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Head to a participating dealer where you can purchase a specially marked pack of SP or SP Lifespan strings. Inside the package, you will find your game piece and instructions on how to play.
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Find a participating dealer near you here.
By: William Clark
Proudly displaying a John Lennon-esque musical styling prominently centered around acoustic arrangements and power pop elements, Baby Scream have attracted the attention of some notable names within the rock community: that is, those who were able to look past the band’s humorous name and delve into their more serious musicianship.
Throughout the years, this Argentinian band, centered around main man Juan Pablo Mazzola, who has worked alongside such heavyweights as former Alice Cooper and Slash’s Snakepit guitarist/vocalist Glen Dover and producer Muddy Stardust, and most readily recognized for his work with L.A. Guns. Baby Scream’s new compilation effort highlights a selection of noteworthy tracks from across the group’s catalog.
Apparently always able to craft attention-striking monikers, Greatest Failures offers fifteen songs that alternate between melodic acoustic rock to lighthearted power pop.
Examples of the former include “Morning Light”, a song propelled by female vocal harmonies and soulful synthesizers, and the reflective “Away”, whereas “Every Day (I Die A Little Bit)” abruptly disrupts the album’s laid back character through crunching chord progressions and compelling percussion.
These unexpected mood changes are infrequent, however, which allows Greatest Failures to largely transition from one song to the next with ease. Perhaps the sole exception here would be “The Ghosts Of Valerie”, with a guest appearance from Eric Dover, whose vocal talents surface during the song’s refrain and articulate arpeggios erupt throughout the verses, leading up to a climatic bluesy solo.
For fans of eccentric acoustic guitar rock with the occasional burst of prominent power pop, the recently released Greatest Failures compilation album from Baby Scream comes warmly recommended, and will leave some listeners wondering: “If this is the best of their failures, what awaits in their successes?”
Original Release Date: December 7, 2013
Release Date: December 7, 2013
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Eternal Sunday
4) Every Day (I Die A Little Bit)
5) Ups And Downs
6) The Riots
7) Morning Light
9) Ojos Orientales
11) Jekyll & Hyde
12) The Ghosts Of Valerie (feat. Eric Dover)
13) Hit & Run
14) Secret Place
15) Aching Eyes
CStands are brand new eye catching guitar stands from the Netherlands. Designed to meet the beauty of your instrument and to increase the joy of just looking at it. Despite the fact they’re completely made of solid wood they fold within seconds without any unscrewing or taking apart.
The unique construction on the inside locks all moving parts once it’s set up. Out of the box, it fits most guitars and basses like any other stand. However, the flexible length and angles of the rubbers allow you to create tailor made support for asymmetrical body shapes or guitars with a forearm contour.
The hand-rubbed linseed oil creates a smooth and natural finish.Four different ‘headstocks’ and two different woods assure a perfect match for your instrument. And if that’s not enough, a personnel engraving turns it into a one of a kind. CStands come in a luxury box with two spare rubbers, a small bottle of linseed oil, polishing cloth and instructions.
More information on www.cstands.com
Those of you who follow my posts know that during the last few years I have dealt with some boring health issues. Slowly but surely I’m returning to being a dulcimer builder on a regular basis. As I am able to do more I have to remind my self not to do too much more; […]
Chris Bryant of Matt’s Music Center in Weymouth, Mass., recently tested out the new Charvel Guthrie Govan model.
For the demo, Bryant used the flame maple version of the guitar, although it is also available in bird’s–eye maple. Check it out after the jump.
This looks like an interesting IndieGoGo campaign, Jon Gold former VP of Fender Guitars and co-owner of GJ2 Guitars with Grover Jackson, is making a film about the legendary guitar builder. From Grover’s humble beginnings in the Charvel repair shop to building Edward Van Halen’s Black/Yellow Charvel and the Randy Rhoads Concord Series to creating his own brand Jackson Guitars which has dominated among rock and metal guitar players since the 80’s and now GJ2 Guitars.
“This film will immortalize the legacy of Grover Jackson and inspire musicians/entrepreneur of the future and keeping the american dream.”
