iBreatheMusic.com Online Music Lessons
  The Pulse - iBreatheMusic's official newsletter
Online Articles: 188
Article Browser
Forum Members 25,507
Join Us - Take Part
Pulse Subscribers 2046
The Pulse Archive

iBreatheMusic.com -- The Pulse
Issue #14 -- 20 October 2003
In this issue

@ Introduction
@ New Articles on iBreatheMusic
@ Book Review: Jon Fin
@ Eric's Shred 101-Lick
@ Member Spotlight: Koala
@ Sizzling Hot Forum Topics


Hello all,

I'm just recovering :-) from a fantastic 4 day trip to London, which
gave me the opportunity to meet up with a few old friends and work
colleagues from when I used to live there. I've been visiting the city
every few months since I left and I'm still amazed by:
- how much more expensive things can get (hell, there must be a
- how much stress people can take ('Taking the train makes you sick'
stated a newspaper the other day - nice to be stuck on the District
Line while reading this ...)
- how quickly someone can finish a beer when it's 11 p.m.
... I just dig this city.

Starting from today the iBreatheMusic site will undergo quite a few
changes which will be introduced one by one over the next few months.
To begin with, we have made some minor changes to the homepage, all in
preparation for a new category structure that all articles will
follow, which will make browsing and finding articles much easier.


New Articles on iBreatheMusic

by Steve Carter

Because of the complexity of the fretboard, learning to sight-read on
the guitar requires a disciplined approach. In this article I'll
discuss the approach that worked well for me and has worked well for
many of my students.


by Jamie Andreas

Getting the unsettling impression that there seems to be an awful lot
of those things called scales? You may even run across an encyclopedia
of scales, and realize that there could be thousands of these little
buggers out there!


by  Bizarro

I'm sure everyone has heard about economy picking and has seen some
neat 'tricks' being done using the technique. I have some examples
which show how this technique can be applied in several situations.


by Eric Vandenberg

Although I have already written an article about this technique for
ibreathe, there still seem to be a lot of questions about the basics
of this technique. So let me walk you through the very basics of
sweeping once more...


by Tom Hess

Is being original a worthy goal to have? I think most people would
answer yes (in theory at least). My answer would certainly not be yes
or no, but rather maybe. I say maybe, because it always depends on the


Book Review: Advanced Modern Rock Guitar Improvisation by Jon Finn

1999 Mel Bay MB98053BCD 

Oh my god, I seriously love this book. This is SO cool. I don't know
if everyone will feel the same way about it(I'll elaborate in a sec),
but to me, this is for rock-players (and not only them) what 'The
Advancing Guitarist' was for jazz-players. It also reminds me a lot of
the brilliant 'In Vivo Guitar' by Abi von Reininghaus. 

OK, first of all, this is not a 'Learn how to shred in 4 days' type
method. The title says it all, it's more about improvisation,
note-choice, navigating the fretboard than about 'killer-licks in Em'

Berklee-instructor Jon Finn (who has also released two very cool
instrumental albums, 'Don't Look So Serious' and 'Wicked', check out
www.jonfinn.com) is a very honest, funny guy who has obviously spent a
lot of time and thought on improvisation (I guess teaching at Berklee
helped to explore this stuff and develop this book).
In the introduction, he states 'Music is fun', and that is something I
haven't seen in instructional methods very often.
The first chapter is about the '2 dimensions of the guitar'. Jon
points out that you can split the strings into two 'dimensions'. One
being the lower 4 strings (tuned in intervals of fourths), the other
being the upper two strings (a fourth apart as well), with that major
third between the G and B-string. He explains very well how to deal
with this 'gap' between the two dimensions, and writes about a 'Warp
Refraction Principle'. If you wanna know what that is, check out the

Jon then continues to show another very interesting way to find and
visualize a pentatonic scale on the fretboard: geometrical shapes.
This might really help to break out of the box, to get away from
playing in the same old patterns all the time.

And this is not only interesting for beginners, it might also give
more experienced, advanced players a fresh perspective, because those
shapes can be moved around and are easy to locate on whatever
string-pair you wanna play on. 
All this is explained very clearly, makes a lot of sense, and is
absolutely refereshing to read! 

Jon continues by talking about altered pentatonics, slowly getting
into modal improvisation. All those approaches might not look like
rocket-science, but believe me, they will help a lot of players to get
a new perspective. Some of the stuff in this book I have NEVER thought
about before, simply because I thought patterns and arps were the only
good way to navigate the fretboard.

