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Bill's currently obsessing over: Jonas Hellborg's Art Metal - featuring Mattias "IA" Eklundh on guitar
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40 years old
Boston Mass
Born Mar-22-1981
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Joined: 10-June 09
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4 Sep 2009
Hi Pedja!

Favorite Artists:
Mattias Eklundh (Freak Kitchen/Jonas Hellborg Trio)
Paul Gilbert
Ron Jarzombek (Spastik Ink/Blotted Science)
Guthrie Govan
Chuck Schuldiner (Death/Control Denied)
Andy Timmons
Marty Friedman
Paul Gilbert
Devin Townsend
Stochelo Rosenberg
Bireli Lagrene

Favorite Songs:
Andy Timmons - A Night to Remember
Mattias Eklundh - Most of his stuff (particularly: There's No Money In Jazz and his Minor Swing cover)
Paul Gilbert - I Still Have That Other Girl
Death - A Story To Tell; Trapped in a corner; Perennial Quest
Devin Townsend - Deep Peace; Earth Day
Guthrie Govan - Most stuff (Particularly: Fives)
Blotted Science - The Insomniac
Jonas Hellborg - Vyakhyan-kar
Lamb of God - Laid to Rest
Necrophagist - Diminished to Be; Only Ash Remains; Advanced Corpse Tumor

Strengths: First and foremost, patience and perseverance. Directly relating to guitar playing... Not sure. I'm not particularly pleased with any technical aspect of my playing and consider my skills as much an obstacle as a vehicle. I often have to rework my ideas in order to make them achievable. I consider myself to be relatively good at "composing," but certainly not at improvising.

My weaknesses in technique are basic control-oriented issues. Alternate picking is tight up to 120bmp 16ths. After that it falls apart. Sweeping is something I'd like to pick up... Very weak in that area. I've spent the past few months focusing on getting my bends under control - Getting to the correct pitch within the appropriate amount of time and staying there. Still a little shaky but noticeably improved. I'm also trying to get my vibrato a bit stronger and more controlled. Theory-wise, I think I'm a bit ahead of myself. I think I'm intermediate to advanced in my understanding, but need to catch up in the real-world application of the concepts.

Goals: My current goal is to put together a progressive metal project named "The Conjecture." Won't happen till I hone some skills and get some chops. But I'm playing around with what it will sound like - I consider it a collection of "sketches" to help establish an ultimate feel for what the project is. I hope to have it released by January 2011. Sooner if I can. To accomplish this and be pleased with the results I will need to develop more speed (considering the target genre) and improve composition skills.

Here's my (somewhat arbitrarily established) approach:

1) Develop alternate picking speed.

2) Develop sweeping and build a sweep arpeggio vocabulary.

3) Learn and understand the theory behind solos by Death, Soilwork, Mattias Eklundh, Arch Enemy and Megadeth(Marty Friedman) as they all apply well to my current project's "sound in my head"

4) Work on improvising. Build on scale comfort & phrasing

If you think I neglected any area, please ask. Thanks!

3 Sep 2009

Need an iLok or Line6 hardware. But I figured I'd share this here in case some of you have one.
1 Aug 2009
Hey Guys,

I'm looking for people's opinion on something. At various points in my guitar-playing-life, I've made conscious decisions to change things about my playing.

First, it was how I held the guitar while sitting - Before, I held it the more typical way, with the guitar resting on my right leg. I decided to try placing it on my left leg with the body resting between my legs when I friend who's a better player recommended it when I joined a band and needed to adapt to playing while standing.

Next, It was removing my right hand pinky from the body of the guitar while playing.

Then it was the picks I used - I went with black Jazz IIIs. Smaller than what I was used to.

Most recently it was playing with my picking hand in a loose fist (inspired by Mr. David Wallimann). Previously my unused fingers (2, 3 & 4) were fanned out.

After each of these changes I experienced relatively major and fast improvement in speed and accuracy. Initially, it's like playing the instrument for the first time again. But after about a week, I'm playing better than before and I can barely believe that I ever felt comfortable with the previous approach.

I'm thinking that, while fighting my way through the newly introduced discomfort, I'm building a momentum towards my my goal (wherever I was before making the change). When I get to that goal, I just keep improving for a few days - past my previous level. Then it goes back to normal: I, again, need to practice a technique for a few weeks before being able to kick up the tempo by 5bpm.

I'm now toying with the idea of making some unnecessary change to make that happen again. But I have questions. Is this happening simply because I'm making changes that are, in fact, better then my previous approaches? Do you think it's psychological? Has anybody else experienced this? Please let me know your opinion. Thanks!
11 Jul 2009
Hey guys,

I've recently been focusing on building chord voicings and progressions. I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations regarding songs that contain extended chords and modulations. Ideally it would be a single song that modulates multiple times by means of different techniques. I think that would help me get my head around the various approaches/cliches.

Maybe some old jazz standard?

Thanks in advance.
30 Jun 2009
Hi Muris,

I'm finding that the majority of the solos I really like don't stay strict to a particular scale/mode. So this is something I've been trying to get my head around recently. I was wondering if you could help. Under what circumstances is it okay to deviate from the "proper" scale or key, and how do you select which "outside notes" are most acceptable.

I've read that you can look at the current chord and select a mode that will fit that chord if build from it's root. For example, you could use the lydian mode over a Maj7 chord based on that principle, as the lydian mode contains 1,3,5,7. Is this a valid approach? I sort of think that in such a short period of time, the listener would remember which notes don't fit. I feel like it should be more complex.

Also, how would one select chords that contain notes that are not in key. This occurs in your Pull-offs Lesson, where the key is E minor, the scale played is E harmonic minor (in which the 7th degree differs) and it contains an E Major chord. I can't make sense of how this works and ends up sounding good.

Any wisdom you could share would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance! (And thanks for all the great lessons. I just got E Minor Melodic Solo down pretty good. Hope to post a vid at some point for REC.)

PS. I think the scale diagram in that lesson may be incorrect.
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Pedja Simovic
Welcome to GMC!
Very cool to have somebody from Boston with us :)
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