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Mr. K. J. Morris (West Yorkshire)

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The Guitar Arpeggio Compendium
The Guitar Arpeggio Compendium
by Scott McGill
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 21 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There is certainly useful information in this book and it does provide a useful aid to developing soloing ideas. That said, there is an essential weakness to this text that I will focus on by drawing attention to soloing approaches of other players. Pat Martino, for example, is able to produce wonderful solos by and large using minor seventh arpeggios. A very simple example of his thinking would be 'if I want to play over a C major seventh, I can play an A minor seventh arpeggio or I could play a D minor seventh arpeggio' Likewise, using this sort of thinking, playing a D minor seventh over a G dominant seventh works perfectly well, or playing a c minor seventh arpeggio works perfectly well over an A half diminished.

A UK jazz guitar teacher teaches how to play major seventh chords over several different trypes of chords including half diminished and Trefor Owen's approach enables the beginning jazz guitarist to start very quickly to develop good melodic ideas. Add to major sevenths a few minor sevenths and by using a relatively small number of shapes but knowing how to use them in different settings enables one to develop powerful chops. Essentially, the approach of Pat Martino and Trefor Owen is to say, whichever form of chord and associated scale grabs you, develop the ear to know when and where to use them.

Now Scott McGill goes to the other end and lists many, many different arpeggios, but nowhere does he suggest how these arpeggios should be used. Of course, it is valid to say, 'you find out how to use these arpeggios', but for many players it would be far more useful to say, for example, 'if you want to get an interesting sound from a major seventh arpeggio, you can play it a tone below a dominant seventh' or whatever for the secret of developing fluency of idea on an instrument like a guitar is not to learn lots and lots of chords or arpeggios but to learn lots and lots of applications for the chords and arpeggios one knows.

It strikes me as significant that the only instructions with these arpeggios seem to be a matter of technique rather than utility, which to me is rather a shame since that, essentially is the real secret of making interesting sounds when soloing. Perhaps the clue- some might say 'warning' was in the description of Scott McGill as 'the thinking man's Yngwie Malmsteen' Perhaps I was at fault for not thinking 'this is for shredders- not for me!'

Of course one can look at a lead sheet, find a particular chord, go to this book, find the 'correct' arpeggio and it will probably work quite well, but doing that over many jazz changes is likely to prove laborious in the extreme- especially given the fact that it is possible to imply complex altered chords by using very simple arpeggios but knowing how and where to use them. If Scott McGill were to share with us his approach to using these arpeggios, rather than providing us with a list, he would have given us a conceptual framework and the book would have been invaluable.

There is an other issue with this book which does irritate me. It is extremely tightly bound and so extremely difficult to use on a music stand. The publisher is not the only culprit, but so often now, music books that by right should be open on music stands remain there tightly closed but with the front cover curled up. At the same time as ordering this book, I also ordered another which is somewhat thicker than this yet remains open at whichever page it is opened.

Surely, for a book that is intended to be used by musicians, that isn't too much to ask?

10 X Junction Box 20A 4 Terminal Compact Mini Ideal For Ceiling Down Lights
10 X Junction Box 20A 4 Terminal Compact Mini Ideal For Ceiling Down Lights
Offered by BulbsTubes
Price: 9.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK if doing a job on the cheap, 25 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used to work in a company making bakelite mouldings and judging by the finish on the junction boxes I bought, the pitted appearance suggests that they were not given sufficient time to cure properly. Usually this happens when the operative is paid by how much they produce, leaving very little incentive to produce to the optimum quality. With superior products, quality control would have whipped these out as scrap.

In use, I found that with the earlier much better quality junction boxes I used, it was possible to tighten the screw terminals down with a relatively high level of force, with one these, tightening hard led to the screw terminal breaking free from its bakelite.

If care is taken not to overtighten the terminals, these boxes should give reasonable service, but with better quality junction boxes, one suspects that this would not be an issue.

Offered by supermusic57
Price: 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality guitar strap, 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In 1973 when I got my first quality guitar- a Gibson- it came with a strap very much like this. Although the guitar is long gone and I have bought other straps for other guitars since, I still have that strap.

The real genius of straps like this is that it has no metal parts to damage the guitar, and no stitching. Quite simply, by inserting the thinner part of the strip into different slots in the thicker part enables the adjustment of strap length without anything additional being fitted.

Most of the guitar manufacturers do straps very much like this strap and they can be found stamped 'Gibson' or 'Fender' or whatever. This particular strap though is half an inch wider than those Canadian made straps and if anything the leather here is slightly thicker also. This makes this particular strap potentially more comfortable and even more long lasting. That said, as my 1973 strap goes to prove, the design is so wonderfully simple that there is very little to go wrong. This strap will be going strong long after I've gone!

Notes on Miasms, Heredity and Nosodes (SECOND EDITION)
Notes on Miasms, Heredity and Nosodes (SECOND EDITION)
by Degroote F
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Not very impressed, 3 Feb 2014
I wasn't very impressed with this book. It has a certain amount of information that may be gleaned elsewhere but since much of the text refers to information gained by muscle testing much of the book is irrelevant to the average homoeopathic practitioner. It is also quite poorly translated and in no way a pleasant read.

