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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.

George Marios: Masterclass Q&A

Monday 16th September 2019 Blogroll

george marios creative diatonic triads interview

When deciding what content to release next, we give our guitarists a lot of creative freedom. This means we get different approaches and ideas that are of real value to the community.

And in George’s ‘Creative Diatonic Triads Masterclass’ we get that value in spades. The core idea is simple, but it’s mightily effective.

Let’s find out more from George himself.

Q: In basic terms, what are diatonic triads?

Diatonic Triads are the groupings of root, 3rd and 5th for every chord of a major and minor scale.

Q: Why are they so important?

They are immensely important as in the context of soloing they help us incorporate melodic lines that outline the chord sequence we are playing over.

Q: How did you go about creating the content for this release?

Much of the material is taken from concepts I already use with my students.

In a nutshell, I thought, "Okay....if I was early into my guitar journey and I didn't know anything about triads, how could I go about it in a straightforward and simple way so that I can begin to incorporate them into my playing in a musical and creative way."

The best thing about this release is that concepts are elastic, so the more you grow the further you can push yourself with the material.

Q: Has it helped you come up with new ideas?

This approach has definitely helped me become a more substantial and, melody-wise, interesting soloist.

Q: What’s the biggest takeaway from this pack?

Simple concepts are able to generate practice for life!

Q: Out of your JTC releases, have you got a favourite?

Hmmmm, this one is certainly more substantial, given that anyone can get those concepts and adapt them to their style! So, this one it is!

The Making of 'Primal Feels'

Friday 6th September 2019 Blogroll

Nili Brosh Primal Feels

As music videos go, Primal Feels is one of the most daring and unique you’ll see.

Not only does the video feature the skills of a troupe of incredibly talented artists, but it’s also got a huge hook and more than one example of incredible guitar playing.

So how did it all come together? We spoke with its creator, Nili Brosh.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for this video?

Growing up in the 90s, I watched a LOT of European MTV, and that's where my love for hooks and epic music videos came from. I wanted to make my own version of an MTV music video. I wanted to wait for the right song to mimic the spirit of those older videos, and when I wrote this I knew it would be the one for choreography and big production.

Q: And how long did it take long to shoot?

One day of shooting! What took a long time was attempting to schedule 7 people who do 10 Cirque du Soleil shows a week under one roof for a few hours. The lesser-known story is that I was massively, massively injured with neck issues during that day - probably the worst I had been in my entire two years at Cirque. But the show had to go on, and nothing felt more worthwhile!

Q: How did you write the track Primal Feels?

I heard both the melodies for the chorus and verse in my head, at two different occasions maybe a week or two apart. I came up with the chorus first, and once the verse was there, I could tell the chord changes were leading it smoothly to the chorus and knew it was meant for the same song.

Q: And what does Primal Feels actually mean?

To me "Primal Feels" is self-explanatory. When you feel passionate about someone in a way that comes from a deep, primal place in yourself that your mind has no control over it.

Q: Is this a good flavour of the album or are there lots of surprises?

Yes and no! The album concept is a spectrum that fades from genre to genre, so there are a few tracks in a similar vein but several that are in quite a different direction as well.

Q: Will we get any more dancing videos?

Could be! I definitely love working with these guys, they are some of the most incredible dancers in the world who I'm blessed to call friends. I certainly miss doing shows with them every night, so we'll see what the future holds!

Q: And if you could give one guitar-based track the ‘Primal Feels video treatment’ what would it be?

I thought about this for a long time and it's such a hard one, so I'll pick a few players instead of tracks - I think Mateus Asato or Lari Basilio's music might be a great and interesting match for something like this!

New Nili Brosh JTC lessons

Nili Brosh’s new album is going to be released soon, and that means more tracks to learn! Sign up to be the first to hear about her next JTC release.

Roy Ziv: Masterclass Q&A

Wednesday 28th August 2019 Blogroll

roy ziv interview hexatonic masterclass

Some guitarists exhibit a more unique style than others, guitarists such as Roy Ziv.

Hear him play, and you’ll never forget his signature style. See him play and you get the proof. Luckily, not only does his Masterclass series allow you to treat both your visual and auditory senses, but it also gives you some of the secrets to unlock Mr Ziv’s war chest of tricks.

