I’ve been a busy bee since school got out in early May. I have recorded 3 albums. For two of those albums I had to write a lot of music. For one, I just had to talk. None of them are available on iTunes or Spotify yet. Probably available in another week. You can currently listen to them on my Bandcamp site.
Over the last couple of years I have been writing a group of laments for the guitar. They started out as short, one-minute pieces. Over the last couple of months I have been expanding them into actual pieces of music. Scores/tabs are available here.
I get asked a lot of questions from people. How long have you played the guitar? Where are you from? Who influenced you? So I decided to record a spoken word album where I talk about those things. It is called, The Business of Being Rob.
Finally, I love messing with effects so I put together an album of guitar pieces that uses all kinds of different effects. There are a few songs on this album that don’t contain effects, but for the most part, this is an effects driven album called, Broken Glass.
I love the sound of a wah pedal. I have used it for many years while playing electric guitar. I decided to give it a try with my nylon string. I’m using a Crybaby Wah pedal…
Here are a few of my favorite Wah moments….
Sweet Child O’ Mine solo by Slash. This is the solo that got me into playing guitar. The wah pedal begins around the 3:03 mark.
Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix. The classic wah opening and he uses the pedal on and off throughout the piece. I couldn’t find the studio version on Youtube but check it out for the beautiful wah wah pedal opening.
Gory Head Stump by Buckethead. Buckethead uses a ton of wah in many of his songs. He begins using the wah around the 2:21 mark.
For this video recorded the drone first. I recorded myself singing and playing a B (second fret, fifth string) and then I stretched it out by using the Paulstretch (I LOVE THIS EFFECT) on Audacity. I then used headphones and recorded this improvisation over the drone.
I am currently composing 10 etudes for the classical guitar. I am writing them for myself, to become a better guitarist, and I am also composing them for anyone interested in incorporating new techniques in their playing. Extended techniques are a great way to increase the expressive nature of this beautiful instrument.
So what do I think about while I improvise? Short answer is…not much. That’s the ideal–just let the music flow. The arrangement is in A minor so I figured I would improvise in A minor before going into the theme. Every now and then I’ll hit an unexpected note and the challenge is to make it fit. For example, around the 2:24ish mark I hit a C-sharp which I wasn’t planning on. The C-sharp would give the feeling of A major which is something I wasn’t looking to do. After I hit the C-sharp I decided to hit it again and then move down chromatically to the E. That’s the decision I made in the second or two after I hit that C-sharp. Little things like this are what I think about while I am improvising.
Here is the ending of my 8th Lament. Last year I composed rough drafts of twelve laments. I am currently going through and expanding them. I am currently through eight of them.
This one uses tapping with the right hand to play the bass part. Tapping is fun and is easier to get a good sound on an electric guitar than a classical. When you tap the bass strings on a classical there is a lot of noise. If you tap on the upper three strings it’s tough to get a loud enough sound. Here is the score for this section…