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The curse of castle dragon

The Curse of Castle Dragon | Cover by Vinnie Mah

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The Curse of Castle Dragon

Paul Gilbert has many well-known songs and The Curse of Castle Dragon is definitely on the top of the list! Any Paul Gilbert fan will be able to tell you the technical challenges in this song. They will even tell you how each part is played at the most detailed level. Or if I played anything wrong in this video. But I feel I have something else to express through this song cover.

Learning straight from the master, Paul Gilbert

paul gilbert interview singapore

If you don’t know, I was very lucky to be able to interview Paul Gilbert when he was here in Singapore for a gig in 2019. You can read all about my nerve-wracking experience here. On top of that, I am also part of his online music school at ArtistWorks.com

The motivating factor

I started playing guitar at an age that’s considered too old by many. Impossible to be able to reach the standard I so desire. I had no teachers or could I afford one then. But I stumbled upon the great Paul Gilbert and his “Down to Mexico” video. The insanely fast and accurate picking with fancy costumes and the quirky greenscreen background caught my attention right away. Not to mention how humble Paul was. That became my catalyst to pursue in guitar playing. It took me 15 years to find the courage to cover “The Curse of Castle Dragon”! I fell in love with the song when it was first released and had been messing around the sections of the song over the years. Never have I found the right phase of my life to put it together.

That was until I met Paul last year. I had the privilege to chat and interview him during his gig in Singapore back in 2019. It felt so surreal to be standing right next to someone who I watch on videos and admired so much for all these years. I told myself, that has to be the sign for me to start taking my life seriously.

 

who is Funtwo ?

Who is Funtwo? | Youtube’s earliest viral guitarist!

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Who is Funtwo?

Just who is Funtwo? Well at the very beginning of youtube, people were deeply rooted in the idea that famous people must appear on TV. They are also unable to comprehend how a boy in his bedroom can play his guitar as well as big names out there. That was the start of Funtwo’s career as a guitarist. While we know he became a viral sensation, we really want to know more about who this guy is! So we gave him a call and had a chat with him!

who is Funtwo ?

Video Interview at bottom of page

“this guy iz great!!!”

Back in 2005, a young computer science student played a cover of JerryC’s rock guitar arrangement of Pachelbel Canon. The video was then uploaded by a user “guitar90” and it racked up at least 6 million views. Nobody knows who guitar90 was and the account was later removed. Arguably, there are other guitarists who gained more view count for covering “Canon Rock” today. Youtuber Vi Gi tops the chart at 87 million views, Sungha Jung ranked second at 56 million views and JerryC himself at 23 million. However, we cannot deny the fact that it all started when Funtwo recorded that dorky video!

funtwo youtube

Can you spot Funtwo in the Most Viewed category of Youtube 2005?

Who else is Funtwo performing with?

Funtwo recently joined the ranks at Yamaha and made a cover of Michael Jackson’s Black or White with Jack Thammarat and Jane! In our video interview, Funtwo also shared how he is looking to collaborate with other great guitarists. Funtwo is definitely not stopping at Canon Rock.

Here’s the fun thing about this video cover. It is done with 3 very different video angles! This means while we linked Funtwo’s version here, heading over to Jack Thammarat or Jane‘s youtube channel will allow you to view this cover in a totally new way! That is really fun t0o!

Instagram Filter for Funtwo!

funtwo Instagram Filter

Click on the icon above to load the Instagram filter we made for Funtwo!

Conclusion

Funtwo is a definitely “twice the fun” to us. His guitar playing is extraordinary and has great vibes to his phrases. We highly recommend you to follow his work and subscribe to his youtube channel. You may witness the birth of another of his viral video!

massive guitar lesson on zoom us

Massive Zoom Guitar Lesson! | Fighting the COVID-19 with Guitar!

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Massive Zoom Guitar Lesson

We just ended our first massive ZOOM guitar lesson today! What an experience! The COVID-19 has suspended lessons in enrichment centres in Singapore since 26 March. Lessons will remain conducted over web conferencing until the end of April. However, this isn’t stopping us or slowing us down. Instead, we found a new way to connect with our students! We got everyone available together for our first ever guitar masterclass over a webcam!

