Michael Wagner: Expressive Hard Rock Q&A
Sometimes, all you want to do is rock. One man who is clearly a master of that, is JTC’s Michael Wagner. If you need a bit of help learning just how to rock, then we suggest you take a look at his brand new Expressive Hard Rock Masterclass.
And to give you a better insight into what the man behind the pack is about, here’s a behind the pack look, from Michael himself.
Q: What was the inspiration behind this Masterclass?
My biggest hero when I started out playing was AC/DC's Angus Young. He represented everything I think is so cool about the electric guitar; the loudness, the danger, the viciousness. I stole everything I could from him and soon after I started my own hard rock band. My solo stuff for JTC however was always more on the bluesy side of things. So doing a rock oriented package was kind of overdue, because it represents so much of my own history as a guitarist. A cranked up Marshall and an old Les Paul – that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Having played this music for so long, I really felt I could teach other people a few tricks about it.
Q: What’s your favourite part of it?
I’m pretty happy how “Finger in the Socket“ turned out composition-wise! It has that classic 70s rock ‘n’ roll vibe, but I think I managed to put in some of my signature licks and chord changes so it doesn’t sound too much like a rip-off of any of my favorite bands of that era.
But self-praise is no recommendation, so I just want people to experience the full package themselves and hopefully they can learn something for their own playing. That’s the most important thing for me with all of these JTC packs; to inspire people to get creative. Of course, it’s flattering when I see others on YouTube playing my tracks note for note, but what I really hope to achieve is that people do their own thing with it!
Q: How does the future of rock ‘n’ roll look to you?
Today, guitar-oriented rock music is a niche, but amazing things happen regardless. Despite me being more of a classic rock and blues player, I love the modern rock guitarists like Polyphia’s Tim Henson or Plini Roessler-Holgate. Their sense of melody and composition is so different from classic rock, but that’s exactly what makes it so interesting. It’s always hard to teach an old horse new tricks, but I’m definitely planning on stealing more of their stuff and let it find its way into my style. Having players like them, I think there’s no reason to worry about the future of rock’n’roll. Maybe it’s even gonna find its way back into the mainstream – you never know!
Q: And apart from rock, what else do you really like to play?
In essence, I’m a blues player with a strong attack and a love of hi gain lead sounds – and the great thing about blues is, you can translate it into pretty much any style. I’m a total groove addict, so I love playing funk. I also love good pop songs, so I’m totally happy with just laying out some chords for a great singer as well. I really enjoy playing any style I’m capable of. The only thing that matters to me is good songs!
Q: What’s next for you at JTC?
In general, JTC for me is an artistic outlet first and foremost. It’s an awesome way to show my own instrumental music to a broader audience. So for me it all comes down to having the next good idea for an instrumental tune. I don’t want to put out new video packages just for the sake of it, but whenever I got some quality material you can be sure there’s gonna be a JTC release!
Jake Willson: Practice Toolkit Q&A
Here at JTC we have a lot of amazing content and behind all that comes a lot of time and hard work. It can be easy to forget that your go-to Masterclass, 20 Licks pack or Jamtrack, is in fact a committed effort by a talented artist who wants to share their skills and knowledge. So it’s time to shed some more light on what goes on.
With our recent Practice Toolkit Masterclass, perhaps our biggest JTC pack yet, we thought we’d go behind the scenes and chat to its creator, Jake Willson.
Q: What was the inspiration behind this Masterclass?
It’s something I’m really interested in and passionate about (I actually really enjoy the quasi-meditative feeling that I get from a disciplined and structured practice session). People have always asked me about ‘how to set up a practice schedule?’ or ‘how should I work on my x, y and z?’ etc. As I started thinking about doing it, I really dug deep about why some people seem to be able to find the energy to practice and others don’t; I’ve been reading a lot lately about the way our decision making is affected and what motivates us to action, and I felt that a lot of that stuff really resonated with the challenges we face as practicing musicians.
For example, it can be so hard to just sit down with your guitar some days: why? Don’t we all love playing guitar? My feeling is that we need more of a ‘plan’ about what that time is about, and the incorporation of that plan into our daily lives may have other further ramifications to how we approach life and productivity in general.
It’s powerful stuff, I think.
Beyond that, my dream was to have a ‘one stop shop’ for (almost) everything a lead guitarist would want to use for practice, and by having that resource available it would cut down on some of the time spent wasted thinking about ‘what should I practice?’
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player. it’s all there and ready to go. Honestly, I’ll be using this all the time!
Q: It’s a big one…so how long did it take?
Absolutely ages. ‘201' is a big number! It’s the biggest one of these I’ve ever done and it was quite a strain on my computer (time to upgrade, I think)!! Coming up with the first few exercises was relatively straightforward (I didn’t want people to spend too much time learning thenew material, so they shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to get to grips with) but after a while I needed to find ways to increase variety and make sure there was something for all levels in there. I started working on it when I got back from NAMM (early February, 2019) and then continued to work on filming each exercise over the next two months (it was annoying because my camera was ‘in place’ so I couldn’t use it for other things!). I could have done it quicker, but I was doing what I could between shows and other commitments etc.
Q: What’s your favourite part of it?
