3 Pieces of Music Career Advice You Should Never Follow...

by Christine Occhino

These days it seems like everyone has an opinion on how to make it in the music biz. With all the nonsense that's floating around, (rich with all the latest buzz phrases and old-school ideologies), it's tough to weed out the good stuff from all of the outdated and futile information lurking in the depths of the internet and spewing from the mouths of washed-up professors and industry ancients. Here are three pieces of music career advice that you should never follow.

1. "Just keep sending your demo, someone will notice you eventually!"
Wrong. No one will notice. Why? Because they're all tossed straight into the big rolling trash bin the second they're delivered. That old-school mentality of sending in your demo CDs or packaging them creatively so the receivers will be more likely to open them is just not the way things work anymore.

Record label execs now have so many levels of people between them and the poor sap in the mail room that it's virtually impossible for anything to get beyond the front door. During my time working at Sony Music Entertainment, I'd see pounds and pounds of creative work being tossed straight into the garbage in bulk every single day. As an artist, it's both discouraging and disheartening to know that this is the harsh reality, but the truth is, this is the climate of the industry right now.

But don't lose all hope yet, because what I can tell you from being on the inside is that there are two good ways that you can still get your demo in front of the right people: one, get it in the hands of A and R reps, or two, get it to the Big Kahuna's right-hand person.

To find the A and R guys (or girls), you can use any network connections you may have or just utilize the good ol' internet to get some answers. It could be as easy as a quick exploration through LinkedIn. Either send your stuff straight to them if you can, or go check out one of their artists' next shows; they'll be sure to be there.

And the right-hand people I'm referring to are the ones that interact with the higher-ups on a regular basis: their lawyers, assistants, publicists, etc. If you can cultivate a relationship with one of those very influential people, you can bet your ass that if they like you, your demo will undoubtedly end up on a very important mahogany desk come Monday morning.

2. "Hard work pays off."
Wrong again. In the la la land of unicorns and butterflies, all of your hard work pays off, sure! But in reality, just because you're "working hard" by your definition doesn't ultimately guarantee you career or financial success. It just doesn't work that way.

What does work, though, is making sure you work smarter, not harder. Do work that is directly related to your goal, and make sure you're making yourself accountable for making progress in the right direction. Seek the guidance from those who have also found success in your desired field, and make sure you're not just pounding the pavement the wrong way and ultimately staying stagnant.

Continue learning and advancing your education, honing your craft, and building equity in your talent and experience. Working hard is just part of it; working the right way doing the right things toward the right goals is what will make all the difference.

3. "Just do what you love, and the money will follow."
And here's my favorite piece of bad advice. Just because you love doing something, that doesn't necessarily mean someone - somewhere will see value in that enough to pay you for it – and that's just the harsh reality.

The idea that doing what you love will miraculously bring you financial success one day is both naive and ridiculous. I hate to make it so black and white, but it's simple business knowledge, people: supply and demand. When there's a surplus supply of something, it drives price down.

Take, for example, the "by-night musicians" we've all come across. I call them that because they're often doctors by day, and musicians by night. This is the guy who always wished he'd been a rock star but ended up in a monotonous, regular, nine-to-five job, so he lives out those fantastic dreams of his by playing for free at the local watering hole every Saturday night.

He /she, in turn, of course, is the reason that said bar owner refuses to pay the "real musicians" a decent salary, since he can get what he deems to be a similar service for free or next to nothing. More half-assed musicians willing to play for free equals less willingness for venue owners to pay for or see the monetary value in live music.

In contrast, when you offer a service that's less common, you're often able to command a higher price tag for that service. So the point is, if you want to make a career doing what you love, you need to figure out how to create perceived value in that and what will give you a competitive edge in the market so you can financially support that dream.

As we've discussed, talent is unfortunately not enough in itself, and practicing endlessly in your bedroom just won't do it either. To sum up this point, I think Kate White says it best: "Think about where your interests and talents intersect with the greatest potential for financial success, and head toward those points of intersection."

Christine Occhino is the founder and artistic director of The Pop Music Academy and has experience working at Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment, in addition to working as a performing artist for over a decade. She has a bachelor's degree in music business and management with a concentration in entrepreneurship and vocal performance from Berklee College of Music, where she was a vocal scholarship recipient and former editor-in-chief of The Berklee Groove.

