December 30, 2012

Richard Hallebeek Project II -killer track

Here's the track 'Fives' with Marco Minnemann on drums and Jaan Wessman on bass from the forthcoming cd 'Insides' that I have been working on for a while now with Antti Kotikoski. It's been on the shelf for quite some time, but with the advantage of running my own new label Richie Rich Music now I'm hoping to release it sometime soon. The intro is a custom-written 12-string/synth patch that's played on a guitar both with a hexaphonic 13-pin pickup and also through midi at the same time. A huge and very inspirational sound to play. A great performance here from Marco and multi-talented Jaan, who also played with Mike Keneally for a while.

Richard Hallebeek : RHPII

Get this cd at

December 27, 2012

Julian Lage Solo Guitar Performance

Julian Lage performs a solo version of 233 Butler from his album, "Gladwell," available since April 26, 2011 on EmArcy Records.

Julian Lage - Gladwell (2011)

SOURCE:  Published: 2011-04-29
Julian Lage
By S. Victor Aaron

Don't get me wrong, I love jazz guitarists who derive their inspiration from guys like Wes MontgomeryKenny Burrelland Pat Metheny, but it's so refreshing to hear a new guitarist come along who excels by taken the road less traveled. That's former child prodigy guitarist Julian Lage, who seems to be more in line with the vocabulary of swing jazz guitar pioneer Django Reinhardt, classical guitar godfather Andres Segovia and bluegrass guitar picking legend Tony Rice. And like those guys, he takes an acoustic approach to his guitar whether it's plugged in or not: there's no effects getting in between his playing and your ears.( read more.)

Julian Lage 8 years old

Heath Haberlin and Julian Lage perform three of Heath's original songs, "It's Muddy In The Water", "It's A Minor Thang" and "6th Street". Go to or to for more 

Native Californian Julian Lage is a true prodigy, performing on guitar in public at age six. His extraordinary talent was documented two years later in an Oscar-nominated documentary by Mark Becker, "Jules at Eight". 

December 24, 2012

Frank Gambale lessons news for 2013

Because of earlier rumors about a new book written by Frank I tried to contact him and talked to Amanda Stone from 'the office'.

FG has spent most of the year with his family after a banner year with Return To Forever last year.

-What has Frank been doing lately? Has he finished his book that was mentioned earlier on his forum?
He will be doing a blog early in the new year to let his fans know what he is up to.
I can tell you he has been working diligently on a new series of courses that will form the basis of a new online school instructional website.

Frank Gambale sweeping  news for 2013

-Did he finish shooting all the lessons?
He will begin filming video content that he has been writing early in the new year.

He is also planning to film his entire curriculum that he wrote for the L.A. Music Academy a few years back and also to deliver his new Sweep Picking manual in video form as part of the online courses he will be offering rather than, or possibly in addition to, a published book version.

-That's all very interesting to the fans. Any more hot news?
Again, he will explain further what he has coming up in the new year in his blog.

-Thanks for you time!
Thanks again for your interest in Frank.

Dean Brown clips

December 21, 2012

New: ROBBEN FORD Interview in Cologne 12-12-12

1st guitar
Robben and Budda
Robben and his parents
Teaching and extra income.
Choosing an instrument. Robben kind of stumbles upon the instruments he uses. Moving towards vintage guitars.
Bringing it back home. Epiphone Rivera is the only guitar used on the new record.
Joni Mitchell & the L.A. Express.
George Harrison

'Oh Virginia' is the only original song that Robben wrote himself. It is a ballad. It's a good feeling to write a song you like yourself. Unique but familiar at the same time. Like you've heard it before but you haven't.

The Aristocrats - JazzFestival in Germany - Arte Live Web (2012)

December 20, 2012

Chuck D'Aloia recommended lessons

Chuck's subscription site is up and running with 10 hours of material.                                                                                        
It's all about improvising, fundamentals, developing your ears, understanding harmony, expanding your vocabulary and becoming a complete musician.
The cost is only $25 per month for 24/7 access to the material.
Sign up for a month to see if it's right for you and when the month is up you have the choice to continue or purchase all of the material for $75.  Simply get in touch with me at and let me know what you would like to do.

Scroll down for a listing of everything on the site and here are a few video examples.

Michael Landau & Robben Ford New Pedalboard 2013!

