All posts by Robbie

Victor’s Seagull Victory

Justification Jam winner receives his Seagull guitar

Victor's Seagull flies safely from Quebec to California:Victor WinsThe first chords with the tags still on:Victor Jams

Enthusiasm bounds from our Justification Jam winner, Victor Esparaza. He's jammin' here with his great looking - and sounding - Seagull Artist Mosaic acoustic, the prize from our December 1st draw.

We had many great entries that provided so many useful ideas on what it takes to make it as a guitar player today. In the end, we spun the wheel and Victor came out a winner. So we can all feel good about Victor with his new guitar and the fact that we have a substantial list of skills and abilities that will stand as an excellent resource for guitar players everywhere. Congratulations to Victor and thanks again to all of the participants. Stay tuned for the next promotion and prizes!

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Thanksgiving Weekend Winner

Thanksgiving weekend winner formula

There's still time to join the Justification Jam and win a beautiful, great sounding Seagull Artist Mosaic guitar. Take the following steps and you could end up making some beautiful music!

Watch the jam:

Enter to win:
Winner
Enjoy your weekend:

Thanksgiving Winner

Football by Tim Donovan

Win a $1229 Seagull Artist Mosaic guitar?

Win a Seagull Guitar

Good luck and thanks to everyone who has participated so far. The giveaway will be announced December 1, so you could be a weekend winner!

(Slot photo by rachelvoorhees, Dinner by Phil Denton, Football by Tim Donovan)

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Time Flies – Contest Closes Soon

Acoustic Guitar GiveawaySeagull Guitar Giveaway

Time flies so don't get left out

With just over 2 weeks left in the Justification Jam and our Seagull Artist Mosaic acoustic guitar giveaway, there's still time to get involved.  So don't miss a chance to win a great guitar that will give you some beautiful sounds.

So far we have built an excellent list of skills needed by the modern guitarist.  A big shout-out to all of the participants who have contributed such diverse, comprehensive and relevant entries to our list. In just over 2 weeks someone is going to be getting an awesome axe valued at $1229. But beyond that we will have a lasting list that will be available as a resource, an encouragement and a motivation for guitar players everywhere.

You don't have to write the longest or most unusual entry. Just tell us what you think, what you have learned that is a valuable and necessary skill to make it as a guitar player today.

Time flies,  this chord can makes a progression fly, too

Here's a bright voicing for a G9 suspended chord. Remember the Sus chord uses the 4th (C) of the chord instead of the 3rd (B). I really like this chord because it includes the ninth (A) and the root is on top which both add to its brightness.

Just as time flies, so will your ideas and your fingers when you start working with this chord. To resolve it, just take your index finger off that B string and you've got your G9 chord with that resonant B open string.

On the wings of motivation, fly to your Seagull dealer

Now you've got a bright new chord to give you ideas. And as time flies by, send us your ideas for our list. To give you some extra motivation, go in to your local music store that carries the Seagull guitar and check out the Artist Mosaic. Try the G9Sus chord on it and see how it sounds!

(Flying photo by Joseph Xuereb)

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3 Chords to Open your Songwriting

3 chords can inspire new directions

3 chords may be all it takes to open new avenues for your songwriting and your playing. As a guitar player, I've always found that incorporating open strings into my chords creates a lot of mood. And as the mood develops, so do the ideas. Here's the first one:

This substitution for FMaj7, the FMaj9 with C in the bass is a great starting point for your progression. It gives a big open sound with lots of mood and implied direction.

Then you can use this one, the D minor9. Because D minor is the relative minor of F major, it is a good substitution and can easily be included in your progression:

If I only knew 3 chords, I would want this to be one of them. It offers a very unique sound and creates feeling and implied direction.

3 chords to remember

And then as your dominant chord, the chord that sets up a return to where we began (also known as the Tonic) you can use this one:

These 3 chords can lead you in many directions and hopefully contribute to your next great progression or new song. They can also bring interest to your playing and even respect from other players as you demonstrate your ability to reach for new sounds.

History has shown us that a lot of memorable music has been based on  3 chords. Now you have three more to work with, build on and enjoy!

While you work with these winning 3 chords

These 3 chords are winners and you can be, too. Remember to enter to win the Seagull Artist Mosaic acoustic guitar and case valued at $1229.  Now you've got new chords to work with, a way to create new ideas and a chance to get a new guitar!

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Trouble Getting Paid for all of your Gigs?