We spoke to Roy himself, to give you the lowdown on this unique Masterclass.

Q: What is the hexatonic scale?

The hexatonic scale is just a fancy name for a 6 note scale. By definition, any scale made up of six notes per octave is a hexatonic scale, because hexa equals six. A few examples you may be familiar with are the whole tone scale and the blues scale.

But in this Masterclass, we’ll be working with the A minor hexatonic scale, which consists of the root, 2nd, minor 3rd, 4th, 5th, and minor 7th.

You can think of it as just a minor scale without the 6th note, or the way I visualize it, is just a pentatonic scale, with the added 2nd. If you’re familiar with any of the five pentatonic shapes, all you need to do is add that one extra note in each shape.

Adding that second interval, or as I like to call it - the 9th (which is just an octave plus the 2nd) will give your solos more of a jazzy fusion sound, but can also work in a blues setting for more unique licks. Eric Johnson, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan are a few of the players that use this extra note in their blues licks.

Q: Why do you think it is important to learn it?

It provides the player with a simple way to spice up their playing and achieve a fresh, unique, modern sound, in the simplest possible way. Just add one note to a scale every guitar player is already familiar with!

A lot of players want to break out of that overplayed pentatonic sound, but when they read up online or watch YouTube videos, they immediately get overwhelmed with all the scales out there and end up giving up too early. This scale takes a scale everyone already knows (the pentatonic), and by adding just one note, gives them endless possibilities for cool licks and phrases.

Q: You can certainly hear the hexatonic scale in your playing, is that something you stumbled on naturally or did it come from some kind of influence?

Growing up, I was always chasing that jazzy fusion sound but was either too overwhelmed with jazz theory or just couldn’t make these crazy scales sound musical. So I tried to fake that sound I kept hearing in my head and noticed that whenever I add the 9th tension, it gave my solos a jazzier flavour. I loved the way it sounded and tried to implement that extra note whenever I could. Eventually, it became a staple part of my playing, as my fingers got used to adding that note all over the fretboard.

As my playing matured I began using that note in more interesting ways by adding jazzy enclosure techniques, chromaticism, and arpeggios, and when I had a closer look at these licks and phrases, I realized that all I'm doing is playing over the pentatonic scale shapes, and sticking in that one extra note!

I started showing my students this idea and their solos and improv instantly improved. That's when I realized I was on to something here, and this could seriously help so many guitarists who are stuck playing the same exact thing over and over.

Q: Apart from learning the scale and all it offers, what else can this Masterclass give a player?

This Masterclass shows you how to take this scale and make it sound musical. Learning the scale is simple. But if you don’t know how to make it sound musical and just run the scale up and down the neck, you'll be missing out on all that it has to offer. That's why the exercises I've presented in this Masterclass are designed to fully maximize the musical potential of this scale, not to mention the 20 licks and final solo that reveal my personal approach of how I use this scale in a modern and fusion style of playing.

But aside from all of that, this Masterclass will give you the confidence to play with more advanced players, drastically improve your technique, take your playing to another level, and finally get you out of that up and down pentatonic box mentality and playing in a more linear and fluid style.

Q: How do you go about creating content like this?

It starts by deconstructing my favourite licks to fully understand what's happening under my fingers and building an exercise to develop a specific technique or flow of motion that will allow you to play those specific licks. It’s all about reverse engineering.

For these three Masterclasses (beginner, intermediate and advanced) I developed over 100 exercises that provide the player with immediate results, and help familiarize and adapt the scale concepts to their playing.

I then used these exercises with my private students and refined each one over and over until they were as beneficial as they could possibly be.

Then it was just a matter of putting it all together in the proper order, writing 3 solos in varying levels of difficulty, styles, and tempos, and writing out the theory booklet that thoroughly explains each concept.

It was a long process, but it was fun. The best part is getting all the emails and Instagram DM’s from players telling me how much this Masterclass helped change and improve their playing.

Q: Any plans for future JTC releases? The heptatonic scale? Octatonic?

Maybe a tetratonic scale! Haha. Just kidding, my next JTC release will most likely be on my phrasing. I get asked about my phrasing all the time, and I've been teaching these phrasing ideas to my students for quite some time. So once I have a good outline, I'll start recording and writing this next Masterclass. 

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