iBreatheMusic ThePulse Logo
30 November 2002 - Issue 5   
In this issue

@ Introduction
@ What's New on IBreathe
@ Pulse Bites: Pat Martino Quote
@ Eric's Shred 101-Lick
@ Member Spotlight: Bongo Boy
@ Sizzling Hot Topics


Hello all, and welcome to issue #5 of 'The Pulse'.

So, it's Christmas time again. For most people this means vacation and a peaceful few days. Not so for musicians! For us this is the busiest time of the year. Work pops up everywhere, ranging from Top 40 gigs at annual company dinners (don't go there without that Wham! song) to a humble interpretation of 'Silent Night' for the entire family (can work be any harder?).

This said, now is the perfect time to brush up on our Christmas repertoire. Here are 2 links to get you started:


New Articles on IbreatheMusic
Lost in Time
by Jamie Andreas

It's interesting to think of the ways people speak about time, and their relationship to it. Certainly, the subject of time has been the study of not only scientists in recent times, but even more so by mystics, sages, and saints throughout the ages. Continue

One more rant: Attitude
by Eric Vandenberg

OK, after I got some positive feedback regarding my "You Didnīt Try..." article, here is yet another one dealing with stuff other than scales, licks etc... attitude, which is equally important! Continue

All About Chords, part 1
by Darrin Koltow

Instead of sitting down with a bunch of boring theory textbooks, how would you like to make *music* as you learn how harmony and chords work on the guitar? Continue

NotationSoundTablatureGuitar related

Difficult Picking Exercises
by James B Schultz

This article was requested after several posts I made on the topic "Difficult Picking Exercises". Working on the things you find difficult is where you are going to achieve the most gain. Continue

NotationTablatureGuitar related

Greg Howe- A Profile
by Eric Vandenberg

Greg Howe is one of my main influences and, to me and many others, one of the most innovative and technically-able guitarists these days. Hereīs my tribute to him... including a bio, discography and LOTS of licks !!! Continue

NotationSoundTablatureGuitar related


 Pulse Bites: Pat Martino Quote

Recently, I had a clean-out of music books and methods I own. It's quite amazing how many of them someone accumulates throughout the years. Anyway, as I was trying to organize things logically I ran across a book by Pat Martino entitled 'Linear Expressions'. I completely forgot about that one and had a browse through, well, I got as far as to Pat's foreword. Here is an excerpt, which gave me some food for thought:

Art has many social problems. One of the greatest is that all successful artists have become successful through being publicly confined to the fields in which they are most marketable. Therefore most of their music is heard on a media oriented basis. With regard to the artistsí private expressions itís extremely possible that what truly moves that artist will also move the public. But unfortunately, the industry of recorded music in most cases keeps that artist and the public in a rigid tow. Itís through this that success has nothing to do with expression unless of course, we as artists no longer seek that success from the industry itself but gain it through privately sharing with the public itself, because if the true artist chooses to do this rather than the other, in many cases the industry itself shall now come to seek the artist because through sharing with all, the artist shall now care less about seeking the industry and will no longer have to wait his or her life trying to reach or retain success. Itís now the true art that shall emerge for both the public and industry.


 Eric's Shred 101-Lick

EV: I asked my buddy Thorsten (check out 'Shred Talk' at http://www.ibreathemusic.com/play/article/54 to learn more about him) to provide some cool shred-licks for the Pulse, and hereīs the first one he submitted.
Thorsten: Here is a 'bluesy pentatonic lick in Em', which can easily be integrated into your soloing and improvisation. Itīs not that tough to play it, the only difficult part are the wide stretches involved (instant tendonitis).
Most of the notes are pull-offs, only the first and last note of each grouping are picked. Of course you can play this in all different keys. But once you go down further than the 8th fret, the stretches will most likely be too wide. Play this one as fast as possible!
EV: Thanks, Thorsten!

 Member Spotlight: Bongo Boy

Member Name: Bongo Boy
Real Name: Kirk Fleming
Location: Colorado USA
Instrument: Jazz guitar, conga

How and when did you get started with music?
It really began before I can remember--mother played at our little upright piano nearly every evening as I went off to bed. Brahams, Beethoven, Chopin. Both parents loved waltzes and loved to dance. My dad loved polka, and occasionally would take his violin down a play a lively number. But what instilled my deepest love for music was listening to their albums when family came over, and at the holidays. Mostly classical--I hated the popular stuff. I still remember Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto as the first piece of music that truly moved me. It's still probably the single most gut-wrenching piece of music I know.

From 3rd grade thru high school band I played cornet...but I connected more with my soprano recorder and harmonica, which I played through my hippy period. Much more conducive to sitting lotus-style in the woods of Michigan, reflective and deep.

How did you come across iBreatheMusic.com?
I can't remember. I was likely doing an interplanetary search for 'guitar' at the time. But, I could immediately tell the site was unique..something about the overall style or approach--maybe the general timbre of the conversations. There are sites with far larger members, but as other folks have notices, often those sites are plagued with dialog I would call degenerative. At iBreathe, it's not all 'strictly business' and members have fun, but conduct is respectful--that's important to me.

What styles of music do you play?
None, really. When I'm actually trying to play a song, it's a jazz standard. When I'm just goofing off, it'll be pieces of familiar 60s or 70s rock--Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Stones. That's the stuff I grew up on, until I found music I felt was more energizing and fun. It will be a long, long time before I find a style to call 'home', if I ever do. In the mean time, the plan is to center around a traditional jazz style.

Who are your biggest influences?
Usually this question means 'biggest influences on your playing', so in that sense, I have no answer--I can't play. But my biggest inspirations currently include Earl Klugh, Joe Pass, and Wes Montgomery. This is based not on careful study of their styles, but on a relatively few recordings. Inspiring also is the musician who overcomes serious challenges..or the person who subordinates musicianship for family, for example. That has to be the ultimate test. Wes, I think, stands out for me in this regard. Right now I'm also looking at Louis Armstrong--there's something going on there that, while I don't understand it technically, puts a big smile on my face.

I've recently been listening to a range of music with origins in Ivory Coast, Senegal and West Africa. Ricardo Lemvo specifically--there's a huge draw there for me, and this sound will have to be integrated some way in whatever I may create in the distant future. Many Afro-Cuban sounds (the Afro-Cuban All Stars as an example of the genre) drive me crazy, too. Latin rhythms are without a doubt going to drive what I do--but I didn't grow up immersed in syncopated, polyrhythmic sound, so my brain is struggling a bit to develop a feel for what's going on there.

What formal training have you had?
None other than high school band.

What were some of the biggest breakthroughs you had in your learning of music theory?
Although I'm just beginning, breakthrough No. 1 was discovering how orderly it all is, compared to what I expected. That has helped me at least memorize a lot of information, and I find that helpful. When the dialog gets deep at iBreathe, I often cut-and-paste threads into a local document, then go over it in detail, relating what's being said to what I think I've learned. Usually, this reinforces what I've learned about intervals, scales and chords. When it doesn't, it often means I learn something new or tweak my perspective on what I thought I knew.

At the current point in my progress, I haven't integrated much of what I've learned on paper to actual playing. This will happen soon because that's my entire focus right now--trying different approaches to make that happen. This will be the next, and I expect far most important, breakthrough.

What practice technique you use do you feel has paid off the most handsomely in its effect on the way you play?
A few of the techniques from Jamey's Correct Practice ideas. The overarching idea is that of muscle memory--a foundational idea that is applied almost everywhere the human body interacts with its environment. Slow practice, resisting the urge to move faster than you're prepared for, and repetition. It's hard for to say it has improved the way I play--it's true of course--but I prefer to think that it's what has allowed me to play at all!

What gear do you use? I mostly play my Ibanez AF200, which is a medium-deep hollow body electric. I plug it through a Fender tuner into a little Behringer mixer, then into a 75W stereo power amp. I use two little tiny studio monitor speakers--reverb is provided by the 3m x 4m room I play in. I'd like to test using a Presonus preamp, as well as one of the bigger Ampeg bass amps (the one with the 3-tube preamp in it), but this would be for fun only, not because I need any gear. You know how it is.

What gear do you use?
I mostly play my Ibanez AF200, which is a medium-deep hollow body electric. I plug it through a Fender tuner into a little Behringer mixer, then into a 75W stereo power amp. I use two little tiny studio monitor speakers--reverb is provided by the 3m x 4m room I play in. I'd like to test using a Presonus preamp, as well as one of the bigger Ampeg bass amps (the one with the 3-tube preamp in it), but this would be for fun only, not because I need any gear. You know how it is.

What are you up to at the moment?
I'm playing with several things. I'm still trying to find chords that work with Autumn Leaves--that sound good to me, that seem to work with the melody and the register I'm playing in, and that I can actually articulate on the fretboard. This is my biggest challenge and frustration right now. I starting to work with one or two other standards where all these decisions have been made for me, and I'm excited to get practicing today on that. After reading a little bit on the topic at iBreathe and elsewhere, I'm starting to get familiar with pentatonics in a few places on the fretboard.

Guni recommended a book to me, The New Harmony Book, and I've just finished my first read. I'll be going through parts of it a second time--especially where I took notes. I'll do a short review and post it at iBreathe because I think this is a book that could help out a lot of folks. Since my review will be from a beginner's perspective, I thought it would be something other newbies could relate to.

Do you have any interests (apart from iBreathe of course!)?
It is amazing how many major US companies still can't use the data they have to produce useful information--I work with about a dozen each year. My main interest is in helping them develop processes to compare what they actually do with what they say they do--the two seldom match very well. This takes me to personal communications, politics of corporations and how they organize, how technology is used to avoid inter-personal conflict, and other touchy-feely things. Right now I'm studying fibre channel networking--the communications dealing with putting computer storage on a switched network rather than directly plugging into the computer itself. It isn't as interesting as music to me, but it pays the bills. I was a avid amateur brewer, and even a professional brewer for a short time--and I still maintain an interest in the art and science of brewing ale, in particular.

 Sizzling Hot Topics


Simple Comping Rhythms


Unwanted radio through my amp

Solfege Hand Signs

  Send suggestions and comments to: ThePulse@iBreatheMusic.com

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