I was recently on a podcast with my good friend Peter Kersting and I wanted to give you think link! I talk a lot about the same things I talk about her on the blog! Give it a listen, a like and subscribe to support this awesome guy! If you liked the episode, give it a share too! It helps a TON!
Good (insert time of day you’re reading this), my friend!
I actually don’t remember what prompted me to write something on networking, I think I was coming out of work one day and heard someone talking about it. If this is what happened, let’s assume that everything they said was wrong. I say this because I HATE the way that most people network.
I’m sure you know what it looks like. Someone sliding into your DM… “Hey I heard your song and you would be perfect for… blah blah blah” I hate it. Get the hell out of here, even if I like what you’re selling. So much of everything we do is in the presentation, but even more than that. It’s the person. Make no mistake, networking is about selling YOU.
In networking there are reachers and there are settlers. Networking is a skill that needs to be developed. Even if you feel like you’re reaching down it’s worth your time to develop the skill of selling yourself, and ultimately, it comes around to help you. What’s good for you is good for me my friend. Maybe that’s pure optimism. I don’t care.
The (Jack) Reachers and the Settlers (of Catan)
So often we’re only thinking of what someone can give us. That’s not selfish, it’s self-preservation that is hardwired into our DNA.
We play this role often, we need someone to help us record. So we hire them (or ask them to do it for another favor or try to make them believe it is jointly advantageous). It’s not news. How can I make this interesting for you to read this far into the blog? Well, by giving you some advice on how to be a better Reacher.
Be a (real) fan
All you have to do is actually be a fan of someone. That’s it. No, really it is that easy. Just think about your friend asking for something from you. You’re probably gonna help them out (unless you are a shitty friend). Now picture someone trying to sell you something, even if you really need that thing, you will probably turn it down and 9 times out of 10 they’re just looking for that third no before the yes. It’s a sick cycle and it’s exhausting.
I say, let’s actually make a difference and not burn ourselves out doing the least fun part of being a musician.
Subsection – what “being a fan” means
Go to shows, actually, listen to the band’s songs, learn their names. MAKE A SPOTIFY PLAYLIST WITH THEIR MUSIC ON IT. Easy and for some reason we don’t do it. Just because it’s easy to slide into a DM doesn’t mean we should do it. You’re trying to skip steps 1-7 and shotgunning your way to find one yes. Most of the time we’re not even worried about them wanting to work with us again. It’s just about finally hearing a “yes” instead of building up a rapport with them. Let’s move past this and actually start forming real relationships with people. You know, something that could actually be mutually beneficial (what a novel idea)!
The more folks you have coming to ask for help the better, right? Okay well, you can’t say yes to everything, but you can for a lot of things! Why should you say yes even against your better nature and the bags under your eyes? And where is the love for you my settler?
It’s around the bend, and that’s not just me being a positive person. See mutually beneficial doesn’t always mean that payout will immediately happen. Capitalism, socialism what do they have in common? The community! Maybe you’re turned off by those words. I don’t care.
If you work with someone and don’t like how it turns out, don’t work with them again. It’s okay to say no once you’ve tried it out.
If we keep this mentality of the community and its growth as a whole, any growth is considered your growth as well! Sometimes you will not gain as much as the person you’re helping. But that networking baby. It is also making a better community. When you pay the photographer (you should be paying your friends you POS) you are giving them the opportunity to continue to take badass pictures. It’s not just about you!
The Toxic Settler – The worst of El Capitain Planet villains
Should you get something in return for settling? Yes! Should you bleed them dry? No. Duh. Remember the golden rule, remember what it is like to be on the other side. Complain to your significant other about the situation, and then follow through. If we have a better community, we all win and we get better art. Stop trying to be the biggest band in the world and help your buddy’s band be the biggest in the world. That mentality will make you stronger and bigger. I swear to sweet baby buddha it actually works.
Networking isn’t LinkedIn requests. It’s actually being a fan and or part of the community around you. It isn’t hard, just be real with others.
