Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Role of a Lead Guitarist in Music Production

The Mind of a songwriter is often wired differently than that of a guitarist.

Though the two cross paths often, it's rare to see a pro-level guitar player (particularly a lead guitarist) and a successful songwriter embodying the same human being.  But if you're that guitar player, the guy or gal whose expertise is wrapped up in solos, arpeggios and all the technical abilities thereof, how do you approach the songwriting process?  What's your role?

If you're good, you'll find yourself getting invitations for session work and opportunities to contribute to other people's music.  When that time comes, here's what your job description will entail.

1.  To Increase the Originality of the Music

A chord progression by itself doesn't make a song.

In fact, there are only a few commonly used chord progressions for the most of the primary music genres and a ton of music that's derived from them.

The  melody and layering, whether it comes from a vocalist or a guitar player, are the primary ways one piece of music can be differentiated from another.  It makes music better by increasing the quality and originality of the end product.

When it comes to songwriting, it's your job to make sure you increase a song's quality by using melody and layering

2.  To Add Melody and Melodic Accents

Melody is one of the most crucial parts of a lead guitarist's job description, especially when you're talking about songwriting.  If you're working with a songwriter, they've likely already come up with the lyrics and a chord progression, so melody will build on that material.

Loosely, this is the process you'll follow:

  • Learn the chord progression
  • Memorize the melody of the lyric line
  • Accent either or both with a secondary melody from your guitar

Though the more functional solution is to reference the chord progression.  One of the simplest ways to do that is to create an arpeggiated version of the bass line.  So keep in mind that anytime you're adding a short fill or a solo, you're creating some kind of melody.

In that instance you're sharing just as much responsibility as a vocalist.  Thus it becomes more important for you to be musical, melodic and complimentary with your guitar than it does to be technical and fun to watch.

3.  To Develop and Add Layering

Though it can involve melody, the practice of layering is an altogether different discipline and an equally important part of a guitar player's role in the songwriting process. 

While contributing melody requires a certain level of creative input, layering is a matter of adding something to a vocal line or guitar track that's already in place.  It can even be a guitar part you came up with.

Whatever the case may be, it's assumed you're layering over something that's already recorded.  Layering can involve one or more of the following practices.

  • Simply duplicating a chord progression or lead pattern
  • Adding an effect layer to a chord progression or lead pattern
  • Recording separate guitar tracks for the left and right channels

The details are largely up to the songwriter, though most people who hire a session guitarist will accept ideas and input in this area.  If you've got session work in your future, reading up on layering guitars in the studio would be a practical way to prepare.

How to sum it all up?

If you had to condense the answer to this question, you might say your role is to invoke an emotional response from those who might listen to the music you're creating.  

Adding melody, layering, effects and harmony are all about increasing the song's ability to appeal to someone's emotions.

That's your job, not just a guitar player, but as a musician.

So sure, your mind might bend a completely different way than those who compose and writer music, but you both share a common mission.  Different roles, with the same destination.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Enlightening Artists: Kalya Scintilla

Welcome Guitar Stream Fans to a new exciting look at this incredible talent that will mark a new series of blog articles,"Enlightening Artists".

We're taking a break from our standard Guitar Stream topics and focusing on spiritual representative music groups and artists.  Talking about not only the awesome music, but we'll be featuring music related digital imaging artists, (i.e. Alex Grey, Jacob Avanzato, Merkaba Music and more!).  The article topic here is about, "Kalya Scintilla".

"Kalya Scintilla is a hyperdimensional being on a mission to enlighten minds and alter consciousness"
- Paraphrasing the fans

Listen to the Trees EP

One of the most enjoyable tracks is, "Acacia" - running 6:56 min.  So many things Kalya Scintilla incorporates within their tracks that range: trip hop, Egyptian-like tones, and brilliantly transitioned melodies that is good listening for any occasion.  This album is mostly instrumental aside from a few vocal lines.  The album features 4 tracks, which is a little less than the previous albums, but the sheer production and composition value makes this affordable album worth adding to your collection.

