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Get to know: Lucas Moscardini

Monday 3rd February 2020 Blogroll

lucas moscardini interview

Fusing Latin vibes with his own brand of djent inspired prog riffs and lead lines, Lucas Moscardini truly is a player to watch.

His JTC debut sees him tackle and teach the solo from the Vitalism track, “Favela”. And we couldn’t be happier to help him spread his musical message.

Let’s find out more about the man of the moment.

Q: When did you first start playing?

I started messing around with my father's acoustic when I was 9. But when I was 11, my uncle lent me his guitar so I got addicted to music and things started to get a little more serious after that!

Q: You mix up lead and rhythm in your playing, but which do you prefer?

Hard one! Hahaha. That's why we do what some people call "shriffs" which are shred/riff sections. But if I had to choose one I would choose rhythm. Just because it feels SO good to play groovy riffs on stage!

Q: How do you guys approach writing music for Vitalism?

We love to add elements from other genres. On our last EP called "SY" we've used many South American elements and influences to shape the sound! We tend to start with a rough vision of the vibe of the song. Then we usually choose one or two keys for the song we're working so each one of us writes at home some riffs, grooves and chord progressions that fit on the same key. After that, we meet and start combining all our ideas in a way that makes sense for us

Q: What guitars and gear are you using at the moment?

I've been using my Legator Ninja X series and my Legator OD series that I've recently added a pair of EMGs 57-7 and 66-7. I was recording for my new project last week and we've used the OD series with EMGs and I was blown away with the tones we got from it! Live I'm using the Joyo GEM BOX III and in the studio I use Neural DSP plugins.

Q: Who are your biggest influences?

On the guitar front, I have to mention Synyster Gates, Marty Friedman, Steve Vai, Slash, Jimmy Page and Guthrie Govan.

Q: If someone is going to try and discover latin guitarists, where should they start?

If you're coming from a metal background I would definitely have to recommend Kiko Loureiro. He's a true master of the guitar! If you want something more jazzy with a brazillian spice you should check out Pedro Martins and Pipoquinha. (Pipoquinha is a bass player but you will thank me later if you don't know him yet). I also have to mention my dudes Charlie Parra, Luís Kalil and Felix Martin! They're all absolutely killer musicians!

Q: For playing djent, prog metal etc, what would be your number one tip?

Of course the number one tip is to subscribe to my YouTube channel because I've been posting some cool lessons there! Hahaha.

Now seriously: focus on playing as clean as possible, on tempo and make sure to have fun with these riffs!

Q: Who is your favourite JTC artist?

Oh that's a really hard one! It's not possible for me to choose only one because you have the best players out there on your roaster! Hahaha.

So I'll have to mention Mateus Asato, Charlie Parra, Manuel Gardner Fernandes, Guthrie Govan, Charlie Robbins, Kiko Loureiro and Lari Basilio.

Q: Your debut release is here! Why should people get it?

Because I think you'll learn many new approaches on writing solos, applying techniques and on implementing influences from other genres to your playing. I believe that it will inspire people to expand their creativity and to get even more passionate about guitar and music!

Before you go

A huge thanks to Lucas for talking to us. Check out his JTC debut below!


Rodrigo Gouveia: Masterclass Q&A

Wednesday 29th January 2020 Blogroll

Rodrigo Gouveia Interview

Rodrigo Gouveia’s ability to fuse simple melodies into complex jazz-inspired lines has helped him become one of the most respected guitarists in Brazil.

His Neo-Soul Fusion Masterclass is an opportunity to see his process, and to learn how to approach the guitar in the same unmistakable way.

Here to give you an in-depth look at this groundbreaking release, is Rodrigo himself.

Q: What is neo-soul-fusion?

Basically this genre has in its essence a combination of musical elements of other styles as the name suggests.

Neo-soul essentially is the musical style joining elements of hip-hop, contemporary R&B and soul music of the 70s. Neo-soul fusion then incorporates all of these aspects of the styles with the jazzy language characteristic of the fusion style.

Q: How did you land on your style of playing?

I began in rock and developed my technique in this style. At that time it was more difficult for me to have access to content as it is today. I mean, I used to borrow or purchase DVDs or cassettes and study hard and focus on what that material had for me. I feel that helped me to improve my technique hugely, despite the limitations that the internet came to solve.