I’m an extrovert (an extra-extrovert) so its easy for me to say, JUST GO OUT AND BE SOCIAL – But those little things that you find hard… going up and talking to the band. Going to the show and waving. Streaming the song. It doesn’t have to be hard, and whatever effort you put in, it will be noticed. Maybe immediately, but it will be noticed. Don’t try to get Chris Martin’s attention, try to get that local bar band’s attention by being friends with them! Put the time in as being an audience member, do it often. I promise you’ll see the returns you’re hoping for!
Before you say yes; before you jump into another dumpster fire for this band you don’t know. Think for a second, do I have the time to do this? If the answer is no, then don’t do it. Yes, my baby, it is that easy.
Also the dope photo was provided by Helena Lopez Via Unsplash! Follow this link to see more of her amazing work!
My band wrote this song because we needed a song to start our set. The idea came when I was driving, and a kid drove his bike slowly in front of my car. I had more than enough time to stop. The child laughed and flipped me off. I thought it was funny, the level of confidence that this kid had. Misplaced for sure. I wanted to write some lyrics around that perspective.
We recorded this live in a sweet studio in a nearby town. It was hard, and it was fun. I dubbed the vocals over, and we called it good! A fun process overall!
Recorded by the amazing Enrique Castro and Andrew Castillo at CRAS
Mixed by Garrett Bowers
Filmed by Free Lance Productions
Bass – Lee Nelson
Drums – Pablo Bastidas
Vocals – Dean Nelson
Guitar Dean Nelson
The smoking hot babe driving the car is Echo Williams.
A Special thanks to Rob Gardner for driving the car.
I recently jumped into a podcast. I understand the irony of that sentence—a common start to a column post. Okay, I acknowledged it. You acknowledged it. Let’s move on.
The short podcast was on how important consistency is! In your pudding and gravy for sure, and also how often you work.
The podcast talked about forming habits and how 21 is the magic number. I thought that was pretty cool (I mean, I’ve heard some form of that for a while), and I decided to do a little research of the subject and found out where that MYTH started (plot twist).
Check out this post I read from Jamesclear.com (a highly reputable name? It’s okay; I found a few different sites that said the same thing, and I just like the way he worded this one, so here we go).
“Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1950s when he began noticing a strange pattern among his patients.
When Dr. Maltz would perform an operation — like a nose job, for example — he found that it would take the patient about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. Similarly, when a patient had an arm or a leg amputated, Maxwell Maltz noticed that the patient would sense a phantom limb for about 21 days before adjusting to the new situation.
These experiences prompted Maltz to think about his own adjustment period to changes and new behaviors, and he noticed that it also took him about 21 days to form a new habit. Maltz wrote about these experiences and said, “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”
In 1960, Maltz published that quote and his other thoughts on behavior change in a book called Psycho-Cybernetics. The book went on to become a blockbuster hit, selling more than 30 million copies. And that’s when the problem started.
You see, in the decades that followed, Maltz’s work influenced nearly every major “self-help” professional from Zig Ziglar to Brian Tracy to Tony Robbins. And as more people recited Maltz’s story — like a very long game of “Telephone” — people began to forget that he said “a minimum of about 21 days” and shortened it to, “It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”
And that’s how society started spreading the common myth…”
Many people post after their first run, the first day of a diet, or when they are writing a song, and they finish one (the first in maybe six months). I’m happy that you did it, I mean that. BUT, if you’re trying to master a skill, it really doesn’t mean a lot if you only do that once every six months. Even once a week will not get you to where you want to go. What about posting after you’ve done two songs a week for 2 months?
I know that you know this. This is nothing new, and I’m not trying to make you feel bad about posting that you’re starting something new. I know that keeps you motivated and feel like part of a community.
How do we get to the place where something feels natural, so it’s easier to master that skill.
Ahh, we had a spoiler at the top of this post. It’s 66 days! 66 days in a row to break that mental hump and get something feeling natural (for better and for worse). At this point, boredom comes in, and now we have to combat that to keep working on and on and get better and better.
How can we cheat this system?
I have preached this for a while. But all you really need is 15 minutes a day to actually feel like you’re doing something!
All it takes is a little planning. It doesn’t have to be in a Franklin Covey planner.
Now you might say that you’re the exception to the rule, and I say to you.
No, you’re not.
And if I didn’t convince you that what works for literally billions of people but somehow doesn’t work for you, then maybe ask yourself if you’re really doing something you want to actually master! Maybe you just think it is cool! Like the way, I think being a lawyer would be cool, but I don’t really want to be a lawyer. I don’t care enough about it to put in the time. So I admire it from afar, and if I ever need to satisfy that itch, I watch the back half of a few Law and Order episodes. Done. Cured.
Your output doesn’t have to be prolific, but your practice MUST be.
Dang, do you also feel overwhelmed thinking about how long that must feel? I mean, I think about writing for 500 days straight, and my stomach does a flip. The trick is to make it feel natural, and after 66 days of repeating something, science says it’s supposed to be easier. So here is my biggest piece of advice.
We’d all love to pretend that we could sustain a 5 hour a day practice routine. But for 99% of us, this isn’t going to happen. Not at this point in our life, not unless it’s financially (and emotionally) viable. So take a quick moment, start small and decide what something that is actually feasible, something that will jumpstart that feeling of routine. Until you hit that 66th sunrise, though. Just assume it’s going to be a grind.
Reward yourself a little every day, a healthy (so you don’t have to break a bad habit afterward) tiny reward goes a long way.
I’m not actually sure what scale this is. It’s cool and hits the 6… which is the first scale that we have the does that! Hey, hey, hey
If we place this box at the start of our scale, we have
1(root) – 2 – 4 – 5 – 6
These notes make up the blues’ major pentatonic scale.
When should you use this scale? It really works well with 7th chords. It can also bring out tones of a Major 6th chord. That 6 is nice and helpful and gives you a tone that the pentatonic scale usually doesn’t offer!
Here’s the scale
That concludes my five part series! Sure the last one was shorter and seems a little phoned in. But that’s okay! You’re still reading it so, jokes on who? Maybe Biden? I don’t know.
By this point, you should know, but if you’re starting with a blog that says “box 4” and you haven’t read the other three, well, I don’t know if I can work with that kind of stupid.
We’re rolling right along to box 4! Let’s ask this question, though. When should I add a new box to work on? Well, for each person, that’s a little different. I think you should be able to play the scale backward and forwards without much trouble at a certain bpm. Let’s at say 95 bpm. Does that number hold any special value? Hell, no. I just used it as an arbitrary number. You can pick any number you’d like. The METRONOME is the key part here! You should be able to have some “pressure” on you to keep you honest and moving.
Once you feel like you’re at that place with the other boxes, go ahead and give the fourth box an honest effort.
We’ve seen the previous boxes double up as another scale shape when we start the box to the root of our choosing. Box 4 is no different! We have the Minor Blues Pentatonic Scale built into this box.
What makes this a minor blues scale instead of a regular old minor pentatonic scale?
Minor Pentatonic 1 – 3b – 4 – 5 – 7b
Minor Blues Pentatonic 1- 3b – 4 – 5# – 7b
One thing I love about blues scales, you can play almost any damn note, and it sounds good! Those 4# and 5# (the half steps, baby) really add some stank to your solos. That augmented sound can be really cool! A little more “dangerous” than sticking to your plain old major/minor as you have a chance to hit something that doesn’t “jive” with the rest of the music in the key. Why is that? Well, it’s because you’re jumping out of the key! Not a bad thing. We just want to make sure it’s intentional when we do it.
Alright, here’s what it looks like!
Get to work! Dedicate a week to the bad boy (or less time if needed) to really solidify this piece to the puzzle!
Part three of our series on the pentatonic box shapes! If you haven’t checked out the first two blogs (they immediately preceded this post), then I highly suggest you give me an extra click and go back and read those, just so you get an idea of what I’m talking about, because I will refer to something in those posts.
Blah, blah, blah, the obligatory disclaimer at the start, and you know what? I hate writing that shit. I just want to start, and it’s my post and your eyes, so you’re gonna have to deal!
Box three has become my favorite to play! It’s the center of the pinwheel of the minor shape, and if placed at the root note on the sixth string, it’s a suspended scale, which is cool because it means that even if the parts underneath you are major or minor, you still won’t miss a note!
