The Guitar Journal
Most of the greatest jazz albums have been recorded with hollow body or semi-hollow body guitars. However, do we consider these kind of guitars as acoustic guitars? Technically, they are acoustic guitars amplified by a magnetic pickup.
Jazz and blues guitarists as Charlie Christian, with his Gibson ES 150, Lonnie Johnson or Les paul were one of the first guitarists that uses pickups to convert the vibrations of the strings into electrical signals. Obviously, because of the weakness of sound, these guitars need to be plugged into an amplifier before being sent to a loudspeaker unlike acoustic guitars that need to be recorded with a microphone.
But a few jazz guitar players accustomed with electric guitars have made the choice to record entire albums with acoustic guitars, nylon or steel. Some of them, as Charlie Byrd has decided to use only acoustic guitars all along their career. Surely this is because acoustic guitars create a sense of authenticity, space and proximity at the same time, both for the players and listeners, a sensation that is not generally found with electric guitars.
There are different types of guitars, many sizes, many different forms, many tones – but there’s nothing that can quite replicate the sound or the feel of playing a nylon-string or a steel-string acoustic guitar.
Here is a list of the 5 best jazz albums recorded with acoustic guitars.Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Jazz Albums
1: Django Reinhardt – Djangology
Jean Reinhardt, better known under the name of Django Reinhardt, is a french jazz guitarist born in 1910 and died in 1953. His style of playing and sound has given birth to the gypsy jazz. He is one of the most respected and influential guitarists of the jazz history. One the most representative album is surely “Djangology” with the quintet of the Hot Club of France featuring Stephane Grappelli (violin). This gem was released in 1961 in the United States by RCA records. 12 songs were recorded.
Track list :
- Minor swing
- Beyond the sea (la mer)
- Honeysuckle rose
- Heavy artillery
- After you’ve gone
- Where are you my love
- I saw stars
- Lover man
- Swing 42
2: Charlie Byrd – Quintet Du Hot Club de Concord
Charlie Byrd was an American jazz guitarist. He is best known to play fingerstyle on nylon string guitars and for his bossa nova recordings. His strongest influence was Django Reinhardt. To pay tribute to him, he founded the quintet of The Hot Club du Concord, similar to the quintet of the Hot Club of France founded by Django himself. This ensemble has two guitarists (with Frank Vignola), one bassist, one violinist and one harmonicist. The repertoire contains swing (swing 59) and Latin tunes (Besame mucho), ballads, and jazz standards (Moon river, Cotton tail). This recording is a highly recommended effort, difficult to find and hear on the internet, however here is a link with some samples.
Track list :
- Swing 59
- Golden earrings
- Till The Cloud Roll By
- At the Seaside
- Gipsy boots
- Old New Orleans blues
- Cotton Tail
- Moon river
- Besame mucho
- They didn’t believe me
3: Joe Pass – Songs for Ellen
Is it really necessary to introduce Joe Pass? Jazz guitar master, true genius and virtuoso. He is known for his walking bass lines, his chord knowledge, his sense of improvisation and reharmonization. He’s still one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. In this posthumous album, Joe Pass plays exclusively on acoustic guitar (nylon-string). It should be pointed that he is used to play with electric archtop guitars (Gibson, D’Aquisto and Ibanez).
- The Shadow of Your Smile
- Song for Ellen
- I Only Have Eyes for You
- Stars Fell on Alabama
- That Old Feeling
- Star Eyes
- Robbins Nest
- Someone to Watch over Me
- Blues for Angel
- There’s a Small Hotel
- How Deep Is the Ocean?
- Stormy Weather
- Just Friends
- Blue Moon
- Satellite Village
4: Baden Powell – Tristeza On Guitar
Baden Powell is one of the most known Brazilian composer and guitarist. Whether it is bossa nova, world fusion or Afro samba, Baden Powell is a guitar master with an unlimited imagination and a perfect purified style. Tristeza on guitar was recorded in Rio de Janeiro in 1966 at Studio Riosom and at Studio Atonal. It contains 11 gems that are mainly Latin tunes excepted the famous jazz standard “round about midnight” composed by Thelonious Monk.
- Canto de Xangô
- Round About Midnight
- Canto de Ossanha
- Manha de Carnaval
- Invencão Em 7½
- Das Rosas
- Som Do Carnaval
- O Astronauta
5: Pat Metheny – One Quiet Night
Leader of the Pat Metheny group the man has incorporated a number of elements in his works and explore numerous of jazz styles as Latin jazz, jazz fusion, pop jazz, experimental or folk jazz all along his career. One Quiet Night is a solo album recorded on a steel-string acoustic baritone guitar. It contains original compositions by Pat Metheny except “My song” by Keith Jarett, “Ferry cross the Mersey” by Gerry Marsden and “Don’t know why” (Gerry Marsden) made popular by Norah Jones, daughter of Ravi Shankar.
