Category Archives: Connect To Yourself

The Feel versus The Mechanics of Music

Today I want to explore this topic call the feel and the mechanics of music. It is two elements that go hand in hand but they are very different components. One makes the sound, the other one makes the feeling.

When a note is being played in music, there’s the sound. The sound can be of different pitch, frequency or quality. It is heard but it’s not felt. The sound is only felt after the sound is being made.

The feeling of music is more important because it’s the part of the music that moves us. We cannot have the feel of music without the mechanics of music. And you cannot have the mechanics of music without it generating a feel of it.

Why is it better to have BBKing play one note than a teenage shredder play many notes? Because BBKing’s one note generate more feel than the latter’s many notes. The difference between both their playing is one is confident and not in a hurried, the other is nervous trying to prove him/herself.

The quality of the sound is how the note sounds, the quality of music is the feeling it translates to the listener after it is played.

That’s why it is important to observe the spaces between the notes and study how it impacts us than the note itself. The note is important to invoke different feeling by how’s it played, but it is the space in between that gives room for the feeling.

John Cage wrote a piece music called 4’33” filled with complete 4’33” worth of silence. For the listener, if that silence is lead to a feeling of peace then that’s music to them. Or if the listener is lead to irritation because no notes are heard, then its music in itself by what it caused the listener to feel.

Of course, I’m speaking in extreme terms because that piece is a controversial piece and discussion on it and arguments can be made of it for days. But it’s to prove the point that the feel of music when nothing is heard is a key component to music.

Let’s explore further this concept using different effects we can make to the notes we play. These are common effects we can make either naturally or through using guitar pedals.

1) Vibrato

Play a note and play with a strong vibrato. How does it impact the note and the after effect?

2) Tremolo

A tremolo is similar to a vibrato but yet different. If you could play it in your instrument, try it and what do you think is different from a vibrato? One deals with intensity, the other with frequency. It’s different and how different does it make you feel.

3) Distortion

When a note is distorted, it will sound harsh and intense. What is the feeling after hearing it? How does that compare to a normal undistorted note?

4) Compression

Now play a normal note but apply compression so that it sustains longer. How does that impact you? Are the silence and the space delayed? How does that delay impact how you feel?

5) Major chords

After the major chord is played, the after effect is the feeling of nice, yes that’s music. Fundamental and as simple as it can be.

6) Minor chords

After the minor chord is played, the after effect is the feeling of melancholy. That’s because of the quality of the flatted 3rd give us that effect.

7) Jazz 7th chords

Flatted 7th note in a jazz chord is what causes that pleasant “jazzy” feel after it’s heard.

8) Delay

Now let’s explore delay. The delay effect is when a note is being played and the effect echoes that note and in subsequent lower intensity as it’s repeated. That intense feeling after the note is repeatedly felt and in lesser and lesser intensity is what makes the effect so pleasant.

Now later, we are going to explore your signature sound. The question is will you choose this to be your signature sound? But before that, let’s ask us how everything we hear makes us feel.

People don’t enjoy music anymore because people don’t let the music move them.

Sometimes because of our hurried contemporary life, we hardened ourselves. We keep feelings in so that we don’t appear weak by being impacted by something that is seemingly trivial as sound. But the sound is not trivial, it is a gift from God and it should affect us. Now the question is how it affects us. The mechanics of music tells us how it played and how it sounds but it’s the feeling of music that makes it enjoyable and a pleasure to be a part of.

From today on, value the feeling of music as you value the mechanics of music when you play it.

It makes a big difference to the quality of life in the world that God has given to us. One that is filled with beautiful sounds and beautiful feelings it invokes.

I hope you enjoy this article and find it insightful to how you hear music from here on. Thanks and I would love to hear your comments about this topic. Please share how sounds affect how you feel?

