It’s a shame that the word ISIS has ended up with such a ghastly reputation, because the pioneering post-metal band by the same name happens to be one of my all-time favourites. There’s not one album released by them that I feel anything less than love for! I’ve always wanted to play songs by ISIS, but I kept putting it off because I knew they used non-standard tunings as well as heavily down-tuned guitars, both of which as many guitarists would agree are a nightmare to deal with if you have a guitar with a Floyd-Rose tremolo arm.
Having purchased my PRS with a fixed bridge about a year ago, it became really easy to re-tune it to non-standard tunings. I also happened to figure out only quite recently that my Boss GT-100 pedal contained a pitch-shift effect that allowed me to tune whatever I played up or down by a number of semi-tones, which led to the recently published Meshuggah cover video.
And now I took a shot at quite a simple and very trippy ISIS song called C.F.T: New Circuitry and Continued Evolution from their debut full-length album Celestial. I couldn’t find a backing track for it so I’m playing it over a metronome beat, plus the guitar is not tuned all the way down to the same note as that in the original. Like I said, it’s more about satisfying this urge to play any song by this band than anything else here. Hopefully, more challenging and better recorded songs in the future!
Here’s the third and final Primus number from my list before I switch to some different music for a little while. This one was quite challenging, especially when it came to the second solo. Some tricky note-transitions in it to work with. And I was also surprised to see what actually constituted the guitar and the bass parts while learning to play it. Larry Lalonde at his best!
These three Primus songs – Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver, Jerry was a Racecar Driver and John the Fisherman – gave me a good sense of Larry’s unique and quirky playing style, which I have really come to admire, but there’s still more interesting songs like My Name is Mudd, Welcome to this World and many others that I’m really looking forward to playing in the future when I get back to Primus after a break!
Here’s the second I’ve been learning of five Primus songs in my list to do by the end of August – Jerry was a Racecar Driver! One of Primus’ more popular songs. A nice and easy exercise in volume swells, and a crazy solo that jumps in and out of scale like it doesn’t care, in order to work with a crazy bassline.
I’ve always been a big fan of Larry Lalonde’s playing style and how it so cleverly accompanies Les Claypool’s challenging and unique basslines in most of Primus’ songs. I recently decided to learn to play five Primus songs in order to develop a greater appreciation for this style. The first of these is John the Fisherman. Not a difficult song, really, and fun to play. A great one to get started with!
This is also the first video with my beautiful new Ibanez RG-3120 guitar!
I wasn’t so taken by this song when I first heard it, but I revisited it while warming myself up for the release of Tool’s Fear Innoculum last year, and somehow got really hooked onto it, so much that I ended up learning how to play it. This is the first video I’m posting with my new PRS SE Mark Holcomb Signature Edition electric guitar! I play it in the guitar’s standard tuning – Drop C.
Two years ago, I successfully passed the RSL Awards Rock School Electric Guitar Grade 6 exam with a distinction. Since late last year, I have been preparing for the Grade 7 exam. As I’m no longer living in the UK, my guitar tutor Nicolas and I decided that I would do a mock exam over Skype that he would assess and give me a score, unofficially. We did this yesterday evening, and I’m very pleased to say that I passed the exam. And as per Nick’s assessment, it was a “strong performance” and I received a score of 88 out of 100 which is just short of a distinction. Of course, this is not an accurate assessment given the constraints we were under but it’s heartening for me to know that I obtained a score that is a certain pass.
I hope to appear for the next, and final Grade (Grade 8) in the Electric Guitar track in the next year or two. And, as in my previous RSL Awards post, here are YouTube videos of the three songs I chose to perform in the exam…
This is one of the first AiC songs I heard that got me into the band. While I had the broken finger, I also took some time off the fast licks and finger-intensive playing to learn some wah coordination and this was a great song to begin with. I used a Vox wah pedal here that I bought years ago. A bit squeaky but it worked alright. There’s still a few rough edges in this final recording and this is the result of the time I was willing to spend on perfecting it. Another Rush song coming up afte this!
I just finished recording and uploading the video of me playing this piece on YouTube, and I’m happy to share the link here! I’ve been learning to play it for a while now, and it was one of the pieces I could actually play as my broken little-finger was recovering after a minor bicycle accident. It’s so much fun to play with the 11/8 (or 11/16, whatever) time sections early on and the 13/8 (or 13/16, whatever) time sections towards the end of the piece! It’s fairly straightforward otherwise, but really requires some attention due to the repetitions that one tends to get carried away with. I love the solo composed by Alex Lifeson on this one, as I do most of his very clever guitar work! And as much as I could perhaps play it better, I’ll go easy on myself and settle with what I have in this video.
I’ve been learning to play another awesome song by Rush, that I’ll hopefully record and upload soon, stay tuned!
A couple of weeks ago on Jun 9, 2017 I gave my first music certification exam – RSL Awards Rock School Grade 6 (Electric Guitar). I’m very pleased to share that I passed it with a distinction! Before the exam, I recorded my performances of the three pieces I chose to play as a part of it. The entire piece is given except the solos which have been composed by me. I uploaded them on YouTube, initially to share with my tutor, and now with everyone else! Here they are…
My lovely wife Nina and I recorded a little video where we play a cover of the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, to wish all our loved ones a merry Christmas.
So here’s wishing everyone a merry Chirstmas and a very happy New Year from the both of us!