A Salute to my Master: Klaus Flenter

By accident I stumbled upon some information about my teacher from back than: Klaus Flenter, one of the greats when it comes to chord melody jazz guitar playing in the Netherlands and beyond.The first video is a trio version of the song Green Dolphin Street.

If anything I will always remember Klaus as the one that solidified my love for chord melody guitar playing and what a joy to see my old teacher going on like this and like on the next video where the trio plays Misty.

Klaus, my old master, thanks for all the great stuff you taught me over the years at the Conservatory in Rotterdam and even now when looking at these videos.

Students Happy with Lessons via Skype

The guitar lessons via skype turn out to be a real blessing. It beats the impersonal video and makes it possible to enjoy a lesson at your convenience without having to leave the home but with the advantages of being tutored face to face.

Here’s what one new student said:

It works and it great!!! In a fortnite another one. Highly recommended folks!!

Book now as places are sort of limited.

Thoughts on play along tracks and metronomes

I get regular questions as to whether to use a play along track or a metronome.

I guess it depends somewhat on the purpose: both are equally capable of helping you with your time. At the same time however when it comes to using it for the purpose of improvisation, I generally prefer the metronome. While having the whole band behind you, for instance using Band-in-a-Box or play along CD’s may seem great, I generally find that they are a limitation to my imagination. I can’t help but feeling that when it comes to improvisation practice: less is more. More than once it seems like the play along tracks direct you in a certain direction. So, I would generally prefer a metronome.

At the same time however, I realize that it may well not be that easy to hear the harmonic structure of a song and improvise on that especially when you are starting out. I guess that is where I’d go for using a midi file or band in a box file with just the bass or bass and drums.

Thinking Outside of the Box: Steve Vai on the Creative Process

Last night by accident almost I stumbled upon the YouTube Channel of Steve Vai here >>> to be amazed by all the videos with such incredible guitar playing. But that actually was not what amazed me most. I was really blown away by the new band String Theory and the set up with two violin players (one traditional and one electric).  It is yet another example of how THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX  really frees up for new possibilities and sounds, in this case due to the two violins.

Don’t you just love the way these instruments blend together, I know I do and what’s more. I have been writing new music and felt like arranging it with so that my very talented cousin could play his violin in there but was not sure how to get it so that it would be more than just an intro and than over and done. Than you Steve for opening up my world of possibilities again. At the same time: it meant two scores in the fireplace and back to the drawing board. Normally I’d be sad about that this time I am excited!

Here is another be blown away from the same band. Love those incredible harmonies.

I remember well how much I enjoyed my holiday in Bulgaria years ago staying in the ancient city of Nessebur and its beautiful people and how could I forget our stray dog that followed us around everywhere and would be there in the morning waiting for us. When seeing the video below which deals with Steve Vai’s creative process I started wondering if I had missed something there.

The most important lesson in here is I guess for me is: DO NOT STICK TO WHAT YOUR FINGERS ARE TELLING YOU BUT TELL YOUR FINGERS WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. I remember well how I wrote some music for my good friend Michael Pokocky but could not play it that point (actually studying to get it fluent), it was the very same thing!

Have fun playing and writing.


Chord Scale Companion for Commonly Used Keys in Worship Music

Major Scales

C C(maj7) Dm(7) Em(7) F(maj7) G(7) Am(7) Bo (min7b5)
D D(maj7) Em(7) F#m(7) G(maj7) A(7) Bm(7) Co (min7b5)
E E(maj7) F#m(7) G#m(7) A(maj7) B(7) C#m(7) Do(min7b5)
F F(maj7) Gm(7) Am(7) Bb(maj7) C(7) Dm(7) Eo(min7b5)
G G(maj7) Am(7) Bm(7) C(maj7) D(7) Em(7) F#o(min7b5)
A A(maj7) Bm(7) C#m(7) D(maj7) E(7) F#m(7) G#o(min7b5)

Minor Scales

For the minor scales the above translates to the following (parallel) minor scales:

  • C  ==> A minor
  • D ==> B minor
  • E ==> C# minor
  • F ==> D minor
  • G ==> E minor
  • A ==> F# minor



Living too far away to drive to guitar lessons, or just want the occasional lesson at the convenience of your own living room or music room or actually even your bedroom (provided you have internet connection there), consider one on one live lessons via skype.  All it takes is you, your guitar (an amp if applicable) a web cam and microphone. Besides skype I am looking at alternatives like yahoo messenger and msn messenger.