I have a bit of a soft spot for the booklet. I enjoy writing and I think that there’s some stuff in there that some people might really need to read. It’s a fairly bold piece of writing because it’s about what I think rather than it being a generic textbook for everyone, and that was quite freeing. I think a certain something (a ‘directness’, perhaps?) is lost when people attempt to write ‘definitively’ about subjects, and I’d prefer to be able to collate the experiences of others (almost as though I were reading the various parts of a giant conversation).
Q: What’s the main thing you want people to take away from it?
That structure is important, and that you can still be creative in your practice sessions. I also think just having the exercises in TAB form, on the page is valuable resource. Just open at any page if you don’t know what you should be doing on any given practice session (and that’s the next 20 minutes taken care of)!
Q: Any plans for a future JTC release?
Well, I think this is my [counts on fingers] 14th product with JTC Guitar! And the last two have been enormous (they’re such huge subjects and I’d been putting them off!). At the moment, I’m thinking of doing something based on harmonic devices, or maybe something about ‘outside’ playing, but I’ll happily listen to what the community is up for!
Jarle Olsen Joins JTC
JTC is very pleased to be able to welcome Jarle H. Olsen to the JTC artist roster! Jarle is an absolutely fantastic prog-metal guitarist and we're very much looking forward to all the great content he is going to be bringing to JTC!
You can check out his album and his first 1 track pack by clicking here!
Johnny Hiland Joins JTC!
JTC is very pleased to welcome Nashville guitarist and Shrapnel Records recording artist Johnny Hiland to the JTC ranks! Johnny is a prestigious and world renowned country/blues/rock guitar picker and no-one plays quite like he does!
You can check out his artist page here: https://jamtrackcentral.com/artists/johnny-hiland/
His first JTC pack title 'Johnny Hiland's 20 Favourite Country Licks' is available here: https://jamtrackcentral.com/store/jamtracks/20-favourite-country-licks/
And you can keep up to date with Johnny by checking in periodically on his new website: http://www.johnnyhiland.net
It's a huge pleasure to have Johnny with us and we're excited for all the incredible content he will be bringing to you!
JTC is VERY proud to announce our brand new type of product called the 'Masterclass' series. This is your chance to get up close and personal with some of JTC's greatest players and learn their ideas, approaches and techniques directly from the artists themselves.
The content of these products can vary as we wanted to give our artists the creative freedom to bring you a product that they felt best explains the concepts that they wish to convey. Our very first masterclass package is by the incredible Al Joseph.
In his first masterclass package there are 6 main videos. Al starts with a quick introduction video moving onto 'Melodic Phrasing Essentials’ and 'Melodic Phrasing Utilities’. In these, Al gives you all the tools and tips you'll need to work through this course. He then follows up with 'Time Feel' (detailing how he uses rhythmic methods and time feel to generate creative melodic ideas) and 'Melodic Phrasing Motifs' in which he explains his methods behind actually creating his phrases.
Then you will find 10 awesome extended phrases for you to master. Each making great use of the tools and tips detailed in the masterclass section, and each coming with its own slow video and accompanying breakdown video where Al takes you through each lick step by step. We've even included some brief text notes alongside Al's explanations to help you work out what's happening in the phrases.
Once you've nailed all the extended phrases it's time to put all the material to the test and prove your newly earned skills over the highly jammable backing track. This is your chance to create your own licks and jam out the example phrases in the package. We’ve even included a slow version of the phrase backing track to help you get those tough lines up to speed!
All in all, it's a very exciting new product type at JTC which has a HUGE amount of potential for improving your playing with each and every masterclass package you download!
To check out Al's Melodic Phrasing Masterclass click the image below:
And The JTC Guitar Solo Contest Winner Is...
*1st Place* The JTC Guitar Solo Contest 2015 Winner Is....
To see the full results click here: https://jamtrackcentral.com/jtcguitarsolocontest2015/final/
The response has been phenominal to our very first guitar constest, we've seen some absolutely outstading performances and it's time to reveal the winner of the 2015 Guitar Solo Contest!
Vinai Trinateepakdee said 'Smart player indeed! He knows how to make interesting melodies with different variations.'
Jack Thammarat said 'He is a very good melodic player. I love his feeling and variation in his playing. This song is very interesting!'
Paul Wardingham said 'Nice tone, strong catchy melodies and interesting solos, what more could you want? Excellent musicality on display!'
Mr Fastfinger said 'Effortless and versatile player. Great composition!'
Rabea Massaad said 'He has a great sense of melody and rhythm, uses the entire fretboard to his advantage. He kept me interested with a well written piece that displayed both his tehcnique and melodic playing really well. He should definitely be a JTC artist in my opinion!
But who could they be talking about? Click to find out!
Pre-Order here: https://jamtrackcentral.com/store/jamtracks/sweet-euterpe/
JTC would like to extend our thanks to everyone who entered and all of our fantastic sponsors!
Please visit our sponsors websites:
Fractal Audio - http://www.fractalaudio.com/
Ernie Ball Music Man - http://www.music-man.com/
Alvarez - http://www.alvarezguitars.com/
Blackstar - http://www.blackstaramps.com/
EMG Pickups - http://www.emgpickups.co.uk/
Toontrack - http://www.toontrack.com/
Boss - http://www.bossus.com/
D'Addario - http://www.daddario.com/
Andertons Music - http://www.andertons.co.uk/