Massive Zoom Guitar Lesson

Ok maybe not that massive 😀

Teething issues from our first group lesson

To organize a massive ZOOM guitar lesson isn’t easy! We found out some teething issues and hopefully they can help you run your lessons successfully!

Muting

Muting is a function available for both the host and the participants to use. Although weird at times to have nobody talking to you but we recommend to mute everyone when you are delivering your lesson material.

Screen Sharing

ZOOM US screen sharing option

If left unchecked, a mischievous participant can potentially jeopardize your lesson. We recommend you set this to “Host Only”. This function is only accessible through their setting page on their website.

Prepare Slides

Zoom Screen Sharing

This is more of a tip than an issue. Learning by a person talking away can be difficult for some. Slides provide a great way to get the points delivered easily! I also allow the students to be able to use the slides for a recap of the lessons later!

Conclusion

While it is never better than having a group lesson physically together,  it was great to see everyone again and learn something! The group agreed that this is meaningful and helps them get out of the dreary COVID-19 situation. The students were given assignments after the session and were looking forward to another round of web conferencing! Some suggested a longer session with more interaction!

While our *Free Trial Lesson is usually conducted in our centre, we now do it over a webcam! The experience you get will be beyond your expectations! If you are not sure, you can drop us a text on facebook messenger too!

Video snippets of our first virtual group lesson!

video call music lessons

Video Conferencing for Music Lessons | Does it actually work?

By | Acoustic Guitar, Classical Piano, Drum, Electric Guitar, Music Articles, News, Piano, Pop Piano, Ukulele | No Comments

Video Conferencing for Music Lessons Experience!

While we are no strangers with conducting our music lessons via video conferencing for our students. some as far as Shanghai. The new measures from the Ministry of Health have effectively forced all our students to have their lessons over video calls! But does this mean the end of the music education industry? Probably not!

video conferencing music lessonsMusic Lessons | The COVID 19 style

Ideally, music lessons should be done in a conducive room with proper instruments and equipment. The acoustics of the room should also be treated properly with professional-grade acoustic treatment walls to remove unwanted reverb and echo. The lighting of the room must be at the right lux level. These are now considered luxuries.

With the current COVID-19 situation, we converted all our music lessons to video conferencing! Though easier said than done, we really wanted the best for our students! Rooms have to be rearranged, workstation setup to match the requirement of video calling and endless troubleshooting. At the end of the day, the smile on our student’s face is what that matters.

With that, we bravely embraced our first day of full-on online lessons today!

video call music lessons

Video-calling problems we faced and how we solve them

We would be lying if we were to say that it went smooth sailing. With all the issues, we had to put all our brains together! Sometimes to the extent of researching through the entire ocean of articles online. So if you are a music teacher, perhaps we might be able to offer some tips!

Audio Troubleshooting

  1. Make sure students always uncheck the “automatically adjust microphone volume” function.
  2. If you are using the laptop’s mic, keep a distance from your device.

Even with the automatic volume adjuster unchecked, a spike in volume will still cause the app to compress the audio hard. As we would have guessed, apps like this are created with speaking in mind. When a loud volume is detected, the app will push it down to prevent the other users from blowing their speakers. We had no issues with Ukulele and Piano but all the trouble with Drumset.

To combat the issue of feeding the drum’s signal in without having a problem, we mic-ed the entire drumset! Signals are sent into a USB audio interface that is then connected to the computer. The microphone source will be the USB device. This allows us to tweak the input volume accordingly. Things will definitely be easier if you have a digital drumset with a USB connection.

Our guitar rooms are also rigged with a USB mixer. As such, we line our electric guitar directly into the mixer with IR technology. We line our acoustic guitar and ukulele into a DI box and speak through a condenser microphone.

Video Troubleshooting

  1. Daylight from windows will help with illuminating the video
  2. Using a decent stand to help with adjusting the camera angle

piano room lightingMost of us hardly use the camera on our laptop, some don’t even know it exists! Some of us live in a dimly lit room and that is bad for video conferencing. So the first requirement is for the student to be able to have decent lighting in their room. While this isn’t an issue with most instruments, this is a common problem with Piano students.

