Archive for March, 2008

A whole bunch of Pat Metheny photos/images stolen from The Web

Posted in Jazz Guitar on March 31, 2008 by Staff Writer

Since I’ve been doing a lot of trawling of the Web trying to find out info on the PM120 Pat Metheny signature guitar from Ibanez, I couldn’t help but notice a recurring theme with Pat’s clothing…

Pat rockin’ (jazzin’?) out.


Pat with weird-ass guitar/lute/sitar hybrid:


More Pat – note eyes closed, mouth open:


Consti-Pat-ed. Hat covering normally wild hair:


Pat relaxes and puts his feet up after a hard session’s bopping (cup of Cocoa just out of shot):


Pat The Dog.



What’s the ‘+’ in a chord symbol about?

Posted in improvisation, music theory on March 31, 2008 by Staff Writer

Someone asked this on one of the forums recently.

The answer is (in the generally accepted though not-at-all-internationally-standardized way) that it means the chord is an ‘Augmented’ chord, i.e. it has a raised (sharpened) 5th.

C major chord spelling: C E G

C Augmented (C+) spelling: C E G#


Try playing a C+ chord (or variants), then whack some notes of the associated augmented/whole tone scale over it. It has a floating ‘non-resolving’ feeling.


A whole shitload of E minor 7 shapes

Posted in improvisation, Jazz Guitar, music theory on March 27, 2008 by Staff Writer


(this latter from

The Cycle of 5ths

Posted in Jazz Guitar, music theory, Uncategorized on March 26, 2008 by Staff Writer


Posting this more for my reference rather than  with any spirit of sharing, but here’s a diagram depicting the ‘Circle Of 5ths’ which I unashamedly stole from another part of the Internet while its owner/originator slept in another time zone.

I’ve always known about the Circle/Cycle (from hereon ‘Cycle’) as it’s one of the first theory devices that many people are introduced to, but I have kind of ignored it and never really used it, storing it in metaphorical top drawer as an object of theoretical use but without much practical application.


Having started taking lessons from Master, and of course rooting all around the web now that I’m undertaking this ‘learn jazz’ malarkey, I’ve uncovered all kinds of uses that surprised me.

Here are a few:

  1. Moving clockwise from C, one ‘click’ at a time shows us the new key when we add each successive sharpened note. This is fairly basic – most musicians exposed to the Cycle know this. The root of the new key is a perfect 5th higher – hence the name.
  2. Conversely, moving anti-clockwise (sinisterly – for some reason I am reminded of Chemistry lectures and optical isotopes…) one click at a time gives as the new key when we add each successive flattened note – the new key being a perfect 4th lower.
  3. Starting from any root note, then selecting a root two clicks away clockwise, then moving anti-clockwise back to the root gives us the major ii, V, I progression. For example, starting at C, moving two clicks right to D then back through the roots shows us D, G, C. In the key of C, this will result in the chord progression Dm | G | C. With sevenths, this will be Dm7 | G | C.
  4. Similarly, starting from any root note, moving three clicks away clockwise then working back shows us the major I, vi, ii, V, e.g. starting from C results in C | Am | Dm | G.
  5. Choosing any root note then looking diagonally opposite shows us the tritone, i.e. that note which is a flatted 5th away from where you started – useful when doing the tritone substitution. E.g. starting from C, the note opposite in the circle is F# – F# is a flat 5 up or down from C.
  6. There are a number of resources on the Web that describe musical Cycles. This one is by far the best and most comprehensive.

Ibanez S (Sabre) Series Guitars – S570 and S540

Posted in Guitar Gear on March 25, 2008 by Staff Writer

A recent exchange of posts entitled Ibanez Porn for your enjoyment on leads me to upload pictures of my Ibanez S570 and a fellow forumite’s S540. Here they are in all their pictorial splendor for you to ogle.

The S guitar features the Super Wizard neck which is quite flat and very good for shredding, and of course a locking FR tremolo. It’s all you need for Metal. The last shot of my four shows the 570 nestling up close with my THD Univalve head and Marshall cab (since departed).

My S570

S5701 S5703S5702 IMGP1612Small 

…and Trotter’s S540 (reproduced with permission):


Come with me if you want to live – Part 2 (modified to protect the innocent)

Posted in General whining, Guitar Gear on March 24, 2008 by Staff Writer

For any of you who read my previous post on the scandalous prices that are being charged by Bentley Music of Kuala Lumpur, who have secured the local distribution rights of Mesa/Boogie products for Malaysia and Singapore, this will be of interest to you. If you haven’t read it and are interested in buying Mesa/Boogie products and you live in Malaysia or Singapore, I recommend that you do; it will open your eyes.

The basis of it all is that Bentley are charging DOUBLE the list prices for these products thinking that they have us over a barrel and that we can’t obtain the products elsewhere.

