Mike Outram

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Rhythm Changes Flow Etude

Here’s a little 8th note flow etude on rhythm changes that I made.

I made it for you, so you better practise it good and show me you nailed it, then I will send you some orange peel and dried up Ribena.

Here’s an Mp3 too


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Managing Spotify Playlists with Alfred, Spotify Mini Player & Google Sheets

Oooooh, I do love a good Alfred workflow and this one is a beaut. If you use Spotify on a Mac a lot then – Look Out, MacLeod! – the quickening is coming.

So, I have around 400 playlists in Spotify – mainly for my teaching website for guitar nerds: ElectricCampfire.com. And it’s a total mission to manage and keep track of all that within the Spotify player.

What I wanted to have was a list of all the playlists in a spreadsheet so I can keep track of what they’re for and where I have them on my site; a nice overview of what’s there so I can simplify and consolidate the mess. The Spotify sidebar, lovely as it is, was not built for 400 playlists. No it was not. Folders – yes, there is that, but you still need to organise the mess in the first place. Plus, given the messianic complex I have, I still like to be in charge of all of my stuff, all of the time.

You see, these things: playlists, your downloads folder, your terrible file-naming taxonomy, the stuff in your cupboard, the things you ignore, the clothes you keep but don’t wear – these things will eventually take over to where they are in control of you. And your chattering mind becomes a slave to nothingness.

And, what if Spotify suddenly shuts down or they change the embed code or something – What THEN?!…

Ok, now you’re convinced. Here’s what you need to do:

First thing to do is to get a list of all the playlists into a spreadsheet.

I used Spotify Mini Player to help with that. (You’ll need a Mac with Alfred to do any of this.) Follow their instructions to hook SMP up to Spotify. This creates an SQLite database. I used DB Browser for SQLite to export the database of Spotify Playlists into a CSV file and uploaded that to Google Sheets. So now you have a place to keep track of all the playlists.

I know! It’s madly exciting isn’t it? See? Good things can come out of the lockdown…

But look, it gets better.

See, the thing I mentioned above – The Spotify Mini Player – is terrific. Wh…

BECAUSE you can copy to the clipboard the title of any, yes ANY of your playlists. Then you can hit a hotkey (mine is ‘⌥2’) which delivers the contents of that clipboard to SMP in Alfred, you hit ‘enter’, then hit ‘⌘2’ and by total MAGIC that will open up Spotify with your playlist. It takes 2 seconds to do this as opposed to 2 minutes trying to remember what the playlist was called and then entering that into Spotify’s search box.

Look, I made a video for you so you could watch all this at your leisure.


Ha! Take that!

So, I know what you’re thinking…

You’re thinking, ‘If only there was some way of having the Google Sheet hook up to the SQLite db so it was always current.’ and ‘Gee whiz, I sure wish we had nesting within spreadsheets’.

And there you go.

That’s been today.

I also had a tuna toastie.

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Oleo (Miles Davis’s solo) – New Course at ElectricCampfire.com

One of the first jazz records I heard was this one featuring Sonny Rollins’ jazz classic ‘Oleo’

Miles’s solo on this one is a classic, and the arrangement and playing from all the guys is brilliant.

Most of it is simple to play, and there’s Miles’s directness and simplicity in the playing but there’s also some Miles-isms of weirdness too. For example, have a listen to the first bridge (0:53) where he plays a simple line of the first 5 notes of the Ab minor scale over the D7, then plays the same line over the G7, then shifts it down a semitone for the C7 and caps it off with a similar but tweaked version over the F7. Simple, but strange!

Anyhow, if you’d like to learn Miles’s solo on Oleo, come and join Electric Campfire where I’ve recorded a series of 8 videos that will walk you through exactly how to play the entire thing on the guitar, plus an extended video on how and what to practise to support your playing, and a whole ‘Rhythm Changes Foundation Workbook’ to make you sound exzellent!

Speak soon!


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Mr. P.C. Tommy Flanagan solo

Been working on this Tommy Flanagan solo on Mr. P.C. Haven’t had much time of late to really sit down and do some deep practice, so I’ve been taking it bit by bit, grabbing time whenever I can to get to the end of this solo. As I’m working it out, I’ll record a little video to remind me of the fingering choices I’ve made. And I put them all on my Instagram. You can see them all below.

Anyhow, it’s full of great stuff and I am commanding you to check it out!

I’ll start you off…

This piano solo from Mr. P.C. is taken from John Coltrane’s album Giant Steps, released in 1960. The track features John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums).

It’s a minor blues. Quite a simple melody to play. I really love the feel of Tommy’s 8th notes, and the great lines he plays. Each chorus is like a complete statement too. If you’re an ElectricCampfire member check out the Foundations course where I talk about this piece as well as a little analysis of one soloing idea I call the ‘first 5 notes’ technique.

Tommy was a brilliant pianist. He’s also on Wes Montgomery’s ‘Incredible Jazz Guitar’ record, and he’s on many albums as a sideman. There’s a great trio record you should hear too called ‘Jazz Poet’. Check out the track ‘Raincheck’.

Here’s some more info about Tommy Flanagan

Here’s the first chorus of the solo.











If you’re into this kind of thing then come and join my site ElectricCampfire.com – I’ll show you exactly how to take simple elements of this and get it into your own playing.


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Jazz Guitar Lessons for New School Year!

Hey, it’s a new school year and you’re getting the itch for some guitar lessons…

Maybe you need some help with improvisation, or you’re preparing to audition for university..

Well, I’m opening up my lesson times for the rest of the year. You can book a lesson with me any day of the week!

You can contact me here

PLUS – if you join my online lessons site ElectricCampfire.com then you get a 1/3rd off the lesson price.

AND – to join the site is normally $35 USD/Month, but there’s a great annual deal at the moment of $20 USD/Month (paid annually)

Please share to reach your guitar friends far and wide :)



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Charlie Parker for Guitar

This week I’ve been revisiting a Charlie Parker solo on My Little Suede Shoes. It’s beautiful playing featuring his wonderfully rhythmic, flowing lines, and great fun to try to translate his phrasing, nuances & timing to the guitar.

Help me out here – every time I’ve played this tune it goes to Ab on the bridge, but the bass player on this recording sticks to F. The Db note & lines that parker plays on the bar before the bridge hint at Eb7 which could imply that move to the IV chord, and he’s playing over the form of the tune, but really, I’m not sure why there’s that obvious difference between how it is on this record and every time I’ve heard it/played it (and seen it written down) there’s no mention of that F in the bass on the bridge. Ho hum, interesting nerdy details… Don’t freak out about it or anything :)

Anyhow, opening that up to you.

If you’ve got something to say about that, lemme know about it :)

PS: Let me know if you’ve got any favourite Parker recordings too!

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