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30 October 2002 - Issue 3   
In this issue

@ Introduction
@ What's New on IBreathe
@ Pulse Bites: Free Eartraining Software
@ Eric's Shred 101-Lick
@ Member Spotlight: EricV
@ Sizzling Hot Topics


Hello all, and welcome to issue #3 of 'The Pulse'.

This issue has become somewhat of a Eric Vandenberg feature - and yes, he has earned it!!! Eric wrote a very nice article with the title 'Be Creative!', which goes hand in hand with a lot of discussions recently held in the forums.

As you probably know Eric is one of the driving members on the iBreatheMusic site, so he's the first one to be featured in the 'Member Spotlight', that will be part of every future issue of the Pulse. And on top of this Eric presents you another shred lick.

Till next time,


New Articles on IbreatheMusic
Be Creative !
by Eric Vandenberg

Need some ideas on approaching a solo ? Are you stuck in a rut with your soloing ? Well, maybe I can give you some ideas with this article... Continue

NotationSoundTablatureGuitar related

by Bruce Saunders

In our zeal to understand exactly how the masters of improvisation work their way through all sorts of chord changes, we sometimes overlook the most obvious. What I am proposing is a simple idea that happens to be very difficult to execute: motives Continue

NotationGuitar related

Johnny Smith Goes Full Circle
by Charles H. Chapman

Besides being one of the greatest guitar players that ever lived, Johnny Smith is a remarkable human being. In this interview he took me on his lifetime journey with guitar manufacturers and also shed some light on other aspects of his life ... Continue

Mailbag: Picking / Smoothing It Out
by Eric Vandenberg

After all the articles on picking, here is a final one focussing on our discussions of picking at the forums and per Email... and introducing the next step Continue

NotationTablatureGuitar related

Teaching by Travel Brochure
by Jamie Andreas

Many guitar players, along the course of their lives, become guitar teachers. They are often people who have a good amount of what is called "natural talent".The problem comes when these people start to "guide" others to do the same thing ... Continue


 Pulse Bites: Free Eartraining Software

There are a bunch of free tools available on the web that will help you with training your ear. I haven't tested them all yet, but so far these are my favourites:

Musictheory.net: http://www.musictheory.net
BigEars: http://www.ossmann.com/bigears/
Eartrainer: http://www.synchron.de/EARTRAINER/
GNU-Solfege: http://solfege.sourceforge.net/

Eartraining Software:
Good-Ear: http://www.good-ear.com/

And there are a whole lot more listed at harmony central: http://www.harmony-central.com/Software/Windows/ear_training.html

Happy eartraining!!

 Eric's Shred 101-Lick

Sweeping is a cool technique. Often, you find yourself kinda getting stuck with the same old patterns and sweeping-cliches. One cool thing I tried was, instead of sweeping the regular minor and major-triads, I used sus2 (1-2-5) triads. Those are a bit harder to fret for the left hand, but I really like the sound of those... here's a sweep picking-lick utilizing sus2-triads...

Have fun!

 Member Spotlight: EricV

Real Name: Eric Vandenberg

How and when did you get started with music?
At age 10... I saw a video clip of Van Halen, pointed at the screen and said 'That's what I wanna do!'. I wasn't good at saving money (still ain't) so after I had saved up half of the money I'd have to pay for a guitar, my grandpa gave me the rest and I got my first acoustic guitar... never stopped playing ever since...

How did you come across iBreatheMusic.com?
One day in 99, I found guitar4u.com, and I offered to write articles for Guni. I have been writing for G4u and later iBreathe ever since (on and off)

What styles of music do you play?
Well, I'd consider myself a rock guitarists, my influences include both shredders and, believe it or not, blues-guitarists. So that's my favorite style. With my band, I do instrumental rock. But as a hired gun and studio-player (and instructor), I often have to play a lot of different styles, like country, fusion, metal, pop... and it's fun!

Who are your biggest influences?
Uhmmm... tough to narrow it down to just a few. My initial influences were Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix. Later, I got into Joe Satriani's and Jeff Beck's music. Regarding discipline, technique and stuff, Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert and Greg Howe were HUGE influences and still are, and then there were guys like Vai, Greg Howe, Eric Johnson, Andy Timmons, Abi von Reininghaus, Brett Garsed... the list could be considered endless ... =)

What gear do you use?
I use less these days than I used to use a while ago. Rack-stuff only in the studio. Main guitars: Heavily modded Peavey Vandenbergs, Fender Strat, Staufer Tele... Amps: Laney Chrome-O-Zone Combo, heavily modded Marshall JMP1... effects: mainly, stompboxes by Boss these days, misc. stuff: DiMarzio pickups (Tone Zone, Double Whammy... ), D'Addario strings...