Trouble getting paid?(Pulling teeth by US Army)

Getting paid for gigs can be a tough pull

Extracting payment for your hard work isn't always easy. Many of us remember tough situations where the father of the bride didn't want to cough up for the evening's entertainment. Of course he might have still been choking on the material when he wanted cowboy hats and Tim McGraw's Last Dollar and you gave 'em fedoras and 50 Cent. None-the-less you still had to hump all of your gear in and out of the place. And it sounded pretty good, even if it wasn't exactly what he expected. If there's trouble getting paid, how many times have we had to resort to commandeering the furniture or hijacking that garden gnome on a quick exit from a private venue? Hopefully not too many.

Unbalanced ledgers

When it comes to paying out, the list is endless. Music stores, recording studios, software, hardware, web design, public relations, insurance, auto expenses, etc. But the other side of the ledger always ends up being a lot slimmer. We love what we do but we also do a lot, so prying at somebody's wallet with a crowbar trying to get paid at the end of a long night can be hard to take.

Tell the tale and turn the tables

Fortunately, for every bad experience there are usually many good ones, and we've all got our anecdotes - and antidotes. And those might be worth something. Here's a chance to turn it around and tell us your solution to slow-payers and stiffers. As part of our Justification Jam, share how you deal with this and you'll have a chance to win an awesome Seagull Artist Mosaic acoustic guitar and case, valued at $1229. Visit the Guitar Giveaway tab on my home page and follow the instructions. Just give us a tip or trick you use to make sure you are getting paid for your gigs. We'll include it in our evolving list of skills required to succeed as a musician in the business today. And keep a cowboy hat in your trunk. Even if you don't know the country song they want you to play, it can provide some protection!

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New Heights with the Justification Jam

Reaching new heights with the Justification jam
(Photo by fdecomite)

New heights continue from contributions to the Jam

New heights to our list arising from the Justification Jam continue to be attained. With every addition that comes in , our list gets longer and stronger. We are building a catalog that will remain as a reference, reinforcement and motivator. And we're creating an important contribution to the world-wide community of guitar players.

Thanks to everyone who has sent in their thoughtful and creatively written additions to our collection of musician's critical skills. Every comment that has been offered has been a savvy, well-considered reply by a knowledgeable participant. It's encouraging to know that players are out there thinking about this and that we all have so much in common.

A knowledgeable and caring community

Yes, there is an added incentive. We are giving away a great Seagull Artist Mosaic acoustic guitar valued at $1129 to one of the contributors. But beyond that, I can tell that people from all over, players of all styles are working hard on similar things and there is a long list of them!

I am learning that people want to win a beautiful guitar, but more importantly, I have discovered that there is global community of hard-working musicians that are ready to help each other improve and succeed.

New heights and soon a new guitar

With the promotion ending December 1st and the winner to be announced shortly afterwards, there's still time to get involved. If you've been thinking about all the things it takes to make it up the ladder as a guitar player, we want your two cents. (See the guitar giveaway tab on my site.)

 A closing chord for thoughtful players

This is a  moody, cerebral chord dedicated to all of the thinking artists who have sat in on our jam so far. It's one that gives an open sound and can inspire your songwriting. And don't forget to share what helped you come up with your last great lick!

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In Tune With Tapered Headstock

Guitar GiveawayLove Seagull Guitars

Guitar tuning challenge

Getting in tune and staying that way has always been a challenge for guitar players. The guitar is one of the more difficult instruments to tune. It’s not like playing an electric keyboard where you just flip a switch and you are always perfectly in tune. Add in temperature and climate variations and bend a few strings and staying in tune gets even harder. And what about alternate tunings? Relatively large shifts in tuning from one song to the next puts another twist in the tuning equation.

Less twist, less shouting about not being in tune

One thing that actually removes some of this twist can be found in tapered headstock construction. Not surprisingly, tapered headstock is favoured by many acoustic players who use alternate tunings.

Seagull Guitar Tapered Headstock

The logic behind the tapered headstock is that the strings runs straight from the bridge to the tuning peg. This eliminates the bend in the route the strings have to travel in traditional rectangular headstock construction. The theory is that less bend in the strings provides more stability in your tuning.

Always more to learn

After many years of playing guitar it’s amazing what a person can continue to learn. I never thought about the implications that tapered headstock might have on tuning until we started our recent Justification Jam Guitar Giveaway event. If you haven’t yet heard, if you send in a description of a  skill or ability you think a contemporary musician needs to succeed in today’s music scene, you’ll be eligible to win an awesome Seagull Artist Mosaic acoustic guitar – complete with tapered headstock construction – with a retail value of $1229.

Help others, help yourself

Your suggestions will be welcomed by guitar players everywhere. It’s hard enough being a  great guitarist. So an evolving reference list of all of the additional skills necessary to succeed will be invaluable to all of us.  Be sure to check out the Justification Jam and sound in if you like, and you might a win a beautiful guitar that will stay in tune!

(Victory photo by Lackbay 7107)

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Seagull Guitars – The Warmth’s in the Wood

Seagull Guitar Giveaway
Seagull Artist Mosaic

Seagull's rich, bright, warm sounds are in the wood

Seagull guitars, like their hand-crafted Artist series have a great, dynamic spectrum of sounds. Their creator, Robert Godin, has been making guitars since 1982 and his attention to detail and devotion to using the best materials clearly shows. I am really impressed with the sound and versatility of their specialty line of Artist guitars, including the Mosaic model (shown above).

From the solid cedar top, the mahogany back and sides to the spruce bracing and rosewood fingerboard and bridge, the careful combination of woods give this guitar a distinctive character. I like the way it plays and sounds, but what got my attention was the way it performed when recording. The shape and construction contribute to its dynamic range and ability to project mid-range while avoiding booming bottom-end.

Your chance for an Artist Mosaic from Seagull Guitars

If you haven't heard about my Guitar Giveaway or the list of skills for modern guitar players that I'm creating in my Justification Jam, it's time to dial in. Seagull Guitars sees value in our list and have generously contributed a guitar to be awarded to one of our lucky contributors. If you want to be part of the list and win a beautiful Artist Mosaic from Seagull Guitars, be sure to see my Guitar Giveaway page.

Somewhere near the top of the list for making it as a guitar player will be having a good instrument. Here's a chance to review your skill set, help other guitarists and win a great guitar from Seagull Guitars. Sounds like a winner to me!

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Win a Guitar by Jamming – with your comments

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Win a guitar with the Justification Jam

Jam with Robbie and win a beautiful Seagull acoustic guitar!

Win a Guitar

Talent used to be enough to make your mark in music. Today we need to be a Jack and Jill of all trades and master of most; software, hardware,  marketing, event planning... we need to know just about every trick in the book. And sometimes that's not enough. It seems that we also need to be able to convince people that we are in an honorable profession and we work hard at it.

So let's build a list of skills required to be a successful guitar player in today's music scene. It can become a resource to assist guitar players everywhere. The list will be a great reminder and motivator to all of us, but also something we can rattle off to skeptics who may think we are not serious.

Robbie's Justification Jam

People can have trouble "getting" guitar players

During your life as a guitar player, you will encounter requests for many different songs, but the Justification Jam may be the most universal tune that you will be asked to play. Whether it's a casual house party or a formal introduction you are likely to be asked, "What do you do?"

With the Justification Jam now in your repertoire, you will always be prepared for this. Just recite a few lines of it and you should be able to legitimize yourself in the eyes of everyone around you, including the cynics, accountants and bankers!

Get involved and win a guitar

The Justification Jam is a way to create respect for your efforts and for the profession and win a guitar by doing it.  For more information, see my guitar giveaway page and find out how to win a guitar - a beautiful Seagull Artist Mosaic acoustic. It's a great way to help you grow professionally and socially. So get involved and win a guitar! 

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The Starfish – Sidetracked with Technology

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The "Starfish" is the new term for sidetracked

Musician, baker or candlestick maker, the starfish phenomenon is the big black hole at our feet, eagerly awaiting our first step in the wrong direction. It's the pitfall of getting diverted from our key goals, like staying in tune, having strong time and writing great songs. And more often than not, the culprit that pushes us into that hole is technology.

How many times have we set out with the best intentions to undertake a basic task, like recording a song to find out what works and what doesn't, only to get bogged down in software issues, gear complications and computer problems? All of which takes us farther and farther away from our original objective.

Technology is a great tool that can do so many things for us. But if we don't manage it carefully it can quickly become a huge distraction that will only lead to another version of the starfish story.

The Starfish parable is an important reminder

The starfish story will strike a common chord in all of us. It's an adventure that becomes increasingly disjointed by the seductive forces of technology, luring its subject through a maze of murky and pointless paths.

The story does have a happy ending though, and it can help your adventures have one, too. The next time you make a fresh start on a new project, think of the starfish and its many arms that reach in all directions. When you come to the first intersection, think carefully about which way to go. Make sure it takes the most direct route toward your original goal. Let the starfish remind you that one of your most valuable treasures is your time, so be sure to make the most of it.

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