It’s also the only scale where you have to move your first finger, which trips up a lot of people at first, but it kinda makes it more fun when you have it in the bag!
Let’s explain what a suspended scale is, why it’s androgynous, and when it would be a good time to use this box!
Major and minor chords are made up of three notes.
The 1st (root), the 3rd, and the 5th, if you flat the 3rd note in the scale, you have a minor chord. We’ve hit this before!
1 – 3 – 5
1 – 3b – 5
Okay, but what if we did a scale that avoided that decisive 3rd note? Well, my friend, now you’re talking about playing a suspended chord/scale! When making a chord, you can choose between the 2 and the 4 to replace that 3.
Sus2 (sounds a little sadder)
1 – 2 – 5 –
Sus4 (sounds a little happier)
1 – 4 – 5
But we’re talking about scales here! So here are those intervals you’re hitting, without thinking about it! Remember, this only is the case if you place box three off of that root note that you’re wanting. Let’s say you wanted a C sus scale. You start on the 8th fret on the sixth string with box 3. The pentatonic scale with box three looks like this,
1 – 2 – 4 – 5 – 7b
This scale works over both minor and major chords, and although it doesn’t have a lot of “flavor,” it does have a nice subtle tone over these chords. It is very affected over the chord underneath it, this is a cool thing, and you should experiment with it some!
Here’s a full suspended scale
And of course, if you continue from the other boxes, you’re still playing in that minor key.
Here’s the scale
I’ve said this three times now, but remember that if you start this box on the root note of your choosing, instead of placing it as a continuation of the minor pentatonic box, you are playing a suspending scale, and if you keep following that box pattern up and down the neck, you’re still playing a suspended scale!
If you haven’t read the last blog post on pentatonic boxes… literally the last post I made. Well, then I’m gonna do a little self-promotion and tell you to go back a post and give me a click. Seriously though, I suggest you go back there, so everything makes sense from here on out!
So here we go…
BOX 2 MINOR PENTATONIC
Or is it
BOX 1 MAJOR PENTATONIC
Well, actually, it’s both! And all you have to do is set where you place your root note. Dude! What a comforting feeling to know that you don’t have to learn all of these new shapes! We do need to learn a little theory and some notes on at least the 6th string (and therefore, the 1st string… damn, we’re really cooking now)!
But wait, does this work with all of the boxes? IT SURE DOES! I said this in the last blog, but learning these skeletal shapes will CHANGE YOUR GAME!
Honestly, it only takes a few weeks to get it down if you’ve been playing for a while. Maybe a touch longer if you haven’t played for long. But that’s okay, and it should be something that grabs your attention either way.
After another week of studying this stuff, I see that although it does have its drawbacks, most of the folks that complain about it are Jazz freaks (I say freaks in a positive way here) because it does limit your thinking towards major and minor. But if you’re only playing pop/rock music, I don’t see the downside to that. You’re not usually adding “crazy” chord extensions over the top of a Dua Lipa song.
Let me take a quick paragraph and talk about how much I like Dua Lipa. Is that annoying? Idk. Every couple of years, I will hear a deeply pop-rooted artist and gravitate towards them. It’s refreshing to hear something that knows what it is! It’s a good time! That’s all I need to hear right now! Plus, the timbre in her voice is money. Let this be a quick lesson in songwriting and marketing. If you’re trying to get onto a top 40 Spotify playlist and you’re writing/producing a singer/songwriter smash hit… it seems a bit absurd when I write that out, doesn’t it (Say this with a British accent) If you want your song to be on a playlist, be smart and write a song that actually fits on that playlist based on style… not because it’s a good song.
Okay, here’s our box 2 – Where does this start? It connects to the SECOND note that you’d hit in box 1. Start box one. What’s the note your pinky hit? That’s where it starts.
Take note of where the root notes are here, and remember this is the root of the RELATIVE MINOR of a major key. The relative major key would be the first note you touch in this box.
What does relative mean? It means it shares ALL the same notes of that key. So, for instance, F minor and G# major share all the same notes in their respective keys.
Boom goes the dynamite!
