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This Week on Twitter 2009-08-30

  • Look for the first installment of the 7 Questions project later this week with Paul Gilbert! #
  • Pete Huttlinger Plays Stevie Wonder http://bit.ly/2kmkES #
  • Look for the 7 Questions with Paul Gilbert on Thursday. Who else should I ask to participate? #
  • RT @jazzguitarlife: I just uploaded a review of Montreal Jazz Guitarist Greg Clayton's Mtl. Jazz Fest 2009 show review – http://bit.ly/bekc1 #
  • Just sent out 10 invites for the 7 questions series. I will keep you updated when/if they agree to participate. #
  • Just heard from Albert Lee. He agreed to participate in the #7Q project. #
  • @GuitPatrick I am sure he is, but I haven't heard much from him. in reply to GuitPatrick #
  • I am starting to take more private students. Let me know if you are interested. #
  • @marklee3d The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross in reply to marklee3d #
  • Krantz Carlock Lefebvre Review @ Abstract Logix http://bit.ly/1LcIRY (via @RichMurray) #
  • @jean_derby I totally dig me some Martin in reply to jean_derby #
  • @jean_derby Doing well. Keeping busy. Are you still making guitar straps? in reply to jean_derby #
  • RT @bryanbeller: new extended blog on the Mike Lull T-Bass and new pedalboard I just wired: http://tinyurl.com/lm7v9h #
  • Looking for a space in NYC for a guitar clinic. Must be in Manhattan and hold approx. 100 people. Any ideas? #
  • Looking for new Podcasts. Suggestions? #
  • Where do i go to alter the code for my RSS feed? #
  • RT @stevevai: While I was in Tahiti I couldn't find a guitar so I grabbed whatever swam by… that screamed. http://yfrog.com/dy7ypj #
  • So is the new Facebook for iPhone ever going to be released? #
  • @garyvee Here is your next book tour!! Most Interesting Bookstores of the World: http://bit.ly/qLjPc (via @PoppyRhyva) #
  • Looks like I am going to Minneapolis in October. It will be great to see some old friends. #
  • Chord Voicings Worksheets and Lesson Openings http://bit.ly/AWygS #
  • Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. http://bit.ly/IG2Ht #
  • @chrisguitarguy Chris, not to be biased or anything, but i have had some success with this book. http://bit.ly/1RjbqI in reply to chrisguitarguy #
  • @cameronmizell Fall must almost be here if that group is playing the Vanguard in reply to cameronmizell #
  • Check in tomorrow for the first installment of the 7Q project with Paul Gilbert #
  • NEW BLOG POST Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks – Warren and Derek playing "Old Friend".You know you want to subscribe… http://ow.ly/15MzzV #
  • 7 Questions with Paul Gilbert http://bit.ly/GtO7o #
  • We had a call from an anonymous alumni today who donated a full scholarship and a new guitar to a student in need. … http://bit.ly/nFzHd #
  • Coming soon to 7Q – Will Bernard, Pete Huttlinger, Steve Vai and Brent Mason #
  • I am brainstorming for ideas for lesson posts on the blog. #
  • Thanks for everyone who passed on the #7Q with Paul Gilbert. I really appreciate it. #
  • I think I am going to switch from Outlook to Thunderbird. It just makes more sense #
  • NEW BLOG POST 7 Questions with Paul Gilbert – You can tell from the moment you see Paul Gilbert pick up a guitar th… http://ow.ly/15MJ75 #
  • @adamsmale Great to hear you are in NYC. We should get together sometime. in reply to adamsmale #
  • Make sure to check out @guitarnoize 's great list of guitar blogs. Follow them all. http://bit.ly/b85yc #
  • @mschonbrun I missed them when they were out here. How was Zappa? in reply to mschonbrun #
  • Wayne Krantz Music Video. You HAVE to see this. http://bit.ly/3Foz13 #
  • Great article about NGW alum and faculty member, Django Haskins. http://bit.ly/sZmuK #
  • Nice review from a student of his week in Purchase with Steve Vai and Herman Li. http://bit.ly/JxlMe #
  • Last chance to get up to $300 off of NGW for 2010. Several hundred people have already registered. http://bit.ly/eBCRS #
  • What do you hate NOT doing? http://sivers.org/hatenot (via @sivers) #

7 Questions with Paul Gilbert

Paul Gilbert

You can tell from the moment you see Paul Gilbert pick up a guitar that he truly loves to play.  I have been lucky enough to work with Paul a few times now and it is always great.  When I came up with the idea for this project, Paul’s name was the first one on my list.