- One quiet night
- Song for the boys
- Don’t know why
- Another chance
- Time goes on
- My song
- Peace memory
- Ferry cross the Mersey
- Over on 4th street
- I will find the way
- North to south, east to west
- Last train home
About the Author
Stef Ramin is the webmaster and eBook’s author on jazz-guitar-licks.com, lessons for beginner and advanced guitarists. Passionate about jazz and blues music, he is an experienced musician, composer and guitar teacher.
More Articles on Top Guitarists:
- Top 25 Contemporary Acoustic Blues Guitarists
- Top 25 Best Bluegrass Flatpicking Guitarists
- Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitar Albums
The holidays approach and gift-giving is in full swing. As a musician, my family often wondered what to get me for Christmas and birthdays. “He’s so hard to buy for”. And I get it. Music is a highly specialized field, and personal opinions about gear and brands run hot. So it’s intimidating to buy a gift for a musician. But never fear, this article is here to help.
Here are 10 great gifts for the acoustic guitarist that are easy, inexpensive, and sure to be a hit.
(Hint: forward this to your family).
The Gift List
Guitar Cleaning Kit
Every guitarist I know wants their guitar to be in good shape. But very FEW guitarists that I know have the tools to keep their acoustic guitar clean and well-maintained.
A package like Dunlop’s 6500 Guitar Maintenance Kit provide everything you need to keep the fretboard, frets, and body of the guitar clean and cared for – just like high quality wood should be.
Guitarists always need capos. Theoretically, we could make do with one. But, inevitably, you’ve left it in the car when you need it in the house. Or you left it at church on the stand when you’re trying to practice at home. So you can always use another…or maybe three. This is a fail-safe gift.
This is the capo you should buy. It’s the popular capo for a reason – it’s durable, highly accurate, and has been running strong with the same design for decades.
Finding a local music shop and teach to get a gift voucher for is difficult. Instead, do online video lessons. I recommend JamPlay.com lessons because they have a huge library of courses for all levels and genres. And the subscription gives you access to everything. Beginning folk? Check. Advanced heavy metal solos? Check. With a gift like this, the guitarist can choose any course that suits them and the change it up next month if they want.
JamPlay has gift vouchers that allow you to send a digital code. So you can print it out and put it in a card, or just email it to your niece cross country.
Again, guitarists always need tuners. And, again, one is really never enough. Having one for the studio and one for the house (and one to leave in the case) is super nice! I’ve written a longer post on which tuner is right for you, so you can take a look at that for more reviews. But this is the most popular (and inexpensive) tuner out there, used by beginners and experts alike.
Nothing says commitment to the craft like putting that guitar up on the wall! This wall mount allows you to easily hang any type of acoustic guitar on the wall. It will look great and the guitar will be instantly available to take down and jam whenever. I had one of these in my office for several years and loved it.
This wall mount is nice because it comes with the hardware to hang on drywall, plus has a nice wood base that looks “acoustic-y”.
There’s not many tools you need for acoustic guitar. Sure, you need picks and strings and stuff. But the only tools you really need are this restringing kit. It has the wire cutters for trimming guitar strings, and the notched turner for quickly stringing a guitar.
A simple, inexpensive gift that saves many hours of time.
Speaking of which, picks are a great gift! There’s two ways to go on this:
a) if you know what the guitarist uses, buy a big package of those. I once bought a 72-pack of Dunlop .60mm Mediums and LOVED it. I never had to wonder if I had lost all my picks. I’d just stash them everywhere – guitar case, wallet, car, dresser.
b) If you don’t know what the guitarist uses, but a mixed pack for them to experiment with. This package is general purpose that would suit most guitarists – folks playing rock, country, pop, folk, even jazz. This thumbpick pack would be a great fit for fingerstyle players who are trying out the popular Tommy Emmanuel style of playing. (You can also check out a post I did going more in depth on thumb pick options.)
Guitarists change their strings often. For some, it’s every week or two. For other, it’s every month or two. But, inevitably, a guitarist is constantly throwing $15 at their guitar to keep the strings fresh and sounding great. Similar to picks, you can do this two ways:
a) If you know the strings they use, just buy 1 (or 3!) packs of those. It’s always nice to have those handy.
b) If you don’t know the strings, it’s a bit more difficult. There’s no easy way to do a “variety pack” like with picks. Instead, I would recommend Medium-Light strings by Elixir. These are super popular strings that are high quality, last a long time, and are the right weight for most players. They’re like blue jeans. Everybody looks good in them.