The user back face the room’s light source with the piano to the wall. This results in the shadow of the student to cast on their hands.

Thankfully, solving this is easy! All you need is to place a small table lamp on your piano! This is especially cool on rainy nights when the table lamp is all you turn on to practice your piano with.

 

The camera angle for chatting with your friends or for a business meeting is very different from teaching and learning musical instruments. The laptop-camera was not designed for music lessons in mind. As a teacher, we want to view the students’ playing from a high to low angle. Think of how teachers usually sit next to the student in the room. So the same height and angle are important. As for demonstrating, various instruments require different angles. Piano prefers a top-down angle, guitar prefers a slanted front angle and drum prefers an over the shoulder angle. So the most basic requirement for video music lessons is perhaps a good stand to hold your device. Watch the video posted by Vinnie demonstrating to his students to get a better understanding!

 

Conclusion

Our first day of video conferencing music lessons went fairly smoothly! Classes went on as scheduled without much hiccups. Students were happy and satisfied with the lessons. It gave us the confidence to proceed with more of such lessons! With more fine-tuning, we will be able to provide lessons with even better quality and efficiency!

Normally we ask you to sign for our free trial lesson, we now ask all those who are interested to join us for the music lesson experience of 2020!

piano lesson video call

Sound like Jack Thammarat

How to sound like Jack Thammarat

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Want to sound like Jack Thammarat?

Well, you are in for a treat! In this article, I will share how I managed to sound as close as possible to the amazing Jack Thammarat. Although “Practice, Practice, Practice” is indeed part of the plan, I will share more on how to help you attain that beautiful tone!

Sound like Jack Thammarat

Guitar Amplifier: Laney Ironheart

They say the key to sounding like your favourite artist often lies in the amplifier. Stevie Ray Vaughan to Dumble amplifiers, Slash to Marshall amplifiers and John Mayer to Two Rock PRS amplifiers. If you were unaware of Jack’s love for Laney before, now you know! Jack really makes Laney sound good, or is it the other way around? Unlike other famous artists who are extremely secretive about their amp settings, Jack shows it all to the world. A “feel-free-to-try-my-settings” attitude!

Jack Thammarat they sky was the limit

Effects Pedal: Line 6 HX Stomp

If you are wondering if you should ever venture into the world of digital effects, well, my advice is to give it a shot! Besides, Jack has uploaded his HX Stomp patch on his website FOR FREE! So while the pedal may be slightly cost-sensitive to some, it is actually a gateway to access patches set by your favourite artist!

Download Jack Thammarat HX Stomp Patch HERE

Guitar Pick: Master8 Japan Jack Thammarat Signature

Jack Thammarat Masters Japan Guitar Pick

I shared about Jack’s pick when I was visiting him in Thailand. These picks are very similar to the Dunlop Jazz but it comes with a layer of rubber coating for that fantastic anti-slip capability. The angle of the pick allows for those sweet tones. The thickness of the pick helps to make playing more precise. But if you are still clueless on which pick is suitable for you, read our help article here.

Sound like Jack Thammarat already?

Maybe! But like I said in the first paragraph, it all boils down to practice. This cover I did might be just 5 minutes long on YouTube, but it took me at least 6 months of relentless practicing to get there. I say at least because I am certain I was trying various parts of the song way before I decided to embark on the journey to actually learn the full song. Through lessons with Jack, I also learnt about how he frequently uses the hybrid picking technique to go through fast passages.

I would like to end this article with just 3 words Jack told me on many occasions: “Light but strong“.

 

guitar size for children

Guitar Sizes for Children

By | Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Music Instruments, Ukulele | No Comments

Children’s Guitar: How to Choose the Right Size?

While there are violins as small as 1/16, guitar sizes for children seem to be rather limited. Why is that so? And how can you buy a guitar that is the correct size for your child?

guitar size for children

Amazing Children on Full Size Guitars

Before jumping to the conclusion that guitars should naturally follow the size of the child, we should keep in mind the possibility of using full size guitars. The internet is full of videos of young children performing technical guitar wizardry with pin-point precision on the full size guitars. Below are some examples!

