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JOTM Jan '23 - Freespin Returns!

Wednesday 21st December 2022 News

Welcome to the January ‘23 Jam of the Month! Pick your track, share your solo, and be in with a chance to win a SIX-MONTH MEMBERSHIP at JTC Guitar!

Just like last year, we’re letting YOU pick the backing and the winner will be chosen completely at random. Just head over to our jamtracks page and use the code JUKEBOX to get your free backing.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

What is Jam of the Month?

Every month we give away a free download with a backing track and invite players from all around the world to solo over it. This month, you choose the backing.

JOTM is your chance to join a community of like-minded jammers. In doing so you put your name in the hat to win a six-month Premium Membership at JTC Guitar and a set of Elixir Strings.

Two runners-up will also get a set of Elixir Strings.

How do I enter?

  • Use the code JUKEBOX to download a track on us! We have well over 1000 to choose from in our guitar jamtrack store.
  • Your track will then show in the jamtracks part of your library.
  • Film yourself jamming over at least 30 seconds of the track. But if you want to go longer, feel free!
  • Share your video on the JTC Jam of the Month Facebook Group.
  • Or use #JTCJamOfTheMonth and tag @jtc_guitar on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube.

At the end of January 2023, we will pick a winner at random. For every take you share, you get another entry. The randomly picked winner will receive a six-month Premium Membership. Two runners-up will get strings from Elixir Strings.

What are the rules?

  • Your entry has to be a NEW take recorded for JOTM Jan 23
  • It has to be with a backing published by JTC Guitar either as a jam track or as part of a JTC Guitar release (e.g. Masterclasses, 20 Licks etc).
  • Everyone gets ONE free jam track from the JTC Guitar jam track store, but you can enter as many times as you like with as many JTC tracks as you like.
  • You MUST state what backing you are using
  • Each take that you share is an entry into the prize draw. 1 take = 1 entry.
  • ANYONE can give it a go. Any skill level, and it doesn’t even have to be on a guitar.
  • You must play over at least 30 seconds of your track.
  • The winner will be chosen at random in early February 2023
  • The deadline for entries is 23:59 GMT on Jan 31st 2023.

Before you go…

At the end of the month we will also highlight our favourite takes on JTC’s social media channels! So even if you don’t win the prize draw, it’s a great opportunity to show off your playing.

Jam of the Month is all about community! So please get involved and remember to comment, share, like and support one another. We hope you enjoy this freebie and we can’t wait to see all your jams!

Join the team! Post Production Video Editor

Friday 16th December 2022 News

jtc guitar hiring
Please note, this vacancy is UK only.

We are seeking a guitar enthusiast for the role of Post Production Video Editor to join our team at JTC - a fast-growing online guitar-based education, production and digital download company.

Your role is primarily focussed on producing high quality motion graphics promo content using video content from some of the world's greatest guitarists to promote their new content releases. You will be tasked to create video, stills and animation for both externally facing social media channels and throughout the JTC website. You will also be producing internal video content and assisting video production sessions to support the growth of our in-house content at our North London studio and support corporate and internal video requests.

Key Skills and Experience:

  • A good knowledge and interest in guitar playing is essential
  • Minimum of four years professional production experience
  • A strong grasp of the whole production process with the ability to manage a project from its inception through to delivery
  • Strong video editing and still graphics skills, and experience in making high-quality visual promos
  • A deeply creative mind, ready to adapt whilst working with a varied (and mainly static) range of key artwork/video assets and make them work in high-quality motion graphics
  • The ability to create narrative-led social media content and motion graphics
  • A deep understanding and at least 4 years experience of using the full suite of Adobe Creative Cloud software including After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.
  • Experience in camerawork: handling and using recording/filming equipment, including best lighting practices, mics etc
  • Experience filming in a range of internal and external environments with the ability to adapt rapidly within these environments
  • Good awareness of production safety and risk mitigation
  • Ability to work with/for numerous internal clients and to prioritise numerous concurrent projects
  • Ability to manage the production process of projects from start to finish
  • Ability to structure and create video stories/narrative
  • Strong attention to detail and time management

Person Specification:

The candidate must relish the prospect of being part of a small hard-working team with high standards. You should be friendly, flexible and responsive to the numerous project requests, some of which will run concurrently. You must be instrumental in coming up with creative ideas, have fresh solutions to digital content requests and lead idea generation on production requests.

