Jack Thammarat Live Clinic, Presented by Mama Treble Clef Studio in co-operation with Yamaha Malaysia
By Eizaz Azhar
What a day it was! On the 11th of November, 2011 - 11/11/11 (an interesting date as well), the guitar virtuoso and YouTube superstar Jack Thammarat, winner of Guitar Idol 2009, came all the way from Thailand to do a guitar clinic for our students and regular customers.
We basically set up the stage, sound system, mixers and amps and drums and lights and everything you can imagine in the span of two days. Here are some of the interesting equipment I had to set up on the day;
You see, Jack is a newly-crowned Laney artist so all the amplifiers on the day were Laney amps. Jack's personal amp is the new Ironheart; it's a 300W monster tube amp with incredible tone and warmth. Each amplifier was miced up using a condenser mic directed at the speaker.
For the gig I used a hybrid drum kit ala Akira Jimbo style; it's basically a DTX520 combined with real cymbals and my favourite Pearl steel snare drum from the late 90s. I used the DTX for the kick and toms, mixed together and lined out into the mixer (my trusty Iron Cobra Power Glide pedals are also visible) whereas the snare and cymbals were miced up. All in all I got apretty good sound - but alas the overheads weren't plugged in for the gig and I lost my cymbal sounds! Oh well.
This was the stage setup for the day; I'm running everything through a Yamaha MG24FX mixer and a smaller cheap power mixer on the left for the stage monitors. Each channel is I/O-ed into a Roland UA-101 audio interface for mixing with Cubase. I usually mix digitally so I can save the settings and edit them easily. The house system is powered by two 1200W power amplifiers and a Behringer EQ (set to flat - didn't have time to balance everything), a crossover and a compressor. (P.S. everything here you can purchase from Mama Treble Clef Studio - call 03-95432201 and we can help you set up a stage and sound system and balance it as well.)
The bass amp was DI-ed (direct inject) to the mixer and we had 4 stage monitors. The house system was run through a set of EV 15' speakers and 18' subwoofers - I was quite pleased with the sound overall!
Guitar virtuoso Jack Thammarat gives a live clinic on the stage of Mama Treble Clef Studio. Held on the 11th of November 2011, Jack runs through some of his pieces in this video series and even jams with our in-house teacher's band at the end! It was an awesome show, with a full house of over 120 people and everyone had their photo and guitars autographed by Jack. We hope to have him here again!
Guitar: Jack Thammarat
Guitar 2: Lee Onn
Guitar 3: Mustaffa "Tapok" Ramly
Bass: Tengku Dinkhalish
Drums: Eizaz Azhar
Sound Engineer: Eizaz Azhar
Thammarat (born December 25, 1979) is a guitarist from Thailand. Best known as the winner of Guitar Idol 2009 competition. He has acknowledged the influence of many guitarists including Pop the Sun, Prart, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Steve Lukather, Gary Moore, Scott Henderson, Robben Ford, Frank Gambale, Greg Howe and more.
Finally everything comes together, and this is the result. Jack's videos are below - do enjoy the show!

Jack Thammarat Live Clinic at Mama Treble Clef Studio

To our music friends and family, we have confirmed Jack Thammarat's guitar clinic at Mama Treble Clef Studio to commemorate his introduction as a Yamaha artist. It will be a free clinic and jam session. November 11th, Friday, 2:30pm to 3:30pm. Venue; Mama Treble Clef Studio, Lot 3010, 3rd Floor, Endah Parade (Carrefour) Sri Petaling, KL. Call us at 03-95432201 for more information!
Come one, come all!

By Eizaz Azhar

So we've gone through Phase 3 of construction of our new premises and what a challenge it is proving to be. We're basically done with almost 80% of the entire project, all in the ridiculously short period of a month! Here are some photos of past and present - guess which one is which!
The new premise is enormous and presents a completely different challenge as compared to the last location. With so much space, it takes a lot of time just to get around. Communicating with everyone is an issue as for every error you make, the time factor is multiplied by five fold due to the sheer size of the store. It takes a good 3 minutes to get to the new recording studio (i.e. my office) and another 10 minutes to get it set up!
So, what exactly are we now? We will be running a music store, music school, recording studio, instrument workshop, a cafe and even a stage for live performances. It's an all-in-one center for every musical need - at least we try to make it that way!
From pianos to guitars and woodwinds and brass, strings and accessories we can now display them all. The tremendous amount of stock that we have had in our warehouse for years can finally be placed in the store, all at once and it looks like a proper showroom. We placed a large tempered glass door at the entrance where our drums greet the customer as they enter the store.
There will be weekly performances at our cafe, scheduled as soon as it opens; we will be hosting various local and international acts from time to time for our students and customers.
This is sorta how the front desk and counter looks like. Guitars surround the area, hooked on gondolas that we designed and built ourselves.
The woodwind section consists of mouthpieces, saxes, clarinets and flutes. As a woodwind retailer we have a lot of instuments and accessories in stock. A glass door will soon cover the cabinet in which they are located in. The violins and strings will also be covered in a glass panel which will further add to the atmosphere. Each cabinet has twin halogen bulbs above it to illuminate the instruments inside.
Finally we have cozy teaching rooms for our students and teachers!
This series of posts will be concluded in Part III, where everything will come together. Everyone is invited for the grand opening - do come over!

