28 November 2008

Guitar Player – First Post

As I promised I am going to post all the texts which were published on Guitar Player magazine , here comes the first one published on August:

Getting ready for the south america tour

I was invited to join the band of Tarja Turunen (Ex – Nightwish) , aside musicians like Mike Terrana (drums; Yngwie Malmsteen, Rage), Doug Wimbish (bass; Living Colour, Jeff Beck, Madonna, Rolling Stones), Maria Ilmoniemi (Keyboards) and Max Lilja (cello; Apocalyptica). The tour during august and september released cities such as Mexico, Colombia, Brasil, Chile and Argentina ending up with 14 shows.

As every single tour, the hard work starts pretty much before the trip itself. I got in the band in the middle of the worldwide tour and the band had already played and rehearsaled several times. I had just one rehearsal before the first concert and it was a big responsibility. Therefore, my getting process had to be minute, precise and solitary.

First of all, comes the musical part: get to know all the songs deep down. It takes to play the whole concerts, on the set list sequence, without making mistakes – playing everything in the minimum details, after all, rock bands don’t accept scores on the stage!

One tip: In case you go through a similar situation, the great thing is , first of all just to listen to the songs. Burn a CD with the themes in the sequence of the concerts and listen to this as it was your favourtie album, inside the house, in the car , Ipod... Picture yourself playing the harmonies, the pickings and the song structures. Sing the melodic parts of the solos. Thus, when you play it on the guitar, it would be much easier, 70% of the process done.

After, without leaving the musical part behing, it’s time to check the equipments. A good professional has to have a gear in perfect conditions under the musical style. After all, during a tour, everything can happen. You will be going through a sequence of concerts and you will be in other country, away from home, from your luthier and your confidence store. It’s good to have everything check out, and by preference with spare gear. For example, any kind of guitar used, take a spare one. Take some spare tunning keys, keys, bridges and new and good cables, besides spare parts! You have to take enough strings to change each two concerts.

In the particular case of this tour, the songs took a guitar tuned in A 440 and other one a whole step down, a seven strings and a nylon strings acoustic guitar. I travelled with six guitars and an acoustic guitar, all of them had been checked up and adjusted for all these different tunning. Since the songs feature more riffs than solos, I decided to use D’addario .011 on the A 440 tuned guitar and .012 on the whole step down tunned.

It seems complicated, but this precaucations are fundamental to feel relaxed on the stage and to avoid problems during the concert.

And don’t forget about the matters of getting tickets , dates , visas , documents and etc!

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