Michael Landau & Robben Ford


 #2Tuesday, December 18, 2012
36" x 14"
Belden 9778Belden 8451
Vertex Pancake, Right Angle, and Straight (TS and TRS)Horizon/Rapco Pancake TRSAmphenol ACPM-R
Vertex Custom Power Supply:
7 isolated outputs (6x 100mA 9VDC outputs, 1x 400mA 9VDC output) with a multi-tap toroid transformer for 90V, 120V, and 230V (adjustable with slider switch).
Vertex Custom Battery Supply:
4 outputs each fed by 4 x 9V batteries and a separate relay powered by the main power supply to turn the batteries on/off. The batteries are only active when the entire pedalboard is powered "ON" at the main power supply so the batteries are not drained when not in use.
Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face (modified by Jeorge Tripps and Vertex, re-housed)Vertex ML OD/B Prototype (with Vertex EXP to control boost level)Vemuram Jan Ray Boost (in effects loop of the ML OD/B)Vertex Landau Stereo Chorus (modified Arion Chorus)Roger Mayer Voodoo-VibeVertex Axis WahStrymon Timeline Delay (with Roland EV-5 EXP)
*The Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face will be substituted with Vertex BC109 Fuzz as needed (all connectors/cable were cut to fit either device in that space).
Zoom in (real dimensions: 1024 x 411)Image

Robben Ford 

The Zendrive is back!

Tags: StrymonVoodoo LabRolandVertex Effects, Inc. en TC Electronic

December 18, 2012

Prof. George Duke on improvising ( With Miles, Robben, Anita)

Professor G. Duke teaching us how to create a solo. A talk about making music.
Building a solo, Motifs, phrasing, imitating others in the band, reacting, learn a bag of tricks eg. abstract/ technical runs to astound people,
Miles, Anita Baker, Robben Ford,
Voicing Chords: add 7, 9, 11, 13,  Octave dispersion, closing up, stacking 5ths, stacking 4ths,

December 17, 2012

Jam Origin: Polyphonic midi plug & play!!!!!!!!!!

I bought this program today and I highly recommend it. Get the free trial version first and I'm sure you'll want to buy it immediately. It's the future!! No more weird pickups and expensive guitar synth. I use the Apogee One now to plug my guitar directly into the computer.  The software recognizes the One. And of you go. I used the program as a plug in in Garageband and it works great. There is some latency on my old iMac but on my newer Macbook it works really well.

Here are some clips I did.
Clip 1
clip 2
Clip 3 in combination with Line6 Variax

MIDI Guitar - the software solution.

Turn ANY guitar into a guitar-synthesizer or record tablature simply by playing it.
MIDI Guitar it the worlds first software solution for polyphonic guitar recognition.
The transcription runs in real-time, with latency and accuracy comparable to inconvenient hardware MIDI guitar solutions.
I have a Roland guitar synth connected to my home studio via a hex pickup and multi-pin cable. Suddenly it’s a museum piece! I always had missed notes and glitches with my Roland Synth and spent hours tuning the levels and adjusting the pickups. That lot cost me 100′s of dollars and I had to install a custom hex pickup to exact positioning on my guitar…. This worked off the bat perfectly – hardly any glitches and just a little delay. For a few $$$ it’s phenomenal – recording to iMac + Logic Pro 9. YOU GUYS ARE LEGENDS!
Tasman TravellerAppStore, Australia


New Robben Ford CD 2013 (pre-order)

Feb 18 2013 will see the release of Robben Fords new studio album “Bringing It Back Home”.
A well chosen title as on “Bringing It Back Home” Robben Ford returns back to form, the blues.
“Bringing It Back Home is the album I really wanted to make right now,” according to Robben Ford, “My concept was to put great players together with songs that have deep roots and rich emotional terrain, and to just let something beautiful happen. As it turns out, that’s exactly what occurred. The results are really pure, and the most fun I’ve had making an album in years.”