Other topics include getting from pentatonics to modes, and choosing
the right modes. Most of the musical examples can be heard on the
accompanying audio-CD. There are not just a bunch of licks here, Jon
IMHO rather tries to explain his theories and ideas, and leaves it to
you to explore and discover. 

Bottom Line

Every once in a while, there's a book (or other instructional method)
that's not just a variation on a theme. This is not another 'learn how
to shred' or '10 easy solos' method, it really can help to break out
of old habits, to find a new, simple approach to improvisation.

I think intermediate players with some experience in improvisation
will benefit most from the book (although Finn states that it should
also be interesting to beginners or even advanced players - not all
new stuff, a different approach, a different perspective).

I think everyone, regardless of whether you play rock or not, should
check this out. I also recommend it to teachers - great ideas on
finding your way on the fretboard, a lot of students will profit from

To sum this up: An extremely refreshing, unorthodox book about a huge
topic. Not a 'After you read this, you know it all'-kinda method, but
something to maybe give you a new direction or an easier approach to
something you might have been struggling with for a while.

Also, this book can be worked through page after page, or you can just
look at a random page and work on that, or you can work through it and
check it out again like a year later to see what has changed in that

And the icing on the cake: Jon's sense of humor and his honesty he
really relates to the reader, he talks about problems HE had to deal
with, and his bottom-lines and comments had me crackin' up several

So again: I LOVE IT!!! Great job, Jon. This book belongs into every
household *grin 

This review, together with links and more info, can be found online at

Eric's Shred 101

Steve Vai Signature Lick

This one is almost a classic. Not that much of a tough shred-lick, but
a great-sounding little melody.

It's one of Steve Vai's trademark-melodies. It can be i.e. heard in
the intro of the Alcatrazz-song 'Wire and Wood', in the song 'Junkie'
from Steve's first solo-album, and in 'Answers' from the Passion and
Warfare - album.

What's cool about this one is that it actually is a seven-note
pattern. Played over a straight 4/4 beat, you get some kind of a
rhythmically displaced sound, very interesting. This one kinda grabs
the ear of the listener. So try to come up with stuff like that
yourself... simply play strict 8th-notes, but use patterns with an odd
amount of notes, like 5 or 7. You might come up with some really cool

    E E E E E E E E   E E E E E E Q    E E E E E E Q    E E E E  H

The full notated example can be found in the html version of this
issue at http://www.ibreathemusic.com/pulse/view_nl.php?id=14

Member Spotlight: Koala

member name: Koala
real name: Paul Bidault
homepage: www.bangha.ws  
location: Mexico City
instrument: Guitar, Tres Cubano, Piano 

How and when did you get started with music, and where has it taken
you today?
It all started seriously about 12 years ago, I got my hands on an old
acoustic someone had left lying around the house and I fiddled around
for a few months with it. Nothing fancy really, just trying to strum
along to stuff I heard on the radio and such. Luckily for me, my
brother, an aspiring musician himself, didnt quite know where his
music has heading so he got himself a cheap Ibanez (CT model, before
Ibanez even had their trademark spear headstock) which didnt really
do it for him, so there, I had my first electric guitar. And I kept
fiddling on that not really knowing what I was doing, as well as
getting anyone I knew who played guitar to play something for me. (It
is around this point in my life, that I actually remember seeing
someone bend a string for the first time. Wow, I just figured that
out. Isnt it funny? My first bend.)
Not too long after that I saw David Gilmour play, he was playing the
intro solo Shine On... Right after that I knew I really, really
wanted to play guitar. So I would watch that Floyd video over and over
again trying to learn stuff. I decided Wish you were here would be
the easiest song to work out, as it had a short solo, and there were
lots of shots where I could see Gilmours hands. So there I was
pressing pause every two seconds trying to copy the chords he was
playing, until I finally managed to work out all the intro and rhythm
Funnily enough, as soon as I nailed the song, the school I was in
wanted to have the choir sing Wish you were here, and THE girl I was
after had just joined the choir, so fate had decided I had to make my
move hehehe. 
In that school I had met a brazilian guy who was well known for his
great bass playing, even though he was quite young. So this guy and I
took on the task of playing Wish you were here with the school
So, if youre still reading this far, you might be wondering, what
about the girl? Well it was a long fought battle and in the end we did
end up together, the music worked! Throughout this time music got more
and more serious and it didnt take long for it to be off my hobby
list. It had turned into an addiction. 
Ironically, it was music that got in the way between the girl and I in
the end, she just couldnt take it lolol. On the other hand the
brazilian bass player and I have played together ever since, and
formed Bangha, things have gone pretty well with that project,  and I
have a wonderful girl with me who loves the music.
How did you come across iBreatheMusic.com?
Searching for study material on the net some years ago I came across
guitar4u, and I loved it's rich content. As soon as I read
ibreathemusic was on its way I knew it would be even better.

