2016 Jan 23 - Open Q&A
Topics Covered - Open Q&A Session
Thank you Zoe! :)
0:05 2016 Tuscany Workshops
2:15 Best Amp choices for beginners/ intermediates
3:20 London workshops
4:05 How long does it take to write a song?
6:35 Does Justin like heavy metal?
8:15 Chord transcribing/ ear training
9:15 BB King licks
10:15 Does Justin listen to Country music?
10:45 Who were Justin’s idols when growing up?
11:20 Older guitar care
13:15 Reducing hand fatigue- can I pull back with my hand?
16:30 Helping kids to learn guitar
18:30 Rory Gallagher
19:05 “Broken”- song lesson
19:40 Alternate picking- how to make progress
22:10 Justin’s new artist recommendations
23:55 Shall I wait for the new blues course or continue with this one?
25:15 What did Justin talk about with Paul McCartney?
27:10 Getting a smooth transition from licks to strumming
29:55 Tommy Emmanuel- any lessons planned?
32:40 Sweep picking – improving coordination
35:50 Motivation to practice
39:20 Glenn Frey – any lessons planned?
40:10 Time signatures lesson
40:20 Broken strings when jamming- does it happen to Justin?
41:05 Can you become a professional player if you can’t sing?
42:00 One guitar, one amp, one pedal – Justin’s top choices
42:45 Working out strumming patterns
43:30 Travel guitars
45:25 Guthrie interview
46:40 Does Justin wear a hat all the time –even at home?
47:30 Justin’s keyboard
48:55 Song lessons coming soon
Big thanks to Michele Garrett-Jones for writing this out :) in full!!
Q:Are you doing the week of lessons in Tuscany this year?
Yes - 2 weeks actually! One is almost sold out. We give preference to returning campers to book. The other week is going to be a beginner week with about 4 hrs of lessons with just myself and practice. The info on both weeks will be released soon on the newsletter so ensure you are signed up to receive it.
Q: Amps recommended for beginners.
Fender Mustang is a good beginner amp. Then you'll want to graduate to a valve amp - which have a much higher quality tone. Fender Blues Junior is a great choice.
Would be nice but everyone loves flying somewhere nice for an "away workshop". It's nice to fly somewhere and be removed from everyday life. I've tried to offer London workshops before. Something to work on this year maybe.
Q:How long does it take to make a song?
Differs for everyone. Songs can take any amount of time. It can be pretty immediate to gradual few years. In a band we write a record in two weeks, which is very intense. Tweaking can go forever...a year of working on the record. At some point you just have to make a decision.
Dry signal recordings in which you plug into a DI box and out of the DI to your effects etc as a separate feed. Then you are able to use a reamp box and feed it through a different amp for differing effects. It's cool, but can offer too many options - you just need to commit to a sound to get the end result.
Q: Do you like heavy metal?
Depends on what you call heavy metal. I like Metalhead and grew up listening to 80s hair metal. Bands like Guns & Roses, Motley Crue. I like Metallica, but never got heavier than that.
Q:What's a good amp to play in public?
Fender Blues Jr again.
Q:What ear training do you recommend?
Try my transcribing tips on the website. The problem is discerning which chords are used and the order. A good starting exercise is knowing which chords are used in a song but not the order. Play the song and transcribe when and where the chords are used.
Q: BB King licks?
Loads on the site - love them!
Q: Do you like Stevie Ray Vaughan?
Q: What's a good amp to use with a strat?
Fender Blues Jr! No, I don't have a deal with Fender, I just really like this amp and its a relatively good price for a great product.
Q: Can you do Christian music?
Sorry, I'm not Christian so it's not my cup of tea.
Q: Do you like country?
Not a lot of it, but I love Neil Young, Brad Paisley.
Q: Who was your guitar idol when you were younger?
Keith Richards, Mark Knopfler, Chuck Barry, then later on Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Joe pass, Mike Stern, Scoffield. Shifts according to the music I'm into at the time.
Q: Do you have advice for older guitar care?
I am very careful to use lemon oil on vintage guitars (not on maple). Every time I change strings, I let the lemon oil sit on the fret board for 5 minutes, then rub well with a soft cloth. I like to let the telecaster get a bit "scungy" and don't clean it as often. I use Adario brand cleaner that's non abrasive. Try to use products that are recommended for that product or ask at a guitar shop.
Q: Should you use your arm to pull back rather than your thumb when playing chords to avoid hand fatigue?
A mixture is best really. It's not great overall technique but when playing a lot of bar chords using your arm can be useful and should be be practiced especially to get a sense of from where you can create pressure other than your thumb. Another great technique is using your thumb to wrap over the base note. That will definitely alleviate fatigue when playing bar chords.
Q: Any tips on helping kids?
I started at six on ukelele. It's a great instrument to start small children on. When their hands are bigger, age 8 or 9, put them on a full sized guitar. Usually, I find children hard to teach. I don't like to teach kids until they know what type of music they like. It motivates them to learn.
I might do a kids course one day...
Q: Can you do a lesson on your song, Broken?
I wasn't planning to, and need to revise it. I'll tab it out and put it on the site.
Q: Trying to improve alternate picking. Does it improve over time?
I am also revising my own technique as time goes on. Check out the website "Cracking the Code" if you are keen to get technical with your picking. I was sceptical at first, but it's very analytical a to how great packers pick. He uses a technique called "downward pick slanting" which I am now using and re examining as well as incorporating into some of my stuff. I did have an offer from his site in one of my newsletters. Check out the section "Masters of Mechanics".
