> HEY MAN, I really need your help...

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> Chris S.'s Music Theory Journey, for Gab's Army
Gabriel Leopardi
post Aug 17 2015, 04:35 PM
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Yes, it has lead strings, single and groups of violins, viola, cello, etc. By the way, before you buy it, check some youtube samples to be sure that it fits your necessities.



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Chris S.
post Sep 23 2015, 12:36 AM
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Hey Gab!

Wow, time flies - I had no idea it has been almost a month since I've been in this thread ohmy.gif

My absence was not in vain though because I come bearing this:



I wrote this for my girlfriend - it was my first ever attempt at a "real song" unsure.gif

Never wrote lyrics before either so they're a bit weak but she loved it so it's all good biggrin.gif

Thanks smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Sep 23 2015, 02:59 PM
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Wou! That's a beautiful present for your girlfriend mate! Congratulations on putting together your first complete song and video! And what a guest!! smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Dec 30 2015, 04:45 AM
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Hey Gab!

It's been way too long, I missed working with you and GMC in it's entirety. If you saw my post in the Gear section with my Metal Muff you know I've been working the overnight shift at Toys R Us for the past two months and it's been total hell - glad it's over with and I can actually have a life again!

All that I've really been able to do the past two months was this:

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/missing-you-idea

&

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/breaking-free-idea

So now that I am finally back to being able to practice regularly and such - I don't even know where to pick up at this point - what do you think I should start working on?

Thanks man! smile.gif

PS: How have you been, hows the band, hows life, etc? biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Chris S.: Dec 30 2015, 04:45 AM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Dec 30 2015, 03:01 PM
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Hey mate! Nice to see you back here! smile.gif

I'm fine thanks! This has been a positive album with many personal and professional achievements. I feel healthy and happy which are the most important things.

I've checked both ideas and I like the melodies in both. I was thinking on your next steps. I think that the best would be to set some new (or maybe old) goals and then design you plan based on them. Some ideas for goals:

- Take your technique to a new level.
- Learn more about theory.
- Polish your improvisation skills.
- Adjust rhythm playing.
- Compose a song.
- Compose an album.
- Record an album.

These are just some random examples. Write down your own ideas.


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Chris S.
post Jan 2 2016, 11:14 AM
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Thanks for the advice Gab!

I think my two biggest goals are going to be focusing on my improvising to develop my melodies into more complex phrases - less simple - and to take my legato and tapping to the next level.

I really like the "fluid" tone of legato and tapping over the more aggressive sound of speed picking (although still something I will work on).

How should I go about improving my tapping/legato phrases?

I also fooled around with some tapping to create this:




And for my improvising I tend to start out strong and then become extremely weak in the middle, such as this idea:

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/kickball-under-the-lights

I like to think I have catchy melodies but the verses are what I struggle with.

Thanks Gab!


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 2 2016, 04:37 PM
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Hi Chris! Great stuff!

That tune sounds interesting! I like the riff created there and there are some interesting tapping licks. Working on your one tunes and solos is the best way to develop your own voice on guitar so keep doing it, combines with practicing some exercises and learning new licks that make your vocabulary grow.

So about your question on how to develop your tapping and legato. I think that a good plan would be to learn one or two new licks every day based on this techniques and practice them over a backing track creating variations and combining with other phrases of your own. Where to get these licks? At first you could use GMC lessons.

Besides this, you would dedicate 10 minutes to guitar gym, that would be just some fingers training. In other words I suggest playing repetitive exercises that help to train your fingers for these two techniques.

Finally, about improvisation, I recommend you play a lot over backing tracks. You can use the backing tracks from the lessons that you are learning.

