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!” »
Welcome to the latest installment of Songs From the Guitar Studio!
As you might remember from earlier volumes, this series is dedicated to songs my students have played in guitar lessons. Instead of picking a technique or concept and finding a song to match it, we’ll sometimes pick a song first and see what we can learn from it.
Listed below are just some of the songs we’ve jammed to over the last few months. It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, so there’s no way I can touch on all the great tunes that have blasted through the studio walls over the last couple of months. However, I’ve hit on a dozen tunes below that, for one reason or another, stand out to me.
We’ve got hair metal, acoustic rock, classic solos, altered tunings, classical guitar…and of course, Devo. I’ve outlined a few of the main elements and takeaway points from each song. Hopefully you’ll see something here to inspire you!
Let’s check out some tunes… Continue reading “Songs From the Guitar Studio, Vol. 6” »
You’re hangin’ at the local music store.
You take a shiny new electric off the wall and plug in. You unleash your hottest blues licks and the guitar just screams. You don’t have a care in the world except for how you’re gonna convince your wife/mom/significant other that you must buy this sweet new axe. ‘Cause she’s a beauty.
Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see him. He slowly approaches – cue Jaws theme – and stands uncomfortably close to you, staring at you as you play. This goes on for awhile. The vibe gets weird.
Then he says, “Dude, that was pretty good.”
(The guitar critic always says “pretty good”, never just “good”. They have to keep you in your place, you know.)
And because that wasn’t enough, he follows up with, “You just need to get your heart broken a few times. Then you’ll really know how to play the blues.”
By now, the vibe is no longer ‘weird’ – it’s flat-out awkward. Like ‘time to smack a stranger’ awkward. ‘Cause it just got personal.
Or did it? Continue reading “Revenge of the Six-String Critic. This time it’s personal.” »
Paul Jackson Jr. is a phenomenal guitarist that you likely do not know by name. However you have surely heard his guitar work hundreds, if not thousands, of times.
Currently guitarist for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and American Idol, PJJ is one of the most in-demand guitarists in Los Angeles. He has also done stints in other TV show bands, such as Don’t Forget the Lyrics, America’s Got Talent, and Grease: You’re the One That I Want, but where Paul Jackson Jr. really made his mark was as one of the top session guitarists in LA during the session scene heyday of the 1980′s.
A top LA studio musician (and colleague of Steve Lukather) with over 1000 credits, PJJ is a fantastic all-around guitarist who can play in virtually any style and has been in constant demand since the early 80′s.
But although he can solo like a beast (witness his work with the Tonight Show band and this video of him playing “All Along the Watchtower” at the PRS Experience), PJJ is mainly known as a world-class rhythm player. Basically, he brings the funk like nobody’s business. Continue reading “Unsung Guitar Hero: Paul Jackson Jr.” »
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge
Ryan Sullivan – or “Sully” as his friends call him – is a beginner guitarist. He’s an adult student in his mid-30s, has a family, and owns his own business. Earlier this year he decided to take the plunge and fulfill his dream of learning to play guitar, so he called yours truly. (A brilliant decision, if I may say so.
Anyway, Sully and I have been powering through private sessions since the spring but it hasn’t always been an easy road. Although he loves music, he had never played an instrument before and had no real idea how lessons worked. Much to his surprise, Sully also didn’t seem to be particularly “natural” in the music learning process – as he would admit to you, everything was a struggle, from the fingering of chords to strumming in rhythm to understanding TAB notation on paper. He thought it would come to him much more easily, but every day was a battle.
What Sully does have in his favor, however, is serious determination and an inordinate amount of self-confidence Continue reading “Sticking To It, Sully-style (a mini-Student Success Story)” »
Although I live a pretty awesome life – I really can’t complain about much – this summer has been a tough one for me in one particular way: I’ve had to say goodbye to some long-time students as they’ve graduated from high school and are preparing to go off to college and embark on the next chapter of their lives. It’s an exciting time for them, but I’m still sad to see them leave.
Although one of these students just started lessons in 2012, most of them have been with me for years – some for 5 years or more. You get to know someone pretty well when you meet with them every week for a few years. You learn about them as people and you grow to be friends. I’ve been blessed to make some terrific friends in recent years, who started as 7th- and 8th-grade goofballs and are now on the cusp of adulthood. They’re also pretty darn good guitarists.
In this installment of Student Success Stories, I want to feature two former students, Alex Fang and Harry Foard – who happen to be long-time friends, as well – that have taken the leap from guitar student to guitar major at the college level.
I reserve a little extra pride for the guitarists who have the requisite passion for music to pursue it in college. It’s certainly not for everyone, and quite a few of my guitarists are capable of playing music at the next level. But these two guys have actually taken the leap and I couldn’t be more excited for them! Continue reading “Student Success Stories: Alex Fang and Harry Foard” »