What Can I Do With Music In My 7 Months Spare Time

One of the unique services I provide with my social enterprise is to hand deliver my products to my customers. Today I a guy bought a looper from me. He enlisted in our National Service (NS) as an army personal. He’ll be coming out of the enlistment in a month’s time and then have 7 months before going to university. So the topic of our discussion in the brief time we are connected is, what can he do with music in his 7 months spare time.

Here are some of the points we discussed which I thought will make a good post. I added a few more after that, considering what if I would personally do if I had that 7 months.

Buy A Guitar Looper And Have Lots Of Looping Fun

This is what that customer did and he’s on the right track to spend the 7 months working on his groove. I written enough about why a guitar looper is the most important pedal and how it improves your rhythm like nothing else so check out the links for more details.

Invest in a Course and Learn From A Teacher You Admire

7 months is good time to not just improve but have a quantum leap in how you play. The best way to big improvement is to get a teacher. You may have a teacher you admire or a player you like very much. Go and act on asking them if they will teach you. Alternatively get into an online course that is effective. A lot of courses today allow you to submit your playing for critic and guidance by the teacher. Check out courses by My time with them learning from Martin Taylor’s FingerStyle Guitar and Keith Wyatt Blues Guitar has been most effective and memorable learning time in my playing history.

Try free samples of Keith Wyatt’s online Blues Guitar lessons or Martin Taylor’s Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons at! below

Online fingerstyle guitar lessons martin taylor

Get Some Friends Together And Jam

If you are a bedroom or closet player, a long break maybe a good time to bring your playing to a new level playing with others. And if you have already been doing that to form a band and get serious with your music.

One of the joys of playing the guitar is playing with other people. Maybe your time practising and playing with yourself is coming to an end. It’s time for playing with others and becoming more serious about your music beginning.

I have been a bedroom musician most of my life and its only recently that I started to get together with a group of people to jam. Before you do so, maybe you should read the account of how I survive my first jam session.

Write Some Songs Enough To Make An Album

Give it a go to write songs. If you are new to it, it’s a good time to invest in learning how to do it. It doesn’t have to be difficult if you allow yourself to flow with the music that is already in you. If you already have enough songs that can make an album, instead of writing, get it recorded.

7 months to get into recording, producing and maybe even selling your album is worth the time. And today’s music technology to setup a home studio and your own music and selling it is more than adequate and available.

How To Write A Song For Beginners

Start An Online Business Marketing Musical Products You Love.

Maybe playing is not the way you choose, if you are entrepreneural and just want to get into the business side of music, consider starting an online business using a website to do affiliate marketting. Affiliate marketting basically is about getting a commission to promote products that you like without needing to own the stocks. You point your buyers to affiliate partners like Amazon, Guitar Centre and Musican Friend and when they make a sell, you get the commision.

One of the challenges of online business is time it takes to build a traffic and if you have 7 months dedicated to do it, it will be excellent as not many people have that. You can start one easily with programs that teaches you how to do it. I have a website called Easyonlinebusiness Club to help you with this with all the research I put into finding the right products you need to get started.

Start a music website just like this one. Click below to find out how I did it.

Well above are 5 things I recommend that you do with your 7 months spare time. Of course these recommendation will be different if the duration is shorter or longer for 7 months, you can make meaningful musical journey.

So what will you do if you have 7 months of break? Let us know by giving me your comments below. I love to hear your adventures.

Are There Any Good Guitar Forums To Join?

In the advent of the internet that is video based, are old fashioned forums dead? I would say not. I lived through the days of forums and now social media groups and the huddle around video based platforms, but I still frequent forums.  Why do I do that?

I think nothing creates a community,  like a good forum. The good old posting with your unique Avatar where members of the forum can relate and get to know better is not out of fashion. The next question will be is there any good guitar forums to join?

These are the few that I’m a member of that I list below. You can check it out to see if it’s for you.


This is an active forum where players of all levels hangout. There’s a community of basic. The forum is not intimidating and the most accessible one of all. I love to frequent that place to learn and also offer advice. Great place for starters to hang out definitely.

