowing your material gives you confidence. At least then, you begin to realize that the only thing you have to fear is equipment failure.

    Speaking of equipment failure reminds me of my first gig in a local skating rink. We started the first song, a Ventures instrumental, and my guitar amp kept blinking off and on. I was playing one second and the next I was not making any noise in my solo. I looked over and the singer was tapping his foot on top of an extension cord that had several things plugged into it. One of them was my amp!
     
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