The book also appears to be printed in India. For an Indian printed book it is of reasonable quality but I have noticed many European published books cheaply printed in India but still sold for very high prices. When I bought this book it was a little more expensive than it is now. The general price reduction suggests to me its limited usefulness.

Essentially Hermeto
Essentially Hermeto
Price: 9.07

3.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing, 7 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Essentially Hermeto (Audio CD)
I have no criticism with the music on this record. Although another reviewer mentions something like its Brazilian mood, I wouldn't go that far. Nevertheless, it is nicely arranged and well played jazz by a sixpiece including Charlston on vibes, Ted Nash reeds, Mark Soskin piano, Jay Anderson bass, Rogerio Boccato drums and percussion and Cafe percussion.

My beef with this album is that my main CD player refuses to recognise it. I have a good hi fi setup and although my CD player and DAC sound excellent, the CD player is quite old. Like many older CD players it won't play copies of CDs, but it has never let me down by refusing to recognise what is claimed to be a genuine CD. My feeling is that for some frankly strange marketing reason this CD includes a PDF of photos of the recording session. My CD player tries to read the PDF and comes to the conclusion that this is not a CD but a data disk. Frankly, I would much rather have a playable CD than a few photos. After all, one generally buys a CD to listen to it rather than to watch. The reason older CD players will not read copies of CDs is because to play a CD, the player must recognise it as one recorded according to Red Book standards. A Red Book CD is not the same as a data CD. Whilst most modern CD players aren't so finicky, my player thinks this is a data CD. Whether the audio on the CD was recorded to Red Book standards is perhaps a moot point.

If by any chance you get to read this, Erik Charlston, please forget the gimmicks. Put your photos on your website where we can all see them and sell me records I can actually play. Apart from anything else, I'm sure I'm not the sole person who has discovered this problem. Despite your music's real quality, I will think very carefuly before buying any of your future releases.

Como Nossos Pais
Como Nossos Pais
Price: 13.08

1.0 out of 5 stars Forget it!, 30 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Como Nossos Pais (Audio CD)
If you are considering parting with almost 32 smackers of your hard earned cash to buy this 'Elis Regina record' I would advise you to forget it. We all know that Amazon has little understanding of the products it sells, but to claim that this is an Elis Regina record is ludicrous even for them.

In actual fact, this CD has one track by the incomparable Brazilian diva; the rest are not from her at all. I had my suspicions because the illustrated CD has no mention of Elis. Since I was able to buy for considerably less than 31.99 I considered it a risk worth taking. The title track can be found on Elis album, 'Falso Brilhante' As for the rest, well frankly I've not listened as I'm still considering returning it for a refund. The music may be fine but it patently isn't an Elis Regina record.

An update:

It took me until the end of April to actually unwrap and then listen to this CD because instincts suggested this would prove to be a drecky album and I was right. It is by and large fairly nondescript, poppy material performed by a collection of nonentities. I like Brazilian music and listen to a wide variety but this really is very poor fare indeed. The only reason it is being sold at the inflated price it is is because Elis Regina has one track on this CD. That one track outshines everything else on the album, but since the full album from Elis is fairly easily obtainable, do yourself a favour and buy Falso Brilhante, the album from which Como Nossos Pais is taken. At the moment it is available second hand for less than the asking price of this rubbish.

SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8GB MP3 Player with Radio and Expandable MicroSD/SDHC Slot - Black
SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8GB MP3 Player with Radio and Expandable MicroSD/SDHC Slot - Black
Price: 31.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good machine with a serious and rather nasty flaw., 30 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Had I not come across a rather nasty aspect of this device, I would have had no hesitation in giving it five fulsome stars.

The reproduction of MP3s is excellent and the included headphones whilst not looking particularly sturdy, sound excellent. Navigation is rather cumbersome but the display is excellent. FM reception seems excellent and the sound seems particularly good. WHilst battery life doesn't look to be the fifteen hours claimed, it does seem much better than my Zen Stone which could only manage around three or four hours when new.

The problem with this device may not effect many, but for me it has proved a real disaster. The issue is the way one enters music onto the Sansa. My Zen Stone that this replaced had dedicated computer software. One places a CD on the computer and the dedicated software copies the tracks and the track titles across. Simple! or so it seemed.

With the Sandisk, Windows Media Player is used. Each CD is copied onto the computer by Media Player and then each ripped CD can be copied from computer to the Sansa. The problem here is that internet access is required to enter track information for each CD, and when transferring to the Sansa, Media Player decides which songs you can actually put onto your device. Last Saturday I spent several hours copying many CDs to the Sansa only to find today that several CDs are not complete. One CD, one of those 'two LPs on one CD' CDs has one of the LPs missing entirely. Another CD has several tracks missing. I have already removed that 'half' CD and have to try and find a way of overcoming Microsoft's online censor so I can install the complete disk. As and when I discover other incomplete recordings they will have to go. With the Zen Stone there was no problem but the Sansa is turning out to be a real disaster.

We are all aware that the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Apple would prefer it if we were to avoid CDs entirely and merely buy MPs through them. With minimal distribution costs the profits must be massive. However, I like my CDs and have many rare ones and do not wish to have to purchase again in software form. I feel I have the right to listen to my CDs on the move and deeply resent the new media companies' attempts to tell me what I can and can't listen to. Examining Sandisk's online manual I find they are completely upfront about this rather disreputable attempt to control my listening tastes.

Have companies like Microsoft and Sandisk no shame?
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2014 2:08 PM GMT

SNARK QTSN2 All Instrument Clip-on Chromatic tuner
SNARK QTSN2 All Instrument Clip-on Chromatic tuner
Offered by EESMusic
Price: 15.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but far from perfect, 13 Nov 2013
Although I have given this tuner four stars it does have problems, but I would like to start with the positives.

Although now nowhere near the bottom in terms of price, the Snark is economic, and this particular model does have a metronome although I'm not sure how useful that would prove to be in practice. It is responsive and accurate, and unlike many clip on tuners it does manage to tune the bottom E string. I have found other clip on tuners that will not recognise the bottom E string except when an octave of the note is played. This accurately tunes the fundamental bottom E. The display is both bright and clear and does contribute to that 'cheerful image that this tuner seems to have.

When it comes to the disadvantages, like most clip on tuners, there is a jaw which enables fitting to different size heads. As can be seen from the photo of the Snark, it has rubber attached to each jaw to protect guitar finishes. Shortly after buying mine, on opening the jaws to fix onto my guitar, the rubber 'pad' fell off. Fortunately, the stage was bright and I was able to find it easily although I was lucky. I was surprised at the minimal amount of glue with which it had been fixed.I could very easily have lost this rubber pad and wouldn't have wanted to use the tuner without it.

It is quite easy for the Snark to switch itself on if in a confined space with other accessories. More upsetting, putting my snark into the small accessory section of one guitar case, on opening, I found that the ball and socket had been damaged and from then on the main body of the tuner tended to fall off of the fixing part. I might add that I have several clip on tuners and this has never happened before. Although several are larger than the Snark, the slightly eccentric design and appearance of the Snark actually makes it difficult to pack away into a relatively confined space.

There is a good deal that I like about the Snark, but I will probably not buy another since I no longer feel confident of using this one on a gig.

A Brazilian Love Affair
A Brazilian Love Affair
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars George, you will be greatly missed!, 5 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Brazilian Love Affair (Audio CD)
It is with deep sadness that I learned today of the death of George Duke last August from leukaemia, a little over a year after he lost his wife to cancer.

A Brazilian Love Affair is a fine album and a fitting tribute to the man and the musician. Duke had for several years worked with Brazilian artists Airto Moreira and Flora Purim and clearly loved Brazilian music. When he flew to Rio to record this ode to a country and a music he loved, he brought them with him to work alongside great Brazilian singer and songwriter Milton Nascimento. The music falls between at least three stools with strong funk elements that thankfully are always balanced with good taste, strong helpings of jazz, but enough music thanks very much to Nascimento's contribution to justify the use of the word `Brazil' in the record's title.

What shines from this record apart from Duke's love of Brazil, is the lushness and the real intelligence of Duke's arrangements, his virtuosity both as a player and producer, and the real empathy of all the players involved. The result is an album which so easily could have ended up badly with a lesser performers being little short of a triumph.

A very fine record indeed and, I'm sorry to have to put it this way, a fitting tribute to a man who will be sadly missed

Reprise & Warner Bros Years, Th
Reprise & Warner Bros Years, Th
Offered by Bear Family Records GmbH
Price: 13.36

3.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for musical quality but only 3 for value, 5 Oct 2013
When I bought this album for around 3 some time ago, I knew that I had much of the material already but thought it would be nice to have all of these outstanding tracks together. It would appear that the Leopard Lounge series of recordings does have some kudos with collectors which probably explains a price inflation of almost five hundred percent over the price I paid less than three years ago.

The important thing to bear in mind is that this is a compilation of selections from five albums of Jobim, A Certain Mr Jobim, Terra Brasilis, Wonderful World of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Urubu and Love strings with Jobim. Exquisite as most of the music is, if you are considering buying this, you can get all five albums in the Original Albums Series for much less than the current price of this. If you were to decide to buy single albums one at a time, you could still buy all five for little more than the cost of this which is, after all, a sampler.In so doing you would have many more songs by the composer described as 'The Brazilian Gershwin' and several of his orchestral works, many of which are as beautiful as his songs, although less widely known.

The review of that Original Albums Tom Jobim collection is only three star and as I recall, the reviewer criticised Tom's singing, particularly on the album Terra Brasilis. I agree that Tom's voice is not his strongest point, particularly by this point in his career, but I find his vocal delivery to be charming and the album a major eye opener. Urubu is regarded by many as Jobim's finest album, breathtaking in its vision, and although the tracks from that album here are exquisite, why not have the complete album and the other four?

In short whilst there is nothing wrong with the music here, given that all five albums can be bought for less than the price of this sampler, the choice for most should be a no brainer.

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