By Eizaz Azhar

Welcome back to part II of our renovation and process of moving premises. In the weeks that have gone by, there has been a large amount of work completed - roughly 30%; the framework for the new shop is finally done as are most of the guitar/musical instrument wall hangers and installation of slatwalls. The new shop will not only consist of a music shop with a variety of instruments displayed but also a cafe with a stage and performances (by yours truly), a proper recording studio, teaching/rehearsal rooms and a jamming/rehearsal studio for rent, in a monster of a venue encompassing 13,000+ square feet in total. It will be an interesting concept to say the least, and we will probably be the only music school in Malaysia with an in-house, professional-grade, fully-equipped and miked recording studio - not only for recording but also for teaching!

Interestingly enough this lot was never intended for a commercial store; rather, it is actually an allocated lot for the food court of the shopping complex Endah Parade in Sri Petaling, hence the abundance of space. Each food stall had its own dedicated lot, which sort of made things easier for us to build individual teaching rooms since the infrastructure was already up.

A dual-layer gypsum board is build for each room and insulated in layers of mineral wool to keep the sound from leaking. This also ensures better acoustics for each room and less inteferance from outside noises.

Air-cond ducts run in and out of each room via the ceiling to keep it cool and comfortable for teaching. An issue is sound leakage through the air-cond ducts but this was kept to a minimum amount due to the mineral wool.

Slatwalls - a kind of building material that allows for hanging items for display - have been installed throughout the building.

Needless to say I am at the forefront of it all...!

To be continued...

By Eizaz Azhar

Hi guys! Most of you may know me as a teacher in the music store Mama Treble Clef Studio and in-house musician (technician/admin guy/IT department/repairman/brute strength lifting dude/the guy you turn to when everything goes wrong and want things fixed in the shortest time possible without prior notice) among other things. I've been given the task of chronicling events that will be going on for the next good month or two. So here I am, writing this on my (infamous red-flamed decorated Toshiba Qosmio that weighs 7kg) notebook in a new, empty lot that we will be moving in shortly. Thing is, we've been talking about moving and all for quite some time now as some of my students might be able to attest to, and it's finally coming around. This, however exciting and fun it may seem - and actually is, I assure you - poses a bit of an issue to some members of the team (okay only two), particularly Ray Lee (right) and myself.

A bit about the company background; we started out as a small, miniature lot with practically 3 guitars, 2 pianos and around 50 students back in 2005-2006. Back then it was much simpler; a 300 square foot room that we basically furnished and renovated ourselves. A few years later we came up with the recording studio which we also furnished on our own, and the current 3 conjoined lots which, yes, we did ourselves. One reason was due to our budget (read; lack thereof) and simply because we didn't have much to do around the tiny store anyway, and also picked up a bunch of skills - mainly dangerous, tiring and monotonous - like installing partitions, wiring the ceiling and lighting, as well as sitting in an enclosed room with cancerous toxic fumes.
And now we're moving for a third and possibly final time to this monster of a venue, enough to house all divisions of the shop, inclusive of a recording studio, performance stage, showroom, cafe and music classes (natural disaster relief spot, emergency gathering area - who knows what else, really).
So anyway, we've had some experience in renovating and doing things on our own as you can see, but this is a whole different experience. It's a different thing furnishing a 400 square foot venue versus a 13,000 square foot venue. First of all, the cost involved is much larger, and there are some things you just can't do without spending half a year trying to pry open (i.e. the air-cond ventilation ducts which are drawn from the shopping complex's mains). Then there's the issue of decorating the space, purchasing enough stock to fill it up so that it doesn't look like the North/South Korea demilitarized zone, and finding reliable staff that show up on time and disappear when required (as opposed to random times and the worst possible moments where you feel like strangling the nearest form of intelligent life not unlike a Phua Chu Kang script).
To Be Continued....

