Archive and Resources for GuitaroJam Members

Newsletter Home:  2006 | 2005


18th March, 2006


  • Health:  Massage Therapy & Repetitive Strain Injuries
  • Artist:  Super Troubador!  Richard Thompson Live
  • Gigging:  Guitar Performance - Make The Most Of It!
  • Learning:  Review Is Required!
  • Learning:  Playing With Conviction
  • Gear:  I Use Gibson Pickups, Why?
  • Songwriting:  Write Songs? or Right Songs?
  • Recommendation: Guitar Made Simple - Special Discount!


    Massage Therapy & Repetitive Strain Injuries

    By Jeff P. Anliker

    There is no question that conservative therapy is the best option for those suffering with a Repetitive Strain Injury. From Trigger Finger to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, conservative therapy produces the best results, limited side effects (if any), quicker results and long-lasting relief.

    There are many types of conservative treatments that provide a variety of positive benefits to the user. Massage Therapy is a terrific conservative treatment that provides good results by itself, and even greater results when combined with a stretch and exercise routine.

    Massage is used to help relax and lengthen tight, restrictive muscles, break down scar tissue in injured muscles, reduce adhesions on affected tendons at their point of attachment to the muscle or to the bone, remove toxins from muscles and increase overall circulation and nutrient delivery to the associated tissues. All of these wonderful benefits help overworked muscles to relax and injured muscles to recover. The problem is this. Massage Therapy does not correct the muscle imbalances causing the Repetitive Strain Injury. Massage Therapy can greatly assist the rehabilitation / treatment process, but once a muscle has been injured and has atrophied to any significant degree, or a muscle has gone into a state of chronic hypertonicity, other therapeutic elements must be added to the treatment regimen in order to completely eliminate the Repetitive Strain Injury.

    An integral part of treating Repetitive Strain Injuries is the implementation of a stretch and exercise routine specifically designed to create structural integrity and muscle balance where the injury exists. If the injury is Tennis Elbow, there must be an equality of strength between the wrist and elbow flexors, wrist and elbow extensors, and wrist and forearm pronators and supinators. By creating strong flexible muscles surrounding the specific joint, that joint will no longer be highly susceptible to Repetitive Strain Injuries.

    The integration of Massage Therapy, stretches, exercises and hydrotherapy is a highly effective treatment protocol for many types of injuries. An example of a treatment sequence for a 'chronic injury', no matter the affected area, should follow along these lines:

    Hydrotherapy Heat - Heat to increase circulation to the area, making the soft tissues relaxed and pliable.

    Massage Phase-I - Specific massage treatment utilizing Trigger Point Release techniques to release muscle spasm and Transverse Friction Massage to break down adhesions.

    Stretch - Stretch overly restrictive tissues to increase their length and reduce their compression of underlying tissues.

    Exercise - Perform strengthening exercises for the affected tissues in order to reduce tensile strain on the injured area, heal micro-tears and increase healing nutrients to the injured area. Strong muscles create stability and prevent future reoccurrence of micro-tears to a previously affected area.

    Massage Phase-II - Perform light Petrissage and Effleurage towards the heart to remove the toxins created from undergoing Trigger Point Release, Transverse Friction Massage, stretches and exercises.

    Hydrotherapy Cold - Cool the injured tissues in an elongated position as to not lose range-of-motion (ROM) of the affected tissues and to further remove toxins from the area.

    Massage Therapy and the involvement of the techniques listed above are very effective in eliminating chronic Repetitive Strain Injuries. Any one element by itself is OK, but by implementing several sound conservative techniques, the success rate of the treatment increases dramatically. Remember, when injuries are present, choose the "Conservative Alternative".

    About The Author: Jeff P. Anliker, LMT, is a Therapist and Inventor of Therapeutic Exercise Products that are utilized by Corporations, Consumers and Medical Facilities around the world. Balance Systems, Inc.

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    Super Troubador!  Richard Thompson Live

    18.2.06.  This week Ray and Jean travelled to Brisbane to see Richard Thompson live at the Tivoli Theatre.  Reading about the event on the internet, he was billed as follows: 

    "A night of music rich in substance and stripped of glitz. Hailed as “Britain’s greatest living songwriter”, award-winning folk legend and WOMADelaide hit Richard Thompson’s four decades of music-making have earned him a devoted Australian following.

