Gigs this weekend: Road Runners Return! Green Chain Qt - Park tour rolls on!

I'm out on two 'open to the public' gigs this weekend, would be fabulous to see you at either, hope you can make it!

Saturday 20th August: Return of the fabulous Gordon Mark Webber's Road Runners, appearing at The White Swan in Charlton from 8pm. Classic soul, disco and funk featuring the vocals of Gordon Webber and Francesca Payne, and the RR Horns featuring Frank Mead on sax and Toby Simmons on trumpet. Full address: The White Swan, 22 The Village, Charlton SE7 8UD

The GMW Road Runners in full swing


Sunday 21st August: Jimmy Smith/Wes Montgomery revivalists The Green Chain Quartet will be appearing at The Bandstand in picturesque Golders Green Park, Hampstead from 3-5pm. Expect funky guitar and organ tunes from the classic cool jazz era.  Loads of stuff for the kids to do in the park if jazz isn't their thing  (hoping it stays dry!).  Full address: Golders Hill Park, West Heath Ave, London NW11 7QP 

Green Chain's John Gittos


The Cycle of Fifths... Online and interactive!

Most of my students will know the importance of the Cycle of Fifths several lessons into their guitar studies with me.

Its great for practicing the guitar, practicing improvisation, composing/songwriting and understanding how keys, modes, chords and their progressions work. If you write your own songs you'll find the Cycle of Fifths 'wheel' a very useful thing indeed :-)

Now software developer, Rand Scullard, has come up with a truly interactive online version of this important music tool and you can find a free copy here: Rand Scullard - Cycle of Fifths - complete with a detailed 'User Guide'.

Thanks to Carlos at Schwilly Family Musicians for sharing this find.



Next 'Mo-Bo with Beer' event: Thursday 8th September

Catch us while you can!

Great beers, need great beer drinking music...

Mo-Bo are at Beer Rebellion Sydenham, South London on Thursday 8th September. 8pm start.

Great craft beers and live music mmmmm... what could be better?

Wondering what we sound like? There is now an audio/video clip on the MoBo Duo page.

New! Summer Strummers 6 week course

Want to learn to play the guitar this summer? I'm starting a new 6 lesson Summer course just for people who want strum a few simple songs.

Ever imagined yourself being able to strum songs by the campfire, on the beach, or leading a sing-along at parties, impress friends and relatives? Or maybe as a personal challenge, just for your own enjoyment?  Well you can. This is a 6 lesson course for absolute beginners, no experience necessary. All you need is an acoustic guitar, short spaces of time for practice and the ambition to learn 6 songs. Simple.

Over the 6 lessons you'll learn 6 songs, 3 of your own choice; a song each week. You'll learn how to adapt the strumming patterns and chords you learn to many other songs.

You can learn solo, share with a friend, pile all the lessons into 2 weeks, whatever suits you, it's your call.

Each lesson lasts an hour; at the end of each lesson an achievable practice schedule is set out, with targets lined up ready to focus your progress.

To book just use the contact form on the right, or email. Usual rates apply, see Lessons page for more information.

Whatever you're doing, have a great summer :-)



Choosing a guitar that's right for you

December 2015

How to choose a guitar
This is a question I get asked about a lot. From beginning students right through to intermediate level. And with one eye on Christmas looming here's my answer... generally speaking:

You need to consider your budget, your size (or the size of the person you are buying it for), and the style of music you want to play with it. Check the 'Three Golden Rules' towards the end of this blog post.

Firstly, what sort of guitars are available?

A bit of musical psychology from Austin City Limits


Right, so Austin City Limits is one of the big music events across the globe and big festivals are a great place for hearing different sounds and musical styles back to back, side by side.

A couple of years back I was there at ACL and made a few observations re the differences between live and synthesised sound.  Even in this age of fantastic digital modelling synthesised music still lacks the spikes and variations that occur in analogue sounds.

Now, not everybody hears things the same way, each of us are different depending on what we've listened to before, our age and previous listening experience; plus any musical instruments we may play etc., myself included, so these are completely my observations, not anyone else's. You might hear things differently?


Resolutions, resolution

Winter's here again... and bringing with it another new year.  2015... full of promise, expectation and ... New Year Resolutions. The best type of New Year resolution (if it's going to get results) is the type that sticks... and they usually stick when we apply a routine to whatever we are trying to get done. So if you're practicing an instrument, sort out what your goals are, the practice you need to do to get there; and most importantly, apply a routine.

In short:
1 - Identify your Target/Goal.
2 - Work out what you need to do to achieve it, including the amount of time.
3 - Apply your routine.
Playing an instrument takes time and routine

Most people are pretty good at working out the first two and lousy at sticking to the routine needed to achieve the goal. This is especially true of people learning an instrument.

The secret, if there is one, is to build the routine into the activity.  Set aside the time you need, diarise it, set reminders and treat it like anything else that's important, after all it's your goal. Achieve it and it really is like winning something!

Of course if you're a musician resolution also means the music has come to a close, the tension released, the work is done, the chord has been resolved, completed, at least in part.

And for some of us, especially after a busy Christmas period, where we've been winding up to the holiday period, it's a time to take a break, recharge the batteries, reflect and plan for the year ahead, identify new targets, set new goals, set out a plan ...

:-)

Whatever your goals are, I hope you have a good crack at achieving them. Happy New Year.

Getting new guitar for Christmas? Grab a free lesson!

December 2015 - This has been popular for the last couple of years, so the same offer is going out again :-)

I meet a lot people who say "Ah, the guitar: I bought one but couldn't get started on it..." Well the short answer is they probably would have, if they'd had a few pointers on how to get started; i.e. what to practice in those early stages so they could make good progress, how to get over those new beginners' 'humps' and how to start sounding musical as soon as possible.

So, getting new guitar for Christmas? Grab a free lesson from me! 

To take up this offer simply email me (dave@davebold.com) giving the name of the person receiving the guitar, I'll send you a personalised electronic copy of the flyer below. After that just contact me to arrange a time to come over. Job done. 

This could also be a major help if you're making a New Year's resolution to play a few songs on your new guitar by Easter; what a great start this would be! 

It also makes the best of your Christmas present and sorts out your fledgling guitarist's New Year resolution and, if your own resolution was to get them started on a musical instrument, that's two NY resolutions sorted in one hit!  Simple!

The Physics of Productivity: Newton’s Laws of Getting Stuff Done

For procrastinators everywhere... Great article here by James Clear on Getting Stuff Done using principles of Newton's Three Laws of Motion as a guide.

If you are looking for motivation on anything... but especially practicing the guitar, or getting the gig, and you need a bit of motivation then this could be the right idea for you... makes sense to me anyway!

Sir Isaac Newton
(click on the picture to find out more about Newton's life and amazing achievements)

What do you need from a practice amp?

July 2014

Hmmm.... Practice amps.. they're intended to help us practice aren't they?  Let's face it, there is a huge amount of music gear for us guitarists to acquire, some of it meeting our needs, some of it falling well short, some of it keeping its treasures buried deep in the technical manual that came with it, never to be discovered.  So, its worth pausing a moment and considering what do we actually need?  Does the stuff that we think (we are often told) we need, actually serve its purpose? And very importantly, how easy is it to use?

Industry standard Roland Cube amps 
This blog discusses the pros and cons of the many different types of practice amplifier, and looks at some of the many features useful in your practice routine.

At the bottom of this blog entry there is a list of amps by type, with links to the manufacturers' websites. Just Google the name of the amp to get many independent reviews on these products.


Twitter and the games people play

Ok so I signed up for Twitter a couple years ago. Started following people and sending the occasional tweet. After a while I began to collect a group of followers that mostly shared my interests - music, astronomy, sport and political incompetence. 

I noticed that my number of followers stayed basically the same, despite lots of confirmations saying 'You have a new follower'. As Twitter only tells you who follows you not who 'unfollows' you I enlisted a piece of software ( www.unfollowers.me ) to track what's happening and to my amazement uncovered a whole new pastime...