Just 2 years after immersing myself in rock music, I joined a funk and soul band called Groove Soul which allowed me to develop my harmonic skills. It was a big change in my playing, which helped to develop some versatility as well.

In the meantime, I was introduced to the biggest inspiration in music I have such as fusion legends Scott Handerson and Frank Gambale.

Being exposed to different genres along with my music career definitely helped to shape the musician I am today.

Q: I know you work closely with Cassias Guitars, what makes them special to you?

The Cassias Guitars fame has always been renowned in Brazil and overseas, also by the top Luthiers of the world. Honestly, I have always been attracted to the design of Cassias Guitars. But after playing one of them I was convinced by the quality and its sound. Apart from being well designed and absolutely comfortable, the guitars are also versatile. It sounds fantastic from jazz to rock.

Q: What was the inspiration behind this Masterclass?

As many are attracted to this amazing style and are interested in getting into the neo-soul fusion world, I am frequently asked about the basic principles of neo-soul fusion. To help these people to start off, I came up with the four fundamental technical aspects. I have been inspired by the students, who always make me figure out how to help their learning easier and better.

Q: What do you want people to take away from this Masterclass?

What I really want people to get from this first Masterclass is the technical requirements to improve their playing when incorporating the neo-soul fusion style. I developed this Masterclass also for those guitarists looking to create melody inside the chords, or at least to start doing so.

Before you go...

A huge thanks to Rodrigo for chatting to us. Watch below to find out more about his incredible Masterclass!

Student Q&A: Gary Steele

Monday 27th January 2020 Blogroll

gary steele jtc guitar student

When we launched our Online Courses, through our Bootcamp platform, the aim was to help you improve faster. This means personalised feedback, rewards for nailing lessons and a commitment to nothing but perfection.

Gary Steele, under the tutelage of Luca Mantovanelli, is not only the first person to complete a full course, but he did so with gold stars all the way. On every module he went over the exercises, licks and tasks until he had completely nailed them, earning himself 12 Gold Stars and a spot at the top of the Bootcamp Hall of Fame!

This is his experience.

Q: Tell us about yourself as a guitarist.

I started playing guitar at 11 years old. I developed listening skills early in my playing by jamming along to SRV, Hendrix (specifically, the “Born Under a Bad Sign” track from the “Blues” album) and Led Zeppelin (BBC sessions - I think I had this on TAPE). I played guitar in a few groups with some of my friends growing up, writing all original music. We had a MySpace page. Ha! Performing and writing music in a group was paramount for my musical development in my teenage years. I took my first private guitar lessons at age 16 to develop reading skills and dabble in classical and jazz guitar. Around 18 years old I got a job teaching beginner guitar players at Contemporary Music Center of Northern Virginia. At 22, I decided to move to Wilmington, NC to be with my band and attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where I earned a BA in Music. While in college, I taught private lessons at other local music shops and then eventually broke off on my own to teach lessons from my living room and later, a backyard studio that I built (with a little help from my friends). The Beatles, yeah! This was the start of my entrepreneurial career in the form of Steele Music Studios, a small music school in Wilmington, NC. I have since moved the business to a public space where I now work with 14 wonderful instructors on an array of different instruments to help 100+ growing musicians with private lessons and perform in small ensembles.

While starting this business, I took many gigs and played with lots of great musicians, performing in hip hop, jazz, rock, reggae, contemporary Christian and musical theatre groups. I basically made it a policy to not turn down a gig if my schedule was open. It was wonderful to make a living doing what I loved, but I burned out. Practicing for the next gig was the only practice I was getting, and although I was learning a plethora of tunes, I was no longer practicing to make myself a more efficient and informed player. At age 35, I came across an internet ad for JTC Guitar.

Q: What made you decide to take one of our Online Courses?

I never “took a break” from playing guitar, but I reached a point where my playing was stuck in the same place for a few years. I was finally tired of that. Funny enough, I guess my ego hadn’t suffered much. I signed up for the Advanced Bootcamp first, and thought, “let's tackle this real quick, it shouldn’t be that much of a challenge.” I was immediately humbled and immediately motivated. After messaging with Luca, we decided it best to go through the Intermediate Bootcamp, because he believed (as I now do) there was value for me there. He was spot on.

Q: How has it been working with Luca on the course?

Wonderful! He is very objective in his analysis and his attention to detail is acute. What he required from my playing absolutely made me a better guitarist.

Q: How has it improved your playing?

In many ways. Maybe best illustrated by this one scenario: In my pentatonic/blues playing, I have made very good use of the b5 note in the scale as well as the major 3 sound. But I was only comfortable using it in a couple (if not only one) pattern on the fretboard. Through Luca’s exercises and licks, I was able to use this idea more effectively all over the fretboard. Which in turn, expanded my own vocabulary and “lick library.”

Q: Do you think your new skills have carried over into your everyday playing?

Absolutely. If you practice the material the way you are supposed to, the volume of repetitions will inevitably ingrain the information under your fingertips.

Did you find the Bootcamp platform more enjoyable and engaging than other ways of learning guitar?

Learning guitar is enjoyable, period. The JTC format allows me yet another effective way to better myself as a musician. I like the idea of being connected to people across the world all in the name of music! It provides access to the ideas and methods of other players everywhere. I firmly believe that because of educational platforms like JTC, the bar for musicianship will be significantly raised, world wide.

Q: What's been the best bit of the course?

Ugh… Getting better at guitar.

Rediscovering my love/motivation/passion/desire to get better at my craft.

Q: As a teacher yourself, what lessons will you pass on?

I have already put some exercises and licks to use with some of my students. But more importantly, paying attention to detail and being objective about your own playing no matter how much it hurts your ego to know you haven’t done/played something properly. Fixing the small errors pay off in a big way in the long run.

Before you go…

Check out this video if you want to find out more about our Online Courses.

Get to know: Funtwo

Thursday 16th January 2020 News

get to know funtwo

In 2005 a video was uploaded to YouTube that would go on to inspire people from all around the world to pick up their guitar and play. That video was “Canon Rock” and was performed by South Korean viral legend Funtwo.

Now a JTC artist with a brand new track on offer, we thought we’d get to know him a bit more.

So here he is, Funtwo.

Q: How did you get into playing?

I went to a school camp back when I was 14 and a group of older students with acoustic guitars were playing a cool riff of a song and I fell in love with the sound of the power chord right away. I realized the riff they played was from ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ a few years later. Anyway, coming back from the camp I grabbed a guitar that was stored away at home in the storage and started this journey.

Q: How would you describe your style?

Music with nice melodies! Some of the songs sound like the soundtrack of a video game or anime. I love listening to Bach, Vivaldi and 90s Pop Music. And probably the melodic aspects from those styles may have been influencing me largely.

Q: Canon is of course what launched you as a guitarist. Are you keen to move on from that or is still very much a part of you as a player?

The Canon video kind of forced me to start this career and I feel so grateful about it. Canon Rock is a wonderful rendition, it certainly had a big impact in my life and I still enjoy playing the piece. However I wish my originals could resonate with people as well, since I put more passion and effort to my own stuff nowadays.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the track "Story"?

Thank you for asking this question. There was a period of time last year, when I kept thinking about the fact that every single human being has a different background and unique story. A little random, but I felt diversity and variety is so awesome! And this music I was writing at the time, sounded to me like it was portraying a story of a person. In addition, I added a section in the song that is played with an Indian instrument called Bansuri. It was a fun experiment and I’d love to work with other world instruments in future tracks as well.

Q: What guitars are you playing with right now?

In recent years I’ve been enjoying my Tom Anderson guitars. I still often play the ESP guitar appeared on the Canon video which I’ve been playing for 16 years.

Q: You of course know about viral guitar videos, what’s your opinion on the current crop of viral players such as Manuel Gardner Fernandes, Nathaniel Murphy or Charlie Robbins?

Every time I find these new viral players, I’ve been amazed by their unique style, super chops and musicality. To me the rising players are… are on point with every aspect. Foreseeing the future, I see even more ‘scary’ musicians coming continually. It could be led to some competition but I would rather see it as a fun way to enjoy the different styles. As a guitar fan, I appreciate these artists on the various video platforms as I can easily enjoy their music.

