Sunday, 30 May 2010

Me Covering Makes Me Wanna Die - The Pretty Reckless

This is a video of me covering the fantastic song: Makes Me Wanna Die - The Pretty Reckless.
The band was formed by the 16 year old Taylor Momsen in 2009 who is probably best known for her role as Jenny Humphrey in the TV series 'Gossip Girl'. The album fits very well into the post-grunge/alternative rock genre which contrasts her role as the innocent character in Gossip Girl massively. In an interview with MTV, Taylor stated that the albums sound influences mainly come from bands such as The Beatles, Audioslave and Nivarna. The song that im covering in the video; Makes Me Wanna Die, was featured in the soundtrack of the recent movie Kick-Ass and will also be included in the album which comes out this summer.
It is a very easy song to play and i didnt encounter many problems while trying to play this song, however it is in drop D tuning which is one of the most basic down tunes to master; simply down tune the low E string until it is in the same key as the D string. If you need any tabs for this song then please ask and i will either write out the chords i used or do a 'how to' video.
I apologise for the bad quality of this video, it wouldnt let me upload the HD
version onto Blogger which is much better quality, however you can find this HD
version on my youtube channel; MrGuitarKid1

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

My Top 3 Guitar Makers

1) Fender

fender-logo.jpg image by systemec

Founded way back in 1946 in California by Leo Fender, Fender have been making some of the finest electric and acoustic guitars for almost 65 years.
Being the creator of the Fender Stratocaster is one of their most noticeable achievements, with some of the finest guitarist of all time such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and John Mayer adopting this as their main instrument. They also have the Telecaster and Jaguar as well as their exceptional range of basses including the Precision Bass and Jazz Bass. The Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster are famous for their clean and bluesy tones, mainly because of the wood they are made from which is typically alder or ash.
Fender have been making some of the finest guitars and basses for many years now, and will continue to do so for years to come. More and more guitarists everyday are choosing Fender over others for their classic and vintage tones, this company's famous legacy still has many years to live.

2) PRS

With this year year being the company's 25th birthday, Paul Reed Smith has founded a company which makes some of the best instruments in the world, with world famous guitarists such as Carlos Santana and Mark Tremonti both using PRS guitars and even having a signature model dedicated to them.
The Custom is probably Paul Smith's most famous guitar as it showcases everything that PRS guitars are about: The original body shape which resembles both a Les Paul and a Stratocaster; The bird inlays on the fretboard which is a classic detail on the PRS rage of guitars and beautiful craftsmanship which set PRS from the rest.
For their 25th anniversary they have released a limited range of 50 of the McCarty Violin Guitar which is made of Pernambuco wood, it is a truly breathtaking guitar, however, you would have to fork out a hefty £9,999 for the privilege of owning one. PRS guitars boast the wonderful clean tones of a Stratocaster with the thick crunch of a Les Paul, almost a hybrid of the the two guitars, if you like. After 25 years of making some of the finest guitars in the world, Paul Reed Smith shows no signs of stopping the wonderful art he has mastered.

3) Gibson

Gibson make some of the most sought after guitars in the world, their vast range of guitars have been embraced by some of the finest guitarists ever. Slash, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck all choosing a Les Paul, Edge going for an Explorer and BB King adopting a ES-335 to name a few.
Gibson's are usually made from mahogany with a maple top, the mahogany is mainly where the thick and heavy sound derives from-put a pair of humbuckers on that and you've got a guitar which will give you all the rock and heavy tones you could ask for.
Although it has been argued that Gibson should release a cheaper, more affordable range of guitars like Fender with its Squier range and PRS with its SE range, it is undeniable that Gibson produces some of the best guitars in the world.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

How will the UK's major political parties improve music education?

With the UK currently in a hung parliament, the nation seems undecided as to which political party they favor, with the possibility of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats teaming up to make the majority and thus coming into government or the possibility of another election being called. However, the policies that are commonly overlooked are that of music and how music education will be made better for children, music is such an important part of life and can inspire and influence people to endless limits.
After a bit of researching I've found out what the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour are planning to do to make music better for children at school.

First up; Labour:

Labour claim that they believe music is a fundamental core need for all children and that everyone should have the right to a music education. They continue by saying that 'The establishment of the Music Manifesto in 2004 by Labour was a major step forwards in our commitment to improving this country’s music offer, bringing together people and organisations from across the diverse music sector behind a common aim of achieving access and excellence for every child'. Labour are currently half way through a 3 year, £332 million commitment to improve the opportunities that young people will receive in England. They affirm that this commitment has meant that many new opportunities that otherwise would not have been available for youngsters are now accessible.
They remind us of the Wider Opportunities programme which they say has been a huge success, the Wider Opportunities programme is a promise that every primary school student will be able to have free instrument lessons for a whole year and then be able to carry on with affordable lessons if they want to. And true, it has been a success, with a large proportion of children wishing to carry on after their 1 year trial and by 2011, a predicted 80% of schools will be signed up to the programme.
In 2007 Labour funded the national programme - Sing Up, aiming to make every primary school a 'singing school' by 2011. Currently 87% of primary schools are signed up to the agreement and thousands of teachers have been trained to be confident in singing in their lessons.
Labour ends by saying that it is important that they reach their target of getting every child learning an instrument and to "continue to promote their belief that music has the power to change lives."

