Last night I ordered a new DMX light controller. This will give me more control over my LED par cans, enabling me to produce better quality light shows for my own band and performances, not to mention other performers I work with.
I received a phone call enquiring about my guitar lessons. It was a very 'everyday' enquiry that covered all the usual questions. The enquirer wanted lessons for her son and agreed to all my terms. The conversation went on.
Me 'so, what is your sons name'?
Enquirer '**** McCartney'.
I quipped, 'well that's a great name for a guitar player.'
To my surprise, the enquirer replied, 'actually he is related to Paul McCartney, his father is Paul McCartney's second cousin'.
This one could be a natural!
If you would like to book guitar lesson with me call 07866 650015
YouTube guitar lessons are free. They are worth less than that. Let me explain that comment. I spend an awful lot of my time as a guitar and ukulele teacher correcting students who come to me having tried (some cases for years) this method of learning. They learn bad habits and incorrect information from YouTube. Consequently, time and money is wasted as I put things right again. Students find it harder to relearn than starting from scratch.
When I started to learn in the Stone Age, YouTube didn't exist. I'm not saying YouTube is all bad, but sorting the good from the chaff is really difficult as a beginner. Let me give you an example, I searched in YouTube 'how to play G on guitar'. The first 'lesson' I saw was this.
The smart ones amongst you will notice it's F. I don't think this would have tripped too many of you up. So let's look at the next video.
This time Justin explains how to play a G chord. He rabbits on a bit, has nice graphics. Further on down and you get this.
This guy teaches G completely differently. Which one is correct? Very confusing if you're a beginner.
If you hit the wrong version first, you could learn the chord the incorrect way, screwing up your guitar playing career before you have really got going.
Let me give you a clue, Justin has lovely graphics, but his guitar playing is not so lovely. It's the 2nd video on YouTube. Don't forget, F was the first one. Hopefully you get my point.
Here is another. This guy has got hundreds of lessons on his YouTube channel. He does not even know the basics. He does not know what the strings are called, constantly mixing up the top and bottom strings.
Please don't waste your time and money trying to learn on YouTube. Get professional advice from someone in the know.
I give guitar and ukulele lessons around North Devon homes and schools, Petroc and anywhere else in the world by Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts.
The notes of the open srings of a guitar in standard tuning are (starting with the thickest string) E, A, D, G, B and E. To remember this, Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears.
The easiest way to tune your guitar is with an electronic tuner. They come in various types, but are really cheap these days, and well worth the investment. There are also internet tuners, mobile phone and ipod tuners these days. I use the Polytune app for iPhone/iPod.
It is also vital to be able to tune by hear. so this is how it's done. Assuming the 6th string is in or at least nearly in tune, hold down the the note on the 5th fret. The note produced should be the same as the open 5th string. If it is not, turn the tuning peg on the 5th string until the notes produced are the same. Once this is completed hold down the 5th fret on the 5th string. This should produce the same note as the open 4th string. Again if this is not the case, then turn the tuning peg on the 4th string until it is the same. Hold down the 5th fret of the 4th string. This note should be the same as the open 3rd string. Again if it is not, turn the tuning peg until it is the
same. This time hold down the 4th fret of the 3rd string. This fret should produce the same note as the 2nd string. If does not, then turn the tuning peg of the 2nd string until it does. Finally, hold down the 5th fret of the 2nd string, this should produce the same note as the open 1st string. If it is not,
turn the 1st tuning peg until it is the same.
This should have put the guitar in tune. It is not very easy to do and does take practice.
For information on guitar lessons http://paulclews888.weebly.com/guitar--ukulele-lessons.html
I caught the bus a 8:45 and got picked up on the way to Paul's house by Paul. We had to go to his dads house so he could alter the bridge on his Kala arch top ukulele. Once that was done we got back to Paul's house to check the ukulele and found that Paul's Amp was broken. After that we went to Ilfracombe infants school for a couple of lessons. During which Paul mainly taught some new chords and then used songs to help them get learned. Then we went to Berrynarbor School and Paul taught someone Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. After that we had a lesson in Northam during which Paul was teaching scale modes and fancy chords using music theory that I had no clue about.
By Jake Cole
I have put a poster up in the Ilfracombe Tourist Information Center, for the ukulele workshop's. I'm hoping for new work from holiday makers in Ilfracombe, Bude and surrounding areas. I have taken a few pictures on route.
Video clip of Ilfracombe harbour
More information in the ukulele workshop's here http://paulclews888.weebly.com/ukulele-workshop.html
When to practice your musical instrument.
For guitar or ukulele lessons, face to face in North Devon, or anywhere else in the world by Skype click here http://paulclews888.weebly.com/guitar--ukulele-lessons.html
I have joined the worlds biggest band.
At 5:00 pm on Saturday, September 7th 2,000 guitarists or more will be gathering on Lyme Regis front beach to attempt a new UK record for the largest number of guitarists to play a song simultaneously. I want you to join the band.
If any of my students would like to join the band, let me know. I will arrange the transport around the numbers.
See more at http://www.guitarsonthebeach.co.uk
If you would like to take part but can't play, lessons face to face in your home or by Skype are available at http://paulclews888.weebly.com/guitar--ukulele-lessons.html
Down load a pdf file of the song.
The Vaults Bar used to be underneath the Collingwood Hotel in Ilfracombe,
North Devon. It was an L shaped room with awful acoustics. As a young band in North Devon, it was a great venue. It could be hired, with the bar for £20. Bands would charge £1 on the door, and always get 100 or 120 people through the door. The ceiling was very low, the walls were a very rough texture, but despite the acoustics, the atmosphere was always electric. Sweat would be dripping down the walls.