Q: Who are your biggest influences?

People who are passionate about something are the main influences for me to create something. And good music certainly motivates me to make music. Reading a good book is also a big part, as I feel like it gives me some artistic insights.

Q: Favourite JTC artist?

I respect Jack Thammart’s music and himself as a wonderful human being. Marco Sfogli always blows my mind with his music and insane technique. Recently I’ve been enjoying Kit Tang’s beautiful music. I’ve been learning many practical insights from Al Joseph's videos. Last but not least, Jason Kui is such a talented musician and nice dude to hang around.

Any idea for the future with JTC?

20 Melodic Licks would be fun. I’d also love to make Learn to Play packages of my future originals.

Q: Before you go…

A huge thanks to Funtwo for taking the time to answer our questions! Check out his JTC debut and let us know what you think.

Vacancy: Graphic Designer/Motion Graphics Editor

Tuesday 7th January 2020 News

jtc guitar hiring

We are seeking a talented designer who loves creating effective visual assets throughout the forms of video, branding, print and website elements to join our team at JTC - a fast growing online guitar-based education, production and digital download company.

Working remotely, a significant amount of your time will be spent creating assets for our weekly product releases and to use in social media campaigns. You will be an integral part of our post-production video team, where you will work on everything from product promotional videos to end boards and lower thirds.

You will have a keen eye for design and put your skills to good use, supporting the team with the designs for product release artwork, social media campaigns and elements for the site. You’ll need a good and instinctive understanding of what works on social media, and be able to apply that to both moving and static images. You’ll need to be big on ideas and able to understand a brief quickly and turn it into a visual reality.

For our social campaigns, you’ll need an understanding of how to engage audiences across various social platforms, creating effective content alongside our marketing team. We’re looking for someone who can be involved from the very start, brainstorming ideas for projects and coming up with concepts for campaigns. You’ll have a great balance of working within a creative and supportive team but also having plenty of autonomy to work your own magic.

Requirements and Qualifications:

  • Adobe After Effects - Advanced
  • Adobe Photoshop - Advanced
  • Adobe Premiere Pro - Advanced
  • Adobe Illustrator - Intermediate
  • Adobe InDesign - Intermediate
  • Experience in website design and content development
  • Stellar written and oral communication skills
  • A sharp eye for quality design and ability to create artwork
  • Excellent time management, able to balance many projects at once
  • Interest in guitar would be desirable

There are superb prospects for the right candidate and the chance to join a dynamic and growing company. Starting salary: TBD

Deadline is 17th January 2020.

For immediate consideration please email your CV to jonny@jtcguitar.com

An interview with The Aristocrats

Tuesday 3rd December 2019 News

Marco Minnerman Guthrie Govan Bryan Beller The Aristocrats

When it comes to musical experimentation, The Aristocrats are up there with the likes of Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and Pink Floyd. Yet what sets them apart is that in Marco Minnermann, Bryan Beller and Guthrie Govan, you have people at the very top of their respective games.

In You Know What…? they have created an enthralling, varied album full of fun ideas to learn and listen to.

So we spoke to Guthrie Govan, Marco Minnermann and Bryan Beller to get the inside track on this amazing piece of work.

Q: Do the live versions of the tracks differ much for the album ones and did you write them with performances in mind?

The Aristocrats: Inevitably the live performances and ”version” of the songs do evolve over time the more we play them, and we think that’s more a function of what we do as a collective musical entity rather than any particular song. Sure, a song like “Get It Like That” is more improvisationally minded than “The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde”, but even with those compositional differences accounted for, we’ll always try and find ways to make the live performances fresh and new. 

Q: What part do you find the hardest to play?

The Aristocrats: We really try to focus on executing parts as a band. Sure, every song has its challenges for individual members. Guthrie wrote himself a fairly difficult part in “Spanish Eddie”, the bass chordal melody in “Last Orders” is tough, and Marco has to remember a lot of little things in “The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde”. But most of the time the challenge for us is making sure that we can execute things as a unit, and making them sound good. Sometimes that’s more difficult to pull off than just executing a single difficult part, even though we do want to get our own parts right, of course. As a unit, performing live, from this album, the flamenco/metal section of “Spanish Eddie” is probably the biggest challenge in that regard. There’s a whole lot going on there, and we do it in every soundcheck to make sure it will work. Perhaps the jazz section of “When We All Come Together” is a close second. 