Check out the link on Bandcamp here for more tracks outside of my YouTube playlist.

Dance the Spiral Never Ending

Every song by Kalya Scintilla in all the albums is an epic journey of intuitive experience.  Ignoring the many sub genres, Kalya Scintilla is fusion-blend of many different music elements, inspirations, worldwide styles and sounds.  

Dance the Spiral Never Ending can be found here.

Open Ancient Eyes

This album includes 15 tracks and the last track is an album mix running a little over 1 hr.  Two very good tracks (outside the entire album) features Deya Dova and Eve Olution.

"These dynamic duos set the stage for an future ancient ritual with mythic expression to create a kinesthetic tapestry to scintillate your being awake." - paraphrasing Kalya Scintilla

Eloquent Expansion

A more psychedelic mix with what you can expect from the funky rhythms within this album.  Open Chanel has a contribution from an incredible photographer and video editor, Jacob Avanzato.  Check out his video featuring this track here.

Watch them live at the Sun Festival in July 2016 in Budapest Hungary.  Line up featuring: Kalya Scintilla, Desert Dwellers, White Bear and more!  For more information click here.

Kalya Scintilla's album art is nothing short of amazing.  The symbology includes: Eye of Horus, Eye of Ra, Star of David, Indigo Lotus - Ajna chakra, Kundalini, Tree of life, Neolithic Symbols, Art of Alchemy and overall representations of higher consciousness and mysticism.  Regardless if you're spiritual or religious, Kalya Scintilla's music is one group I highly recommend for your collection.

Kalya Scintilla Facebook Page:

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Song Structure with 2 Guitarists

I recently had an offer for a collaboration from a friend of mine for two of his songs.  He wanted me to write lead guitar behind his rhythm.  The cool part is he had all the lyrics written for it and knew how he wanted the structure to go.  Structure to me is defined how well the song flows overall: lyrically and musically.

Instead of cool riff number 1 and cool riff #2, I like to get an idea, or an arrangement built then fillers and extras can come later.  Get a "bass line", or a foundation started.  Simple harmonies behind pieces of a song is only a portion of a whole.

Every musician has their process of writing and composing.  One might write from start to finish, while another creates a chorus and builds around it.  There are no set ways to effectively compose.  No rules.  Creativity for most, isn't summoned on a whim either.  My creative process starts with riffs, then build into a rough arrangement, and finally fine tune/put it all together.  

A lot of bands use two electric guitarists in their ensemble.  Not always does one guitarist play rhythm and the other does solos: some bands contain two lead guitarists.  That's where the opinion of defining what a lead guitarist does with shades of gray.  It's a pretty safe bet to call the guitarist who is composing and playing the solos a lead guitarist, but what about someone who "riffs" with single notes?  The role of either rhythm or lead guitarist isn't black or white.

A lot of guitarists harmonize with each other.  Great bands known for this are, but not limited to:  Boston, Iron Maiden, In Flames and more.  Whether they're using a pentatonic, thirds, fifths, etc there's a way to harmonize.  The point of thinking abstract with two electric guitarists is two rhythmical leads can work together outside of playing perfect harmonies.  Even the time signatures can be different.

Another element to add to music is dubbing on a track.  Within the YouTube playlist I've created for this article a song by ERRA "Lights City"  contains dubbing which you'll see at the end of the song.  Lots of accents like this are really awesome to add depth to a song.  One great metal guitarist, Marc Okubo (Veil of Maya) is the only electric guitarist in the band, but you'll hear harmonized parts added to the recordings of his tracks.  This process is called dubbing.

YouTube Playlist here

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If you like Guitar Stream, check out Ryan's new YouTube channel Life Of Ryan

Monday, June 13, 2016

That buzz on stage

Wouldn't it be the dream to be on stage with thousands of screaming fans?  Funny in a venue such as the one in the picture above, most of the lighting is to illuminate the band and the stage.  The band members can't see past the first 10 rows or so of people because it's not important to light up the crowd as it is the band itself.  So what drives that buzz to be on stage?