What styles of music do you play?
With Bangha, my main project, I play a wide fusion of stuff, I think
it could be labeled as an ethnic/rock/electro/retro sort of thing lol.
Electronic Musician Magazine referred to us as having a smooth,
somber, mystical sound.
I also play clubs n pubs where we focus on jazz-funk improv, as well
as having a heavy interest in Son Cubano (Cuban Folk music).

Can you tell me some more about your project Bangha?
Bangha was formed about 6 years ago under the name Banga Tribe, and it
is made up by Pablo Guessi on bass and programming and myself on
guitar, vocals, and anything else thats needed. We uploaded some
tracks to mp3.com (www.mp3.com/bangatribe) and they had a lot of
success, getting lots of plays, #1's on the sites charts, and all that
ended up in electronic musician magazine giving us the band of the
web in their  March 2001 issue, as well as contact from Real World
Records which finally didnt happen but hey, it was exciting lol.
Some time later, we changed the name of the band to Bangha and have
been working on new material ever since, as well as doing some live
performances. (You can listen to some very old mp3 files on
www.mp3.com/bangha but please keep in mind theyre old)

Who are your biggest influences?
Just to mention a few and in no particular order: 
David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, Buckethead, Hendrix, Bob
Marley, Bill Laswell, Joe Perry, P. Funk, John Scofield, Medeski,
Martin & Wood, Soundgarden, Santana, Stone Temple Pilots. 

What formal training have you had?
I studied one year of a major in contemporary music, have a diploma in
Son Cubano, playing tres cubano, and apart from the music world I am
to be a communications major not too far from now.

What were some of the biggest breakthroughs you had in your learning
of music theory?
Every little new thing I come to terms with is a breakthrough from me,
but if any stand out, I guess it would definitely have to be
understanding intervals, as well as getting all the hype out of modes
and seeing that they can be understood and applied by mere mortals.

What practice technique you use do you feel has paid off the most
handsomely in its effect on the way you play?
There are a few things:
1. Listening to lots of music, and all kinds of it, that shapes my
playing in more and better ways then learning 25 new exotic scales.
2. Making good use of my practice time subdividing it into different
sections covering different approaches and techniques.
3. Practicing the things I dont know. This may sound dumb, but
sometimes I find myself practicing things I have already mastered,
just out of laziness I guess.  

How long did you play before you had your first paying gig? 
About 3 years before I played my first party.

What gear do you use?
PRS Custom 24 Brazilian 
Ibanez guitars (S470, Artist), 
Gibson Chet Atkins
Takamine Nylon String
Tornado Electro Acoustic

Ebow Plus,Dunlop Crybaby wah, Pete Cornish Custom P-2 Fuzz, Big Muff,
Boss Blues Driver, Pro Co. Rat II, Rocktron Banshee Talkbox, Digitech
RP2000, Chandler Tube Driver, Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere MKII,
Boss DS-1.

What are you up to at the moment?
I'm in the studio with Bangha, writing and recording new material,
which I will of course get online for you guys to listen to once its
all ready. 

Do you have any interests (apart from iBreathe of course!)?
I am very interested in human rights, and helping people. So I try to
visit Cuba every now an then to give them a hand with anything I can,
as well as helping out at a refugee shelter for local kids from
different ethnic groups. 
I also love traveling, and I'll jump at any chance I get to do so.
And, due to strange happenings I ended up taking some flying lessons
in simulators a couple months ago. But I've really taken a liking to
it, and my maiden flight is supposed to happen in a couple months

Sizzling Hot Forum Topics

Tips for remembering and use of the Circle of Fifths (Or: The GDAEB

music layering

what should i subscribe to?

learning jazz


Send suggestions and comments to: ThePulse@iBreatheMusic.com

The Pulse is  2002-2003 iBreatheMusic.com. All Rights Reserved. No part of 
this Newsletter may be reproduced in whole or in part without written 
permission. All guest articles are copyright their respective owners 
and are reproduced with permission.

You are currently subscribed to The Pulse as: #EMAIL#.

To manage your subscription go to http://www.iBreatheMusic.com/pulse