As with all crowdfunding campaigns there are a number of perks depending on how much you want to contribute, from signed Movie posters, DVDs and T-shirts to lunch with Grover and a shop tour. Find out more by clicking on the widget below:
By: Robert Cavuoto
Coming off the heels of his New York Times best-selling memoir, ROCKS: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, this past October, guitar slinger and bluesman, Joe Perry is back in the saddle with a four song Christmas EP: Joe Perry’s Merry Christmas.
It’s his first ever collection of holiday songs and features four Christmas classics: “White Christmas,” “Silent Night,” “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” and “Run Run Rudolph”, with Johnny Depp on rhythm guitar. The EP is available now on iTunes.
I had the good fortune to talk with Joe first hand about these songs, as well as his guitar techniques, his friendship with Johnny Depp, and the status of the his next studio CD as a solo artist or with Aerosmith.
Robert Cavuoto: What were some of the guitars you used on the EP as you have some great tones with a nice bluesy flair?
Joe Perry: The main guitar that I’ve been using is the one in all the Aerosmith press lately. It’s the left handed Strat that I made in 2000.
When I left Aerosmith to do the Joe Perry Project I created a left handed mongrel guitar that my guitar tech and I put together at the time. I used that guitar for most of my solo dates.
When I went back to Aerosmith I packed it up as it sounded so great that I really didn’t want to take it out on the road. I decided to build a new one as close as possible to the original.
It has a Fender left-handed Telecaster neck with fat frets, a Warmoth Strat body and Lindy Fralin pickups. It’s a real mongrel. It plays great and is set up really well.
Robert: I like what you did on “White Christmas” with the talk box.
Joe Perry: I’ve had that talk box forever. I made it back in 1974 and of course it’s been blown up, trashed, and rebuilt with new wiring [Laughing]. I can’t say it has all the same pieces. It’s the old story of the hammer that got handed down from generation to generation, except the handle was changed three times and the head four times. [Laughing] I still think of it as the original though!
I wanted to use a real slide guitar, but didn’t have that type of time. There were a few things like that which I wanted to try, but didn’t get to. All the guitars are just the way that I play it.
Robert: Johnny Depp is a guest guitarist on the EP; tell me about your friendship and what you think of him as a guitarist?
Joe Perry: I’ve been a fan of his acting for a long time. I remember seeing him in the movie Chocolat, where he plays the gypsy guitar player. I was really impressed. You could tell that he was really playing guitar versus cutting back and forth to a musician.
In the movie he plays a lot of Django Reinhardt stuff. I didn’t know him at the time, but remember telling myself that someday I have to get a guitar lesson off him if I meet him since I don’t know any of that type of stuff.
As it turned out, about four years later he dropped by the studio when Aerosmith recorded our last studio record with Jack Douglas. Jack knew him and asked him to come down. We started talking music and guitars and that’s where our friendship started.
When Aerosmith came back from South America, I didn’t have any of studio guitars and needed a nice acoustic to play on the CD so asked him I could borrow one. He took me to his studio where he had 20 or 25 vintage Martins from 1933 and old blues style guitars – one of the nicest collections I’ve seen. He lent me one and I asked him to sing background vocals on “Freedom Fighter.”
I’ve been out here in a L.A. for a while now since the book tour ended and he said I could use his studio, so I have been working on some solo stuff in my spare time with what little I have.
I’ve always wanted to do a Christmas CD with Aerosmith; it’s one of those short list things that we never got around to doing, like a blues CD or a cover CD of rock songs.
I had some time and decided to cover a few Christmas songs for an EP and put it out on iTunes. They turned out lot better than I thought they would. Johnny came by to listen and we were planning to do “Run Run Rudolf,” as we are both big Chuck Berry fans. It was the perfect chance to have him lay a rhythm track down alongside mine. It worked great as we were both “Chuck Berry’ing-out”
Robert: Do you think you are better known as song writer or guitar player?
Joe Perry: Probably a little of both at this point in my career. I’ve had ebbs and flows in my guitar playing, but it seems my songwriting is always consistent.
Song writing goes hand in hand with the playing, as it’s where you have to shine and get to show off your stuff. That’s the art of it.
There are so many licks and riffs out there which can be turned into songs. If you can create something with these riffs, that’s when a great tune happens. Being a guitar player / songwriter is how I would like to be thought of.
Robert: You’re playing is quite a unique and instantly recognizable. What do you consider to be a signature thing you do whether with Aerosmith, your solo band, or even on this Christmas EP?
Joe Perry: I think most of it again falls back to songwriting. Just paying attention to the song and what you can do to contribute to it. That’s why I’m always in a battle with Steven [Tyler] about who gets last shot at the track. I always like to put my final guitar parts on after it’s done and he likes to do it the other way around. We always come to a compromise though.
It’s about fitting something in there that is going to complement the song and give it another hook that people will remember it by. Those riffs can be so simple but they can be just as important as the vocals.
I always go back and listen to the guys who inspired me so I keep my technique going, to keep my paint pallet always stocked with new and different colors. To keep experimenting and not be the snob guy locked into only playing a ‘59 Les Paul.
I’ll play anything! If it works, great, if the guitar isn’t that easy to play or isn’t set up correctly, it makes you work harder. You might get something out of it that you wouldn’t ordinarily get. A place I focus the most on is with my foot pedals because you can do so much with them, especially the old ones.
Robert: Do you have a favorite CD of yours that showcases you’re playing, your technique, and your favorite guitar tones?
Joe Perry: I think my second to last solo CD has enough variety on it that would be the one that I would pull out. For that CD I had a lot of time to experiment with different sounds. I did it in my home studio with all my best and favorite instruments.
I have a lot of shelves down there with “world instruments” that I collect. I collect any type of instrument that makes noise. I have pump organ and Hurdy Gurdy that I’ve collected over the years.
I had the chance to pull out different guitars like my beat-up old Silvertones and antique Gretsch’s from the ’50s. I like to use small amps in the studio and I had a lot of time to fool around with everything and it shows the most on that CD.
Robert: Will be see a solo CD or an Aerosmith CD next?
Joe Perry: I’m really not sure, I feel that we just finished the last Aerosmith CD and I learned a lot about making that record as well as what our hard core fans are looking for.
I have about six songs for a solo project, as I’m always writing and working on new stuff. Whether it’s a solo thing or an Aerosmith thing I’m not sure as we haven’t talked about specifics.
The industry and audience have changed so much, plus Steven is doing a solo CD this spring. Sometimes I wonder if it worth doing an album any more or go more in the direction of this EP.
We put it together in two and a half weeks; put it up online for people to buy the songs they like or all four. I was thinking why not put out a song at a time and when you get a bunch together, release them as a package.
We’ve certainly talked about the different options. From talking with the fans at the book signings, they were handing me vinyl instead of CDs to sign. Maybe going back and do vinyl and also release the songs online. We are wide open now and we’ll decide when we start thinking about putting out new music.
I know we are going back on the road this summer, so I’m not sure when we will have the time or be able to make time to get back into the studio. I know we plan on it, I just don’t know when.
By: Brad Conroy
The Petar Jankovic Ensemble (PJE) is no stranger to the pages of Guitar International, and has recently released a follow up to their highly acclaimed debut, From Spain to Tango. (Com)Passionate, the sophomore effort by PJE is a masterful recording which features a new dynamic, atmosphere, and more mature context for the group.
(Com)Passionate showcases the PJE within a true chamber music setting, a role that has rarely ever been achieved on the classical guitar. The repertoire on this recording goes far beyond what has been for so long associated with the classical guitar, and the listener is treated to music by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), Claude Debussy (1862-1918), and a world premiere by Eliot Bark (b. 1980).
A special mention has to be given to Eliot Bark for his brilliant arrangements of all the music on this CD, and he also composed the title track (Com)Passionate Music, which is a two movement work. The opening movement “Passionate” is an energetic, rhythmic, and exciting piece that will no doubt grab the listener’s attention. This movement features some very aggressive playing, percussive string snapping, banging on the guitar, and is all tied together with some very intuitive, expressive, and precise ensemble playing.
