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Joe's Jazz Tabs: 1947 Django!

Posted on October 21, 2015

Gypsy Jazz pioneer, Django Reinhardt was known for his electric tone during his 1947 recordings in Brussels. Reinhardt often demonstrated a fortissimo that pushed his amplifier into overdrive. This allowed him to be heard as a soloist backed by louder instrumentation including drum kit, double bass and sometime orchestra. 

For a faithful reproduction of this tone, try a classic arch-top guitar combined with a small valve amp combo. I would recommend the Guild A-150, with the distinctive and exceptionally voiced DeArmond Rhythm Chief 1000 floating pickup.


For an amplifier, I would recommend using one of the new AC10C1 from VOX. More portable than the AC15 and more powerful than the AC4, the AC10C1 features the classic Top Boost tone circuit that provides an array of classic and modern tones. 


Here are two transcriptions from the classic 1947 recordings, 'Place De Brouckere' and 'Song D'Automne'.

Place De Brouckere

Song D'Automne


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A Guide to Stick to: 5 Tips for Buying Drum Sticks

Posted on October 04, 2015


From the very beginning of your drumming experience, the right stick choice can make all the difference. Choosing the right stick can be a daunting task, but taking these important factors and characteristics will help you on the quest for your perfect pair:


Perhaps one of the most important factors to take into the account is the thickness of the drum stick as this dictates its weight and potential durability. The weight of your stick is very important both regarding the style of music for which the sticks will be used for and also your own technique/playing style as using a stick that is too heavy, for example, can lead to discomfort when playing.
A general rule of thumb is that the thicker (heavier) the stick, the harder it will impact the given surface, thus generating a louder, heavier sound. A thicker stick also tends to be more durable therefore it may be more suitable for harder hitters. Lighter sticks can be used for lighter playing styles. Sticks are often categorized using a code of a number followed by a letter which will help you quickly decide which stick is correct, and although some manufacturers may alter this code a basic thing to remember is that the number correspond to the general weight (i.e 5, 7 etc) and the letter corresponds to its desired application. Most common sticks types are 5A (A = Orchestra), 5B (B = Band) and 5S (S = Street). 
Much like the thickness, the length of the stick can have an affect on how its feels whilst playing. Choosing the right length of stick lies more within your personal preference as opposed to the music that you play. Longer sticks will feel slightly heavier, however when coupled with a preferred taper (discussed later) it can give the feeling of a lighter stick with a heavier impact. Common lengths are 15" and 16".
Again, the taper will have an effect on the overall feel of the stick, both regarding weight and how it moves through the air. The taper will generally be more severe on the heavier sticks and more gradual on the lighter ones. 
Unlike the other aspects of the stick, the tip does not affect the way that it plays however it does affect the sound that is generate on impact which is crucial if you are looking for a specific sound. Sticks are generally categorized into two types of tip, wood and nylon. Nylon tips will sound brighter, especially on the cymbals. Tips can also come in different shapes, which can effect to tone. The most common types are Olive (Warm, low tones, higher durability), Round (Bright, focused) and also Barrel (Mid tones).
As can be imagined the most common type of material used for sticks is wood, however the choice of wood can have an effect on the weight and durability of your stick. The most common woods used are Rosewood, Hickory, Maple and Japanese Oak. Rosewood is more dense than the softer Maple, and Hickory is harder still. And finally Japanese Oak is extremely hard, and generally heavier. Other materials used are Carbon fiber, graphite and aluminium to name a few. Some sticks also come with rubber 'butt' for better grip.
Although it may seem like a lot to take in, just remember its all about how they feel in your hands! We have a vast range of sticks to try and choose, including sticks from the two world leading brands, Vic Firth and Pro Mark. We also have a range of VF and PM 'Signature' or 'Artist' sticks which often stray from the conventional styles to suit the given artist, and they may just suit you!
So feel free to come down to the store and see what suits you today!

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Joe's Jazz TABS: Korobeïniki for Two Guitars

Posted on October 02, 2015

Korobeïniki is a traditional Russian folk piece and is often associated with the balalaika, a three stringed instrument traditionally used for accompaniment. This arrangement is based on a transcription of a solo balalaika performance by Oleg Kouzmitchenko. Kouzmitchenko’s performance demonstrates virtuosic counterpoint, variation, and extended technique; thus lends itself perfectly to an arrangement for two solo guitars. The idioms of the balalaika, such as economic melodic writing and incidental harmonies remain, yet with the addition of several more guitar-specific techniques such as multiple stopping. This arrangement is designed to be played on two jazz archtops such as the 'Godin 5th Avenue Jazz'. Make sure to see this wonderful guitar in store and try it out for yourself! 