What are you up to at the moment?
Working on the first album of the Eric Vandenberg Band, 'Talking Hands' (which has been postponed yet again, but it will come out one day, believe me... =) ); writing and recording with country-singer W. Malende; just finished recording a few acoustic tunes with a great singer, her name's Andrea; coaching a young metal-band called Perpetuum Overdose; various songwriting collaborations and recording-sessions, 'hired gun'-stuff... Also still teaching a lot...

What's your favorite music-related website? (other than iBM of course!)
I certainly like to occasionaly check on the sites of some of my favorite players, like www.stevemorse.com. I really like Vai´s site www.vai.com, because he shares some personal stuff, like his old journals... lots of stuff to read up on. Other than that, I usually go to www.96rock.com to listen to this Atlanta rock-radio station online while I work on the computer. And for pure information, I really do like www.harmony-central.com. Their user-reviews sometimes are really helpful, and they have a bunch of interesting news regarding gear etc.

What formal training have you had?
At first, I taught myself, using some books and magazines. Then I took lessons from a local guy who played in a cover-band. He didn't have much time to teach, so I tried to squeeze as much as possible out of those lessons. Most importantly, he inspired and motivated me, and he also taught me what it takes to make a living playing music. A few years later, I attended the GIT in North Hollywood / CA. I financed that myself since my parents were gone already at that time. This time was very important to me, I still consider it a really good decision. Two years, completely consumed and surrounded by music, with some great instructors and players around me... I learned so much and took home impressions and new ideas that will last for many years...

What is the most important thing you have learned from a music teacher?
1. That you can't know and play EVERYTHING. You can try, but you should pick what you like what's right for you
2. That there actually is more to understand in theory than there is to learn.
3. To be versatile, so I'd be able to work in different musical environments. My teacher opened a lot of doors by teaching me songs from many different styles.

What was your biggest on stage embarassment?
When I had to sing the first time. I had to sing 'Hey Joe', and believe it or not, I forgot the second verse, so I had to make up some lines. I don't know whether the crowd noticed. They liked it tough (I made up for the crappy vocals by playing an extended solo). At that same show, there was a technical problem with my guitar (I had only one with me). I had replaced a pickup the night before and obviously did a bad job. All of a sudden, there wasn't a sound coming out of it anymore (I guess I hadn't done a good job soldering). This was in the middle of Sabbath´s 'Paranoid'. I spent the first half of the solo bitting the guitar with my fist. That temporarily fixed the problem, and I played the solo. The people loved it, they thought it was part of my stage-act...

What were some of the biggest breakthroughs you had in your learning of music theory? (Ya know, something which made you go, 'Wow, now that I know this, it opens up a whole new world to me!')
Great questions! This might sound stupid, but for me the first big breakthrough was when I noticed what 'the guitar is a chromatic instrument' means. That you could take an A Major chord, move it up one fret and it would be a Bb Major. Before that, I had thought I had to memorize all those thousands of chords. After that, I started to understand the modal system, harmonisation... that was such a great feel and helped me to understand so many things.

What practice technique you use do you feel has paid off the most handsomely in its effect on the way you play?
Using a metronome helped tremendously. I didn't do so in the beginning, and my timing often was way off. Next to actual REAL practising with a metronome, I used to 'noodle' around in front of the TV constantly, for hours... just to keep my hands moving. In combination with focussed practising, it helped. Also, I always jammed on a song or two after practising, so I was immediately putting my exercises and licks into a musical context, which I consider very important. And, I had a friend who used to come over on Friday night, and before we sat down to talk and watch TV and stuff, I used to play for him, show him what I had learned, songs, licks. He always was very patient and also very critical. Playing in front of (even such a small) some audience helped me a lot to get over my stagefright and to feel kinda relaxed when I went onstage the first time...

How long did you play before you had your first paying gig?
Well... lemme think... I started at age 10, started taking lessons a few months later... I think I was 12 or 13 when I performed in front of an audience the first time, jamming over some songs at some impromptu session. My first actual gig with my own band was at age 15. For the second gig, I was paid... it was a graduation party of a friend, and all the parents threw some change into a hat... I got about 80 bucks in spare change... My pants were almost coming off because they were pulled down by all the spare change in my pockets... while I was on stage. I went home and went to my dad, who wasn't too fond of me playing music... I showed him the money, all proud... he looked at it and said 'And you wanna live on that for the rest of your life?!?'

Do you have any interests (apart from iBreathe of course!)?
If I have the time... yes. I do like to read (Lovecraft, Tad Williams, Dan Simmons, music-biographies), occasionally watch movies (last ones I really liked 'Road To Perdition', 'The Ring'... ), and hang out with some old friends to get away from music every once in a while...

 Sizzling Hot Topics

Live playing vs. living room playing


i want to further my self as a guitarist

perfect pitch training disks


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