I'll copy here something that I've shared at another improv thread of this forum:

However, the most important thing is not adding a lot of concepts, or learning lots of techniques, patterns, arpeggios, triads. The most important thing is to assimilate the develop each element that you learn and work on one each time. I like the idea of writing down a list of concepts, and working over a backing track on 1 each time. This is an example list:

- concept 1: vibrato and bending
- concept 2: following the chords with thirds.
- concept 3: following the chords with triads.
- concept 4: mixing triads to get new colors.
- concept 5: dynamics
- concept 6: double stops
- concept 7: learning and applying sequences.
- concept 8: structure
- concept 9: alternate picking
- concept 10: harmonics
- concept 11: melodic motif

These are just ideas, there are lots of concepts that you can work. Besides working on 1 of these each day and using gmc tutorials and lessons to get inspiration and more knowledge about the topic, I recommend you to learn 1 new lick each day and practice it over backing track, playing it as it is, and making your own variations of it.


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Chris S.
post Jan 3 2016, 03:21 PM
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Thanks for all the great advice, Gab! biggrin.gif

Combining yours and Mr Dahl's advice on a legato thread I posted on his instructor forum - this is the plan I'm going to go forward with:

I think at first, instead of using a new backing track everyday - I will use one a week for starters.

I will use a slow backing track, as Mr Dahl recommended, which will force me to play my legato slowly so that the focus will be on what notes I'm choosing to use and how I use them as opposed to just playing as fast as I can.

In combination, I will also take a legato lick from either a lesson or a solo from a song I like and try to learn it, and then make it my own - I feel like this will also give me insight to help me figure out more creative ways to use legato instead of the basic repetitive patterns I use now.

So with those two, I will post a first day video of my day one improvisation over that backing track, and then spend the remainder of the week trying to polish and further develop the licks, and then post a final day improvisation video so that we can compare results and figure out what to focus on going into the next weeks backing track.

Aside from this, I will also do the guitar gym finger training exercises as well to keep my fingers nimble and independent.

How does this sound?

Thanks smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 4 2016, 04:33 AM
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This sounds perfect. We have a deal! smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Jan 4 2016, 09:46 PM
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Hey Gab,

Decided to use a backing track I recently made for the first week it's slow - 60bpm:



Any thoughts moving forward?

Thanks biggrin.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 5 2016, 01:18 PM
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Hi mate, there creative ideas happening there. Let's start with the basic, what's the chord progression and what scale are you using?



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Chris S.
post Jan 5 2016, 02:02 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jan 5 2016, 12:18 PM) *
Hi mate, there creative ideas happening there. Let's start with the basic, what's the chord progression and what scale are you using?

The chord progression is:

| G | D / Dsus4 | C | D / Dsus4 |

And the scale I use is D Minor / Minor Pentatonic


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 6 2016, 01:45 PM
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Ok, so what's the reason why you are using D minor scale? There isn't a D minor chord in the progression... what's your approach to decide what scale to use?


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Chris S.
post Jan 6 2016, 11:16 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jan 6 2016, 12:45 PM) *
Ok, so what's the reason why you are using D minor scale? There isn't a D minor chord in the progression... what's your approach to decide what scale to use?

Because I'm a rebel wink.gif

Haha, just teasin' - so the logical choice would be G Major or it's relative minor E Minor - but since the chorus that I improvised over was only power chords: G5 D5 C5 D5, since the resolve was on the D5 I figured I would use D Minor which sounded fine to me.

Although, I should probably use the Major Scale since I'm very terrible at it.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 7 2016, 02:10 PM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Jan 6 2016, 07:16 PM) *
Because I'm a rebel wink.gif

Haha, just teasin' - so the logical choice would be G Major or it's relative minor E Minor - but since the chorus that I improvised over was only power chords: G5 D5 C5 D5, since the resolve was on the D5 I figured I would use D Minor which sounded fine to me.

Although, I should probably use the Major Scale since I'm very terrible at it.



Problems with major scale? Please join this workout: LINK


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Chris S.
post Jan 13 2016, 11:31 PM
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Hey Gab - so I've been experimenting more with the Major Scale since it's a pretty big weakness of mine and I've come up with this song that I think I'm going to have done for Valentines Day:

Here is the backing track (what do you think)?

