Rockschool Grade Books

The Rockschool Grade books are not only a fantastic teaching aid but my students find the songs great to learn. The songs are based on famous songs by the likes of ACDC, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix etc. In each book there are 6 songs in various styles from rock to blues, funk and reggae.

The books all come with backing tracks to play along to and wether you are learning guitar,bass,drums or piano Rockschool has a book for you!

If you wish to take the grade you simply learn 3 of the 6 songs,learn to play a few scales and complete a couple of oral tests and you’re ready to go.

Going from debut grade right up to grade 8 and with the student gaining UCAS points at grade 5 they really are an excellent learning tool for any budding musician!

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The King of Rock and Roll?

Many people regard Elvis Presley as the king of rock and roll but I must disagree. For me Chuck Berry is the true king. When I think of Chuck I think of him playing Johnny.B.Goode with his famous red 335 guitar and doing his duck walk.

Of course Chuck was far more than one song and a stage gimmick even if it was great to watch. In the words of John Lennon ”if rock and roll were to be given another name it would be called Chuck Berry”.

Chucks early influences are in the blues but it wasn’t till he combined his rhythm and blues with his country style guitar licks that his musical sound came together.

His famous intro to Johnny.B.Goode and a few of his other classic songs i.e.roll over Beethoven are played using a mix of the major and minor scale but it was the way he mixed them and his brilliant use of double stops [ two strings played together] that created the unique Chuck Berry sound.

If you listen to a slightly more obscure Berry track, Down Bound Train you get to hear the skill of his lyric writing as he tells a story of souls lost on a train with the devil at the wheel, a fantastic song and with Chuck playing some great guitar including his trademark double stops its one of my favourites.

Chuck mostly played a Gibson 335 guitar, which is a semi acoustic guitar. He played straight into all valve fender amps on full volume to give him his sweet tone.

Not only did chuck have great songs and invent a new sound he was a fantastic showman. He invented the duck walk and could do the splits while still playing a blistering solo!

Chucks best decades were the 50s and 60s but in the 70s and 80s his music became less fashionable and he resorted to picking up his bands from town to town. Great music never dies though and his music has stood the test of time. If you are a young budding guitarist learning some of Chucks licks is a must and great fun also!

Chuck playing Johnny.B.Goode duck walking across the stage with his 335 is an image that won’t soon be forgotten.

 

Ever wondered how to make money out of music?

Thinking of learning an instrument, wondering what you could do with your music once you get to a good standard?

Then, if like me you are a struggling rock star with more emphasis on the struggling than the rockstar you might want to consider joining a wedding/function band.

As with all jobs there are good and bad points.  Let’s start with the good….

  • The money for a start! Being in a wedding band is fairly well paid compared to playing pub gigs.
  • It can also be a lot of fun playing weddings and parties with your band mates.
  • Our band also gets to play in many nice venues around the country , many of which are set in beautiful grounds.
  • Meeting lots of nice people is another good thing about the job and they are normally in good spirits as it’s either their special day or party time (or both)!

There are a few negatives though.

  • Commitment is essential and you need to be available at weekends and bank holidays as this is when the vast majority of the work is.
  • Band work can also be unpredictable with the summer months being a lot busier than the winter months, where work can be a little scarce. A negative for my band, however great for those who are looking for a band for a wedding or event in the quieter months as many bands offer discounts including my band Superfuzz!
  • Then there is the music itself! You won’t be playing your favourite blues or any zeppelin-esque riffs, instead a lot of it is middle of the road cheese but we try to keep our sets as good as possible for a wedding group.

Overall being in a function band is a lot of fun! We have a lot of laughs and the odd beer and if you are committed and have the necessary skill to turn your hand to lots of different styles of music then it might just be for you!

If you’re looking for a wedding or function band then why not consider my band Superfuzz.

Superfuzz are the best function and wedding band in the country, with years of experience and expertise to get your party going!

 

A guide to buying an Amplifier for your Guitar

With so many guitar amplifiers on the market its difficult to know which one to buy.  In general there are two types of guitar amps.