Willie Nelson to open chain of Marijuana stores...

Willie Nelson is about to turn his hobby and past time into a business.

Nelson will open a chain of stores along with marketing his own brand of marijuana and accessories, all under the name 'Willie's Reserve.'

Willie let the news slip recently to James Joiner at the Daily Beast while waiting to go on at his annual Heartbreaker Banquet. That led to an interview with Michael Bowman who is working with Nelson on the venture.

According to Bowman, Willie's Reserve, as a whole, will be reflective of Nelson's long standing support of cannabis, both industrial and leisure use, with the stores including both Nelson's strains and those from other growers who meet certain quality standards.

Bowman said 'Let's just call it the anti-Walmart model. Personally, internally, that's what we call it. A certain standard by which growers have to account for carbon and such, in a way that empowers small growers who are doing the right thing.'

Initially, the company will examine locations in states where marijuana has become legal, Colorado, Washington and Alaska, but are expecting the number of states to grow in the near future.

Micro Lesson 100: "D Major" I-VI-IV-II-V Jazz Progression

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 100"

This 100th Micro Lesson takes a look at a popular set of chord changes found in "Jazz Harmony." 

This very common sounding Jazz progression is set in the key of, "D Major," and runs across the diatonic harmony movement of, "VI, IV, II, V." 

In measure one, we play off of a riff and lick idea based upon the home chord of, "D maj.7." Measure two applies the "VI, IV," movement with an, "F#m7," and a, "G maj.7." Measure three applies the "II" chord in two versions, the "Bm7" and the extension of, "Bm11." The final cadence measure plays through both an "A13" and an altered dominant of "A7#5." 

Take your time with the chords if you find them challenging. Work toward memorizing the fingerings and in time their speed will come. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 100: "D Major" I-VI-IV-II-V Jazz Progression

AMAZING VIDEO: "Devon Townsend" Thoughts on Touring

Musical mastermind Devin Townsend recently shared some very introspective thoughts about touring as a part of Freqs TV's "Ghosts of the Road" series.

Brutal honesty and standard Hevy Devy awesomeness make this one a must-see. You can check out the partial transcript below, but we highly recommend watching the clip.

"I'm not a very team-minded person, although as a boss I've learned become one, I think," Devin kicked off. "I've learned to understand the value of morale and where my place relegates my emotional connection to the guys. You find ways to integrate yourself into the team."

"It's a long process, learning to become part of something, and to compromise, and where your shortcomings are and how to get the result that I want from a group of people without being a tyrant."

"It's a job, there's an element to it that's a lot of fun. A lot of the time the fun ends up being a result of trying to maintain either a productive frame of mind or morale within the group."

"Although a lot of the things that you find yourself doing on tour from the outside appear to be a party, it's more about trying to keep your frame of mind positive, because it's very easy in a group of human beings, specifically in a group of males, to find yourself getting depressed."

"You're away from home, you're away from being able to deal with problems that arise at home and children and family and wives and girlfriends and all those sorts of things."

"Everybody deals with it differently - some people escape, be that drugs or alcohol or women or anything like this, and other find themselves getting really insular; others will find themselves really engaged in the work, several of my guys do the tech work as well and they get paid an additional salary to do that, but it keeps their mind occupied so they don't fall into that trap."

"For myself, I play guitar and write, but not consciously, I don't do it in a way like I would at home, it's something that I do more as a meditative process."

He continued, "I find the biggest hurdle to be social etiquette and social responsibilities that unless I'm touring I don't have or engage in whatsoever. So the transition period from being completely on my own or with family to be traveling with people and small talk and editing my moods and being around a bunch of new people and then the focus of a ton of attention is really... it's not impossible, but it's a transition that usually takes upwards of two weeks to completely integrate and at that point you find ways to emotionally protect yourself, ironically in those very ways you find yourself at a disadvantage when you get home because you're unable to connect yourself to the people that deserve it the most."

Check out the full clip below.

These 12-Year-Old Kids Were Taken Hostage By A Major Label...

When YouTube and social media viewers first saw Brooklyn heavy metal outfit "Unlocking The Truth" wailing on a New York City sidewalk in their debut viral-bound video two years ago, everyone was instantly beguiled by the young trio.

