Posts Tagged ‘guitar


Guitars, amps, pedals, oh my!

I get asked what gear I use a lot. So I figured I’d put together a rundown of my current setup. So this can be a list of gear you might want to buy, or avoid at all costs if you hate my guitar tone. Either way, here it is:

My workhouse guitar is a G&L ASAT Classic Bluesboy. I’m running that into the Visual Sound – Visual Volume pedal. From there, into a Keeley Compressor (two-knob model). Then, into a Keeley modified – Boss BD-2 Blues driver. Next up is the Keeley Katana Clean Boost. Last up is a Boss DD-20 Giga-Delay with a Boss FS-5U non-latching foot pedal set up for tap tempo (when playing lead, I will sometimes add a Keeley modified- Ibanez TS-8 that is post-delay for extra color).

From here we go into a Lancaster Brutis 15 amplifier (15 watts, Class A). Out of the amp, we head into a custom-made 1×12 EXT speaker cabinet that houses a Jensen P-12N.

In my next blog, I’ll make a list of all the gear I wish I had. Although, you’ll probably get bored after the first 20 pages…


memorization, part two

I feel as if I should title this entry “forget everything I said in part one!” I discovered a new method for memorizing charts that has revolutionized my world and is also proving to be effective with my students.

If you take out your chart book right now, you’ll notice almost every song uses maybe only four or five chords at the most; usually the one, two, four, five, and six chords (that’s I, ii, IV, V, and vi for all of you music theory nerds like myself).  Here are the steps I am taking which seem to be working:

1) what chords will I probably use?
If I’m in the key of A, I can predict before even looking at the chart that I will probably use only A, Bm, D, E, and F#m. I drill myself in those chords to make sure my muscle memory is awake and ready to play in that key.

2) was my prediction correct?
90% of the time, my prediction of using only those basic chords is correct.
This narrows the learning curve immediately, because I’ve boiled everything down to the basics.

3) forget the chart, focus on the map.
I might glance over the chart once to see the map of the song, but I try to set the chart aside as quickly as possible. I jump straight to playing with the MP3 or playing with the band, and listen for the map – verse, chorus, etc. Since I play by ear, I challenge myself to not look at the chart and let my hand do the guesswork bouncing between those 4-5 chords.

I know what you’re thinking, “what if I have a student who can’t play by ear?” I have had students who claim they can’t play by ear who have started using this method, and they are getting better at identifying these chords with practice when their brain realizes they’re only listening for a handful of chords.

If a student just can’t swing it by ear, then of course they can use the chart, but I challenge them to trust their instinct of letting their hand know where to go after a few rounds. If you’ve only got a tiny pool of chords to guess from, you can’t screw up that badly, so take a leap and try it!

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