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Ethan Shoemaker - JPop.com
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Ethan Shoemaker

Ethan Shoemaker

Ethan Shoemaker


Born July 9th, 1989, in Atlanta, GA, Ethan grew up with an itching desire to play guitar. In the beginning, his views on the electric guitar were much different than his views today. "I always looked at that thing as being something powerful, emotional, real, and sexy." Today He still views his guitar with the same fervor, but with a more realistic approach. "I know I'm a long ways off from impressing anyone, but I do have confidence in the route I took in learning guitar. Read more on Last.fm
Born July 9th, 1989, in Atlanta, GA, Ethan grew up with an itching desire to play guitar. In the beginning, his views on the electric guitar were much different than his views today. "I always looked at that thing as being something powerful, emotional, real, and sexy." Today He still views his guitar with the same fervor, but with a more realistic approach. "I know I'm a long ways off from impressing anyone, but I do have confidence in the route I took in learning guitar.

A lot of my friends spent all their time learning the latest and greatest song as well as all the famous classic rock songs. I couldn't count how many times someone asked me to play Sweet Home Alabama once being told I play guitar. It was hard, many of my friends felt that I couldn't play guitar because of my lack of covers. But it didn't take long for me to realize that I took a much better route.

It started when I bought my first guitar. It was a cheapo-lamo guitar that came with an amp (that is quite decent actually). It came with a chord chart with the major open chords. I practiced those chords constantly, or at least the ones I liked, which were mainly E, C, A, and G.

The first major leap I made was after I learned what a power chord was. It was an epiphany at the time. Finally I could play some notes with distortion that didn't sound completely horrible. But eventually I got bored with those, as I wasn't very proficient at creating original chord progressions." That period in his life lasted about three months, before making his next major leap. "About four months after I bought my first guitar (which was in July of 05), I bought my next one.

It was an Ibanez GA-30 I believe. It had a color and pickguard that was exclusive to the music store I bought it from. It had something I didn't know a thing about, humbuckers. But it didn't take long to love'em.

My power chords started sounding a lot cooler, and I, mistakenly, began to think I was this awesome guitarist. Then I met my guitar teacher! I realized that I had a long ways to go. His name was Seth Condrey. He was an excellent guitarist that could play a range of styles, but probably his favorite was fingerpicking.

Nevertheless, the things he taught me became the very foundation of my musical abilities. It was only three lessons, cut short because of a lack of funds, but in those three lessons he expanded my horizons and my mind. I learned what barre chords were, how to form them, I learned different scales in their entirety, as well as some fingerpicking techniques. He exercised my improvisational skills by playing a simple chord progression while forcing me to create a melody with a particular scale, usually minor pentatonic as it had a lot less notes.

To describe what it sounded like would only send mental pictures of horrid terror and shock. It was a disaster." After improving his "improv" skills, Ethan began to mature quickly. Although seeming to be behind his contemporaries, as criticized by his friends, Ethan began to progress in his technique, but not so much on his style. After a year of "playing" scales and experimenting with different chord progressions and becoming a beginner in recording techniques, he finally had an opportunity to play with other musicians.

"I still remember that night. It blew me away. After spending so much time listening to myself, or listening to awesome guitarists on the radio that seemed to possess a skill I could never achieve, I finally got a chance to jam with two guitarist and a drummer that shared my passion for originality. They sounded so awesome.

In fact, After attempting to play a lil in the minor pentatonic scale along with them, I just put my guitar down and listened as well as watched the other guitarists. It was an amazing experience that changed the way I approached the guitar. Instead of playing for myself, I started listening to myself, along with a band in my head. It was a tough challenge that will always give me a run for my money.

It wasn't easy figuring out how to play with other musicians. Either my guitar was tuned to theirs, or my timing was off, or my amp and effects were correctly configured, thus sucking my sound into suckiness. It was a trainwreck.? Eventually Ethan caught on though. After two years of playing guitar, Ethan could finally play with some confidence, as well as gaining a new found respect from his friends.

It was a start for Ethan. "I remember playing with a drummer one night at my house, we were just fooling around trying to come up with something. After a few minutes, we got into this one reggae type groove that seemed to last forever. My older brother, who used to be very critical of my guitar skills, as any older brother would be, came into the room.

He had this surprised look on his face, he told us that we actually sounded pretty good. He even brought his laptop into the room with a small mic so that he could record us. It was the worse mic in the world to record with, but it did record and it preserved that sound so that I can attempt it again today. Maybe I'll even give it a better name than 'session 3.' We'll see." That was sometime during his second year of playing guitar. In his third year of playing, Ethan shifted gears from practicing technique, and focused more on creating more stylish and pleasing riffs, and eventually piecing together something similar to songs.

As the months flew by, he became more and more busy, but his progress became more rapid and impressive, even to himself, his biggest critic. He made more efficient use of the short time each day he had to play guitar, unlike the sometimes 10 hours he used to play a day before getting a job and taking on responsibilities. He was able to create pieces that ranged from all styles, from metal to folk, bluegrass to classical, blues to jazz. He generally, however, avoids country and mainstream (gangsta) rap, sometimes with disgust.