Li-sa-X

Li-sa-X is a rather well-known name today in the guitar industry. When she first uploaded her videos, everyone was shocked. Debates raged over whether such children are actually considered musicians or if they are purely memorizing what they are supposed to do. What’s more, the most talk centred on how she is able to play difficult songs on a full size guitar despite her small build. In case you are wondering, this 7-year old is playing a diploma-level piece of music written by Paul Gilbert.

Yo Yo

Yngwie Malmsteen’s Far Beyond the Sun and John Petrucci’s Musicman guitar. These are not things commonly associated with a 9-year old girl. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Yo Yo is from China, where Western music influence is not just limited but restricted. A typical 9-years old girl from China would have no clue as to who Yngwie Malmsteen or John Petrucci are, and probably also struggle to pronounce the names! Yet here she is, shredding through a song that most accomplished guitarists would have difficulty with! Yes, and she is using a full size guitar!

Famous Video of North Korean Children Playing Guitar

This play-list would not be complete without this video. While many consider this “freaky”, we can only say that the North Koreans have managed to unlock the potential in young children. How they are able to train these tiny children to play these very technical pieces on full size classical guitars is beyond most of us! Now, if you are unaware, the classical guitar has a wider fretboard than the electric or acoustic guitar. This means those tiny fingers would need to stretch even further! Surely defying the ideal “guitar sizes for children”. Without the means of electrical amplification and with only a dynamic microphone in front of them, these children would need to play really forcefully to get the volume you hear in this video! Perhaps it is time to buy their guitar instructionals!

But is it wrong if I want to get a small guitar?

No, not at all! There are those who feel a smaller size guitar will help develop their techniques better. Feng E started off with the ukulele and has been uploading more guitar videos lately. The other camp’s ideology is to track the progress of the child’s ability with the right sized instrument. The ukulele happens to be an easy string instrument to begin on and it has definitely helped Feng E to be really good with his fingers. This little boy has been on big-time TV programs and has shared the stage with giants such as Tommy Emmanuel!

Must I start with the Ukulele then?

No. Sungha Jung, with over 6 million subscribers on YouTube, posted this first video 13 years ago. He went the opposite way as compared to Feng E, venturing into the ukulele at a later stage. The point here is, there is no one confirmed way to help bring the best out of your child.

Conclusion

We suggest all young children start with the ukulele before proceeding to the guitar. This way, if the child fails to develop an interest in the string business, the monetary loss will not be as heavy. If the child does move on to the guitar, buy a guitar based on his ability instead of his size. While there are good sounding 3/4 guitars out there, most are not comparable to the full size version. If you have more questions, you may leave a comment below or check out your local guitar shop! Guitar sizes for children is afterall, a highly debatable topic.

 

Paul Gilbert Singapore

Paul Gilbert Interview, Singapore 2019

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Paul Gilbert Interview, Singapore 2019

Paul Gilbert Singapore

Did you know? Paul Gilbert frequents Singapore!

Paul Gilbert is back in Singapore to promote his 15th solo album, “Behold Electric Guitar”, and we met him for a quick interview. Ranked one of 50 fastest guitarists of all time (Guitar World), the lead guitarist of iconic rock band Mr. Big is no stranger to our sunny island – Paul was here with Mr. Big in 2009, 2014 and 2017, and he also came as himself in 2002 and 2005; I may have left out some tours, but wouldn’t you think he has a lot of love for his Singaporean fans? Tonight was no exception for all who purchased VIP tickets to his 10 Dec show as everyone was able to meet their guitar hero in close proximity and lose their minds a little bit.

swee lee singapore event

Fans queue patiently to meet Paul Gilbert

The interview of my lifetime!

I’ve always been a really huge fan of Paul Gilbert, but never in my life did I think I would one day land a super-rare opportunity to sit beside a guitar legend and enjoy some great conversation with him! When the big day came, I took all the years of experience I gathered as a performer and compressed them into this ultimate chill pill. With a deep breath, I walked forward and began my short interview with him.

paul gilbert interview singapore

I asked him 3 questions.

