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!
Welcome to Part 2 of our lesson on playing the dreaded F chord!
In Part 1, we found a good substitute for F, just to get us going in the right direction. That substitute was Fmaj7 and we knew all along that we were going to replace it with a proper F.
After all, when so many songs call for an F chord, and you can’t play it cleanly – or at all – then you have to substitute something so you can make it through the song, right?
We also took a look at expanding our fingering of that Fmaj7 so that it more closely resembles our final F chord product. By adding in finger 4 we not only thicken up the sound of the chord but also prep ourselves for moving into the full barre chord shape.
In this lesson, we’ll abandon our F chord substitutes and get down to the real deal. Pack a lunch, kids – we’re going in! Continue reading “How to Play the Dreaded F Chord, Part 2” »
Playing fingerstyle arpeggios seems to be fairly intuitive for most players.
On the other hand, playing arpeggios with a pick is one of the techniques that is absolutely abused by guitar students.
I think it’s because pick-style arpeggios offer too many possibilities.
Since they can be handled in various ways, an educated guitarist should have some sort of guideline for taking care of this common playing situation.
In this Definitive Lesson, we’ll put you on the path to arpeggio awesomeness by detailing the two main approaches for picking through these jingle-jangly lines! Continue reading “The Definitive Lesson: Pick-style Arpeggios” »
If you’ve seen my lesson entitled The Best Guitar Exercise, Period, then you know that I am a big fan of keeping the technique drills simple but effective. I don’t need lots of exercises; I just need a few that do the job well.
A great guitar exercise can hit a number of important points at the same time, and the finger combinations found in the aforementioned lesson do just that. They primarily help to develop the following left hand qualities in any six-stringer:
- Finding the “sweet spot” on each fingertip
- Finger independence
- A legato line (or connected quality from note to note)
But many guitarists seem to think that playing technique starts and stops at left hand development. They will treat the right hand as an afterthought, often picking at notes with all downstrokes or in a haphazard manner. Frankly, we can do better.
To that end, I developed some exercises that get the right hand in on the action, synchronizing with the left and working as a team. Continue reading “Best Guitar Exercise, Part 2: Focus on Alternate Picking” »
Welcome to the latest installment of Songs From the Guitar Studio!
It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these bad boys, but they’re always fun and they always seem to get a good response!
As you might remember from earlier volumes, this series is dedicated to songs my students have played in guitar lessons. Sometimes we’ll pick a technique or concept and find a song to match it; at other times, we’ll pick a song first and see what we can learn from it.
Listed below are just a few of the songs we’ve jammed to over the last few weeks and months. I’ve tried to make the list diverse, featuring various concepts and techniques. As always, I’ve outlined a few of the main elements and takeaway points from each song. Hopefully you’ll see something here to inspire you! Continue reading “Songs From the Guitar Studio, Vol. 7” »
As a kid and a huge sports fan, one of my favorite shows was “Wide World of Sports”. The tagline, spoken by the late Jim McKay, has become iconic:
“The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat.”
The modern equivalent of “the agony of defeat” is the struggle face.
If you want to see a musical struggle face – complete with grimaces, grunts, groans, and tortured expressions – just watch someone wrestle with a problem guitar chord.
Of course, all guitarists have problems playing certain chords. For some folks, the biggest problem is reaching the ring finger for the C chord. For a lot of guys, it’s trying not to get jammed up on an A chord. For me, it was always accuracy on a B7.
But a univeral issue for almost every guitarist is how to make the F chord sound…well, not completely terrible. (Cue struggle face.) Continue reading “How to Play the Dreaded F Chord, Part 1” »
What’s up, rock and rollers!
It’s been a number of months since I’ve done a Free For All Friday article, which, you may remember, featured some of my fave links to some of my fave stuff.
Well…I couldn’t wait until Friday to share my new fave stuff, so instead we’ll launch our first ever Musical Miscellaneous Monday! (In case you can’t tell, I’m quite the fan of alliteration. Please help me stop.)
1 – The Sound City documentary.
2 – Making your practice stick with The Bulletproof Musician.
3 – The first music video by my former student, Piper Bateman (recorded and produced by yours truly).
Let’s get this party started! Continue reading “Miscellaneous Musical Monday: October 14, 2013” »