Category: Lists! Archives - Jim Bowley

June 30, 2015

My Essential Blues Guitar Recordings

Essential Blues Guitar RecordingsI’ve been a lover of blues and blues-based music for as long as I can remember.

The recent passing of the legendary B.B. King – one of my greatest musical influences, by a long shot – inspired me to go back (“way down an alley” as B.B. liked to say in Live at the Regal) and revisit the blues recordings that shaped me as a guitarist.

To this day, some 30 years later, I quote licks and ideas that I learned while sitting at my record player and painstakingly transcribing what I could discern from that spinning vinyl. And I continue to teach them to my lead guitar students, so that, by extension, they will be shaped by this great material as well.

My essential blues recordings are listed in no particular order and I’ve added a few “quick takes” on each one – personal highlights, fun trivia, and a link for listening. Of course there are lots of great blues tracks that I’ve left out, so please feel free to add your faves in the comments section. (more…)

January 11, 2015

Guitar Goals for a New Year (2015 Edition)

Happy New Year to all my guitar ninjaz out there!

The first guitar lessons of a new year always find me asking my students what their goals will be in the upcoming months. It’s nice to feel freshly inspired and to get our minds right in January.

Some of their goals will be stylistic (“I’d like to learn how to play blues better”), some will be technical (“I need some serious practice on my string bends”) and most will be repertoire (“This year I’m gonna learn the entire Led Zeppelin catalog note for note”).

Those three things are “big ticket items” to me; you can never go wrong with this approach and you’ll get lots of bang for your musical buck here. But there are a number of other, less obvious, things that you can resolve to learn as well.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of ideas to get you started – a dozen big and small ticket items, if you will. It’s a grab bag of stuff to inspire you and give you some clear direction in the months to come. (more…)

May 30, 2013

100th Post: The Best of JB!

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! (more…)

February 19, 2013

16 Great Rock Solos in Pop Songs

I’m a child of pop music.

As much as I love to rock, you can’t escape what you grew up listening to first. For me, that was mom’s favorite pop station on the car radio, as well as my best friend’s mom’s collection of Beatles 45’s.

From there I graduated to arena and album rock like Led Zep, AC/DC, Foreigner, Styx, Kiss and many more, but I always kept the love for that sweet melodic pop.

Even today, I’m more likely to listen to the pop stations on the radio than anything else. I’m also quite the connoisseur of the “one hit wonder”. And one of the things that continues to thrill me is finding a gem of a rock guitar solo in an unexpected pop tune. (more…)

December 22, 2012

12 Things I’ve Learned About Guitar in 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, party people, we’re about to put another year in the books.

As we wind down 2012 and prepare to get our 2013 on, I’d like to share a dozen things that I’ve learned about playing and teaching guitar this past year.

At least a few of them are things that I’ve re-learned, but I think you get the point:

Below are 12 items for you to check out, comment on, ponder and (hopefully) act on. Each one is guaranteed to add something positive to your guitar experience or your money back. :)

Here’s to a peaceful and happy – but totally rockin’ – holiday season! (more…)

October 4, 2012

10 “Must Know” Guitar Solos


In the 70’s – the Vinyl Era – we put the needle back and tried again. In the 80’s – the Cassette Era – we hit rewind and tried again. Later on it was the Compact Disc and now it’s an mp3 file.

No matter the era, guitarists have always learned other players’ solos, whether by ear using the methods above, from transcriptions in magazines and books, or from TAB or videos on the Internet.

It’s a time-honored tradition, and not only for guitarists; sax, trumpet, bass and piano players, as well as drummers, do it too.

You can learn a ton from mimicking the phrasing and note choices of your fave players. As a bonus, analyzing how and why they played their particular lines will do wonders for building your knowledge base and your vocabulary of licks and phrases.

In short, this is the fast track to soloing like a champ.

In my guitar studio, there are certain solos that are “go-to” material. I’ll list 10 of them below and share some thoughts on these classics. Let’s rawk! (more…)

Jim Bowley is a professional guitarist, teacher and blogger. A native of Baltimore, he has over 30 years of playing experience and an advanced degree in Music Education from Towson University. Jim lives in Bel Air, MD where he maintains a thriving private lesson studio and performs with his band, Remains of Radio.

© 2012 Jim Bowley All rights reserved.
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