Archives

Articles
We Can Dream

We Can Dream

Peter McVeigh’s debut album has just been released after a very successful kickstarter campaign.
I was asked to record guitars for the track ‘We Can Dream’. It’s an energetic indie rocker with a cool anthemic vibe in parts. LOADS of layered parts on this one made for a super fun session, mostly tracked with the mighty Gretsch. I later found out that the drums were performed by Mike Malinin from the Goo Goo Dolls! Pretty cool. Mix by the very talented Mike McGreal.
Give the track a spin. If you like it head on over to Peter’s website and grab a copy. www.petermcveigh.com

Metal Hammer

Metal Hammer

AGES ago one of the guys from fuzzmonsters LongFallBoots asked me to record a guest outro solo for their song Noctavia, from their new album ‘Wait for the Echo’. It’s come out pretty awesome.

Although it’s not released for you to buy until Feb 16th, they have an exclusive stream with non other than METAL HAMMER. Pretty cool. Check them out below if you love to fuzz.

http://metalhammer.teamrock.com/news/2015-01-28/longfallboots-stream-new-album

New Music & Videos

New Music & Videos

Hola!

First off… miracles have happened. Cyanide Later have released new music! – Incredible I know. This one has some monstrous riffs and some pretty insane signature changes. All in all, it was an awesome session, and great fun to lay down guitars for. Recorded at our studio, mixed expertly by Mike McGreal and mastered by Tom Waterman.

Give it some ear time here:

More music news…

I’m also finishing up the editing on some new YouTube lessons – lots of diverse and challenging content there, as well as some product videos for the lovely Richards Guitars which will be going live in the next couple of weeks. Videos will be posted on the site once they’re public.

Enjoy the new tune, let me know what you think!

James

Spice up your Pentatonic Licks with 2 notes! *FREE LESSON*

Spice up your Pentatonic Licks with 2 notes! *FREE LESSON*

It’s very easy to get stuck playing the same old patterns and licks as a guitar player. Here I’m going to show you two very simple ways of adding extra ‘flavour’ (or whatever you want to call it) to your pentatonic licks.

As long as you have a basic knowledge of the minor pentatonic scale, you should be able to follow along just fine. These licks are based around the Cm pentatonic ‘box’ shape – the most common one. It’s well worth checking out the other five shapes too, as they can really open up your creative thinking… but that’s for another time!

STEP 1 – ‘BASE LICK’

Here’s one example of what I’m talking about. We start out with a ‘base lick’. It’s a fairly simple lick I’ve come up with using only notes from the Cm pentatonic scale. (No extra notes just yet!)

 

Base Lick

It already sounds pretty cool, and goes to show that just using this 5 note scale can be enough to come up with some great ideas. However you may want to take it a little further…

STEP 2 – ‘ADD THE BLUES’

The most common way of adding flavour to your pentatonic licks is by adding ‘the blues note‘. Yes it’s actually called that! In theory terms it’s simply adding the flattened 5th. Our scale has now gone from

Cm Pentatonic: R b3 4 5 b7   (C Eb F G Bb)

to

C Blues: R b3 4 b5 5 b7          (C Eb F Gb G Bb)

We now have an extra note to play with. In the second lick below I’ve added/ substituted a couple of instances of the blues note (highlighted by the blue arrows). Hopefully you can all hear it has a bit more of a bluesy vibe about it.

 

Add The Blues

 

I also incorporated another simple but effective bluesy ‘trick’ here, by bending the last note of bar 1 up a semitone (from Eb to E). By doing that we are playing with the tonality of the lick, bending from a minor 3rd (Eb) to a major 3rd (E). It’s an extremely common and easy technique to deploy and can instantly give your licks a lift if they’re feeling a little bit flat.

Let’s take it one final step further.

STEP 3 – ‘DORIAN FTW!’

We’re going to add a little ‘modal’ theory. DON”T RUN AWAY!! This is super simple and when used in the right places will sound absolutely great.

Here we go, Lick 3.

 

Dorian FTW

In fact there’s only one note difference between licks 2 and 3. Hopefully you can hear it in bar 3 over the F7 chord.

I’ll try to keep the explanation behind this as simple as I can. If you want to look into modes further there’s already a tonne of material out there and it’s a big topic to cover.

The note I’ve added here is A.

Our scale has now become a bit of a hybrid of the blues scale and the dorian mode (more on this in a minute):

R b3 4 b5 5 6 b7                       (C Eb F Gb G A Bb)

The Dorian mode is the second mode of the major scale. There are lots of ways to approach thinking about the modes but for simplicity here, let’s think of the Dorian mode as the natural minor scale with a raised 6th. This defining note (the major 6th, or A), is the one we’ve stolen and placed into our blues scale. It works fantastically well over the F7 chord because A is a ‘chord tone’ of F7.

