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Gabriel Leopardi
Hi Madfish! Welcome to your thread for Gab's Army, my mentoring program. Here I will guide you with your guitar practice, creating routines, practice plans, giving feedback of your playing always based on your guitar goals and musical tastes.

Before we start I would like to know a bit more about you.


- How many time have you been playing guitar?
- Favorite guitarists, bands and musicians.
- What are your guitar goals?
- How would you like to you see yourself in 5 years (related to music and guitar)?
- How many time can you play guitar each day?
- Do you have playing live experience?
- Which are your strong and weak points with guitar?
- What do you know about music theory?
- Can you record videos of you playing?
- Share here audios and videos that reflect your current playing.
Madfish
Hi Gabe!

- I've been playing guitar for about 7 years. However it's just last two years when I started practicing more seriously. Before it wasn't very regular.
- I don't think I have a favorite. It's lots of different stuff. To name the few: Slash, Petrucci, Andy Timmons, Ten Years After, Deep Purple, Animals As Leaders, Testament, Black Stone Cherry, Al Di Meola, RATM ...
- My general goal is just to have fun playing guitar. I have no ambition to become a professional musician at any point (I'm too old for that already biggrin.gif). I want to be comfortable with improvisation to join jam sessions. I'd also like to grow my composition skills.
- I can devote about an hour a day for practice
- Live experience? Only once. I played November Rain outro at my own wedding biggrin.gif
- Strong areas - I think my alternate picking is quite OK. Legato and music theory as well. Weak areas - vibrato. Whenever I play over a backing track I mostly go by the ear. Even though I understand the theory behind it, I lack when it comes to live application.
- All the theory basics. Scales, modes, chord construction, basic progressions. I also started digging into jazz a bit lately - concepts like secondary dominant, altered scales, triton substitution.
- Sure, I can record myself.
- Some videos:




A composition of my own:
https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/margaerita
Gabriel Leopardi
Great stuff Madfish!! smile.gif

Everything sounds good here. I like your composition and your take for the collab is very cool. My question is what are you expecting from the mentoring program. Do you need any guitar routines, lesson suggestions? Some structure? Would you like to share your improvisations here so I can give you some feedback?


Madfish
Thanks for your kind words Gabe 😁. O tend to be rather critical about my own playing.

I'd be very grateful if you gave me some general directions where to go next. Whatever you see as weak spot in my playing. A specific lesson would work just fine.

Sure, I'll record myself improvising and share something whenever I find a while.
Gabriel Leopardi
Ok! That sounds good. Let me start with some first thoughts that come to me based on the videos that you've shared:

- You have a very good base, sense of melody, rhythm, and you are able so play some nice fast licks that combine picking with legato.

- I feel that your overall playing could move to a new level if you put your focus on improving dynamics, vibrato and bending. There is more room to make these elements sound more convincing.

- I think that your tone needs work and that improving it, will help improving the previous elements listed. I think that your style of phrasing deserves a more convincing tone, warmer, fatter, closer to the type of sound that guitarists like Andy Timmons, John Petrucci, Slash, and others have. It doesn't mean that you need to copy them, but it would be good to try to emulate some of these tones at first. Using some reverb or delay would be also a second step, before improving your tone. Let's work on it!

- Blues Improvisation: Your blues phrasing is not bad, but you can continue working on this by adding more concepts to your playing to follow the chords, and get more "colours". Adding Major Pentatonics, Dominant Arpeggios and triads, Dorian and Mixolydian modes can help.

- More rhythm experimentation in your phrasing is a good idea.


Let me know what you think!
Madfish
I think all that makes a lot of sense. My tone needs work and I'm well aware of it. Same goes for bends and vibrato! Where would you suggest to start?

Here is my short take on improvising over Wicked Games backing track. I made some changes to my tone as well. It's just a very basic chain with JCM800 - 4x12 miced with SM7 followed by delay and reverb. Is that a step in the right direction?
Gabriel Leopardi
Good! I think that going for a simpler set up is the way to go. I would start by lowering drive on this tone to see if you can get a cleaner tone that provides more dynamics potential. This will also make you put more effort in your vibrato to get the right sustain.