The enthusiasm and obvious skill of the three teenaged musicians instantly made fans of the hundreds of thousands who viewed their busking clip. Everyone agreed, the boys were destined for the big time.

But it’s when the band finally got their big break in the form of a much-publicised $1.8 million contract with Sony Music Entertainment that their name became oddly prophetic and the true nature of the music industry revealed itself.

In the lead-up to the release of, "Breaking a Monster," Luke Meyer’s new documentary that chronicles how three young, metal-loving black kids from Brooklyn attempted to navigate show business, the boys sat down with The Daily Beast.

It was pretty difficult at times with these meetings — especially with this one particular lady at the label, who had a meeting with us once where she was just talking at us for six hours,” says bassist Alec Atkins, 13.

We were pretty young at the time so we were pretty restless and wanted to get up and do something else, but she just had us in this meeting for six hours.”

This became the boys’ reality after their famous signing – long, drawn-out meetings with label representatives who each had an idea about how to best market the boys, regardless of their cooperation.

It’s all about branding,” their label rep tells the nonplussed boys early on in Breaking a Monster, before displaying a mock-up of them transformed into Boondocks-like characters for an accompanying cartoon.

The guys are such a blank slate,” says Meyer. “They wanted to jump into the world and wanted to be rock stars, but they had no idea what it was going to be about.”

When people meet the guys, they usually meet them with their idea of who they think they should be — like a Boondocks cartoon, or these cute metal-heads. It’s a place where you can see this divide between the guys’ intentions and the label’s intentions.”

Naturally, the endless meetings took a toll on three teenagers who just want to play music and Grand Theft Auto. In one scene, guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 14, snaps at a label rep, “I’m not tired, I’m aggravated.”

There are so many different types of meetings,” says drummer Jarad Dawkins, 13. “Sometimes we have meetings at our lawyer’s office, sometimes we have a meeting with a company. It depends on what the occasion is.”

Contrary to the general public’s perception, which would dictate that a contract ramps up your career, the band’s signing has left them in a stalemate with Sony. The boys are desperate to leave their contract and are in the midst of negotiating their egress.

It’s been very difficult. We’re speaking to our attorneys about leaving Sony, and it’s very complicated,” says Alec. “The album is ready, but because our attorneys are talking about us leaving the record label, it’s going to be a whole process of getting our music back.”

The contract itself isn’t even as lucrative as it sounds. “The $1.8 million is what happens if you add up all their advances for five records, and it increases in amount with each successive album,” says Meyer.

In order to go beyond their advance, Unlocking The Truth need to sell over 250,000 copies of a single album, which is a near impossibility in today’s music industry.

That’s what everyone says about the music industry,” adds Meyer, “it’s got all this glitter on it, but it’s always less flashy than it looks.”

At one point in the film, Malcolm demands to see some evidence of the $1.8 million, refusing to leave a van until he does. The band’s contract, of course, was a 360 deal that covered five albums, as well as a cut of touring, publishing, merch., etc.

The growing feelings of resentment amongst the band’s members culminate in Malcolm turning to the band’s manager and asking if the only reason they were signed was because they’re these young, cute black kids who are into heavy metal.

You think Malcolm’s making this big discovery, but then you realize that he’s known this all along,” says Meyer.

As well as cartoon pitches, at one point Sony attempt to convert them from an instrumental outfit to a group with singing, hiring a vocal coach to train and deepen Malcolm’s barely pubescent vocal chords.

Despite the debacle that their contract has become, the band have not only retained that infectious enthusiasm first displayed on that New York street corner, but they feel palpably optimistic about their careers.

I like the excitement of performing,” Jarad says. “How people feel entertained, and look at you, and get excited. We’re trying to become one of the best metal bands out there, and I believe that really shows in our performances, and how excited we are to perform for different crowds, people, and cultures.”

“Our whole lives changed after we were signed,” he continues. “We can’t just go out and ‘do things,’ we have to get everything approved. But we realize that we’re not normal kids anymore and we have a career ahead of us, so we don’t want to mess that up.”

Micro Lesson 099: "G Minor" Harmonic Minor Lick

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 099"

This Micro Lesson covers a Harmonic Minor Scale Lick in the key of, "G Minor." 