Too many guitarists ignore, or forget, the benefits of a humidifier. Acoustic guitars are (almost exclusively) made of wood. Wood expands and contracts in hot and cold temperatures, as well as with humidity changes. If you want to keep your guitar sounding good and avoid problems like cracks, raised frets, or difficulty in tuning – you need a humidifier.
Fortunately, these are not at all expensive. This humidifier is a popular model that sits in the soundhole of the guitar while it’s in the case. Easy and inexpensive – but a great gift.
Guitarists, particularly beginners, can fall into the habit of laying their guitar down wherever convenient – on the bed, the stage, the living room floor. This is not good, though! Guitars laying flat in these places are easy targets for getting stepped on, dropped on, etc. The correct solution, of course, is a guitar stand.
There are a lot of versions of guitar stands. Some are fancy, some are minimalist. But this one is a tried’n’true design that has served guitarists for decades and decades.
Got some other ideas? Put them in the notes below!
Do you dream of being faster and more graceful with your right hand?
There is a counterintuitive shortcut to gaining more speed and sensitivity in your playing. Before we dive in, this can be implemented along with challenges such as the sweep picking challenge.
When you play pop or blues music on a steel acoustic, you mostly use your plectrum, which allows you to position the edge of your hand on the scratchplate. This gives you stability but at the same time tends to ‘spoil’ your hand as it misses an opportunity to develop flexibility, dexterity, and ultimately speed and expression range.
Freeing you hand will help you develop velocity and more confidence in your guitar playing. As a result, you can open your style to a whole new level of versatile expression, and you’ll start trying out acrobatics of the likes of Rodrigo and Gabriela.
As examples in rock and blues, guitarists like John Frusciante and Jimi Hendrix tend to have their hands very loose when they strum. As this can be a mess when applied to steel acoustic, they often use their left hand to mute strings they don’t want to sound and to avoid unwanted noises.
This ‘liberation of your hand’ will allow you to be a more versatile guitarist and tackle a wider variety of genres, so you will be a treasure of a practice buddy.
Flamenco Will Grow Wings on Your Right Hand
Whatever style you do, learning some flamenco techniques will help you develop speed and flexibility in your right hand in a way that will blow your mind.
…even if you are a plectra fundamentalist!
You will even start typing faster on your laptop (I just came to this realisation as I write this piece). But most importantly, you will be more motivated and confident in your guitar learning.
One of my clients spent 15 years playing blues and rock. He invariably played electric guitar with a plectrum. One day he bought a flamenco guitar because he wanted to learn some flamenco techniques and songs.
During his first classes, he wouldn’t lift his right pinky off the top of the guitar. He needed to work hard to remove this habit, because it helped him gain stability and play the strings he targeted.
Now that he is a confident flamenco player he tells me how learning these techniques has supercharged his rock playing, as he is now more confident with where his right hand is at any given point. This allows him to move it around upwards and downwards and calibrate the strength with which he plays.
And now his pinky is supporting his right hand as it flies, not as it sleeps on the scratchplate!
2 Flamenco Techniques You Should Learn Today
Note: It’s imperative that you practice both techniques very slowly. Once your muscles have memorized the motions involved, you can speed up. A metronome can keep your ego under control.
Abanico (‘fan’ in Spanish) is one of the most characteristic techniques in flamenco. Used mostly as a closing lick, it requires your hand to be completely lifted. You simply need three strokes to do a cycle, and you typically use one cycle per black note.
This technique can be used with different fingers. Here is a common cycle:
- Thumb up – lift your whole wrist
- Ring down – your index finger is still lifted and your wrist goes half-way down
- Index down – the whole of your wrist goes all the way down
If you do this fast, you will perform a very dynamic motion with your hand, and no one will really understand what the heck you are doing…
To get a better sense on this technique have a look on this tutorial video on “Abanico technique”:
2. Supported strumming (rasgueado apoyado)
This is where you place your thumb on the 6th or 5th string and you attack the strings with your fingers one by one quickly.
There are as many variations as you have fingers. As with the abanico, you typically perform one cycle per black note.
1-finger rasgueado (2 strokes)
- Shoot your index finger down attacking all the strings at the same time.
- Move your index finger up. Attack all the strings at the same time.
2-finger rasgueado (3 strokes)
- Middle finger goes down
- Index finger goes down
- Index finger goes up
Make sure your cycles are seamless. To achieve this, you can prepare your middle finger as you shoot your index finger. This also applies to the 3- and 4-finger versions.
