I was speaking with Jonnie today on the way to practice about how musicians are basically giant sponges. We absorb everything we hear and spit it back out in our music. If you haven’t listened to any good music lately here’a piece I enjoy.
Vocal Harmonies Abound!
Hey everyone, the background vocal additions are sounding great! Me, Jonnie, and Bruno have been working hard to get things ready for Winter Garden Music Festival and I can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’ve come up with. Having Bruno sing has really taken a load off of me vocally since I get to sing in my comfort range now. It’s just very relieving to hear things sound so nice and full without having to kill myself to make it happen. Good thing Bruno has such a nice, high voice ;P
Adding new vocal harmony parts has been a lot of fun for me since I’m kind of the “theory guy” as far as the three of us goes. Making sure all the important notes are covered has been cool. Gotta get them triads goin’! Anywho, the vocals are just sounding better and better all the time. Makes me excited for the future and stuff…
Indie Music Spotlight - Emily Kopp
If you haven’t heard of her yet she is on the rise! She has soul, blues, pop and a vibe that makes you want to listen more and more. She has also been a very good friend of JMB’s over the years as we have grown up in this industry together. You also may be seeing her playing with us at our Album Release in the next couple of months at House of Blues.
Speaking of…”Serendipity Find Me,” Emily’s new full length album will be hitting stores on October 15th. You can find it pretty much everywhere online and she will be hitting the road promoting it so be on the lookout for new tour dates. Emily Kopp is a prime example of the amount of talent that has been building in Orlando in the past few years and she represents the city amazingly. To find out more information please check out her links below!
Until next time,
Theory Thursdays: Attention Drum Majors!
This may be more physics related than music theory related but it’s my post so I’ll do what I want! I found this very interesting as it demonstrates how sound travels at a slow enough rate to cause tempo problems even from such a small proximity. Check it out!
For Guitarists: Expanding Your Current Tone
Today I will be talking about how to expand you tone with your current set-up. Most people look to change their amp settings, pedal settings, or strings to enhance their tone, but the answer (literally) already lies in their hands:
I am not saying you should buy a new guitar, but rather utilize all the parts of your instrument to create a more dynamic tone. The answer lies in the:
1. Pick-up selector
2. Tone knobs
The combination of (1) and (2) with the situation your are in (is it a blues jam? a funk jam? a heavy metal ballad?) allows you to sound like a muted-jazz guitarist all the way to the lead guitarist in an overdistorted punk rock garage band.
1. Pick-up selector
This it the little switch on the guitar that lets you select what pick-up will be used to produce the sounds your guitar makes. On the two guitars that I use (Strat and RG), I can select between 5 different settings:
1. Neck pickup
2. Neck/Middle pickup
3. Middle pickup
4. Bridge/MIddle pickup
5. Bridge pickup
Most guitars allow for these 5 settings, although some have more or less. Each one generates a unique tone. The majority of guitarists I have seen will typically leave it in one setting throughout a song/jam (usually the bridge). Although this isnt necessarily bad, they lose to access to a range of tones that can help enhance the dynamics and feel of the song.
To find out which ones to use, experiment on your current setup and see how much of a difference it makes. Some of my favorites include:
FOR RHYTHM PARTS
- Neck pickup (clean guitar): It helps create a richer, fuller tone. I will mostly use this during fingerpicking and soft, jazzy parts.
- Bridge/Middle pickup (clean guitar): This helps gets a Dire Striats/80’s Ballad tone. I like this setting for strumming chords because it is not to trebely (like the bridge) and it is not too overpowering/full (neck pickup).
- Bridge (overdriven guitar): This helps get a chunky, hard-rock sound. I use this when I want to do alot of palm-muting and pinch-harmonics.
FOR LEAD PARTS
- Neck pickup (clean guitar): This helps create a rich, soulful blues tone. In addition to sounding really good, it gives (on my guitars) a slight volume boost.
- Neck pickup (distorted guitar): I use this for the majority of my lead parts. The go-to for most guitarists is the bridge, but in most cases it comes of as feedbacky and trebely. Using the neck for disotrted leads allows you to play screaming leads without having to worry about the audiences’ ears.
Although these are a few of my favorites, I will usually end up using each one by the end of a night. Experiement to find out which ones you like best as each set-up is different.
2. Tone Knobs
In addition to the pickup selector, the tone knobs help fine-tune the tone. The tone knobs allow you to have a muted-jazz to trebely metal guitar tone, regardless of what pickup selector you use. Guitars typically have 1+ tone knobs, with each one affecting a certain set of pickups. For example:
- My Ibanez RG has one tone knob that controls each pickup selector position.
- My Fender Strat has two tone knobs that either controls the (1) Neck, Neck/Middle, Middle postions or the (2) Bridge, Bridge/Middle, Middle positions.
