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Guitar Weenie

740 Posts

Posted - 01 Dec 2008 :  11:48:24 Show Profile Reply with Quote

Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter December 2008

The Band:
Bobby Shepherd: Drums
Steve Pettit: Lead Vocals
Jay Woody: Bass
Will Rauser: Guitars

The Crew:
Mark Bussell: Webmaster, Computer Tech, Photography,

Tammy Woody: Video Production, Wardrobe
George Sparks: Roadie

Editor's Lead

The Imitation Limitation

Hi,there, and welcome to the December installment of the Jesus Joshua 24:15 Official Newsletter! I can hardly believe that it is December already, and 2008 has flown by so fast. But, it is what it is! I am grateful that I have had the whole year to watch!

A few days ago, it was Thanksgiving Day. Usually, as with may families, it is custom for us my family to gather at one house (usually mom's) for the Thanksgiving Day feast. However, this year, we all opted to go out to a restaurant and eat. Since my brother and I don't see each other on a regular basis (different schedules and, though we only live a county apart, it eats up gas), he and I sat together at the table.

Now, my brother is a Sheriff's Deputy, but usually our conversations range from music (which we both love), guns, our former work associates (we both used to work at the same place for a time), and politics.

Usually though, we tend to talk about some of the silly things we see at our current places of employment. Now, again, as I mentioned, my brother is a Deputy, and believe me he sees a lot of high silliness in his line of work. Silliness and stupidity.

My brother revealed to me that he was at one of the local retail store chains doing some Christmas shopping. While he was there, one of the store security associates noticed my brother's security ID. This ID allows my brother access to restricted areas, and gives him authority to enforce the law, whether on duty or off (Obviously, there are some limitations to this, but for the sake of this article, allow me some leeway).

At any rate, the store security associate commented to my brother (trying to impress my brother) that he has one of those security ID's, too. My brother tells me that he didn't have the heart to tell the store security associate that my brother's was a real security ID, one that gives him real authority, and real access. I wondered to myself if this store security associate ever thought to use his store security ID to enforce authority he didn't actually have.

In this world, it is easy to pretend. We can pretend to have a real spiritual sense. We can fool ourselves into thinking that we are doing God's will, or that we are even saved, based on some limited authority we might have. We think because we are moral, that somehow we have access to God. We think because we are intelligent, we have some kind of special insight into God. We think because we are well-off, that we have some kind of special favor that God gives. Or, we think that we have so much understanding that we think God doesn't really exist.

There was a lawyer who approached Jesus, asking Him, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?". A fairly genuine and unpretentious question, yet it was intended by the lawyer to test and trap Jesus. Jesus asked the expert in the law, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" The lawyer replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Now, if the lawyer had stopped there, I think he would have had the answer he claimed to seek. Jesus responds to his answer with, "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live."

But, the Scripture gives us an interesting twist to the story. The Scripture tells us that the lawyer wanted to justify himself, so he asks Jesus, "Okay, who is my neighbor?"

Of course, this is where Jesus begins one of His most famous parables, the Good Samaritan. But it is here that I wish to stop and contemplate. The lawyer gave the right answer, at least intellectually. I would even go so far as to say the lawyer gave the right theological answer. Even Jesus acknowledged that the lawyer's answer was quite astute, and then commanded him to go and act on that knowledge.

But, the lawyer thought that his intellectual and theological prowess somehow impressed Jesus. And the lawyer assumed that he had some kind of spiritual authority that allowed him to justify himself before Jesus. The lawyer had fooled himself into believing he had something, or was something, special and more worthy of God's love and forgiveness.

There's a passage in the book of James, chapter 1, verse 26, which says, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself, and his religion is worthless."

Now, I am not writing specifically about the tongue. I am writing about self-deception.

There are many of us that walk around with some notion in our head that we're okay because we were raised up in the Church. We tend to ride on mommy and daddy's salvation "coat tails". Or maybe we think we're okay because we're pretty moral, and we don't need God to be good. And we like to show others our "credentials", as if those "credentials" are something big and important.

It is as if we're trying to impress other people with our little "security badge". It's as if we're trying to impress God, saying to Him, "Oh, I have one of those, too." Well, Jesus told us that no man can get to the Father except through Him. There is no substitute for Jesus. We may know all the right "Sunday School answers", and even claim to know all about the correct "doctrine", but if we try to justify ourselves, we are merely trying to show off our little "retail store security badge." And, it impresses no one.

Top Ten List

In an effort to add something new to the newsletter, I would like to try creating a "Top 10 List". I am going to offer my ideas, but I encourage anyone of our readers to submit a top 10 list of their own. Simply email axeman2415[at]yahoo[dot]com, or at the website, and I will look over your contributions. You can offer anything as a top 10 list.

It doesn't have to be serious - it can be humorous, it can be personal, it can be virtually anything you would like (as long as it is clean and worthy of putting on a Jesus Joshua 24:15 website). As of right now, I am going to start things off with this:

Axeman's Top Ten Guitar players

  1. Edward Van Halen
  2. Neal Schon
  3. Jake E. Lee
  4. Joe Satriani
  5. Gary Moore
  6. John Petrucci
  7. Steve Vai
  8. Randy Rhoads
  9. Micheal Schenker
  10. Paul Gilbert

And, just to add some spice to this:

Axeman's Top Ten Drummers

  1. Neal Peart
  2. Tommy Aldridge
  3. Alex Van Halen
  4. Mike Portnoy
  5. Carmine Appice
  6. Ansley Dunbar
  7. Deen Castronovo
  8. Steve Smith
  9. Tommy Lee
  10. Bobby Shepherd

Send us your "Top 10 Lists".

Guitar Points from Will

Blues Chord Progressions, Part III

In this installment, let's make the progression more interesting by adding a few simple rhythmic elements to the chords. Now, when I am referring to "rhythmic elements", I am referring to adding notes to the rhythm that spice up an ordinary series of changes.

First we have this;

E5 E6 E7 E6 E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|-------------------------|| D|-------------------------|| A|-2-----4-----5-----4-----|| E|-0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--||

And, since you have the other articles, you know where this progresses to. Okay, while keeping the same rhythm (A slow swing-triplet feel, that sounds like a horse trotting; i.e., "Clop-deClop-deClop-deClop-de"), let's add two note to this progression.

Ex. 2
E5 E6 E7 v v v v v v v-h-^ (Repeat twice) E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|-------------------------|| D|-----------------------2-|| A|-2-----4-----5-----------|| E|-0--0--0--0--0--0--3-4---||

Now, what is so special about those two notes? Well, as you can probably hear, those two notes lead your ear toward the next part of the progression (in this case, the "A7" chord). The notes ascend chromatically, going from G to G#, then to E (the 5th of the next chord, A7). That's simple enough. However, a little more in depth analysis is needed to see why this works.

Since our first Chord is "E7", it is spelled E(1)-G#(M3)-B(5)-D(b7). So, we already see where our "G#" comes from. But, where does the "G" natural fit in?

Well, there are two essential reasons: #1) The chord is what is referred to as a "Dominant chord". A Dominant chord can accept what is referred to as "alterations".

Alterations are notes that are not part of the home key tonality, but add flavor to the chord. As long as the Major 3rd and the b7(called the "Tritone") are present in the chord (even if the root and 5th are not present), then extensions will be accepted by your ear in these types of chords.

In the case of the "G" natural, in the key of E, it is the b3rd, or minor 3rd (m3). But, because of the presence of the Tritone (M3-b7), the "G" natural is considered above the b7 (even if it actually isn't, your ear and brain perceive it that way), and it is referred to as the #9 (the #9 is simply the b3, one octave higher). SO, essentially, you are playing an "E7#9" without actually fingering it.

Reason #2:Basically, your ear is anticipating the next chord in the progression (A7), and the G-G# chromatic step leads happily to the "A", or the root of the nest chord (A7). If you do not actually land on the "G" natural, but use it as in a musical ladder step, your ear accepts the tone temporarily. It is a form of "voice-leading".

I might add that you can play this kind of riff to repeat the "E7" sequence of the Blues progression, as they fit over the original chord perfectly;

E5 E6 E7 (triplet) v v v v v v v-h-^ E|-------------------------|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|-------------------------|| G|-------------------------|-------------------------|| D|-----------------------2-|-----------------------2-|| A|-2-----4-----5-----------|-2-----4-----5-----------|| E|-0--0--0--0--0--0--3-4---|-0--0--0--0--0--0--3-4---||

Since both the "G" and "G" fit with the "E7" chord, using those notes as a repeating riff helps reinforce the E7 chord, and sets up for the change to A7. Until next month.

Lead Techniques from Will

Blues Lead Playing, Part III

In last month's column, I showed you some ideas using "double-stops" and "bends". I would like to expand that idea a little further. I have been talking about using the "Pentatonic Scale" as musical source material. Let's again look at this scale pattern, in it's lateral (across the fretboard) form:

Ex. 1 E Pentatonic minor scale

E G A B D E G A B D E G E|-------------------------------0--3-|| B|-------------------------0--3-------|| G|-------------------0--2-------------|| D|-------------0--2-------------------|| A|-------0--2-------------------------|| E|-0--3-------------------------------||

The order of notes is: E-G-A-B-D. The sequence repeats, and is the same no matter which note you begin with; i.e., if you begin with the "G" note, but still remain in the key of E, it would go "G-A-B-D-E-G-A-B-D-E" and so on.

Okay, that's fine if you want to stay in one place on the fretboard. But, what about traveling up (horizontally)? Let's look at the same scale, but traveling horizontally up one string.