    “His voice positively shone” Adelaide Review
    “Thompson hypnotised the adoring crowd…extraordinary technique” The Telegraph

    Richard has already achieved more as a songwriter and instrumentalist than most musicians could do in a lifetime. Since co-founding the legendary Fairport Convention in the 1960’s, his incredible gift has earned him many accolades and the respect and admiration of his peers, ranging back to Jimi Hendrix to today's young giants, including REM and John Mellencamp."

    Well, he didn't disappoint!  Here's what Ray had to say (and he rarely lavishes praise for live performances!)

    "Richard Thompson played The Tivoli in Brisbane on Wednesday, March 15 and proved to be a consummate entertainer. His songwriting, singing and guitar playing are considerable taken separately, but in combination they move him into another realm. If that weren't enough, his sense of humour  enhanced his easy rapport with the audience. So impressed were we at the power and delicacy of his playing and singing that we called him back for two encores. One man and a guitar - Brilliant! ........Ray Hogan"

    Being one of our favourite performers, we already have a section devoted to Richard Thompson in our artists pages.  If you'd like to find out more, click here to check him out.


    Guitar Performance - Make The Most Of It!

    By Kathy Unruh

    Getting ready for any type of guitar performance can be a little scary at first, but if you are well prepared, you will find the experience much easier to handle. Whether you're playing with a band, or by yourself; are a seasoned performer, or a rookie; there are several things you can do to make the most of your performance. First and foremost, realize that you are not the first one on the block to ever feel jittery about playing your guitar in public. It's a common experience among musicians, and being a little nervous can even work in your favor.

    There is always a mysterious struggle that goes on inside me when I'm about to give a performance. I think it's something akin to the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde phenomenon. Two voices bantering for my attention, the good guy and the bad guy. Mr. Hyde tells me that I must be out of my mind. What makes me think I'm good enough to get up on a stage and play my guitar before an audience? Who do I think I am anyway? On the other hand, Dr. Jekyl tells me that I've worked hard practicing my guitar and know the material well. It will be fun to share what I've got with others so they can enjoy hearing it too. Be brave, live life to the fullest and go for it!

    Because I am basically a shy person, it would be much easier for me not to play my guitar in public. But there is a certain drive, almost a need I have, to express myself through music; especially with regard to playing my own material. Yes, there is a certain risk involved; it's called being vulnerable. Anything could happen... A string could break (been there), you might forget the words or chords to the song (been there), you might make a mistake and have to start over (been there too). But no matter what happens, the world will go on and you will discover that people are very supportive and encouraging overall. I'm always amazed when I get positive feedback over a performance that I thought was absolutely awful. It provides me with more incentive to continue on.

    So how can you make the most of your guitar performance? Below I've put together several suggestions for you to consider. They are in no particular order of importance. Some may be relevant to you at certain times and irrelevant at others. Just take what you need and ignore the rest.

    1. Develop a repertoire (song list) of approximately ten to twelve songs and memorize them.

    2. Make sure you select songs with different tempos and rhythms for your performance in order to create and sustain interest from your audience.

    3. Pick songs with varying degrees of difficulty, but don't overestimate yourself. Be realistic about your own ability. You want to pick songs that you enjoy and are able to play well on your guitar when no one is watching. If you find that you are constantly making mistakes in a particular song, give yourself more time to get it down before actually performing it in public.

    4. Practice playing with distractions. You will be amazed at how beneficial this can be. I remember playing at an outdoor concert once where the band that was to follow mine was warming up right behind us! Tamborines and all. One of the bandmembers actually started asking me questions about my guitar performance and wanted to know how I learned to play like that! It was very weird, but all I could do was ignore her. After that experience and a few others like it, I began practicing my repertoire with the T.V. and radio turned up pretty loud to mimic such distractions.

    5. Start your performance off with something that you find easy to play on the guitar and graduate to the more difficult pieces later. This will help you to warm up your fingers and get comfortable with being on stage. I usually like to start with a strong, upbeat song in order to gain the attention of the audience and rid my stomach of butterflys.

    6. Get a good night's sleep the night before your performance if at all possible. That will help keep you fresh and alert and also reduce your level of anxiety.

    7. Avoid drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.

    8. Have all your clothes, equipment, contact information and directions ready the night before.

    9. Always have extra strings, pics and guitar batteries, etc. in your gig bag.

    10. Relax, take a deep breath and try to enjoy yourself. After all, it's just another part of the learning process and tomorrow's a brand new day!

