Trademark Law for Musicians (with Marcella Dominguez) Ep051



Musicians are often confused about what a trademark is or if they really need to register their trademark.  Marcella Dominguez, a trademark lawyer, joins Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray to discuss the benefits and costs of registering a trademark for your band or music business.
As an example, because Metallica trademarked their logo, nobody else can use something that looks or sounds like “Metallica.”  This protects them against impersonators hoping to profit from their success – nobody else can put on a show or event and falsely use the name “Metallica” to bring in an audience, nobody else can perform under the name “Metallica,” potentially playing poorly and damaging the reputation of the band, nobody else can sell “Metallica” merchandise, etc.  Trademarks assert position and show professionalism, they help the consumer to know the difference between the real brand and any competitors or impersonators, and they protect you from anyone trying to infringe on what you’ve built.
Joe asks Marcella for advice regarding his old band, “Albino Rhino,” which struggled to differentiate itself from a Swedish band of the same name.  He had applied for a trademark in the past only to have it denied because it “looked too similar” to the Rhino Records trademark.  Marcella explains how you or a lawyer can draft an argument to appeal the decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office.  She also talks about how US trademark law works outside of US borders.
Marcella, Aaron, and Joe discuss the potential to trademark one’s name.  Then they talk about copyrighting songs, and how to provide proof and evidence that you are the author of your work.
Any good conversation about music legalities should bring up the recent “Blurred Lines vs. Got to Give it Up (Marvin Gaye)” lawsuit, so it was discussed.
Marcella tells Aaron and Joe how much it costs to hire a lawyer to register your trademark and how much it costs to register your trademark by yourself at uspto.gov.  She provides useful advice on things to watch out for if you decide to register your trademark on your own: Make sure your drawing is final and exact, make sure you register under the correct categories (music/entertainment, CD/audio-visual recordings, merchandise, etc.), and check out the trademark information of other registered trademarks in the same realm as yours (i.e. if you are thinking about registering your podcast’s trademark, look up the trademark info for other podcasts’ trademarks to see what categories they are registered under, etc.).
Useful links regarding trademarks:
Find out more about Marcella at:
She also hosts The A.M. Show, a podcast about ambitious and motivated people.
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-a-m-show-with-marcella-dominguez/id1434615083

Mastering (with Chris Graham) Ep050



Are you confused about what mastering really is?  Are you tempted to skip this important step in the process of preparing your music for distribution?  Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray bring in the esteemed Chris Graham of Chris Graham Mastering and the Six Figure Home Studio Podcast to talk about the final polish in the process of preparing your music for release.  According to Chris, mastering is “optimizing a music track for goosebumps for the most people on the maximum number of listening devices.”
Chris tells the guys his story of how he became a musician, started producing music, and fell in love with mastering.  When he started his mastering business, he had the idea to put raw vs. mastered samples on his website and provide free mastering samples to new potential clients.
The guys talk about business books including The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.  Then they discuss the podcasting world, how podcasts are making it possible for niche shows to thrive, and how podcasts provide people with the opportunity to better themselves by learning while they drive or perform other life-tasks.  Then they dive into the topic of higher education and whether it pays off.
Aaron and Joe get to ask Chris lots of questions about mastering.  Chris tells them that it involves compression, equalization, limiting, and much more in order to make the tracks sound consistently better, more cohesive (on an album), and often louder on as many different listening devices as possible.  The guys ask Chris about his thoughts on having your tracks mixed and mastered by the same person.  Chris recommends doing a “mastering contest,” in which you go to multiple different mastering engineers and ask for a free mastered song from each.  Then compare the tracks and choose your favorite.
Finally, Chris, Aaron, and Joe talk about the “Loudness Wars.”
You can find Chris at:
Subscribe for more videos like this: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq_-Theg14gom9gcgkmFk7g