TDPRI (Telecaster Discussion Page Reissue)

People in this community talk about strange things like Tele Ashtrays and the bite of the Tele bridge pickup. Confused? Well, if you are not into the Telecaster, you should be. It is a brand specific forum. They talk about the Telecasters but the many wonderful people there also talk about other things other than the telecasters. They are forums for pedals, amps and jamming. I will recommend this forum for telecaster lovers first and foremost of course. Also, those who have been playing for a while and wants to learn more about guitars and playing especially with a telecaster. And it’s never a bad time to jump into exploring the Tele, the first electric guitar in the history of the world and amazingly one that Leo Fender built right from the start. There is also a equivalent Strat Forum


This is a genre specific forum. Jazz! but it a very beginner friendly forum. What I like about is it has lots of lessons for starters and they are all very good quality lessons arranged in topics that interest you. If you are a guitar player, you have to explore jazz at one point or another. With this forum, why not now?


If you are into the acoustic guitar, this is the place to be. It’s acoustic, acoustics, acoustics (and sometimes also the kind of pickups it uses). It has great people in there and it is a great place for a beginner to be a part of. As usually a beginner do generally start with an acoustic guitar, it is also a big plus that its not a techie kind of forum. People are down to earth and the advice given is not intimidating. I love it here when I first started playing the guitar.

Having listed out the forums, I am also an active member of many other music forums that is more brand specific (like Fender Forum and the Gibson Forum). You may want to join them based on your O’guitar’s make and model.

I also frequent forums that not guitar specific. Why do I do that? Because guitar playing should be more about music playing. And music playing should be about life. So if we get ourselves interested in things to get us connected to how ‘humans’ work, we get into life that helps us to play music. Why do we feel what we feel? What touches us? What makes a real connection? These are good questions to get ourselves in communities.

Really being more human makes us more musical. So, it is a great habit to develop when we participate in forums get ourselves into communities.

Enjoy the benefit that comes with that.

How about you? Do you still use forums? Which forums do you frequent and why? What do you use these forums for?

Setting The Right Goals And Improve Your Guitar Playing

Playing the guitar is itself a great goal. Not many people consider it in a practical world where survival seems to be the primary concern. But just wanting to play well is only the first step, it is important to be clear about what you are trying to achieve specifically. How to improve your guitar playing is as good as the goals you set for yourself.

Here are 6 ways you can improve by setting the right goals.

Set Your Goal Based On Enjoyment Not Ego

Having a goal to play to impress someone or to feel good easily fizzes out.

I remember the group of friends I have when I was younger. Half of them plays because it is a cool thing to do. Besides the guitar, they go for the look, the other half truly love music and play for enjoyment. The latter group is still playing today.

Beyond your ‘rock star’ intention, enjoy it.

Set a goal based on enjoyment. Get into the type of music you want to play. Listen to the music, buy the music, attend the concert and invest in it. A great tip is this phrase that I sue “Get into the rhythm and beat of what you want to play”.  In that phrase is the key to enjoyment because every piece of music has life and it is my humble opinion in the inner rhythm of the music.

Not Just What You Play But How Often You Do It

Your goal is not what you want to play but how often you do it. This comes with if you have a conducive place to play. Setting up your own practice space is the #1 reason I play often.

After finding a good space to play, then commit to a routine that helps you play often. It is better to play regularly for shorter time than irregularly for longer time.  

A good routine is as such “Every morning for 10 minutes”, “Every alternate day for 20 minutes”, Have a weekly schedule of when you’ll play and really get down to it. Having that settled, then look into what you play and have a note-book to journal and record what you play during the sessions you are playing.

Break Your Big Goals To Smaller Ones

This is one of the worst practising habit I developed when I was younger. I would come into practice with a great song I want to play. Then during the practice, I will get discouraged because I couldn’t play it in that one practice session and the next time I play, I come with a different song.

The remedy to this is to break that one big goal of playing that song to smaller ones. One way to work on songs is to listen to the song first and get into the rhythm of it. Then get the chord sequence right. Only after that should you sing or learn the melody (if you are playing fingerstyle). After that, there’ll be difficult parts you should handle at a latter time.