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/tonight-backing-demo
I have some lyrics written for it and once their done I'll hire a vocalist to record them.

The backing track isn't complete, and I am open to any suggestions you might have.

Thanks mate! biggrin.gif

EDIT: Its not showing up in the player on my end, if it's not on yours you can click the link and it should take you to the song.

This post has been edited by Chris S.: Jan 13 2016, 11:42 PM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 14 2016, 02:48 AM
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Hi Chris,

Nice track! It has a very happy feel. I think that the progression is melody friendly so you will be able to create cool melodies for a singer over this one. I think that the next step is to work on production and sound. Here are some ideas:

- Getting a cooler drum loop sound. Something more modern would give this a fresher air.

- Take some time to try different synths and keys to give the "electro" feel a more realistic, professional sound.

- Produce guitars. This style has usually very interesting guitar works, with clean arpeggios or melodies full of modulations and /or delays. Listen to masters as U2, The Killers or Imagine Dragons to have ideas.


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Chris S.
post Jan 14 2016, 03:21 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jan 14 2016, 01:48 AM) *
Hi Chris,

Nice track! It has a very happy feel. I think that the progression is melody friendly so you will be able to create cool melodies for a singer over this one. I think that the next step is to work on production and sound. Here are some ideas:

- Getting a cooler drum loop sound. Something more modern would give this a fresher air.

- Take some time to try different synths and keys to give the "electro" feel a more realistic, professional sound.

- Produce guitars. This style has usually very interesting guitar works, with clean arpeggios or melodies full of modulations and /or delays. Listen to masters as U2, The Killers or Imagine Dragons to have ideas.

Thanks Gab!

I have the lyrics written, and an awesome vocalist to lay down the vocals for me.

Once I get them, I will spend more time polishing the mix, and developing the guitars more.

I will also try to see what I can do with the drums.

Thanks for the feedback! biggrin.gif

EDIT:

So while the vocals are being recorded, I spent more time on the mix:

https://soundcloud.com/stortzmusic/tonight-no-vocals

Unfortunately, all I have is Acoustica Beatcraft - so I did the best I could to make the drums sound more alive. and less sterile.

I also added some clean arpeggio work in the verses - and double tracked the solos (forgot how hard that was tongue.gif )

The only thing that I have left to do, other than the vocals - is work on the synths and add bass.

What do you think? My biggest question is do you like the rhythm of the drums during the second solo?

Thanks biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Chris S.: Jan 14 2016, 08:36 PM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 15 2016, 02:01 PM
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Good job Chris! I like how this one is turning. There is still room to improve guitars and drums EQ and also working a bit on reverb can make a difference in your mix. Check out some youtube tutorials to take ideas on how to use reverb to make everything sound with more life.

About the solo drum groove, I like it! It's original. Lately I've been listening to this band and one of the things that I like more is how drums are complex but fix well with the song:



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Chris S.
post Jan 15 2016, 03:22 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jan 15 2016, 01:01 PM) *
Good job Chris! I like how this one is turning. There is still room to improve guitars and drums EQ and also working a bit on reverb can make a difference in your mix. Check out some youtube tutorials to take ideas on how to use reverb to make everything sound with more life.

About the solo drum groove, I like it! It's original. Lately I've been listening to this band and one of the things that I like more is how drums are complex but fix well with the song:


Wow, I really dig those guys! Never heard of them, thanks for sharing biggrin.gif

Everything has just a little touch of reverb but it's definitely not that noticeable on most of the tracks I will have to experiment with it. I don't really like Reapers built in reverb plugin, I'll have to see if I can find a good free VST and experiment.

Do you have any opinions though as far as EQ'ing?

With my ears - I feel the cymbals and hi hats are a little too loud and need to brought down in volume, and the solo guitars sound just a tad too harsh and I need to roll off some higher frequencies.

Is there anything that your ears would suggest as well?

Thanks man! cool.gif


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