Time was tight, and there were several others who were waiting to meet Paul. As Guitar.com already had an in-depth interview with Paul, I decided to ask 3 questions I felt would provide a more unique angle to readers, specifically education-centric questions, since Paul and I both teach. I might have taken him by surprise a little, but he had some very insightful replies to these questions, nevertheless:

  1. What do you think are the essential qualities of a guitar teacher?
  2. What can the current generation do to boost the guitar industry? (Since it seems digital music is the trend now, and guitar lessons aren’t in great demand.)
  3. What are 3 songs that every guitar student should have a go at?

The full video is at the bottom of this article.

The man behind it all

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to a very special person, who has made Paul Gilbert’s Singapore visit happen, and he is none other than Inokii, owner of the eponymously-named record store in Far East Plaza. It’s no easy feat bringing in an artiste due to the enormous amount of coordinating work involved, but Inokii has undertaken all of this and given the local music scene a much-needed boost. So guys, if you see him at the show, don’t forget to say hi and a big THANK YOU!

inokii singapore

14 Scotts Road, Far East Plaza, #03-30. Call 6337 9230

The rest of the band!

While I did not get to meet Asher, the keyboardist, it was great to be able to catch up with Bill and meet the bassist Roland! I previously did an interview with Bill about his experience working with Paul. Click here to read and watch all about it.

Paul Gilbert Band

Paul Gilbert’s Band 2019

My loot for today!

Well, of course, I am still a fanboy! As soon as the camera was off, I whipped out my prized possessions and got Paul to sign them! If you pay careful attention, Paul has been using my guitar the entire time during the interviews. Paul agreed to sign at the back of the headstock because we both feel that the front is too beautiful to have something signed on. I also got my copy of his “Intense Rock II” signed. He was really surprised to see that book because it has been a really long time!

paul gilbert signed on my guitar

Paul Gilbert Intense Rock 2

Secret pedal on Paul Gilbert’s pedalboard!

While Evigan Xiao was conducting his interview with Paul Gilbert in Swee Lee Singapore, they talked about a mysterious pedal sitting on his pedalboard. There was no indication on that black pedal about what the knobs do or what it does. As far as I can share with you at this point in time, this is a new prototype pedal developed by a pedal maker and will soon be released as a product for the market. Perhaps, if you are at the front rows of the show, you might want to pay real close attention whenever this pedal gets activated.

paul gilbert pedalboard 2019

No prize for guessing which pedal maker is behind the black pedal. The signs were obvious!

In conclusion

Tonight was amazing. Tomorrow will be crazy! 2019 has been a great guitar year, with not one but TWO close-up sessions with my idols. In case you missed it, I met up with Jack Thammarat in his studio in September! Read all about it here!

vinnie mah and paul gilbert

Thank you our dear photographer Alvin for the lovely shot!

My Interview with Paul Gilbert

TO PUSH OR NOT TO PUSH?

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Do we push our children or not, to learn a musical instrument? Even if you didn’t know before, you will – after reading this – value the cognitive benefits learning an instrument can give children. And help them later on as adults too. Based on our experience at Vinnie Classroom, we firmly believe that having a healthy passion, like a musical instrument, can also help keep kids on the straight and narrow.

To force or not to force?

We’ve never heard an adult say “I’m so glad my parents let me quit piano lessons.” Instead, nearly every adult that was once taking piano lessons says: “I wish my parents made me keep up with piano lessons and not give up so early.”

Based on studies (read below), it can only be beneficial to direct our children to take lessons of some instrument. Possibly even one of their choosing. And can’t we also tell our kids – much like we do with studying – that they must practice an instrument? And do this without bringing out the Tiger-parent in us?

Help your child get curious about music so that he or she can develop a desire to engage with music. Let your child play around with different instruments. Listen to music, attend concerts and sing together. Your child will naturally want to imitate you. So a big motivation for children to practice is seeing their parents getting involved with music themselves.

Sometimes lack of enthusiasm may be a signal that it’s time to switch instruments. This also means you may need to be flexible. While it may be expensive to allow a child to start and stop several different activities, try to work with your child to find one he or she enjoys and is motivated to practice.