Robben Ford’s new album, Bringing It Back Home, is set for release February 19 and will include songs from early Delta pioneer Charley Patton (“Bird’s Nest Bound”), Bob Dylan (“Most Likely You Go Your Way (and I’ll Go Mine),” Allen Toussaint’s “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky,” Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue,” and the obscure Willie West track “Fair Child.”
“[This] is the album I really wanted to make right now,” said Ford, who was once a sideman for Davis and Joni Mitchell. “My concept was to put great players together with songs that have deep roots and rich emotional terrain, and to just let something beautiful happen. The results are really pure, and the most fun I’ve had making an album in years.”
“Kind of Blue” is a study in how “space” on a recording can establish emotional timbre.  “What I love best about blues and jazz is how great players — like Miles Davis or Jim Hall or Paul Desmond — allow a lot of space in their music,” he added. “ That’s where the beauty happens.”
Ford is accompanied on the album by Larry Goldings (organ), Harvey Mason (drums), David Piltch (bass) and Steve Baxter (trombone).  To give every track a unifying sound, he used only the rhythm pickup on his ’63 Epiphone Riviera. Learn more at

December 14, 2012

Scofield recording NEW Uberjam band

This is an incarnation new Uberjam band - video featuring Andy Hess and Avi Bortnick and shot by Klaus Wikberg - the tune is "Al Z'Groover" written by Bortnick/Scofield. Tony Mason on drums - Uberjam will alternately feature drummers Adam Deitch or Louis Cato or Tony Mason.

John Scofield New Uberjam 2013

On break from rehearsing the Scofield Uberjam band, with John Scofield, Adam Deitch, and Andy Hess.

Hi Jan,
Trying out 3 new pedals but  i have to wait till i get them next week to give you the proper names....nothing too different though....still lots of boomerang!
See you in Rotterdam!

John Scofield

Peter Tiehuis with strings!! Sweet & Funky

Klimt string quartet kiss the quitarplayer

Klimt!, otherwise known as the Gustav Klimt String Quartet, says in the booklet notes (in Dutch and English) that its aim with Kiss the Guitar Player was "to portray a kaleidoscopic view of the Dutch guitar scene." This the group does, but, as often happens when something is done well, it also accomplishes something beyond the original goal. The music is light, and the album title whimsical, but this album does nothing less than reflect on the relationship between the guitar and the bowed strings, in the past as well as the present. When you first hear the quartet playing funky music in the opening Gustav on the Rocks, by guitarist Peter Tiehuis, you may think this is another of the many attempts at Kronos Quartetcloning that appeared in CD catalogs, but the program quickly becomes more diverse. The key is that most of the music was newly comissioned, from performing guitarists, and it set only a single condition: the composer was not to use a concerto-like texture, with the strings backing up the guitar, but rather was charged with creating the titular "dialogues." Put that together with the variety of styles these guitarist-composers play and you've got a couple of intersecting axes that result in music falling all over the range. Bert Meulendijk's Into Ecstasy (track 2) sets rock electric guitar against high string duets. There is classic pop, jazz, more or less formal concert music, and flamenco influences at several points. The frame is perfectly set in place with the inclusion of a couple of movements of the conventional starting point of music for guitar and string quartet, the Quintet in D major for guitar and strings, G. 448, of Luigi Boccherini. Let's just say these are heavily tweaked. A delightful release combining experiment and entertainment in a way at which the Dutch seem to excel.

Peter Tiehuis Live

Avant-garde, scenic, free jazz, world and rock.. some keywords that could be used to describe the music of Frapear – the Peter Tiehuis Trio. Then again, since there are no rules or set parameters, another concert might ask for a different description of the music that originates.
The use of electronics and effects adds an extra dimension to the completely improvised music.
Peter Tiehuis is one of Holland’s leading guitar players. His ability to cover a wide range of styles makes him highly in-demand with international pop/rock artists, jazz ensembles and, since 1996, as a member of the renowned Metropole Orkest. Peter has performed and recorded with artists such as The Skymasters, Till Brönner, The Yellow Jackets, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Al Jarreau, Brecker Brothers, Steve Vai, Trijntje Oosterhuis and many others.
Frans van der Hoeven is one of the most tasteful bass players in the European jazz scene. He can be heard on more than 30 albums: The Toon Roos Quartet, Jesse van Ruller, Rob Madna Trio & Bigband, the Diederik Wissels/David Linx Quartet , Art Farmer &the European Jazz Trio, Charlie Mariano, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra and others. As a sideman he accompanied many people like Clark Terry, Ronnie Cuber, Lee Konitz , Dee Dee Bridgewater and Toots Thielemans.
The talented drummer Arno van Nieuwenhuize was discovered at a young age through a regional music competition. He gained wider recognition as a member of several high profile pop groups in the eighties. Being a member of the Metrople Orchestra since the very beginning required Arno to be able to express himself in virtually every music style imaginable. He performs regularly in the middle-east with singer Fairouz and is working on different projects, for instance with vocalist/percussionist Mola Sylla from Senegal.

