I’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…)
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…)
Those wacky Rolling Stone people are at it again, with yet another list of the greatest something or other. This time it’s 100 Greatest Guitarists. Unfortunately for them, this is right in my wheelhouse and I’m begging to add some juice to the discussion.
Now, this list has already generated quite a bit of controversy, as most lists do. And I’m sure it’s meant that way – after all, “greatest ever” or “top ten” lists are highly subjective. But some of the choices are truly mind-boggling, both as inclusions and exclusions.
(I feel like I should be doing one of those SNL segments, Really? With JB.
“Bruce Springsteen at #87, Rolling Stone? Really?!? He’s ahead of 13 people? I didn’t know one of the criteria was being able to strum so hard the strings pop off your Tele. Really.”)
It’s no different than a sports Hall of Fame; who gets in versus who gets snubbed. Fans can argue all day long over the choices, and some of my friends and I have already begun this process on Facebook.
For me, the biggest question is this: How do you define “greatest”, when we’re talking about guitarists? That’s a toughie, and unfortunately NOT something Rolling Stone made clear. So let’s clear it up here, shall we? (more…)
What up, six-stringers!
While I am hard at work writing some EPIC lessons to thrill and amaze you, to bring you the guitar info and entertainment value you’ve come to expect from my fine establishment, AND learning the entire score to “The Civil War” (for which I have been entrusted with the rockin’, slidin’, country-fried Guitar 2 part), I figured I would throw a few musical goodies your way at no extra charge.
Call it a pre-Turkey Day post, seeing as how no one’s likely to read a Free For All Friday edition this week. Because in the immortal words of Steely Dan, “When Black Friday comes…,” people will be rioting at Best Buy at 5 am. Not me, though. I’ll be snug as a bug and dreaming. Suckers.
Btw, don’t know if people in other parts of the country use the word “whatnot”. Don’t even know if it’s an actual word that ANYBODY should be using, but in these parts, “whatnot” is as much a word as pizza is a vegetable. (Ha! I knew I could work that in somewhere!)
And now…The Wednesday Whatnot. (more…)
Welcome to Songs from the Guitar Studio, Volume 3!
As you might remember from Volume 1 and Volume 2, this series is dedicated to songs featured in my 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 some of the songs my students have worked on in the past few weeks. I’ve outlined some of the main elements and takeaway points from each one. Hopefully you’ll see something here that may inspire you.
Let’s check out some tunes! (more…)