Extending Chord Selection in Major / Minor Keys

  This chart (click to download) demonstrates the full range of chords available in a given major or minor key using the technique of tonicisation (temporarily establishing an alternative tone centre within the key – a “mini-modulation” for a short duration). This technique is used extensively in Jazz and Classical music to expand the range […] Read More

Chord Substitution, Composition, Jazz, Music Theory, Musicianship

Ten Essential Principles of Productive Practice

  Practice is the key to progress, but without effective tactics, you're liable to get nowhere fast and give up in frustation. Here are ten red-hot tips for enhancing your practice sessions and making sure you get the most out of your precious practice time!   Here's an effective method for mastering challenging pieces of […] Read More

Guitar, Musicianship, Piano, Practice Methods

Bass Transcription: Joni Mitchell w/ Jaco Pastorius – “In France they Kiss on Main Street (Shadows & Light)

This inspired piece of bassage from the febrile fingers of the late great Jaco Pastorius graced the smouldering live Joni Mitchel album, "Shadows & Light" and has long exerted a spell over me. I finally settled to transcribe the first verse and interlude and discovered a wealth of fascinating lines, infused with great rhythmic and […] Read More

Basslines

Troubleshooting Chord Strumming On the Guitar

Strumming chords is essential "bread & butter" technique for accompanying songs with the guitar, and yet it is suprisingly hard to do well. Here's a short checklist you can run through each time you practice to ensure that you're getting the best possible sound.     Are all the desired the notes ringing cleanly?   […] Read More

Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Chords, Guitar Technique, Practice Methods

▶ ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ – Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer – YouTube

The inimitable Mr B playing his unique take on the George Formby classic […] Read More

Comedy, Pop Music, Ukulele

▶ ‘Songs For Acid Edward’ by Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer (Official Music Video. HD) – YouTube

The unmistakable skills of Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer provide an inspiration to ukulelists everywhere […] Read More

Pop Music, Ukulele

Latin American Piano Riffs, Part 1

Hi Folks Everybody loves a bit of Latin American music don't they? No?? Well they should! The rhythms of the music of Cuba and the Caribbean are amongst the most compelling in the musical world and have been informing western popular music for over a hundred years. In this lesson I demonstrate two main patterns, […] Read More

Latin American, Piano

Alternating-Bass Fingerpicking

Hi folks If you've ever listened to the likes of Chet Atkins, Davey Graham or the like, you've probably found yourself confounded by the torrent of simultaneous notes underpinned by a pounding alternating bass....well my friends, "fret" no more (ahem!) because I've finally pulled my finger out and provided a detailed tab for this vid […] Read More

Acoustic Guitar, Country Guitar, Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitar Technique

Altered Dominants for Guitar, Part 3

Hi folks Welcome to the third lesson in my jazz guitar series on using altered dominant dominant chords. I'm getting down to business in this lesson and demonstrating how to apply the altered dominant chords in the keys of D minor and D major, using the ii-V-I chord progression. All the examples are in the […] Read More

Guitar, Guitar Chords, Jazz, Jazz Guitar, Music Theory

Tritone Substitutions, Part 1

Hi Folk, and welcome back for more lashing of red hot theory. This week I'm going to delve into the arcane mysteries of the dread "Tritone Substitution", a diabolical techique where an innocent dominant 7th chord is substituted for more diabolically satanic alternative...ahem! Sorry...little musical joke - if you want the scoop, here's an excerpt […] Read More

Guitar, Guitar Chords, Jazz, Music Theory