The lick runs across several positions. Starting at the fifth position, we develop the first section of the lick off of the, "G" Root on the 4th string. Since one of our unique color tones of the Harmonic Minor Scale is the raised seventh, (F#), the lick begins from pushing between that raised seventh tone and the scales tonic note, (G). 

The lick then travels up into the 7th position where we find another interaction between the, "G," as well as, the 6th scale tone, and the raised 7th tone of, "F#." The distance between the 6th and the raised 7th is unique sounding in Harmonic Minor since it generates an interval of an "Augmented 2nd."

The final part of this lick operates up in the 11th position. Here we have further interaction between the tonic note of "G" and that raised seventh of "F#." Enjoy working with the amazing sounds of the Harmonic Minor Scale!

Micro Lesson 099: "G Minor" Harmonic Minor Lick

GuitarBlog: Jazz Blues for Dummies

GuitarBlog: Jazz Blues for Dummies...

This week on the GuitarBlog we run through how to perform the common 12-bar Jazz-Blues chord changes. 

Memorizing a few Jazz-Blues progressions can be very helpful to our guitar playing skills. They not only follow the common layouts found in traditional 12-bar Blues progressions, but they also introduce certain popular jazz situations that are incredibly beneficial to; 

- Learn about their structure and their form
- Know chord patterns (specifically the Maj.7, Min.7, Dom.7)
- Become familiar with 12-bar variations as they occur

If you play guitar long enough and get into enough different playing situations, the day will eventually come where someone throws a set of jazz-blues changes in front of you. And, they'll expect that you can play them down. You should have some working knowledge and be able to at minimum read a chart of these chord changes.

The best part about the way I've laid out this particular set of 12-bar jazz blues chord changes is the fact that they are not terribly difficult to learn. By using the chord voicings discussed in the lesson, with a small amount of work, you can generally develop these chords fairly quickly. Enjoy! 

Jazz Blues for Dummies:

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Five Reasons You Suck at Slide Guitar

Have you ever bought a guitar slide and had intentions of ripping new leads with it, only to discover when you get home that it’s damn near impossible to use?

Playing really good slide guitar takes more a little dedication in practice and technique, but also in the way you set up your gear.

Here’s a quick rundown of five roadblocks that might be keeping you from playing great slide guitar:

01. Your guitar is in standard tuning.
This is the biggest killer of new slide players. Don’t try to play slide in standard tuning. As a starter, re-tune your guitar to open D (D A D F# A D) and rake that slide up to the 12th fret like Elmore James! With an open tuning, the slide becomes a moveable chord up and down the neck.

02. Your strings are too light, and the action is too low.
Slide guitar is different than shred guitar. If you want to grind out some deep grooves with that new slide on your finger, get some heavier strings on your guitar that will maintain pressure as you slide. (try electric guitars strung with .011 or .012 gauge with wound G strings.) Also, raising your action keeps your slide from 'clacking' on the frets.

03. Your non-slide friends told you to study Sonny Landreth and Derek Trucks.
That’s like learning to drive a car using a Lamborghini! Sonny and Derek are amazing players, but they’re the top-level dudes. Start where they started, with the foundational slide heroes. Fill your playlist with Hound Dog Taylor, Elmore James, Muddy Waters and even some George Thorogood.

04. You’re putting the slide on an uncomfortable finger.
So which finger is correct for slide? The answer is, there is no correct finger! If the slide feels comfortable on your pinkie, then that’s where you should wear it. I use my ring finger. Bonnie Raitt puts her wine bottleneck slide on her middle finger. Australian slide wizard Dave Hole uses his index finger and plays with his hand over the top of the neck!

05. Your slide doesn’t fit right.
This one has a simple solution: Collect more slides! Some players I've met have gone through more than 50 guitar slides, from generic slides sold in guitar stores to hand-cut wine bottlenecks, spark-plug sockets (they make awesome slides!), medicine bottles found at flea markets and even strange contraptions like The Edge Slide, which mimics Blind Willie Johnson’s pocketknife.

*One extra suggestion: Get a dedicated slide guitar. Heavy-gauge strings and higher action might not be the best thing for your main axe. Instead, find the cheapest, gnarliest guitar and convert it to slide.