1. Valve Amplifiers (also known as Tube Amps).

2. Transistor Amplifiers.

As with most things in music it comes down to what type of sound you like.  For example if you look at Bob Dylan’s voice, some people love his voice whereas others don’t!

For me tube amplifiers are the king here.  Blues players often go for them because the more you turn then up (or drive them as we say), the more natural overdrive you get and it is a sweet ‘tubey’ overdrive compared with the more ‘waspy’ distortion that can often come through the artificial gain of a solid state amp.

Also don’t be fooled by wattage!

A 15 watt value amp will be much louder than its solid state counterpart.  Throughout the years tube amps have been played by the most influential guitarists.  Hendrix played Marshalls (although he did add pedals to give him extra distortion!).  Clapton played through a Vox AC30 with Cream.

All the old blues guys used  really simple tube amps to great effect.  From Muddy Waters to John Lee Hooker through to SRV and Buddy Guy.

I myself use a Fender Deluxe Reverb.  This is a fantastic Amp when cranked all the way up.  Having said this, many Rock and Metal guitarists do prefer solid state amps because they give more distortion at lower volumes than tube amps do!

Fender-Amp

Fender Amplifier

marshall-amp

Marshall Amplifier

To hear the sound of a Fender Deluxe Reverb re-issue take a look at my YouTube video (played with a Fender Telecaster).

Guitar Lessons – Grade 2

About Ben

Ben is a nine year old lad, and a complete beginner when he started learning the guitar, and we are now working on Rock School Guitar Grade 2.

What Ben is now playing

Ben plays a strat like his hero John Fuschanti and has chosen to do two songs from the Hot Rocks (sister book of the Rock School grades); Fleetwood Mac’s, ‘Albatross’ and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, ‘Californication’.  Each song requires learning very different guitar techniques, with finger slide on Albatross and cord strumming and bends on Californication.  The Hot Rock books are a great addition to the Rock School Book series, especially for kids, who can play the guitar licks of their heroes.

The future for Ben

Ben will be taking his Grade 2 Rock School Exams after Christmas.

rock-school-grade-books

Rock School Grade Books – 2012 to 2018

A Guide to Buying your First Electric Guitar

Electric guitars come in all shapes and sizes, so buying an electric guitar for you or your child can be confusing.  There are many makes and models, most of which are copies of the more expensive US made Fenders and Gibsons and a few other brands.

How much do you want to spend?

The first thing that you might want to consider is the amount of money that you want to spend on your electric guitar.  As with most things in life you get what you pay for, so beware of anything too cheap.

Does size matter?

If your child wants to lean the electric guitar and is nine and under, I would suggest a 3/4 size guitar.  Their size makes it easier for kids to reach the fretboard and have the same features as a larger electric guitar.  The only downside in my experience tends to be difficulty holding its tune and the strings tend to be much further away from the fretboard meaning that you have to push down harder to make a note.  These problems can be fixed with a few alterations to the saddle and bridge.  A 3/4 size guitar can be brought for about £80.

For a child who is nine to ten years and upwards, I would recommend a full size electric guitar with a small watt amplifier.  I would go for a ‘Fender Squier’ range of guitars which is at the cheaper end of Fender guitars, but they have been making Fender Squiers for over 30 years now.  These guitars are based on the classic ‘Stratocaster’ (played by Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Hank Marvin and many others) and the ‘Telecaster’ (played by Muddy Waters, Keith Richards and Eric Clapton).

electric-guitar

Electric Guitar

Thank you card for Guitar Lessons

I have taught Joe and Erin (brother and sister) guitar for several years, but after I moved to Lilbourne, just outside Rugby in Warwickshire earlier this year I was forced to give up their guitar lessons.

Having to give up their guitar lesson was a real shame because they both really enjoyed their lessons.  Joe and Erin both achieved their grade three in their Rock School exams with flying colours.

A few weeks after their last lesson I was delighted to get a lovely thank you card from them both.  Take a look at the picture of it below.

