Saturday, July 21, 2012

'GUITAR GODS: Greg Howe''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Thursday, April 01 2004 @ 17:51:54 BST

Greg Howe crashed onto the music scene in 1988 with the release of his debut album, "Greg Howe" (Relativity), which featured bass master Billy Sheehan and drummer extraordinaire Atma Anur. It was immediately obvious to any listener that this guy was a guitar player not only of intensity and technical wizardry, but a musician with deep insight and passion who was here to stay.
The album gained Greg immediate attention and acclaim within the guitar community, and endorsement deals, clinic tours, and magazine spots soon followed. He also gained legions of fans who are still with Greg 16 years and 8 solo albums later (not to mention 2 band albums with brother/vocalist). Unlike many players, however, his guitar playing fans cover a wide range of styles, from the heavy metal shredders to the pop-rock choppers to the nuevo flamencos to jazz fusion buffs.

Greg Howe has also made his mark in the larger mainstream music community, touring with the likes of Michael Jackson, NSYNC, Enrique Iglesias, and Justin Timberlake across America, Europe, and Asia...and "wow"-ing television & radio audiences across the globe.

"Insanity 101: Greg Howe Style"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Insane Guitar, 2004

Greg Howe may be most famous as the hired gun for mega-stars like Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson, but he’s known in the guitar world as a player with impeccable chops, extraordinary knowledge, and unique musical vision. He always demonstrates clean lines with both fire and grace, and his ability to weave together tapestries of sound from often disparate genres make him a paragon of fusion.

I am assuming the fingerings below are correct, but only Greg can say for sure. When I spoke to him recently, he made note of some of his unusual fingering patterns, so we can only hope his video series will be available soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

''GUITAR GODS: Philip High''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Monday, March 08 2004 @ 13:49:22 GMT

Philip High is among the creative elite. Using an electrified classical guitar pumped into a rack of audio effects, he creates intricate and flowing sheets of sound like you've never heard before.

The core of Phil's style is hard to pin down. Using a nylon string guitar, playing fingerstyle using classical, new age, & jazz techniques, Phil plays short phrases into a delay unit which then loops the short phrases. He then plays counter-melodies, harmonies, and lead lines over the loops to create vast musical textures. But he doesn't stop there. He adds to this bizarre special effects (chorus, delays, harmonizers, etc.) to add even more spice to the mix. All that is hard enough to do as it is, but Phil's compositions (before he even goes electric) are sophisticated and varied, and his technique impeccable.
The author (David) on harmonica with Philip on guitar, backstage at Woodsongs, 2009.

Now, try all that - plus a heavy dose of improvisation - in a completely live setting (where one mis-step on a pedal or one bad note can spell immediate disaster) and what you're witnessing is a unique and fearless musician. Such an attitude is rare in the world of music.

"Insanity 101: Phrasing"

Like last month, I’m going to include a little section from some recent guitar clinics I’m currently doing with fingerstyle guru Jerry Belsak and fusion wizard Philip High. One of the questions that comes up at clinics a lot is: “How can I learn to solo?” A lot goes into soloing well, but it begins with a basic understanding of the fretboard and some basic musical concepts (some of which we’ve discussed in the past, like melody fragments and octave displacement and variations on a theme), not just application of technique.
David with a student improvising a solo at a guitar student recital.

The concept I’d like to touch on today is phrasing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

''GUITAR GODS: Tobias Hurwitz''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean 
originally publshed at Tinfoil Music
Date: Monday, March 01 2004 @ 14:54:53 GMT

Whether it's his mellow acoustic strains, his intense and screaming electric chops, his intricate compositions, his many seminars & workshops, or his countless published lessons, Baltimore native and GIT graduate Tobias Hurwitz has demonstrated himself to be an independent solo artist and educator of remarkable skill. To put it bluntly, this guy smokes!

Tobias, who carries the Phil Sudo "Zen Guitar" flame higher than all others, works with the National Guitar Workshop, has published articles in Guitar-One, Guitar, and Guitar Player magazines, directs the Day Jams rock music camp, and has authored several books for Alfred Music Publishing.

"Insanity 101: Etude for Touch-Style"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Insane Guitar, 2004

One of the fine fellows from the IG message-boards dropped me a line about writing practice pieces (etudes) for certain concepts. His question was in reference to the Harmonic Minor scale (lesson #11, “Modes of the Harmonic Minor”) and we’ll explore some etudes for that in a future lesson. This month, since I just finished interviewing bass master Billy Sheehan for the “Guitar Gods” series, I wanted to share an etude I wrote for touch-style technique (also known as 2-hand tapping).

This etude was written specifically for a series of guitar clinics I’m currently doing with finger style guru Jerry Belsak and fusion wizard Philip High, and I’ll be sharing some of their techniques in future lessons, too. It requires at least a rudimentary understanding & mastery of tapping (check out the archives for lessons I’ve written in the past [re: Jennifer Batten] and lessons by other IG writers, as well as Joel’s master class on tapping, and the current series by Jeff Wilde), so make sure you can both tap single notes and basic chord fragment shapes.