Now I'm not sure if there really is some kind of game going on here, wherein we play 'I follow you, and you follow me then, sneakily, I stop following you so that it looks like I've got more followers than you... ' but it certainly seems that to some people Twitter is a competition in collecting followers, rather than sharing mutual interests.

Me - on Twitter

If it is, what's the end result? Do you win a medal? Do you sell loads of stuff to other people? Does it make you impossibly attractive? Do other twitterers play God and remove their 'follow' from you to bring you down a peg or two, issuing a metaphorical thunderbolt because you've got more twits following you then they have !?

Whats even more strange about this process I've discovered, is that some twits do this 'follow then unfollow' process over a couple of days, and some do it several times over the course of a month...  

Perhaps they are trying to lure me in to some horrible fate that awaits me when I become their follower.   Perhaps they've unfollowed me because they are peeved that I've taken no notice of them?  Perhaps they see themselves as some kind of leader, a kind of social media Napoleon who's ego demands they appear more popular than all the other twits. If so, how sad, and what a huge waste of their time.

Dave 

Sunken Condos - Don's New Album

(26/10/12)

Donald Fagen's new solo album Sunken Condos is out.. and I have to say it's pretty damn good!

A new album by one of the best song writers America has ever produced in the last 42 years is always of interest and there's always going to be some debate on how it measures up to the rest of the Steely Dan / Donald Fagen / Walter Becker catalogue, and especially Fagen's legendary The Nightfly album.

What strikes me about this collection of tunes is that while the similarity in feel, tone, quirkiness they have to all of Fagen's solo output, it's instantly placeable stuff, it just couldn't be anyone else.. but it's different too.

As you might expect there is a fair dose of cool jazzy funk grooves, great extended chord harmonies, understated horns, laconic vocals, funky keys, great guitar playing, plus a great mix..  a slightly softer, more sympathetic bass & drum sound than previous Fagen / Steely Dan albums of recent years. It certainly makes more of the funky grooves... think more The Nightfly, Gaucho, Aja than say Kamakiriad or Two Against Nature.

Following The Nightfly model all songs, bar one, are by Fagen. That outsider is Isaac Hayes' Out Of The Ghetto. Fagen gives the original 70s funk an update and a brand new arranged middle section which partly filters back towards the end of the song forming a sort of overlaid coda.

Like most guitarists I always look forward to the players' contributions to Becker & Fagen albums, and Sunken Condos doesn't disappoint. There are is some nice offerings on most cuts courtesy of (fast becoming) Steely Dan stalwart Jon Herington and a lovely Kurt Rosenwinkel solo on Planet D'Rhonda.

Herington's playing perfectly compliments the mood of the songs with chameleon-like colour shifts sitting right inside each song's style.  Check the altered blues Weather In My Head and The Good Stuff for melodic lines uniquely their own while tilting a hat towards the legacy of previous great contributions to Becker & Fagen recordings.  The lazy funk of Planet D'Rhonda provides Kurt Rosenwinkel with a great platform to echo the mood of Fagen's cynical wit with some great jazzy outside playing.

Great album, recommended listening. Available at all good record shops ... as they used to say.. : -)

Live Music Bill - Good News

(9/10/12)

Good news indeed... the much heralded Live Music Bill has just become proper legislation, meaning that small venues in England and Wales, with a capacity of under 200 people, will no longer need local authority permission to host performances of live amplified music between the hours of 8am-11pm.

Will it make a difference? Recent research suggests that 13,000 additional venues in the UK could now stage gigs for the first time, with over 20,000 venues now able to increase their provision for live music. 

More information and further links at:  http://www.generator.org.uk/blog/live-music-fits-bill

London Acoustic Guitar Show Cardboard Cut-Out Guitar Thing

(28/9/12)

Well the London Acoustic Guitar Show Cardboard Cut-Out Guitar Thing with Phil went pretty well, with lots of people picking up DaveBold.com picks, having their photo taking and generally messing about.. Interesting that the ladies were more keen on taking photos, and having their photo taken, than the lads were... probably some psychology in there somewhere!


