Oh The Hunger

I couldn't wait to get home to grab some dinner earlier tonight so I jumped on the first tram in sight from Richmond back to the city only to realise I didn't have the keys to my apartment! The worst thing was I didn't forget to bring my keys. I deliberately left them at home thinking I wouldn't need to rush home today. Add this to my silliness list, I know.

The hunger drove me nuts and the tram ride coupled with the heat today didn't help at all. I was starving so bad that everything was spinning and I was literally seeing stars. The good thing was I had my wallet with me so I bought myself a meatball sub from Subway and devoured it! Then I went and bought a slurpee from seven eleven! Now that was all done, the heat was still getting to me and I still had no access to my apartment.

So I headed back into the city hoping to browse JB Hi Fi but it was closed! Since I was around Chinatown, I hit up the arcades! Before I knew it, time passed and the wife came to my rescue.

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

My Silly-Ness

I feel extremely silly today and it's been bothering me all day that I messed up my MSN and Hotmail. No thanks to my impatience, I messed things all up. I mean, it is as easy as signing up for a new account and I'll be back in the game go but the part that frustrates me the most now is the fear of losing all my contacts.

I guess a good thing that can come out of this is it frees up some time for me to spend the extra hours on practice! Or watching the Australian Open. Yes, I got sucked in. We'll see...

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

More Limelight Photos

These amazing photos were taken by the one and only, Mr. Alvin Wong. Check out more photos, awesome captions and review of the night on Alvin's blog. Alvin did the captions so well, I don't feel the need to do so here.

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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Come On Asami, Let's Dance

Here's what Asami, Julian and myself got up to last Thursday at The Limelight. All the rehearsals were leading up to this collaboration and we had a blast! Thanks for uploading the video Asami! Once again, thanks heaps to the awesome audience for coming down to the show as well.

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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Lick My Pick #4

Here's lick #4,
in the key of C#m. This is a slightly longer lick I've been working on and as you can see, it is very Paul Gilbert-inspired. There's lots of hammer-ons and pull-offs in there that makes the lick sound really smooth, as if the notes stick together. Of course, it works great too if you pick all the notes individually. I've seen lots of guitarist pick through their licks accurately with lightning speed and that is pretty impressive.



h = Hammer-on
p = Pull-off

I guess the tab is quite self explanatory. Again, I used directional picking for this lick. I find this lick really challenges me to play it as cleanly as possible, muting the unplayed strings with my palm and not hitting unwanted strings as I go up the frets.

This lick doesn't use the pinky too much, but just enough for me to work out the coordination between all four fingers. My pinky has always been the weakest finger and after my volleyball injury, it actually became worse. However, the more I practice and use my pinky, the more it regains strength.

I think this lick sounds really cool too as it evokes a feeling of running from one place to another, with a sense of purpose and direction. It feels like running the last 10 metres in a 100m race to me.

This version in the video is played with a slightly different feel. Notice the last few notes of the lick on the 1st string are picked in staccato making it a little more tense, I reckon. There are always options and this is one of them.


All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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Power Packed!

See what the wife got me? I woke up in the morning to find this under my pillow. I must have been exhausted seeing that I slept on my pillow without realising this was under it the whole time. I'm married to a fairy!

If you think string winders are a great invention, wait till you get your hands on this! All you need to do is load it up with 4 AA batteries and you're good to go. Press a single button and string winding has never been made so easy. I actually unwound a string just to rewind it to test if this power peg works. I mean, how can I resist not playing with a new toy immediately, right? I am definitely looking forward to my next string change!

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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Broken Scar feat. Asami

Photo taken by Lynn. Broken Scar with Asami. Sorry Julian, you didn't get into this picture. haha.

We had such a rad time at The Limelight last night mainly because Asami joined Julian and myself to sing a couple of songs which was heaps of fun. Thanks Asami! It was also really cool to see all the Malaysians come out to see Reza, Melina and Zal. I thought most Malaysians would have taken a break to head home but it turns out there's quite a few people that stayed back. Reza, Melina and Zal played an awesome songwriters round! It zapped me back to how things are back in Malaysia.

All the acts were freakin' amazing and I feel absolutely privileged to be a part of this community.

Thanks heaps to everyone who came out to the show to see us! It wouldn't have been the same without you guys.
Here's also to new friendships! It was a good time of catching up with everyone. All around, it was a great night.