This may just be the solution for younger students that do not want to be traveling in the evening hours or where other commitments make it more convenient to stay at home while still receiving instructions.

Just email me, and you’ll be receiving firther instructions on payment and we ca book a lesson at a time that works for both off us. Payments are accepted via bank transfer/electronic payment, paypal and/or credit card.

Contact me for more information >>>

Free Lesson: Spice it up with your minor pentatonic scale

If there is one thing that is clear it seems to me that almost all guitar players interested in lead guitar use the minor pentatonic scale. There are others that will point out that they also use the major pentatonic scale but for now I will go from the premise that any major pentatonic scale will have its minor replacement, similar to what happens in modes.

As an example: some people will use the C major pentatonic scale for playing on either a C chord, C maj7  chord or a C7 chord.

When we look at the C major pentatonic scale we see it has the following notes: C D E G A.
When you start on the A note however, it will make A C D E G.

There is a reason however why I choose to approach this from the minor pentatonic perspective throughout, and that is because a.) Many guitar players start with this scale when experimenting with their blues solos and because it is so closely related to the other well used scale: the blues scale.

As beginning guitar players we will all have gone through licks like this:

Now in the following examples I have used different pentatonic scales to play over the chord sequence D min7 – G7 -Cmaj7 which is for those with a but of a theoretical background a II – V – I chord progression. In its most basic form we would be using the following minor pentatonic scales:

D minor 7 —>  D minor pentatonic scale

G7 —> E minor pentatonic scale / G blues scale or G minor pentatonic scale

C maj7 —> A minor pentatonic scale

You will find that when you play these scales over thew chord progression it sounds a bit dull.

Personally what I find attractive about the minor pentatonic scales is that they are useful to create patterns or certain repeatable fragments. If we combine that given with the idea that we may be able to use different minor pentatonic scales on different chords all of a sudden a wide array of possibilities opens up to spice up your solos. By the way I could go into all kinds of theory here but I will just say I usually use the minor pentatonic and blues scales as interchangeable. (the notes in between brackets are the additional note to the pentatonic scale to make it into a blues scale.  I am aware that more options exist but these give you a nice start.

D minor 7 (D F A C)

  • D minor pentatonic: D F G (G#/Ab) A C
  • E minor pentatonic E G A (A#/Bb) B D
    The B in this scale  makes for a nice emphasis of the dorian character of the chord (IIm7 chord) while the blue note  (Bb) provides for a nice natural minor sound.
  • A minor pentatonic A C D (D#/Eb) E G.

G7 (G B D F)

  • E minor pentatonic: E G A (Bb) B D
  • F minor pentatonic: F Ab Bb C (C#/Db) Eb
  • G minor pentatonic: G Bb C (C#/Db) D F
  • Bb minor pentatonic: Bb Db Eb (E) F Ab

C maj7 (C E G B)

  • A minor pentatonic: A C D (D#/Eb) E G
  • B minor pentatonic: B D E (F) F# A this scale produces a lydian airy kind of sound
  • E minor pentatonic: E G A (A#/Bb) B

Some Examples

Example 1

In this example only the A minor pentatonic and Bb minor pentatonic scale were used to create chromatic tension and and at the same time resolution. The A minor pentatonic over the C maj7 chord creates a 6 or 13 sound.

Example 2

I this second example we move up position by position and end up in the lydian sounding b minor pentatonic over the C maj7 chord.
The F# note suggests a Cmaj7 #11 chord.

Example 3

In this third example we have an gone from D minor pentatonic to E and F minor pentatonic so we would at least have the B note in the G7 chord. Try to avoid over emphasis of the C note in the F minor pentatonic as against G that suggest a sus chord, while at the same time chromoatically it sounds nice and we resolve this back to E minor pentatonic goes to B minor pentatonic goes to A minor pentatonic.

Cycling around for practice

I you would like to come up with other ideas and practice it us actually nice if you have a cycle that you can let go on continuously. That can be one by playing ||       Dmin7     |      G7     |      Cmaj7     |       A7 ||

Below I will list the different pentatonic scales you could use in a format that makes it easier to see how you can create nice patterns with them.

I guess you can see for yourself now that there are some good options to connect different minor pentatonic scales and keep on going round and round. Have fun!