Saturday, October 17, 2015

Duo Irida @ Dutch Design Week


Duo Irida (Irida - vocals & Mathias Lang - guitar) play at the Dutch Design Week.

When: every day from 17th to 21st of October 2015, between 15:00 to 17:00 (approx.)
Where: Hallenweg 9, Eindhoven (NL)

Enjoy our music with some fine jail food!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How To Spice Up Your Blues Solos

Hi guys,

I wrote an article on how to make your blues solos more interesting by adding notes outside the blues scale. The article got published on Here's the link:

Spice Up Your Blues Playing

Enjoy reading!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Duo Concert: Irida and Scuff Jack @ Stage Music Café Eindhoven

Hi everybody, I'd like to announce a concert:

Irida & Scuff Jack @ Stage Music Café, Stratumseind 25, Eindhoven
EASY Sunday, 27 September 2015

19:30 Scuff Jack: Singer-songwriter with guitar and scuff-board!
20:30 Irida: semi-acoustic R'n'B from Austria!

Irida - vocals
Shidhi Bouwman - backing vocals
Rebecca Lydia - backing vocals
Huseyin Demir - backing vocals
Peter Huber - trumpet
Mathias Lang - guitars
Bob Willemstein - bass
Marco Toro - percussion

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Melodic Theme Guitar Contest

Hi guys,

I entered a guitar contest by David Wallimann. It's about coming up with a good and catchy melody over the backing track provided by David. It's not so much the competitive element that attracts me to such contests, but the fact that they are always good for meeting fellow guitarists. It's very interesting to see and hear how others approach such a task, and it's also good to get feedback on your own work. Please check out this post of mine for more deeply philosophical thoughts about guitar contests ;)

I thought it might be interesting to share with you how I come up with ideas for what to play. I work the same way when I do studio jobs for other people. So I get a mix-down of the song I'm supposed to play on, sometimes accompanied by a lead sheet showing the song's structure and the chords. Then I would just listen a few times, but without consciously concentrating on the music, more like listening to background music. I keep on doing this until some phrases and ideas pop up in my head. Sometimes this goes quickly, other times I need to listen a lot of times. But for me it's important to just "let it happen" without trying hard to find something. This will usually give results that I'm more satisfied with. After filling up my head with ideas I start playing along with my guitar to see how I can realize those ideas. I will discard some, come up with new ones, and as soon as I think that I got something good I start recording. This will definitely not be the final take. At that point I'm just collecting ideas for listening back and choosing. I would usually record 3 to 10 takes, and the higher the number of the take, the more similar the takes become, that's at least the normal development. Depending on how much time I have, I would listen back and then just sleep over it, listen back the next day, record a few more takes, and ultimately decide which one will be the final take. Of course, sometimes I would combine several takes, if I only like certain parts of the different takes. I don't do this, however, when I record videos (such as for the guitar contest), because with the video I prefer a single take. In that case there are always things that could be improved, but it's also healthy to give up perfectionism in certain situations. Of course, for expensive studio productions you get paid to be a perfectionist!

Anyway, here's my entry. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Sebbe, one of my students, also entered the contest. Check out his version!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Donna Lee

Hi guys,

I'd like to share with you my transcription of the theme of Donna Lee by Miles Davis. I know it has been transcribed a zillion times and you can also find it in the Real Book, BUT there are two reasons why I still did it:
  1. There are some errors in the Real Book
  2. The fingerings for guitar are tricky, and it's very important how and where you play it to make it swing

I based my transcription on the 1947 recording of the Charlie Parker Quintet.

So, why on earth would anybody want to learn that song from almost 70 years ago? Well, first it's a great technical work-out. It's not easy to play the piece at the original tempo (around 220 bpm) and make it sound good at the same time! Second, it teaches you a lot of great bebop licks that you can use for your own improvisations. But in order to be able to re-use those licks, you must try to understand over which chords / chord progressions they are used. So try to find the II-V-I's and all other characteristic progressions that also pop up in many other tunes, and see what Miles Davis and Charlie Parker came up with.

As usual, start slow, and always listen how it's supposed to sound, because the notation doesn't show everything. I recommend you take the original recording, slow it down, and play along until you nail it, then increase the tempo, etc. Anyway, here's the tabs, have fun!

You can also find a pdf-version in Tabs&Sheet Music.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Neal Morse + Mike Portnoy in the Effenaar Saturday 18 July

Mike Portnoy is one of my favorite drummers, and he comes to Eindhoven next Saturday! I guess I can't miss that. I've last seen him in Cologne with the Winery Dogs, this time he comes with Neal Morse. They'll be playing in the Effenaar. See you there?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Student Concert Sunday 21 June

I happily announce another concert of my students!

When: Sunday 21 June 2015, starting at 16:00
Where: Café Kraaij en Balder, Strijpsestraat 79, Eindhoven

As usual there will be a very mixed program, ranging from guitar solo pieces to pop/rock songs played by a group of students. And we also have two female singers supporting us! After the student concert there will be more music with some special guests joining in. Hope to see you all there!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tracking for new Fusion Project

I'm happy to announce that I've got together with two old friends of mine (Maalo and Richard Hal) to record some fusion tracks. We've played together as a live band many many years ago, but now we live in different countries, so we're getting back together as a virtual band. Everybody is recording in their own (home) studio, and we're sending tracks (and videos) back and forth.

We just started with a bloody difficult piece that we used to play as an intro to our show, but we never recorded it. I needed to sit down and figure it out again, because it's been ages since I last played it. Anyway, below you can see me tracking, just with the drum track, more will be added later. Hope to be able to show you more of our stuff in the near future!