For the full PDF:






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Joe's Jazz TABS: Coracao Vagabundo

Posted on September 06, 2015

Brazilian composer, Caetano Veloso was a loyal customer to Rose Morris in the early 1970s. Following his exile from Brazil, he lived in London for two years. Veloso composed this piece on his return back to Brazil in 1972 and would have performed this on a classical guitar, most likely purchased from Rose Morris. We currently stock some wonderful guitars made by Angel Lopez. I particularly recommend the ERE HYB-CFI S, a classical guitar fitted with a Fishman pickup system and slightly slimmer neck, perfect for difficult chord progressions. Here is a link to this specific guitar:


This composition modulates to C minor, the subdominant, and follows a binary structure. I have attached a full transcription for guitar below:


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Joe's Jazz TABS: 'Erghen Diado'

Posted on August 06, 2015

The 'Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir' gained their biggest commercial success with their collaborations with Kate Bush. The Choir featured on her albums, 'The Sensual World' (1989) and 'The Red Shoes' (1993), and similarly won a Grammy award (1989) for their recordings on 'Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares' (The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices). This album was compiled and made possible by Swiss ethnomusicologist, Marcel Cellier, an expert in Bulgarian traditional music. 

This piece is best played with open-string embellishments to enhance an otherwise simple melody. For example, you could play the top E string along with every written note to act as a pedal tone. The piece also benefits from sustaining every written note to achieve a harp-like quality on the instrument. The music, although intended for a full choir, works beautifully for solo classical guitar.

I recommend trying out a selection of our Joan Cashimira guitars, in particular the Model 56ECE, a beautiful instrument hand-crafted in Spain. We currently hold an extensive selection of Cashimira classical guitars, and can offer the opportunity for anyone wanting a custom made instrument to have one built according to their desired specifications. Come in store and ask for more information if this is something that may interest you! 

Here is the original performance as recorded by the 'Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir':



Here is the full Notation and Tab for 'Erghen Diado':

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Joe's Jazz TABS: 'Samba e Amor'

Posted on July 30, 2015

Brazilian guitarist and composer Chico Buarque is renowned for his contribution to Brazilian popular music. He is currently performing with a Godin Multiac guitar, many of which we currently hold in stock. Rose Morris have often been associated with Brazilian musicians in London; our reputation was established with clients such as Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil frequently visiting the store and performing with our instruments. A recent documentary featuring both artists and Rose Morris has been featured on BBC Brazil and can be seen at the following link:


For any guitarist looking for a gentle introduction into Brazilian popular music, here is a full transcription of Chico Buarque's beautiful, 'Samba e Amor'. This piece is best suited to a nylon strung acoustic guitar, or more specifically, a Godin Multiac. Make sure to visit our store or look online at our extensive range of nylon strung instruments. The composition follows an A,A,B,A,B format and is predominantly based in C minor. This composition has many intriguing harmonic ideas and unique turnarounds that could easily be applied to your own compositions or improvisations. The B sections are rhythmically more technical, and may improve your fingerstyle technique.


Here is a link to the PDF document:






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Sound the Horns! - Starting out in brass

Posted on July 13, 2015
The decision to learn a musical instrument is a big step, but deciding to learn a less 'obvious' instrument can often require more courage. Yes, the guitar and the piano can both sound amazing and you allow yourself a lot of flexibility, but there's nothing quite like the joy of playing as part of an ensemble. There is something intensely satisfying about performing as part of a group, relying on yourself and others to create a great sound together, whether it be part of a ska band, playing Madness covers at weddings or playing Beethoven's symphonies as part of a full orchestra. 
That's why I started learning brass instruments in the first place. At school, I was told that my 'lip would suit playing the Eb tenor horn'. I since realised that the school just needed a tenor horn in the concert band, but nevertheless, I was hooked. Here's a quick guide to help you on your way to Brass stardom.  
Cornets and trumpets are in the highest register of brass instruments and are very popular across most genres of music. Cornets are mainly used in brass band ensembles, though Bb cornets are also occasionally found in wind orchestras and were sometimes used by romantic period composers in orchestral music.
Trumpets are found in many more styles of music. Orchestras and jazz bands being the most frequent appearances. They are also used as backing instruments for many more popular artists.
Flugelhorns are mainly used in jazz and brass bands, due to their warmer tone. This is attributed to the bore and bell being much larger than on trumpets and cornets.

The horn section make up the alto voices of the brass family.The french horn sits lower in the register than the trumpets and is made up of a large, circular tube. The tone is very warm and intense.You may be familiar with the sound if you are a fan of the Rolling Stones. The beginning of their well known hit, "You can't always get what you want" features a stunning french horn solo that beautifully shows off the tone of the instrument.

Trombones are the only brass instruments to not use valves. Instead, the player uses the slide to adjust the pitch. Extending the length of the slide produces a lower tone. They are widely used in orchestras, brass bands, jazz ensembles and also in popular music. 

All of these instruments are available in our Piano department at Rose Morris, so come along and see if we've got the right Brass for you.




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Double Trouble: 5 classic micro pedal combos

Posted on July 09, 2015

Micro pedals have gone from a FX fad to a full blown phenomenon. It's now possible to recreate any classic tone without breaking the bank or your back. We at Rose Morris love these little guys and have come up with our top 5 favorite Mooer pedal combos to help you sound like your heroes.

