Mike Overly's 12 Tone Music News

Music, Guitar and Bass News from around the World Wide Web . . .
December 3, 2015
In This Issue

Electric guitars, on the face of it, might not seem to have much to do with chemistry. However, the materials that make them up are carefully chosen for their chemical properties, without which they simply wouldn't function. In this graphic, we take a look at some of these materials, and their typical compositions.

The most important parts of an electric guitar are, of course, the pickups. These allow the vibrations of the strings to be detected, and eventually converted into sound at the guitar's amplifier. In order to do this, they make use of magnets, and can contain a number of different elements as part of their composition.

The most common . . .
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If you've ever had any doubt, for some reason or other, that rock and roll descended directly from the blues, the video above, a history of the blues in 50 riffs, should convince you. And while you might think a blues history that ends in rock n roll would start with Robert Johnson, this guitarist reaches back to the country blues of Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Black Snake Moan" from 1928 then moves through legendarily tuneful players like Skip James and Reverend Gary Davis before we get to the infamous Mr. Johnson . . . 
"In My Life" is one of the most tender and touching Beatles songs, and Rob Smith brings that passion and soul to his solo bass arrangement. Rob really elevates the bridge with some awesome two-handed tapping on his Skjold Bass.
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Music dedicated to the Sun King in 1682 played by an original Stradivarius baroque guitar of the same period (1679): The Sabionari, the only playable Stradivarius guitar in the world. This music played by Krishnasol Jimenez, have been composed by Robert de Visče, guitar Master of the King Luis XIV at Versailles, France . . . 


Tina S is 15 years of age and has already sent guitarists everywhere fleeing to their bedrooms, working their fingers bloody in furious efforts to match her speed and accuracy. She posted her first video in 2008 at the age of 8, playing a classical guitar composition. Yes, Tina S has obvious natural ability, yet anyone who is  this good gets there through endless regular practice and the guidance of a talented teacher. In the words of Tina S, "I have not yet started my career as a guitarist." 

In many ways, the digitization of music has changed the listening experience for the better: you can take a road trip's worth of music with you in your pocket, buy songs on the fly and instantly access virtually every song ever published. But it also has isolated us. Listening to music has gone from a communal experience to a personal one, as many people's default listening experience is through a chintzy pair of earbuds. The truth is that music was meant to be shared and for less money than you might think, you can build a home audio system and start listening to vinyl with your friends!  
One of the most important figures in twentieth century American music, Charles Mingus (1922-1979) was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. He studied double bass and composition in a formal way while absorbing vernacular music from the great jazz masters, first-hand. He played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950's: Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington himself. Mingus quickly developed as a leader of musicians, one of the few bassists to do so. Mingus soon found himself at the forefront of the avant-garde. In 1971 his autobiography, Beneath the Underdog, was published. When asked to comment on his accomplishments, Mingus said that his abilities as a bassist were the result of hard work but that his talent for composition came from God.

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