Category Archives: Guitar

Show Must Go On – Live at Abbey Road

Back in February I had the joy of recording live in Abbey Road’s palatial Studio 1 with the fantastic London Show Choir and some of the finest orchestral musicians in London. One of the pieces we performed was Queen’s epic The Show Must Go On, replete with both solos (huzzah!), at a rather hefty volume –

Big clogs to fill, and a real treat to do so.

I used my PRS Goldtop DGT, MXR CS Phase 90, Custom Tones TWE-1 & Paul C Timmy, and the Catalinbread Belle Epoch into my Victory V40 head & Creamback cab.

 

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Hadley Fraser’s “Just Let Go”

Delighted to announce the landing of troubadour & chap Hadley Fraser’s solo EP “Just Let Go” today.

Hadley & I worked on The Pajama Game last year in Chichester so it’s a treat to carry on music-making with the gent. As well as being the world-class actor & singer that he is, he’s a very fine guitarist as well.

Musically, it’s some lovely country-tinged tuneage, which has plenty of dobro, mandolin & banjo from this scribe.

Please check it out, and enjoy!

http://hadleyfraser.bandcamp.com/releases

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New Video Lesson

There’s a new video up on the YouTube! Today it’s a quick hybrid picking idea you can add to your playing. Something I’ve fooled around with for a few years and thought it was worth sharing:

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The Pajama Game, CFT

We’re approaching the final week of The Pajama Game in beautiful Chichester; the run had apparently broken the record for most successful show in the Minerva Theatre!

It’s great fun in the guitar chair, amidst a 10-piece big band with my CS339, Spanish and Martin steel-string, we’re tasked with making quite the groovy noise, with stunning & challenging orchestrations courtesy of Mr Chris Egan. Really most enjoyable.

Plus I’ve just taken delivery of a gorgeous relic’d T-style from the lovely Eternal Guitars. Might try to slip it into one of the numbers, I’ve always felt this show was lacking a little twang…

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Live at The Haymarket

All may have been quiet on the update front, but the playing front has certainly been rather loud of late.

This week I have the great pleasure of playing lead guitar/vocals with The Craze Band, as part of ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ at The Theatre Royal Haymarket. I’m using the opportunity to debut my lovely new G&L ASAT Classic T…

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New Album available!

People!
Very excited to announce the release of “A Song Cycle for Soho” Original Cast Recording:
Click here to see the album on iTunes

Currently available on iTunes with CD released soon!

Also featuring the multitudinous talents of MD Sarah Travis and cast Claire Moore, Niamh Perry, Michael Cantwell & James Gillan.

All new compositions, was a fantastic show to be involved with.

Enjoy!

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New video: Live from the studio!

Hello hello,

After a fun session yesterday with an exciting new project, I can share this clip of an improvised solo from the playout of a rather epic song:

It’s just the Suhr into a Line 6 POD Live X3 (there was a LOT of tone-tweaking going on that day…) but has a suitably arena-friendly sound I think.

It was a lot of fun to record, and the changes were surprisingly tricky to navigate on-the-fly without sounding too ‘jazz’.

Enjoy!

John.

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Back in the office!

We’re off to a very good start with this new production of “She Loves Me”, so here’s a quick look at my view in the band:

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Jazz Study Tips

What ho,

Seeing as I’m away from home for an extended period of time with the “Love Story” band, I’ve had to be quite creative with my practice as I only have a finite amount of space & time available to me.

As my show work involves playing the same notes, reading from the same score, 8 shows a week, I’m always aware of the danger of my sight-reading ability atrophying as the weeks go by. Also, as I’m playing purely acoustic-based music, there’s the narrowing focus on stylistic playing that often requires a bit of expanding, just for maintaining my own interest.

So I decided to base a lot of work around Charlie Parker’s Omnibook, an epic tome of be-bop scribblings. My reason for packing this book was two-fold:

1) It’s a marvellous resource as a compendium of Parker’s soloing approach over a large number of standards.

2) The chromatic nature of his soloing makes it superb as a sight-reading text.

As I’m not a be-bopper at heart, I haven’t been as well-versed in Parker’s playing as much as some of my colleagues – something I’m trying to remedy. Besides standards like Au Privav, Anthropology, Ornithology & Donna Lee (which I know fairly well), I’m treating the transcriptions as sight-reading studies.

As I get more comfortable just reading through the book at different tempi, and in a variety of positions (and horizontal & vertical approaches), the patterns & lines cease to be sight-reading studies, and are gradually becoming internalised. I’m noticing, even after only a few days of this, that listening to the original recordings, I’m beginning to ‘decode’ the lines. For someone interested in developing their inner ear for jazz, I’d say this is a hugely useful approach.

Having this sort of time to dedicate to something like this is a tremendous luxury, and hopefully I’m making the most of it. A most satisfying endeavour, indeed!

The always-marvellous chap that is Mike Outram has compiled a Spotify playlist of all of the solos transcribed in the Omnibook – well worth checking out with the book to hand. Many thanks to him for sparing the time to do this.

If you have any thoughts or other tips, do let me know. In the meantime, listen for the changes, and try to keep up!

John.

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“Welcome back, my friends…

…to the show that never ends”, chorus a legion of prog fans around the world.

Yes, it’s that time of year where I plug my latest adventures in the pit – June sees me in the guitar chair for the premiere of Howard Goodall’s musical setting of the classic story/film “Love Story” at the prestigious Chichester Festival.

It’s a lovely score, for strings, piano & guitar (doubling classical & 12-string) – a wonderful and rare blend of lyrical & evocative writing, with some real finger-twisting ensemble moments. Marvellous!

Details for the show can be assimilated here: http://www.cft.org.uk/cft-productions_details.asp?pid=371

Come on down and revel in the sunshine and musical derring-do!

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