عدّة من نا ضرب معا وقرّر أن يمرّ كمية صغيرة منتوج من بائعات في ال [أو.س.]. يذهلني يبخّر [بنتلي] (وهو أنّ هم حتّى يعرفون حول هذا) قد قرّر أن يحاول أن يتدخّل ب يشتكي إلى ميل مقر أنّ لا أحد يكون إشتراء من هم ويريدهم أن يتوقّف كلّ شحن إلى هذا جزء من العالم أنّ لا يذهب عن طريق هم. نجاح باهر. كيف حول أنّ.

So, Bentley, if you’re listening, then listen good:


Is it any wonder that nobody wants to buy it from you when you are charging 200% of the list prices? So, nobody wants to buy then you go complain to Mommy?

Если Столовая гора Мамы закончит примыкать к Бентлей, и наша отгрузка заканчивает быть отмененной, весьма просто, то я буду выбирать другую марку. Бентлей думает, что, если они останавливают ту отгрузку тогда, я пойду и буду покупать это от них? Я предпочитаю сделать экскремент на тех деньгах, тогда поджигают об это, чем дают это тем неопытным кровью мешкам с дерьмом спекуляции. Жаль, но я написал Бентлей, вежливо спрашивающему на политике оценки; они никогда не отвечали. Я написал штаб-квартире Столовой горы, говорящей им о скандальном дифференциале стоимости; они никогда не отвечали – очевидно они не могли заботиться меньше. О хорошо. Вы не будете получать наши деньги любой путь тогда, ‘салат ромэн это конечно не идет к Вам через Бентлей.

So, again, if you’re reading this, BOYCOTT BENTLEY MUSIC FOR MESA/BOOGIE PRODUCTS.

Lesson 8: ‘Pop ‘n’ Play’, swingin’, ‘be-bop’ and other stuff apostrophized or in quote marks.

Posted in Guitar Playing, improvisation, Jazz Guitar, music theory on March 24, 2008 by Staff Writer

I’m getting less and less time to document in detail the enormous quantity of info that emanates from Master each week so I’m going to be starting to jot down basic ideas as reminders to myself later and try to remember the blanks based on these.

Pop and Play

Master said that this pearl of wisdom originated from She-Jazzer Emily Remler who noted that most budding Jazz musicians will at some point benefit from using a technique that she referred to as Pop ‘n’ Play. The basic idea being that you Pop a chord (i.e. just strum a chord) on the 1 beat, then Play a little connecting solo for the remaining beats.

Looking below, you can see we are in the key of G major. We start just by counting 1, 2, 3, 4 to get into the groove. After that, we just start playing a chord on each beat. From there, we then play a chord on 1, then rest for the remaining three beats. Next we play the chord stab on 1, then any notes in the key of G for the remaining three beats.

The next step (step 5) is where things get interesting; looking closely you’ll see that my chord stab is now on the 2nd beat of each bar. Hence, we play our chord, then solo over the end of the bar ending on a chord tone of the next chord prior to playing our next chord stab.  This is crucial – now instead of just a bunch of random notes from the key of G, my phrase leads towards the next chord by homing in on a chord tone – in the case of going from bar 1 to bar 2, I visualize all my Cmaj7 chord shapes and aim for one of those guys, and so on.

Taking a simple two chord vamp of Gmaj7 to Cmaj7, first count

  1. one    two     three    four  |  one    two     three    four 
  2. chord, chord, chord, chord | chord, chord, chord, chord
  3. chord,  rest,   rest,  rest     | chord,  rest,   rest,  rest
  4. chord, notes, notes, notes | chord, notes, notes, notes
  5. notes, chord, notes, notes | notes, chord, notes, notes

later in the lesson, we applied this to a I | vi | ii | V in G, i.e. Gmaj7 | Emin7 | Am7 | D7.


Master mentioned this verbal device of saying the word ‘Be-Bop’ at the end of my phrases as I played some notes along with it which would give them some rhythmic impetus if played on the correct beat/half-beat. Need to ask him more about this – don’t really understand.


Part of what makes Jazz cool is that ‘swing’ feel, i.e. those funny ‘and’ notes in-between the main beats. We spent some time grooving and trying to get my swing feel down, and gravitated towards this exercise/device below.

Essentially, swinging is all about the rhythm he said. In my geometric world of Rock and Metal, I would usually have started all my solo lines on the ‘1’ beat of a bar. Jazz, being more syncopated can be made to feel more swingin’ by  starting on different beats and different ‘ands’. We spent some time with him comping and me starting (and badly messing up) new lines on the ‘and of 1’, the ‘and of 2’ etc.

1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &  | 1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &

    &  2  &  3  &  4  &  | 1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &

            &  3  &  4  &  | 1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &

                    &  4  &  | 1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &

Plenty more which I haven’t written here, but this post will end with this great quote from the Wikipedia article on Emily Remler (must track down some of her CDs):

“I may look like a nice Jewish girl from New Jersey, but inside I’m a 50-year-old, heavyset black man with a big thumb, like Wes Montgomery.”