You need to be reliable and a good listener. You will need to manage yourself and work remotely. You must have a keen eye for detail and a strong interest in guitars.

Working Hours and Location:

Normal working hours are Monday to Friday with a minimum of 40 hours a week, flexible between 8:00 – 17:00 and you will work primarily from home. Occasional evening or weekend work may also be required.

How to Apply:

Please submit your most recent showreel or portfolio, which demonstrates your ability to produce:

• Filmed content

• Motion graphic content, ideally in the form of a promotional video using live footage (see below for example)

• Still image graphics

For immediate consideration please send the above and your CV to

jonny@jtcguitar.com

Please note, this vacancy is UK only.

 

Why you should try...prog-metal

Monday 21st November 2022 News

prog metal

The final week of the Toontrack Metal Meltdown is here! And we dip into the world of prog.

Say the word “prog” and you could mean Can, Pink Floyd, Mars Volta, Plini, Periphery, Opeth, Haken, Mastodon, Yes, Dream Theater, Gojira and many more. It means a lot of things to a lot of people, even when you zone in on metal.

Damir Puh made a track with his interpretation, and Nili Brosh laid down a solo.

So this is our take on prog-metal.

What is prog-metal?

Prog metal, like a lot of things, arguably started with the Beatles. They may have begun as a pop group, but as they got further into the sixties and substances, the weirdness came out. Bands like Yes and Pink Floyd then took this mantra and made it their own.

The metal variant comes in many shapes and sizes, but essentially is still that concept of taking the unusual and making it work. Odd metres, long conceptual songs and non-standard song structures.

Whether it comes in the shape of the more psychedelic Mastodon, or the ultra-modern highly-polished and technically astounding Animals as Leaders, prog-metal is all about pushing the boundaries. Things don’t have to be complex, but it sure seems to help.

Why will I like it?

It’s a challenge! Technical riffs, huge solos and some of the best players that have walked the planet.

Are there any JTC releases to help me with the style?

Connor Kaminski’s Prog Composition Masterclass gives you the ins and outs of how to write your own prog anthem. Not a bad thing to learn.

Al Joseph’s Prog Workout breaks down every aspect of the technical side of soloing within the prog context. It’s also a fantastic resource for staying in shape no matter what style of player you are.

And as featured in our playlist below, Learn to Play: Open by Olly Steele is just an absolute tune full of prog takeaways. Think djent Everlong.

Which guitarists should I check out?

Rich Henshall
One half of Haken’s incredible guitar duo, Rich is a player who can tap the night away. Whether with the band or on his own, his use of open strings is to die for and his penchant for fusion sounds gives him a unique sound.

John Petrucci
Being the guitarist of the prog metal giant, Dream Theater, John Petrucci took the early workings of James Hetfield, Steve Morse, and Alex Lifeson, and completely flipped them on their head. Becoming known for ridiculously tight alternate picking, and his songwriting chops, John is one of the GOATs.

Tosin Abasi
A player out on his own. His selective picking, thumping, and mind-boggling grasp of odd time has helped him cement a place in the halls of guitar legends. As the founder of Animals as Leaders, he has pushed the boundaries of prog-metal, and what is possible on a guitar.

Can I get a playlist?

Yep! We have tried to cover a swathe of prog-metal but do your best to find more!

Before you go…

Check out Nili Brosh’s take on the Toontrack Metal Meltdown Prog-Metal track

Why you should try...extreme-metal

Monday 14th November 2022 News

why try extereme metal

First we brought you some brooding post-metal then some good old thrash. But now it’s time to get extreme.