Evidence-Based Benefits of Learning an Instrument (And Learning It Early)

It increases brain matter

A Harvard neurologist in a 2003 study found that adult professional musicians have a higher level of gray matter volume in the motor, auditory, and visual-spatial regions of their brain than non-musicians. A later study showed that positive structural brain changes take place in young children – average age of 6.3 years – after only 15 months of musical training.

It helps stave off the effect of aging on the brain

A 2011 study demonstrated that having learned an instrument can slow the aging process on your brain. In the study, researchers divided 70 older adults – ages 60 to 83 – into three groups. Those who had studied an instrument for more than ten years, those who had played for one to nine years, and those who had never learned an instrument.

Each group was then given a battery of neuropsychological tests. The group that had played an instrument for the longest scored the highest. In these areas: nonverbal memory recall, visuomotor speed and sequencing, and cognitive flexibility.

The same researcher in a 2012 study confirmed the findings of the previous study. It also suggested that learning an instrument before the age of nine and studying that instrument for at least ten years results in the greatest benefits. Those who met these criteria in the study outperformed non-musicians. In these areas: verbal working memory, verbal memory, verbal fluency, visuospatial, and planning functions.

So, let your child learn an instrument, especially early in life, and stick with it. You won’t regret it because this has positive, long-lasting effects on your child’s brain!

Crazy Elephant Singapore

Crazy Elephant’s 25th Anniversary Celebrations!

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Crazy Elephant Celebrates its 25th Anniversary!

Crazy Elephant Singapore

Img credit : Crazy Elephant Singapore

25 years of Crazy Elephant!

In the early 1990s, Clarke Quay shed its past as a shipping port and was redeveloped into a commercial and entertainment district. It was then, in 1994, that a bar called Crazy Elephant had its humble beginnings. It therefore quickly established itself as ‘the’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues live music venue as we know it today! Woohoo!

On 20 October 2019, Crazy Elephant celebrated its Silver Jubilee! The place was overflowing with patrons, some decked out in the craziest suits ever, and a gigantic elephant mask. To mark this major milestone, 7 bands – Dubious People, Crozzroads, Randolf Arriola, The No Daddies, Dirty Dealers, Heritage, Bob Sauler & The Blues Rock Renegade – performed the greatest hits from 1969 to 1994. Finally, to close the night, musicians from all over the world brought the house down at Singapore’s longest running jam session.

 

Fun Fact 1: Do you know Clark Quay used to be a family oriented entertainment ground? There was even an indoor water adverture ride “Pirates of the Carribean” that features the history of Singapore’s Maritime and Port. That was 1993 and before the new redevelopment plans to convert the identity of Clark Quay, allowing the very existence of Crazy Elephant. 

Let’s hear it from the person who knows it best – Anita!

We are so honored to have been part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, but as ignorant juniors of the local music scene, we have some burning questions about Crazy Elephant! Who can be a better person to ask than Anita, who has had front row seats to the Big Bang at CE?! She has been the Business Development Manager for the last 20 years, she sure knows every little thing about this crazy party house!

When did you join Crazy Elephant? How was it like back then?

1999!!! It was crazy back then as well! The venue was much smaller but we still had many amazing musicians both local and from all over the world come through our doors. Back then and for many years after, there weren’t many places that had live music and doing what we did and continue to do quality Blues and Rock music. It was a full house every weekend and you could hardly move. It was a very different Clarke Quay back then.

When did the famous weekly Jam Session begin? How has it grown?

Since forever! It has definitely grown over the years, kudos to the support of the amazing musicians and music lovers who come through, helping us spread the word as well as our very own jam master Kelly Olafson who does an amazing job of running the jam every Sunday. This year saw the birth of Common Ground, an event that happens every third Sunday of the month that starts a couple of hours before our jam session. The idea behind it is to get musicians and music lovers converging together to swap, showcase music gear, share stories and meet like-minded people. The response has been good and most of the time they stay on to jam as well.

Have you witnessed any musicians taking on bigger stages after gaining experience from performing in Crazy Elephant?

I think it’s almost like a rite of passage to many, be it those who go on to pursue a professional career or those who have just picked up the guitar. The idea of sharing the love of Blues and Rock music, performing live, has always been part of CE culture. Our musicians are always very welcoming, encouraging and generous to share their experiences and give tips, be it which gear might be the best or how to overcome stage fright.

