Studio finish…ish

Studio finish…ish

As I stated on previous Studio updates, this has been a working studio for a while now it has just taken me this long to finish this Studio blog update. I can honestly say it is the best place to work from. From one-to-one students to online Skyping, being in here is a pleasure. Hope you enjoyed the journey as I did.

The last little flourish was the icing on the cake. Blinding!
Custom made shelving made from the reclaimed roofing timbers from the old roof. A bit lucky as the printer just about fit in the space.
And finally I moved in! It is the best place I have ever worked from with everything in place exactly where I need it.

Studio 1.4

Studio 1.4

Almost there!!

After the plaster had dried it was time for a lick of paint. Also custom made window ledges made from the original roof timbers.
After seeing the final space for the first time I had decided my original desk was too big for the room so… I made a new one (from reclaimed timbers of course).
And finally the flooring went down. It was slowly becoming a wonderful place to be.


Studio 1.3

Studio 1.3

This Studio update is long overdue, I have been successfully working out of my studio for a long time now. It has become a home from home with comfy furnishings and all the things me and my students require to have great lessons together. I just need to finish this building blog!!!

After the first fix electrics went in, I got busy plaster boarding the walls and ceiling. Sound board was used to minimise any outside disruption and it works very well..
After I had help some more help with the plaster coat (I could never get it as good as it is now)..
Finally out of the dark came my mate Lee to hook up the electrics (what a guy)..

Studio 1.2

Studio 1.2

Hi and welcome to the next episode of Cowboy builders “how to convert a shed into a studio”. Let’s get straight into it with the completion of the entrance way. The wall is completed with the instalment of the final window next to the door.

Now the wall is complete with fully secured door and window.

There’s a couple of jobs I’m just not quite man enough to tackle on my own and the roof was one. So my lovely student recommended her farther’s company to install an all-rubber flat roof system. It will never leak because I didn’t do it!

The new roof was let down down by the old guttering so… it simply must go! New guttering and down pipe.


Here’s the new Firestone rubber roof fully tested by the British weather. “Nice fascia boards too” I here you say..
I have created a custom size gate with the old timbers from the shed door to keep the garden private.

In the next blog I will be starting the juicy stuff inside like the insulation, electrics and plasterboard. Enjoy!

Studio 1.1

Studio 1.1

A quick update on where we are with the studio. Really enjoying learning new building techniques and taking my time to do things correctly. As you may know I’m a guitarist so this kind of work is out of my depth but I will not be deterred.

The hole is filled with a window now.

Now the main window is installed, attention turns to the entrance.

Building begins on the short wall to house the side window and support the door.


Im using an extension wall tie to support the new wall as I cannot tie in the blocks with the existing brickwork. You might think why Im using blocks instead of bricks… I have a plan!


And finally the door has been installed, provisionally as I only have one wall to secure it to.

That concludes this weeks instalment of Cowboy builders. Looking forward to the next step.

Studio 1.0

Studio 1.0

So, it has been a while since I have posted any updates or blogs. Teaching and performing recently has been crazily busy and has taken up most of my time and concentration.

This year (2018) is the year of the new home studio. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a place to work on loud things without disturbing the family. As I am doing most of the building work myself it’s going to take a while to accomplish. Slowly but surely it will come together and I will finally be able to rock out at 2am.

Here is where I am up to yet. As the drive way butts up against the front wall of the building I have had to waterproof the brickwork under the ground.

Driveway digging isn’t the easiest.
A couple of coats of bitumen damp-proof paint.
And finally a damp-proof plastic sheet to prevent and damp.

After dealing with the driveway issue I started to make way with the new windows.

The first cut is the deepest.
It’s starting to look like a window already.
And now finally with a lintel in place. Ready for the window.

Finally, I have also bricked the front window you can see in the previous picture. I have to say, I really enjoy doing brickwork. Even tho it is my first attempt, I don’t think it’s too bad (I’m sure the builders out there will have something to say about it).

In my defence, the original brickwork’s not that straight either. It’s in-keeping.
Don’t worry, it will be pointed soon enough.
An the interior is finally private from the street.

Work is on-going and I plan on updating the blog whenever a milestone has been reached. Which, as I’m alone in work, will probably be another decade but you know how the saying goes… Slowly, slowly catch a monkey!

No Casualties for 2016


2016 has proved to be a busy old year for students working through their guitar exams. I thought it would be a wonderful thing to share their achievements with the world for all to see.

Students achieving their RSL Entry Level Award in Popular Music Performance (Entry 3) (QCF):

Toby Minton – Merit

Jake Edwards – Merit

Jacob Rimmer – Merit

Students achieving their RSL Level 1 Award in Popular Music Performance (Grade 1) (QCF):

Kynan Weaver – Merit

Charlie Mawle – Merit

Students achieving their RSL Level 1 Award in Popular Music Performance (Grade 2) (QCF):

Ricky Hodgkiss – Pass

Bradley Minton – Merit

Georgia Cantrill – Merit

Rafferty Winnall – Merit

Students achieving their RSL Level 1 Award in Popular Music Performance (Grade 3) (QCF):

Cameron Snape – Pass

Benjamin Kadoch – Merit

A huge congratulations to all of my students that had taken the plunge into an exam this year. Lets hope the hard work and great results caries into the next year and the next grades. Keep rocking people!!!

