The Legends Of Classic Rock

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How Can I Help Your Band? Having Issues With Music Business And Recording Issues?

Hey musicians, what can I help you with? What is something in your band, gigging or getting any media causing you issues? I want to help you. Its my job to create value for musicians and make sure you understand not just the business end of music, but actually enjoy doing something you love!
I hope the articles on my site help you out and get you to take action on these issues and work with other musicians,doing session work and finding a studio and engineer that's right for your band, or even gear that fits the type of music your band plays.
email me here at any time guys. I'll even chat with you on the phone if it works out.
So, here's my email:
To view the blog just head over to

There's no obligation, but I want you to succeed and become the musician I know you're capable of.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Musicians, If You Could Buy Guitars And Accessory Equipment For Less Than Retail And Provide Value Beyond The Price--Is That Important To You?

Musicians, do you continue to buy your guitars, gear and accessories at retail prices without any real value being exchanged--and not much of a chance to really test your gear out either? What if you could get better value somewhere else? What if I could provide that value?
Hey everybody. There's a reason why I asked that question in the title of this post.
Most musicians want a deal and go to their local retail store to buy a guitar,amp,strings or effects pedals. They test these products out for maybe twenty minutes then pay retail prices which aren't exactly cheap.
They can't really test them out at a gig before they buy not really knowing how good a piece of equipment or accessory really is. Only a test in a limited time, and what the music store dude tells you, or a review in GP or GW. Not enough guys. What if you could get value over and above a warranty on equipment, or maybe a free pack o' strings. Nice, but not enough value that really helps you as a musician.
Retail music stores are very limited in what they can do for a musician unless you're a regular buyer, or a well known musician. If you are you usually get great deals. But most aren't well known or regular buyers. If you knew someone involved in the music biz who sells equipment and accessories at reduced prices less than retail, and were able to give you value that actually helped your music career, not just give you a few more little, and I mean little bonuses--Would you buy from them if they could prove that value and be willing to help you?
I do have a couple questions for you before I end this post though. What kind of music equipment and accessories do you buy monthly? 

Would you like to pay less than retail prices, and get value above and beyond the deal on the equipment? 
If so, drop me a line and tell me by way of email what kind of music equipment you buy monthly.
This type of stuff I feel is very important to musicians out there who are playing gigs weekly. When I have a good group of musicians who tell me what kind of equipment they buy monthly, I'll have the next installment of this post, which will go into how I can provide value for musicians by selling you equipment at less than retail, and help your careers get to the next step, and create the kind of value that is more useful than just getting a free pack of strings or some guitar picks for free.
Just email me here to tell me what kind of equipment you buy monthly.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Your Band Needs Media And People Who Are Haters And Criticize Your Work

What your band needs is people who criticize your work, not just fans who love it.
You can't just have positive reviews. Your band won't be focused mentally to do better if that happens. Don't analyze what I just said. Don't take it personally as a challenge to prove a music journalist wrong. Just be a better band because you want to play music that moves you and your band.
Find your band's own sound. For those who may not know, that picture is of Sir King Zakk Wylde. One of my favorite riff blasting axemen! He was at his Roast a few years back now. Some of music's best were havin' fun with the big man. 
Compose and play music that just blows you fuckin' away! Not what the public wants. They don't count. The music media and the music industry don't count either. Make music your band likes--and if you develop a rabid crowd who are fans great! I would rather have 1,000 people who love our music and bought a band's CD's, than 10,000 people who bought it listened to it once, then threw it in the pile and never go to a band's gigs.
The people who do buy and go to a band's gigs are the people I want on my buyer's list. They buy for the right reasons. The people who just look around, aren't really lovers of a band and put them down for just about any reason including what other people say, regardless.
But the rub here is real music lovers always show themselves,and real musicians and fans show that music is the real truth. Critics from media to fans will always show themselves and your band needs to mentally wrap it's head around the fact that negative press is every where. By pass it, and bring the bad press on. The people who get hung up on pigeonholing your music and saying you don't know shit about being a band, don't ever worry about them.
Just keep putting out better and better Demos, Albums and gigs.
Email here if you have any questions guys. Or head over to the site.
Mark Grove

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How To Be A Real Musician Who Plays Your Way

By Mark Grove

" From Constitution Park" It's Much Easier On Your Constitution"

I was reading an article about of all things a New York based Clothing designer named John Varvatos who has his own style that says Ultra-Hip and swagger.Yeah, even guys like me read that crap. Varvatos designs clothes the way rock musicians create and play music, their way and not copying.

