Strumzilla

​A blog/journal about my life and the stuff I like. Popular subjects include music, guitars, gear, books, movies, video games, technology, humor.

Demo Reel

For lack of a better term, a future project for me is assembling a guitar video to demonstrate my playing for bandmix and equivalent sites. There's a brilliant guitarist in Europe (Sweden or Norway I think) named Ketil Strand who has become somewhat of an Internet sensation, at least among guitar players. He posted a series of videos as a tribute to the history of guitar called "Evolution of Guitar" a few years back. He updated them after the release of the AxeFx and I think that's when I first saw the videos. Essentially he goes through the history of modern guitar starting with the earliest influences (modern era) like Charlie Christian, Django Rheinhardt, Chuck Berry, etc. He goes on through most of the influential rock guitarists like Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Johnson, SRV, and many others. He picks some of the more recognizable riffs/songs and breaks them down to small excerpts and runs them together. It's a brilliant highlight reel (mainly because he nails the tones and playing) that not only honors the guitar greats, but demonstrates his mastery of many different styles and tones.

I'm not as skilled or as comprehensive in my current repertoire (there's always the future) to pursue something of that magnitude, but I think the framework is a great way to demonstrate my ability and tastes to other musicians. Plus, I think it will be a good learning project for me as well as adding a few more tunes to the repertoire (word du jour).

I'm thinking I will at least include some Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Alex Lifeson, Steve Howe, Tommy Emmanuel, Andy Summers, and a few others. I'm thinking I'll approach the tunes in a similar manner to Ketil's in that I'll pick 3 or 4 signature tunes (that I can play) for a medley of each player. Jimmy Page - Rock & Roll, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Ten Years Gone; Eddie Van Halen - Eruption, You Really Got Me, Panama; Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing, Wind Cries Mary (need another); Alex Lifeson - Limelight, Spirit of Radio, (need to decide on a third); Steve Howe - Mood for a Day, Roundabout, Heart of the Sunrise (have to learn that); Tommy Emmanuel - Endless Road, Amazing Grace, Over the Rainbow; Andy Summers - Message in a Bottle, Roxanne, Every Breath You Take. There are several other bands/guitarists I want to add to that list, but I know that this is already going to be a massive undertaking and the truth is that I hesitate to actually post these excerpts until I can actually play the whole song at full speed. That caveat may add a year or more to the process. I'll probably start working on this soon, starting with the songs I can essentially nail right now.

My biggest challenge for this project, and for my playing in general is that last 5-10% of mastering a tune (which is actually closer to 90% of tune mastery, but that's another discussion) which takes the song from being recognizably close to the original (I'm not going for note for note accuracy, but an equivalent level of proficiency) to being as smooth and effortless as it was for the original artist. That's why Eruption has been taking so long for me. That, and the fact that I haven't ever really totally focused on only one song until I mastered it. That's probably what I should be doing, but at any given time I'm working on about 20 different songs on acoustic and electric as well as playing piano and now bass.