The Brief
" Beckenham based musician, Dave Bold asked us to help promote his guitar lessons. We created a set of plectrums with his details on (davebold.com). These were stuck onto the neck of a fake guitars that we rigged up on bicycle locks outside the London Acoustic Guitar Show. These were designed to draw visitors in to interact with the display and take a plectrum. " - Phil Bold, Graphic Designer - Bold&Bold


Find out more
Inside Croydon: http://insidecroydon.com/2012/10/06/take-your-pick-guitar-teacher-makes-bold-move/#more-8888

The event has also appeared on a few design blogs. You can find them, along with more details at:





Happy Picking :-)

Dave

London Acoustic Guitar Show

(21 /9 /12)

If you are attending the London Acoustic Guitar Show at Olympia Conference Centre this Saturday morning, why not say hello, collect a free pick and have your picture taken with a large cardboard cut-out guitar! My nephew Phil (a graphic designer) and I will be outside the venue near Kensington Olympia tube station.

It's a double promo, for guitar lessons with me at Dave Bold | Guitar and design services from Phil at Bold & Bold, so drop by and say hello, it's free and it's always good to meet other guitarists :-)

Dave

Ceilidh At Blackheath Halls - 28 September 2012

Happy to report Bold's Band are back at Blackheath Concert Halls on Friday 28 September at 7.30pm, for another Barn Dance evening of crazy country dancing and frivolity... :-)

Have a great evening dancing to jigs, reels, polkas, hornpipes and a few Breton tunes. There is a bar and food is included in the ticket price.

This annual event is in aid of the charity supporting the Halls.  Tickets are £20, £5 for under 14s, and this includes a 2 course meal. If you'd like to attend, please email organiser Ann Glynn at Dermot.annglynn@btinternet.com.

Clock House Soul Collective

(16 July 2012)

A couple of weeks back I pulled a bunch of musician friends together for the Clock House Jubilee Street Party.  In spite of having a couple of republican oriented communists amongst them they all agreed to do it (free beer, sausage rolls and strawberries does it every time!) and so we played... in the rain!

It was a great day, people danced despite the weather. You can see the some of the results on my YouTube clips; the sound was a bit ropey (recorded with and iPhone!) but it looks OK and the music (mostly) sounds together!

I mention this last point as the guys were from several different bands I'm currently involved with, but none of us had played together as a band before, though it helped massively that the drums, bass and keyboards all came from the Road Runners. I guess this makes Rule #1 on forming a musical collective.. get your rhythm section sorted!

New Jazz Guitar Programme!

(21/6/12)

Hi all, I'm really pleased to announce the syllabus for my new Jazz Guitar course is almost done and I'll be releasing further details about it over the next few days.

Learning to play jazz is often seen as complicated and difficult, but it needn't be. While there may be a lot to learn, once you get a few basic principles nailed down, with regular practice you can progress quickly. This course sets out to get you blowing (improvising) great lines and chords as soon as possible.


The programme has been designed to make a step change in your playing, and will be individually tailored to meet your needs and development. It's really aimed at serious players wanting to make rapid improvement, and get the best from the tons of self study materials available these days. (Though I reckon the best self study materials are often two things you have already: your record collection and your ears... It's really just learning how to use them!)


The programme is aimed at intermediate to advanced ability players, and you will need at least a basic understanding of chords, scales and rhythm as a foundation. The programme will last for 12 weeks of regular lessons over a total period of 16 weeks with personal tutor support over the period from me. 


Building and working a repertoire is a large part of the process, you will learn many jazz 'standards' plus bebop, blues and contemporary tunes. There will also be detailed study of the masters of jazz guitar e.g: Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Pat Martino, George Benson, Pat Metheny, John Schofield and Larry Carlton. 


I'm really looking forward to delivering this programme, more to follow soon!


Dave

Three Gigs In 15 Hours - Review

Along with several of my colleagues I completed 3 gigs in 15 hours at the weekend. A jazz and two soul gigs to be precise with the mighty Gordon Webber's Road Runners. Was a bit of a marathon.. in fact one was at Greenwich for the London Marathon... !

Tiring? Yep, especially when the middle one finished at 2am and we were all up early to be at Greenwich for the next one by 8am... The petrol was definitely running out on the last half a dozen tunes we played!

Still all good fun :-)