The pic to the left is Jimi. You know who.

Musicians are still making great music but most of it is digitially recorded and aided whether it's live or studio work. If you can't be creative at the outset but it's great note for note, chances are it won't have heart, feeling and soul. The way real musicians should be playing and making music.

Will you want to listen to the music years down the road?

Players who have any individuality create music that moves you and says that music is mine and has my style with a very small element from the greats of blues. Real fans of great musicians like you go to your shows regularly and buy your material. I wouldn't want fans who just go to one of your shows or buy one CD,then never think of you again.

I don't need them and neither do you.

Real Musicians have to be willing(Not To Change) who they are and stay true to the music they play. To me that's the essence of being a hip blues/rock player. Think about it, what kind of music do you want to play, get down and want to work your ass off for?  So, being a real musician means playing a Blues Master's material your way and create your own material and a sense of purpose beyond anything else. As well, not copying the greats or even the top local players in your town. Be your own musician for fuck sakes!

Mark G---Canadian Guitar Player

Friday, September 5, 2014

Detroit Bluesman Dee Curtis--With Some Fast Tips On How Sidemen Can Become In Demand "Session Cats" And What Dee Looks For In Sidemen

This interview has so many golden nuggets of useable info for sidemen to use to take action on and get gigs, it'll blow your mind! Dee Curtis our consultant here on the blog gives you the nitty-gritty on what you need to do to get session work. It's a short informative piece, but take notes please.

And yes this is a repost. Dee has knowledge of music like a great historian does, and he's created massive value for other musicians here in London where I live,Detroit and many other blues and music hotspots. If you ever get a chance to see Dee in Detroit where he's living and playing now, do it. Its a once in a lifetime chance to see a true blue bluesman. 

i swear I should have a recorder going whether I'm talking to him on the phone, in person or on the internet!
This is an old conversation with Detroit based bluesman Dee Curtis. I talked about a recent article I read in Guitar World's (Bass Player Mag) about Gov't Mule Bass Player Andy Hess. It said he spends a lot of time looking over charts, studying and practicing material. He also stated, that sometimes doesn't matter on stage if you're trying to get a certain feel. The charts and playing note for note can sometimes get in the way. Those are my words folks.
Dee Curtis: Some of it does matter. Sitting down and runnin' scales and loosening your fingers up to warm up. It could be different for Bass Players. Once I'm on stage I try to be inspired or reach deep inside to pull out the vocals and the music. I know players who think about the next chord before they play it, and that takes away from the natural feeling of it.
It's more of a spiritual feeling when you let go and go to the next level and let it flow. If you've played a song enough times and know the next riff is a certain note you can just play. From there once you get to that point you should be able to improvise to some degree. This is because you can automatically know where the music is going. You should be able to stretch it out at a-certain point to go up a level.
Some of the Bass Players you've played with over the years, do you find some are more suited to live, session work or other types of Music?
Why is that?
Dee Curtis : I use different bass players for different things. In the Dee Curtis Trio, I use two bass players. One guy's a singing bass player who's very adept at R&B. Over the last couple of years he's adapted to the styles and dynamics of my music. My other Bass Player does a lot of church material, and is a cousin of mine, and we've played so much over the years that no matter what I'm doing he can come in and mold to the style I'm playing at that particular moment.
He plays a 6 string bass which I really like because he can cover a lot of territory, and can play a lot of chords and improvisational riffs.He's a bass player that I prefer. The drummer I use is my Brother Paris. He also plays keyboards. Currently he's doing quite a bit of sequencing and drum programming along with producing. I also use a guy named Rudy who's a Jazz Fusion drummer which I love and is closer to rock drumming--and that's something closer to what I'm used to. My drummer in Canada, Carlos LaTorre was and is a rock drummer.