Guitar Gear (with Blake Wyland of The Tone Mob) Ep049



What is your guitar-gear nirvana?  Is it a trip to your local guitar shop, a trip to NAMM, or perusing the internet for video demonstrations?  Maybe for your gear curiosities you should also be looking to podcasts, as there are a few that do a great job of exploring this ever-growing industry.  On episode 49 of Fret Buzz the Podcast, Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray bring in Blake Wyland, the host of the Tone Mob podcast and a co-host of the Chasing Tone podcast (alongside Brian Wampler of Wampler Pedals).
Blake tells Aaron and Joe about his background and how he got into the inner workings of guitars, amps, pedals, etc.
The guys have an interesting discussion about how a new guitarist should get started finding the proper gear to achieve their desired tone(s).  Blake recommends starting with an amp simulator/amp-in-the-box to find the “base” amp sound(s) that you like.  There is a big difference between the sounds of amps made by Fender, Marshall, Vox, etc.  Blake then recommends getting a dirt pedal (overdrive or distortion) followed by a reverb pedal and a delay pedal.
This leads to talk about preferences for using a clean amp and getting your overdrive/distortion from pedals versus driving your amp (turning it up enough for it to naturally compress and overdrive) and using pedals to shape or refine that natural distortion.  This obviously leads the guys into the subject of hearing protection!
Blake talks about the music industry and how pedal builders tend to share a comradery and a mutual geekiness.
Blake tells the guys about his top episodes of the Tone Mob, including interviews with Robert Keeley, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem, Joel Korte of Chase Bliss Audio, and Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitars.
Next, Blake tells Aaron and Joe about his pedalboard (which is always changing).  He talks about his go-to pedals including the Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive, the Emma Electronic PisdiYAUWot, the TomKat Green Muffer Fuzz, the Dr. Scientist Atmosphere, and the SolidGoldFX Electroman Delay.
Blake also talks about amps, from the Chris Benson (a local Portland builder) “Vincent” to the Sunn Beta “Lead” to the Fender “Deluxe Reverb” and “Vibrolux.”
The conversation turns to building your own pedals and the large amount of labor (soldering!) it takes to build pedals, which is why they cost so much.  There is talk of Gibson’s bankruptcy, low-end Gibson versus high-end Epiphone guitars, and profiling amps/amp modeling.  The episode ends with a dazzling tour of Blake’s studio, filled with many beautiful guitars and amps, and an obscene number of effects pedals!
Be sure to check out the Fret Buzz The Podcast YouTube channel to see the video.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq_-Theg14gom9gcgkmFk7g
Check out the Tone Mob at www.tonemob.com or wherever you get your podcasts.

Building Acoustic Guitars 2 of 2 (with Marc Beneteau) Ep048



Marc Beneteau has been building custom acoustic guitars out of his workshop in Canada for 43 years.  He builds such high quality instruments that many modern virtuosic acoustic fingerstyle players (including Don Ross, Tony McManus, and Dustin Furlow – our Fret Buzz Episode 28 and 29 guest) choose to play Beneteau guitars.  If you play or simply appreciate acoustic guitars, you won’t want to miss this conversation between Marc and Fret Buzz co-hosts Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray.
The guys talk about the renaissance of acoustic guitar music, with players like Don Ross, Tommy Emmanuel, Andy McKee, and others pushing the limits of what can be done with acoustic guitars and inspiring new players.
Next is a discussion about humidity and how that affects acoustic guitars.  Marc educates the guys on the qualities of different types of wood and how guitars built from those different woods have unique sound qualities.  Softer woods like mahogany, koa, and walnut produce different tones than harder woods like rosewood.  But Marc says that the back and sides don’t do as much to the overall tone as the guitar’s top, which is often made with spruce or cedar.  And keep in mind that the body shape, string type, method of picking, and other factors all affect your tone too!  Another interesting topic of conversation is the regulations that Marc deals with in exporting guitars across national borders.  He has to register and cite all restricted woods that each guitar contains when he ships any guitars from Canada into the US or elsewhere.
Marc gives Joe and Aaron his take on factory-built (like Martin, Taylor, and Gibson) vs. custom guitars.  He talks about the “mojo” of a hand-built guitar and advises against buying factory-built guitars sight-unseen.  Next, Marc weighs the merits of old vintage guitars against new custom guitars in the same price bracket.  This leads to talk about the process of torrifying (a process of artificial aging) the tops of acoustic guitars.
Finally, Marc tells about CNC vs. hand-crafted guitars.  CNC is “Computer Numerical Control,” which is essentially referring to the use of automated computer-controlled cutting machines to cut/shape/sand the wood pieces for guitars.
Marc is incredibly informative and friendly as he shares many insights into acoustic guitars.  Drool over his guitars at http://www.beneteauguitars.com
Music provided by Don Ross: It’s Fun Being Lucky, and From France to India
https://donrossonline.com/