Ex. 2 E Pentatonic minor scale, traveling up horizontally on the low E string
E G A B D E E|--------------------|| B|--------------------|| G|--------------------|| D|--------------------|| A|--------------------|| E|-0--3--5--7--10--12-||

Okay, now let's take this same concept to the other strings:

Ex. 3 E Pentatonic minor, along the A string

A B D E G A E|--------------------|| B|--------------------|| G|--------------------|| D|--------------------|| A|-0--2--5--7--10--12-|| E|--------------------||

Ex. 4 E Pent minor along the D string

D E G A B D E|-------------------|| B|-------------------|| G|-------------------|| D|-0--2--5--7--9--12-|| A|-------------------|| E|-------------------||

Ex. 5 E Pent minor along the G string

G A B D E G E|-------------------|| B|-------------------|| G|-0--2--4--7--9--12-|| D|-------------------|| A|-------------------|| E|-------------------||

Ex. 6 E Pent minor along the B string

B D E G A B E|--------------------|| B|-0--3--5--8--10--12-|| G|--------------------|| D|--------------------|| A|--------------------|| E|--------------------||

Ex. 7 E Pent minor along high E string

E G A B D E E|-0--3--5--7--10--12-|| B|--------------------|| G|--------------------|| D|--------------------|| A|--------------------|| E|--------------------||

Okay, those are good, just by themselves, for a player to study. Learning scales this way (horizontally) versus position-wise (laterally) helps develop shifting skills and visualizing the entire fretboard. But, that's not why I showed you those.

We can take our double-stop bends from last month and include them into our Blues phrasing. Since simply playing the notes of a scale up and down the neck isn't really musical, let's try to make a musical statement.

Let's take two strings, and play the scale horizontally, using what is called "unison bends":

Ex. 8
Bend only 3rd string; Hold note on second string B D E G A B E|----------------------------------------|| B|-0(0)--3(3)--5(5)--8(8)---10(10)-12(12)-|| G|-2(4)--5(7)--7(9)--10(12)-12(14)-14(16)-|| D|----------------------------------------|| A|----------------------------------------|| E|----------------------------------------||

To explain: You use your 3rd finger to bend the note on the 3rd string (G string), while anchoring your 1st finger on the second string (B string). When the 3rd string is bent up a whole step, it will sound in unison to the note on the second string. Of course, if you give it a little vibrato (shake the string), the unison note will go slightly out of pitch (above and below the target note), giving the technique a Bluesy quality.

What I often like to do is use unison bends and combine them with releasing the bends:

Ex. 9 Unison bend and release

* ** * ** E|-------------------|| B|-3(3)-(3)-3(3)-(3)-|| G|-5(7)-(5)-5(7)-(5)-|| D|-------------------|| A|-------------------|| E|-------------------||

*= Bend 3rd string up a whole step
**= Release bend

Try playing the E Pentatonic minor over the Blues progressions, using the double-stop bend idea to make you solo ideas a little tastier.

News and Events

  • Well, there's really no news. We'll keep you posted if there's anything new. We're looking forward to 2009.

A Final Thought

As we are fast approaching Christmas (already!), I noticed something this year that I had not in previous years. Perhaps this has always occurred and I am only noticing it now, but this year has seemed a little different.

Usually, I see people getting festive because of the Christmas season right around the day after Thanksgiving. People putting up the Christmas lights on their houses, putting up their Christmas trees, decorating the yard, and putting up wreaths... even retail stores and businesses usually start their Christmas decorating around the day after Thanksgiving.

But what I noticed this year was people seeming to get a jump on the Christmas season around Halloween. I saw some people had Christmas lights up at least that early.

Even the stores were advertising for Christmas earlier than what I have always thought was usual. I am not criticizing it. I have always loved this time of year, and even all of the decorum that goes along with it, including the same old songs that we hear every season. There is just something festive and cozy about the Christmas season that produces comfort and joy (sorry for the Christmas pun). There is much tradition that goes along with the season.

Personally, I like all of them, even the traditions that are less than accurate. For whatever reason, all of the traditions remind me of those feelings of comfort and joy. Another feeling that is incurred is "hope".

Perhaps that is why, on some level, people have begun to celebrate the Christmas season a little earlier than what I have considered usual. Perhaps there is a desire to usher in feelings of hope along with the early ushering in of the Christmas season. Who knows? Maybe people have always done it this way, and I am only now beginning to notice.

At any rate, have a blessed Christmas season. Enjoy your family, be thankful for those around you, and never forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"

Absent-minded Webmaster

621 Posts

Posted - 02 Dec 2008 :  07:18:38 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Are those "Top 10" lists in any particular order?

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
- Will Rogers
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Guitar Weenie

740 Posts

Posted - 02 Dec 2008 :  12:14:30 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Nope....not unless you want them to be...mine aren't

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"
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