December 10, 2012

Dove's Hip Hole (Ergonomic Custom Guitar)

Ergonomic guitar and bass design theory, including the Trapezoidal Neck Profile and Hip Hole. Rick Toone | Luthier.

Thanks for all your comments and questions. YouTube's interface is difficult for in-depth discussions but I welcome your questions — please stop by and visit me at my website:

December 8, 2012

Grammy Award winning guitarist: Andrew York

When I listen to classical guitar players such as Andrew I also get ideas on how I might play a standard jazz tune differently. In stead of strumming chords you can use a million different approaches. Chick Corea borrows a lot of rhythmic and harmonic ideas from a composer like Bela Bartok. Also Mike Miller likes to borrow from classical players on guitar or piano.

GRAMMY-winning guitarist and composer Andrew York has shown extraordinary talent and versatility as a musician in many styles: electric guitar in a jazz quintet; classical guitar with The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet; even lute with the USC Early Music Ensemble.
In addition to his solo career, recording and performing his own compositions, Andrew's recent collaborations include projects with Andy Summers, Allaudin Mathieu, Dai Kimura, and Mitsuko Kado.
Andrew York

Andrew's tour schedule has included concerts in thirty countries. He has over 50 works published for guitar in its many varieties: solo, duo, trio, quartet, and ensemble. He has appeared in 3 DVDS, has recorded or appeared as soloist on more than 10 CDs, and has published a three-volume work on in-depth jazz study for classical guitarists. Andrew plays on 10 recordings with The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet including the GRAMMY-winning "Guitar Heroes" (2005).

Solo CDs include: Perfect Sky (1986), Denouement (1994), Into Dark (1997), California Breeze (2006) and The Hauser Sessions (2007).

Andrew was born in 1958 in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Guitar Performance in 1980 at James Madison University and completed his Master of Music degree at University of Southern California in 1986, both degrees magna cum laude. He was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships at USC, including the Jack Marshall Memorial Scholarship and the Del Amo Foundation Grant for Study in Spain. Andrew is the only alumni in USC's history to have received their Distinguished Alumni Award twice, in 1997 as a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and again in 2003 for his solo music career.

December 7, 2012

Nir Felder Live concert

Xotic Effects SP Compressor

Aside from Michael Thompson being an extraordinary musician, he's also know for his extraordinary pedal collection. Potentially every pedal that has ever been made, Michael has or has owned. One of his favorite types of effects is a compressor. Recently Xotic announced the release of it's new SP Compressor. So who better than Michael to introduce you to the new SP Compressor. Here's a new Reality Web Video of Michael demonstrating and comparing our new SP Compressor to his well loved compressors. Enjoy!

DiMarzio Transition Pickups Steve Lukather

Legendary TOTO guitarist, solo artist and first-call session player extraordinaire, Steve Lukather talks about the DiMarzio Transition™ pickups created for his Music Man LIII guitar and his new "Transition" album that will be released by Mascot Records on January 21, 2013.

Steve Lukather: Transition

December 4, 2012

James Taylor - Jingle Bells feat. Michael Landau

Allen Hinds doin' The Chicken (Pastorius)

New: Chico Pinheiro trio CD TRIZ

A collaboration between Chico Pinheiro, Sergio Santos and Andre Mehmari - the upcoming album TRIZ. To be released in the fall 2012.

