Ray Benson Signature Guitar Giveaway

Premier-Guitar-GiveawayPremier Guitar is hosting a guitar giveaway in which you can win a Ray Benson Signature T486-RB from Eastman Guitars.

Prize: Ray Benson Signature T486-RB from Eastman Guitars

Contest Ends: March 23, 2015

Open To: All territories except where prohibited

How To Enter: Fill out the Survey

Beginner Strumming Exercises by Peter Vogl

Beginning guitarists often struggle with playing different strum patterns and keeping them in time. In our new practice session, Peter Vogl will show you some rhythm changing drills for strumming that will help you improve. These drills will move between different sub-divisions of the beat (quarter notes, eighths, sixteenths, triplets). These are the same type of changes in rhythm that you will encounter as you start learning more exotic strum patterns. Practice along with the video until you get the hang of things and then speed things up with the follow-up session.

Is Your Street Performance Breaking the Law?

Recently, a video was posted of a NYC subway busker getting arrested for apparently violating a law which would require a permit for a public performance. This video has since gone viral, and has stirred up a lot of controversy as to the rights of performers and entertainers.

After watching the initial video, as well as a subsequent interview, I have mixed emotions on the event.

If the street performer, Andrew Kalleen, was previously aware that controversy and confusion surrounded busking laws, he could have easily cleared his performance with authorities prior to taking the “stage.” The fact that he did not do so, and an issue with a police officer ensued, could be argued that Kalleen was baiting the police for the sole purpose of media exposure. Whether or not that was the case, it worked.

There are many instances where people may be detained by the police, but are not charged and are ultimately released. As there was an issue regarding the legal code, the arresting officer may or may not have followed protocol in arresting the performer. Is it unfortunate? Yes. However, if Kalleen had obeyed the officer in the first place, he could have filed a complaint later, contacted the media then, and avoided the entire incident. Granted, the event does make for a better story.

Opinions aside, if you’re going to perform in public, you need to know your rights and make sure that others are aware of those rights. Never assume, especially when it comes to higher authorities.

If you live in these cities, Guitar World has some information on busking laws:

• London’s Underground? They have a limited number of licenses and require auditions, which are held once each year.
• New York? Unamplified busking is allowed almost everywhere in the city, except within 50 feet of monuments. Performing on a subway platform is protected by the First Amendment, but not if you step onto a train.
• Chicago requires a permit for every single public performance, and there are designated hours and “noise” limitations.
• Boston requires an audition, a criminal background check and liability insurance in order to play in some parts of the city.

In my own city of Atlanta, as long as it’s not amplified, it’s fairly lenient. One must be careful though, to not use aggressive tactics to obtain money, as that would constitute commercial solicitation (which is a gray area for the legality of busking).

Have you ever been a street performer? What is your experience?

Want Better Tone? Try Changing Your Pick!

Guitar-Picks

No need to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on new guitars and electronic gear to improve your tone. The power to change your tone may literally be in the palm of your hand!

What is this dark magic?

Quite simply, it’s your guitar pick. And with different shapes, sizes, and materials available, they can have a major impact on your tone. You might find that your go-to pick for your Les Paul may not be the best for your Stratocater, and so on.

Different picks can accent various frequencies—sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

Mark Marshall over at The Pro Audio Files has written a great article with audio examples of how different picks can alter your tone. Best to listen on larger speakers to really hear the difference.

While we’re on the subject of picks, if you’re having trouble keeping a good grip on it, read this article on making your guitar pick easier to hold.