Most importantly, playing live is for the fans.  The revenue in smaller venues doesn't generate as much as album sales; however, with the accessibility of music today a band's income could be the opposite and that band makes more live than their digital downloads.  Also a great way to get exposure and sell merchandise.

How about the people that compose in the backgrounds, like me.  I don't have a drive to play live.  I've mentioned before the differences between studio recordings and live performances.  Sometimes there's a look that sells or even worst, the idea of being big and playing at large venues is for the unholy trinity, "Sex, Drugs and Rock N' Roll".

"Now there's the look of a Rock star  -- rock on!"

I've had the pleasure of knowing musicians that thrive on getting inebriated before going on stage.  Some have been rather irresponsible and missed the whole point of writing music.  I suppose anyone can write something, get on stage and rock out with excellent stage presence - just have fun.   There are special ones out there:  pissing on stage (accidentally), getting so drunk after the show they can't remember the show, sleeping with the other band mates on tour and the list continues...

Point is, I don't understand the reasons for latching on to what seems to be a standard.  I seriously doubt majority of bands do this, but some do.  Let's even advertise that lifestyle as an image or a painting with our next music video.  

"Aren't you supposed to have long hair and tattoos everywhere?"


Want a visual?  Check out a few vids here for pure image fun

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Funny Band Names

Presenting the Brutal and Endearing, "Ringworm"!

No, you can't get ringworm from a banana.  It's about as silly as this picture.

Have you ever wondered what these people were thinking when they named their band?  I'll try to keep it clean as I can without missing the highlights of titles.  Some of these band names are offensive.  

Pig Destroyer - Ha!  I had to check out this out.

A band named Bob - Yeah, mainly they do Blink 182 covers.  Tisk Tisk

Aha - "I've got it!  We'll call ourselves, 'Aha'!"

Armpit - Truly terrible.  Check it out

Angry Salad - I'm sold!

Big Ass Truck - Nah

Butthole Surfers - For real: a whopping 3 million+ views on YouTube for the song, "Pepper"
-What is this world coming to?

Diary Queen Empire - Seriously guys.  Don't quit your day job

Evil Wiener - No!  Not the evil wiener!

Grim Skunk - ??

Kinky Slinky - naughty slinky deserves punishment

Ok guys!  I could keep going on and on because the list of horrible names is amazingly huge.  Google it yourselves.  I've compiled a few videos in case the curiosity becomes unbearable, here


Some of the most offensive band names are affiliated with Metal bands: Cat Butt, Anal Blasphemy, Big Poo Generator.  That's going on the light, but rear-end of band names.  I dare not post some of the others that are listed on this page,                 

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Speed vs Slow: Deceptions of BPM

Behold the power of speed!

When I talk about speed and high BPM, (not rpm) I'm talking about tempo.  Tempo is the term for heartbeat:  what you "bob" your head to or tap your foot to while listening to a song.  There are many tempo web apps and mobile apps that you can calculate the BPM, (beats per minute) or tempo.

The note's duration in a bar or measure determine the note speed, which directly affects how fast the song is actually heard.  This is different from the heartbeat.  There's a lot of misconception on how to determine the tempo.  When I refer to it as the, "heartbeat" I mean how you naturally tap your foot or bob your head.  Note:  the downbeat of a snare and bass drum will bring you an entirely different bpm count.

Eminem - Rap God

If you use only the downbeat method for determining Eminem's song, Rap God, you'll notice that the tempo/bpm is only 74.  If you use the sort of heartbeat method, it's double that @ 174bpm.  Which one is correct?  In my opinion, they're both correct.  If you've ever recorded music to a metronome, (a midi click or sound that plays each beat within relative time signature and tempo) you can use either tempo/bpm setting to suit your needs.  

But wouldn't the tempo directly effect note-duration?  Yes.  Scoring the music or tabbing would have an all together different note-duration.  Unless you're a serious musician that tabs, scores or records music, most of the time you're not going to worry about the dynamics of tempo.  

