I’m Jim Bowley and I’m happy to be your guitar teacher!
Whether you’re a beginner strumming her first guitar chords, an intermediate student aiming to take his guitar technique to the next level, or a 20-year veteran looking for new musical inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.
Whatever your goals are, I’m confident I can help you reach them. And when you learn to play guitar with me, you’ll not only reach your goals, but you’ll have fun in the process!
- Guitar Lessons gives details on my teaching approach, pricing and scheduling.
- This page features a variety of free lessons and tips, student success stories and fun articles.
- Read my musical bio in About Jim and some student and parent testimonials in Students Speak.
- My favorite books and gear are featured in Highly Recommended.
- Guitar Talk is for the gear heads and guitar junkies among you!
If you’re local to Harford County, Maryland, contact me for guitar lessons at my studio in Bel Air. In addition to private guitar instruction, I also offer ukulele and bass lessons, as well as small group beginner guitar classes when scheduling allows.
If guitar lessons are not an option right now, join the mailing list – it’s quick and easy and you’ll get all the latest articles and free lessons straight to your inbox!
Whichever road you choose, I look forward to helping you along your musical journey!
Hard to believe that this month – May 2013 – marks my two-year anniversary of writing guitar lessons and articles for my little corner of the Web.
It has been a blast and I’ve learned a lot, but more importantly, I hope I’ve done what I originally set out to do: spread the gospel of great guitar music.
Hopefully you’ve learned a few new things about the art and practice of guitar and enjoyed the way I’ve presented the material.
In honor of hitting this personal milestone, I’ve decided to make my 100th post a “Best Of”-kinda deal. Let’s rock! Continue reading “100th Post: The Best of JB!” »
Beginner guitarists have a major hurdle facing them where it concerns changing chords smoothly and comfortable.
To that end, I’ve developed a few helpful “common” strategies that are outlined in this epic lesson. The first two strategies – common finger and common string – are often easiest to apply. The third strategy, however, usually presents a few coordination issues.
But learning to use the common shape strategy will make life much easier for your average guitar rookie. In a nutshell, we want to recognize the fingers that are configured – or “shaped” – the same way between two chords and maintain that shape as we switch.
[Note: Although I’m presenting this as a beginner lesson, it’s actually a foundation concept that is practiced across all skill levels. Continue reading ““Hop and Drop” Using Common Shapes” »
“Practice, practice, practice!” – every music teacher ever.
“Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” – Arnold Jackson, legendary TV sitcom character, whenever his brother would drop a truth bomb on him .
Dear Guitar Student,
You’ve probably heard that you must practice diligently to become a good musician. This is a time-honored concept that has been drilled into the brains of music students for centuries.
But did you know that practicing is optional?
Really, it is.
This may seem like sacrilege coming from a music teacher, but there is no rule anywhere which states that you have to practice your guitar. Continue reading “Practice Is Optional: An Open Letter to Guitar Students Everywhere” »
If you’re anything like me – and probably 99% of all other aspiring lead guitarists – you started off jamming with pentatonic scales, specifically the minor pentatonic scale.
It was exciting to learn that only five notes, played in some relatively easy fingerings, were necessary to turn you into a rock guitar superstar. Add in some spicy bends and some slippery slides, and top it off with a few lightning-quick hammer-ons and pull-offs, and you’re in the land of Hendrix, Page and Clapton, not to mention Gibbons, Young, Beck, Knopfler and many more!
But after a while, even the most pentatonic-lovin’ lead guitarist starts to yearn for some new sounds and some new ways to navigate chord changes that are a bit more sophisticated than the same…old…five…notes. I get it.
And that’s why I’ve gathered you all here today. Let’s take a comprehensive look at moving past the minor pentatonic, one note at a time! Continue reading “Moving Past Minor Pentatonic, One Note at a Time” »
A great way to coach physical movements – whether in sports, dance or instrumental music – is by giving the trainee a simple, but memorable, verbal cue. This cuts down on the excessive verbiage that might be required to explain the movement and gets right to the heart of the matter.
Take, for instance, the concept of anchoring your right hand when picking single-note riffs and melodies. The vast majority of accomplished guitarists employ some sort of anchor to stabilize their picking hand.
So rather than say, “Place the edge of your right hand palm, near the base of the hand, on the bridge of the guitar to give yourself an anchor position”, I use a super-simple and instantly memorable cue that is almost impossible to get wrong: “Karate chop the bridge.”
Everyone knows what a karate chop looks like, so “karate chopping the bridge” is easy to visualize and gets you into a nice anchor position.
But this leads us to an important question: Why anchor at all? Continue reading “Money Guitar Tip #7: “Karate Chop the Bridge”” »