Make sure to visit his website.

His Photoshop skills are unmatched.

Describe your first experience playing music

Around the time I was 5, my uncle let me hold a pick and strum while he fingered the chords on my cheap acoustic guitar. After that, I battled with the boredom of learning sightreading from a guitar teacher at a music store. I lost the battle and retired from guitar at the age of 6. At 9, the music teacher in my 4th grade class demonstrated the steps of the major scale on the blackboard. I wondered if those steps would correspond to the frets on my guitar. I went home and tried it, and a major scale came out of my guitar! I was so excited that I started playing by ear, and I haven’t stopped since.

What has been your most significant musical experience?

I auditioned for a band when I was 12 years old. The other guys in the band were 16-18 years old and played really well. It felt so good to jam with them and to make a sound that “sounded like a record”. They never actually told me that I didn’t get the gig, they just gave me a long list of difficult songs to learn to try to discourage me from calling back. The songs were beyond my ability at the time, but I tried hard to learn them, and I called them up daily to see if I could try out again. They stopped answering their phone, but I ended up learning a lot of good songs.

What is the best advice on pursuing a career in music you were ever given?

When I was 15, Mike Varney told me, “When your demos sound as good as your favorite records, then you’re ready to become professional.” This was scary advice!

What is your favorite sound?

A band that knows the songs. Jimmy Page bending a string in 1971. John Lennon singing in 1965. A real band that plays and sings well enough to not need to be chopped up, edited, and tuned with Pro-Tools.

Name some of your biggest non-musical influences.

My mom and dad.
Charles Schulz
Gary Larson
Carl Sagan
Ayn Rand
Roald Dahl
Thomas Jefferson
Richard Dawkins
The story of Ernest Shackleton and “Endurance”
The invention of e-mail and Google
Learning to cook
Living in Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Japan and Being married

What is the most memorable concert you ever attended?

It’s a 3-way tie:

Van Halen in 1979

Ozzy with Randy Rhoads (with the original Def Leppard supporting!) 1981

Todd Rundgren in 1990

Put your iPod on shuffle and list the first 5 songs that appear.

“This Will Be Our Year” – The Zombies

“Scarlatti Sonata in A minor L.241/K.54″ – Sergio and Odair Assad

“No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Required” – Yes

“Boss Jack” – Johnny Cash

“Double Vision” – Foreigner

(Photo Credit: Lee Millward)

Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks

Imagine you play in three highly successful bands, tour the world non stop and are considered one of the greatest guitarists in your generation. Well, then you would be traveling in the same circles as Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. Both of them come from the south which obviously comes out in their music but each took a completely different way to get there.

Warren came up playing with artists such as David Allen Coe and Dickey Betts before joining the Allman Brothers in 1989. In my opinion the Allmans wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are today without Warren’s presence. Derek came from more of a jazz and fusion background. Even though his uncle Butch is the drummer in the Allman Brothers, his solo band rarely covers similar territory.

Below is two masters doing what they do best, sitting around with a few acoustic guitars and playing some blues.

This comes as a bonus feature in their DVD The Allman Brothers Band – Live at the Beacon Theatre

Chord Voicings Worksheets and Lesson Openings

I created a few worksheets for my students to help them learn some different voicings for major, dominant and minor seventh chords.  These were the most downloaded worksheets from my last blog and I thought it would be useful to post them here again.

Major 7th Chord Voicings

Dominant 7th Chord Voicings

Minor 7th Chord Voicings

I will also post these on my Guitar Resources page.

This is also probably a good time to announce that I have opened up my schedule to allow for more private lessons.  These will take place on Monday evenings and Saturdays.  I will be teaching at the Warner Center for Arts Education in Torrington, CT.  If you are interested in signing up for lessons, please call 860-489-7180.

As I develop more worksheets for my students, I will post them here.

Pete Huttlinger Plays Stevie Wonder

I am a huge fan of Pete’s work.  Some of the things he is able to do on guitar are pretty incredible. His latest album is a collection of tunes by Stevie Wonder arranged for solo acoustic guitar.  Below is a great video from Guitar Player of him playing his arrangement of “Isn’t She Lovely”.