"Just give me that beat"

Google the song bpm you're looking for and notice different websites will give you different bpm ratings.  Next example, is hilarious because Wikipedia states 200bpm, while another site right below it states 400bpm.  Hmm.

DragonForce - Through the Fire and Flames

Let's get this obvious statement out of the way:  DragonForce is fast!  I've had the pleasure of seeing them live and they're dead on accurate and sound just like they do on the album, at least in my experience.  This track is labeled 200bpm and 400bpm.  That's a phenomenal difference.  In terms of note duration:  that's either 16th or 32nd notes.  Not much "head bobbing" involved with this song nor "head banging".  That would look pretty amusing.

So, if I had a measure that was 200bpm with 1/4 note duration and a measure with 100bpm with 1/8 note duration, would they theoretically be the same?  The duration or sustain of notes would obviously be different.  Feel free to leave a comments, opinions, and criticism.  This topic is widely argued by many, including myself.  

Check out the two songs here on YouTube

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Memories and Moods with Music

The Effects of Music with Memory - mapping/recollection Integration

Delve into the science:

What I mean by memory embedding and recollection with music is simply the integration of activities or events that we humans remember during an individual or regular experience with music stimulus.  Ok, what did I just say?  Cutting through the garble, music can bring us back to memories (i.e. imagery, moods, etc).  Sometimes we're brought back to an era of time, a single moment or even forgotten memories; at least, we "thought" we forgot.  That is the wonderful thing about music and it's subconscious effect on our minds in general.

  You know how you're trying to think of the lyrics to a song, but sometimes can't quite remember them?  Suddenly, while listening to the song, it comes back like second nature.  That's what I mean about the mapping.  I theorize that majority of memories aren't ever truly lost, but the connection needs stimuli to better access/recollect that memory.  This is also done with other forms of stimulation outside of music.



"Think of our memory banks just like a memory stick and the mapping like a circuit board."  

  Sometimes a memory forgotten is simply a broken connection.  Perhaps we have a set amount of storage space, variable, based on the individual and how we treat our bodies and mind throughout life.  "Bridge the connection with another source".  Music is a fantastic method for storing and accessing information. 

  An added way to look at it is perceive how a search engine works.  We type in Music.  Well, music is going to generally discover a lot of results.  But what if we're trying to access a specific memory, (e.g. specific place or time) then we need to use more keywords to narrow the search.  The more we add the more we can narrow the search.  

"Specific and relative music applied to the mind is a great way to store and remember.  Regardless whether we're aware that we're doing it"

Check out this playlist, Music and Mind for 4+hours of mindful music power

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Evil Metal Growls/Screams

A quick look at the techniques behind metal growls & screams

  I'm no expert nor do I rarely try to perform metal screams/growls.  Truth is there is technique to it.  Otherwise, you'll injure yourself.  Imagine the moments you've had where you screamed (most likely in rage), how long do you think you could consistently scream for?  10s, 30s, 5 minutes per song with barely a rest?  Think again and support the metal growlers and screamers!

  So far through my research I'll explain that the single most important thing to remember is to growl through your throat.  What this means is not using the diaphragm only - like a falsetto/held back growl/scream; unless, of course you're amplifying a quiet and long endurance run.  Imagine a nice deep low burp and belch it out!

   Next, maintain drinking warm fluids to loosen your vocal chords.  I've heard cold water constricts (middle school) and will have issues.  Probably room temperature water is best.  I would figure out what you're best comfortable with, vocally: deep growl, mid scream or raging high pitched scream.  

  There's so many "styles" of metal growls and screams.  I will name a few popular:

    1)  Death Metal - Low rumble with mixed screams

      2)  Grindcore - Also know as the pig-squeal

   3)  Black Metal - Typically screeching high 

  A growl and a scream are exactly what they are.  I won't go into all the specific different styles of each with descriptions.  For more check out this short playlist of different metal growls/screams, including funny pointers on how to perform them. 
  A good tid-bit to point out:  not all metal growlers and screamers are evil devil worshipers

"It's not brutal if it's comprehensible"

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Guitar Stream Guitar Lessons Finger Tapping

Studio Vocalists and Bands

What exactly is a Studio Band/Artist?

  • Anyone who uses Auto-Tune regularly
  • Majority of Emo vocalists
  • My personal category of a band that sounds awful live 

Check out this small playlist for some amusing videos here


  Whether you enjoy pop, rock, rap etc it's disappointing when your favorite artists can't perform what they record.  Not unless there a ton of processor units or harmonizers.  Nothing against the obvious studio artists, I personally enjoy many and could care less if their live performances are less than spectacular or digital quality.  

  One of most famous pop singers, Katy Perry, is known for her over processed vocals and infamous live performances lacking them.  Katy Perry is a prime example of a lot of scrutiny for her fan's claim to obvious live sound differences being extreme; however, she IS a studio artist and live perfomances come with the job.  It's pop.  Or more accurately digital pop - digipop

  Sometimes we do experience artists that miss their mark or note entirely:  changing the pitch/octave to better suit their current range, (what they either could only do once...maybe even a pitch corrector) or trying something new, or a flat out mistake.  Some bands sound BETTER live (e.g. Tool, DMB, even John Mayer).  Regardless, music is music and if it sounds better live or on the album, then enjoy it on at a venue or on your device.

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My Top 5 Drummers

My Condensed List of Favorite Drummers

There are so many great drummers in the music-verse.  I'm not a drummer per se, but I understand rhythms.  It's like splitting your mind into 4 separate entities - 1 for each limb.

    1) Danny Carey - Tool

Grammy Award Winning drummer featured in the band Tool.  Danny has contributed to many side projects and well known for his odd time signatures, poly-rhythms and meters.  He is widely known and praised among other musicians all alike.  

I don't know anyone who doesn't like the band Tool

    2) Neil Peart - Rush

Renowned drummer, lyricist, producer and author most commonly know in the band Rush.  Neil was inducted in the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983.  Aside from his well polished technical skills, his famous use of "but-end out" stick orientation is phenomenal.

    3) Mike Portnoy - Dream Theater

Co-founder, drummer and backing vocalist to the band Dream Theater.  Also the founding member of Liquid Tension Experiment, which is awesome!  His career in Dream Theater lasted for 3 decades before abruptly departing the band during a tour with Avenged Sevenfold, in 2010.  Mike Portnoy still receives awards and recognition for incredible musicianship - Best Rock Drummer in 2015.

    4) Joey Jordison - Slipknot

A well rounded artist and guru of music:  Joey Jordison has done many projects and is featured in many bands including the band Slipknot - up till his departure in 2013.  He is a modern inspiration for many musicians and drummers, (e.g. Bring me the Horizon, Crown the Empire and Black Veil Brides).  

My favorite of his contributions and appearances was in Roadrunner United:  The All Star Sessions

    5) Carter Beauford - Dave Matthews Band

Founder of DMB, his ability to adapt to the variety of styles makes him a very prestigious and dynamic musician.  He was awarded the ranking, "Top 10 Greatest Drummer" by Rolling Stone 2010.  DMB is a jazz fusion band with sax, acoustics, violins and other instruments for purely enjoyable experience.


Check out Guitar Stream's Top 5 Drummer Video Playlist here

Music Genres and the Outstanding list of Sub-Genres

"Please Provide Proper Identification"

  We've all labeled our musical tastes one way or another either a style or identifying characteristic of our own/other's music.  Personally, the sub-sub-genres are becoming a bit redundant.  I understand the appreciation for organization; however, take this string of code for example....metal\ heavy metal\ heavy melodic metal\ heavy melodic progressive metal and so forth.

