Journal Entries13 May 2014 01:39 pm

Come join us this Saturday at the Q Cafe to enjoy some incredible music performed by my students, Mark DiFlorio’s drum students, and Brady Millard-Kish’s bass students. Hired gun (and great guy) Joe Walker returns on lead guitar, and my student Connor “My Vocal Cords Are Made Of Kevlar” Wartelle will be helping me with a couple AC/DC tunes that are, shall we say, out of my reach.

Hope to see you there.

Jack RockinWhen

Saturday, May 17, 2014
Shows at 12pm and 3pm


Q Cafe
3223 15th Ave W
Seattle, WA 98119


Revised on 5/15 at 2:30pm

Show 1: 12pm – 2:15pm

Jack J.
“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore

Jack J. and Nick Z.
“All My Life” by The Foo Fighters

Nick Z.
“Like a Song” by U2

Jack M. and Connor W.
“Highway to Hell” by AC/DC

Florette C.
“You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift

Emma J.
“Look At Me Now”

Emma J.
“Get It Right” by Glee Cast

Steve G. and Erik N.
“Hard Times” by J. Roddy Walston and the Business
“Shake” by “The Head and the Heart”

Kumar M.
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel
“Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Lisa S.
“Chuck E.’s In Love” by Rickie Lee Jones

Peter R., Lisa S., and Connor W.
“Hells Bells” by AC/DC

“Turn a Square” by The Shins

Sophia B.
“Snake Face” by Throwing Muses

The Faculty
Beatles Medley

Neils H.
“Keep Me Crazy” by Chris Wallace

Axel H.
“Keys” by Axel H. and Rob Hampton

Sophia B., Axel H., and DJ S.
“Sea Shanty” by Axel H. and Rob Hampton

Show 2: 3pm – 5:15pm

Tyler M. and Luca M.
“New Year’s Day” by U2

Jack H.
“Nature Boy” by Primus

Jack H. and Connor W.
“Pudding Time” by Primus

Luc K.
“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Wesley K.
“Ricky’s All Right” by Wesley K. and Cheap Trick
“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons

Sam C. and Will J.
“Back in Black” by AC/DC

Will and Ian J.
“Little Fugue in G Minor” by J.S. Bach (transcribed by Jeff Bigler)

Zoe Leffler
“Gone, Gone, Gone” by Phillip Phillips

Zoe L., Steve M., and Chris S.
“Let Her Go” by Passenger

Steve M. and Tyler M.
“Ordinary Love” by U2

Chris S.
“Peanut” (original)

Gary P.
“Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger Medley

Luca M.
“Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles

Luca and Lena M.
“Medieval Kings” by Soon Hee Newbold

The Faculty
Beatles Medley

Akash, Shanti, and Rahul S.
“Wendell Gee” by R.E.M.

Owen O.
“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet

Journal Entries&Tutorials - Beginner21 Feb 2014 10:46 am

Here's my latest free song lesson video: A beginner lesson on Leonard Cohen's amazing "Hallelujah." My arrangement is inspired by the gorgeous Jeff Buckley cover.

If you enjoy it, please subscribe to my new YouTube channel.

Here's the chord chart.

It's been so fun releasing these free song lesson videos over the past couple weeks. I remember the excitement my blog generated almost 10 years ago--at that time, there wasn't a whole lot of support for guitarists on the internet, especially if you were just starting out. I'm sensing that same excitement again. I'm loving producing the lessons, and people are loving learning from them.

Thanks for all the great feedback!

Tutorials - Beginner&Tutorials - Intermediate02 Feb 2014 09:11 pm

Here's my first-ever free song lesson video: "Let Her Go" by Passenger, for beginning and intermediate guitarists who want to learn how to both sing and play the song. This gorgeous tune is already hugely popular, and now that it's the soundtrack to Budweiser's cute Super Bowl puppy-and-horse-are-buddies commercial, the hugeness will only expand.

Here's the chord chart.

Some background...

For the past year and a half, I've been shooting footage for a video-based beginning guitar course I'm calling "Rob's Totally Awesome Guitar Crash Course." The course won't be done until this fall, and in the meantime, I'm hungry for feedback.

So I've decided to shoot some free song lessons on the side: Stuff I can release, and get feedback on, now. Any feedback y'all give me on what's working and what's not would be tremendously helpful. Should I make more of these?

Words of encouragement motivate me to make more free lessons like this one. Share with your musical friends, and thanks for checking this out.

Journal Entries20 Dec 2013 03:11 pm

Rob's Totally Awesome Christmas Carol SongbookThis past Saturday I attended SMooCH, a fantastic fundraiser concert for Seattle Children's Hospital. Macklemore headlined. Free drinks and food. It was a religious experience.

Well, religious except that I was freeloading. The ticket was a gift from a student, I took advantage of the open bar, and I didn't give a dime.

We're on a tight budget this year, so I'm not kicking myself. All the same, the generosity I saw at the concert made me want to do something to give back this year.