I recommend you to work on one or both of these lessons:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/The_tasty_etude/
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Kenny-...pherd-Phrasing/


- Learn the licks.
- Work on trying to get a closer tone.
- Practice and record your own improvisations over these backings.
Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jun 18 2019, 03:22 PM) *
Good! I think that going for a simpler set up is the way to go. I would start by lowering drive on this tone to see if you can get a cleaner tone that provides more dynamics potential. This will also make you put more effort in your vibrato to get the right sustain.

I recommend you to work on one or both of these lessons:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/The_tasty_etude/
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Kenny-...pherd-Phrasing/


- Learn the licks.
- Work on trying to get a closer tone.
- Practice and record your own improvisations over these backings.


I really enjoy the Kenny Wayne Shepherd style lesson. I'll spend some time on this one first.
Regarding the tone - I can't really get close to SRV without the single coil. The best I could do is using the split coil on my neck pickup and a Fender Champ emulation. Is that any good?

Gabriel Leopardi
Hi mate! That tone is a lot better!! Well done. It still can be improved but it's awesome to see how much enjoyable is your playing with this type of sound.

Keep on the good job!!
Madfish
Here is my first take on this. I'd love to hear your comments. There are some timing issues with the last lick. I'll work on this with the metronome.
I'm not at all happy with the tone. It's probably a step in the wrong direction smile.gif It's a bit too dark and hairy for my taste. I'm still experimenting here.
Madfish
Another take with a different tone (a tad brighter):
Madfish
I think I'm getting much better results with a treble booster in front of my amp:
Gabriel Leopardi
Hi Madfish!

Your playing is better from take to take. You can play all the licks at tempo with the right timing. I only think that there is room to work on expression elements like dynamics and vibrato, but this also depends on your guitar tone. I still think that you can continue improving it.

I think that the third take has the best sound. As your guitar is a bit loud, I think that it doesn't connect well with the backing track. I would try putting it a bit quieter and with a bit less treble or presence. Do you have your guitar and backing in a DAW?

Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jun 26 2019, 03:26 PM) *
Hi Madfish!

Your playing is better from take to take. You can play all the licks at tempo with the right timing. I only think that there is room to work on expression elements like dynamics and vibrato, but this also depends on your guitar tone. I still think that you can continue improving it.

I think that the third take has the best sound. As your guitar is a bit loud, I think that it doesn't connect well with the backing track. I would try putting it a bit quieter and with a bit less treble or presence. Do you have your guitar and backing in a DAW?


Yeah, I made a DAW project out of it. I can tweak it easily.
I reduced the guitar track volume a bit, cut some treble and presence. Is it any better like this?
https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-wayne-shepherd-phrasing
Gabriel Leopardi
I still think that your tone is not tasty here. There is something in high frequencies that makes me think that this is a direct line take, not in a good sense. Have you tried with another amp emulation? What are you exactly using?

Compare your take with the original A/B and you'll hear what I mean.

Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jun 27 2019, 01:18 PM) *
I still think that your tone is not tasty here. There is something in high frequencies that makes me think that this is a direct line take, not in a good sense. Have you tried with another amp emulation? What are you exactly using?

Compare your take with the original A/B and you'll hear what I mean.


Yeah, I hear you.
I'm using Overloud TH-U, Fender Champ rig profiled by Slate Digital. You can hear it (among 2 other amps) here:

Maybe this will work better. It's a crunch channel of Fender Blues Deluxe + a bit of delay and reverb. I've set it so that it breaks up only if I hit the strings harder. How is that?

Gabriel Leopardi
That video is impressive! The comparison is killer.

The new tone sounds a lot better! Work on your ambiece effects (reverb and delay) to make it sound more connected with the backing track. Adjust it over the backing.
Madfish
This is depressing unsure.gif . Every time I try, I end up with a tone I hate. It's either thin and fizzy or pure mud. Sometimes I end up with something acceptable on my headphones but not so much on my speakers.

Anyway, enough of my self pity biggrin.gif How is this take?:
Gabriel Leopardi
hahaha If we compare this new take with this one: https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-w...epherd-phrasing

the improvement is AWESOME! I just think that you need to adjust a bit EQ and Effects quantity to get a very good tone for this lesson and style. For now I would try adding a bit more presence and lowering the quantity of Reverb/delay. That could be the next step, what do you think?
Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jul 4 2019, 06:52 PM) *
hahaha If we compare this new take with this one: https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-w...epherd-phrasing

the improvement is AWESOME! I just think that you need to adjust a bit EQ and Effects quantity to get a very good tone for this lesson and style. For now I would try adding a bit more presence and lowering the quantity of Reverb/delay. That could be the next step, what do you think?


Yeah, that one sounds horrible indeed smile.gif. I think I approached rig profiles with some wrong presumptions. I played around with EQ and gain knobs as it was real amp. I guess you're not supposed to stray such drastically from what the profile gives you "out of the box".

Sure, let me try that to tweak it a bit. What do you think?:
https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-wayne-shepherd-phrasing-take-2/s-uBSjV
Gabriel Leopardi
Can you please share your FX (rev and delay) settings and maybe any print screen?
Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jul 5 2019, 12:46 PM) *
Can you please share your FX (rev and delay) settings and maybe any print screen?


Still too heavy on the reverb/delay?
Sure. Here is the screenshot.

Delay time is 175ms.
Remaining settings are more or less visible in the screenshot.
Click to view attachment
Gabriel Leopardi
What about bypassing Reveb and adding some more presence? I would like to hear your take with that adjustment...
Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jul 5 2019, 01:56 PM) *
What about bypassing Reveb and adding some more presence? I would like to hear your take with that adjustment...


Presence up, reverb off.

https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-wayne-shepherd-phrasing-take-3

It became quite piercing in the ears on high notes IMHO. Made some further adjustments and cut some treble. Here it is:

https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-shepherd-phrasing-take-44
Gabriel Leopardi
Well done! I like the second audio. I think that bypassing reverb has been a good move. You can continue experimenting with your delay settings to have the right ambience, but this is definitely on the right track, do you agree?

Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jul 7 2019, 02:58 PM) *
Well done! I like the second audio. I think that bypassing reverb has been a good move. You can continue experimenting with your delay settings to have the right ambience, but this is definitely on the right track, do you agree?


Thanks! Yeah, I completely agree.

I went ahead with 1.5 repeat kind of delay. It's very subtle. I suppose that's what works best in blues context. How is that?
https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-wayne-shepherd-phrasing-take-5

I also tried pushing the amp a bit harder with an overdrive. Here is a take with BD-2 in front.
https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-wayne-shepherd-phrasing-drive
Gabriel Leopardi
Like! I think that both adjustments have been positive! Now I would continue polishing EQ.
Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jul 9 2019, 05:11 PM) *
Like! I think that both adjustments have been positive! Now I would continue polishing EQ.


Cool!
Ok, let me try that:
https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-wayne-shepherd-phrasing-drive-2

Frankly speaking, I don't know where do go with EQ tweaking. Boosting or cutting any band doesn't make it sound better in my opinion. Any hints?
Gabriel Leopardi
Ok! I think that now you have a very convincing tone for the lesson and backing track. This process is what you need to do to keep on improving your tone. This is also something that can (should) be practiced, so the more you do it, the more skilled you'll become.

Does it make sense? smile.gif
Madfish
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jul 10 2019, 04:27 PM) *
Ok! I think that now you have a very convincing tone for the lesson and backing track. This process is what you need to do to keep on improving your tone. This is also something that can (should) be practiced, so the more you do it, the more skilled you'll become.

Does it make sense? smile.gif


Sure. I guess it's a never ending tone chase for every single guitar player out there.

I listened more carefully to few songs by Bonamassa. He has the most round, sick blues tone in my opinion. I noticed it's much less trebly and with more pushed mids. Here is where I got turning few EQ knobs and a bit more drive:
https://soundcloud.com/adampolomski/kenny-wayne-shepherd-phrasing-drive-3

I like it more this way. What is your opinion?
I know it's not exactly Bonamassa biggrin.gif He has some ridiculous rig worth as much as a house by the way.

So where do I go now? Practice my vibrato and make another video out of it?
Gabriel Leopardi
GREAT!!

Regarding the current lesson please dedicate some time to analyse what's happening regarding theory. Check out the chord progression and notice what's Jonathan using to play over it. Also, please do you own improvisations over the backing track using those concepts, and variations of the licks.


New lesson suggestion:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Steve-...r-Modern-Style/

PS: Your playing on Kenny Wayne lesson is good but there is still some room to improve dynamics, and vibrato. There are also a few licks that can sound tighter (mostly the higher frets ones).
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