3-finger rasgueado (4 strokes)
- Ring finger goes down
- Middle finger goes down
- Index finger goes down
- Index finger goes back up
4-finger rasgueado (5 strokes)
- Pinky finger goes down
- Ring finger goes down
- Middle finger goes down
- Index finger goes down
- Index finger goes back up
At first, you may think going from the last stroke of a cycle into the first stroke of the following cycle is impossible. Keep practising slowly and prepare your fingers strategically!
Here is a tutorial video on “Supported strumming” technique:
These two flamenco techniques will help you stretch your hand to a whole new level of versatility. As you start practising these techniques with higher speed, you’ll soon realise how powerfully you progress.
So, go and try this technique today and improve your playing in the most unusual way.
Guest Post Bio:
Alvaro Antona is a flamenco guitar teacher and artist. With a 20-year career teaching and performing flamenco guitar all over the world, he now offers a free 20 minute flamenco guitar consultation for those who live thousands of kilometres from the nearest guitar strumming maestro.
More Articles on Learning Guitar:
- Learn Guitar: Top 5 Beginner Guitar Lesson Courses
- 5 Places to Get Modern Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons Online
- 13 Great Country Acoustic Guitar Lessons on YouTube
- Top 5 Places for Online Acoustic Blues Guitar Lessons
The post Two Flamenco Techniques to Enhance Your Right Hand appeared first on The Guitar Journal.
Modern Acoustic Blues finds contemporary artists reviving the older, more country-derived styles of blues in its myriad strains. The form places a great deal of emphasis on instrumental expertise, providing the genre with some astounding players who do more than merely replicate older styles.
So how do I propose to rank the best 25 Acoustic Blues Guitarists in the world? Well, I’m going to dodge the issue a bit.
I’m going to put down 25 guitarists that have dominated the field. But I will refrain from ranking them #1, #2, #3, etc. I think that’s as close as I can get. I’m sure you’ll discover some great inspiration for both listening and learning from.Add other worthy players to the comments below so that the list is truly complete. Thanks!
Here We Go…
Guitarist/vocalist Keb’ Mo’ draws heavily on the old-fashioned country blues style of Robert Johnson while keeping his sound contemporary with touches of soul and folksy storytelling. A skilled frontman as well as an accomplished sideman, he writes much of his own material and has applied his acoustic, electric, and slide guitar skills to jazz- and rock-oriented bands.
- There’s a lot of material to choose from when listening to Russ, but a popular song to start with is “Everybody Be Yoself”.
- More info on Keb’ Mo’.
Steven Gene Wold, commonly known as Seasick Steve, is an American blues musician. He plays mostly personalized guitars and sings, usually about his early life doing casual work. Like T-Model Ford, Seasick Steve began recording his own music much later in life than other musicians. In the 1960s, Wold started touring and performing with fellow blues musicians, and had friends in the music scene including Joni Mitchell. He spent time living in San Francisco. Since then, he has worked, on and off, as a session musician and studio engineer.
Jim “Jimbo” Mathus first gained fame as the co-founder of the retro-swing outfit the Squirrel Nut Zippers. But after the group’s messy breakup, he went on to a prolific career as a guitarist, songwriter, and producer, defining his own brand of revved-up blues and roots music. Using a variety of stage names, including James Mathus, Jas Mathus, Jimbo “Hambone” Mathus, and Jimbo Mathus, he first began stepping out on his own as a sideman with one-time Zippers’ violinist Andrew Bird.
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks (born May 17, 1942), who uses the stage name Taj Mahal, is an American blues musician. He often incorporates elements of world music into his works. A self-taught singer-songwriter and film composer who plays the guitar, piano, banjo and harmonica (among many other instruments), Mahal has done much to reshape the definition and scope of blues music over the course of his almost 50-year career by fusing it with nontraditional forms, including sounds from the Caribbean, Africa and the South Pacific.
Kelly Joe Phelps
Vancouver, Washington-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter Kelly Joe Phelps continues to expand the parameters of modern blues through his strong commitment to literary songs and his expressive yet simple guitar stylings. While casual listeners may call Phelps a bluesman, his playing is so fluid, dexterous, and improvised he obviously has the soul of a jazz musician. Kelly Joe Phelps grew up in Sumner, Washington, a blue-collar farming town. He learned country and folk songs, as well as drums and piano, from his father. He began playing guitar at age twelve.
