Photo Shoot – June 2017

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Photographers: Sofia Zasheva, Veneta Paunova Retouch: Sofia Zasheva Website | Facebook Page

Live at Joy Station – Sofia, Bulgaria, 30 March 2017

Photo credits: Tsvetelina Kostova


Opening for Stu Hamm & Greg Howe in Joy Station – Sofia, Bulgaria, 7 November, 2016

Opening for Stu Hamm & Greg Howe in Sofia, Bulgaria, club Joy Station, 7 November, 2016


Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov | Flight of the Bumblebee | Tab by Alexandra Zerner

If you follow my works, you should be aware of the cover I made of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov’s¬† Flight of the Bumblebee.

When I started learning it, I decided to use my own fingerings for this piece, which I transcribed for a 7-string guitar and I wrote it down on a Guitar Pro file. I made three versions:

Enjoy!!!

Alexandra Zerner | Sextilis | Arpeggios Lesson

In the first “episode” of my free licks & tabs I want to show you a snippet from my track Sextilis, which, in essence, is a repeating arpeggio pattern in 7/4, based on chord progression in B- (aka Bm). Below you can see a video, where I play this part and on the bottow you will find the tabs for the part. Enjoy and share!

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Guitar Pro file is available after donating an amount of your choosing, by using the button below and then writing the name of the lick tab you need in the text field, which opens, when you click the blue link Add special instructions to the seller.

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Kiesel Guitars Solo Contest | Alexandra Zerner

Another cool contest popped up and I had a serious dilemma if I should enter or not, because usually such competitions are an arena of an enormous amount of show off, which is actually disgusting. Then a brilliant idea hit me – I will do an anti-shred 4-note solo! Well, after the spicing, it actually came up to be 7-notes solo (and an additional short “blue” note in the transition arpeggio-like phrase before the theme repeat), but I still kept it simple and melodic. So, here’s the video (vote for me here) and below you can find some additional details, if you’re interested.

In this recording I decided to give a try to my brand new Bias FX from Positive Grid, which is a great plugin to have – I really appreciate it, being a session musician. The guitar is Jackson JS32-8Q, equipped with Kahler 2218 tremolo, and goes directly into my Scarlett 18i8 from Focusrite, without any other devices on the path. Due to the fact, that many people asked me about the preset, that I used, I decided to upload it here, so you can enjoy it and mention me around ūüôā
For downloading the preset – click on the picture.
bias-fx-alexandra-zerner

Nili Brosh’s ‘A Matter of Perception’ Guitar Contest – Alexandra Zerner’s Entry – Behind the Scenes

Generally I stopped participating in guitar competitions, because most of them turned into a shredding show-off, which is not my cup of tea, but this contest grabbed my attention just because Nili Brosh announced it as a melody writing contest, which is something, that I would gladly participate in. It’s done by the courtesy of PremierGuitar as a PG Giveaways.¬†The other major reason is that this contest actually helps Jason Becker by generating donations to his fund and this is a great motivation to me to do something about it.

Nili Brosh is a great player and musician in general, and she does very interesting music, so it was a pleasure for me to compose something over her track. It was a quite challenging task to perform, because of the two distinct¬†parts, bringing very different flavours for the listener, combined with nice chord progressions, so it was really ‘A Matter of Perception’¬†for me to work on.

As a matter of fact, I wrote the second part first – when I heard the track, this √† la Marty Friedman¬†melodic line popped up in my mind immediately, so it should be¬†a shame not to record it. It is a bit harmonically demanding, so I needed to adjust few notes and phrases in order to fit the chord progression good enough. Then came the first section, which¬†sounded to me a bit middle-east asian, so I decided to use an arabic octatonic to build my melodic lines there. I was afraid, that both sections won’t go along together very good, but nevertheless I gave them a chance. I hope you’ll like the result.

Enjoy, subscribe and share! ūüôā

Happy Birthday Song – cover by Alexandra Zerner – Behind the Scenes

The idea of making a cover version of this peremptory hit, is wandering across my mind for a very long time, as the genre concept of the eventual release is changing all the time. In fact, I’ve never found time to invest in developing the idea and coming to a complete idea of how this cover should sound like, until March 10th, when realising that two of my friends have their birthdays on that date, I concluded, that it’s an excellent occasion¬†to start working on this cover.