Mark: Carlos is one of my favorite rock n' roll drummers who would make a great session guy with either metal or progressive rock acts.
Dee:Carlos has a lot of jazz elements in his playing, and could play funk as well as fusion. This made him more of an all around percussionist. I look for players of that caliber. I also look for guys who can change the tempo and feeling of a tune on the fly in subtle ways. One of my next cuts on an upcoming demo will be a Blues-Latin mix. In ending, Dee is always looking for solid backing in his side men. The Dee Curtis Trio is currently playing here in Southern Canada. So look for Dee up here in Canada at a blues club or bar in Toronto, Hamilton, London or down in Windsor or the US North East very soon.
Mark Grove --
Dee Curtis -- Blues Recording Artist and Consultant to CGPM
This is a back catalog article that bass players and front men should read.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fender Guitar Pickup Guru Bill Turner, Talks With Us On The Inner Workings Of Revamped Fender Pickups And Learn From For Your Sound

By Mark Grove

This is an important repost for players who want their pickups to be just right for the guitar and amp they use. This interview I did in 2003 was with Bill Turner, one of music's Pickup gurus who has made pickup technology his life, and players like you have benefited like crazy because of it. So with that I decided to put it back up because a refresher on how pickups work and what ones to use for your music are important, at least it's important to me. Well, it better be important to you if you want great tone. Hell, I didn't realize I did that interview more than 11 years ago.

Time flies doesn't it. Which means you players better get to work and learn from this little interview with Bill Turner.

Fender Guitars and Pickups are known for their distinctive sound that delights players and fans all over the world. This has lead to generations of players trying to perfect Leo Fender's great inventions. Bill Turner: The Pick up expert and Co-founder of EMG pickups and LSR (Linear String Research) came on board with the Fender R&D team in 95' and wanted to bring back that vintage sound that clearly stated Fender's unique pickup tone and quality.

Bill being the old hand at pickup development, took old vintage Fender pickups and experimented not just to recreate that old fender Sound and technology. But how to combine Old Tech with the new and test the hell out of it to come up with Vintage pick-ups that had that distinctive Fender tone that only Leo and real musicians would love.

MG: When you joined The Fender R&D team in 95' was it important that the vintage pickups that Fender was making had more of a percentage of vintage parts or new technology?

Bill: It was extremely important that the vintage pickups be correct. The current vintage reissue pickups are the truest recreations of the originals. The pickup construction is consistent with the techniques used by Fender from the early fifties to the present day. The vintage pickups are still made with pressed paper fiber and Alnico magnets which form the winding bobbin. The magnet wire is wound directly onto to the magnets in the traditional manner. The technical part was the research into the materials used to make these pickups when they were originally produced.

The structure and process of the Alnico 5 magnet was slightly different in the past than it is today, which is a large component of the tonality of the pickup. The other half of the sound component is the magnet wire. The magnet wire used for the pickups is still produced by one of our original suppliers. Without getting too technical about it, for better or worse in the case of pickups, the grades and processes for magnet wire have changed over the last fifty years, leading us back in time to discover the technique and material the wire maker used to produce the wire.

Fine magnet wire produced in the fifties and sixties had greater hardness than the softer annealed wire produced today, so the original technique was used to produce the magnet wire for the vintage pickups.

MG: Do you believe the single coil pickup is really what drives that signature Fender guitar sound and why?

Bill: Without doubt, it is the single most identifiable electric guitar sound, the sound is unique to Fender instruments. The single coil pickup produces the most natural tonality and presence of any type of guitar pickup. What sets the single coil apart from the humbucking style pickup is its ability to produce the fundamental note with the naturally occurring related harmonics, while the humbucker cannot reproduce the fundamental, only a harmonic of the original note, which is why it lacks the clarity of the single coil.

