New Blues and Metal Guitar Courses on GuitarZoom

It’s been a while since I wrote anything that refers to GuitarZoom, the organization where I mainly work as a music transcriber, social media moderator, music theory and guitar answer guy, and now as a composer of background music. Anyway, GuitarZoom has a lot in store for this year, and this includes a couple of Blues and Metal courses.

For the serious intermediate metalhead guitarist, here’s a good course on Metal by Eric VanLandingham:

http://guitarzoom.com/ultimatemetalguitarconcepts/

(FYI, the music that you hear just before the lesson kicks in (the Djenty BGM you hear during the animation sequences) was written, performed, and recorded by yours truly.)

If you wish to be able to utilize pentatonic scales effectively, especially in a blues setting, you have to check out this upcoming course by Casey Smith’s called “Ultimate Power Pentatonics for Guitar”

(Again, intro animation music by yours truly.)

All of these courses come with my sheet music transcriptions in standard notation and TAB.

For more information regarding these courses as well as upcoming promos, go visit http://guitarzoom.com. For any questions regarding course content, music theory, guitar playing, or anything music in general, you can always email me at mark(at)guitarzoom.com. (FYI, I don’t handle customer service stuff and technical issues, but I’d be more than happy to talk about music with all of you.)

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Prog/Dream Theater Fan Humor with PSMS and Devin Townsend @ Sea

I’m a Dream Theater fan. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m also not ashamed to admit that I like every Dream Theater album, and that includes the much reviled “Falling Into Infinity”. This is the band that got me into prog in the first place. Though largely known for extremely lengthy complex prog metal masterpieces like “Scenes From a Memory”, they do have good short tunes too, like this one:

This, my readers, is “Burning My Soul”, a rather serious hate/rant song with lyrics by Mike Portnoy. It was originally a lengthy song with a slower tempo instrumental section (which became, through executive meddling and producer manipulation, a separate instrumental called “Hell’s Kitchen”). Anyway, enough of that history. It’s a pretty serious sounding song, right? The video above demonstrates a fragment of Dream Theater’s impeccable musicianship skills. However, my new favorite version of this song is this bootleg video from “Progressive Nation at Sea 2014”, performed by ex-DT members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian (Keys) with Tony MacAlpine (Guitar), Billy Sheehan (Bass). and Devin Townsend on vocals and stand-up comedy antics:

One comment posted said that this is a train wreck done in style. I’d say in great humourous style. It’s as if Frank Zappa came to life with Devin Townsend’s vocal cords. If you’re a musician and a fan of Dream Theater and Devin Townsend, I would bet that you will find this to be funny. If you’re not enjoying and laughing at this then I feel very sorry for you.

Franck Hermanny of Adagio Provides Feedback Regarding “Nuit Blanche” Transcription

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I was experiencing a week without any sort of new project to work with. It was one of those times in a freelance “behind the scenes” musician’s life that is free. To occupy myself while in the middle of applying for and acquiring new projects, I decided to exercise my music transcription skills by going the Steve Vai route: transcribing a rather difficult piece of music and sending it to the composer himself. While Mr. Vai back in the 80s worked on Frank Zappa’s music, I decided to take on one of the songs by virtuoso bassist Franck Hermanny.

To anyone of you who are not aware of who Mr. (or should I say Monsieur?) Hermanny is, he is the a French freelance musician most popularly known as the bassist of Adagio, a progressive metal band. While Adagio’s music primarily sounds like Ludwig Van Beethoven and John Williams playing in a progressive metal band, Mr. Hermanny’s solo work has a great dose of jazz fused with Frank Gambale style sweep picking and neoclassical shred ON A SIX-STRING BASS! This bass player sounds like he can play anything under the sun ranging from Rocco Prestia funk to Geddy Lee prog.

Back to talking about the transcription itself, I decided to take on the song “Nuit Blanche” because I recently acquired a six-string bass myself and I wanted to learn more about Franck Hermanny’s technique and music. I spent nine work hours over a three-day period working on the score. If you have watched the video of Nuit Blanche, you’ll see and hear that it’s no simple feat to transcribe:

“Nuit Blanche” was just perfect because of it’s pedagogical nature, given that I usually transcribe sheet music for music education purposes (mainly guitar). After completing the draft, I had the “cojones” to send it to Franck Hermanny himself and ask for feedback. So what did the bass master say about it? Here it goes:

  • He appreciated the time and effort I spent working on the piece.
  • There were some mistakes here and there, which is a given because of the piece’s difficulty.
  • I should have written it with a doubled tempo (around 160 BPM in half notes instead of quarter notes). In this case, the note values will be doubled, making it easier to sight read (reading 8th notes at a faster tempo is easier than reading 16th note runs because of simpler beat divisions)
  • Overall, he said I did a really great job.

I’m quite happy with the notation I did for “Nuit Blanche” although I can still do better as he had suggested. Since I have an upcoming transcription project I need to work on this coming work week, I would not be able to perform the necessary edits for the Nuit Blanche score for now. If I get the time, I will edit the score based on Mr.Hermanny’s feedback.

So, for anyone who is interested in getting the sheet music for “Nuit Blanche”, feel free to contact me. Please remember, however, that this sheet music is still in draft form and is in no way final or official…that is unless Mr. Hermanny would ask me to create an official version with his guidance and blessing of course ; ) (and in that case, you would have to buy the score rather than get it for free).