The second movement, ‘Passionate,’ is a heartfelt piece of lyrical beauty, and one that you can tell each member of the PJE feels really special about. There is a ‘blue’ harmony motive within the movement giving the listener something familiar to grab hold of while the piece crescendos and weaves around a warm and serene atmosphere to. The PJE gives one of their most beautiful and heartfelt performances of this World Premiere.
Some of the more challenging music on the recording are the six Preludes and Fugues op. 87 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975). The “Fugue No.1 in C major” showcases the incredible talent within the ensemble and especially in the cello part. Kyra Saltman (cello) plays with a deep and resonating tone perfectly setting the mood for her partners to follow and build upon, there is a real dialogue amongst the parts within these works.
A stand out on the recording is “Jimbo’s Lullaby” by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) from his Children’s Corner Suite. A piece which is often associated with solo piano playing, the PJE really augment this work and bring it to life. Again, a special mention has to be given to Eliot Bark for such an arrangement of this great work. It is playful, and Debussy’s use of the pentatonic scale gives it a moment of the sounds that come from the East. Maria Storm (Violn), Azusa Tashiro (Violin), and Amanda Grimm (Viola) all play with exceptional tone and subtlety on this track which really adds depth, and perfectly captures the spirit of Debussy’s music.
There is no doubt that the PJE has matured quite a bit since their first recording, and (Com)Passionate) offers some of the most realistic chamber music featuring the guitar. There are those familiar sounds of the guitar which we all love, but there is much more of the European tradition of the String Quartet on this recording, and the repertoire featured is exactly what the PJE needed to tackle in order to take their place at the top of the classical music world.
“Electric guitars are easier to play than acoustic guitars.”
Well, yes – if you’re only talking about pressing down on the strings. Most (but not all) electrics are strung with much thinner strings than the average steel-string acoustic guitar but there is another consideration. Any time you make contact with the strings on an electric, you hear a sound through your amp. That includes the very act of placing your fingers on the strings, moving them up or down the neck, or less than perfect attack with a pick. In other words, you are much more likely to get extraneous noise on an electric guitar. This is an important consideration if you care about clear, clean playing.
“Nylon string acoustic guitars are easier to play than steel string acoustic guitars.”
Again, if you’re only considering the act of pressing down, that may be true. However, most true classical guitar have a MUCH wider and usually, thicker, neck than steel string acoustics. So you have to reach farther around the neck, which for most people negates the advantage of softer feeling strings. The new generation of so-called “hybrid” nylon string guitars are a bit easier, but they too have somewhat wider necks than the average steel string acoustic. Then there’s the debate about the sound of a nylon-string vs. a steel string, but that is a separate discussion.
“The lower the action on my guitar, the better.”
Low action (the distance between the strings and the fretboard) is a good thing, most of the time. It just makes playing easier. But if you’re going to strum with some authority on a guitar with very low action you will probably get buzzes and rattling sounds as the aggressively vibrating strings bounce against the frets above where you are pressing down. If you’re purely a finger-style player, low action can certainly work to your advantage. But if you use a flat pick most of the time you will have to sacrifice a bit of ease in pressing down with your fretting hand to avoid those nasty buzzes. For what it’s worth, many years ago I played a bluegrass festival and the great Doc Watson was set to go on just after our set. I had the opportunity to look very closely at Doc’s guitar and guess what? His heavy strings sat so high off the neck that most of us would struggle to play his guitar but I’m sure that is one reason why his punchy, crystal clear flat picking is always a joy to hear. Of course, his massive talent and technique may have something to do with it too (!).
“Thin flat picks make it easier to strum.”
