Michael's Guitar Technique
Many people ask is ask me "is that a real guitar?" Well, yes it is. It is a Steinberger GL4T which is actually larger than a Les Paul. The scale length is 25.5 inches which is the scale length of a Stratocaster and many other guitars. My guess is that the shape eased production and also kept the weight down because it is made of carbon fiber and it's a bit heavy. Also, the Transtrem tuners are at the tail end so a headstock isn't needed. I've been using Steinbergers for years and they are incredibly stable despite their looks. I started playing guitar when I was eight years old. At first I didn’t have formal lessons. I would buy used guitar study books from a local music store. Many of the books were music theory, harmony, and guitar scales and chords. When I was around eleven years old I bought a book ‘The Touch System for Electric and Amplified Spanish Guitar’ by Jimmy Webster. The book was all about two-hand tapping. Another great book was ‘Guitar Lore’ by Dennis Sandole. At fourteen or so I started to chart a system for transcribing and organizing scales, arpeggios, chords, and double stops. These four categories plus classical pieces such as Bach preludes and studies, standards and cover songs were and are still part of my practice. Through grids my system, 'The Grand Guitar Grid System', correlates scales, arpeggios, chords and double stops so that it is a quick visual representation. Most of the grids are in the key of C and then played in other keys when I’m comfortable to move them around. There are numerous scales and it is difficult to remember them all but it is more important to be able to play them along with their corresponding arpeggios, chords, and double stop intervals. If you change just one note of a major scale, lower the third, you get a melodic minor. The melodic minor chords and intervals are different than those of a major scale. Knowing the chords and intervals helps soloing ideas because you can image what scale to play over different chords or progressions. Playing a G Phrygian Natural 3 scale (the 5th mode of C harmonic minor), with my right hand while my left is playing G7b9b13 is a good example. Knowing how a particular chord relates to different scales is also important for soloing concepts. Lets say you’re soloing over an A minor triad, depending on how you advanced the chord, is it Dorian, Phrygian, or Aeolian. Can it be a Dorian b2 (2nd mode of melodic minor)? I should say I don’t usually think in terms of modal names because that could be mind numbing. If you get the book ‘The Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns’ by Nicolas Slonimsky and think of modes for just about every scale. Mind numbing! I usually think of modes as misplaced scales and arpeggios over chords. The chord movements, song mood and parameters are part of how far you can push the envelope. I should say I hate boxes. Whether it’s practice, performance or recording maintaining good technique is important. This is especially true with guitar synths and most notably the SynthAxe. I hope this was helpful.