MG: Are the type of magnets used in the pickup making process important?

Bill: Magnet material is chosen based on a group of properties. Alnico(Aluminum, Nickel, Cobalt) iron making up about 50% of the magnets balance. The magnet not only must provide a magnetic field to magnetize the string, it also must provide the iron critical to inducing (inductance) voltage in the coil. The iron in Alnico spreads and widens the magnetic field through the pickup coil, charging the coil with magnetic flux. Ceramic magnets, while twice the magnetic strength of Alnico, contain no iron and cannot achieve the same affects as Alnico without iron or iron pole pieces being added to the pickup design. Each of these materials has its own very different properties, both very useful in pickup design, it`s a matter of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each.

MG: When you started with Fender you began with 1957/1962 StratoCaster Pickups. Was it a challenge to produce a solid vintage 57/62 pickup even though you're an old hand at it?

Bill: It was a learning experience. As I described in your question regarding vintage parts for pickups, the 57/62`s were the model for that research. A set of original 63' Strat pickups were sacrificed for that project, for the greater good of musicians everywhere. With regard to the reference "old hand", although I was responsible for many of EMG pickup designs, EMG wasn`t tied down to producing a truly authentic passive Strat sound. We created a truly good Strat tone, but achieving the subtle tonal nuances of a passive 60`s Fender single coil pickup proved very difficult. Passive pickup design is the most challenging because of  its inherent limits. There are only wire and magnets as the tools of creation.

MG: What are one of the ways to test out the tone of a pickup to be and figure out it's capabilities and what it can handle?

Bill: The best way to evaluate the tone quality of a pickup is in a controlled situation. In other words, you would want to use the same guitar and the same amp for all your listening tests. Swapping different pickups in and out of the same guitar for a consistent sound reference point. We use only one test guitar. The guitar has been modified so we can slide pickguard assemblies in and out of it quickly. The pickguards have different types pickups installed on them, so we can swap and slide pickguards in a matter of seconds and listen to many types of pickups. I realize that this is not practical for most musicians, but a music dealer might consider a test set up like this for his store.

MG: Do fender guitars and amps ever have to tweak their electronics and parts to conform with the way Fender Pickups are made?

Bill: Fender amps and guitars have always been traditionally designed around each other. My thought on this is that popular trends, new products, and player demand create changes to the equipment, and Fender has responded with very innovative guitar and amp products that cover a wide range of musical tastes.

MG: Which type of Fender Pick-ups needed the most changes when you came on Board the Fender R&D Team?

Bill: The American Standard Strat, Tele, Jazz Bass, and P Bass all were upgraded with new pickup designs. MIM guitars were upgraded with new pickups soon after, but the first major project undertaken was developing a new program for Fender Humbucking pickup designs.

MG: Has your past experience in manufacturing pick-ups with (EMG) given you the ability to see where pick-up making has to go and actually improve on Leo Fender's masterpieces?

Bill: It gives me a unique perspective having come from an audio and electronics engineering back round. The answer is in developing new materials for pickup design for the future.

Mark Grove-Canadian Guitar Player-March 2003

For more info on Fender Vintage Pickups just click the Fender link above,or for even more info on Bill Turner's EMG pickups go to:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jerry Cantrell From Alice In Chains And What You Can Learn From His Influences Playing Wise

You'll be surprised where his biggest influence comes from. It's not a guitar player.

Even though Jerry is a hard rock axeman, his sound tends to come from music other than traditional metal or rock. If you really want a signature Jerry Cantrell sound, pick up a Cantrell Signature Crybaby Wah, or listen to some of Alice In Chains material when Layne Staley was the lead singer. His vocals went off the beaten path, and weren't hard rock tinged. They tended to be blues and soul based.

That's how great Layne was as a singer. I wish he was still here. I think you'll enjoy listening to Jerry.

If you want more insights from Cantrell I'll have some lessons from him.

So go back and listen to AIC's Facelift album from way back.