One of the leading figures in modern Brazilian music, guitarist/composer/arranger Chico Pinheiro was born in São Paulo. Self-taught, Pinheiro started playing the guitar and the piano when he was 7 years old. After starting to perform professionally at age 15, he rounded out his musical education with a stay in Boston, where he received his music degree from Berklee College of Music (Summa cum laude). Not only an exceptional guitarist with a wonderful sound and great fluidity, Chico Pinheiro is a unique composer of originality and maturity, qualities that stand out on his solo recordings. His first album "Meia Noite Meio Dia" (Sony Music/ 2003) was released with great reviews, being included in the “Top 10 Brazilian albums of the year” in the major newspapers of Brazil: “O Estado de São Paulo”, “A Folha de São Paulo” and “O Globo” . This well-received debut included performances from special guest vocalists Luciana Alves, Lenine, Ed Motta, Chico César, and Maria Rita. His second release, "Chico Pinheiro" (Biscoito Fino/ 2005) enjoyed great critical and audience acclaim, once more being included in the “Top 10 Brazilian albums of the year” by newspapers “O Estado”, “O Globo” and “Folha”. The third album, NOVA ( Buriti/ 2007), a collaboration with the guitarist and composer Anthony Wilson. Again, enjoyed great critical and audience acclaim. Today Chico is already a remarkable presence in - and outside the Brazilian music scene, who has distinguished himself as a guitarist, composer and arranger. He has performed and recorded with the "cream of the crop" of Brazilian artists such as Rosa Passos, Dori and Danilo Caymmi, João Donato, Johnny Alf, Luciana Souza, César Camargo Mariano,while also making his mark internationally, recording and playing with Dianne Reeves, Bob Mintzer, Brad Mehldau, Esperanza Spalding, Fleurine, Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Eddie Gomez, Claudio Roditi, Giovani Hidalgo, Roberto Fonseca, Cachaíto Lopez (Buena Vista Social Club), amongst others.

December 3, 2012

Ye Faithful feat. Chris Taylor, Joel Rosenblatt, Ric Fierabracci.

Mike Moreno & Aaron Parks - All The Things You Are

Mike Moreno Aaron Parks - All The Things You Are
Live @ Casasanta 12/4/11
Lewisburg, WV.
I met both players here some time ago, Aaron played a surprise concerton a boat in Zwolle with dutch saxophone player Ben van Gelder and Mike gave a workshop and concert at Artez in Zwolle, Netherlands. What struck me was their highly imaginative and also very personal touch they bring to the bandstand. That's what sets apart good players from great players. 

Doug Raney on Jazz Guitar part 1 of 5.wmv

Here is the first of a series of 5 youtube clips with Doug Raney on Jazz guitar History. Very nice.

November 30, 2012

Robben Ford @ Iridium Jazz club

Robben Ford playing Oleo by Sonny Rollins. 

Exploring Frank Gambale tuning Blues in G

I used the idea by Frank Gambale from his Album Raison D'etre. The first two strings are one octave down. So you have standard tuning and all your chord shapes remain the same only they sound different because of the octave shift. Just started this but I feel this is really great. Frank tuned the whole thing up a 4th to A like a capo in the 5th position. I left it in E just to try it and it sounded more or less like a baritone guitar.
Check out this clip with Frank Gambale!

Here are the voicing I used for 90% of this clip.

November 29, 2012

NEW Kevin Eubanks CD: The Messenger

The Messenger
With his second Mack Avenue Records release, The Messenger, acclaimed guitarist Kevin Eubanks continues to explore his own unique musical vision. This vision offers the listener an opportunity to share a musical journey that truly exemplifies where Eubanks is at this stage of his illustrious career; one that, for over three decades, has seen him incorporate into his creative process a willingness to embrace the broad spectrum of his musical experience, while continuing to seek out new vistas.
Kevi Eubank: The Messenger

The Messenger is a project that reflects not only the guitarist’s virtuosity on his instrument, but also his impressive compositional skills—writing all but two tracks. Best described simply as a “Kevin Eubanks” recording—without specific categorization—as his intent with The Messenger is to communicate the breadth of his artistic influences.
Eubanks is joined on most tracks by his sterling fellow quartet members: Billy Pierce on reeds, Rene Camacho on bass, Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums and Joey De Leon, Jr. on percussion. This project also has a family flavor, featuring younger brother Duane on trumpet (“Sister Veil,” “JB,” “420”), and older brother Robin on trombone (“JB,” “Queen Of Hearts”)

Frank Gambale- Nashville/ Gambale Tuning

Raison D'etre is one of my favorite recordings by Frank. In this clip Frank demonstrates the different guitar tuning he used. I'm not a big fan of playing different tunings myself because it disorients me. I like to know the notes I'm playing instead of just chord "grabs". Frank's tuning is ideal for that. You just have to think Capo in Vth position.