Can you list some countries of your patrons?

Australia. Belgium. Brazil. Cambodia. Canada. China. Cuba. Denmark. Egypt. Fiji. Finland. France. Germany. Greece. Honduras. Hungry. Iceland. India. Indonesia. Iran. Ireland. Italy. Japan. Lebanon. Malaysia. Mauritius. Mexico. Montenegro. Myanmar. Netherlands. Nepal. New Zealand. Norway. Pakistan. Peru. Philippines. Portugal. Russia. Spain. Singapore. Sweden. Suriname. Switzerland. Thailand. Turkey. Ukraine. UAE. USA. Vietnam. Zimbabwe…..just to name a few!!!!

What’s the best part of Crazy Elephant today?

We have and will continue to cultivate the music community and play a big part in the live music scene as one of the longest-running establishments here in Clarke Quay and in Singapore.

Heart and Soul of Blues Rock Singapore

In conclusion, Anita definitely made it clear that Crazy Elephant has been and will always a platform for creative interactions among musicians. The glowing legacy of Crazy Elephant is evident in the crowds it continues to draw relentlessly, night after night for a quarter of a century. Let us leave you with some photos our beloved Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues bar, past and present, from Facebook! See you at Crazy Elephant!

Vinnie

 

Fun Fact 2: Crazy Elephant is founded by Mr John Chee, Mr Samuel Seong Koon and Mr Keef Ong. Mr Chee used to play 5 days a week with the house band Blues Machine. These days, the house is taken over by Bob Sauler and The Blues Rock Renegades! Bob Sauler on Vocals and Guitar, David Ng on Bass, Tan Boon Gee on Drums and Alex Kalino Hooi on Guitar. 

Kelly Olafson, the unsung hero of the Open Mic Jam!

Kelly Olafson

Possibly the first Crazy Elephant Jam Session!

Crazy Elephant Open Mic Jam

From the team at Crazy Elephant!

guitar pick wallpaper

How to choose a guitar pick (Beginner)

By | Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Music Articles, Retail | No Comments

How to choose a guitar pick?

guitar pick wallpaper

Pick the right pick! How, though?

With guitar picks, the plethora of options out there presents a challenge for beginners wanting to pick the right pick. How to choose a guitar pick is a topic that goes on forever. Guitar picks vary in shapes and thickness and are made with different materials. The latter depends more on personal preference, but the shape and thickness depends on

Get the right shape!

Guitar pick shape

Various shapes of guitar picks

The image above shows only 8 of the commonly seen shapes, there are crazier designs out there. For now, we will explain the reasons behind these 8 shapes. By the end of this article, you should know how to choose the guitar pick for your daily practice!

Standard

best guitar pick

The standard shape is one of the most popular choices, so you can expect to find a large range of quality picks of this shape in music stores. This is an all-rounder design that allows you to excel in both strumming and picking. It fits well in any hand size too. Standard-shape pick prices range from $0 to $5 for each pick. If you are a beginner, we highly recommend you start with this design.

Teardrop

The teardrop is designed with precision in mind. People who are able to use these often complement it for allowing them to get closer to the strings, feeling the strings better. However, teardrop picks are not for everyone. They are rather small and require a certain level of skill to control. So if you are looking at these, you should already have a good amount of experience with the standard pick.

Jazz

The Jazz pick is probably the best solution to those who want the angle of the standard pick, but in a smaller size. While the standard pick is branded as a one-size-fits-all pick, that is never quite the case. In this case, most people actually prefer the jazz pick after they are done exploring the standard pick. But just like the teardrop design, we recommend all beginners to stick to the standard for a start.

Pointy

While jazz picks may be the most right-sized, it may not have the best in terms of angle. The picking angle of the Jazz pick is very much the same as the Standard. For people who wish their pick can glide pass the string effortlessly, Pointy is the best solution. Pointy is pretty much the sharper version of the Jazz. Paul Gilbert commonly use such design and is also commonly known for his speed and precision!

