Ear Training/Transcribing for Guitarists

March 19th, 2016 Jonny Kaine Posted in Musicianship No Comments »

I’ll be adding to these videos as I complete them.

Acoustic Guitar. Chords in C Major:

Open Guitar Chords (Clean Electric):

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New Favorite Online Vocal Coach

August 12th, 2015 Jonny Kaine Posted in Musicianship No Comments »

Recently I stumbled upon the youtube channel of Felicia Ricci and I really like her approach as a vocal coach. She explains things in a way that really makes the whole singing thing click for me. I figure the same may be the case for other struggling singers out there so I wanted to share her channel here … and a few of my favorite videos she’s done:

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Ear Training with Nursery Rhymes

August 23rd, 2014 Jonny Kaine Posted in Musicianship No Comments »

My new ear training series will use nursery rhymes to help get the sound of the major scale in your head in a more clear way.

The idea is that because most people know these tunes so well already it will be easier to get how the solfege substitutions are working. I also think it makes sense to use simple melodies for this kind of thing to keep your focus on the sound of the intervals rather than being distracted by funky rhythms and the like.

Additionally; I think using these nursery rhyme tunes could make this an ideal introduction of ear training to children.

I’ll be updating this post with these tracks as I complete them. I’m not sure how many I’m going to do in all but I have decided to start with “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (ie “Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol”) …


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Popular Four Chord Turnarounds

December 30th, 2013 Jonny Kaine Posted in Music Theory, Musicianship No Comments »

I’ve started working on a series of basic drum machine + piano backing tracks (each will be about 5 minutes long) that feature the most common four chord turnarounds (four chord progressions which repeat) in pop music.

They will be in a variety of keys and tempos to spice things up a bit.

All of the these tracks are going up on my youtube channel and they will also be available to download as mp3s here.

The idea is that these tracks can help you get the sound of these popular progressions in your ear so that you recognize them when you hear them. I think this can help not only for musicianship but also for songwriting. One thing you may want to try is adding your own melodies to these tracks (like I did in this example.)

I’ll be updating this post as I create additional tracks.

I – vi – IV – V
(“the 50s progression“)

Examples: “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King & “D’yer Maker” by Led Zeppelin.

I – ii – IV – V

Examples: “99 Red Balloons” by Nena & “Somebody” by Bryan Adams.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Drum Loop for Practicing Timing (Victor Wooten Extreme Time)

January 15th, 2013 Jonny Kaine Posted in Musicianship No Comments »

I saw this video of Victor Wooten’s extreme time exercise where you use a drum machine that cuts out:

(((edit: the video has been taken off youtube…)))

and in response made this 100 BPM 4 bar drum loop (with progressively more and more of the beat cut out) to practice with:

If there’s a good response to this I’ll make more of these (different tempos and possibly other time signatures.) I practiced with it myself yesterday and it seems like really good timing practice.

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Four Cool Singing Tips

September 9th, 2012 Jonny Kaine Posted in Musicianship No Comments »

I’m a big fan of this guys youtube channel (lots of Beatles related music lessons) and his most recent video is four tips to quickly improving your singing voice which I found quite useful. Thought it was worth sharing:

1. Emphasize the vowels.
2. Chew the lyrics.
3. Slide up to high notes.
4. Notice where the singer takes a breath in the original (if you’re singing a cover.)

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Bass Grooves (Book on Learning to Play Bass Guitar)

March 11th, 2012 Jonny Kaine Posted in Musicianship 1 Comment »

I have quite a few bass tutorial books and Bass Grooves by Ed Friedland is by far my favorite. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is who wants to learn how to play bass guitar.

What I like most about it is that it focuses on the importance of timing and how to play different types of rhythms. This focus (and the helpful information on how to count different types of rhythms) has not only helped my bass guitar playing but it’s really helped my musicianship in general.

The importance of timing cannot be overstated when it comes to musicianship especially because so many people overlook it. There’s a tendency to think it’s all about the chords and/or notes but really if you’re not playing with a good feel (or “groove”) it’s going to sound like crap no matter what chords or notes you’re playing.

I find that too many music tutorial books (and I have a ton) sort of skip out when it comes to timing. Even the books I have on drumming don’t spend enough time on timing and how to count different types of rhythms.

For example; I have a drum book that mentions the common count for straight 16th notes (1-e-and-ah…) but which then introduces triplets with no mention on how to count them. This is an absurd oversight.

But Bass Grooves goes into every different type of rhythm that you are likely to play (including 16th note triplets) and teaches you how to feel the groove internally so that you can play in time.

Of course there’s more to the book then just the timing instruction, there’s also some great examples of many different styles of bass guitar playing (with tabs, a CD to listen to, and thorough instruction.) It doesn’t really go in-depth into any one particular style, but it introduces a lot of them.

If you’re looking into learning to play bass then I think it would be wise to start with this book and once you’ve really mastered it then look for a book on whatever kind of style you are most interested in.

I really like the stuff on timing so much that I almost want to recommend this book to anyone who feels they have any kind of issues with rhythm even if they don’t want to learn to play bass.

And that leads me to one last thing; Rhythm is a skill like any other. You can significantly improve your sense of rhythm with practice. I did a post on “becoming a drum machine” last year that goes into some details on some practices you can get started with now (this is good practice regardless of what instrument or style of music you play.)

Another good basic rhythm practice is “making the metronome disappear.”

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Ascending Interval Ear Training with Song Associations

March 27th, 2011 Jonny Kaine Posted in Music Theory, Musicianship No Comments »

Melodyne was used to the extreme to get the vocals in tune with the piano. Not only does this make my voice sound robotic, but it also added some strange artifacts to the recording (partly because of how I recorded it.) Hopefully they are not too distracting.

Song Associations Used

White Christmas” for Minor 2nd: “i’m DREAM…”

Frere Jacque” for Major 2nd: “frere-AH…”

Georgia on My Mind” for Minor 3rd: “george-AH…”

Michael Row the Boat Ashore” for Major 3rd: “mic-HAEL…”

Here Comes the Bride” for Perfect 4th: “here COMES…”

The Simpsons Theme” for Tritone: “the SIMP…”

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for Perfect 5th: “twinkle TWINKLE…”

In My Life” (The Beatles) for Minor 6th: first two notes of the guitar riff.

My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” for Major 6th: “my BON…”

Star Trek Theme” for Minor 7th: first two notes of melody.

Take On Me” (A-Ha) for Major 7th: “take ON…”

Over the Rainbow” for Octave: “some-WHERE…”

The links take you to YouTube videos of the songs (fast forwarded to the moment in the song where you can hear the interval.)

Learn About EarMaster Pro Ear Training Software.

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Best Free Guitar Lessons

March 24th, 2011 Jonny Kaine Posted in Musicianship No Comments »

Lately I’ve been trying to take my guitar playing to the next level and after trying out quite a few different guitar lessons online (mostly trying out different YouTube channels) I’ve settled on JustinGuitar.com as the best free guitar lessons online (he does sell some advanced lessons too, but he has a ton of really high quality instructional videos available for free.)

I think the thing that really sets these lessons apart is that Justin Sandercoe is such an excellent teacher. He seems to understand (far better than most other YouTube guitar teachers) how to best explain things to someone so that they can pick it up. Too many other guitar “instructors” seem to just be showing off how good they are which is truly obnoxious.

He seems to put in just the right amount of explanation for what he does too. Some other guitar lessons I found online either had way too little explanation (hint: just playing through a song isn’t really teaching it) or way too much incoherent rambling that made me feel like I was wasting my time.

It also doesn’t hurt that his site has a ton of material on it and that his videos are really nicely done (very high picture & sound quality.)

Anyway; I thought this was worth sharing this recommendation for anyone looking for great free guitar lessons online. JustinGuitar.com is definitely worth checking out.

“I Feel Fine”

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Becoming A Drum Machine

February 2nd, 2011 Jonny Kaine Posted in Musicianship No Comments »

Last October I wrote about a kind of timing practice that I had started doing (and that I continue to do almost everyday) where the principle focus is to “make the metronome disappear.”

The idea is that when you are really clapping on the beat “in the pocket” you don’t hear the metronome click at all because your perfectly in time clap makes it “disappear.” And this is not at all about being loud, it’s entirely about timing. It’s common when you first do this exercise to just try to clap louder, but that’s not going to do it.

Recently I’ve started to expand upon this basic technique.

I had the idea that I should learn to mimic kick/snare rhythms with my own foot stomps/claps. Now you may be thinking “why are you doing that unless you want to be a drummer?” but I really I think that for musicians of any kind the importance of developing a good sense of rhythm cannot be overstated.

Improving your rhythm greatly improves your playing of any instrument. This is something I didn’t really realize until relatively recently.

Unfortunately, like many people I know, I sort of jumped into learning to play guitar way back when without really following any kind of structured practice routine and I pretty much completely skipped the whole rhythm practice thing. For some reason I thought if I played the right chords then that’s all that mattered.

Because of this blind spot I played guitar for years without really getting significantly better. Then one day I decided to try to learn to play guitar properly (actually following a guitar teacher instead of just winging it) and it was then that I learned how much rhythm is emphasized by people who actually know what they are doing.

Since then I have made concentrated rhythm practice a part of my routine and I have seen much improvement in my playing (in a short amount of time.)

Becoming A Drum Machine

Back to the topic at hand! The newest timing practice that I’m doing I call “Becoming A Drum Machine” because I’m trying to follow the kicks (with foot stomps) and snare hits (with hand claps) that are in this book called Drum Programming: A Complete Guide to Program and Think Like a Drummer.

This book is about learning how to program your drum machine to sound more realistic and although it’s quite outdated (almost 20 years old) the basic principles still apply and it has helped me to improve my drum programming.

But now I’m using it to become a drum machine myself! It’s pretty cool to be able to physically do these rhythms with my body. I have only been doing this exercise for a few days and I already feel an improvement in my overall sense of rhythm.

And hell, if I ever do get a drum set (perhaps an electronic drum set?) I will have a bit of a head start on the basics.

By the way: Always practice with a metronome. If you can’t keep up, slow it down and then slowly speed it up as you get it.

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