Song Lesson Video: “Let Her Go” by Passenger

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... ...

Great Backwards Moments In Rock

I love recording studio shenanigans. And one of my favorite tricks is recording backwards. This technique has a rich tradition—the Beatles made liberal use of it, Led Zeppelin was demonized for allegedly exploiting it, and, in my opinion, we are all better for it. Here is my list of Great Backwards Moments In Rock. 1. “Are You Experienced?” by Jimi …

Singalong on Phinney Ridge

My student Gary Paine leads singalongs at the Phinney Community Center on the first Sunday of the month. They’re low-key, with lots of great folk and kid’s songs, and brownies afterwards—perfect for families. Lyrics are provided. Check it out! Details: Gary takes the summer and Christmas off. First Sunday of the month at 3:30 in Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, …

Blues Turnarounds

I thought all you folks who read my blog would enjoy checking out a lesson on blues turnarounds I taught my Blues Workshop students today. Included are mp3’s of each turnaround—just click “Listen.” Turnarounds, typically played during the last two measures of a blues progression, give the cycle an emphatic ending, and signal that they you’re about to head back …

Pick-Hand Flight School

Students in my recent workshop at Pick-Hand Flight School,West Point Military Academy. I didn’t take any guff from those cocky flyboys. What’s the hardest thing about playing guitar? Sore fingers? Sore neighbors? I’d say the hardest part is hitting the correct string when playing single notes. Consider the rock star up there on stage. He’s singing into the mic, so …

A Memo From the Department of Thumb Placement Correction

Today I’m going to expose what I consider the most pervasive and insidious bit of misinformation plaguing modern society. No, it’s not that Columbus didn’t discover America. It doesn’t have anything to do with racism, the environment, or politics. It’s about thumb placement. That’s right folks, Thumb, with a capitol T, that rhymes with C, that stands for CONSPIRACY! Open …

The Importance of Having Fun

What’s the use of practicing guitar if you’re headed toward burnout? Whenever you’re working on something–a song, as skill, and exercise–you should be listening to your gut, asking yourself if what you’re doing is inspiring you. I mention this because in yesterday’s post How To Practice, I listed some principles for practicing that some of you might consider a bit …

How To Practice Guitar

One of my hopes for this notebook is to collect lesson ideas. Here is my first entry along that line. When you practice a difficult piece of music, do you repeat the whole thing again and again, stumbling the whole way through, until the music eventually surfaces from under the mess of wrong notes, halting rhythm, and curses? That’s how …