Archive for the "Education" Category

Jack Pearson Guitar Academy

Nashville guitarist Jack Pearson is not nearly as well known as he should be. He was a member of the Allman Brothers Band from 1997-1999 and has played with a host of legends, including Vince Gill, Tommy Emmanuel, Earl Scruggs, Lee Roy Parnell, Jimmy Buffett, Keb Mo’, and many more. I had the pleasure of seeing Pearson perform with Double Trouble a few years and really enjoyed it. He really seems to be able to play just about anything.

You can now learn guitar directly from Pearson, as he has just announced the Jack Pearson Guitar Academy:

I love teaching and I’m very excited about this instructional site. Inside you’ll find hundreds of videos that show how I play, how I practice and how I work on all the different techniques it takes to play the variety of styles that I do. For me, music is a never ending learning experience.

As mentioned above, there are hundreds of videos already available, covering many of the styles that Pearson plays, which is considerable. Furthermore, he covers both acoustic and electric playing. Pricing of the Academy is $25/month with a 10% discount ($135) for a six-month subscription and a 15% discount ($255) for an annual subscription.

You can watch Pearson introduce the academy below:

Posted in: Artist News, Education, Lessons, Videos

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The Truss Rod

The truss rod is there to do one thing—to keep the neck of your guitar straight and stable, keeping your instrument in tune all the way up its well-aligned neck. It does this job well with ingenious simplicity and efficiency, constantly counteracting the tremendous physical forces that continually conspire to bend, warp and bow the neck, preventing proper intonation.

If you’ve ever wondered about truss rods, Fender has posted some details about the history and functionality of truss rods.

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How To Adjust a Fender Vintage-Style Truss Rod

In this video, Billy Penn, of 300guitars.com, demonstrates how to adjust the truss rod on a Fender vintage-style neck where access to the truss rod is in the heel of the neck:

I’ve been setting up my own guitars for years, and I learned a number of things from watching Billy’s video. For example, I’ve never thought of using a capo to hold the strings in place, nor have I thought of using painter’s tape to hold the neck plate in place. Two pieces of knowledge I put into place last night to set up one of my Teles.

(via Anthony Stauffer)

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Review: Essential Fretboard from StevieSnacks.com

Anthony Stauffer of StevieSnacks.com has been providing free blues guitar lessons in the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan since 2007. He started out by providing free lessons on YouTube and later progressed to providing premium guitar lessons that cover a number of specific topics related to playing Texas-style electric blues. For example, his most recently released premium lesson series covers the techniques employed by one of Stevie’s greatest influences, Albert King. Some of Anthony’s other lesson series include Essential Fretboard, Essential Theory, The 5 Essential Blues Boxes, 5 Boxes Essential Licks, Essential Techniques, among others.

A hallmark of each of these lesson series is Anthony’s attention to detail and quality. It’s clear that he has put a lot of time into designing and creating these lessons. I don’t know about you, but I’ve purchased a number of lesson DVDs that appear to be nothing more than an artist sitting in a room playing while someone else comes in later to transcribe it with no real thought to how the lessons are laid out. Watching the artist play can be fun, and maybe you can get some licks out of it, but it really doesn’t qualify as instruction, in my opinion. Anthony’s lessons are the opposite of that. They are clearly thought out to cover the topics within each series without a whole lot of unnecessary fluff.

The series I want to focus on in this review is Essential Fretboard. In this series, Anthony provides a roadmap for beginning blues guitarists learning the fretboard. Basically, this series provides a fretboard map that illustrates the essential chords and soloing shapes for playing blues and blues-based music. If you’ve been playing blues-based music for a while, then much of what’s included here will be review; this lesson series is intended for beginning-to-intermediate-level guitarists. However, I think this lesson series includes a lot of great information for those new to playing blues music.

The Essential Fretboard series includes thirteen separate video lessons, broken down as follows:

1. Introduction
2. Building the Fretboard Map
3. E Form Bar Chords
4. A Form Bar Chords
5. Partial G Form Chords
6. The 5 Essential Boxes
7. Backdoor Pattern
8. Sliding Box 1
9. Triangles
10. 7th Chords
11. 9th Chords
12. Shuffle Patterns
13. Putting It All Together

The lessons are, for the most part, delivered in three distinct sections: theoretical illustration, practical demonstration, and exercises. In the beginning of each lesson, Anthony discusses the theoretical application of the concepts, but this doesn’t mean that he introduces a lot of music theory (this is a good thing). After illustrating what the lesson is about, he shows you what he is talking about by demonstrating the concepts on the guitar. He follows this in most lessons with some exercises that you can follow to apply the principles that he has taught in the lesson.

In addition to the video lessons, there are several supplemental materials. Backing tracks are included so that you can play along with the examples. Additionally, Anthony has included PDF files containing tabbed exercises and diagrams of the fretboard.

I really like Anthony’s teaching style. He is thorough enough to cover the concepts that he is teaching, but does not get mired down in the technical details like some other teachers can do. And, because Anthony plays and enjoys the style of music that he’s teaching, you can get a real sense that he’s enjoying himself in the videos, which makes for a more relaxed and enjoyable video.

I’d also like to point out a little something that isn’t necessarily related to the lessons directly, but which I think is almost equally important. You’ve probably seen other online teachers that try to sell you the “secrets of the pros” or some snake oil that will magically make you a better player. I’ve visited those types of sites before, and I always feel like I need a shower afterwards. Anthony doesn’t do that, and I appreciate that. Instead, Anthony’s site is geared simply towards providing information about his lessons and highlighting the latest free lessons. He even provides a flowchart to help you figure out which lesson series is right for you.

Over the years, I’ve taken a number of different types of lessons, including in-person lessons, lessons from books, and video-based lessons. While in-person lessons will give you the most feedback, I’m coming around to really liking video-based lessons. I’m more of a visual learner, and it’s nice to be able to rewind a lesson to revisit a particularly tough section. Fortunately, we live in an age where video-based instruction is as easy as opening up YouTube and typing “guitar lesson.”

Of the myriad online guitar lessons that are available, Anthony’s lessons at StevieSnacks.com are some of my favorite due to his approachable teaching style and well-thought-out lessons. If you’re looking to learn SRV-style blues guitar, I highly recommend Anthony’s lessons. If you’re just getting started with learning blues guitar, then I can specifically recommend Anthony’s Essential Fretboard series. You can view details about the Essential Fretboard series on StevieSnacks.com, as well as view some sample videos to see if the lesson series is right for you.

Posted in: Education, Reviews, Videos

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Eric Johnson – On the Path

Eric Johnson is a newly featured artist in the iPad app On the Path, an app that provides lessons in various styles taught by some of the greatest players in world. In addition to Eric Johnson, you can watch lessons taught by ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro, Jackson Browne, Scott Tennant, and blues guitarist Kenny Sultan, among others.

Johnson’s contribution is a 68-minute master class lesson teaching you how to play “Cliffs of Dover.” In the lesson, Johnson provides insight into his techniques, and there are 25 play-along sessions within the lesson. This looks like a unique opportunity to learn the song from Johnson himself. The On the Path app and the lesson (which costs $14.99) are available from the iTunes App Store.

The following video is a promo video for the app. In it, Johnson plays the piece with no bass or drum accompaniment.

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PRS Experience 2010 David Grissom Master Class

At last year’s PRS Experience event, David Grissom gave a 45-minute master class to members of the PRS Signature Club. Fortunately, an attendee recorded the event so that those of us that missed it can watch it. At the beginning of the video, he demonstrates how he’s able to get a wide variety of sounds from his signature guitar and a single-channel PRS amp. Then, he begins discussing the types of chords he uses and some of his techniques. Check it out:

(via JP Holesworth)

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StevieSnacks.com – Albert’s Influence Lessons

Anthony Stauffer, who teaches blues guitar lessons at StevieSnacks.com, has released a new premium lesson series called “Albert’s Influence,” which examines two complete solos in the style of Albert King. I’ve seen a number of video lessons from Anthony, and they are all very good. This series looks to continue that tradition, if not raise the bar.

The “Albert’s Influence” lesson series contains over three hours of lessons. Between the two solos, Anthony illustrates and teaches 73 licks that span 108 bars. In addition to the licks, Anthony teaches timing and phrasing, which is especially important when playing Albert’s style of blues. A nice feature of the videos is a progression bar that follows along on the screen showing you what bar the lick is being played in.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn this style of blues guitar playing, I would recommend this series. You can buy the series as a download ($55) or a set of two DVDs ($65).

Check out a free lesson taken from the series below:

Posted in: Education

What Not To Do During Your Practice Time

Christopher Davis offers some advice on things that you should stop doing during your practice time.

Productive people often use to do lists. Sometimes using a to-do list is a great way to create a practice schedule. But super-efficient guitar practicers don’t just have to do lists. They have stop doing lists.

I find myself making some of the mistakes he warns against in my own practicing. I won’t spoil his advice, so go check out the article.

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Capo 2

A little over a year ago, I reviewed the Capo app, which is a music learning tool made by SuperMegaUltraGroovy. The developer, Chris Liscio, has released Capo 2.0 today. In addition to providing the ability to slow down and loop music, Capo now provides the ability to automatically detect chords within songs. Also included in the new version is a sophisticated Spectrogram that helps you visualize the music being played. This Spectrogram can also be used to help tab out songs as you play through them.

These updates make an already excellent music learning tool even better. If you have a Mac and play guitar, I highly recommend checking the Capo app out.

Posted in: Accessories, Beginners, Education

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Practice Logs

I’m terrible about keeping a log of my practice sessions. Chris Davis gives us five reasons why keeping a practice log helps. Here’s one of the reasons:

Ever sat down to practice and though, “well, I wonder what I should do today?” We’ve all been there. A practice log takes the questions out of the equation. What did I have trouble with during the last practice session? A practice log can help track these issues and focus your practice session in on them

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