Kepada semua murid murid dan keluarga,pelanggan-pelanggan,dealer-dealer serta pengemar muzik tanahair ,MAMA TREBLE CLEF STUDIO ingin mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya AidilFitri & Maaf Zahir Batin .Semoga anda semua sihat walafiat dan diberkati Tuhan.Sokonglah muzik tempatan dan sokonglah Encik Eizaz Azhar yang berkebolehan bermain lebih dari 10 alta-alat instrumen , sila tonton video music ini dan berilah komen yang positive.Terima Kasih!

Pleased be inform that we will relocating our shop from 2000 sq. ft. to 13,000 sq ft. shop next to our current shop (former furniture shop) Our new lot will be the top 5 biggest music shop in town.The new shop consist of 30 individual studios, 5 group class music rooms, 2 jamming studios, 1 recording studio , 1 music cafe ,meeting room, 5000 sq ft. showroom and will become the one stop musical instruments centre in Malaysia.The renovation works will begin on the 5th Sept 2011 to 15th October 2011 , therefore the amendments to the music school holiday schedule is listed below : The second schoolterm break from :21st Nov to 27th November will be schedule to : 9th Oct to 15th Oct 2011 Together we make music education accessible to everyone! Thank you and regards.

Our in-house teacher Siang Xi, member of the fusion group JUNK plays his own composition in our studio, as a demonstration of pop piano playing. Enjoy!

Multi-instrumentalist Eizaz Azhar runs through the fundamentals of a flute in this video. If you're just starting out, this makes a great introduction to the instrument and what it's all about. Enjoy!

MAMA TREBLE CLEF STUDIO endorsed Mr Razak Rahman (leading saxophonist in Malaysia) to become Malaysia Jodyjazz ambassador and spoke person.We welcome him to our big family and is our honour to have him to join our company as ambassador.May his courage will motivate and cheer up our local saxophone industry.looking forward to make his first music video with MAMA TREBLE CLEF STUDIO.Thank you Mr RAzak Rahman!

INTRODUCTION Guitars come in all different shapes and sizes, forms and colors - and is arguably the most personalized musical instrument of all time. They also come in all sorts of price ranges as well, depending on the player, experience and budget. Today's review will take a look at the new range of guitars from the brand Jaxville; Demon, Hades, and Zeus. Basically a guitar catered to the entry-level market, each guitar is adorned with high-quality airbrushed images which make for a stunning display on stage or in the studio.

OVERVIEW The Jaxville Custom Series II guitars are distinctive designer guitars with a penchant for the stage. There are 3 "themes" to choose from: "Demon" showcases a red-and-black theme of flames, "Hades", named after the Greek god of the underworld depicts a shadowy figure in the moonlight, and "Zeus", the King of Gods, has lightning bolts splitting the guitar apart. Each guitar is finished in hi-quality gloss finish, with matching headstock and neck. All guitars are based on a Fender design, with three single-coil pickups and a rosewood neck, 22 frets each. The review unit was packaged with a 10-watt amplifier, a soft case and an instructional DVD.

FEATURES Construction: Bolt-on Body: Basswood Neck: Maple Fingerboard: Rosewood Hardware: Chrome, covered Controls: 1 Volume, 2 Tone, 5 way pickup selector switch Frets: 22 Pickups: S-S-S Bridge: Synchronized Tremolo Pickguard: Black Finish: Hi-gloss Each guitar features a 5-way selector switch, two tone controls and one volume control to shape your sound. Every inch of the guitar is coated in shiny, gloss black with no wood to be seen, augmenting the guitar's stage appearance. The pickups emit a glassy, clear tone as expected from a single coil; rhythm playing and accompaniment work very well on the guitar. When put through an overdrive pedal, the guitar responds like a Fender Stratocaster, making it suitable for rock and even country playing. The neck is in the shape of a soft "C" neck reminiscent of a Telecaster; this guitar would be suitable for players who are comfortable with their thumb on the back or side of the neck. The guitar is slightly on the heavy side, perhaps due to the full gloss finish but in no way does the it affect the guitar's playability and balance. As for the supplied amplifier, it does a good job of a first practice amplifier to learn the basics on, but will surely need to be upgraded once the player reaches a certain skill level. The included DVD is informative and runs through many beginner issues, and is of a great help to those just starting out.

CONCLUSION After spending some time with these guitars, it can be said that the Jaxville Custom Series II guitars are truly catered for the entry-level player who is looking for a different axe to try out. The eye-catching design will surely attract the attention of those who want to stand out, and considering the market pricing of the guitar, it looks like a great bargain. The Jaxville guitar comes in a package as well, alongside an amplifier, soft case and instructional DVD. The guitar plays well, stays in tune and sounds decent. If you're looking for something unique and different for a first guitar, by all means go for it!