Hound Dog Taylor played junky, cheapo Japanese guitars through old Silvertone amps with blown speakers, and it was the greatest sound ever. For some reason, slide guitar sounds fantastic when played on junky guitars. Old electrics such as Silvertone, Teisco, Harmony and other off-name brands from the Sixties are prime axes. But any flea-market, garage sale, abandoned electric guitar will work too. 

Below is my Slide Lesson:


Good luck! Don’t forget to share this all over Facebook and Twitter!

Gene Simmons Blasts “Dishonest” Musicians

While KISS bassist Gene Simmons has been known to put his foot in it from time to time, his latest interview actually yielded a very interesting suggestion that isn’t as poorly thought-out as some of his other infamously incendiary commentary.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph ahead of KISS’ return to Australian shores in October, Simmons said he wants “dishonest” bands who play to pre-recorded backing tapes to actually include the fact on their concert tickets.

I have a problem when you charge $100 to see a live show and the artist uses backing tracks,” said Simmons. “It’s like the ingredients in food, if the first ingredient on the label is sugar that’s at least honest.

It should be on every ticket — you’re paying $100, 30 to 50 per cent of the show is (on) backing tracks and they’ll sing sometimes, sometimes they’ll lip synch. At least be honest. It’s not about backing tracks, it’s about dishonesty.”

There’s nobody with a synthesiser on our stage, there’s no samples on the drums, there’s nothing. There’s very few bands who do that now — AC/DC, Metallica, us. I can’t even say that about U2 or the Stones. There’s very few bands who don’t use (backing) tracks.”

Simmons also found time in the interview to share his thoughts on toddy’s crop of pop stars. “I liked the new song Rihanna did with Kanye West and Paul McCartney (‘FourFiveSeconds’),” he said.

“She sounded better singing a real song. Umbrella-ella-ella? I don’t get it. Lots of people do, that’s great. Lady Gaga I like, she’s the real deal.”

“She’s come to our shows, what she’s done with Tony Bennett show that above the backing tracks and dancers from Las Vegas on poles she can really sing. I’d like to see Gaga come out with a real rock band and do a rock record.

“She is the real deal, unlike all the others. She can do what Madonna can’t — she can sing.” However, Simmons was sympathetic towards Madge after her much-publicised fall during the most recent Brit Awards.

That was unfortunate, but she got up, on with the show. It’ll happen. That’s not embarrassing, it’s embarrassing when the backing track dies,” he insisted.

**NEW** GUITAR GADGET: Plays Chords in Seconds!

According to the inventors of "Hand Chord" the number one reason people give up playing guitar is because of finger pain. So, supposedly their nifty little chord tool the hand chord takes away all the pain and frustration.

In their new KickStarter campaign they guarantee no more hurting fingers, just a soft cushy rubber feel. The device is also heralded as a shortcut for people who don't have the time to learn guitar and also a gateway for people learning guitar to help them concentrate on strumming and getting a feel for playing guitar, "without months of practice."

In a nutshell, the Hand Chord is a modular designed piece of plastic that allows you to plug in rubber pads for right or for reverse left handed players.

You can swap out components like the extra large handle for bigger hands, or replace the easy glide pads with a guitar slide attachment that makes it easy to mix slide and chords together.

So, what do you think? Watch the sales video below... Would this gadget be of any actual use for aspiring guitar players? Or, is it just a gimmicky waste of money on the road to being a "Old-Fashion" player (who actually learns to fret chords)? Leave your comments below...


Micro Lesson 098: "Key of A" Blues Boogie Riff

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 098"

This Micro Lesson introduces a Blues Boogie Riff in the key of "A." 

The riff begins from off of the 2nd and 3rd guitar strings covering the interval of a major to minor third. 

The idea resolves strongly in the second measure to the root note of "A" with a pedal tone idea off of the b7 "G" chord tone. The third measure is very interesting with a double-stop idea pushing the root and major 3rd of the "D7" chord and a color shift into a "Dm" chord. 

The fourth measure ties it all together with a traditional Blues Boogie phrase. The riff is best performed by using a flat-pick. Although it could also be performed fingerstyle. As always, work slowly to develop speed. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson 098: "Key of A" Blues Boogie Riff

How to Soundproof Your Home Studio or Rehearsal Space...

While this is a topic that's often covered by many online music resources aimed at the DIY crowd, there's a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding floating around on this topic. 

First, let's get one thing out of the way: abandon all hope here of building a truly 100 percent soundproof room. Unless you're working for an Ivy League physics department, you lack the budget and resources to even attempt to tackle this task. And, if you were, you also probably wouldn't be reading this article on soundproofing principles anyway. Don't despair, though – you can do a really great job at keeping sound in (or out) despite being not absolutely 100% soundproof.

The next thing we need to clear up before we go further are the differences between "soundproofing" to reduce sound transmission and "sound treatment" to tame acoustics within the room. There's a big difference between these two things, and they're not interchangeable.

This is the reason why you were getting looks from haters when you slapped up egg crate foam mattress toppers or moving blankets all over the inside of your closet to make your "soundproof booth." There's a number of issues with this method besides people having to duck the clothes rod running through at head level every time somebody wants to record something. I'll save most of these for another article on acoustic treatment as that's what has been done here. Acoustic treatments are things that are applied to surfaces of the room that will affect the actual acoustic response within the room; they are not soundproofing.

What is soundproofing? Soundproofing is the application of practices or physical treatments to actually stop the transmission of sound through a structure. So with that, you can already begin to see how sticking some foam on the wall is not doing anything for soundproofing. Sound transmission has to be defeated at its most fundamental level, which often requires physical adjustments to the space. So before you nail blankets to the wall and your new home studio winds up one Bob Marley poster away from looking like somebody’s freshman dorm room (unless, of course, that's what you're going for), read on...

When you're soundproofing a room, you have a couple of major enemies working against you.

Air gaps: If air can get through, sound can get through. Obviously, a room needs a door, but this also includes gaps around outlet boxes, air vents, windows, etc. These are known as "flanking paths," anywhere sound can travel where it can bypass things that have been put in place to reduce sound transmission.

Structural sound transmission: Oddly enough, air is actually a difficult medium for sound to travel through; a more dense medium can make it easier for sound to travel. Your average building is full of these dense mediums: wall studs, concrete or wooden floors, floor and ceiling joists, and other parts of the actual structure of the building.

So, from the get-go, you're already fighting a losing battle against the relentless nature of sound. It should also start becoming apparent at this point that if "soundproof" is your goal, it's not going to come terribly cheap, even at the DIY level. (That's right – there's no $80 fix despite what people will tell you.) Trust me, if there were shortcuts, there wouldn't be an entire industry dedicated to studio construction/design or master's degrees in acoustics.

I'm also not saying the only way to properly do this is by spending tens of thousands of dollars – I just hate seeing my fellow musicians spend their hard-earned money and wind up looking like the emperor and his new clothes thinking they did something productive.

With the right knowledge, you can decide which approach is best for you and spend money on the right tool for the right job. You're better off not soundproofing at all rather than buying a crate of high-density foam thinking you're getting a result that you're not. Nobody wants to buy a hammer when the right tool is a wrench.

True Soundproofing - Creating a 'room within a room'
The easiest way, unfortunately, is to purposely build your intended studio/rehearsal space. If space and budget allow, this is best achieved by quite literally building a room within a room. The key is that you need to isolate this inner room as much as possible from the surrounding structure, often by having the room "float" on the existing structure and traditionally adding an air gap surrounding the room itself. If you're confident with some basic construction principles and handy with tools, this can be done in a few different ways.

"Floating" the floor
If you ever felt your room shake when a large truck drives by or even when somebody walks by in the hall, you've witnessed how easily these aforementioned structures transfer vibrations. The key is to get your floor to "float" on the existing floor. While there are a number of products and processes on the market, the cleanest and easiest is probably the U-Boat method, where the newly constructed floor is built on rubber U-Boats to help eliminate the transfer of energy. This floor, however, must be strong and stable enough to support the weight of the new "room," as this will be the only point to which everything is anchored.

Decoupling the walls and ceiling
Regardless of whether you're looking to simply replace your existing sheet rock walls or go for the full room-within-room method, if you don't decouple the walls in some way from their studs, you're going to see little to no difference for your efforts. Normal drywall is simply attached to the wall studs, allowing energy to transfer from one side of the wall through the studs and right into the wall on the other side.