This is Nashville tuning down a 5th.
Nashville is EADG (octave up) BE This is A D G C E A all a fifth below Nashville.) But whatever you want to call it it is a nice tuning and I might have to try it myself on one of my many guitars.
What string gauges do you use for your tuning?
I use a .010 gauge set for the bottom four strings, starting with the A string, and for the top two strings I use the D and G strings from a set of .009s. So gauge-wise, low-tohigh, it is .036, .026, .017, .013, .024, .016. It takes a moment to get used to, but within a few minutes, everyone I show it to loves it. The beauty of the tuning is you can play the same shapes that you’re used to, whereas if you use an alternate tuning like open D or DADGAD, all of your shapes go away and you have to relearn everything. In my tuning if you play, say, a D chord shape, it’s still a major triad.  ( guitar player magazine)

Frank Gambale (Nashville) tuning

Frank's Transcriptions

November 26, 2012

New: Anthony Wilson nonet: Hymn

Anthony Wilson Nonet, Live at Blue Whale, Los Angeles

:::: Anthony Wilson (guitar), Josh Nelson (piano), Hamilton Price (bass), Mark Ferber (drums), Alan Ferber (trombone), Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet), Matt Zebley (alto saxophone), Matt Otto (tenor saxophone), Adam Schroeder (baritone saxophone) ::::

:::: Live at Blue Whale, Little Tokyo, September 8, 2012 ::::
:::: Recorded, filmed, & edited by Alex Chaloff ::::
:::: Composition & Recording ©2012 Goat Hill Music & Recordings ::::
:::: All rights reserved ::::

Top 10: Online guitar lesson sites

 Top 10 of the best online guitar lessons. 

Help me put together a list of the best guitar lesson sites on the planet. It doesn't matter which genre or level. I've put down a number of criteria which I think are relevant.
As a professional teacher I am used to looking at different guitar books. I check the new method books that come out every year so I can give my pupils the best quality.  More and more kids rely on internet Tabs. Because the tabs are online pupils think they are correct. Most pupils don't seem to realize they are full of mistakes and they miss an overview. For example: they jump from (tab-) number to number not realizing that they are playing a chord that is arpeggiated!
Youtube lessons are there for pupils to enjoy too. Most are horrible and done by guys who can just about play the song they are teaching. There are a lot of great ones too. These are usually linked to a website which provide you with the tabs/ notation and extra info.

There are many sites in every conceivable  genre of amazing quality all the way to very bad sites.
What makes a guitar lesson good or bad?

1. Content.
They information has to be correct and relevant to the style.

2. Presentation
Clear explanation with quality videos. Great players aren't always the best teachers but when Robben Ford or Tim Miller talk you listen. More and more people are watching online material on their mobile device. Does it work there also?

3. Extra material ( pdf's, backing tracks, mobile version?)
These materials add to the learning experience.

4. Online community. ( Forum, facebook, twitter, etc)
Can I ask questions or is it a one way street?

Here are a few larger companies and individual guitar players that started their own site. There are thousands of sites but which ones are the best?, Lick Library, Tim Miller, Chuck D'Aloia, True Fire, Infinite, Mike's Masterclasses, Morton's guitar lessons,,,,, guitaraxis,

November 24, 2012

IN2 The Spirit: Blues fusion style Christmas guitar fest

*IN2 The Spirit* a Christmas Jazz & Blues CD

Support this unique artistic endeavour that takes traditional Christmas music to a whole new level! Featuring world-class musicians from Toronto, New York & LA.

With your support: I may be able to make this years 2012 Christmas realease date on iTunes. Regardless, I will stream rough mixes of this album the week leading up to Christmas until New Years Day.
I'm John Findlay, and I've been working in the music business for over 25 years as a Guitarist, Pianist, Singer, Composer and Producer. Your support will help me bring to life a project that I've been working hard on for over four years. My aim is to breathe new life into the Christmas genre, with compelling, creative arrangements and powerful performances.

How it all began....

The "IN2 the Spirit" album project started out 'just for fun' one Christmas when I recorded an arrangement of Little Drummer Boy so I could teach it to my 7 year old son on drums and piano. After a few years, I had finished quite a few 'for fun' demos and friends & colleagues started requesting that I turn it into a serious Christmas album project....and....
now I've now completed 90% of the project and have already recorded some of the world's finest talent including Bill Payne from Little FeatWill Lee from the David Letterman Show and Keith Carlock drummer for Sting, James Taylor and Steely Dan (full credits here.)