Thank-you-cards-guitar-lessons

Erin says: 

”Dear Martin, 

thank you for everything you’ve taught me on guitar for about 4 years.  I’ve learnt so much about how to perform in exams.  thank you! 

Love from Erin :-)”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Joe says:

”To Martin,

Thank you for these past years where you have taught us guitar.  I have learnt so much with you and hopefully never forget.

Thank you

From

Joe”

Guitar Teacher Rugby

If you’re looking for guitar lessons in Rugby, Lilbourne, Catthorpe, Yelvertoft, Clifton-Upon Dunsmore or any of the villages surrounding rugby then don’t hesitate to contact me either by phone 07845 961345 or e-mail: martin.music.guitar@hotmail.co.uk

Guitar lessons – Grade 4 Student

Ryan’s background – where his guitar lessons started

I have been teaching Ryan guitar for nearly four years now and he has improved greatly in that time. When Ryan first started his lessons he was a complete beginner.  Since his first guitar lesson Ryan has completed Debut, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, and is now on Grade 4 Rock School Grades.

What Guitar piece I’m currently teaching Ryan

Ryan loves his guitar lessons using the Rock School Grade books as he really enjoys the diversity of the pieces. We are currently working on Dirt Wizard from the Grade 4, a piece that has its roots firmly in 70s rock and a riff that would make Richie Blackmore take notice!  Ryan loves the riff and we are working on getting his speed up and playing the power chords in time. We are also writing the solo for the piece which instead of using the standard minor blues pentatonic scale we have thrown in some nice harmonic scales too which sound great.

What’s Next for Ryan and his guitar lessons?

Ryan hopes to take his Rock School guitar Grade 4 exam in the next few months!  Good luck Ryan!!!

Christmas Gift Idea – Private Music Lessons!

Guitar, Bass, Drums or Keyboard Lessons for a Christmas Present

If you live near Rugby, Lutterworth or any of the surrounding villages then why purchase some lessons in guitar, bass, drums or keyboard as a gift for your loved ones!?

Sometimes it can be challenging to know what to buy your loved one for Christmas as they have everything that they may possibly want or need.  Whether you’re looking to buy some lessons for your husband, partner, wife, son, daughter, granddaughter, grandson, mother or father, I can tailor their lessons to their ability or what they would like to learn.

Whether they are in to Rock, Pop or love Metal or any type of music I can teach your loved ones what they would like to learn! The lessons can be either song based or Rock School Lessons!

Contact me for more information about the music lessons I provide by calling me or e-mailing me.  See my ‘Contact Me’ page for more information.

About Me – Your local private music teacher

Hello all,

As you may know, my name is Martin Dennison. I have recently moved to Lilbourne just outside of Rugby.

Myself and my wife have been busy over the last few weeks dropping my guitar, bass, keyboard and drum lesson leaflets! So far we’ve delivered to Lilbourne, Yelvertoft, Catthorpe, Clay Coton, Swinford, Shawell, Clifton Upon Dunsmore, Newton, Kilsby, West Haddon and Crick!  We’ve still got a few more locations to flyer drop such as Brownsover, Churchover, Hillmorton, Elkington and Winwick to name but a few.

My wife has started to create this website for me to try and save our legs and also to tell as many local people (in and around Rugby and Lutterworth area) about the guitar, drums, keyboard and bass lessons that I do!

So you’re probably thinking to yourself how do my lessons work? Well I’ve been teaching private guitar, drums, bass and keyboard lessons for over 10 years. In that time I have found that the key to getting the most out of my pupils is to make the lessons fun!

I do this by teaching my pupils songs that they know and love. Also I teach from the Rock School Grades which are designed to be enjoyable but very informative for all the theory that is needed. When it gets to the point when my pupil becomes a bit uninspired by the grades or a song that I am teaching them I re-asses their needs and either have a break from the grades or the particular song that they are learning and go back to something a bit more light hearted and fun!

If you’ve got any questions about the guitar, bass, drums or keyboard lessons that I teach then don’t hesitate to contact me on 07845 961345