Pentagon

I know, that isn’t how a Pentagon should look like. This design is between the Jazz and the Teardrop.  The chopped off ends allows the pick size to be smaller but at the same time offering the picking angle similar to the Jazz. If you are looking for a Jazz pick with a smaller surface area, this might be it. Besides, it looks funky and cool!

Triangle and Equilateral Triangle

shamisen

Img: Wow-j.com

The triangle and equilateral triangle picks are for those with huge hand size. They offer a thicker tone due to the amount of mass on the pick and also allows for you to pick on all corners. This means, there isn’t a moment you will panic on stage because you are holding the pick in the wrong position. On top of being a big pick, Triangle pick reminds us of the Japanese Traditional instrument Shamisen (三味線). Though not entirely the same but you can see the similarity between the pick used for the Shamisen and this Triangle pick.

Sharkfin

The Sharkfin was branded as a multi-purpose guitar pick. It is a combination of Teardrop, Standard and the Sharkfin. The top right corner offers the small picking angle like the Teardrop. The bottom offers the picking angle like the Standard. The Sharkfin side is perhaps the smartest pick design ever. By strumming the guitar strings with the multiple ridges, you can attain a tone that sounds similar to the Chorus effect or 12-string guitar! That is because the pick design allows the string to be strum a couple of times in just 1 stroke! There are brands out there that offer Sharkfins made with various thicknesses on the different corners too!

Thickness, just how thick is right?

Thick and Thin guitar pick

IMG: V-Picks.com

Guitar pick comes in a huge variety of thickness and they all serve a specific purpose. There is no right or wrong with which thickness you choose. However, there are some general guidelines to the thickness. We will divide them into 4 categories, Thin, Medium, Thick, and Ultra. Let’s dive in!

 

 

Thin Picks

Thin picks are suitable for strumming away on the acoustic guitar. They have a high level of flexibility and helps to reduce all the harshness when you strum hard across the strings. The tone produced is also rather thin but there is specific case where pro-guitarist actually want that tone in their song. Take a look at the ever-popular Wonderwall, the tone is unmistakably achieved by strumming with a rather thin pick! It is almost impossible to get that tone otherwise! We recommend all beginners to get this thickness first and master the art of using a guitar pick.

Medium Picks

Medium picks offer the best of both worlds between strumming and picking. The thickness still allows for some flexibility and hardness when picking individual notes. This thickness is by far the most popular with most Acoustic guitar players that do picking and strumming in their songs. Electric guitar players who do more of rhythm role will also benefit from this thickness because the thinner strings on the electric guitar matches really well with the medium thickness guitar picks. We recommend this to beginners that have passed the stage of Wonderwall.

Thick Picks

Thick picks offer almost no flexibility and makes strumming a lot harder. However, the thickness in return allows for a faster response when picking a string as there isn’t any flexing on the pick to cushion the stroke. This means you can pick faster than with a Medium or Thin pick. With a little practice, the pro-guitarist will be able to strum with the thick pick and achieve a tone similar to Wonderwall. However, the risk of the pick falling off the grip is real when doing so. Usually, a guitarist at this level is able to go between a variety of thicknesses and will have a pouch filled with choices. Beginners, stay clear of the Thick picks.

Ultra Picks

As the name suggests, these picks are not meant for regulars. In fact, they are meant for people who have cleared all stages of Wonderwall and are entering the world of the vast unknown. The ultra-thick pick has no tolerance to flex, they simple are as tough as Diamond. However, the sweet reward of using these picks are ultra-fast picking response and a rather thick guitar tone! Each note will sound as if they have put on a few pounds since you last heard of them. We are not endorsing these kinds of picks but there are a few brands out there that offer this madness. V-Picks being one of the crazier ones… Go try it if you dare. Again, stay clear of this my Beginners.

Conclusion

If you are a Beginner and hunting for the most suitable guitar picks for your daily practice, we recommend you to go with the Thin or Medium thickness on the Standard design. If you have a doubt, it is also a good idea to talk to your guitar teacher about this. Your guitar teacher will know your progress the best and will be able to advise you on what is most suitable for you.

good guitar pick

How to choose a guitar pick ? Now you know !

Vinnie