Archive and Resources for GuitaroJam Members

Newsletter Home:  2006 | 2005
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16th December, 2005

CONTENTS:

  • Health:  Avoiding Injuries When Playing Guitar
  • Artist:  John Lennon - The Man and his Times
  • Learning:  Finding the Right Teacher
  • Recording:  Self Home Recording vs Paying a Recording Studio
  • Gear:  Flaming Guitars!  Minarik Fuels the Excitement of a New Generation of Musicians
  • Webmasters:  Colour Me Blue
  • Recommendation:  Jamorama - The Ultimate Guitar Learning Kit
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    Avoiding Injuries When Playing Guitar

    By Trevor Maurice

    To avoid any sort of injuries when playing guitar a common sense approach is recommended. Just what do I mean by that?

    Well, there are many simple and obvious precautions you can take that will prevent most injuries.

    To start with you can adopt the proper technique, posture and hand position.

    A good book like Scott Tenant's Pumping Nylon or David Braid's Play Classical Guitar can give you sound basic fundamentals in this area.

    With technique keep your movements simple or, as my teacher used to say... "Employ an economy of movement."

    If you have less movement you will naturally have less friction and tension and therefore less chance of injury.

    Teachers of guitar vary in their interpretation of posture and hand position but in classical guitar at least, there is generally widely accepted agreement on this subject.

    You do need to be aware of your posture and hand position when a beginner or intermediate as you are learning habits that will last a lifetime.

    I remember my teacher constantly pushing my shoulder down as I played. As I became tense my shoulder would "ride" upwards as my body would tense up.

    He was giving me vital feedback on leaning to relax as I was learning basic technique.

    It pays to have a good, alert teacher who can short circuit any problems as they appear!

    Another point of note is when you begin to play guitar you can often overdo it.

    Indeed, Anthony Glise writing in Classical Guitar Pedagogy states...

    "Virtually all guitarists injuries are from over-use (simply practicing too much) or misuse (not warming up properly), playing pieces that are too difficult, improper hand positions, overstress, etc."

     

    These are all things that the beginner and intermediate player are prone to.

    You must develop your capabilities in line with your common sense and resist the urge to go "too fast too soon."

    To quote the cliché..."You gotta crawl before you walk!":)

    While we're on the subject of common sense, you need to take breaks in your practice routine.

    You know how time flies when you're engrossed in a new and exciting piece. We all have the tendency to play through the pain at times but you must learn to avoid this sort of practice if you want to avoid long term injury. It might be wiser to break your practice sessions into smaller blocks and spread it out over the day rather than all in one hit.

    I know we're all "time-poor" these days but is it worth the risk?

    Only you can answer that one.

    Make sure you build strength and flexibility in your hands and indeed, your body.

    You can do this via a healthy lifestyle that consists of diet, stretching (including yoga), meditation and just plain relaxing and taking a break.

    If you do all of this and find your still in pain - STOP!

    As they say on the advertisement for a prominent pain reliever... "Pain is nature's warning."

    If you find you get long term pain, use your common sense again and seek proper medical advice. To play through pain is downright silly.

    I hope this brief discussion can give you some direction in this area. :)

     

    About the Author:  Trevor Maurice is an Australian, living in beautiful seaside Maroubra, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. He's been involved in playing guitar (mainly classical) for longer than he cares to remember and has also taught the instrument for many years. He is teacher trained, having a Diploma of Education (Majoring in music)

    He has also taught Primary (Elementary) school for many years and had a long-held dream to build a quality website for the classical guitar that is of use to anyone even slightly interested in this beautiful instrument. He has now made that dream a reality with the highly rated...

    http://www.learnclassicalguitar.com/index.html

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

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    JOHN LENNON - The Man and His Times

    by Kathy Unruh

    John Lennon wasn't always my favorite Beatle; at first it was Paul. But gradually, over a period of time, it was John Lennon who won my heart. I think the transition began sometime during the latter part of the 1960s. Back then, it seemed to my young mind, that the world was falling apart. Revolution and anarchy were on the doorstep. John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had each been assassinated, riots were springing up all over the south, Watts was burning and the war in Viet Nam was escalating. Out of the turmoil a growing hunger was born among many of my generation, including myself, for truth and peace.