It all comes down to what feels like home in that song! The sixth note in G# is F.
Now you might say, “Ahem, well… Technically, you can break it down into an E#!”Woah, Woah, WOAH!!! Does that make sense to you? No, so why are you breaking it down that way? No, let me remind you that music theory is all language to convey what interval or chord your expressing. So if you want to think of it as E# then by all means… but for most of us. It’s just F, and that is okay. When you’re personally working with John Williams, you should know the difference. But if you’re trying to get paid by at a bar gig. You don’t need to know.
Screw it… let’s do C… that’s an easy key.
C, D, E, F, G, A, B
A is the sixth note and the relative minor key.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G
Same damn notes, different emphasis. Is that comforting? Doesn’t that take some of the mystery out of this thing?
Box 2 is the most important box to learn! So study up and meet me back here next week!
Notes to rememeber.
When you start box 1 of a MINOR pentatonic scale, the second note you hit is the relative MAJOR key.
If you start box 2 where you started box 1, you’re now playing the major pentatonic scale in that key. Box 1 sits just as nicely underneath it in the relative minor of whatever major key you’re playing in now. Box 1 and 2 are always connected.
This week’s post is on Pentatonic scales and just how easy it is to learn! I was honestly scared to learn more than I knew when I started guitar.
Let me paint a picture. I was two years into learning guitar. I knew a bunch of songs, and I had a couple of boxes filled with printed chord sheets. I was set! I was writing (terrible) songs. I head a heart full of dreams. I would go to open min nights and get more than a little intimidated (a medium intimidated) by these “monster guitarist.” I put that in air quotes because they perceived that way. I’m sure they were great, but they were doing anything that you can’t do with a year’s worth of an average amount of practice.
I thought I’m a rhythm guitarist. I don’t need to work on that. Or “I have a cool voice. I will just get someone else to play that hard parts.” I didn’t have a good voice at the time, so I don’t know why I thought that would work, and honestly, it’s a pretty piss-poor excuse to not get better at something I loved. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S SO EASY TO LEARN!
Scales bleed their way into everything we do with our instrument. The C chord you’ve learned on day one is made up of three notes from the scale.
1 – 3 – 5
The way you learn ANYTHING is by talking about it a little bit every day. It’s not sitting for three hours once a month working on it. It’s 15 minutes of, let me remind you, doing something you love, EVERYDAY (or 4 times a week, I get it and I space on playing sometimes too).
Thanks to the CAGED system it’s super easy to learn this stuff. We break the neck down into 5 simple boxes. Learn these boxes just like how you learned your C chord, or your E chord.
Then relish the fact that you can move these simple boxes and play that same shape in ANY KEY! That’s right! All you have to do is learn five boxes!
It gets better! All those boxes are really just a skeleton for bigger boxes. So you’ll never be too far from what you’ve learned!
Do you need to learn a Locrian scale? Not right now! How about a blues? not so fast! You just need to learn the 5 boxes. I promise it makes the whole thing easy!
Take a quick look, and if you want it broken down for you even further, we can have a quick 30 min lesson, and I’ll teach you the first one for FREE! WHAT THE HELL?! I know! I just want you to get better that much! I want you to feel happy and love what you’re doing!
Here we go! First box…
Anyone can learn this in a day! It’s simple! And after you learn the notes on the 6th string, you can improve a solo with just about any group. Sure, it’ll be a boring solo, but you can do it! Hell, with a little delay, drive and verb it’ll sound just as good as any Guns and Roses solo.
Shots fired! Just kidding, I’m not jumping on the hating Slash bandwagon.
Get this down this week! I’ll post the next box next week and go into some cool details on how this fits into major scales and you really don’t have to learn 7297423 scale shapes, you only the the skeleton of 5 and you can play most things you want to play! Its that damn easy!
Lastly, here’s a video of me showing you a trick I’ve learned that helped me to memorize these (and other) shapes. It’s about 30 seconds long, so don’t worry, you don’t have to stare at this ugly mug for too long. Have a good week and keep playing!
I’m not sure if the video will come through in the email, so if you’re reading this from your inbox, you might have to click a link to see the video! Just FYI.