Q: Do you intentionally try and make the music challenging in terms of composition or is it a natural thing for you all?

The Aristocrats: We truly don’t try and make music “challenging”, even though we understand that some people appreciate it in this way. If we’ve done it right, it’s supposed to be something you can enjoy as well rather than something *only* to be analyzed and dissected, though that of course has its place for educational and musical growth purposes for anyone willing to dive in. Ideally there’s room for both! Also, humor counts as well. We’d rather have folks laugh and be entertained than try and “blow their heads off,'' so to speak. But again, we understand that they’re not mutually exclusive concepts, and Frank Zappa taught us that long ago.

Q: I know dinosaurs were an influence for the record, but what musical influences were there for the record?

Marco: I personally never think about musical influences whilst writing a song. Yet history and influences are probably subconsciously undeniable and become roots. The bands and artists I grew up on surely must have played a role. Queen, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Rush... and many more. But, you somehow learn the letters and words and start forming your own language and speak with own voice, which then maybe will stay in the universe to influence the next generations. I guess that’s important, the never ending road, haha.

Bryan: Just speaking for me on my songs, “All Said And Done” was definitely a Beatles pastiche, converted into an instrumental guitar trio arrangement. No hiding the ball there. “D Grade Fuck Movie Jam” was probably a lot of Jimi Hendrix as seen through the lens of Michael Landau. Perhaps a touch of early Van Halen snuck its way in there as well? “The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde” was the most curious one for me. I know the foundation of it was influenced by the Pink Floyd song “Sheep”, and I also realized we didn’t have any mid-tempo galloping rock shuffles in our repertoire. But there’s a whole host of 70s instrumental rock guitarists that probably influenced that one.

Guthrie: “Terrible Lizard”, just as you hinted, was intended to be my sonic representation of a huge dinosaur lumbering around: the glissando lick leading into the “chorus” was intended to mimic the way I imagined that one dinosaur might call out to another, whilst the intro riff was meant to be a crude representation of thunderous footsteps. “Last Orders” is an atypically mournful ballad, which could be taken to represent the general idea that good things don't always last forever - as symbolised by the “last orders” bell which you hear in a traditional English pub just before closing time! As for “Spanish Eddie”… I honestly have no idea where that one came from: the notes just kind of “coagulated” in my head for no apparent reason ;-)

Q: Were there any tracks “left on the cutting floor” that you might revisit later?

The Aristocrats: Not on this album. We generally write specifically for the band and agree in advance which songs will be on the album. Marco is the occasional exception as he writes more often, but this only comes up in terms of choosing which songs we eventually record. We’ve never, in the history of the band, recorded a track that we didn’t use. Make of that what you will. :-)

Q: For learning the guitar parts, what would your main piece of advice be?

Guthrie: I strongly suspect that most of the players reading this will already be familiar with the concept of taking things slowly and prioritising accuracy over speed… if you practice something slowly and perfectly enough times then increasing the speed will ultimately prove to be less challenging!

Thinking more specifically about this package of transcriptions, I would very much encourage players to take some liberties with the notes in certain sections, as the intentions behind the “written” and “improvised” sections in these songs were entirely different. I would say that the “verse/chorus” parts of each track in this package were very deliberately composed and would benefit from some detailed study. The “solo” sections, on the other hand, were all improvised and consequently they feature a few stream-of-consciousness passages where I was just “going for it” - hoping to convey a kind of explosive energy rather than any specific melodic content.

I wouldn’t personally want to memorise every last detail in those “crazier” passages and have to replicate them note-for-note so… I’d say that the way to get the most out of these transcriptions is to use your discretion when tackling the solo sections: it’s probably wisest to focus on learning your favourite licks note-for-note and then trying to look for any useful patterns in terms of note choices which seem to work particularly well over each chord, rather than feeling duty-bound to replicate every minute detail of the original!

In other words: some of these notes probably deserve more of your time than others ;-)

Before you go

A huge thanks to Bryan, Marco and Guthrie for talking to us. For even an even more in-depth look, read our track by track review of You Know What…?

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