Dave Celentano’s Master Class at Lowe’s Music

Written by on May 24, 2012 in Live Reviews, May 24, 2012, News To Shout About! - Comments Off on Dave Celentano’s Master Class at Lowe’s Music

Dave Celentano’s Master Class at Lowe’s Music

by Clio

Lowe’s Music in Newhall, CA, was standing-room only April 28, 2012 for a free Master Class by local guitarist Dave Celentano. A veteran of the Los Angeles music scene for more than two decades, Celentano studied privately with Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth) and knew one of Musician’s Institute’s (GIT’s) most famous students, Paul Gilbert (Racer X, Mr. Big). He’s one of the rare musicians who actually makes a living with his guitar. Lee Lowe, owner of Lowe’s Music, introduced Dave as having taught and published several instructional books, CDs, and DVDs, as well as solo CDs. Lowe added that Celentano is well-known for his 8-finger tapping method.

The Master Class was titled “Classical Music for Electric Guitar,” and the first sample song on his favorite Les Paul was Celentano’s “Rockabel Canon,” his rocking arrangement of the familiar “Pachelbel’s Canon” which will be on his upcoming CD. He provided tablatures of the class’s examples for the many guitarists in the audience, noting that the chord progression in “Pachelbel’s Canon” is common to several bands’ material, it’s just in different keys. “Although all of the well-known classical music composers played multiple instruments, many of the original works were written for piano,” Celentano said, and “changing from the original bar chords to ascending chords on the guitar’s fret board makes them sound great on guitar.” He encouraged attendees to “stretch outside of the normal metal or rock style” to improve their playing in surprising ways.

As an instructor, Celentano is adept in many genres of music, from shredding metal to jazz. For the pieces discussed in this Master Class, he gave “the classical pieces a little twist…. Some people may get upset about tampering with the classics, but music needs to progress and evolve; it’s always about something new.” He also pointed out that “there’s a lot of math in music,” and demonstrated a common classical chord progression in which the chords revolve through the circle of fourths in the key of the song.

“Popular guitarists who integrate classical techniques and scales such as harmonic minor scales, diminished arpeggios, and pedal points with rock and metal are Randy Rhoads on ‘Revelation Mother Earth’ and Yngwie Malmsteen on ‘Trilogy Suite,’ for example. Edward Van Halen’s classic solo ‘Eruption’ features a Kruetzer violin exercise and classical-sounding tapped arpeggios,” which Celentano demonstrated.

Celentano explained and demonstrated several techniques slowly, then played them to backing tracks. Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” in D minor (which Celentano called Bach’s “Halloween song”), and Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony” (dah-dah-dah-DUM) were well-known tunes he broke down, along with the song “Wicked Music Box” from his own Wicked Music Box CD.

“Playing should be fun!” he emphasized, and showed how using effects pedals and built-in amplifier effects in various combinations such as digital delays creates multiple ways to play the same transcription very differently. Celentano interspersed theory topics such as dotted eighth notes, inversions, and palm muting with guitar and music jokes and awarded free strings, books, and CDs for trivia answers.

Easy-going and enthusiastic, Celentano made the complex and innovative techniques seem fun and, if not easy, at least possible – with practice and lessons. He noted that his web site links to YouTube videos of many of his lessons, and wrapped up by encouraging the guitarists in the audience to “go beyond scales when you practice. And practice. And practice.” It’s a safe bet many of the attendees took home Celentano’s tablatures and strapped on their guitars that same night to stretch their musical chops.

Celentano teaches at Lowe’s Music (http://www.lowesmusic.com) and also offers private lessons. For more information about his music, CDs, and educational materials, visit http://www.davecelentano.com.