  How about just plain Metal.  Or Rock, Pop, even splash in some Alternative to better identify Rock with a sub-genre.  No-no:  Post modern - Ambient - Alternative Punk Rock with a splash of Ska.  Music is music and doesn't need all the tags or labels for identifying what you play or sound like.  Check out this link for Ambient alone.

--Stop the trend

#genre, #subgenre, #subsubgenre

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Music Theory over Composition

The question or statement I get a lot, even within myself, is Music Theory the only way to writing Masterful Music?

The answer is no.  There some people I know who are well versed and knowledgeable in the theory behind music, but get stuck writing unique, original compositions without following the "algorithms", (i.e. time signatures, beat patterns, scales etc).  Music theory is definitely helpful and will boost your ease at which you create music, such as with arrangements and staying on key during transitions.  For some musicians, music theory takes the taste out of improvisations.  

Nothing wrong with being said for those that delve deep into the theory of music and enjoy it.  There are obviously opposites to my point here.  Learning the essential basics of staying in key and time every musician should know.  Even if it's boring!  

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Ponies at Dawn and Bandcamp Artists

"Ponies at Dawn aims to bring you the best offer with regular compilation albums full of incredible music."

  Ponies at Dawn, out of Australia, is a great compilation of electronic and original tracks featured on SoundCloud and Bandcamp.  The Album "Awakening" contains 54 tracks with the 'Name your own price' option featured on Bandcamp, this is truly a great deal.  I recommend supporting their hard work by giving something.  Check them out here on Bandcamp.

  "A highly Dub and Energetic proposal combining female and male vocals.  Big selection of pieces to enjoy a ride...." - Paraphrasing Bandcamp member Lz

My Top 5 Djent List

All you Djent Lovers!

  I've recently started getting in Djent bands.  This list is my top that I've discovered so far in the past 6 months.  Check out my Djent Playlist via YouTube for your listening pleasure.

  1. Wide Eyes - The Launch of Kasper
  2. Animals as Leaders - "CFAO"
  3. Periphery - 22 faces
  4. For Giants - Decatur
  5. Anup Sastry - Dreamer

Add your own videos to the playlist Enabled

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Free online guitar lessons, 1-on-1 lessons, pdf, tablatures, mp3 player and more!

Whether you're a beginner or experienced, Guitar Stream offers concise demonstrations, tabs, videos, charts and diagrams to help those who want to better their Guitar playing skills. 

Featured artist Brentomaton added with two tracks uploaded!

Links to cool tools that I use to edit and provide my content on Guitar Stream.  

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ERRA Drift Album Theory

I've been a fan of the band ERRA for a while now.  I feel there are mixed feelings about this album Drift.  At first listen, I didn't like it as much as ALL the previous albums.  With the new vocalist, (growler/screamer) JT Cavey.  His range isn't as good because he's a very static growler/screamer.  With that in mind, the clean vocalist, Jesse Cash, sings more in this album instead of the highlight parts within songs.  I think it's an experimentation to balance the monotone growl by adding more clean dynamic vocals.  The instrumentals are still amazing, as always!  By far my favorite track is the last one, 'The Hypnotist'.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Guitar Stream Guitar Lessons Tremolo Picking

Guitar Stream Guitar Lessons Updated Video

This video is a concise look at the insane tremolo picking.  Videos are posted, produced and recorded by Ryan Hudson - Guitar Stream

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Periphery- Juggernaut: Alpha & Omega (2015) FULL ALBUM

One of the best concept albums, masterfully done.  The Alpha and Omega are representations of an individual who the government experiments with the use of MK Ultra, which from birth, he/she was experimented on.  Throughout the Alpha disc, this soldier grows up and becomes aware of its existence and the existence of its counterpart - the Omega.

Throughout whom the inner struggle of good and evil is a constant battle throughout its life and the album conveys this wonderfully with vocalist Spencer Sotelo.  In the end the Omega takes over completely and at some point in the Omega disc the soldier is killed.  The last track "Stranger Things" is a cosmic composition of the soldier's Ascension, and other words, transition after death into the cosmos.