INTRODUCTION The drummer's world is an interesting one, with many choices. From pedals to sticks and heads, stands, gloves and all sorts of accessories, we're pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to things to hit. One such example is the practice pad - basically a rubber pad on a solid surface, practica pads come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The Cherub DP-900 Electronic Drum Pad is a new offering by the manufacturer Cherub. Basically an electronic practice pad, it incorporates many features for the student and professional alike, making stick practice and rudiments entertaining and effective, all in one package.

OVERVIEW The drum pad is basically a single unit, combining a metronome, rubber pad, speakers and a sensor below the pad. Made out of black plastic, the yellow rubber pad makes for a striking contrast and it is lightweight enough to be carried to school or classes. The unit has a small screw at its base for use with any standard cymbal stand which allows it to be mounted. There is also a volume control for the metronome, a headphone out jack and several buttons to control the LCD interface. FEATURES The Cherub DP-900 Electronic Drum Pad comes with 2 built-in features; a metronome and a "train" mode (you'll understand when I go through it). The metronome feature is basically what it is, a metronome so you can practice in time and tempo. The BPM is adjustable from 30 to 280, and you can select quarter notes (crotchets), eighth notes (quavers) sixteenth notes (semiquavers), triplets and a bunch of mixed articulated notes. The beat can also be selected from 0 (no strong beat) to 11 (11/4 time signature for the more, um, rhythmically-insane).
An interesting feature is the "train" feature; this mode calculates each beat on the head - sort of a stick meter to measure your speed. In this mode you can select up to 4 different times (15 seconds, 30 sec, 45 sec and 60 sec) and the timer begins after the first stroke registered. This is an excellent way to train your sticking and even makes as a challenge among friends or students! My personal record stands at 254 beats in 15 seconds (which would average out to 1,000 beats in a minute) - a long way off from Mike Mangini's record of 1,247 in a minute!
The Cherub DP-900 Electronic Drum Pad is indeed an economical way to build up stamina and speed
at the drums. For the student, this is an invaluable practice tool that every serious drum
student should own; for the teacher this serves as a mobile, portable practice surface that
can be taken from class to class (might even create some rivalry among students...!) and is
worth at least taking a look at to augment their teaching material.
The Cherub DP-900 Electronic Drum Pad can be purchased at Mama Treble Clef Studio located at Lot 3015, 3rd Floor, Endah Parade, Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur or visit their website at http://www.mamatreble.com.my for more information. Now go hit something!

The song "Rasa Sayang" is a folk song in the Malay language, familiar to all, yet is the subject of much debate and discussion. Writing this from a Malaysian point of view, anyone who has spent their childhood growing up in Malaysia surely knows the song. The lyrics are as follows;

Rasa sayang, hey!,
Rasa sayang sayang hey,
Hey lihat nona jauh,
Rasa sayang sayang hey!
Buah cempedak di luar pagar,
Ambil galah tolong jolokkan,
Saya budak baru belajar,
Kalau salah tolong tunjukkan.
Pulau pandan jauh ke tengah,
Gunung daik bercabang tiga,
Hancur badan dikandung tanah,
Budi yang baik dikenang juga.
Dua tiga kucing berlari,
Mana sama si kucing belang,
Dua tiga boleh ku cari,
Mana sama abang seorang.
Pisang emas dibawa berlayar,
Masak sebiji di atas peti,
Hutang emas boleh dibayar,
Hutang budi dibawa mati.
The structure of the song is a "pantun" (pronounced parn-toon) which means a rhyme in Malay. Basically the first verse is a sort of chorus which is repeated after every pantun, each spanning 4 sentences (in this case the pantuns used are some of the most popular Malay nursery rhymes).
The song itself is in the public domain as a traditional song and does not have any copyright, no estate, no composer - which is where the controversy begins. As of recent the origins of the song have come into dispute, with Indonesia claiming that the song originates from their country and Malaysia claiming that the song is theirs. To be honest, as my teacher said, Malaysia is the fusion capital of the world when it comes to music. From Javanese to Indian, Arabic to Chinese, Malaysia is probably the only country in the world to have such a diverse and rich cultural background. Our wayang kulit and kuda kepang, while similar are actually two very different cultures. The rhythms used in Indian music here vary vastly from the ones from India, and even the Chinese culture here is very different, down to the architecture.
It is entirely possible that the song might have originated anywhere - it could have been a Javanese folk tune, a Thai folk song, maybe even from Burma or even India - who knows, really! It is also highly likely that the lyrics have been changed, the structure and ryhthm have been changed and that the song could be entirely different altogether, over time, handed down to generations. The song enjoys equal popularity in both Malaysia and Indonesia and is taught in elementary schools and kindergarten in both nations - I believe that it's an amalgamation of both cultures and we're all brothers and sisters, really. Why the dispute is beyond my comprehension!
Having said that, this is an original arrangement (yes we own the rights to this particular arrangement - it originates from Malaysia!) by the jazz-fusion band JUNK. This is a fusion of Afro-Cuban, Funk, Javanese and Malay styles all in one. Enjoy our work!