    During this period I had one brother who was fighting in the jungles of Viet Nam and another who had recently returned from overseas. I can remember taking part in some of the protests at my school, which consisted of "sit-ins", walking out of class, and wearing black arm bands in recognition of the soldiers who had died. The Peace Movement became very important to me and my hero in this effort was John Lennon. John and Yoko were staging several protests in hopes of raising public awareness and support for peace in Viet Nam, as well as other human rights issues they cared about. I followed there activities with great interest and gave what I could to their cause. So you can imagine how strange it seemed after all those years, to find myself standing in the boyhood home of John Lennon, quietly paging through a book which he had written.

    It was the summer of 2003 and my husband and I were on an extended honeymoon in Britain. Two years earlier he had met a woman whose husband had gone to school with John Lennon. When she learned that we were planning a trip to England, she offered to give us a private tour of the Beatles' stomping grounds. Through a mysterious set of circumstances we were able to visit the home where John Lennon lived as a boy, as well as each of the other Beatles' homes in Liverpool. We also went to The Cavern, where the Beatles often played prior to being "discovered" by Brian Epstein, and Abbey Road Studios in London, where they produced their last album.

    John Lennon was born "John Winston Lennon" October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England. His parents, Fred and Julia Lennon, divorced when he was about four or five years old, leaving him to be raised by his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George. John never saw his father again, but Julia continued to make sporadic visits from time to time. As a little boy, John would sometimes hide when his mother Julia came to see him, because the emotional pain was too much for him to bear. Though his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George did their best to provide a good home, John always felt abandoned and unloved. He became angry and rebellious as a result and gained a reputation as a bully or "Teddy-Boy". Then one day he heard a new kind of music on the radio, called Rock and Roll, and his life was changed forever. From that point forward all he wanted to do was learn how to play the guitar.

    Well, as they say, the rest is history. The Beatles soon emerged and later took the world by storm in 1964 when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Their first American single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was released and distributed through a small record label in December of the previous year, and by January it had leaped to number one. The song had sold 1.5 million copies within five days and was expected to reach two million in another month. This was an unprecedented phenomenon in the recording industry at the time when a hit song usually reached it's peak in sales at 200,000. Now all the other "big" record companies that had originally scoffed at them, were kicking themselves in the you know what for being so blind to the Beatles unique sound and charisma. Since then, the Beatles and their music have exceeded more than three decades of fame and popularity.

    John Lennon was, himself, a very gifted writer, songwriter and poet. To this day, the "Songwriting Techniques of John Lennon; The Beatle Years" is one of the most popular classes offered at California's Berklee School of Music. His lyrics could be abstract and difficult to understand, or extremely simple and straightforward, often providing a rich spectrum of color and creativity through the use of metaphor and simile. John had a keen mind, quick wit and sharp tongue. It seemed as if he was always searching for something just beyond his reach, something to fill the emptiness and give meaning to his life. Happiness had somehow eluded him until he met Yoko Ono, after which he became completely disenchanted with the Beatles, and announced that he was leaving the group for good. "I want a divorce" he told Paul, and the Beatles were formally dissolved by January of 1971, each going their separate ways.

    On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot dead on the streets of Manhatten, New York, just outside his home, by a lone gunman named Mark Chapman. Chapman later signed a statement for the police saying "I never wanted to hurt anybody. My friends will tell you that. I have two parts in me. The big part is very kind; the children I worked with will tell you that. I have a small part in me that cannot understand the world and what goes on in it. I did not want to kill anybody and I really don't know why I did it..."

    I don't know why it still seems so ironic and hard to believe that John Lennon was murdered. Maybe it's because he had come to represent a message of hope and peace for my generation. John had developed a social conciousness that was not unlike others who had gone before him; men like John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. None of these men were perfect, but they were all influential in making us aware of the larger picture. They pointed out the need for change and the importance of developing new ideas. They knew how to draw us in close and inspire us to dream, to imagine, and to pursue doing whatever we can to help establish a better world.
     

