Friday 13 June 2014

Love Hillsound? Let us know!

Here at Hillsound, we're constantly striving to bring you the best possible service that we can, so we'd love for you, the customer, to give us a little feedback and let us know how we're doing. The best way to do that is to leave us a review on Google. That way, we can use your opinions to make our current and potential future customers as happy as possible.

It only takes a minute. Here's how...

Type Hillsound into google

On the right hand side, (under the picture of the shop front) click on the little button that says 'Write a review'.

Leave us a little note, telling us how much you love us!

Friday 6 June 2014

Hillsound's Top Ten Songs for When You Just Need to sit Back and Listen

10. Tomorrow Never Knows- Beatles
Not for it's length, but every time I listen to Revolver, I hear something new. And it's normally on this song.

9. Lately- Stevie Wonder
The passion in Stevie Wonder's voice in this song is haunting. One of those where the lyrics should have your full attention.

8. Loaded- Primal Scream 
Screamadelica is one of the best albums to get you in the mood for summer in my opinion, and this song is great for pumping you up, but also to relax in the sun to. 

7. Lover You Should Have come over- Jeff Buckley
Showcases Buckley's stunning vocal range and you can hear the pain in his voice. The kind of song you might listen to with your eyes shut.

6. Fool's Gold- Stone Roses
Brilliant rhythm section. The dance-like vibe makes it easy to slip into the groove of the song and get a bit lost for a while. You may also start tap-tapping on your may.

5. Spanish Harlem- Mama's and Papa's (cover)
Another 'eyes shut' kind of song. It could be the middle of the Christmas period but if you put this song on, you will be transported to the sun.

4. High and Dry- Jamie Cullum (cover)
A stunning cover that shows just how talented, and what a true master of the piano, Cullum is. The version linked is a live video, slightly mashed up with Amazing Grace. You won't hear the original in quite the same way.

3. Machine Gun- Jimi Hendrix
A true love letter to the guitar. Running at over 12 minutes, this ode to the soldiers fighting the the Vietnam war uses Hendrix's unique playing technique to mimic the sounds of the battlefield, bombs and the crying wounded. Listen in awe, because it's a great song.

2. Shine On You Crazy Diamond- Pink Floyd
The ultimate self-indulgent song. Passing through a colourful display of styles and emotions, it feels like a real journey when you listen from start to finish. I often tell people that they "haven't lived until they've listened to it in one go", and I stand by that.

1. When the Levee Breaks
Not even sure much needs to be said about this song. It's just brilliant. Let's leave it at that.

Friday 30 May 2014

Your Journey to Becoming a Guitar Hero

Initial Thought
Anybody who has ever picked up a guitar, has in that second just become around 300% cooler to everyone else around them. 
OK, almost anybody.
They’re always slung across the back of the people who seem like they've got the best story to tell, so it’s natural that you’d want to give it a go.

Convincing yourself

How hard could it be? Just learn a 
few chords and bob's your uncle!
Anyway, most songs you want to learn have got the same 4 chords anyway. This is going to be easy.

Buying the guitar
You feel terrified, all of a sudden. You don’t want to show yourself up in the holiest of all the ‘temples of cool’. The Mecca if you will. This is where the spiritual journey to becoming a higher musical power begins- you've got to play it perfectly, or risk screwing it all up, right? 

Wrong. Be as unknowledgeable as possible. Unlike the Apple store, the people who work in music shops really ARE geniuses, and the more questions you ask, the more wisdom you can extract. They’ll set you up with everything you need to prepare you for your transition from zero to hero. And that includes us here at Hillsound... we too, are geniuses. *toots own trumpet*

Picking it up for the first time
You get the guitar out for the first time. You’re trembling with excitement. You’re handling it as if it were made of glass. Sweat is dripping from your furrowed brow.  OK, maybe not but, you did not buy a Martin guitar to ruin it 5 minutes later. You'll assume the position and what will happen is BAM. You won’t be able to actually play the thing, because you've got literally no idea. Time to book some lessons.

Your first lesson

This will be one of those moments in your life where you just hate everything around you and you’ll wish you were anywhere else, even if you have fun.

There is nothing worse than wanting to be able to do something, and not having the knowledge or the skill to be able to pull it off instantly. You might have listened to the guitar solo in Bohemian Rhapsody a million times; you won’t be able to play it. You’ll be lucky if you even get a nursery rhyme out in that first lesson. You’ll want to give up. You’ll feel like a child again. Stick with it, these guys know what they’re talking about. They are the quickest route to mastery.
(For information on music lessons at Hillsound in Hampton Hill, give us a ring on 0208 977 7788, email, or visit us in store)


    Picture this. You’re having to walk in shoes that gave you blisters 4 hours ago. You can’t take the shoes off, and you also can’t stop walking. This is what playing the guitar will be like at the beginning. Your fingers are going to absolutely despise you. Again, perseverance here is key. The more you play, the more your fingers will harden to the abuse they’re being dealt. Much like you will get more kick ass as you get better, your fingers will too.

The ‘Big Moment’
You've had enough. Your fingers still hurt, you can’t even play a simple scale, someone showed you an F chord and you almost burst into tears.
 You'll sell your guitar and just forget this ever happened. Stop! You're not alone! This is a totally common emotion; the road to becoming awesome couldn't be easy, could it? That would mean we let anyone in. Stick with it young padawan, or you'll never know the beauty of nailing a solo and seeing the crowd erupt.

Your New Repertoire
You've got about 3 songs under your belt now.
They’re alright, nothing too special, 
but you’re very proud. You've got  a barbecue coming up next week, you’ll take the guitar. You fancy a walk in the park, best take the guitar with you. Basically, whether people want it or not, they’re going to be getting concerts left right and centre. 

     This is probably the douche-iest phase in the process (with the possible exception of the time when you’re knowledgeable enough to start correcting people and making them look stupid and uncool. Just for the record, they’ll just think you’re a bit of a pretentious arse). Put the guitar down. Resist this urge. I think a fair assumption is to wait until you know about 10 songs, or enough basic chord sequences to take requests. Then you really will be the hit of the party. And if you can be the root of a sing-along you’ll feel absolutely brilliant. Just like Maria Von Trapp.

Your first song
           It’s time. You know enough to think about giving it a go yourself. You get your pen, paper and guitar ready. Nothing will happen. Or if you do manage to get something out, it will either be rubbish or it’ll be a carbon copy of a song that already exists.

     Don’t force these things. It’ll either come to you in a heartbeat (probably just as you're about to fall asleep as sod’s law dictates), or it will be a work in progress. I started a song 4 years ago and I've still not finished it, but it gets a little closer every time I come back to it. Another song I wrote in about 5 minutes on a train just throwing lyrics down and humming to myself, adding the chords later. However you do it, it’s not wrong, just make sure you’re proud of what you’re putting out there.

Now, at this point, everybody's paths get a little difference. Some people take themselves off to music school and get their degree or masters, some people put all their effort into teaching what they know, some people decide to start the difficult but potentially rewarding journey of trying to make it in a band or as a solo artist, and some people just like to keep playing for themselves. But whatever road you take, you’ll find yourself at nearly every thought on this list, at some point. In the meantime, good luck on your quest, we'll see you on the other side.