Essentially, anytime you come across chord IV in a blues progression (in this case our F7 chord) it’s a fantastic time to deploy that dorian note for some killer flavour!

 

I hope you all enjoyed that little lesson, and hopefully it’ll inspire you to get more mileage out of any stale licks you have knocking around. Please feel free to comment below with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer. Remember to check out my video lessons on the site, and please SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.

Enjoy those new found tasty licks!

James

Regular Updates you said…

Regular Updates you said…

Hello all!

I’m really not getting the hang of this regular update malarkey am I?! Oh well!

It’s been a great couple of months since the last update. I’m really pleased with how the Youtube channel is progressing (GuitaristBaz) – go hit subscribe if you’ve not already! Lots of free HD Guitar walkthroughs of some fantastic solos with backing tracks and tabs provided. The next two are going to be great, particularly challenging if you’ve been finding the current ones too easy! 😉 I’ll be starting to add some more generalised lessons on technique and other aspects of guitar playing, as well as some gear demos as the subs start to roll in, so please share the channel if you like what I’m trying to do! I’m always interested to hear suggestions for content so do get in touch if there’s something you’d like me to cover…just don’t suggest anything that’s already been done to death!

I’ve received loads of great feedback on the latest session promo video which is fantastic, two new agency signings off the back of that so I’m very happy indeed, looking forward to working with some new artists through those guys.

I’ve been busy in the studio running remote sessions for producers who need guitar parts for their artists’ tracks, it’s been great fun doing some diverse tunes, and a few are due to be released soon so I’m looking forward to sharing those with you. One is already up for a pretty huge placement so fingers crossed all round! Emily Browne’s debut album is currently being mixed which I played guitar on earlier this year, and I’ve been in the studio with the wrong type of guitar (bass!) recording for The Blacklist Saints debut album, which is well on the way to being finished.

Gigs have been aplenty as well, tons of bookings for The Playlist Function band, and I’m really pleased to be gigging with Lisbee Stainton and her fantastically talented band. The first few shows went very well, and I’m looking forward to the next run in November.

Lots of new stuff coming soon!

Just gonna leave this here… hit that red button, and tell your mates to do the same!

https://www.youtube.com/user/GuitaristBaz/about

Upcoming shows:

Blacklist Saints – The Vault, Rugby (Supporting Eureka Machines) – 15th Nov
Lisbee Stainton – Banbury Mill Arts Centre – 19th Nov
– Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe – 20th Nov
– Victoria Warehouse, Manchester – 21st Nov

Playlist Function Band Promo 2014

Playlist Function Band Promo 2014

PLAYLIST FUNCTION BAND

Just finished these promos. Video to come very soon. Sounding very good indeed… Bring on the gigs!

For more info and booking enquiries visit www.playlistband.co.uk

 

Busy Easter!

Busy Easter!

So it’s been a really busy few weeks since my last update.. nice and diverse!

I’ve run a few sessions at the studio, including recording guitars for a fantastic Soul/ R’n’B track by ShemidaJ. The chorus was in my head for weeks afterwards and I can wait to hear Pat’s mix once it’s all finished. I recorded a ton of layers, all very simple, and found some great tones.

I’ve also had opera singer Victoria Wilson in to record some new high quality backing tracks for her live performances. Mostly acoustic guitar with a few little production flourishes, the new tracks are sounding lovely.

Rehearsals for round 2 of recording the Emily Browne album are going well. Very excited to be back in Vale studios in early May, and also to be appearing at Lechlade Festival towards the end of May.

The function band ‘Playlist’ is now fully operational once again, after a very successful gig a few weeks back. Rave reviews and more bookings in the bag so can’t complain. I’ve been hitting a few cracking venues as of late with The Blacklist Saints, special mention to The FireBug in Leicester and The Zombie Hut in Corby – two fantastic, PROPER, well run venues. Looking forward to headlining at The Library in Leeds this Saturday 26th April.

Hope you’ve all had a great Easter. I think it’s about time to get recording another YouTube guitar lesson!

Pure Rawk Awards 2014

Pure Rawk Awards 2014

I’m very excited to be performing at the Pure Rawk Awards tonight with The Blacklist Saints, who actually won an award last year. Whilst not nominated this year, it looks set to be an awesome gig and party to follow. Photos coming soon!

New Website!

New Website!

Thanks for checking out my new website! Looking at the new design I’m actually quite glad my old computer died and forced me to start again.

Please have a good scout around, there’s lots of free guitar lessons (with many more to come!). Please subscribe to my YouTube and Facebook channels as there are frequent uploads of tabs, backing tracks and other music related bits and pieces.

2014 has already started well, with some super exciting projects in the pipeline. Don’t be a stranger, I’m always excited to hear from new people so give that Contact page a look!

J