Again, while several methods of eliminating this contact exist, one method that's particularly effective is to use a resilient channel system to mount the drywall. Now instead of the vibrations of the drywall transferring to the stud, the new mounting system isolates the two parts. With the resilient channel, however, care needs to be taken not to "short out" the system accidentally by making contact with a stud in the wall, rendering the whole system useless. Additionally, these decoupled pieces should not physically touch one another, and any air gaps should be sealed with a silicone-type acoustic caulk.

Adding mass
Another way, usually used in conjunction with the other methods, is to simply make the wall harder to move. Either add another layer of drywall to the existing drywall with a product such as Green Glue (which acts as a shock absorber, transferring the energy of the sound to heat), or simply sandwich a material like Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) into the wall to make the travel of vibrations more difficult.

The renter's dilemma
So what happens if it's not in your interest – or even possible – to make such invasive additions to your current space? You'll definitely have to sacrifice the quality of your soundproofing, but sometimes your only option is to upgrade your current space as best you can. Some small additions aren't invasive or don't require general construction know-how.

Sealing windows and doors
These are naturally the proverbial "chink in the armor" of any room. If you have basic single-glazed windows, and you can afford to lose the view, shuttering it off with a combination of heavy plywood and mineral wool/fiberglass may be your best bet. There are kits that can be purchased to modify existing windows, but in most cases, temporarily eliminating the window is probably your best option.

Standard hollow interior doors offer little in the way of soundproofing qualities, and should be replaced if possible. Otherwise, if the door must stay as is, any attempt to increase the mass of the door (soundboard, MLV) in addition to ensuring a good seal all around the door (including the threshold) will yield a better result. Some sort of thick neoprene door seal at your local big box hardware store will offer a wallet-friendly place to start. After applying, check to make sure there are no leaks or gaps around the seals – a flashlight and a friend can be helpful here. If the option exists to hang a second door to make an "airlock" of sorts, this will almost always yield a better result than the thickest and most treated of single doors.

Decoupling individual items
Obviously this is not as effective as treating the whole room properly, but removing specific sound sources themselves from the structure can be helpful. This goes for monitors, speaker cabinets, subwoofers, and even entire drum kits. Products like Auralex's ISO-Series exist to help with this decoupling.

Applying as many of these methods as possible will yield you a far better rehearsal or recording experience, but as with any project, know when you're out of your league! If you need to consult someone who knows (and I mean actually knows) what they're doing, don't hesitate to do so. There's no shame in getting a second opinion, and the money "saved" in DIY projects can quickly be canceled out by the accompanying medical bills or invoices for plumbers, electricians, etc.

Micro Lesson 097: "G Major" Folk Fingerstyle Melody

Welcome to... "Micro-Lesson 097"

This Micro Lesson introduces a fingerstyle guitar melody idea in the key of "G Major." 

The melody operates around a Folk style picking concept similar to those used by artists like, Dan Fogelberg, in his song, "Leader of the Band."

The pattern is simply tracking chord tones of the "C," and "G" Major chords. However, a consistent pattern (as we would find in a song like 'Dust in the Wind'), is not in use here. In this melody the patterns will alter. 

Root notes are generally applied within the bass of each chord with the harmony flipping from "C Major" to the "G Major" in each measure. The plucking hand is employing traditional Classical Guitar Fingerpicking Technique. This will involve the use of the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers across the string sets. 

Work slowly to develop a nice smooth fingerpicked feel. Use a metronome to develop speed. Enjoy!

Micro Lesson  097: "G Major" Folk Fingerstyle Melody

John Bohlinger: Cascading G Riff...

Premier Guitar's John Bohlinger reveals some of his personal playing tips and tricks in these short, bite-sized lessons... 

In this clip, he dissects a G-major lick that mixes fretted notes with open strings to create a dynamic motif that can be transposed to multiple keys and used in virtually any genre. 

TEASER: Tony MacAlpine – Concrete Gardens

Tony MacAlpine is set to release his new album ‘Concrete Gardens‘ ...April 21st and it is available for pre-order in Digital Download, Standard Edition CD, and Special Edition CD/DVD versions at tonymacalpine.com

You can check out a preview of the album below with the title track ‘Concrete Gardens’ which is sounding like classic Tony MacAlpine and less like the heavier progressive metal sound of his previous self-titled album. 

Having said that I’m going off a single track, I have no idea what the rest of the album sounds like yet but I’m looking forward to hearing it next month!