The tone knobs range from 0-10, with each number influencing the pickup selectors differently. For ex:
- A 3 on the bridge pickup may be equal to an 6 on the neck pickup.
WIth the combination of the pickup selector and tone knobs, you have access to a range of tones that can be used in a variety of situations. Combining the pickup selector, the tone knobs, and the situation, here are a few of my favorites:
- Neck pickup (clean guitar; Tone Knob: 0; Situation: quite jazz jam
- Neck pickup (clean guitar); Tone Knob: 7-8; Situation: dirty blues
- Bridge/Middle pickup (clean guitar); Tone Knob: 8-9; Situation: dire Striats-esque clean solo
- Bridge/Middle pickup (distorted guitar); Tone Knob: 5; Situation: funky rhythm/lead
- Bridge pickup (clean guitar); Tone Knob: 4-5; Situation: Post-rock lead
- Bridge pickup (overdriven guitar); Tone Knob: 6-7; Situation: heavy rhythm guitar
I add the situation because that is as important as your tone. Morphing your tone into a muted jazz guitar during a low breakdown can have a much greater impact than making it bright and full. Nothing is worse than expecting a rich, full blues tone and hearing a trebely mess. The key to understanding the situation is to listen and determine which tones create the largest impact on the feel and dynamics of the song. This can be done by:
2. Listening to music! See how other musicians blend their tones to create different impacts.
These are just a few that I know off the top of my head, and I am constatly changing and experimenting to find out which tones work best where.
The best way to learn is to try it yourself. Sit down with your full setup, and:
1. Select a clean tone. Play a little bit (both lead then on rhythm) on each pickup selector while adjusting your tone knobs from 0-10. Try and find 2-3 good ones that you really like, and incorporate them into your jamming/playing.
2. Select a overdriven/distorted tone. Play a little bit (both lead and rhythm) on each pickup selector while adjusting your tone knobs. Try and find 2-3 good ones that you really like, and incorporate them into your jamming/playing.
If you find some good ones, share them here!
Metal Mondays with Bruno
I have many influences in the genre. Mainly focused on the drummers like Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Rhino of Manowar , and so on. All these drummers have some sick bass drum techniques, that seemed impossible to me as a kid, that today it’s only possible with a lot of practice and conditioning. With songs like “Becoming” from Pantera sparked a love for aggressive bass drum patterns that one day will come out in the right songs. And other songs like “Demons Whip” from Manowar that made the heavy metal drummers from today play the way they do. Being able to play 16th notes at 145bpm for more than 45 seconds is a dream that one day will be my reality.
Till next time,
November 12th, 2011 London, UK
For today’s Theory Thursday I wanted to share a video that as a jazz musician is extremely important for anyone studying jazz. It’s Chris Potter playing - unaccompanied - over the changes to the tune “Tune Up”. It’s amazing….
Leadership and A RocknRoll Band
"Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal." —Vince Lombardi
Being the frontman in a Modern RocknRoll Band leading a team to become the greatest band people have ever seen, you can imagine the uphill challenges that we face. You surely cannot do it alone. You would be a fool to think that and honestly may need to put your pride in check. The one thing I’ve realized through the members of JMB is the notion that we are all leaders. We all have the capability to become great leaders within the organizations that we are a part of. (Notice how I didn’t say work for; we choose our own paths and destiny’s and you should always feel a part of what you’re doing, not like it’s a chore). I feel so blessed to be leading a team in which I’m surprised everyday by the leadership roles that members take to make this band successful.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” -John F. Kennedy
The one thing I will say, it’s a constant learning curve. I don’t know everything and I will never know everything. You have to put your ego aside and let others teach you as well as guiding your team along the way. I will always be learning from others around me to improve on my own leadership skills.
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” —Warren Bennis
I do know that I am a dreamer. I can envision the Jonnie Morgan Band selling out stadiums, arena’s and playing the NFL halftime show. It’s so real that I can feel it, I taste it, I strive for it, I hear it. It’s this that keeps me going. I believe that we are going to do it so badly that it is my responsibility, through hard work within our band, to make it a reality.
I am so blessed to be a part of the Jonnie Morgan Band. Like any team, it has taught me so much about myself and has helped me to improve who I am as a human being. I have learned that being a leader really involves listening, not being afraid to say no and to take charge when difficult times arise. I have learned that leading by example is the best way for people to learn and to never be afraid to ask for advice. The most important thing that I have learned is that it takes HARD WORK. You have to be willing to work every single day, harder than anyone else, day in and day out and to never give up on your dreams. We are all leaders, we all have the qualities within us. Unleash it for the world needs more leaders to help shape our beautiful world.
Until next time,
It’s Tuesday night. What are you up to?
Odds are if you’re Evan Taylor Jones you’re out promoting the sounds of Motown, Soul and R&B. Think Marvin Gaye but without the drugs and family issues. He truly has a hell of a voice and is using it to create some music that just needs to be heard.