    About the Author: Kathy Unruh is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC Learn Guitar. She has been writing songs and providing guitar lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years. For free guitar lessons, plus tips and resources on songwriting, recording and creating a music career, please visit: www.abclearnguitar.com

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    Finding the Right Teacher

    By Chris Standring 

    Finding a good teacher is not always easy, at any level. At the beginner level it is important to get on the right foot and as an intermediate player you need to know that your teacher really knows his or her stuff if you want to move forward. What it really comes down to is "Are you getting the right information?".

    The big problem when it comes to music instruction is that it is not necessary to have any diplomas or awards in order to set up a teaching practice. Conversely, the best teacher may not have a degree in music, just a phenomenal talent for teaching.

    The first thing to understand when finding a good teacher is that the best teachers are not necessarily the best players. And it certainly goes that great players are invariably not the best teachers, possibly because they are far too wrapped up in their own playing to be concerned about anyone else. OK, a generalization but a theory with legs.
     
     

    So let's assume you are just starting out, an absolute beginner, so what do you do? Well, the first resource I would use is your own personal contacts. You may have a friend or cousin that also took lessons and he or she may be able to recommend someone. Music stores often provide instruction and you can also look in your local paper for private instructors. Even do a Google search. It's actually very easy to find a teacher, but can you count on them to feed you all the right information?

    Let's assume you have a short list of teachers in you area. I think it is definitely in your interest to make sure that they are teaching simply because they love to teach. Not because they are waiting for their "big break". This is why I think it is important to find a professional teacher, not an aspiring pop star. So you might ask a series of questions:

     
  • How long have you been teaching?
  • What teaching qualifications do you have?
  • How many other students do you have?
  • Can you give me the phone numbers of two of your students?

    This may seem harsh, but I just think it is so important to get the right person from the start. Why? because as a student you have no idea whether your potential teacher actually knows what they are talking about. So don't be shy to ask.

    As an intermediate student you probably need to rely more on word of mouth to get the right teacher to take you forward. In your local neighbourhood, especially if you have been playing a while, you are probably already hooked into who the teachers are so it may not be such a problem.

    The other issue, aside from musical expertise, is that your teacher and you need to like each other. If you are to be successful studying together this is so important. I remember growing up that I would excel in the subjects where I actually liked my teacher. And of course I dreaded going to class with those teachers I did not like.

    I am happy to say that I really liked all my guitar teachers except for one, and that person lasted just a few lessons. I got lucky with the others there is no question. But other students may not be so lucky. I have heard a number of times that students realized much later that they did not have a good teacher. So at what point do you decide to move on and find a new teacher?

    If you have done the prerequisite research I mentioned then this should not be an issue. However, guitar playing is such a personal undertaking that finding the right teacher is relative to each student. What works for one, clearly does not always work for another.

    Your teacher should care about you and take an interest in seeing you advance as a player. I think this would be the biggest red flag to me if I was taking lessons all over again. I would want to know that there was some nurturing involved. If you feel that there really is no connection between the two of you then I think this might be a factor you can use to determine whether you move on or not.

    It's tricky. As a student you want the best teacher for you but you may not know if there is no barometer to show you.

    I also think that many times the student is to blame for being a lousy student. I remember when I used to give private lessons that a few students would come back week after week and had not done any practice at all. I found myself explaining the same things over and over because we couldn't move on until the essential groundwork was covered. These students eventually gave up because they had no drive or ambition to improve. This can be very frustrating for a teacher. Other times extremely talented players would come for just a few lessons because all they needed was a little fuel to go off on their own and practice. They were literally sponges. These students are heaven for teachers!