Drummer Boy.Silent Night.12 Days.The Christmas Song.
Carol Of The Bells.Ye Faithful.Midnight Clear.Jingle Bells.

Hark.Good King.Christmas Tree.Ghost of Blue Christmas.Ye Merry Gents
Santa Claus.Nu Lang Zyne.

Singer-songwriter, guitarist & pianist John Findlay has worked with numerous pop, blues & jazz luminaries including: Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Katrina and the Waves, Marc Jordan, Carlos Del Junco, Colin Linden, Rita Chiarelli, Georgie Fame, Snooky Prior, Sylvia Tyson, Cindy Church, Richard Carpenter & Carol Welsman. 
With the release of “FAIRPLAY” at Hughs Room in 2006 John garnered the attention of the Canadian blues community and the CD has sold all around the world. 
” My sound is a kind of uptown goes downtown…” Steely Dan meets Little Feat with a touch of Motown: a mix of blues, jazz and funky New Orleans. 
John is currently a member of the Johnny Max Band and they have been nominated for a JUNO this year for best blues CD. 
Check out more blues and some of John’s TV & documentary scores at

November 22, 2012

Relaxing the hands: guitar

Yeah that's me in this video. I recently talked about having a wrong image of how you move your fingers. One word that sends a wrong image to your head is "plucking" the string. Plucking too me sounds like arched tense fingers grabbing.  I tried to show you how I do it and how this has benefitted me.

In addition to the tips in the video I like to add the following tip which can be done away from the guitar also. Pick one joint, e.g.. the large knuckle of your left hand thumb or your knee and check several times a day wheter it is relaxed or not. We all hold unnecessary tension in our muscles. When we type, watch tv, wait for our turn in a meeting, supermarket stress.... etc. We cary this unhealthy habit into our playing too. You might need the adrenalin when your solo is coming up but not the tension.  You don't drive your car with the breaks still on!* Do you? Become aware and relax. Every time relax you start breaking the habit.

Relax dude!

Important: Enjoy playing don't struggle.

*Thanks for the analogy:jazzgtrl4

November 20, 2012

Hands: Move Well, Avoid Injury

Amazing discoveries for some of us. Because we don't always have a clear picture of how our body mechanics work we as musicians misuse our body causing pain and injury. It's good to look at these video series ( yes there are more) on how the hands, arms, shoulder, neck, back etc really function in a natural way. You can learn about this doing Tai Chi or Alexander technique. There may be others but we need to raise awareness. 

 Erroneous preconceived ideas about the use and the functioning of the body.

 F.M. Alexander (founder of the Alexander Technique)
"Your brain actually creates a representation of the size, structure and functioning of the muscles, bones and joints in your body.  One thing that many postural scientists assert is that this representation always trumps reality.
In essence, this means that you will try to move in accordance to how you believe your structure works, whether that belief is based upon truth or fallacy. (Again, you’ll strain trying to bend at joints that don’t exist, for example)
Of course, much of this “belief”  (or misunderstanding) is on an unconscious level, and has been cultivated by a lifetime of habit. Equally unfortunate,  some of this belief is conscious, due to misinformation. Too many times I see musicians creating excess strain as they try to carry out some bad (anatomically counterproductive, if not impossible) advice given to them by their music teachers.
But whether below the level of consciousness or not, the unfortunate truth for musicians is that this misconceived sense of self, multiplied by thousands of repetitive movements everyday (practice),  leads to strain, injury, poor coordination and inconsistent technique.
The good news is that you can change your misconceptions about how your body works. You can learn to move more in accordance to the design of your structure as it relates to gravity.
How? Start by gaining some knowledge. Get a basic understanding of the structure and functioning of your musculo-skelatal system. Look at pictures from anatomy books and study the structures. Experiment with your own body to find where your joints are and how they work.
I’ve come across a tool that is highly useful for helping you to gain a clear and accurate understanding of how your body functions as you move and maintain posture. It is a marvelous DVD produced by Barbara Conable (edited and narrated by Amy Likar) entitled Move Well, Avoid Injury: What Everyone Needs To Know About The Body. "