I believed that, way back when. But eventually a very fine guitarist made me aware that what I really was doing was depending upon the flexing of the pick to do what I should have been doing with my wrist, i.e., staying loose and controlling the stroke with my wrist. Also, I was breaking about a half-dozen picks during every concert! I forced myself to graduate to mediums, and eventually to heavy gauge flat picks. And you know what? My technique improved and so did my sound. Many years ago there was a picture essay in one of the guitar magazines that showed close-ups of the picks used by many famous guitarists and amazingly, the fastest, cleanest players in every style used thick, non-flexing picks. It was a revelation to me.
“Guitars made by (Martin, Taylor, Gibson…) are always great, compared to the cheaper imported ones.”
Wow, this is a huge can of worms! Of course you can reasonably expect a guitar for which you paid $1000 or much more will sound and play better than a cheap import from Asia. But just because the headstock has a logo from one of the highly revered American companies, don’t automatically assume it is going to sound like angels singing. I’ve played more than a few new and “vintage” (oh, I so dislike that term) guitars from big deal makers that were….dogs. And plenty that truly did sound like those angels. Likewise, I’ve played some cheapo imports that were better used for canoe paddles, but also a few that rivaled anything coming out of Nazareth or Bozeman. So, play lots and lots of guitars. I hope you fall in love with one, regardless of its heritage. And remember, the “perfect” guitar probably hasn’t been made yet!
Peace & good music,
Lester Griswold, Handicraft, 1951
I've noticed lately that there are several wood workers in the world of Internet wood work blogging that are bragging about being "vise-less".
Well, good for you!
I've used hold fasts almost exclusively on my bench for that last twenty years or so, hold fasts are cheap compared to a metal vise and I never got along well with leg vises. I don't make boxes or cut dovetails anymore, I make classical guitars which need much different clamping devices than say, oh, a Federal highboy.
Don't get me wrong, I do need to use a vise for some tasks.
One thing I enjoy about using holdfasts is how quickly you can hold a piece of wood and you don't have to use a pretty piece of wood as a clamping caul.
Hold fasts are efficient for most tasks, they are great for holding guitar necks!
I do own and use a Shop Fox brand vise that I bought from Grizzly some ten-eleven years because it was cheap and I needed a better way of holding certain objects. Personally, I think this vise is a piece of junk and isn't worthy of being a boat anchor-I have to use excess torque on the vise screw to hold the work piece and even after that the vise will turn on its tower, etc., etc. I am too cheap at the moment to replace it with something else.
Funny how deadlines can get in the way of doing things.
While carving the heel of a guitar neck the other day, I notice how the steep bevel of my one inch chisel kept bumping the chisel out of the cut. I was using the chisel with its belly down.
Most of my chisels are ground to a 30 degree bevel, this is left over from the days when I did chop dovetails and mortises, so I thought I would take one chisel and experiment with a 20 degree bevel.
I took my 7/8 inch Stanley No.720 chisel to the grinder and then locked it in my old Eclipse 36 Made in England honing guide.
The 20 degree bevel worked like a charm, now I want to experiment with a 15 degree bevel, but, again, the amount of time I have in the shop grows short.
I have two orders for custom classical guitars, a router table is waiting to be built so I can make muntin, rail and stile stock for eight sashes for the new porch enclosure which that also needs to be finish before winter really sets in.
Did I mention that our water heater developed a good leak the other day?
It's going to be a busy winter!
Another YouTube of Isabella Selder, enjoy!
Unearth have been slogging it out on the metal scene for 15 years now and have proven themselves to be real stayers, helping to remind folks that seven-string guitars can be used for more than just open-string chugging and showing that you can combine the punishing groove of Pantera with the melodic sense of Sweden’s Gothenberg sound and the power of traditional metal, all filtered through an aggressive metalcore lens. New album Watchers of Rule (3Wise) is a consistently brutal chunk of metal by anyone’s standards. But this far into Unearth’s career, it’s almost exhilarating to hear them continuing to release vital albums full of songs that are destined to live on in the setlist. I caught up with guitarist Buz McGrath right after the album’s release.
Want to win a copy of the album? Email email@example.com with ‘Unearth’ in the subject line and I’ll draw five winners!
Let’s start with the guitar stuff. What did you use on this album?
We used a Rhodes amp. I don’t know what it is. And I think we used one of Ken’s old custom Ibanez RGs that won the shoot-out. Usually what happens is we go through a stack of about 15 guitars and we record the same piece of music, the same riff, with each guitar, and you go through and listen to which guitar is sounding the best with what you’ve got, and that one won. It was between that one and, Ken had a custom three-pickup Ibanez Iceman with EMGs in it. That thing weighed a fucking tonne but it sounded sick. But the other one just beat it out by a little bit. We recorded with a Kemper via DI, and then [producer] Mark Lewis took it back to his studio and re-amped it through various amps, which I wasn’t a part of the process for. He would send me mixes with different amps and I’d say ‘this one sounds good.’ So I never even saw the amp. It’s a real weird way of doing it but it worked out good.
Are you using Kempers live or are you a real-amp guy for the stage?
I just switched over to Kemper. I wanted to hate it so bad but it’s awesome. Ken had one and we were onstage one day getting set up for soundcheck and I was like ‘Dude, that sounds fucking sick. I’m going to get one. If I get one will you give me all of your profiles and everything? Can you load it up and get it working for me?’ So I ordered it, took it to his house, played it and it was great. I mean, we used a real amp on the record just because under that microscope you can kinda tell a little bit, at least for my ears, so we used a real amp for that. But for live, doing what we do, you’d never know. It sounds better because we’re going out of the Kemper into the PA and just running a cab onstage for monitoring and it sounds amazing.
Are you still rocking your ESP signature guitars?
Yeah! The ESP BUZ7, which is a great guitar. I love it. I’m trying to get them to do a redo of it with a twist, maybe change some of the features. Mainly just the paint, do something different with it. I’ve got a couple of customs too. I’ve got a nice custom that’s in the style of the BUZ7 but it’s got a flame top, like a vintage violin finish with a maple fretboard, and then I’ve got a Silverburst Horizon Custom that’s pretty rad, and I’ve got another custom on the way. The Horizon FR7 is one that I kinda keep around.
So how do you guys write songs? I saw some dudes on Twitter saying it’s amazing how you’ve managed to avoid the ‘djent trap.’
No, I would love to have some of that in there, I just don’t think we know how to do it! Some of that stuff is cool. Some of those grooves I really like, and I think we probably even had a couple of parts that might have been like that but which didn’t really jive with what we were doing. Basically I would sit at home, record some riffs, email them to our drummer and he would send them back with three different beats, and I’d start piling up riffs and making songs out of them. There were some full song ideas that would just come and there were others that would just go into the bag of riffs. It was a cool way to do it. It beats sitting in a jam room slogging it out with a drummer trying to show them this complicated chugging riff that he then has to figure out how to do with his feet while everybody waits. That’s not to say getting into the jam room was bad because there’s a lot of spontaneity when you do that. But it’s way more healthy to get in the zone and work it out on your own. I’ve got a spare room in my home where I keep my guitars and I just use GarageBand. I use this old Zoom GTU effects pedal and I don’t even know how to change the tones any more: I just plug in and it sounds awesome.
Will we be seeing Unearth in Australia any time soon?
Yeah I’m hoping to, we’re just waiting for someone to call us up and say ‘C’mon down!’
Watchers Of Rule is out now on 3Wise.
Peavey T-40 is an absolute beaut... with a volume and tone for each of the two pickups, you're not going to get the same variety of sounds out of a bog-standard P or J Bass.
G L Wilson
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You may have seen the new Dino Cazares (Fear Factory, Divine Heresy) signature Ibanez DCM100 here on Guitar Noize last week that featured a video where Dino not only talks about his new signature guitar but also his new signature Seymour Duncan pickups, the Retribution active 7 and 8 string humbuckers. Dino says that these new pickups provide the essential attack, clarity and increased headroom that 7 and 8-string guitars that he wanted.