This disgust with country and mainstream rap has offended some friends; he learned to keep his opinions to himself in regards to these styles. To the few that share his disgust, he revealed his reasons behind the hatred. "I always felt that country could have been something better. In the old days it had its own technique, flatpicking, that produced amazing results, but today country has floated towards pop and the music videos are imitating rap videos that are degrading to women as well as character.

Besides the immoral implications of the two styles (sex, drugs, materialism, violence, excessive drinking, etc.) I hate the lack of originality as well as a lack of musical structure. In country, the songs seem to require violins and steel guitars, that play the same few scales and licks, ALL THE TIME!!! In rap, computers have replaced instruments, which doesn't bother me so much as the fact that there are no musical talent operating those computers. Simple and repetitive, lacking any melodic harmonies or just plain melodies, no singing, horrible attempts at singing, the list goes on and on. It just amazes me, also, to the degree different Mainstream rap groups copy each other.

Having the phrase 'got my mind on my money and my money on my mind' seems to be a requirement in order to sell." Today he continues to improve his sound and experiment with different sounds. His musical "vocabulary" has expanded to the point that he sometimes amazes himself with a riff he stumbles upon by "fooling around." He still loves to stick to his original style and to creating original music, but recently he as undertaken a special project to learn his first cover: My Curse by Killswitch Engage. "My reasons for learning My Curse are simple. I love the guitars and drums in that song.

Adam and Joel use artificial harmonics and harmonic melodies in a way that motivated me to learn that song. Of course, I also have another reason as well. My Curse is one of the Guitar Hero 3 bonus songs and where I live there are a lot of kids my age that play that game as if they could play real guitar. So I think it would be funny to be a punk and be like 'so what if you can play that on expert backwards, I can play it for real.

HA beat that!'" Through the years Ethan Shoemaker has composed many different riffs and short peices that he hopes to one day turn into songs. He has succeeded in recording a few of them, however in his words, "more of the crappy ones than good ones." He has managed to create a few songs, his particular favorite is Half Dome 3, which is, in fact, named after a demo song in Garageband. "I feel guilty that I used a lot of the recordings in that demo, but it doesn't bother my musical conscience because I changed it a little bit, tweaked it a little bit, and added a lead track that is entirely original and dramatically changes the sound of the original demo song." There were times too, that Ethan used some unorthodox ways to create music, some with success, others with ear-bleeding failure. One way was with a Mulit-Effects processor.

"I set the distortion just right so I would get pleasant feedback, then I turned on my harmonics pedal and played around with that for about 15 minutes. It was quite an experience. I will one day use that technique in a better song." A recording of this technique in action was made, entitled 'Trance.' Another way he experiments is by fusing different distinct styles together. For example, in "revamp," Ethan experiments with techno beats with metal riffs.

Ethan's comments on the following Recordings: -Online Collaboration- "It has an odd name, but I gave it that because it was an idea I had that I sent to a friend in Texas that played bass. We decided to work on it over the internet. I like the sound a lot and my friend was excellent in audio engineering. So he gave it a "surround sound" type of sound, which sounded awesome of course.

Unfortunately, we both got side tracked and never finished it, which was kind of a normal thing for me anyways. What was special about this recording though, was that it was the first time i incorporated more complex riffs. I played both guitar parts and each one had more complex riffs than I usually play. I've tried doing this before, but it never sounded as good." -Half Dome 3- "I love this recording mainly because of the improv I did in it.

It was a confidence booster in my abilities. I was having a musical "writer's block" the weeks before recording this. So after recording it after staying up all night, playing till 6am, I felt that I was a guitarist with ability. I still feel it was a huge accomplishment for me, regardless what others may think.

Half Dome was recorded in the middle of the third year." -Girl- "This was something I did on the fly. It was early on in my "musical career." One day I'll probably come back to it and do something substantial with it." -Beat- "This was actually in the beginning of my second year on guitar. It was a predecessor to Half Dome in a way. This was the first time my improv sounded decent through most of a song.

Sure there were some errors and some things I could have played better. But it just has an awesome 'Metallica' sound to it." -Soft Fingers- "Despite the weird and misleading name [sigh], I liked this recording because of its mellow sound. This was my first real fingerpicking recording; it was recorded in the middle of my second year." -Harmonics Idea- "This was recorded sometime in the beginning of the third year. I always loved harmonics, both natural and artificial.

So I wanted to compose a solid riff incorporating harmonics. I don't know if this really accomplished that, but its got potential for later expansion." -Idea 2- "Just some mellow sound, I was playing with some effects and liked the result. It was sometime in my second year." -Rock One- "This is a kind of generic sound, except for the drums. I really like the drums.

One of these days I'm gonna go back and redo the guitar with better distortion and with more clarity. This was a recording back in the beginning of my second year." -Smoothie- "Everytime I hear the opening notes of this song, it reminds me of Jurassic Park for some reason. Weird I know, very weird, but hey, what can I say? I like this piece, even though I made some mistakes. This was in my second year." -Revamp- "This was simply a test to see what it would sound like to incorporate techno and metal into one song." ***BONUS**** -My Techno- "HAHAHAHAHA.

This was a joke. I took some midi drum loops in garageband, and changed the instrument to different synths. I then tweaked the EQ for each track at different times and overall just kept tweaking it. I thought it would make a funny ringtone." Read more on Last.fm.

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