Next up; The Conservatives:

The Conservative's main policy regarding music and music education is the implementation of the annual 'National Music Week' which they say will involve teachers, students, community groups, the music industry and broadcasters.

The Conservatives 'National Music Week' will be a week long festival which will focus on music in schools and by involving students in events which they hope will inspire and encourage them. The Conservatives say the festival could culminate in a televised national competition to find the finest school orchestra.

This proposal will also include visits by famous UK artists to schools, performances in schools by local music groups and Links to the BBC’s youth music competitions including Young Musician of the Year and Radio 3’s Choir of the Year.

Finally, The Liberal Democrats:

Similar to its rival parties, the Liberal Democrats also believe that music is a large and fundamental aspect of education. They say they want to free music education of targets and quotas, instead they want to encourage creativity and state that they want to 'rip up' the 600 page National Curriculum and instead have a scaled down Minimum Curiculum Enlitilement.

Why shouldn't music play a part in other lessons aswell?" The Liberal Democrats ask. They say that they will improve teacher training to make this kind of flexability possible and they also want to encourage music graduates to enter teaching.

They also hope to get much more artists and musicians visiting schools to inspire and support childrens learning, children look up to many musicians and meeting them face to face in a social enviroment would influence them massivley.

The Liberal Democrats want to help amauter performers to be able to perform in smaller and informal venues to increase their freedom and develop their skills in playing and performing. However, they claim that the current Labour licensing laws make it very difficult to stage smaller performances by increasing beaurocracy to very high levels.

The Lib Dems end by stating that they believe that access to music for students would be much better guaretenteed through their Minimum Curiculum Entitlement as apposed to the current funding from the Labour party.

Monday, 3 May 2010

My Top 5 Greatest Guitarists

1) Jimi Hendrix

In my opinion Jimi Hendrix is without a doubt the best guitarist of all time. This incredible musician has inspired generations with his songs and incredible guitar solos. Many current musicians have take inspiration from Hendrix's unique tone and ability to engage a world audience with his innovative style. The expression and emotion he conveys in his music puts him in a different league to many other guitarists. Some stunts that he pulled in his career such as setting his guitar alight and playing with his teeth amazed audiences and are aspects of a life that was tragically ended too soon.
Whether you agree or not with popular opinion that Hendrix is the greatest guitar player alive, it cannot be argued that his unique style and sound has been an inspiration to many musicians around the world and if his life had not been so tragically ended at such a young age, he would be continuing to amaze people with his incredible playing. Jimi Hendrix will be forever mimicked but never matched.

2) Chuck Berry

A pioneer in the rock & roll genre; this exceptional musician has inspired generations with his individual sound and engaging stage presence. Songs such as 'Johnny B.Goode' and 'Maybellene' developed Rhythm and Blues into the genre that we recognize today. Berry's captivating stage presence delighted a world wide audience and made him into a a true entertainer as well as an incredible musician.
Chuck Berry established Rock & Roll as a musical genre and wrote songs and riffs that influenced millions of musicians, for that accomplishment his name will be forever remembered.

3) Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton's outstanding guitar riffs and solos have influenced numerous musicians within his lengthly career. Songs such as 'Layla' and 'Cocaine' adopt a unique, gritty tone that guitarists still attempt to recreate to this day, while his inspiring 'Unplugged' album takes a wonderful acoustic spin on his electric hits. Eric Clapton has been involved with many other bands such as 'Cream' and 'Derek and the Dominoes', he has written and performed some amazing songs with these bands which are worthy of the credit they enjoy.
Eric Clapton's exhilarating solos and riffs will go down in history as some of the finest ever.

4) Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page was the founder of the legendary band 'Led Zeppelin'. With this incredible band, he, along with the other members, wrote some exceptional songs that have been broadly influential. One of those many songs includes 'Stairway to Heaven'; in my opinion one of the greatest songs of all time. It includes a slow, delicate acoustic guitar part which builds up to a truly inspiring guitar solo which is widely considered as one of the greatest ever. Jimmy Page has written some other incredible riffs such as that in 'Whole Lotta Love' and 'Kashmir' which has inspired a breed of musicians to aspire to be like this great guitarist.
Jimmy Page has written some truly exquisite riffs and solos that will go down in history as some of the most impressive ever.

5) BB King

This expressive guitarist, along with his companion - a Gibson ES-335 he named 'Lucile', have written and performed blues licks which almost every blues guitarist since has taken inspiration from. His passionate soloing rooted around flowing string bending and soft vibrato combined with tender vocals make BB King a truly unique and unequaled musician who will continue to inspire and influence the blues world for many years to come.