All the above happens in many sessions, not one. I don’t know why I have bought into the idea that you can master a song in one sitting and that has hurt me and I’m glad to share with you the mistake of not breaking my big goals into smaller ones.

Practice Technique But Also Practice Songs

Don’t we all fall into loving techniques and riff. Isn’t it more appealing to tap, pull off, bend and do all those sweeping and shredding. Yes, it maybe more fun to do so but I suggest getting into songs. Set the right goal of playing songs where these techniques and riffs are incorporated into the song than the techniques itself without the context of a song.

When you set the right goal of songs, you invest in your music. Nobody is going to be listening to you play your riffs just by itself. Everybody wants to hear how you play a particular song. So get clear to invest in songs.

To Be As Good As Your Hero (But Not Exactly Like Them)

Your goal isn’t to be an imitation but to be yourself. There is room to imitate but at the end of the day, you should develop your style and be yourself. So don’t be frustrated if you can’t sound exactly like your heroes. They are there to inspire you to be yourself. It is infact, the very reason why you like your hero. They are themselves and not a clone of someone else.

So develop a liking for yourself and who you are musically and what you can offer to the world. Set the right goal of being yourself and not a second-rate of someone else.

Incorporate Learning To Improvise As Part of Your Goal

As you learn songs of other people, you will figure out melody, harmony, chord sequences and song structures. That is important to eventually do play your own music ie. write your own songs. But before that can happen, you should invest in improvisation. By that I mean having the ability to come out with tunes without thinking. Improvisation depends on your hearing and your feel to get the music you have inside of you out.

Set a goal to improvise either through using a backing track or a looper. It will help you develop your musicality and that is a key component to your goal as a great guitar player.

Guitar Pedals To Loop Like B.B King

Enjoy. Do let me know how do you improve your guitar playing? What type of goals do you set for yourself?

The Foundation of A Good Connection When Playing The Guitar

Ever feel like something is missing in how you play? You play and practice, sometimes for hours but you cannot get it why you feel like it doesn’t sound or feel right.

Here I want to help you understand the foundation of a good connection. When you have good connection with your guitar and later your music, you have half the battle won. Without it, you will always feel something is not right.

In playing Good Guitar, the feel or the vibe is an essential component.

First of all the guitar has to feel right and a part of you. The guitar and yourself vibrates as one. That’s key component to a GOOD Connection.

The feel also comes from your inner timing! So the foundation of GOOD CONNECTION is …

“rhythm, rhythm, rhythm”

Some call it groove. So I’ll confirm it again in another way.

“groove, groove, groove”

Get everything vibrating together as one and you have GOOD CONNECTION.

Check out our other posts
Tips To Connect With Your Guitar”
Playing Good Rhythm Guitar

In summary, the good connection checklist

Check out the other 2 Foundations:
Good Guitar &  Good Music

Listening to a good O’Vinyl

How about an O’Vinyl to turn our day around? It’s much better than a CD. It is well accepted that the quality of digital audio still could not get back the “magic of analog” enjoyed in the past. Today there’s a big movement of music lovers back to vinyl (even amongst the millennials) and the sales of vinyl is growing every year.

On O’ Vinyl Day, I have with me  “Hothouse Flowers Live, a collector’s limited edition” LP I bought from someone who no more time to listen because of a new baby in the family. Irony because after a bustling day, I need it for the perfect wind down time.

Hothouse Flowers are Liam Ó Maonlaí, Fiachna Ó Braonáin, Dave Clarke, Peter O’Toole, an Irish outfit with musical influence that spans folk, gospel and rock. Caught them LIVE! many years ago when they supported Dire Straits on their On Every Street tour in Perth. When they play, they play as much as they have fun and we can feel it so deeply in their sound.

Playing music as much as having fun turn a listener’s day around. And listening to an O’Vinyl after a long bustling day is a surely good enuff lifeskill.