The arrangement shows a complete mastery of the guitar, but I am more impressed with Pete’s arranging skills.  A few months ago I had the chance to see Pete live and he opened with this tune.  Even being an educated guitar player, I was still wondering how he is able to make several parts sound like one.

Enjoy this video and make sure to pick up his CD Fingerpicking Wonder: The Music of Stevie Wonder

7 Questions Project


If you could ask your favorite guitarist (or artist, or musician, etc..) only 7 questions; what would they be?

I was thinking about ideas for more interesting and relevant content for this blog and it dawned on me that I have access to some of the most amazing and influential guitarists around and it would be great if I could share some of their knowledge with the readers of this blog.

So, I want to get feedback from the guitar community as to what questions I should ask.

Here are a few general rules to remember:

  • We will ask the same 7 questions to each participant
  • These will most likely be through email, so the questions will need to require a short answer
  • I want to stay away from the typical gear questions (what strings do you use?, etc..)
  • The questions don’t need to be entirely about music

Please leave your suggestions for questions and participants in the comments section below.

5 Interesting Articles 8-21-09

Below I have linked to 5 different articles that I have been reading and find quite useful.  All of these articles I have passed around to fellow musicians so I felt the need to post them here.  Please check them out and subscribe to these blogs, these guys definitely know what they are doing.

15 Practicing Mistakes that Students Make

Jason Heath was one of the first music bloggers who I really took notice of.  Even though I wasn’t a bass player his Contrabass Conversations Podcast was amazingly captivating.  Many times I spent listening to his interviews while mowing the lawn.  Make sure to dig through his site because he has many, many useful articles that would be helpful to all musicians.

Top Music Pedagogues to Follow on Twitter

Music Education is a big interest of mine, not suprisingly, so the MusTech.net website is one of my most revisited items in my Google Reader.  This article lists a few leading edge educators who combine music and technology in interesting and effective ways.  Right now the list has about 12 educators, but the plan is to keep adding to it to create a comprehensive listing (much like my Twitter Guitar Directory).  This is one to bookmark and revisit.

10 Teaching Tools for Your Lesson Studio

I have been teaching guitar lessons for about 8 years now and I still found this article helpful.  If you are starting to settle into a (hopefully) permanent teaching situation then this list will be very helpful.  My favorite item on the list is the Clif Bars, I can totally relate to getting hungry and still having 3 or 4 lessons to teach before you can leave.

The Unboxing of Sibelius 6

Walt Riberio is one of the leading voices for combining music education and social media.  His videos cover everything from basic theory to gear reviews and even advice on how to best use the internet to spread your message.  I wanted to include this video because I just received a copy of Sibelius 6 and I think it is the greatest notation program available.  There is no way I would of been able to finish my Master’s Degree without it.

How Audacity Can Make Your Practice Time More Effective

Audacity is a great FREE audio editor that can do everything from make loops to slow down tracks at pitch to help with Transcription. NotPlayingGuitar.com is an amazing resource that has many lessons and tips on how to get over the roadblocks that we as musicians sometime fall into. If you are interested in recording some basic tracks and don’t want to spend money, then start with this article.

How To Increase Your Chord Vocabulary with Drop 2 Chords

Many novice guitarists stick to the garden variety bar chords when they first start playing jazz. These give the texture a more muddy feeling and don’t sound too much like the voicings heard on many jazz albums.

The first thing I teach guitarists is how to create and use Drop 2 chord shapes. These are very easy to understand and almost instantly make your comping more authentic.

Creating a Drop 2 Voicing
In order to create a Drop 2 voicing you must first learn the basics of 7th chord construction. In order to have a 7th chord you must have four notes represented:

Root 3rd 5th 7th

This is a C Major 7th chord in the key of C. Here is what it looks like on the staff:

This voicing is in root position, meaning that the lowest note of the chord is the root. In order to make this more playable on the guitar, we will raise it up an octave.

Next, we will take the 2nd note from the top (G) and lower it an octave:

This leaves us with a Drop 2 voicing for C Major Seventh:

By extending this idea through all four inversions on the top four strings, it creates the following voicings.

The next step would be to lower the 7th of each chord to Bb in order to make dominant 7th voicings.

Of course the next step would be lowering all of the 3rds to Eb to make minor 7th chords.

The final step would be to lower all of the 5ths to Gb to create Minor 7th Flat 5 chords.

I have written up a PDF lesson of these concepts on my Guitar Resources page.