The Seymour Duncan Retribution pickups feature a specially tuned preamp with “just the right amount of gain, enhanced attack definition and maximum string clarity. Like the standard Blackouts series and Mick Thomson EMTY Blackouts, they maintain an organic open sound that isn’t sterile but instead is huge and powerful with a lower noise level and an increased dynamic response compared to other active pickups.”
Dino Cazares says of the Retribution, “It has a richer tone that’s more evenly voiced so the low string is not fighting with the high string. It’s a very crunchy sound, great for low tunings. It has more articulation in the pick attack and the distortion has less unwanted noise and compression.”
These pickups were designed with extended range players in mind by maintaining definition on the low B and F# strings. The Retribution is the same pickup that is featured on the new Dino Cazares signature Ibanez DCM100 7-string.
Like the Blackouts active pickups series, Retribution comes with wiring schematics and all necessary mounting hardware including pots, stereo jack, and battery clip. They are available separately as neck and bridge models or as a complete calibrated set for 7 string guitars (passive and soapbar sized) and 8 string guitars (soapbar sized). Each Retribution is wound and assembled at the Seymour Duncan factory in Santa Barbara, California.
For more information, visit: http://www.SeymourDuncan.com
The post Seymour Duncan Dino Cazares Signature Retribution Active Pickups appeared first on Guitar Noize.
Sturgill Simpson Join The Martin Ambassador Family!
Martin Guitar is happy to announce the 2014 Americana Music Awards "Emerging Artist" winner and 2015 GRAMMY nominee for "Best Americana Album", Sturgill Simpson to the Martin Ambassador family! Learn more about this talented singer/songwriter here.
Martin Ambassadors Nominated For GRAMMYs
Congratulations to our Martin Ambassadors who have been nominated for eight 2015 GRAMMY Awards! Martin Ambassadors Ed Sheeran, Hunter Hayes, Sturgill Simpson, NEEDTOBREATHE, Del McCoury, and Dierks Bentley have all been nominated. The GRAMMYs will air on February 8, 2015. To learn more, click here.
The Avett Brothers On Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits will feature Martin Ambassadors The Avett Brothers on the season 40 premiere on January 3, 2015. Learn more about the upcoming season here.
Valerie June 'Pushin' For Stardom
Martin Ambassador Valerie June is featured in a new USA Today article. Valerie discusses what she's listening to, her go-to-artist, and what she plays when she's feeling happy. You can read the USA Today article here.
The Two Types of Music in Film—and How to Leverage Them
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The Two Types of Music in Film—and How to Leverage Them
Whether you’ve realized it or not, you’ve sat through two different types of music in all sorts of media. From music videos to commercials to business presentations to Hollywood films, all of them use either one type or the other.
Think you know what I’m talking about already? I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with instruments or genre. It’s not royalty-free and licensed music either. No, these two types are much more comprehensive than that. And you’re going to want to know what they are so you can use music as effectively as possible in your videos.
What are Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Music?
Film music and movie soundtracks can be described as being either diegetic or non-diegetic—both derived from the literary term “diegesis.”
Determining whether a piece of music is one or the other comes down to the context in which it is used. Can the characters hear it? Does the audience realize this? Or is the song used to increase emotional resonance?
Below we’ll dive deeper into what this means, take a look at a few examples, and examine how to use both types in your projects.
When film music is referred to as “diegetic,” it means it comes from within the “narrative sphere” of the story. That is, the music can be heard, played, or manipulated by the characters.
Think of how a character might turn on a radio in a car to listen to a song. Or go to a club where the music is playing far too loud. Diegetic types of music are important because they are prompted by, and sometimes even effect, the story of your video.
This Heineken commercial, for example, bases its entire premise around the use of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” as a piece of diegetic music. Here’s another example of diegetic music from “Back to the Future”:
As seen in the clip above, the music is dictated by the storyline (Marty being on stage with a band), and the characters react to it. The music is from within the world of the story—and has the potential to change that world as well.
When you think of movie soundtracks (e.g., orchestra pieces), you typically don’t imagine diegetic music. For a piece of music to be non-diegetic, it has to exist separately from the characters. The music exists solely for the audience and is typically used to influence their emotional reaction to a scene.
