Totally Guitars Newsletter #14 10 Years, 11 Months ago
TG Newsletter #14 - August 22th, 2009
In this issue you'll find...
- What's going on at Totally Guitars?
- Latest T.A.R.G.E.T. News...
- Ask Neil
- Recent Comments
- The TG Blog
What's Going On?
This has been a very different week here at TG for a few reasons.
The first, and biggest, is that I don't really know much about what
has been going on as I have been a little preoccupied with getting
my daughter settled in Hawaii to start her college life. I have
been trying to keep a daily log and I will try to organize it and
put it through the pipeline as time allows. A few details about the
trip that pertain to TG are below, but the really big news is...
Pay Per Lesson is here!
We are thrilled to roll out a new feature here that many folks have
been asking about. I know some of you have a hard time justifying a
recurring monthly expense and have asked about purchasing
individual lessons. We are now able to do just that. Each of the
full TARGET lessons can be bought for a one-time charge of just
$14.95. The details are now up under the TG Video tab, but the main
point is that for a single fee you will have 24/7 access to
whatever lesson you have purchased. This can be a great way to try
the program with your favorite song and decide later if the monthly
membership (with somewhere around 70 songs and growing weekly)
might be right for you.
Access Pay Per Lesson under the TG Videos tab
The other big news is a bit on the personal side, and has much to
do with my trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. What is one of the
first things a musician should do when they arrive in Hawaii?
Right... buy an ukulele and learn how to play a few songs. The second
day I was here I wandered into Hilo Guitars & Ukuleles, met a
couple of really friendly guys, Ken and Brian, bought an ukulele,
and learned how to play it. The next day I talked the manager of
the Hilo Hawaiian into letting me shoot some lessons around his
hotel. I also shot a few other videos that I will be sharing with
you over the next few weeks. Whatever happens, don't tell Matt
about this as I was supposed to be on vacation, or at least on
personal business. Although, he might be happy to hear that the
trip might be tax deductible now!
TARGET Live! update-
The only news here is that we are still planning an episode for our
TARGET members next Saturday, August 29, at noon in California. I'm
sure by now everybody can figure out their local times as I know
most of our members are at least as intelligent as your average
rocket scientist! I will work on the agenda a little later this
week but we seem to have the most fun when you guys steer the show
in the direction you want. Keep it up...
The guys behind the scenes have been hard at work putting in the
new video players in TARGET and wrapping up the initial roll out of
pay-per-lesson. Just a reminder if you need technical support
please use the support button at the top of every page on the site.
After last week's addition of Windy & Warm, I thought it would be
nice to go back to something a little more accessible to more
guitar players. This week we added a very popular song by one of
the greatest songwriters of our day, Leonard Cohen. The song is
Hallelujah. Now Leonard is generally not the best interpreter of
his songs, much like Bob Dylan, but I might consider him a modern
day Shakespeare in the big scheme of things (do you think anybody
ever complained about Will's acting ability???).
One of the great things about Leonard's songs is that they are very
open to different arrangements and presentations. I have put
together a standard arrangement playable by many beginning
guitarists, as well as versions by Jeff Buckley and Kate Voegele.
This can make the song accessible by many different players. I did
listen to many versions and tried to refrain from ragging on
'artists' whose versions I thought were sub-standard. You will have
to check the lesson and let me know if I managed a reasonable
amount of restraint.
I also included an experimental segment on improvising a chord-solo
style arrangement, much like appears in lessons like Madman Across
The Water, Uncle John's Band, and Who'll Stop The Rain. These
improved-play-through segments do not, and probably will not ever
include tablature, as I feel it is necessary to develop the skills
you need to create these yourself, rather than duplicate mine, or
anybody else's for that matter. As a teacher, I hope I can take you
to that point, but it can not be in a note-for-note, or rote
manner. This is certainly one of my goals for the future at TG.
As the last couple of weeks have been dedicated to some fairly
complex lessons, I will try to get to a couple of TARGET Shorts
each week for the next few weeks.
The TARGET Program is pretty revolutionary as far as an online
teaching system goes in that it is very interactive. There are many
ways that I stay in touch and interact with my online students. We
have an exclusive section in our Forum where I answer questions
from members, as well as take requests for upcoming lessons.
This interactivity even reaches out to live broadcasts for our
members where we play some songs, help resolve music problems, and
generally have an online group get together in real time. These
episodes are part of out TG Live! Series.
If you are serious about improving your guitar abilities I really
encourage you to join our TARGET Program while it is still open. I
can't say how many students we will be able to handle but I know
there will be a limit as to how many I feel I can work with. I want
to be able to devote the same time and attention to my online
students as I do for students I see in my studio every week and the
$19.95 price will not last forever.
From The Forums
Here are some of the comments that came in about Hallelujah.
Great job Neil, I've only looked at the playthrough and the behind
the scenes vids so far and the TABS, never having played this
before, I've almost nailed it with such a brief insight. So with
the other lesson parts that will top it off. As for writing a TAB
for the play through I don't think people realize just how
difficult that it is. I like the format with what you teach as you
can use the play through as a basis for your own improvisation on
the main theme. Ability to improvise only comes with enhanced
knowledge and experience and lots of patience and practice
Tabs or not, I like the 'play throughs' as they are. You can't
learn to improvise by copying someone else note for note. Neil's
improvs are great, but I kind of like mine too. And NO, mine aren't
tabbed either. lol
I'm loving the improvised behind the scenes part Neil has done,
more of them please.
Just another quick point, is it just me, or does the Tab for the
standard version not match with the video, in that Neil is playing
with a capo on the 2nd fret, and the Tab doesn't make any mention
I know it's a small point, its been a long long day, so I thought
I'd check with you guys first to see if I'm seeing things right, or
has the alcohol been playing tricks with my sight?
I'd never really listened to the song before Neil's video, I'm
certainly listening to it now, beautiful song.
Other Quick Hits From the Forum
A couple of weeks ago a thread started about 'Getting Quiet Around
Here'. Amazingly, there were about 20 responses in the next couple
of days, with hundreds of others on other threads. Some short
Not a lot has been happening on the forums of late have we run out
of steam ? Or do we need a really good contentious issue to
discuss? Maybe a discussion topic for the next live broadcast to
keep up momentum
I guess this thread is a contentious issue lol up to 5 pages worth
Time limitations during the week takes care of the practice
schedule, but weekends allow me a little more discretion.
Yesterday, for example, I played for three hours - TWICE! No pain
no gain! I want pain!
I hear you buddy! It's great to play pain free isn't it? I
practiced until almost 1:00am this morning (3 hours). I was making
progress so I just kept going. One of my Golden Retrievers woke me
up way too early this morning!!
Does anyone still think it's too quiet around here?
It turned into a great series of posts, check it out when you can.
A Question About The Ask Neil Forum
Tom Petty, Free Falling
Tom Petty at his best, I think you could present a great lesson on
this song, I have studied some of the lessons on this song on you
tube, but something just doesn't sound right. If you could work it
in sometime I would greatly appreciate it.
This has to be censored by the powers that be as Neil got a little
carried away in his 'enthusiam' for TP and his originality. See the
posts and fallout here-
Comments Recently Received
Closer To Fine
You are a mind reader and a life saver-
I have been struggling with this song on & off for about 2
months...I'm slow, you'll learn that about me. ;)But I could NOT
figure out what that one chord was & it was driving me bats!
I just subscribed to your site today & who knew I'd find the very
song I've been trying to play?
Thanks so much...now wish me luck.
All members checkout Closer To Fine Free Lesson Click Here
I had this tab for some years now from a guitar class I took back
in college but we never got to finish the song. It's good to
finally complete the song.Thanks Neil for the section on
expression. Keep he classical pieces coming. How about "asturias"
or "prelude" Johann Sebastian Bach!?
The TG Blog
The Blog has been a little quiet this week as access from Hilo has
been spotty at the best. I hope to bring you much of the adventure
over the next few weeks.
As far as next week goes- be ready to break out your ukulele and
your thinking cap as we will talk about similarities and
differences between these two tightly linked instruments.
P.S. - Feel free to get back to me on the blog and on the forum to
let me know what else YOU would like to see in this weekly
Not A TARGET Member Yet? Lock in at $19.95 today. This membership
price is closing out very soon!