Here is an early bird edition of my three random thoughts. For those who are new here, each Monday I share a post with 3 random thoughts on guitar, music, and life, this time including thoughts about movie soundtracks, making scales fun, and more.
Anyway, tomorrow I will be away on holiday for a four-day break so here it is, one day early.
#1 – Cars, guitars, buying anything – it’s a minefield out there
My car has bitten the dust.
I took it to the garage last week and with a heavy heart the mechanic came out, shook his head solemnly, and said, “Dan, sorry, I couldn’t save her”.
So off she went to the big parking lot in the sky and off I went on the search for a new motor.
Back and forth I went to various garages, debating how much to spend.
Do I be practical, do I go for the dream car or keep it sensible?
Just like guitar shopping, it’s a minefield out there.
One thing that stood out was this:
You can do all the research you like on the net but only one thing really counts:
Trying it in person.
I spent about 2 hours researching a few cars thinking this will be good but as soon as I saw it, I was thinking, “Noooo!”
When I took one for a test drive, I instantly knew it was right.
A lot of the time students ask me, “Is this brand good or is that guitar a good one?”
I tell them what I think but say to them…
“You cannot substitute going out and trying the guitar out for yourself.”
That goes for cars, and guitars too.
#2 – Movie soundtracks – how music and film are the perfect companions
Growing up, I was more into movies than music (in my pre-guitar days that is).
Star Wars, Terminator 2 and other Arnie classics (especially from the ‘80s), Tarantino films, Second World War films like The Great Escape, the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, and more…
I loved them all, and they all had one thing in common:
They were great movies anyway, but the movie soundtracks in all of these took them to the next level – from great to classic.
Without the music they would still be great movies, but how much more memorable are they when they have iconic soundtracks?
A great example of iconic movie soundtracks is the ‘80s movie Paris, Texas which I watched this week.
It has a memorable opening scene.
The guy walks through the desert, dehydrated, in a cap and tie, looking dishevelled and dehydrated.
Ry Cooder is playing a series of haunting slide blues notes as the camera pulls out with some stunning cinematography.
A very memorable scene with a big contribution from the blues of Ry Cooder.
Music and cinema do make for the perfect companions and when watching any movie, I nearly always pay a lot of attention to the soundtrack (and not even always on purpose).
#3 – Make scales fun!
One thing about scales is that they can be pretty boring.
Yes, they are important, and they make for great technical exercises.
They also help you learn the notes on the fretboard and connect the dots of theory.
So, it’s all good then.
The thing is unless someone is an electric lead player most guitarists don’t have the foggiest idea of what to do with scales.
When I teach students to play scales, they learn the notes in the scale one string at a time.
This means they will only learn 2 to 3 notes in one go (which is far easier than the 15-20 notes in a “complete” scale shape most people are taught).
It is so much easier learning it string by string.
Once they learn the notes on one string, we stop and jam the hell out of the notes on this string for a few minutes.
I show them little riffs and melodies all of which use just these 2 to 3 notes.
Each idea is fun and helps build up the student’s confidence.
It is surprising what you can do with just a couple of notes (limiting the number of notes pushes you to be more creative).
Anyway, keep that in mind as you learn and practise scales.
Whenever you learn a scale, remember to break it up into stages (i.e., one string at a time) and have some fun while doing so.
Yesterday I filmed a video on this showing you my exact method.
It will be released in the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy bonus lesson for the month of August (out on the 1st of August).
Anyway, that’s it from me until I get back from this short break in Lyme Regis (south of England).
Have a great week!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.