Busking Laws for the Street Performer

Are you thinking of becoming a street performer? Are you already taking your guitar to the streets and busking for a living?

Street performers, or “buskers” can greatly enhance the atmosphere of what might be a routine, busy street. However, if not careful, they can create a situation unpleasant with both those passing by and law enforcement.

If you’re going to be a street performer, it is important to know the local laws and ordinances so that you will not only be successful, but that both you and your audience may also have an enjoyable experience.

Some cities have very clear laws on street performing. However, there is a gray area—commercial solicitation. As a street performer, you need to make money. Everyone does. But how aggressive you are with obtaining it from a crowd can be considered solicitation, and that will get you in trouble with the police very quickly.

While busking may be accomplished almost anywhere that might have a crowd of people, compiled here is information for several major US cities that may be found useful. Some may seem like common sense, but it is always best to have it in writing just in case! [Read more…]

How to Protect an Acoustic Guitar | Making Music on iOS

Three simple rules can help you avoid any major issues with your acoustic guitar:

  • Keep your guitar in it’s case. While it’s easy to grab your guitar off its stand to play, with extreme changes in temperature and humidity, it’s best to keep it in it’s case.
  • Humidifiers really help. Maintaining a constant humidity level helps to keep your guitar in optimum playability.
  • Avoid the extremes. Too hot or too cold. If the temperature bothers you, your guitar doesn’t like it either.

You can get more information on this at the PRS blog.

Tape Saturation FX Unit Review

Looking for a new FX unit to play around with? Premier Guitar has just reviewed the Strymon Deco Tape Saturation & Doubletracker, and it has some really great features! It’s tape saturation is aimed to rival even the high-end DAW plugins. The double-tracking is a vintage delay-feature where you can create some cool chorusing and flanging effects.

A Guide to Using Your Guitar with an iPhone/iPad

MacStories has an extensive look at all the different ways you can have your guitar and iOS device work together.  This detailed article contains reviews of different amp/effects/recording apps, devices for hooking your guitar up, and many more issues and ideas.

Willie Nelson and Trigger

Rolling Stone has a new documentary series that features an installment on Willie Nelson and his now famous Martin N-20 acoustic guitar.  Watch the video to hear the backstory and tall tales on what’s become one of the most famous guitars on earth.

Nelson discovered Trigger at a crossroads in his career. By 1969, he had spent nearly a decade trying to become a clean-cut solo success in Nashville. After a drunk destroyed his Guild acoustic, he decided to look for a new guitar with a sound similar to his gypsy-jazz hero Django Reinhardt (“I think he was the best guitar player ever,” Nelson says). His buddy Shot Jackson suggested the Martin classical “gut-string” guitar; Nelson bought it sight-unseen and gave it a name. “I named my guitar Trigger because it’s kind of my horse,” he explains. “Roy Rogers had a horse called Trigger.”

Win a Custom Suhr Guitar and Other Giveaways


Win and Design the Suhr Guitars “Guitar of your Dreams” from Make’n Music

Make’n Music is hosting their “Guitar of Your Dreams 2″ giveaway, in which you can win and design your own Suhr guitar. The retail value of this prize package is worth about $3,800! These are some amazing instruments. You’ll need to fill out an entry form along with liking and sharing their Facebook page.

Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Acoustic Guitar from Alvarez

This guitar has a solid A grade western red cedar top, which is screen printed with a flawless satin finish. It also has custom mother of pearl inlays, a rosewood fingerboard and bi-level bridge and 12th fret lightning bolt inlay. The guitar utilizes the Alvarez FST2M hand finished, forward shifted, scalloped bracing system for optimal performance and response. Enter now!

Peter Vogl’s Prescription for Tired Guitar Scales

Have you been playing the same scales for years, giving you the same old sound? What if you could play those scales in an entirely new way and create a completely different effect?  If you haven’t tried cross-string scales or what I also have heard called legato scales, you should  give them a try.

Some History

When I was studying classical guitar in college one of the graduate students performed the same piece I was currently playing but  he had a very different sound to it than I did.  I asked him afterward what it was he was doing and he described a technique I now refer to as  cross-string scales.  All of his scaler lines cascaded with notes ringing together and I loved the sound of it.  He told me he was just imitating the way harpsichords sounded when playing the same lines; after all he was playing a harpsichord piece transcribed for guitar.

Much Later in my career I decided to study country guitar, or more specifically a style referred to as  chick’n pick’n. This style of guitar playing would occasionally use the same technique, albeit in a totally different genre, but creating a similar effect.  Again I found this sound unique and interesting.  It was a breath of fresh air to me.

You can also find jazz players that have used this technique.  Chet Atkins is a classic example.  Very recently, one of my fellow Atlantans and a  jazz guitar player told me he had watched one of my videos on cross string scales and they were a new revelation to him.  He was finding great ways to incorporate them into his playing.

What Are Cross String Scales?

So let”s get to the meat of what cross string scales are.  Because cross string scales tend to work better starting on a higher note and descending, we’ll look at them that way for now.  Instead of playing your typical scale in a standard fingering, such as this G major scale:

 g major scale

A G Major cross string scale is fingered using open strings  like this:

G Major Cross String scale


 The trick here is not just to get used to the new fingering but to let the strings ring together as much as possible.  When you are playing across the strings let the previous strings  ring.  Pay particular attention to when you are placing a new finger down.  Make sure you are not touching or muting any other strings, especially the open strings.  It may prove difficult at first to not unintentionally mute notes with your finger.  It shouldn’t sound like this: [Read more…]

Eddie Van Halen Interview | Yngwie’s Picking Technique

Van-HalenEddie Van Halen recently spoke at the Smithsonian for their “What It Means To Be American (#WIMTBA) series. Aside from this being a very in-depth interview, he also demonstrates some of his trademark techniques for the audience. If you’re a Van Halen fan, this is not to be missed. You can watch or listen to the whole interview at Guitar World.

Finger String Awareness: Improve your finger control, independence, and accuracy. This is a 10 minute guitar exercise routine that will help your fingers find where they are going better.

Fighting the never-ending battle in the pursuit of tone? Then check out the new Bourns potentiometers—these are designed for guitarists with active electronics in mind, and boast a “Double-Pole Double-Throw (DPDT) latching–push switch.” If you need constant changes in tone when playing live, this might be the key.

Guitar Center continues to have financial troubles. Investors have pulled out $11 million and high-ranking employees are losing their jobs. What does this mean for the music retail industry?

Picking Speed & Accuracy Lesson: Troy Grady’s Cracking the Code series features some of the most unique guitar videos out there. In the current installment, Troy tackles the rotational picking technique of Yngwie J. Malmsteen.  He uses a combination of precise forearm, elbow, and finger mechanics in his picking technique to achieve his legendary speed and efficiency.