    So do the research, then take a lesson or two and see if that teacher is right for you. If you are serious about working at your instrument then you shouldn't be to blame for being a bad student. At that time it's simply a matter of finding the right person. Don't short change yourself.
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    Chris Standring is a jazz recording artist and educator. For more information about his highly acclaimed home study guitar courses please visit www.playjazzguitar.com and www.GuitarMadeSimple.com

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    Self Home Recording vs Paying a Recording Studio

    by Brandon Drury

    Back in the old days (around Nam) recording at home was a new miracle. You could actually hit record on a device and capture sound in your own home. Your eyes would light up just like Thomas Edison did when he first invented audio recording. Fast forward to 2005. Its now completely affordable to outfit a fully functional recording rig in your home for the price of a high quality, American made guitar. While the price of getting into home recording is much cheaper than it has ever been before, its still a lot of money. Is setting up a small studio worth the price? What are the pitfalls of trying to record yourself? Would you be better off just paying a professional recording studio to do the job for you? Hopefully, Ill answer these questions and more.

    What It Takes.  You are going to need a lot of knowledge, gear, time, and patience before jumping into the recording studio world. I was a computer nerd half done with a degree in electronics when I jumped into the recording world. I understood electronic basics and had run live sound numerous times. I totally understood how to operate a mixer/console. So all I had to do was jump into the recording portion, right? ....Well, it turned out that there was quite a learning curve to go from an empty room to the creative process (which is the fun part) and walk out with a finished cd in hand.

    I had no idea how much time I would spend cursing Windows audio drivers, failed hard drives, out of sync audio files, clicks and pops, unwanted distortion, etc. Truth be told, I went from an average computer user to a computer master in that couple of months it took me to work out all the kinks in my system. That's right. It took me a few months before I was ready to record my first band. It was that tough. That was in 2001. Maybe things are easier now. Im guessing that you'll still have quite a road in front of you.

    After you get your rig fully operational, you are still going to have to learn the software. I would HIGHLY recommend that you buy a DVD and a book to teach you the software that you intend to use. I could have saved myself hundreds of hours of headaches if I would have just read the stupid manual and had a little instruction. I learned a lot by tinkering (which may be your nature too) but there is no point in learning things the hard way if you don't have to. On my very first recording session, I had my manual in my lap. You could only imagine how stressful it can be if you have 5 guys staring at you while you desperately push buttons on something you barely understand. Id say it took me a good 3 months of everyday tinkering before I felt comfortable using the software for basic recording. Keep in mind that I wasn't trying anything advanced here. No crazy editing, no fancy automation. In fact, I had very little understanding of audio when it came down to early reflections and multi-tap delays. Im talking about just getting the stupid song onto the computer.

    Okay, so I've kind of prepped you on how the learning curve required for recording music. Lets talk about the gear.

    These days, its a waste of time to use the stand alone recorders you see in the mail order company catalogs. While these boxes promise to have everything you need to record your demo (and they usually do) the learning curve requirements are astounding. Yes, I just wrote an entire section on how tough it was to learn computer recording. However, there is a big difference between the learning curve of computer audio and the learning curve of stand alone recorders. When you learn computer knowledge, that knowledge is useful on just about every computer on the planet. (I've kept myself from starving a number of times with my computer knowledge which I mostly attribute to recording). Also, computer recording software generally uses a mixer that is a fairly close simulation of the real thing. The concepts stay the same. When you are using the stand alone recorders, you end up learning to hold E1 + Function + Menu to get to Aux send page. Why do you need a page for aux send? Anyway, Ive had several friends who have used these boxes and don't know anything about audio. They spent all their time learning this foreign language that will be obsolete as soon as the record is. In summary, I highly recommend that you go with a computer for your digital recordings.

    Okay, so you need a computer. The good news is you don't need a very fast one by today's standards. In fact, I built my recording computer for about $300 and its overkill. I need a faster computer than most because I do more projects than most. It makes a difference when I'm rendering down mixes that I can do it twice as fast because I have too many songs to mix on a given day. I don't have 3 minutes to sit around and wait for the computer to think.