1) Blue Faze Fuzz and Soul Shiver Vibe

For a classic Hendrix tone, try this vintage fuzz face style pedal paired with the vibrato setting on the Soul Shiver. The watery modulation paired with this thick fuzz will take you right to Band of Gypsies territory. 

2) ElecLady Flanger and Reecho Tape Delay

Dave Gilmour is famous for his use of the Electric Mistress Flanger and the Binson Echorec delay, These two mini Mooers channel this atmospheric combo with great results

3) Cruncher and Ninety Orange

For that classic Plexi drive sound, look no further than the Cruncher. When paired with the Ninety Orange's wide sweeping phase you can get that massive 'Eruption' tone

4) Ultra Drive and Ensemble King

For a great 90's grunge tone, look no further than heavy distortion into thick chorus. Set the Ultra Drive to its highest gain setting and blast out those power chords. If it was good enough for Kurt, it's good enough for you!

5) Triangle Buff and Pitch Box

There no modern guitar heroes that sound quite like Jack White. The Triangle Buff nails his bass heavy fuzz tone while the Pitch Box brings both upper and/or lower octaves into the mix. 

These micro  pedals will help you achieve some classic rock tones, but there's plenty more great combos to be explored. We have a great deal on all our Mooer pedals right now. Buy any pedal and get another for 20% off! Come down to Rose Morris and find your perfect paring. 





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Joe's Jazz TABS: 'Calata No.3'

Posted on July 02, 2015

The Oud and the Lute are often considered to be the earliest ancestors of the 'modern' guitar. Here's a quick guide to these enigmatic instruments.

The most distinguishable difference between the two instruments are the Oud's lack of frets, considerably smaller neck and that it is played with a long wooden plectrum. Lutes are fretted instruments, with a wider neck and are usually played fingerstyle. Contemporary Oud's are often categorised as being either Arabic or Turkish, however the instrument is prevalent in many Middle Eastern countries and not necessarily defined by their geographical origin. One composer in particular, Joan Ambrosio Dalza, composed several works for Lute that were inspired by the idioms of Oud performance. 

We currently stock the wonderful, 'MultiOud Ambience Nylon HG' by Godin, a perfect instrument for a musician looking for the playability and sound of a traditional oud, with the advantages of a custom voiced Fishman pickup system, solid spruce top and a hard case included. 

Little is known about Italian lutenist, Dalza, yet his surviving compositions for lute including ‘Caldibi castigliano’ and ‘Calata Spagnola’, portray the Spanish influence as a result of Vihuela cultivation in 16th century Italy. This arrangement for oud should echo the cultural heritage of the oud in Andalusian music, and it’s literal influence on renaissance-lutenist and composer, Dalza. This transcription for solo Oud should demonstrate the similarities between the two instruments and Dalza's ‘vision’ in an act of literal representation.

The transcription below of this lute composition, arranged for solo Oud, can also be played on guitar. See how you get on with this intro to Oud and stay tuned for more left field guitar lessons!







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A Rough Guide to Jazz Improvisation

Posted on June 21, 2015

An improvising guitarist must take many disciplines into account to effectively portray a truly ‘musical’ performance. This writing will stray away from the more subjective nuances such as ‘feel’, but will guide someone new to improvisation into understanding the fundamentals of musical ad-libbing! A methodical approach to improvisation is important in understanding the underpinnings of jazz music; many musicians prefer to take a melody line, e.g. Gershwin’s, ‘Summertime’, and embellish the melody with rhythmic variations and passing notes (chromatic/semitone movements). A more ‘musical’ mode of improvisation is to understand the harmony or chord structure and apply chord tones and scales accordingly. In doing so, a whole new melody can be established by playing a musical game of ‘connect the dots’.

 It is important to note that an improviser should think in terms of the two most important scales; the major and melodic minor. Even more reductively, the relevant ‘chord tones’. In A minor (or any chord, major or minor), the most important degrees of the scale/chord are always the first, third, fifth and chord extensions. In this case, A, C and E. In G major, G, B and D. Starting and ending a melodic phrase on any of these ‘chord tones’ is good practice for understanding the vital building blocks of harmony. These chord tones become interesting when connecting notes are added to link between chord changes.

 A seemingly limitless amount of melodic material can be created out of the major and melodic minor scales. Notes from the relative scale (i.e. A minor chord / A minor Scale), can be used to act as connecting notes between chord tones. More simply, conjunct (close together) notes from relative scales are placed on top of the chord changes.

‘Modes’ are merely the aforementioned scales (major and melodic minor), but starting on a different degree of the scale. Using modes can simplify this methodical process, but the guideline to remain ‘conjunct’ between chord changes remains vital in creating a convincing melodic line. Below are some transcriptions of scales to try out. Above all, it is most important to use your own ear, as this is what defines an improviser’s unique style and provides the very un-methodical and pro-musical nuances of the world’s best jazz musicians.


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