    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:



    Review Is Required!

    By Jamie Andreas

    One of the aspects of a properly balanced practice approach that is VERY often overlooked is REVIEW. The common tendency of most students is to focus on "new" things to play, even if last month's or last year's "new" thing was never properly learned. There are a few reasons for this:

    Reasons We Don't Review:

    1. New is always exciting. There is a certain rush of exhilaration as we begin a new song or piece, especially if we really like it. Some of us are just addicted to that buzz!

    2. Taking on something new gives us the feeling that we are "moving along". Well, I guess we are, but where we are going is not going to be any better than the place we just left!

    3. Our teacher may want us to "move along" to the next page in the book, or a new song. This is because he/she is afraid we will think we are not learning if we stay to long on one thing, or go back to something we had previously worked on.

    4. Going back and reviewing something makes us feel bad about ourselves as guitar players, since we know what is going to happen if we go back and try to get that solo, or that piece, to sound better than it did last time we played it. We won't be able to! We will hit all the same problem spots, and they will still be problems, and the music will sound the same as it did the last time we battled with it. We will fight the same battles, and we will lose again. That is because we are fighting them the same way! Because we never learned how to practice, WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO IMPROVE THINGS!

    (As I began to learn how to practice, how to take something and make it better, reviewing took on a very enjoyable, even exciting aspect. Since I was getting better all the time, I couldn't wait to see how much improvement I could create on a piece I really loved, and had some little, maybe big problems, with.)

    You must examine yourself, and see where you stand with all of this. Ask yourself these questions:

    1. Do I regularly review songs, pieces, solos, and exercises?

    2. Do I see the results of regular review bearing fruit for me in the form of an ever growing repertoire (group of pieces we have mastered and can play)?

    3. Is this repertoire getting "better" all the time, or is it plagued with weak spots?

    We are, of course, looking for YES answers here. If you come up with "No's", "Maybe's", or "Um, could you re-phrase the question", then you need to take serious heed of what I am saying.
    Now of course, we must, on a regular basis, take on new material. But we must also, on a regular basis, review old material. Let's look at some of the reasons why this is so.

    Reasons We Should Review: Long Range/Short Range Building of Skills

    Often, as I give a student something new, I will tell them "it is not possible for you at the present level of your development, to learn this piece (or song) well enough to be able to play it the way it is supposed to be played. Consider this piece like a tree you are planting. It will take a while, maybe a year or two, to grow fully. Each time you come back to work on this again, each time you review it, it will grow taller and stronger. Right now, we are just going to "plant the seed".

    We then work on the piece or song or even exercise, until a "first goal" is reached. A "first goal" is the level of proficiency that I feel the student is capable of achieving at their present level of development. Of course, this means the level they can bring the music to IF they do their absolute best in terms of practicing it. This may take two weeks, it may take two months, it may even take 4 to 6 months before I feel the student has taken it as far as they can.

    At this point, they can stop "working on" the music, and just "play it". It can become part of their repertoire even if it hasn't been brought up to performance level. Playing it will keep it in their fingers, and in a general way, it may even improve just by playing it, but usually whatever technical problems still remain WILL remain.

    Whether the music is still played, or put aside, the point is that at some later time that music must be re-visited. Those technical problems that were beyond reach must be gone back to later on, maybe six months later, maybe a year. IF THE STUDENT HAS BEEN DEVELOPING PROPERLY THEY WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE THAT MUSIC FURTHER, BEYOND THEIR FIRST GOAL.

    It is this process, repeated over and over, that builds a solid repertoire, and a solid player.

    A good example is a student of mine who was new to fingerpicking. We worked on Dust in the Wind for about 6 months, and I mean the whole song as a guitar solo, chord melody arrangement, including transcribing the violin solo for guitar. He learned it pretty well, but it broke down in a few places due to left hand problems and the fact that he wasn't properly trained in classical right hand technique (we had been doing mostly electric and jazz up till then).

    We then spent about a year doing classical studies, and recently, I told him to review Dust in the Wind. What a difference! He now can play it very fluently, and it is extremely satisfying for both of us to see the progress that was made. This is the way it should be for all of us.


    Review with a "New You"

    Robert Louis Stevenson said "A man who holds the same views at forty that he did at twenty, is a man who has been stupefied for twenty years!" I say, a person who plays a piece of music at the same level now as he did a year ago, does not know how to practice and does not know how to create vertical growth in their playing ability.

    At any given point, there should be a "new you", when it comes to life, or guitar. When this "new, improved you" reviews an "old piece of music", it should become a "new, improved, piece of music" once again.

    Copyright 2000 Jamie Andreas. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Free! 10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Become a Better Guitarist!

    “The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar,” the Perfect Start for Beginners, the Answer to the Problems of Players. Start to play the guitar without getting bad habits, or get rid of the bad habits you already have, by knowing how to do "perfect practice" with the Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar. Visit:

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    Playing With Conviction

    By Chris Standring

    "As instrumentalists we have to try that much harder to communicate with the listener because there is no vocalist to do that for us. We have to make sure our instrumental voice carries."

    I'm very often disappointed when I go and hear straight-ahead jazz guitarists play in a club, no matter how good they may be. Many have practiced their technique and have a knowledge of harmony that is clearly impressive. They have good time and play well with the other band members. But 9 times out of 10 I am disappointed and for the most part I think I know why.

    Most of these players spend countless hours in the bedroom practicing, working on stuff, perfecting things, analyzing chord changes, working on harmonic ideas and so on, something that no one recommends more highly than I, but it seems that so often these musicians lack the ability to communicate musically.

    It actually reminds me a little of when I used to live in London and I'd be having a drink with a few horn players at the bar during an intermission (in the UK, horn players particularly from the north of England seem to enjoy a pint or two!) and I'd listen to them say how much they had no time at all for the 'punters' in the audience. With this attitude, those horn players put themselves on a pedestal, instantly separating themselves, drawing an imaginary line at the end of the stage. More like an electric fence! I never understood it, it was almost a way of justifying how little work they were prepared to do to really get their musical point across. What they said musically might have been very clever, even impressive, but whatever it was remained on the stage. No one in the audience was invited to experience that musical conversation. The audience was the last thing that mattered it seemed.

    Now I'm not suggesting that we as artists entertain with tap dancing, plate spinning, telling jokes and so on, I'm talking about finding a way to connect with the audience, and the first step to doing this is through sound projection with our instrument. Don't forget, as instrumentalists we have to try that much harder to communicate with the listener because there is no vocalist to do that for us. We have to make sure our instrumental voice carries.

    And I find, going back to my disappointment with so many jazz guitarists in clubs, that they simply are not concerned with that communication between themselves and the audience. I do not believe it has been an issue with most of them and I believe it is extremely important.

    I am talking about playing with real conviction. So many players lack that strength, everything is quiet and timid and they seem like they are looking for the right notes, meandering away, somewhat apologetically. This does not translate to an audience, very often does not translate to other musicians. Too many hours in the bedroom practicing obsessively and not enough time in coffee shops talking to other human beings about THEIR lives! Musicians can be horribly insular and those completely obsessed with their instruments usually end up as the biggest victims, and they may not even know it. But I digress a little...

    What I am really talking about is playing every note with total conviction, with confidence, like you really mean every note. Even if that phrase is just five notes in length, really MEAN that phrase. Make it important to you that Joe Blow in the audience, who knows nothing about sophisticated harmony, feels you, understands you.

    Imagine you are in a club or even a concert hall. Play a musical phrase and imagine that the people in the back of the theater need to "feel" that phrase, just like you mean to feel it. How would you do that? Imagine the sound really projecting, cutting through right down the middle of the auditorium. Imagine there's no mike on your amp and you have to really project your sound. Not loud but centered. This is the stuff classical guitarists have to deal with in their really advancing years because very often they are at the mercy of their guitar and an ambient concert hall. And get it together they do!

    Go listen to Pat Martino in a club and see if you struggle to hear, and feel every single note of every phrase he is playing. And with a tone that is just unsurpassable. I saw a private concert with Pat Metheny last year at USC and he came out on stage, assumed a stance, closed his eyes and didn't move an inch for the whole song, he was so transfixed, so in the moment. His sound and tone was impeccable, and every note was played with passion and conviction.

    Not communicating may have something to do with jazz guys who get concerned and somewhat insecure the more they know. Conversely, rock guitarists who are often unabashedly complacent about their musical limitations, play with a sense of angst and conviction that seems to communicate quite well! Go figure.

    Whatever the genre, I really believe it is the difference between a musician playing for himself and an artist who really needs to get his or her point across.

    I especially noticed this whole, almost intangible philosophy, when I first made the transition from touring sideman to recording artist. As a sideman I found it all too easy to hide behind my guitar even when I got the chance to really step out as a soloist. But the minute I had to come to the front of the stage as an artist, it suddenly dawned on me that I had to get my guitar to really speak! I had to cut through the band like a vocalist who floats on top. "How do I do that?" I asked myself.

    And this is the moment that I started becoming quite focused on developing a unique sound and style. And I found that by really meaning every note that I played (and of course getting the best guitar sound I possibly could) and focusing on sound projection, I started to achieve that.

    And it is an on going effort, and I find I disappoint myself too, and it is usually because I am not in the moment. And when I am not in the moment I don't communicate the way I want to musically.

    I think it is also absolutely fine to play quietly. Joe Pass had everyone on the edge of their seats when I used to see him all the time playing at Ronnie Scott's in London back in the 80's. Same with Ted Greene. Just astoundingly beautiful.

    Here's another thing to think about. I have been in clubs where the musicians actually stopped playing and complained that they couldn't continue unless everyone in the audience stopped talking. You know what I have to say about that? Those guys on the band stand didn't have the audience in their back pocket! They weren't communicating. And I'm not insisting on schtik, you don't have to do that. But you do have to 'get over'. Those great players I just talked about, they had the audience entranced. You could hear a pin drop. Why? because they cared about getting their point across. And get their point across they did!



    Chris Standring is a jazz recording artist and educator. For more information about his highly acclaimed home study guitar courses please visit and



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    I Use Gibson Pickups, Why?  

    by Michael Tafoya

    For years or decades I've played electric guitar in bands at bars, schools, concerts and recording sessions yet I couldn't tell you what pick-ups (p/u's) were about. I mean, I didn't have a clue as to what a pick-up did what to my sound. I grew up in a Gibson family. I mean that my relatives, when they didn't ridicule me for my participation as a rock and roll guitar player, said if I played a guitar, it had to be a Gibson. So, I only had a clue about humbucker type pick-up's Gibson used. Oh yeah, it's little brother the P-90.

    My first electric was a Tiesco Del Ray I got for Christmas in 1967. I did get a Mattel Tiger guitar that was made of plastic and used a contact type pick-up. My brother and I each got one that XMAS so often times we'd use one of the pick-up's as a vocal mic.

    Those days' electric strings were extremely limited in types and gauges available to young poor city folk like yours truly. I think I only remember Gibson, Fender and Black Diamond strings. This is before the Maestro Fuzz and the Vox Wha-Wha were available to the buying public like me. Back to pick-up's!

    With the limited info as to how the stars were getting "THAT SOUND" we just kept trying to learn guitar without "how to" magazines and poor sounding phonograph players playing 45's on a tiny speaker. You could say there was no reason to discern between p/u's.

    In the mid 70's I was already playing full time and knew about vintage Les Pauls and the legendary PAF pick-up's that were installed in them. Around that time a N.Y. Co. was making a name for them selves as a replacement for your non- Gibson brand type (humbucking) pick-up, DeMarzio. I ended up buying one for my 76 Explorer. Mind you I owned since the mid 60's, a late 50's Epiphone symmetric cherry finish Coronet with a, I think someone called it a cobalt pick-up. It is referred to as the "P-90", or "soap bar" single coil type pick-up. I loved that guitar and its sound. I just thought I should have a "real vintage" sounding guitar with a humbucking p/u installed. I also owned a Les Paul Deluxe with the mini humbuckers. It sounded great, I just thought it should have full sized p/u's to sound and look right. To quote Ian Hunter in the mid 70,s, "Rock guitarist's seem to have this Gibson fetish", and I did! I wanted the "look".

    Gil Pini, the other Guitarist playing with me was using the DeMarzio super Distortion humbucking , and I for some reason didn't feel good about it's sound and feel, although it was touted as "heaven sent " sort of thing, especially for Marshall amplifiers back then (no master volume on the pre-amp stage). I eventually purchased a Super 2 p/u, because it had more bite. And to me, meant, it would cut through cleaner and not be as transparent in the mix. I even bought the Alembic 'Hot Rod Kit" for my 56 Les Paul Jr. (stupid) in 1976 or 77. That was supposed to be a good idea because it was hotter (better sounding) with a ceramic magnet to install, and since it was from Alembic (from California) and not some "upstart p/u manufacturer" it was the right thing to do. I didn't think about the DeMarzio pick-up's and I didn't know that those pick-up's used the ceramic magnets at the time.

    As I started to record in major recording studios I'd learn to discern my sound. I didn't have those how to magazines to hip me to that elusive vintage "sound". Yet, I could hear my Gibson Explorer and my Les Paul Jr. distorting at all volume levels as well as attack approach. It just wouldn't smooth out. I was puzzled. Still trying to connect the look with the sound, I stumbled through the maze for years.

    Not having the patience, or the money to buy and compare p/u's, I just tried to make a sound with what I had. I had all the right Pro equipment. Yet I was looking back, "wagging the dog".

    A good sound starts from the fingers, to the guitar to the P/u's. If you don't start there, you're spinning in circles and you'll end up with a transparent (fuzzy) sound without body and response. "Your fingers are your tone generators". Not the amps or pedals. Those are tools to augment your expression. And if you learn anything about trouble shooting on the fly, you go down the line to find the problem with your sound or rig. The same goes for finding your sound. When establishing your sound you start with you, through the pick-up on down to the amp. With trouble shooting on stage, you should start with the amp and go down the line back to you. Which makes sense since you've established your rig set up, and you're trying to fix what was working, you back track. If not, you're spinning in circles, again!

    So, I had a friend who made the point about how some pick-up's play you and PAF's don't. I soon tried two 57 Classic pick-up's installed on my 92 Les Paul Classic and what do you know? I had a sound that was tight on the bottom ringing on the top and honking clear / dirty mids when I played hard, and subtle soft tones when I backed off the and played lightly. I was in HEAVEN!! And the great thing that went with it was that, this same thing happened regardless of the volume setting on the guitar.

    My experience was that the tone I got on full could be bright and tight with honk, and as soon as I backed off the guitar's volume, the tone would take on a dark or dull shade. This meant I would spend a lot of time tweeking the blend between my rhythms (clean and crunch) and lead tones. Looking for each was a drag, and a waste of time!

    I'm no tech. so I can't and won't waste your time with my take of their specs. I do know that there's something about the combination of the enamel coated copper wire and the alnico magnets that give me a sound I can play with and use dynamics. It was soon after I started using the Gibson 57 Classic pick-up, that Gibson came out with their 57 Classic plus. This p/u was designed as a bridge p/u.

    In the 50;s the gals at the pick-up dept. would wind these pick-up's using an egg timer or something like that. Sometimes they'd be distracted and some pick-up's would end up with more winds. Other times they would end up with less.

    The p/u's with more sounded "hotter" and when people started going for the tone, they'd notice the sound of certain pick-up's compared to others. It wasn't rocket science to come up with the idea to put one of those "hot" pick-up's in the bridge position you would have a bright, tight, and honk'n lead tone where there wasn't. And a whole new sub market in 'vinatge' pick-up's ' came about.

    Which brings us full circle, "I use Gibson Pick-ups and I'm sure that the other brands quality alnico pick-ups are a good sounding product. I do know what sounds good to me and what I know from "my" experience. I'm a guitarist who's been around the block and my ears have a sense as to what a pick-up should sound like, that's what I go for all the time.

    Make your self happy and keep the communication's open!

    About the Author: Michael Tafoya is a two time Epic recording artist. He uses Gibson Guitars, Gibson Strings, Epiphone, Marshall, and Crate amplifiers, and Dunlop guitar Picks.


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    Write Songs? or Right Songs?  

    By Tom Gauger

    Ever wonder why some songwriters get the deals while others, with incredible talent, style and know-how, never even get the slightest nod from industry professionals? As a former talent booking agent with the William Morris Agency, and as a session singer and writer myself with TV and radio credits, I am well aware of the difficulties and challenges that face many young writers today. As if talent and know-how weren't enough, today's writers are faced with the ever increasing challenge of partitioning their writing styles from the endless barrage of production makeovers of what would otherwise be mediocre songs at best.

    Understanding how the industry works, your new role and the ability to demonstrate key marketing, is crucial for your success in today's music industry. Gone are the days when great songs were recorded in what would seem the worst of conditions for a recording facility and recording hardware. Today, the onset of the computer, drum loops, samples and limited music abilities rule - Or do they? In one sense that last statement is true, and in another, it's not. Let's take a closer look.

    Yes it's true that many mediocre writers are making it, will continue to make it, and in one sense it seems unfair, and in another, what does one expect. Music is written, deployed and embarked upon from a market driven perspective. While a volume of music is being created from a very shallow writing and production style, there is left a vacuum for songs and music that is yearned by a large segment of the population, particularly baby boomers, who miss the "days of the past" where style and passion ruled. Don't forget that, and in fact, if you will keep that in the back of your mind while you are writing, you will be one step closer to success.

    Continue to write from within and from who you are, but don't be caught up in the music fads, what's hot at the moment and what "seems" to work - Stay in it for the long haul. If you continue to write with substance, style and your own creativity from who you are and where "life" has carried your writing style too, you'll be driven by the craft of the song and not the latest music industry craze.

    Your next step in your zeal in becoming a great songwriter with artist deals and record cuts lies within your marketing. Today's music industry demands that you not only write the next "hit" song, but that you are able to sell and market your next big "hit" - Forget the song selling itself. Sadly enough, this is the case a lot of the time. But there are still A&R directors, production and artists who look at the strength and character of the song, yet they're becoming more and more obscure and extinct. If you write country music, you'll have an easier time finding individuals who will look at the strength of your song and not just pure marketing, while other genres are not as conducive to song viability, but marketing viability as the "rule of law".

    Understanding your new role as marketing agent is crucial to your writing success. But just as crucial, as if there's not a myriad of things that aren't, is your production strength. Many great songs today don't make it, simply because the production didn't yield the emotional tone, upbeat or not, that the song implores. We all wish the day was back when a great song stood on its own, but many a song demo is actually the track used for the final artist record cut today. You can no longer get away with "fairly" good sounding tracks, they have to sound like a record cut. Now while I have just made that last statement emphatically, again one of the few genres that will allow a guitar/vocal, and I really don't recommend it unless requested, is the country music industry. But just as country music has gained in popularity the last decade and a half, so has the demand for quality and highly produced song demos as well.

    So much more can be written on this topic, but for the sake of time and length restraints, I will end this by encouraging you. Stay focused, believe in your writing, but be honest at the same time and demand the highest in quality of your song demos and learn from others who have the "sell ability" factor in marketing their songs or products. This is a new day in the music industry, but you can succeed if you will hold to your writing values as key and not to the latest music whim.

    This article was written by Tom Gauger. Please visit for more information on this topic. Mr. Gauger is available for consultation, seminars, as well as song production and individual jingle demo reels and can be contacted at or 615-300-5030.

    About The Author: Mr Gauger is a former talent booking agent with the infamous William Morris Agency and has a variety of tv and radio credits as a session singer and writer. Mr Gauger is the founder of

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    Guitar Made Simple

    Product Recommendation

    As you may already know, this course is brand new and only in its first few weeks of release.  Guitar Made Simple was developed by internationally acclaimed recording artist Chris Standring (who wrote the proven jazz guitar method "Play What You Hear").

    Now we have even more exciting news!  For a limited time only, Chris has been kind enough to extend a special discount of 30% to all member of the GuitaroJam Newsletter.  This means that for a limited time, you can buy this incredible package for only $69.95.  After that, the price will revert to its normal $97.

    With the Guitar Made Simple method, you can learn to play electric and acoustic guitar quickly and easily.  It's  the most amazing step-by-step interactive program available today.  Without a doubt this unique and brilliant method for beginners and intermediates is the future of guitar instruction.

    After thoroughly researching the  websites, courses, methods and DVDs for learning guitar, Chris found that most of them discussed particular aspects of the guitar that the student could not fully absorb. In other words, in order to play this, one has to know that, and all too often that important knowledge is not discussed at all.  In short, most method were just way too scattered and not thorough enough.

    'Guitar Made Simple' is an extremely well thought out beginners program, with a very thorough and personal approach to help you easily learn how to play the guitar... the right way!  So much more than trying to learn alone with just a book, this brilliant system connects with you as if an instructor is right with you in your own home.  Don’t just take our word for it though, take a look for yourself and take advantage of the limited time discount available to all GuitaroJam newsletter subscribers!

    Click here to find out more - don't delay!  Read Review

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