    On top of the computer, you'll need a soundcard. I recommend a soundcard with a breakout box. This means that a cable will actually come out of the back of your computer and connect to a box where your audio connections are made. Setups with breakout boxes are almost always preferred. In fact, I only know of one professional audio company that doesn't rely on a breakout box for their computer interphases. I do not recommend Sound Blaster and those sorts. We are not playing games or watching DVDs. We are recording music. The demands are certainly not the same. You will find many Firewire and PCI soundcards in the mail order catalogs that work great. Pay special attention to the number of inputs and optional preamps. This is important. You may only need 2 inputs for your recording. In fact, most projects I do seldom use more than 2 channels 90% of the time. Of course, the other 10% of the time we may be using 19 or 20 channels. If you are recording electronic music and only plan on doing a few overdubs with vocals or the occasional instrument, 2 channels will probably work fine. If you plan on recording your entire 4 piece rock band live with rock drums you are going to need at least 10 inputs (maybe more). So plan ahead and figure out how many mics you plan to use at once.

    Next, you need preamps. Preamps boost the signal of a microphone up to line level and are pretty much required. Preamps are usually the top knob on the mixer of your PA. You'll need one preamp for every microphone you plan on using at one time. You'll want to have the same number of preamp channels as you do inputs on your soundcard. There are many soundcards that come with preamps. There are many many external preamps that CAN improve you sound quality just slightly. If all else fails, use the preamps in your PA mixer. If your mixer uses inserts you can split the signal right off the preamp by only pushing in the cable half way. Im referring to the cable that goes out of your preamp and into your soundcard.

    Next you'll need mic stands. There aren't too many cases where you don't need a mic stand. You have to be very very careful with mic stands. If you buy a supercheap mic stand, you may have problems with the mic changing its position in the middle of a session. The results can be absolutely horrible. So buy decent mic stands. $30 per stand is a reasonable low budget stand. I would not recommend that you spend any less on a mic stand.

    Next is microphones. This is where it gets fun. There are so many to choose from and there are so many tonal options. You'll want as many mics as you have preamp channels and soundcard channels (or you went overkill on preamps / soundcards). Choosing microphones is beyond the scope of this article. You can spend $50 on a mic or you can spend $3000 on a mic and you have no way of knowing which will sound better on a given source. This is a severely big deal when it comes to recording and its one major area that separates the men from the boys, so to speak. Home recording studios usually have terrible mic selections to choose from.

    The most important piece of gear in your studio is your studio monitors. If you try to use a boombox you will be very disappointed when you burn a cd and try to show mom on another stereo system. Of course, youl'l probably be disappointed even if you have a $10,000 set of studio monitors because your acoustics will be all wrong in you room and even still you probably haven't mixed enough songs to be any good at actually mixing.

    Okay, I've outlined what goes into recording your cd. Guess what, any decent studio has all of this taken care of you. Do you know about audio latency in XP? Do you know anything about room nodes? The studio guy probably does. That's how he makes his living.

    So when you walk into a professional recording studio ran by a serious engineer who cares about your music, you can expect to focus on one thing... the recording of your music. You don't have to wonder about the specs of the computer, the cables connecting the preamps and the soundcard. You don't have to worry about wasting huge amounts of time while the bass player stares at a mess of cables. You don't have to buy the mess of cables. In fact, Ive recorded entire albums cheaper than you would spend on mic stands. In other words, I've delayed charging a high price so that I could get tons of practice and become well known in my area. You might find a serious recording guy yourself who might work cheaper than you think.

    What an experienced recording studio engineer knows that you probably don't. 1)The value of his time - An experienced engineer isn't cheap (but could be much cheaper than trying to record yourself) but he knows that his time is worth X dollars. How is this an advantage? Its amazing how humans rise to meet a challenge. When you go in knowing that you are about to spend $20, $30, or $50 an hour on recording all of a sudden you take the time to get your guitar setup beforehand. You make sure your songs are mega tight and ready to go. You get your butt in gear because you are about to spend some money. When your guitar players tell you that he thinks he has the recording device working right, you don't jump up get busy. You get frustrated while he tries to figure out the problems on channel 1 and 5.

    2)Advanced knowledge of acoustics - This is one of those areas that you will entirely put off. At first, you are just trying to figure out how to turn the computer on. Have you really put any serious thought into the comb filtering effects of your room? The odds are minute. In fact, I bet most bands put no thought into their room acoustics. Guess what. Any good studio has spent thousands and thousands of dollars perfecting their acoustics. The only thing more important than acoustics in a recording is the song, the musicians, and the instruments. After that, acoustics is first. Proper acoustics are more important than microphones. Id gladly record an album with $50 mics in a $2,000,000 room before I did the opposite.

    3)Advanced microphone selection - Having the right mic for the job is an extremely important part of being a recording engineer. When you know that a guitar is too bright, you put a mic on it that will reduce this brightness. When a vocalist sounds dull, you put a bright mic on them. It goes on and on. This is what really makes the sound quality part of recording. Recording at home will make it hard to justify a $15,000 mic collection (or much higher). Some studios have $15,000 mics.

    4)Advanced knowledge of mic placement - Even more important than the microphone is where you put it. A seasoned pro will know what has worked on the past 10 albums he's done. He knows what he likes and what he doesn't. He doesn't have to wait until after the mixing is complete for him to figure out that the snare sound sucks. You'll be experimenting like crazy, but it will take a while before you get it right, more than likely.

    When you combine all this knowledge together, it becomes quite clear that there are serious advantages to letting the pros handle the work. With that being said, if you really want to learn audio, don't mind pumping thousands into a bottomless pit, and are really that excited about taking years and years and years to learn the craft properly, go for it. I did.

    About the Author: Brandon Drury has written countless home recording tutorials at his website, recordingreview.com. You can hear a portion of the over 600 songs he's recorded and mixed at his recording studio website

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    Flaming Guitars!  Minarik Fuels the Excitement of a New Generation of Musicians.

    by Scott G

    Celebrating an endorsement between G-Man Music and the fiery axe-makers known as Minarik Guitars, Scott G (The G-Man) reviews the Minarik Inferno X-treme.

    From the Telecaster to the Flying V to the Iceman to the Warlock, some guitar designs are forever branded on our consciousness, and now there's a new one: the Minarik Inferno X-treme. The body shape erupts in furious fingers of flame. If ever there was a guitar design destined to ignite the imagination of young players, especially boys and girls who want to rawk, this is it.

    Not that the Inferno X-treme lacks subtlety. With scientifically placed tone chambers, this instrument can sing sweetly if that's what you desire. Or, it can live up to its appearance and enable you to carve sonic craters in the parking lot.



    Although this guitar has a look that will inspire thousands of preteen statements along the lines of "Mom, that's the one I want," I suspect that tons of established players will find it useful in the studio or on the road because of its delicate balance, sleek feel, and stunning versatility. (And besides, the cunningly crafted guitar is also available in a more traditional body shape.)

    "So, what's the story on Minarik Guitars?" I can hear you ask. As the designer of the B.C. Rich Goddess Warlock and several other noteworthy models, Marc Minarik already has a legacy in the business. Now heading up his own company, Minarik has the goal of fusing quality workmanship with visually exciting design concepts.

    Actually, his plan is much more complex than "make it attractive and build it right." Marc Minarik is as eager to talk about the playability of his guitars as about their construction and appearance. And if you inquire about the light weight and the chambered body, he is just as pleased to demonstrate the superior nature of his firm's products.

    The flame-shaped body isn't just flashy; the size and curve of the flames have been carefully calculated to positively affect the tone and balance of the instrument. The flame design is eye-candy, but it's the application of the physics of sound that makes the Minarik Inferno X-treme really hot.

    With a wonderful combination of form and function, the Minarik guitar line may have some interesting side effects, like bringing vitality to retail sales, launching a new generation of guitar players, and saving music from passive pop.

    Not bad for a guy with a dream about a flaming guitar.

    Minarik Contact:
    www.minarikguitars.com
    818-383-1254
    minarikguitars@aol.com

    # # #

    About the Author:  Scott G (The G-Man) proudly plays a Minarik Inferno. He creates radio commercials and composes music for songs and spots at G-Man Music & Radical Radio. A member of the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (www.narip.com) and The Recording Academy (www.grammy.com), he also writes about music for the Immedia Wire Service. He is on the Web at iTunes, www.delvianrecords.com, www.myspace.com/thegman, and www.gmanmusic.com.

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    Color Me Blue

    by Rosalind Gardner

    Chris, a new consulting client, asked me to help him increase sales on his affiliate marketing site. As he was describing his site and the problem, I thought, "This is going to be a quick fix." How wrong I was!
     
    His site was excellent. Other than a few minor points, it followed all my basic rules for a successful affiliate marketing site.  The site was focused around a single theme in a profitable  niche, with an excellent selection of high-priced, high-commission products.  Chris had gone the extra mile to have his site professionally designed, and it was simple, elegant and user-friendly, employing consistent navigation and a nifty database-driven search results system.

    He was working directly with his merchant partners to create ad copy that offered his visitors the best possible deals.  And he was advertising in the pay-per-click search engines to drive tons of targeted traffic, and using hundreds of keyword listings with brilliantly worded titles and descriptions.

    So, why on earth were his sales so low?  I knew I was picking at straws, but during our first session, I made a host of recommendations for improvement, which included:
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    • a domain name change

    • a background color change

    • reformatting the page table size

    • rephrasing offers more positively

    • adding relevant graphics and photos

    • dropping poor performing merchants

    • adding a newsletter

    • adding new products

    • redirecting non-buyers to additional offers


    Chris implemented all my suggestions as well as a few of his own. After giving the new version a few weeks to prove itself, we scheduled our second teleconsulting session. I was anxious to hear how well the site was now performing. You can appreciate my dismay when Chris told me that his sales had actually dropped!  Aargh! 
     
    I reviewed his site again, and it suddenly struck me... he should try blue links!  Why? Because web design convention suggests that links should be blue, visited links purple and active links red. Although nothing written in stone about link color, I believe that those conventional colors should used whenever they compliment site design.

    I'd changed my own site links, Sage-Hearts.com, from maroon to blue sometime before and noticed a nice conversion rate increase.  Sure enough, that WAS the answer to Chris' site problems...  His conversions increased 1100% almost overnight JUST by changing his link color to blue.

    In addition to being underlined, people expect links to be blue, and in some cases visitors may have problems with sites that don't conform to their expectations.  With the average site visit lasting only about 8 seconds, we don't have time to waste confusing our visitors with basic
    site navigation. Use blue links if possible to keep your navigation instantly recognizable, unambiguous and consistent.

    © Copyright Rosalind Gardner, All Rights Reserved.


    Article by Rosalind Gardner, author of the best-selling "Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 in One Year Selling Other People's Stuff Online". To learn how you too can suceed in Internet and affiliate marketing, go to: http://NetProfitsToday.com

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    Jamorama, The Ultimate Guitar Learning Kit
     
    Product Recommendation

    We’ve just finished looking at Ben Edwards’ latest developments to his guitar learning package, Jamorama - the Ultimate Guitar Learning Kit. 

    Ben and the team have built on the already solid foundation that they have in their Learn to Play Guitar with Jamorama books, and developed their product further with the addition of several exciting new products to further help budding musicians learn to play the guitar.

    The three books, Learn to Play Guitar with Jamorama for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced, are already proving to be one of the most popular guitar learning guides on the internet.

    In addition to this, the Jamorama team have also developed two exclusive computer games to aid learning of musical notes, both in transcribing and in reading written music. These games make the monotony of learning to read music fun, and also enables students to develop their ear for transcribing their favorite songs from the radio.
     
    Both games are well presented, and are invaluable in developing the key skills necessary in being a better musician.  Two bonus e-books have also been added, and these cover how to tune your guitar, and techniques that will cut your learning time in half.

    A further bonus available to customers is a free online consultation to students who may have specific concerns or problems to address. This is very popular with hard to solve problems.

    This package is impressive because it is one of the most complete packages regarding the whole process of learning the guitar, from strumming, muting and bending, to timing, reading music and transcribing.

    We really believe this package is at the very cutting edge of learning techniques for guitar players. It is full of good quality information, and most importantly, it is applied in a manner that is both fun and maximizes the learning progression of guitar students.

    Don’t just take our word for it though, take a look for yourself at:

    www.jamorama.com

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    GuitaroJam Newsletter Archive
    Hoges Music Catalogue
    Southport News Excerpts

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