The first band I saw there were Cut & Run. This was the tail end of 1985. I had not long moved to Ilfracombe, from Great Wyrley, Staffordshire. I thought they were great. I remember them playing Silly Thing on that occasion, still one of my favorite Sex Pistols songs. I later became friends with members of Cut and Run.
My own band, The Pyromaniacs From Outerspace played many gigs there, both as headline and support act. I have many videos of the gigs. Sadly, they are all on VHS, so consequently, have not been seen for years.
Some of the other bands I saw there were, Cult Maniax, Fatal Attraction, Beat the Retreat, Burning Fantasy, Blyth Power, The Gotham City Gangsters and The Stan and Eddie Chain. The first time ever saw Jive Turkey was at the Vaults Bar. They were a Torrington band, doing Stranglers covers. They went on to to become a great band with Radio 1 air play.The last gig I played at the Vaults Bar was with The Backtrackers. It was a party for the Sure Start. Someone stole my capo at that gig.
Of course, the Collingwood Hotel is now knocked down after a fire, and the Vaults Bar was closed years before that. Whenever I walked past the derelict bar, before the fire, I would have a tear in my eye, and a lump in my throat. I could hear the muffled sound of ghost bands still bashing away. But they've all gone now, not even the ghosts can be heard.
There is nothing like it in Ilfracombe now. I do miss the venue and the great times I had there as both a performer and as a member of the audiences. What memories of the Vaults Bar do you have? What bands did you see gig there?
The Backtrackers http://paulclews888.weebly.com/backtrackers.html
This video contains some of the bands that played at the Vauls Bar. It was recorded about 1986, on Ilfracombe sea front, next to the Carousel Bar in the Victorian Pavilion. Also knocked down, and replaced by the Landmark Theatre. It was uploaded by Guy Roberts. See me with the Pyromaniacs From Outerspace at 1:55 with my Tokai Strat. I am still using it today. You can also see Eldon Evans on drums. Beat the Retreat, Fatal Attraction, and Burning Fantasy are also featured.
50 Dollar Bill
Never Say Goodbye Johnny Ray
Cult Maniax (do not watch if offened by strong languge)
No More Beach Boys
Road To Nowhere
The Amazing Adventures Of Johny The Duck And The Bathtime Blues
Poison Pen Letter
Cool Cats Dancing
Inside the Horse
The Bishop At The Gate
I've heard it said that learning to play the guitar is fun. Well, I completely disagree. I remember when I was learning to play some 35 years ago, the little fun that was to be had, was soon replaced with frustration. Many times, I could have happily just chucked the guitar out of the window. I believe, that anybody can learn to play the guitar, in this respect learning to play is easy. But not everybody will. What stops them? Why do people give up having started to learn?.
Motivation. I'll say that again, motivation. What motivated me all those years ago was 'to play in a band'. It was the age of punk. All you needed apparently, was three chords (not true) and a safety pin. The band was put together and named before any of us could even play a single note.
The band had two 'guitarists'. Neither of us could play a thing, so I use the term 'guitarist' loosely. We came to it from opposite points of view. He took all the strings off his guitar except the bottom two, cranked up his expensive amp, and sounded what I thought at the time, fantastic in about a week. He had tuned the two strings (what I now know to be a fifth apart), and played with one finger. Me on the other hand, started the long process of learning to play properly. It took me ages. The motivation was to play in a band. I kept the motivation bigger than the problems.
It seems simple doesn't it? Practice for 15 minutes every day. What's stops these well meaning people from doing this? The answer has many versions as wanna be guitarist quitters. What's your excuse? Too tired? Not enough time? We don't have any chocolate ice cream in the fridge? After all, one excuse is as good as another.
I somehow kept my focus. Once I had mastered the bar F, a momentous moment in any guitarists career, (ask any of them), It was a very short time after this, the band recognised me as the best guitarist. Not long after this, the other guitarist in the band quit. He'd given up on his rock star dreams, and I don't think he ever played the guitar again. Well, let's be honest, he never really learned to play anything.
Me on the other hand kept going. Wouldn't it be great to play that classic Chuck Berry intro to Johnny B Goode? 'It's the only lick I'd ever want to learn' I said at the time. Having mastered that, I thought Layla by Eric Clapton had a great riff. I didn't like the song much, but loved that riff. Mastered that, and so it went on. You never stop learning the guitar. In fact, that's true for any instrument, except the kazoo and maybe the triangle. You learn to live with the frustration. So what are the benefits of learning to play a musical instrument? For me, that first punk band was great fun. So have the 20 or so bands since. All have been tremendous fun. It has enabled me to meet and converse with some amazing people. When I moved from Great Wyrley, the village I was brought up and schooled in, to Ilfracombe, playing guitar enabled me to meet people, and make new friends. This list could go on for ever, but ultimately it has given me a career and business. This started, not with guitar playing, but recording other bands on my 4 track recording studio. I still record demo's, jingles and other similar things today, but the technology is far more sophisticated now. I ran Flipside for 7 years. This was a shop in Ilfracombe selling records, CDs, videos and of course, musical instruments. I play in a band called The Backtrackers. A function band playing weddings and parties all over the Uk. My main income is from teaching. All day long, 6 days a week, privately and in schools teaching guitar and ukulele.
Well, what a life playing music has done for me. From punk band to teacher, a fantastic, and in many ways unplanned journey. I didn't know back in the early 80's where I'd be today, but I'm glad to be here. I never made it to rock star status, but then again, I don't think I ever really want that.
So what is your motivation to carry on? What is your excuse to quit? I look forward to your questions and replies.
If you would like to book guitar or ukulele lessons in your home, school or by Skype.
If you would like to book The Backtrackers for your party, wedding, corporate event, or function.
If you would like to book time in my recording studio.