Here’s another scene from “Back to the Future,” but this time with non-diegetic music. Instead of the song coming from within the world, it is applied over top of it:
In this clip, the powerful score intensifies the action, but it’s clear that neither Marty nor the Libyan rebels are able to hear it. However, by supplying the audience with music, the filmmakers add a tone of danger, accelerating the pacing and providing an overall greater experience.
How to Use Diegetic Music
Now that you know the difference between the two types of soundtrack music, it’s time to learn how to use each of them seamlessly, starting with diegetic (in-story) music.
ï Establish a Source
To make diegetic music work effectively, the first thing you need to do is establish the music is coming from within the scene. There are many ways you can do this:
- - Show a radio turned on by a character
- - Have a character play an instrument
- - Utilize a setting in which music is common (restaurants, grocery stores, etc.)
- - Have characters react to the song by dancing or singing
As a general rule, if you want to use diegetic music, you have to plan for it ahead of time since you have to establish a source inside the footage.
ï Use Sound Filters
Once you’ve settled on the environment and the source of the music, you have to make it believably sound like it’s coming from that source.
For instance, say your character walks into a room, hides a radio under her pillow, then turns on the music. Since the radio would be muffled by the pillow, the music shouldn’t come out crisp and clean.
There are various sound filters you can use to make these effects, some of them automatically. If you aren’t sure how to make it sound believable, try recalling your own experiences and expectations:
- - If it’s a brand new MP3 player in the scene, it should sound boisterous and bold.
- - If it’s over the intercom speakers of a hotel, it should sound muted and tinny.
- If it’s coming from another room in a house, it should sound distant and quiet.
Basically, it has to sound like you’d expect it to sound in real life—and sound filters help sell that credibility.
ï Time Appropriately
The last and final step is to either transition your music away from its diegetic source or end it completely. At this point, what you do and how you do it is going to be a stylistic choice.
The answer could be as simple as having your character stop playing an instrument or arriving at a destination in a car and turning off the radio. Alternatively, you might use editing techniques to end a song by fading out or using jump cuts.
How to Use Non-Diegetic Music
Using non-diegetic (out-of-story) music is both easier and more difficult at the same time. Technically, overlaying a song on top of a video is easy, but as a matter of style, choosing the appropriate song and cueing it at the right time can be difficult.
Still, music is essential to many movies, so having the ability to apply it correctly is invaluable.
ï Provide Cues
Generally speaking, music that begins in the middle of a line or randomly within a scene draws too much attention to itself to be effective.
Instead, make sure you have a smooth transition or cue for it. It could be a dramatic reveal (visually or verbally), a quick scene change, or as simple as a slow fade-in.
For some projects, you’ll want to introduce music with subtlety, while with others, you’ll choose to jolt the audience by surprising them with a song.
ï Mix with Care
Few things are more frustrating than trying to watch a movie and not being able to hear what the characters are saying. This isn’t always because of the music, of course; however, a soundtrack is just one more thing to distract us from listening to dialogue or hearing crucial sound effects.
When you reach the stage of your production where you’re mixing audio, be meticulous about volume levels. You want the music to be loud enough to be heard and enjoyed, but it shouldn’t overtake dialogue (unless it’s an intentional choice).
ï Follow the Emotion
The conventional way of using music in a movie is to have it inform the audience as to how you you thinkthey should feel—like using a sad piano ballad as someone passes on their deathbed.
But conventional isn’t always best. Martin Scorsese, a master of film soundtracks, often uses music in his films that is emotionally opposite of what you’d expect so that the audience is forced to claim an emotion on their own. Sometimes providing the emotional piano music after the character has died is actually more powerful.
Transitioning Between the Two
One of the most difficult things to pull off is a transition between diegetic and non-diegetic music. However, audio crossfades and slow volume increases or decreases work well for this.
Another technique is to suddenly play the music louder. You can also associate the transition with a visual cue—like a door slam or sudden jump cut. Keep in mind that when you use both types of music at once, you have to be thinking about the audience’s reactions and those of your characters.
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