Building Acoustic Guitars 1 of 2 (with Marc Beneteau) Ep047



Marc Beneteau has been building custom acoustic guitars out of his workshop in Canada for 43 years.  He builds such high quality instruments that many modern virtuosic acoustic fingerstyle players (including Don Ross, Tony McManus, and Dustin Furlow – our Fret Buzz Episode 28 and 29 guest) choose to play Beneteau guitars.  If you play or simply appreciate acoustic guitars, you won’t want to miss this conversation between Marc and Fret Buzz co-hosts Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray.
Marc’s fascination with building guitars began in 1974 when he saw legendary John McLaughlin with a custom guitar in a magazine.  He tells the guys his story of becoming a custom guitar builder.
Marc discusses many details of acoustic guitars: internal bracing patterns, how different body shapes affect the overall sound quality, and custom options such as arm rests, rib rests, and sound ports, and fan frets.  He tells Joe and Aaron about when Don Ross asked him to build his first fan fret guitar a decade ago.  Marc explains the benefits that players gain from fan frets as well as the challenges that builders face in building guitars with them.  The guys talk about fret ends and bindings, harp guitars, baritone guitars, and even the idea of a microtonal guitar.
Marc is incredibly informative and friendly as he shares many insights into acoustic guitars.  Drool over his guitars at http://www.beneteauguitars.com/

Carbon Leaf, Touring, Making It Big, Part 2 of 2 (with Barry Privett) Ep046



As the frontman of Carbon Leaf, Barry Privett has successfully toured and recorded with the same band since 1992, crossing paths with huge names in the music business (Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, Avett Brothers, and many more).  Over the course of their continuous 27 year career, he has learned many things about music itself, the music business, record labels, touring, and strategies for keeping the peace among band members.  Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick enjoy the opportunity to dive deep into the world of one of the music business’ hardest working bands!

In Part 2 of 2, Barry explains how the band adjusts its vibe and setlist depending on the region that they are touring through and the energy of the crowd.  He goes on to talk about the Celtic-inspired phase that the band went through in the early 2010s, their lead guitarist’s multi-instrumentalism, their new bass player and drummer, and how they get together for a week at a time to rehearse and/or write.
Barry tells the guys more about the ancillary duties of different band members and how that keeps their business afloat.  He explains the origins of the name “Carbon Leaf.”  Finally he tells us about the many bands that they have toured and performed with over the years.
Fun facts: In 2002 Carbon Leaf won an American Music Award for their song “The Boxer.”  They featured Katy Perry in their 2006 music video, “Learn to Fly.”  They recorded music for 2009 film Curious George 2. In 2002 their music was featured on national commercials for the Pontiac Vibe.  They have played with/crossed paths with other major acts including Dave Matthews, O.A.R., The Avett Brothers, Sister Hazel, Big Head Todd, Blues Traveler, Jason Mraz, and many others.
CarbonLeaf.com

Carbon Leaf, Touring, Making It Big, Part 1 of 2 (with Barry Privett) Ep045



As the frontman of Carbon Leaf, Barry Privett has successfully toured and recorded with the same band since 1992, crossing paths with huge names in the music business (Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, Avett Brothers, and many more).  Over the course of their continuous 27 year career, he has learned many things about music itself, the music business, record labels, touring, and strategies for keeping the peace among band members.  Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick enjoy the opportunity to dive deep into the world of one of the music business’s hardest working bands!

In Part 1 of 2, Barry tells the guys about the beginnings of Carbon Leaf, their early influences, and their workman’s approach to the business.  He then tells us about their unique method of songwriting in which band members submit song ideas to him and he writes lyrics and melodies to those ideas. The band has been incredibly professional in their ability to work together, use facilitative language to provide constructive criticism, and come up with seemingly endless song ideas.
Joe and Aaron ask Barry for his back story and learn of his early musical influences and training, including piano, trumpet, guitar, and choir experience.  He tells them about Carbon Leaf’s first gigs playing at college bars near Richmond, Virginia.
Next, the guys talk about touring.  Barry tells them about the vocal strain of performing every night, but how in-ear monitors have helped to reduce that strain.  Carbon Leaf runs their band like a business, cutting out unnecessary costs.  They drive their own tour bus, they each have ancillary duties (social media, recording, etc.), and play a lot of shows.  Barry explains their process for booking tours.
Finally Barry talks about how the changing music market has influenced their recent strategy of foregoing record labels, building their own recording studio, and nurturing their fan base.
Fun facts: Carbon Leaf featured Katy Perry in their 2006 music video, “Learn to Fly.”  They recorded music for 2009 film Curious George 2. In 2002 their music was featured on national commercials for the Pontiac Vibe.  They have played with/crossed paths with major other major acts including Dave Matthews, O.A.R., The Avett Brothers, Sister Hazel, Big Head Todd, Blues Traveler, Jason Mraz, and many others.
CarbonLeaf.com

