Danny J's Q&A
Playing music can sometimes be daunting but don't fret, you're not alone.
In this Q&A section, Danny will answer any questions you might have about music & guitar! If you have a
question that you would like Danny to answer and share in the Q&A you can send it
How often do you practice and how much should I practice?
- Scott M.
Hey Scott, my practice habits change over the years. When I first started out I would practice about 6 to 8 hrs a day. I currently try to practice an hour a day. Even though I'm always playing, I find that practicing and playing are completely different. Try to maintain a healthy practice routine daily. How much time you put in is up to you.
I'm just starting out, should I play electric or acoustic guitar?
The main difference between the two are in how they feel and sound. Electric guitar is a little more forgiving for your fingers and better with an amp. Acoustic is a little more awkward but no amp required. Go to a local music store and just try some out. Even if you don't know how to play just holding a guitar gives you perspective. Don't worry so much on which to play, just START! Hope that helps Stacey.
My guitar is crap. It doesn't sound right what guitar should I buy?
Guitars like cars need constant maintenance. Maybe have your guitar looked at by a technician. Sometimes all it needs is some TLC, it'll cost you a fraction of the price of a new guitar. If you really need a new guitar best thing is try a bunch out and see what you like. It's all about preference. Play what YOU like.
How often should I change my strings and how can I tell?
Usually it's a healthy habit to change strings once a month. But it all depends on how much wear you put on them. Not all strings are made equal and some last longer than others. Usually when the strings are sounding flat or dull is a good time to change them.
I've been playing guitar for 3yrs. Is it ok to play another instrument?
- Jacob S.
Yes Jacob. Learning different instruments helps develop different skills. It makes you versatile which is a great attribute to have as a musician. Guitar can always be your prime instrument.
Is Guitar Hero and Rock Band the same as playing real guitar?
No Ben it isn't. The only similarity if any would be in the rhythmic aspect of the game. Cool games though!
How long did it take you to learn the Bumblebee?
I first learned it back when I was in high school and performed it in a talent show. Learning how to
play it didn't take too long, it was mastering the delay and click that took a while.
I'm 16 yrs old and I wanna start a band but there aren't any people in my school who play. Where's the best place to find people around my age group to play?
If you're having a hard time finding people in your school try looking at other neighbouring schools. Don't limit yourself to just playing music with people your age. If you're serious about playing a more seasoned musician might be willing to be in a band with you, even if you're younger. Hope that helps Sam, best of luck.
Do you make mistakes when you play in concert?
- Sassy Sue
Yes I do Sassy Sue! Usually nothing an audience will ever notice but it does happen. Sometimes the simplest of moves can cause some crazy note malfunctions. I shy away from complicated choreographed dance moves ;)
Is Jimi Hendrix the best guitar player in the world?
Hendrix is great and I love him but there's way too many greats to define just one being the greatest.
Should I invest in a better amp or guitar?
- Rock Studd
I usually recomend buying a better guitar. It's the first link in the chain and often the most important. It's where all your sound starts.
Do you use a distortion pedal, if yes which one?
I don't use any distortion pedals. I always use the drive provided by my amps. I find there's no substitute for true sound. Nothing against distorion pedals, just not my preference.
Why do you use scalloped frets on your guitar?
I was just curious when I initially experimented on 2 frets. I grew to really like the feel and now have it on 5 guitars. 12 to 22 or 24 is where it makes sense for me. It's great to bend strings on scalloped frets. It's a little strange and something's can be more difficult to play. I don't normally recommend it because it's a mod you can't reverse.
I would like to write a song but don't know how to start. Is there an easy way to do it?
Writing songs can be challenging for everyone. Most songs I've written usually happen by accident. Sometimes just sitting around fiddling on the guitar can lead to something promising. Maybe try playing a song you already know different. It might get those creative juices flowing and get you on your way. Good luck Cindy.
I'm taking guitar lessons with a teacher right now. My friends tell me that I should just learn on YouTube because it's free and it's the same thing. What do you think?
Alex I think YouTube is a good resource to help you learn many things. But I don't think it really ever replaces a great teacher. When learning any instrument, there are some aspects that need very specific instructions. Sometimes only a teacher can show you how it's done. Don't ever feel bad, paying for lessons. Your teachers will share all their knowledge and experience with you. That's priceless!
Is it important to read music? I’m learning with tabs, is that bad?
Knowing how to read music is a great tool to have under your belt. It will always make you a better musician. Tabs are a great way to learn songs on the guitar. The only downside is a lot of them don’t have rhythmic values so knowing the tune is crucial. Take some time and get your reading chops up, it’s worth it.
What patch cables do you play with? Mine seem to break every 4 months. Is there a brand you use and last longer than just 4 months?
Patch cables can be finicky. The trick to keeping a healthy patch cable is in how you role and unplug them. I’ve been using the same cable for about 10 yrs. It’s a BRTB cable.
Try to role your cable clock wise in 5 to 6 inch loops until both ends meet. When pulling out the chord try to always pull it from the metal base never from the chord itself. Patch cables are made of very thin strands of copper wire which can break or kink easily. Hope this helps Vanessa, take care of your chords it’ll save you tons of $$$.
How do you decide which guitar is "the one" for you? I've been playing guitar for almost 3 years acoustically and now I'll be joining a band that requires me to learn electric.
I've tried a few guitars and I love them all but how do I decide which one is the best fit for my playing. They all have their pros and cons as far as how comfortable I feel with them so I can't decide.
This is quite a dilemma Amber. When purchasing a guitar there are 3 main points you want to look at. How it feels, how it sounds and finally how it looks, on YOU. If you have a budget in mind, respect your budget don’t opt for the more expensive guitar just because. Think of the future, my favorite guitars are the ones that are versatile. Maybe today you’re playing in a punk band but tomorrow you’ll play in jazz ensemble. If all else fails narrow it down to two and flip a coin ;)
What does the 'J' in your name stand for?
The mystery behind the J has been solved by some and inquired by many. It is the name of a very famous international singer. His son shares his last name and also found fame as a singer. You figure that out you’ll know what the J stands for!
What makes a lead guitar player, “lead”? My band has 2 guitar players and we’re pretty much as good as the other. How can we decide who plays lead?
To be a lead guitarist is not only attributed by your skill set alone. A lead guitarist will always enhance the song as a whole, not just add guitar solos. Best way you guys can decide is by a per song basis. There’s also nothing wrong with sharing the role.
Do you have any advice for musicians going on the road?
Being on the road is the best time. Pack a toothbrush and bring a day to day bag. Pack some snacks and a good book. You can never pack too much socks and underwear. Try if possible to enjoy the cities and countries you’re visiting, see some sights. Enjoy it and never take it for granted!
What’s the best way to learn a song?
One note at a time Sammy! Most popular music has 3 to 4 different sections. Focus on one part at a time until you feel comfortable with it. Songs become easier to grasp that way. Also try to slow each section down so it really sinks in. Playing along with the song will also help you execute it with more precision.
How did you hook up with Lawrence Gowan? Do you think he is as
talented and underrated as I do?
Gowan and I met through a mutual friend who shared some of my work on the Cassie Steele ‘How much for happy’ CD. Coincidentally, Gowan’s son took drum lessons at the shop I taught at and periodically I would see Gowan and would show him some cool guitar wizardry.
March 2009, Gowan called me from Chicago and asked me if I was busy on the 14th. He expressed that he needed a guitar player for a short performance @ the Canadian Music Week broadcasters award ceremony. I said YES, I'm in, and the rest is history.
Lawrence Gowan is a genius by many accounts. It’s all in his subtly and always hits you when least expected. Great guy, great friend and stellar human.
I'm a guitarist who's been in a few bands from acoustic to pop-punk. I've played some major festivals but STILL every show I get very anxious and nervous to play, to the point of shaking and getting sick before and/or after. Anything I can do to help this? It's affecting my performance.
- Guitarist 7248
Being nervous and slightly anxious before a performance is healthy and very normal. People experience this to varying degrees but maybe this can help you out.
If you’re experiencing slightly debilitating nerves, try starting your set with a good warm up song. Avoid playing something too complex that requires a tremendous amount of finger gymnastics. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 songs to washout that nervous energy but eventually your nerves will settle.Taking a moment visualizing yourself on stage during some down time, might help turn the anxiety to excitement. Some physical activity just before show time like push ups, running on the spot and even jumping jacks will help with blood flow and decrease tension.
Look at it like this; the audience wants to be there. They want to like you and for the most part, they will. Everyone’s there for a good time including you. Be confident in your ability, that’s what got you there. Embrace the stage; it’s a magical space where only good things happen. Own it, you belong there.
Do you have any pre show rituals?
I try to harvest humans for sacrificing but usually that fails miserably so I resort to my usual routine. I keep the intake of food to a minimum. I stretch for about 5 to 7 minutes, no more than that or it’ll mess with my mojo dance skills.
I do some warm up exercises on a guitar but if there’s a banjo I’ll use that instead and do a little jig. Sometimes I sing the Canadian national anthem, but I find it’s been slightly overplayed so I try singing the Russian anthem. I like to have 1 cocktail preferably rum and coke, if it’s anything else it will definitely mess with my mojo and put the entire show in jeopardy.
Finally I like to do my ceremonial fist pump with each band member and tell them how much they mean to me. Sometimes that gets weird so only the fist pump is permitted. I send off a social media message and hit the glorious stage with all my might! ;)