Q: Tommy Emmanuel?
Tommy Emmanuel or Jeff Beck - in my humble opinion the best guitar players ever.
Q: Will you do Arabic songs?
Probably not, sorry but I have a full plate already!
Q: You mentioned Courtney Violet as a great new artist last week. Anyone else?
New David Bowie record. Incredible! Black Star is one of the finest, darkest and most powerful pieces I've heard. Also, the Anchoress, who is an incredible singer and recorded upstairs from me. "Confessions of a Romance Novelist" is her album.
Q : Would you recommend waiting until the new Blues Lead course over the older version?
I think you'd enjoy the new one. It's now 4 levels. Blues lead one is Essential Blues now. I think it's pretty good. Should be starting up in a week to ten days time!
Q: What did you discuss with McCartney when you met?
We discussed how to play Blackbird correctly and also, how strange it is to play tv shows. I was just flabbergasted to be talking to him! It was only ten minutes. He's a lovely chap!
I've never met Eric Clapton although I would have liked to.
Q: Are there any tips for a smooth transition from a lick to a chord strum...ie as in "That'll be the Day"?
Practice the transition as a one minute change. Speed and timing are the key issues. If you can play consistently at very slow timing, the task is then to play at the right tempo, gradually speeding up in tempo as you progress. Practice playing to the song as you approach the 75% mark of the actual song tempo.
Q: Plans to do any Tommy Emmanuel lessons?
I was planning on doing two, Angelina and Mombasa. Tommy has videos out on both of these, but when he explains stuff, I have to figure things out myself and I wonder how others would find it? He's offered to do a lesson here for us. I am hoping next time he's in the UK, I'll have him here for lesson and I will help to slow things down for everyone can figure it out. He makes the hardest things look so easy and it takes a lot of practice!
Q: How do you synchronize you right and left hand, especially when sweep picking?
I don't even sweep pick very well. I'm not a fast guitar player, but anything I do, I start slowly and build tempo up. All the incredible players I know say the trick is to play slowly and accurately and build the tempo up over time. Nudge the tempo up only as you become really comfortable with the speed you are at. "Wood shedding", or spending hours and hours at the same song, building accuracy and speed with a metronome or a backing track is the thing to do!
Q: Fixing tonation?
I have a series coming out with Charlie Chandler, my guitar guru, on guitar maintenance sometime in the future.
Q: How do you stay motivated on days when you don't feel like playing?
I have so much to do, I have other things I can do when I'm not in the mood to practice. However, in the past, I would just get on with it. Treat it like it's a job, especially if you plan to make a career out of it. I am so thankful for such a cool job and existence and it's important to remember that others have jobs they hate. If it's your hobby, think about what you're in the mood for. Pick something you really want to play and have fun with. Think of enjoyment as the ultimate goal. Find the thing you love and spend your time doing it!
Q: Will you do a Glenn Frey song?
Yes I plan to do a Glenn Frey song or some more Eagles. Maybe The Heat is On? Still debating on which tribute lesson to do.
Q: Are you planning more lessons on time signatures?
Probably but I have other lessons to plan first.
Q: Do you ever break strings while jamming?
Yes, I've broken them in front of thousands of people but then I had a guitar tech off stage. Sometimes, when younger I would intentionally take a string off to work around it as an exercise. It helps you explore the finger board in ways you haven't and helps manage panic if you break one in front of an audience.
Q: Is it possible to become a professional solo player without singing?
Yes, there are loads of non singing pros out there. I am planning my own solo set without singing as I don't like my own voice.
Q : Anything in the future with Marty?
He has plans to come back at some point with cool stuff one day. He's got things going on now but I look forward to having him back.
Q: If you had to choose one guitar, one amp, one pedal, what would you choose?
Fender telecaster, a Timeline delay pedal (I love delay effect) and the Lazy J 20 amp. I love the sound of the Tone King Imperial amp as well. It's next in my purchase list.
Q: How can I feel a strumming pattern in a song?
You don't feel it, you listen for it. Listen, try to find it from something you've heard/learned before , or try to copy it from an understanding of how rhythm works. I have an book on transcribing rhythm patterns that would be helpful.
Q: Any views on travel guitars?
I have a couple. I don't like the sound of ones with a small body. The one I use the most has no head stock (can't remember the name of it)
Q: What hoodie am I wearing?
Q: It would be amazing if you interviewed Guthrie.
Yes, it would be. I should try to hook up with him.
Q: Any thoughts on adding amp settings to the videos?
For most of my videos, I use the profiling amp. It's a copy of another amp. So it would be hard to translate...
Q: Do you wear a hat inside or just for the videos?
I was just discussing this yesterday...it's like a disguise for me. Loads of people don't recognize me without the hat which is kind of handy and cool for me! No, I don't wear one all the time.
Q: What happened to the keyboard that was on the floor?
It was a controller keyboard. I upgraded to a big one, under all my stuff...I play a bit but not really talented. I enjoy it. Some stuff I do is a lot easier to explain on keyboard.
Q: Wish You Were Here?
Being redone at the moment, along with a stack of other stuff, like Life on Mars (beautiful chords), Lady Rider - tricky stuff in it...so many beautiful riffs. Also more Motörhead...been mostly getting the Blues course up and running.
More playing next week on the live show after the buffering nightmares of today. Hopefully I'll have exciting news about the Blues course next week. Weekly Riff is set aside for now as we work on other things. Have a great week, time for pizza
- LESSON STEPS -