Here's the result: Rob's Totally Awesome Christmas Caroling Songbook. It's free, it's professional-quality, and it'll get you singing with your family and friends quicker than you can say "Wenceslas".

And if you dig the book and can spare a few bucks, please consider donating to Seattle Children's Hospital. You can read more about their Uncompensated Care Fund on the download page.

Go to Songbook Download Page

Thanks, and have a magical Christmas.

Journal Entries28 Oct 2013 03:41 pm

Live in Seattle? Want to see some truly inspirational, touching, hair-raising, tear-jerking, mind-blowing live music? C’mon out to the Q Cafe on November 9th and check out my students, Mark DiFlorio’s drum students, and Brady Millard-Kish’s bass students. Now featuring fabulous Seattle guitar teacher Joe Walker on lead guitar.

Hope to see you there.

Note: Several performance times have changed since this article was posted.


Saturday, November 9, 2013
Shows at 12pm and 3pm


Q Cafe
3223 15th Ave W
Seattle, WA 98119


Show 1: 12pm – 2pm

“Crossing the Bar” by Alfred Tennyson, music by Rani Arbo
“Universal Soldier” and “Time” by Buffy Sainte Marie and Tom Waits

“Instrumental” (original)
“Chain Gang” (original)

“Me and Julio” by Paul Simon
“Annie’s Song” by John Denver

“Pompeii” by Bastille

Emma and Sheila
“I Keep Looking” by Sara Evans

Medley (various)

“Everlong” by The Foo Fighters
“New Way Home” by The Foo Fighters

“Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver

Chris and Sam
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day

“The Fox” by Ylvis

“Keep Your Heart Young” by Brandi Carlile

Rahul, Shanti, and Akash
“The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists

Show 2: 3pm – 5pm

“Cattle Call” by Tex Owens
“Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” by Waylon Jennings

“Something Good” by Alt-J

Sean and Soleil
“Sad Sweetheart of the Rodeo” by Harvey Danger

Tess and DJ
“Loveless” by Said the Whale

“You Give Me Problems” by The Vipers

Connor, Jack, and Ethan
“Lay Down” by Priestess

Jack and Owen
“When I Come Around” by Green Day

“Sister Golden Hair” by America
“I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

“My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy

“I Will Follow” by U2

Steve and Erik
“Spitting Games” by Snow Patrol
“Rockville” by R.E.M.

“The Wait” by The Pretenders

Gear of the Gods18 Sep 2013 05:58 pm

Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” recorded in 1971, features one of the most-played guitar riffs of all time, recorded by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore on a Fender Stratocaster. Blackmore used several different Strats during the ’70s, and they were often modified with a scalloped fretboard (the wood is filed and carved out into a shallow “U” shape between the frets). Fender makes a Ritchie Blackmore Signature Stratocaster, available today. It’s based on his favorite ’70s model and features a graduated scalloped rosewood fretboard with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Flat pickups.

You can approximate Blackmore’s sound on a budget with Fender’s Standard Stratocaster.

Blackmore’s amps during the ’70s were 200-Watt Marshall Major stacks, modified to increase the output to around 278W. Marshall stopped producing these in 1974 due to reports of them blowing up on stage when cranked up too loud. You can still get that big Marshall sound with the modern versatility (and safety) of Marshall’s many models available today, such as the 100W JVM410H.

Researched by Joe Walker at Deft Digits Guitar Lessons

Journal Entries16 Sep 2013 10:24 am

checklistMusicians and teachers, I need your help.

Have you used a system for tracking guitar practice that really motivated you or your students to stick with it? I’m hoping to integrate a proven tracking system into the online guitar course I’m creating. Plus, it’d be awesome to use something like this with my private students.

I know how to teach students to practice mindfully and develop good muscle memory. And I understand the motivational power of providing performance opportunities for students. What I’m looking for is some kind of checklist, or point system, or game that will help students measure their progress and amplify their sense of accomplishment.

Bonus points if you can point me toward websites that have used a system like this.

Can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Journal Entries28 Aug 2013 05:21 pm

Congratulations to Wesley for winning the 2013 Summer Cover Competition. Wesley won a $100 gift certificate to Musician’s Friend.

Here’s his incendiary performance of Link Wray’s “Fire and Brimstone” that earned him first place.

You can see the full results and the other competitors (who were also excellent) on the Summer Cover Competition page.

Chord Chart Updates26 Aug 2013 02:46 pm

jack_white Photo by David Wolff-Patrick/Getty Images

Wrapping up a month of posting one chart per day (well, almost). Here’s the last two.

“Love Interruption” by Jack White
“The Late Greats” by Wilco

Hope you all enjoyed the music.

Journal Entries21 Aug 2013 05:00 pm

Summer_Cover_247_SidebarC’mon over to the Summer Cover Competition page and check out the eight great videos submitted. Vote for your favorite to help them win a $100 gift certificate to Musician’s Friend, or a free lesson with yours truly.

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