I already had some basic concepts of what I should do with the harmony in order to make it more interesting and… more me-ish, so I grabbed the 12-string acoustic guitar and started experimenting, until I hit the right key, which, being a synesthete, I value as a component of a high importance. I wanted to integrate several different flavours in the arrangement, because this is how it sounded in my head, so beside the 12-string, I cleaned the dust from the the mandolin’s case and put this small and exquisite instrument at work. I often tend to use a mandolin in a combination with a 12-string guitar in my work as a composer, because it gives me the opportunity to create a broadband string-based soundscape, where these instruments¬†could also¬†move in counterpoints, creating interesting and full harmonic and melodic content.

Then came the piano as a timbral and melodic addition to the acoustic guitar and the mandolin, then the bass and the drums. I put the last two in order to develop the composition dynamically, which was already extended to more than 2 min. because I decided to put a guitar solo part as well, moving into the relative minor key, so I can create more dramatic and well constructed shape of the song.

Finally I came to the lead guitar part, which is the most interesting element here. The first and the obviously most logical approach was to put the main melodic theme, played in a¬†traditional 6/8 bluesy fashion, but then I asked myself “Why should I do that? Everybody would do it exactly this way.” Once I saw a movie, where a guy was asked how he¬†constructs so complex and well working plans, when he’s not that smart. He answered: “I imagine someone smarter than me, and then imagine what they would do.” There is a enormous amount of wisdom in this principle and it saved me a lot of times, when I felt stuck. In this particular case, I imagined my guitar heroes Jason Becker and Marty Friedman and asked myself: “What they would do with this track?” Right away¬†the “answer”¬†popped¬†in my mind and I just translated it into sound, using my guitar.

I must admit, that I fancy¬†the result, which doesn’t happen often, but¬†what’s more interesting is that Jason Becker liked it too and shared it on his facebook page – there couldn’t be a greater recognition for this rendition of mine ūüôā

Concerning the video, I thought that the approach I used for my cover of Dream Theater’s “Wait for Sleep”¬†would be a great idea, that’s why I shot all the takes of the different instruments, except playing the drum parts on my keyboard – it’s not so interesting performance to watch, also it would unnecessarily flood the screen and won’t leave space for more important things.

The other essential thing is, that this is the project, that I finished¬†for the shortest period of time, considering the amount of work – starting from¬†scratch (not even chords on a paper) to a finished¬†video, uploaded to YouTube, there were exactly 12 hours, with two 15 min. breaks within this period. I doubt I will ever do that again, because it’s extremely exhausting, but at least now I know I am capable of doing it.

Well, enough talking – below is the video, so enjoy, subscribe and share! ūüôā

Perpetual Burn (Jason Becker) – Cover by Alexandra Zerner – Behind the Scenes

As you may remember, last year I uploaded a video on my official facebook page of me practicing Jason Becker’s “Perpetual Burn”. This piece is one of the greatest guitar challenges and¬†a milestone for every melodic¬†shred¬†guitarist since 1988, when the “Perpetual Burn” album was released. So, this video of mine was shot for personal intends in order to check where I am in the process of learning and polishing the piece. Due to my practice to upload such videos to my facebook page, I decided to upload and this one and five minutes later, Jason Becker himself posted it on his page, which left me with my jaw dropped… Honestly, I didn’t expect such thing, at least because this so-called cover that I did, wasn’t the full track – it stopped somewhere around 2/3 of the length, also it was captured by the built-in microphone of my laptop and the sound quality was pretty bad. Nevertheless, I gained a serious amount of views and popularity, which was,¬†according to my own beliefs, an undeserved fame, especially when later the same year Jason Becker mentioned my cover in the October edition of Guitar Player Magazine¬†along with Jeff Loomis (whom I would like to thank a lot for the great backing track of “Perpetual Burn”). I felt both proud and bit ashamed, because it’s a great thing for someone to be aknowledged by their idols, but at the same time I¬†still didn’t think I should get such credits for just a practice video with a poor quality. This, though, motivated me to sit down on my butt and practice¬†“Perpetual Burn” until I get it right – it was a long and difficult road to walk on, because I learnt this piece by ear, which is a serious challenge, considering the speed of certain phrases, also every month I was discovering, that I play something wrong and I needed to fix my mistakes. Finally, I reached some point, where I think I played the piece at an acceptably high level, so I decided to shoot a decent video of it and put in on YouTube. This, of course, led to issues that every musican is pretty familiar with – the sudden drop of the playing abilities when recording, which combined with my “recording apnea”, causing constant hiccups, forced me to play this piece about 30 times in a row to get it right on the video. As a result, my hands got very tired and a bit aching at the end, but I think the result is somewhat good, so enjoy and feel free to share: