Jesse Blair
Composer / Guitarist
Music Software and Equipment I use
Reason - (full version), (essentials)
Reason is synthesizer and sequencing software.  I used this (version 4) in Open Wounds and Reason Song 1.  For Open Wounds I used Digital Performer (shown below) as the sequencer/audio effects editor which used Reason for the Synthesizer sounds.  (The two programs work together really well).
This is the notation software I used for all my scores.
Digital Performer -
This is the sequencier/DAW I used for all my film compositions.  I also use it for recording live music.  It is very powerful but also has somewhat of a steep learning curve.  I would recommend it for film composing but you might prefer a simplier interface if you just want an audio recorder and sequencer.
Line 6 Guitar Amps and Effects -
My main guitar amp is the Line 6 AxSys 212 which is no longer in production.  I have also used the POD HD500 linked above.  If you want lots of control and variables to fully customize your sounds then Line 6 is the right choice for you.  However, if you want a simple plug and play setup you might prefer the old analog amp + stomp boxes approach.
How I Learned Guitar Improvisation
Killer Pentatonics -
This was the book that got me started doing rock/blues/heavy metal improvisations.  By focusing on the pentatonic scale it makes learning to improvise much easier because manipulating these five notes will almost always go well against the key you are playing in.  It lays a great foundation for adding complexity later on.
Jimi Hendrix Tabs - Electric Ladyland -
All in all, Jimi is probably my biggest influence on the guitar.  He was a great pioneer and set the stage for those that followed him.  I can’t imagine how much he must have blown everybody away when he first came on the scene.  The biggest crowd pleasing song I ever played was when we (Stopping on Green) would cover voodoo chile (slight return).  Here is Jimi playing it on the BBC
Challenge the Masters -
This is not an instructional book on how to improvise, it is a selection of classical music excerpts that sound really good on the electric guitar.  It is a good way to broaden your horizons if you are feeling stuck in a generic rock sound.
Joe Satriani Tabs -
Joe Satriani was my introduction to the world of instrumental guitar rock and, all in all, is my favorite artist of that genre.  I love the variety in his playing.  He can play blues, rock, classical, shred, and write melodies so catchy that even Coldplay steals them.  However, I think it’s his clever, unique, and natural way of moving between less common modes that I enjoy the most.  He certainly has a lot to teach, just ask some of his old students (e.g. Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett, Alex Skolnick…).
Steve Vai Tabs with Backing Tracks -
I will never forget the first time I heard Steve Vai’s “For the Love of God” (, I was in complete awe.  It’s fun jamming to your favorite CD’s but it is absolutely essential that you also practice to backing tracks so that you get experience carrying the limelight all by yourself.  What better way to push yourself than trying to fill his shoes.    
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