Drums, NYC Music Scene (with Graham Doby) Ep044



Aaron Sefchick and Joe McMurray bring in drummer Graham Doby to discuss drums and the music scene in New York City.
Graham tells the guys about his musical journey, including playing jazz in high school and studying jazz drumming at George Mason University before moving to NYC to work as a full-time musician.  Graham remembers playing at different venues in Washington, DC while he was in music school, and Joe and Graham reminisce about ear-training classes at George Mason with Dr. Anthony Maiello.  The guys also contemplate the value of Berklee College of Music as it compares to other music programs/options.
Graham talks about the complexities of the NYC music scene: it’s competitive nature, it’s different circles of musicians (from professional jazz players to wedding bands to professional players of other genres), and it’s often low-paying or pay-to-play gigs.  Despite any difficulties, Graham loves being part of NYC’s scene.  There are great players, exciting opportunities, and cool people.
Aaron gets Graham to tell us about his experience opening for Parliament and the stories of his interactions with George Clinton.
Graham has built a recording studio in NYC to record other bands and to produce his own music.  The guys ask him to explain how he manages the noise and his neighbors in an apartment building.
Aaron, Joe, and Graham discuss how to book gigs for a self-managed tour.  Graham talks about his work with a non-profit group that provides music education for youth, senior citizens, and students with disabilities, which reminds Joe of Fret Buzz Episode 38 with Joe Hamm of El Sistema.
The guys talk about the business skills it takes to make a living playing music, from doing taxes to wearing multiple hats (teaching during the day and performing at night).  Graham answers the burning question about how NYC musicians deal with getting show equipment to their gigs considering the obvious transportation difficulties.  The answer: they often don’t have to worry about it because so many venues have house drum kits and amps.
Graham tells us about his plans for the future, including recording projects, more teaching, and staying in NYC for at least five more years.
Late Sea
https://www.lateseamusic.com/

Seattle, Lead Guitar, Writing and Recording an Album Part 2 of 2 (with Brent Lyons of Solving Sounds) Ep043



In Part 2 of 2, Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick continue their conversation with Brent Lyons of the “Solving Sounds” podcast. They talk about the process of writing and recording an album, the popular music scene, and the way that society consumes music.

Brent tells us about his approach to writing and recording an album from start to finish. He writes songs in batches, with a focus on the overall sequencing and journey of the album (think Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”). The guys discuss the virtues of creating music for art versus promotion. Brent talks about how he writes individual songs – using different instruments to create the main hooks. The guys hash out creativity in the studio, including working with engineers who have songwriting/arranging input, using different equipment for different tones, and using Ableton and MIDI to spur creativity.

Finally, Brent, Aaron, and Joe talk about the state of the overall music scene and how it is influenced by the ways that the general public consumes music. With the lack of new band cultivation by major record labels, the legendary bands of the past have been elevated to even higher statuses, and reunion tours and tribute bands have gained momentum.

Check out Solving Sounds on your favorite podcasting app or at:
https://www.facebook.com/SolvingSoundsPodcast/
http://solvingsounds.libsyn.com/


Seattle, Lead Guitar, Writing and Recording an Album Part 1 of 2 (with Brent Lyons of Solving Sounds) Ep042



In Part 1 of 2, Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick are joined by Brent Lyons of the “Solving Sounds” podcast to discuss his podcast, the Seattle music scene, approaches to lead guitar and music theory, and guitar effects.
Brent tells the guys about the different sub-scenes in Seattle, from indie rock to heavy sludge rock to folk and acoustic.  He also talks about the transforming landscapes within the scene, including old venues closing down due to gentrification, and the challenge of “pay-to-play” gigs.
The guys talk about Brent’s Solving Sounds podcast, its release schedule, and some of its memorable moments.
The episode ends with an in-depth discussion on approaches to playing lead guitar, learning music theory, and Brent’s favorite guitar effects pedals.
Check out Solving Sounds on your favorite podcasting app or at: