Double Down Up Guitar Technique In Detail by Brad Davis

“It’s the simplest, hardest thing you’ll ever learn for your right hand…” ~ Brad Davis.

His words reminded me of this quote from: Jam! Amp Your Team, Rock Your Business/ Jeff Carlisi & Dan Lipson

P10. โ€œThe great guitarist Larry Carlton once told me that his philosophy toward the guitar was simple: โ€œPlay what you love, but practice what you must.โ€”

~ Ivan

Song: Old Man and the Sea II

This track would go into our upcoming “The Mangrove Tree” album. Thanks to panu moon for granting me permission to release this under a CC-BY license.


Creative Commons LicenseOld Man and the Sea II by Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. Please credit to “Ivan Chew –“. And I’d appreciate if you also credit “panu moon –“.

This song was inspired by panu’s celtic-sounding guitar piece.

panu moon is an Atlanta-based songwriter, and popular ccMixter contributor. I’ve never met him but I kind feel like we’re friends.

I got to know him from our interactions at ccMixter. He gave me some tips on mixing and mastering tracks.

Making friends from music.

This is what it’s all about.

man + sea
Originally uploaded by sgrace

Additional details of this track at MyRightBrain.

~ Ivan

Song: Good-night Not Good-bye II (2009)

Another collaborative effort made possible with Creative Commons and Public Domain materials. And most of all, some very talented and generous people.

I’m dedicating this song to a perfect stranger, who’s a close kin of this friend.

It’s also a dedication to all those who’ve experienced the very human feeling of loss and grief. And of closure and remembrance.

It’s never Goodbye.

GOOD-NIGHT NOT GOOD-BYE v2.1Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore. Download at ARCHIVE.ORG. As long as you link back to this post, feel free to copy/ file-share/ distribute/ remix this track. Please credit to “Ivan Chew –” and the following authors:

Peace. Originally posted by .m for matthijs under a CC-BY-NC-ND license.

Huge thanks to MyVanillaWorld for providing her excellent vocals to this earlier track. Details, here.

~ Ivan

Rosli Mansor: Singapore rock instrumentalist

A few weeks ago, I googled for “rock instrumentalist singapore”.

And found Rosli Mansor.

[Rosli Mansor – HeritageFest 09. Originally uploaded by vickomaniac – V Photography]

For sure, Rosli isn’t the only rock instrumentalist in Singapore.

But he’s one of the few whom I’ve discovered on the Internet. I decided to buy his CD, Dragged, after viewing this video on YouTube.
rosli mansor now playing 'dragged'

I like it a lot.

So much that I’ve decided to share my thoughts about the album here.

[BTW, I tend to refer to other rock guitar instrumentalists (like Joe Satriani and Carlos Santana) because they are my benchmark. Besides if anyone compares me favourably with these guitar legends, it’s a compliment. So I hope you’d read the reviews that way.]

Here goes:

To me, Rosli Mansor combines the best of Carlos Santana and Joe Satriani rolled into one. His compositions have a polished feel, where each note means something rather than just shredding for the sake of showing off. Definitely one of those albums that I find listenable beyond the first play. Each track conveys enough familiarity (via the structure and arrangement) and still maintaining my interest with the variations.

Length of the tracks are just nice. I didn’t find any tracks that were overdone.

His playing is technically competent. The album is nicely mastered. Good enough to compete with most major recording labels. A great showpiece for the studio too. One thing though — for some tracks, I wish Rosli’s lead guitar work could stand out more and take centre stage. But that could be a personal preference in terms of mixing.

First track, Pakoo Boomi, sounded very Joe Satriani, which was great. Then past 1:35min I think a little of the unique Rosli Mansor ‘rok’ flavour comes through. This is one of my favourite track.

The second one, Hear Me, River of Love, sounded very Carlos Santana to me. I like the chord progression, where the flavour changes to a more rocksy melody at the chorus.

Dragged, the third track, was a nice change of pace with its slower tempo. It exhibited more of the Santana-Satriani influences.

Rescuing Rukia was a sentimental piece. This was the first song I’d ever heard from Rosli. It isn’t my favourite piece but it was what made me find out more. I think would be a nice study for a rock instrumental lesson in terms of arrangement or a relaxed jamming session.

Invasion (Track 5) is another enjoyable one, with a heavier crunchier sound. A lot more shredding from Rosli. Nice strong punchy bass riff. I’d prefer more bite to the distortion rhythm guitars but that’s just a personal preference.

Deeply Uncommon was a nice surprise. At the start, the nylon-string work promised something different from the tracks. Then hearing the Cantonese spoken words was pleasantly unexpected! I am not sure what is being said but sounds nice.

After that, I found myself grooving to the seventh track, Purple. It’s a pretty standard arrangement but the simplicity is what made it work, moving from minor to major chords. This piece has given me ideas and inspiration.

Quarantined Qarin was very Joe Satriani. Sounded like a track that would fit easily into his Engines of Creation album. This track easily stands out for its technical prowess, composition/ arrangement and overall sound engineering. This is my second fav track.

The final track Farewell September, Pizzas & Sparklers is my favourite track in the entire album. It definitely had that Joe Satriani flavour again (somehow it reminded me of a track in The Extremist album) but I think this might be described as signature Rosli Mansor.

Dragged gets a 8 out of 10 from me.

This 10-track album is a nice find. At $19.90, I wonder how much Yamaha got a cut, LOL. But the price is something I’d gladly pay for. I don’t buy Made-In-Singapore music for its sake. This one is good.

It now sits on the same row as my albums by Joe Satriani, Carlos Santana (Steve Vai and Eric Johnson).

I bought it at the Yamaha store at Plaza Singapura. The counter staff seemed genuinely surprised I’d ask for it.

Check out previews of his songs at

BTW, I’ve not met Rosli and I doubt he knows me. If I were to meet him now, I’ll tell him he owes Vicki a treat or something. She’s one persistent promoter of his music (I mean that in a good way). Wish I had someone to push our music like she does! But then honestly, we’re far from Rosli’s standard!

Can I take a free one-hour lesson from you, Rosli?


It’s cool.

I’m still looking forward to your next album. ๐Ÿ™‚

~ Ivan

Maria Viktoria Mena: Norwegian pop-rock

Writing this post was hard.

‘Cos I could only type a few letters before I had to stop.

As I attempted to write the post, I was listening Norwegian pop-rock singer and songwriter, Maria Mena (
White Turns Blue album by Maria Mena on MySpace Music - stream full MP3 songs and albums

Her lyrics, vocals, compositions — all combined to create a mesmerising quality that made my fingers automatically pause.

Her songs made me unconsciously close my eyes.

And listen.

And be drawn in.

I’m a new fan.

Maria blogs at her official Sony Music site at Her discography and biography can be found at this Wikipedia entry.
Maria Mena: Biography - iPublish

p.s. Thanks to a fellow Maria Mena fan, for pointing me to such a gem of a musician!

~ Ivan

Update: 3rd album and such


The title song for our upcoming 3rd album has been completed.

Titled “Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula” of course.

Quite a lot of thought and effort went into this song. Adrian and I bounced through four versions over email before we were finally happy.

In a break from our usual practice, I’ve decided not to publish this title track until the entire album is ready.

So all you raving fans will have to hold your horses (yeah right…)

Now, I’m working on making sound level adjustments for the rest of the tracks in the album. Plus, one more song “Running” to be completed. Adrian sent me the MP3 stems for “Running” some time ago. Good thing too. His Macbook crashed and had to be reinstalled. And he didn’t keep backups of this GB files. Tsk tsk tsk… ๐Ÿ™‚

This music-making is a welcome distraction and focus from work.

Meantime, I’m also finding myself inspired by this ROTW episode by Dave Weiner, on “Creativity From Gear”:


Lovely melodic riff using F#, especially when he intoduced the bass root notes. BTW he plays with a 7-string custom electric, so you won’t be able to get the bass notes in the video.

I liked the tune so much I decided to practice using GarageBand (there’s a built-in digital delay effect).
GarageBand 08 - Real Instrument Effects panel

GarageBand 08 - AUDelay

AUDelay - GarageBand '08

Managed to record something on a Saturday. Sounded decent to me. More on this, later.

Check out Dave Weiner’s ROTW youtube channel. Plenty of inspirational ideas.

~ Ivan

Guitar Prodigy Tallan Latz

When I was eight, I didn’t even know electric guitars existed. Let alone play one.

And play it well.

Heck, I’m past my mid-30s and I can’t play like him! LOL

Apparently there’s some controversy (see also, this vid) with his playing at nightclubs (as a eight-year old).

The YouTube video was dated Dec 2007. Tallen is still playing gigs, as I saw from his MySpace page.

I had to smile at the part where Tallen said he saw Joe Satriani perform on TV, and wanted to be a electric guitarist!

One thing that stood out for me was Tallen’s conviction at playing the electric guitar for the rest of his life. Some part of my adult brain asked “How can he be so sure? He’s only eight!”

But then whether one is eight or eighty, you need a focus.

Tallen’s life goal may change when he hits puberty. Or it may not.

At least he’s got a clear direction right now. Which would be a good foundation for the future.

How many of us can claim to have that?

Good for you, Tallen.

~ Ivan

Lingkai (ling86): Distraction (original) Live in Australia

A beautiful song, by Singaporean talent Lingkai.

To my ears, the song sounded like there are strains of Norah Jones and Sarah McLachlan.

The song reminds me of warm but comfortable, lazy carefree Sundays. I’m inspired to do an instrumental track, modeled after that tempo and melodic arrangement.

Good luck in your musical career, Lingkai.

Her blog is at

~ Ivan

Intro to Clawhammer Banjo

A brief instructional video on playing the banjo, Clawhammer style:


The comments at the video page are quite instructive too!

Hmm.. one day if I’m bored, I’ll tune my acoustic guitar to a Banjo tuning. And see how it sounds.

~ Ivan