If anyone is interested, here's the set list for the night.

Dressed To Kill
The Alien Song
Run To Your Heart (The new song which has been untitled for the past few shows)
Shooting Star feat. Asami
The City & The Lights
Come On Let's Dance feat. Asami

Hope you enjoyed the set!

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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Green Day. Rod Laver. Melbourne. 16 Dec 2009

I was on the tram earlier in the day on Tuesday, 15th December when I noticed people coming back into the city clad in Green Day merchandise. In my mind, I thought, maybe those guys went early to avoid the queues at the merch desks, bought their merch, head home first, then return to Rod Laver when the concert is about to start. Then when I got home, some friends dropped me a line on Facebook telling me that the show has been POSTPONED! Then it clicked! No wonder those dudes were leaving the arena. They must have gone there and received news that the concert had been postponed.

Then I went into panic! I mean, it wasn't the money already paid for the concert because you can usually get a refund for it, but it was because I've waited so many years to see them and this had to happen? Am I just not meant to see them, I thought.

So I looked up the official Frontier Touring site, their twitter, Rod Laver's site and Ticketek's site to confirm this. I wouldn't want to just take FB as truth (no offence to my friends for the heads up) but if I had stayed home thinking the gig was off when it actually wasn't, I'd crap myself. According to the sites, Billie Joe Armstrong had a food poisoning incident and he wasn't able to do the show that night.

However, the show did go on the next night and I was stoked! I think the fact that I waited all these years to see them and they played such a long set spanning their entire discography just puts this gig at the top of my most memorable gigs list.

Jet opened. This is what I call a value for money concert. A huge Aussie band that made it internationally opens for the band you grew up to. All you need is two really great bands at a concert I reckon. I'd prefer this rather than three crap opening acts which means more waiting time between change-overs. But then again, the three bands could be good bands. Hmm...I don't know anymore.

The pictures above were taken in the middle of the set where BJ brought out his BJ Strat to play the Dookie era songs.

The pyro at this gig was mad! It was so loud to a point it was a little annoying but visually, they look amazing! Looks like Tre Cool is on fire!

These pictures were taken from where I was and it was so far back. Check out better pictures HERE and a review on Faster Louder.

P/S: I was listening to the Dookie album the whole time I typed this. I think Coming Clean is one of my favourite Green Day songs!

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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Lick My Pick #3

This lick is taken from the solo for
the live version of Scratch, when I play the electric guitar with the band. It uses a combination of slides and some string skipping without the huge stretches like Richard's licks, which I am still working on by the way. This lick is one of those in my vocabulary that I regularly pull out as it had a sense of direction, like it is going somewhere and the string skips just makes the phrasing a bit more space than if you were to play the same set of notes otherwise.

In the video: I played this on my Fender Strat on the neck pickup through my Orange practice amp.


This is how I picked the notes. On the 3rd string, slide from 11 to 13 with an up stroke. Then pick every note on the 2nd and 1st strings with a down stroke. The 13th fret on the 3rd string is always picked with an up stroke. Lastly, slide from 14 to 16 on the 1st string.

Somehow picking all the notes on the 3rd string with an up stroke feels natural to me. When my picking hand comes upwards, I'd hit the note with an up stroke and when my picking hand goes downwards, I'd hit those notes on the 2nd and 1st strings with a down stroke. I don't know if this is a "lazy" way of doing it, but it seems to work for me. Please, feel free to drop me suggestions or share your ideas with me on how you would execute a lick like this. There's no end to learning.

Hope you like this lick. Enjoy!

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar


Come On Let's Sing

Just had another amazing rehearsal with Julian and Asami at my apartment. It was a long session as we started at 1pm and ended at 5pm but it didn't feel dreadful at all. We had so much fun that we didn't even realise time had escaped our hands. I was also pleasantly surprised that my living room has pretty good acoustics and it provided us a good tone and vibe for rehearsals.

Oh, I think I need to buy a tripod for my camera too so I can take some videos of what we do during rehearsals, the magic that happens and how much fun we have. There's just something about the stress-free nature of rehearsals and I wish these rehearsals were the actual shows themselves. I mean, with shows, there are so many variables that could throw off a performance or its quality. For example, a bad monitor mix could mean you can't hear yourself properly which will cause you to pitch incorrectly when singing.

Anyway, rehearsals are really the heart and soul of being a musician but I'm also really looking forward to the show on Thursday when Julian and myself will hit the stage featuring Asami on a couple of tracks in our set. So make yourselves available on Thursday and we'll see you the show.

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

Mixing It Up

Somehow taking a short thirty minute tram ride out of the city to St. Kilda beach just opens up a different atmosphere. It's as if St Kilda operates on a different weather system as the city. It was a bit gloomy when I boarded the tram in the city and as I got closer to St. Kilda, it was as if I was entering a different dimension. The sun was glowing, the breeze was strong but not freezing, the kite surfing dudes were out there doing their thing and the pubs were teeming with so much buzz as if there isn't a care in the world.

With all the enjoyment around, there had to be people working behind the scenes to provide this atmosphere and entertainment. I happen to be one of those people. I was at The Espy's Gershwin room last night and I mixed Underwater Jesus who played first and Sadhana who was fourth on the bill. I usually get to venue early so I can set up and tune up the room in my own time without rushing and stressing out. There's always a calm feeling and a sense of assurance just by being early, you know?

I had time to kill between mixing the first and fourth bands so I took a walk to the beach to chill out and relax my ears. I also helped out the other two mix engineers who were mixing the two bands before Sadhana and it's always good to make friends with like-minded audio engineers on the road.

Anyway, fast forward to the actual mixing. It was one of those times the FOH mix was sounding killer but the monitors weren't sounding that flash. Being the perfectionist that I am, I felt a little bummed despite pulling a great mix at FOH. I mean, the drums were sounding fat and stellar, the guitars were cutting through like a knife, the bass was right there in the pocket and the vocals were just soaring above it all, but I guess you can't win them all, can you? All in all, it was still a great night mixing the bands.

On the technical side of things, I bought a used DBX 266XL Compressor/Gate to add to my live mixing toy collection recently and I must say, I am blown away at how awesome it works on vocals when it is inserted as a dedicated compressor on a particular vocal channel. This is going to be my staple for vocals, unless I end up getting a tube pre-amp/comp/EQ strip in the future. This would do for now and I am absolutely stoked. The Gershwin's got decent Drawmer gates on toms and Drawmer comps for my groups, as well as an M-One for reverb and D-Two for Delays. So having the 266 dedicated to the lead vocals was definitely a killer choice! Glad I didn't resign to not being bothered!

Still buzzing from the mix last night, I couldn't really sleep all night and I went to church at Bridge bright and early this morning to mix monitors. It was a blast! Still buzzing from everything, I had a coffee after. Then 4pm came and that was when I crashed! I am still paying for it as I type this.

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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Lick My Pick #2

I got carried away with rehearsal yesterday with Asami and Julian (which was awesome by the way) that I guess, it is safe to say, one lick a day would be a huge commitment to keep up with, so how about we scale it back to one lick a week? Sounds good?

So, I was having a chat with Richard from The Poseidon Connection about these Paul Gilbert licks and the light bulb turned on it my head to ask Richard to contribute as a guest blogger. So here we go!

Skip Scarp Scoop Scarp Beedum Beedoo!
By Richard Leong
The Poseidon Connection

One of the earliest guitar heroes to utilize string skipping in guitar-playing is our favourite Mr. Paul Gilbert. During the era of 80s guitar shredding, most guitarists were focusing on sweep picking after the uprising of Yngwie but our Pablo was shredding his heart out using the string skipping technique. In its basic form, it would be beneficial to start with the Major and Minor shapes in the keys of E Major and E Minor respectively.

Ex 1 : E Major shape







Ex 2 : E Minor shape






So, some of you may ask, how do execute these lines smoothly? Basically, there are 2 ways; alternate picking and legato. For a smoother fluid sound, legato is the best option. Look at Ex1. On the 3rd string, pick on 13 and then hammer on 16. When you skip the 2nd string and start to pick on the 1st string, control/ mute the 3rd string using your palm, and simultaneously pick the 1st string 12th fret and then hammer on the 16th, then pull-off to the 12th.

Note that everything is down stroke picking!!!! This is one of the ways that Paul Gilbert executes the line. For the descending line, pull-off will be used extensively.

INSERT: I am still struggling with this string skipping lick hence the lack of a video. Like I said, this is my learning journey. Thanks Richard for the challenge of not only string skipping but the large stretches too! - Kev Broken Scar

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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Lick My Pick #1

I realised it doesn't make much sense by merely describing guitar licks with text and tab with no sound. So, I decided to record a short video instead.

This lick is exactly the same pattern as the one in the previous post just that it is moved up the fretboard to start on the 12th fret instead, making it a C#m pentatonic lick. Paul Gilbert calls these licks descending 3's, if I'm not mistaken.

e -12p9-------------------------------------------------
B ------12-12p9----------------------------------------
G ----------------11-11p9------------------------------
D --------------------------11-11p9--------------------
A ------------------------------------11-11p9----------
E ----------------------------------------------12-9----

Notice that I don't pick all the notes and I use pull offs in this lick. This is really an easy lick and it is nothing new at all but it is really fun to play. I use it to warm up and also to gain strength for pull-offs.

Anyway, these are not lessons as they are way too simple to be lessons but they serve as a record of my journey, practicing these Paul Gilbert-inspired licks to be incorporated into my playing style. Enjoy!

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar


Paul Gilbert's Killer Licks

So, some of you would already know by now through my Facebook and Twitter updates that I've been a little obsessed by Paul Gilbert's guitar playing lately. When I first started learning the electric guitar, I learnt a stack of classic rock riffs and licks from Deep Purple and the like but Mr. Big really stood out to me. I also bought some Paul Gilbert instructional videos and even though I couldn't play half the stuff on them back then, they still gave me great ideas and inspiration to write and play. With that said, Paul is just such a great teacher that he breaks things down and slows them down so that you can catch what he's doing. I reckon his instructional videos are the best. So I practiced and practiced using his instructional videos.

After a while though, I transitioned to writing on my acoustic that I left my electric playing behind a bit but now I'm hooked again!

It is a little weird though playing Paul Gilbert stuff on a Strat. I mean, Paul plays an Ibanez with humbucker pickups while I play them on a single coil Strat but it does open up a few things like tone and control for me. I still have my Ibanez RG 470 lying around at home in Malaysia and I wish I had it now, just for the sake of accessing the higher frets.

Anyway, playing on a Strat means I get to incoporate Paul's playing into my own playing style which has been a great adventure. Paul's a gifted guitarist who has nailed down accuracy and speed. I'm still struggling with the speed part but I hope to nail the accuracy.

This is something inspired by Paul gilbert that I've been practicing through. It's simple, but cycle it through with speed and it could sound killer.

Decending Lick in A minor Pentatonic

e -8-5-----------------------------------
B -----8-8-5-----------------------------
G -----------7-7-5-----------------------
D -----------------7-7-5-----------------
A -----------------------7-7-5-----------
E -----------------------------8-5-------

I should have indicated that I pick the first note on each string and pull off to the next note, then pick the first note of the string above and repeat the process.

All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar


First Acoustic Gig in 2010

Fifty minutes more to go and we'll be ten days into 2010 already. It's crazy how time flies. Here's a quick update on what's happening in camp Broken Scar.

Tjin is currently away on holidays, living it up overseas while Julian and I will be playing our first Broken Scar acoustic show for the year at The Limelight coming up on Jan 21. Check out the flyer, all the details are on there. Do help us spread the word and come down to the show!

Click on the flyer for larger view

On another note, I've been watching a stack of Paul Gilbert instructional videos on YouTube. It's really addictive and I've been trying to challenge myself to play some of the licks he throws out there. Some of them seem quite impossible to play and he's just a genius that way but because he's so patient and he slows things down and dissects the licks into smaller sections, it becomes a little closer to actually getting the ideas down.

Watching Julie & Julia recently also gave me an idea. What if I started a series on, conquering Paul Gilbert's licks, one lick per day? Would anyone be keen to follow me on that journey?

EDIT: It turns out this is my first post for 2010 as well. :)
All Broken Scar's music is available on www.reverbnation.com/brokenscar

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    Who Is Broken Scar:

    Loves Jesus. Singer. Guitarist. Songwriter. Audio Engineer. Producer. Wears band t-shirts. Wears red t-shirts. Based in Melbourne.



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