The Metal Meltdown sees us give away a new track each week, and this one's for the headbangers. Thanks to Toontrack’s metal library, Damir Puh was able to make a pummelling track befitting the term “extreme”. Richard Henshall then made it his own and the result is wonderful. You can watch it below.

But first, let’s answer that burning question…

What is extreme-metal?

The very idea of genres does sometimes get people’s knickers in a twist. You know, “stop defining music as one thing” and all that. Luckily for them, this week’s genre throws a net over many different styles.

Within all those styles expect music that is rarely fit for radio. It’s aggressive, dark, and sometimes dissonant. Melody? Not all that important. This is very much an umbrella term for all those Marmite metal genres. It’s a love or hate thing.

When looking for inspiration for the track, we mainly touched on industrial, death, tech and black metal. (There’s a playlist below for more digging)

Why will I like it?

It’s a bit mad! Everything is turned up to 11 and if you’re in a bad mood, it’s normally a great outlet.

Are there any JTC releases to help me with the style?

Morgan Reid’s JTC debut is without a doubt the heaviest we have gone to date. The drums are straight from the Cattle Decapitation playbook and really we had no other choice but to call it Relentless Shred. Pure metal madness.

Next, we have Paul Wardingham’s 20 Epic Metal Licks. The backings are intense, the playing is full throttle and there are a ton of technical lessons to dig into.

Finally, James Norbert Ivanyi adds a dash of prog to proceedings with Dark Progressive Riffs. Not extreme in style, but in note choice, this will give you plenty to play with.

Which guitarists should I check out?

Devin Townsend
An icon of the alternative. As a founding member of Strapping Young Lad, he created cacophonous tracks built around a huge “wall of sound” production. His style isn’t overly shreddy, but he can shred. There are moments of brutality and vocals to match surprising melodies. The whole extreme nine yards.

Vogg
Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka is the main songwriter behind death-metal icons Decapitated. His playing features a honed and perfected blend of technicality, brutality and accuracy. The riffs are enormous, catchy, and powerful, and the lead work is blindingly fast. His fans come in the shape of Olly Steele, Ola Englund and to quote Misha Mansoor “Goddamn Vogg is just a force of nature!”

Frederick Thordenal
There are few bands that can be credited with inventing a genre. Meshuggah were part of the birth of djent, but they go beyond just that. One driving force of that band is Frederick Thordenal. A scientist of odd rhythms and for anyone who really likes the “wild” side of music, his solo album/side project “Sol Niger Within” really is a worthwhile exploration.

Can I get a playlist?

You can! As we said from the outset, there is a lot of ground to cover with extreme metal, so see this as a springboard!

Before you go…

Check out Richard Henshall’s take on the Toontrack Metal Meltdown Extreme-Metal track

Why you should try...thrash-metal

Tuesday 8th November 2022 Blogroll

why try thrash metal

It’s week two of the Metal Meltdown. Four weeks of free metal tracks, all produced with the help of Toontrack. Each week sees us tap into a different style of metal, and now it’s time for thrash.

It’s a genre that has seen some of the best songwriters and players call it their home and arguably paved the way for the majority of modern metal bands.

But while it may have a dedicated following, for some it may all be new, so let’s dig into the what’s what of thrash metal.

What is thrash?

Fast tempos, metal grooves and lead guitar where pretty much anything goes.

In the early underground days of thrash metal, bands such as Metallica, Exodus and Slayer looked to the UK and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and combined it with their more American styles. Speed metal met Queen, punk met Sabbath and the rest is history.

As the ‘big four’ of Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth started selling out huge tours and releasing best-selling albums, thrash was out in the open and here to stay.

Why will I like it?

It's super fast, and fun to play, and when soloing, there are hardly any rules to follow, never mind ones to break. Chromatics are the name of the game and wah and whammy is pretty much mandatory.

Are there any JTC releases to help me with the style?

Speed is the name of the game so Igor Paspalj’s Speed Picking Masterclass is a must.

Though based in a world of prog and with a more melodic bent, Connor Kaminski’s Whammy Masterclass is a great starting point before you go big on the dive bombs.

The guitarist of Megadeth is a pretty good place to look too. Kiko Loureiro's Supersonic Sessions might not be all out thrash, but it’s unsurprisingly fast and that’s exactly what we're after.

Which guitarists should I check out?

James Hetfield
Papa Het! If you’ve written ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘One’, ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘Dyers Eve’ and [insert another Metallica banger from the endless list of bangers here] you probably know a thing or two about songwriting. His down-picking abilities are also revered and he can also play a solo or two from time to time as well. The old round thrash mega-package.

Dave Mustaine
Replaced by the equally mighty Kirk Hammet as lead guitarist in Metallica, way back in 1983. He then went on to form Megadeth and forged a name for himself as a player of incredible technical skill and flair.

Jeff Hanneman
The founding member of Slayer and the writer behind ‘Raining Blood’, a classic of any style of metal, let alone thrash. Going toe to toe with the menacing Kerry King, and with an ability to play at blistering tempos, he was just a pillar of thrash that all players should know about.

Can I get a playlist?

YES! Here’s some thrash, new and old. As always, make sure you do your own research.

Before you go…

Check out Igor Paspalj’s take on the Toontrack Metal Meltdown Thrash track

Why you should try...post-metal

Monday 31st October 2022 Blogroll

why you should try post metal

Every year, Toontrack celebrates metal with its annual Metal Month, and we’re joining in. This means any genre is on the cards and as we like things loud, we thought we’d give post-metal its JTC debut.

In the Metal Meltdown we’re giving away four free metal tracks. Each track has been written and produced by Damir Puh using Toontrack products, with a different metal genre covered each week. Our guest judges give it their spin, and then you’re invited to do the same.

And as we like things loud, we’re starting with post-metal…

What is post-metal?

As is often the case with metal genres, “post-metal” mainly has its roots in rock. And in this case “post-rock” with bands like Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor creating an ambience that metalheads then pushed to the limit.

Post-metal is dark, loud, and noisy. Where other metal genres build songs around riffs, solos and quite often insane levels of technicality, post-metal looks to create an atmosphere.

Long songs, that build to a crescendo, and take influences from shoegaze, doom and many other abstract places. Verse? Chorus? Pffft.

Why will I like it?

There are huge guitar riffs, massive drums to hook onto and with long songs the norm, plenty of space to explore ideas.

Are there any JTC releases to help me with the style?

This really is a first for us in terms of style! But in post-metal, rhythm is an essential element making Al Joseph’s School of Rhythm a great shout.

The key concepts from Olly Steele’s RIFFS Masterclass can also be slowed down and morphed for the style.

And with post-metal being more about the song than technical showmanship, Connor Kaminski’s Prog Composition Masterclass is a great way to learn how to get writing.

Which guitarists should I check out?

Mike Sullivan
The Russian Circles founder is the king of the loop pedal. The band is known for huge soundscapes and to hear them live is to be deafened. When you realise that this wall of noise comes from a three-piece, with Sullivan at the helm, then you really do have to take your hat off to him and them.

Kurt Ballou
Founding member and guitarist of Converge. A hardcore/mathcore/post-hardcore band. So a bit left field, but when you discover songs such as 'Wretched World' and 'The Dusk In Us', you realise how his big-tone talents are just as at home with the sludgy goodness of post-metal as they are with the ultra-intense punk-inspired riffs. He’s also produced for post-metal bands such as Russian Circles, ISIS, Sumac, Cave In and many more.

Aaron Turner
A discography as long as a baritone guitar’s neck. A founder of post-metal giants ISIS, and a member of Sumac, Old Man Gloom and many more. If you like riffs, Aaron Turner is a solid bet.

Can I get a playlist?

You can! This is a good starting point for the genre but not the end. As with any style, there is plenty of different takes, so get digging!

Before you go…

Check out Claudio Pietronik with his take on the Toontrack Metal Meltdown Post-Metal track

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