Hi all! It was our great pleasure to have met the great guitar luthier, Mr. Manuel Rodriguez Jr. in person! All the way from Madrid, Spain, Manuel paid us at Mama Treble Clef a surprise visit as one of their distributors in Malaysia. Manuel Rodriguez - or MR as it is affectionately known among musicians and guitarists - have been making guitars for over a century now, and make some of the world's finest handmade Spanish guitars to critical acclaim by players and luthiers alike. During his visit, Manuel discussed the aspects of choosing a good classical guitar, quality of the material and wood, different methods of handcrafting, and even regarding playing and music education. Pictured is Mr. Manuel with some of our teachers and discussing everything guitar! His stories are legendary; from starting up from a tiny guitar manufacturer to a giant corporation in Spain, we hope to be able to visit his factory one day.

In a small town in La Mancha, the region that inspired the epic Spanish novel "Don Quixote," a third generation guitar-maker is struggling to secure the future of his business.
Manuel Rodriguez III owns the century-old family business of the same name, heir to a tradition of guitar manufacturers which dates back to 1905 when his grandfather gave up fishing in Cadiz to dedicate his life to his musical passion. More than 100 years later, Toledo-based Manuel Rodriguez and Son is still making handmade guitars and exports 90 percent of its production to 120 countries. Many of its finest guitars have found their way into the hands of famous musicians, world leaders, Nobel Prize-winners and royalty. Over the years, the production process developed by Rodriguez's grandfather has undergone some changes, and while made to order and top range guitars are still totally hand-produced, the workshop now employs some mechanical processes to make production safer and more efficient. "There used to be a lot of accidents. If you see anyone in the town missing fingers or even a hand you know he worked here," went the saying. Still, the workshop requires 60 percent manpower to make its guitars, and the global crisis of the last few years has forced the business to adapt to challenging market conditions. Spain plunged into recession three years ago after a decade-long property and construction boom collapsed. Tight credit and falling demand for luxury goods forced the number of workshops down to six from 40 or 50 in just two decades. Financing can be tricky in such conditions, even for an established company with a good balance sheet, Rodriguez said. "If we go to a Spanish bank and say we're guitar-makers they ask if it's possible to make a living out of that." Manuel Rodriguez and Sons has had to reduce its staff by two-thirds in under three years in a country where the number of unemployed has risen to over 4 million, leaving parts of the workshop in eerie silence.
Yet some processes, such as the gluing of parts and a laborious binding procedure remain completely manual, making it easy to understand why the manufacturing time takes a month. "We're still using string to do the binding, there is no tool or machine to do that. We use a CNN Router to make the necks, that has helped to lower costs. Another approach has been to use machines to polish the varnish," said Rodriguez. Despite his strong Spanish roots, Rodriguez believes his American background -- he was born and raised in California where the family moved its business for 18 years -- gives him a different outlook. "A teacher from UCLA visiting Madrid asked my father if he would go to the States to make guitars, so without knowing any English, with just $100 in his pocket, a few pieces of wood and a few tools my father went to Los Angeles," said Rodriguez. For 18 years the family lived and worked in California, making guitars for Hollywood actors, lawyers and doctors. "It was a fantastic experience...and my time there has given me a vision of marketing and the world which is very different to that in Spain." Eventually, the family returned to Spain and resumed their craft, but the guitars did not sell. "We bought a truck and travelled around Europe with the Yellow Pages and knocked on doors to sell our guitars." Rodriguez, who has two small children, sees the future for this small family business as very challenging but he will insist in keeping the family business growing.Manuel Rodriguez Jr had give us so many advise on how to choose a quality guitar and explain to us about the art of making guitar.He told us to be very patient in running the classical guitar business.He will return to Malaysia perhaps during December 2011.We in Malaysia wish him all the best and may his business prosperous forever.God bless MR. Attached are photos of Mr. Rodriguez together with Mama Treble Clef Studio's staff - if you have any questions do give us a call and we will do our best to accomodate your enquiry. Together We make music education accessible to everyone!