Merry christmas and a happy new year to all.

To gig or not to gig.

I love gigging! To perform live in front of an appreciative crowd with my band mates is where I feel most at home. Whether it be at a rock concert or an intimate wedding, it’s what I was born to do. As a teacher I actively encourage students to seek other, like-minded musicians at their level to start performing amongst a group with the pressures and stresses of a live performance. The benefits of performing as a growing musician are endless including a better musical awareness and getting used to those pre-match nerves. Musicians come to appreciate and understand what it takes to play other instruments too as they rehearse with a varied arrangement of instruments. This, intern, develops songwriting too as they come to understand an instruments limitations regarding timbre and note range.

I started performing at a young age at school with some performances best left forgotten. But, as I developed a love for the guitar so did the urge to play more and more live. Yeah, sure it was nerve-racking when I first sat in front of the kids and parents of the whole school year I was in at the time. And sure, I may have almost fell off my seat but half way through the first verse I forgot where I was and I was casually jogging through the song I had rehearsed for months. Now I have been playing for 19 years or so (is it really that long… ehem… OLD!) Performing is a breeze whether it be a concert full of paying fans, supporting a mega band, or playing a happy couple down the isle.

My advice to any guitarist is to put yourself out there for all to see, mistakes and all. It’s great to record a video for youtube a million times over to get it perfect but nowhere near as satisfying as doing it live where you can get instant audience feedback. In this day and age it’s becoming easier and easier to do with the emergence of “going live” on Facebook and other such functions on social medias. I don’t believe in spending all that time and effort to become good at something to not show the world. Show yourself off you “never to leave the bedroom player”… Oh and do it live!



The building blocks.

At the beginning of my guitar playing, theory took a backseat to playing riffs as I worked solely on the physical side of playing the guitar. Being a young, naive sort of dude I never wanted to learn that namby-pamby scale theory. Now, with the wonders of hindsight in mind, I wonder what I would understand now if I had given a Monkeys about theory back then. Even though I was oblivious to it, or just plain idle, I believe students at the earliest stages of learning any instrument should give it a go. My dad once said “Do as I say, not as I do”. So learn from my errors in judgment and familiarise ones self with a bit of theory to help with the maze of learning music. Here’s the basic structure of a Major scale to get you going.

Forgive me for assuming you understand that notes are named after the first 7 letters of the alphabet A B C D E F G. The distance between these notes vary from note to note and are measured by things called Tones (2 frets on the guitar) and Semitones (1 fret). If we begin with the letter C (A3 on the guitar) and ascend by a tone we should arrive at a D (A5). Say if we wanted to ascend by a semitone from the same C note we should arrive at a C# (A4). See Figure 1.

Screen shot 2016-06-15 at 13.47.25

A major scale is constructed with a finite combination of Tones and Semitones to create the familiar ‘happy’ feel. That combination goes T-T-S-T-T-T-S. Beginning with C again, ascend a Tone to D, and again a Tone to E, a Semitone to F, a Tone to G, a Tone to A, a Tone to B and finally a Semitone back to C. See Figure 2.

Screen shot 2016-06-15 at 13.50.58

There you have it, the construction of a major scale that can start on any note you like to create any major scale. It’s funny to think the melodies, chords & harmonies that make the world of music as diverse and as beautifully formed as it is can start with such simple beginnings such as a major scale. Keep learning and experimenting.

I’ve never liked lizards..

I consider myself a very lucky man to have a job in the field I am in. What started as a hobby as a young boy has taken over my world and without it, I wonder what I would be doing or where I would be now without music. As I recall from my university days, and even school too, not many have had the drive to stick it out and really do something they love as a career. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been an easy journey and still isn’t now as my career takes new paths through the musical world. I wanted to share with students and developing musicians alike my experience (and maybe a couple of words of wisdom) to inspire and hopefully keep you all heading in the right direction towards your dreams.

One of the most important things I have learnt over the years of performing, teaching and other such things us musicians do (and thats not just getting up late in the afternoon) is to be a Chameleon. We all have our favourite musical styles and techniques we like to play and listen to, mine are too embarrassing to mention. But learning other, maybe not quite desirable styles and exploring different musical ventures can really benefit you in a big way. I have many students at the moment going through the motions of GCSE and A level music and the attitude is – If its not metal, it’s not music! It’s great to be able to smash sweep arpeggios out at 300bpm, or play every Metallica song under the sun but all I see that achieving is a million views on youtube and eventually a Metallica tribute band. To a professional working band looking for a new guitarist, this stuff is futile. They’re probably going to be after a musician to sit in the pervertible pocket as it were. A guitarist that understands that sometimes it’s what you choose not to play that counts. I suggest, along-side your Metallica studies (if that’s what makes you happy) try something totally out of your comfort zone to really stretch your musical abilities. Maybe in doing so you might find something you like within a different genre and I guarantee you’ll discover something new for your technical ability bag of tricks.

If, at all, you’re into watching youtube videos of guitarists doing there ‘thang’ then you may have well come across some of these names before but if not try checking out players such as Derek Trucks, John Patrucci and my man Guthrie Govan. They have majorly different styles but equally as impressive in their fields.

So why not grab that technicolour dream coat of musical versatility and stretch your abilities. Thats it from me, back to my Metallica studies. R.