Corey Harris has earned substantial critical acclaim as one of the few contemporary bluesmen able to channel the raw, direct emotion of acoustic Delta blues without coming off as an authenticity-obsessed historian. Although he is well versed in the early history of blues guitar, he’s no well-mannered preservationist, mixing a considerable variety of influences — from New Orleans to the Caribbean to Africa — into his richly expressive music.
Cephas & Wiggins
The duo of acoustic guitarist John Cephas and harpist Phil Wiggins enjoyed a partnership spanning several decades, during which time they emerged among contemporary music’s most visible exponents of the Piedmont blues tradition. Their music, rooted in the rural African-American dance music of Virginia and North Carolina, showed the influence of Blind Boy Fuller, Gary Davis, and Sonny Terry, with a broad repertoire consisting of Piedmont blues standards as well as an eclectic sampling of Delta stylings, R&B, ballads, ragtime, gospel, and country & western; onward from their 1984 debut, Sweet Bitter Blues, Cephas & Wiggins’ sound applied sophisticated traditional instrumentation and modern gospel-edged vocals to both traditional standards and their own hard-hitting compositions, offering a soulful acoustic option to electric blues.
- Check out their tune “Richmond Blues” and you’ll sense the scope of their playing.
- More info on Cephas & Wiggins.
Overseas, he was a genuine hero, performing for thousands. But on his L.A. home turf, sand-blown Venice Beach served as Ted Hawkins’ makeshift stage. He’d deliver his magnificent melange of soul, blues, folk, gospel, and a touch of country all by his lonesome, with only an acoustic guitar for company. Passersby would pause to marvel at Hawkins’ melismatic vocals, dropping a few coins or a greenback into his tip jar.
William Christopher Smither is an American folk/blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter. His music draws deeply from the blues, American folk music, and modern poets and philosophers. By 1969, after living in several places around Cambridge, Smither moved to Garfield Street in Cambridge and often visited Dick Waterman’s house where Fred McDowell, Son House and other blues musicians were known to congregate. It was there that Smither first performed his song “Love You Like a Man” for Waterman’s friend, Bonnie Raitt.
Christopher Watkins, a twenty-something rocker from the San Francisco Bay area, is turning a whole new generation of teenage and twenty-something alternative rock fans on to the eternal hipness of the blues. Watkins, who uses the stage name Preacher Boy, is backed on his club shows around the Bay area and other parts of the West Coast by his band Natural Blues.
East River String Band
Eden and John’s East River String Band are a New York City-based duo who play country blues from the 1920s and 1930s. The members are John Heneghan (guitar, mandolin and vocals) and Eden Brower (ukulele and vocals).The duo often have other musicians sit in with them, including Dom Flemons (formerly of Carolina Chocolate Drops), Pat Conte (of the Canebreak Rattlers and Otis Brothers) and Robert Crumb (of the Cheap Suit Serenaders).
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream.
David Allen Slater
David Allen Slater is a multi-talented singer/songwriter, composer and graphic artist who successfully released his self-produced debut CD, Influenced, on August 15, 2009. Gaining exposure for his music through the web, David was asked to participate in the Windows 7 collaboration with ReverbNation just 2 months after the release of his first album. His song, Run Away, was distributed through this collaboration on Playlist7 and branded with the Windows 7 logo.
Chris Thomas King
Chris Thomas King (born October 14, 1962 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is an American blues musician and actor. He is the son of blues musician Tabby Thomas. In the 2000 movie O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?, he played legendary bluesman Tommy Johnson. On the “O Brother…” soundtrack he plays Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”. In the 2004 movie Ray, he played bandleader Lowell Fulson. He has also appeared in several documentaries about the blues and about music.
- I’ve been listening his many songs, but my my personal favorite is “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”.
- View more on Chris Thomas King.
Guy Davis (born May 12, 1952) is an American blues guitarist and banjo player, and actor. He is the eldest child and the only son of the late actors Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Davis says his blues music is inspired by the southern speech of his grandmother. Though raised in the New York City area, he grew up hearing accounts of life in the rural south from his parents and especially his grandparents, and they made their way into his own stories and songs. Davis taught himself the guitar (never having the patience to take formal lessons) and learned by listening to and watching other musicians.
Bjørn Berge takes the Blues and Rock to the next level! He performs with and without band. You wouldn’t notice the difference. The man is a band on his own. Maybe thats why ‘they’ call him the ‘string-machine’. Even the drumming is taken care off in a ‘sole-man-performance’. Just a kick of a heavy, worn out boot on a wooden box for basedrum for example. His fingers play like he sold his soul to ,…. (Fill it in yourself) His voice speaks for itself. Blues to the utmost ground.
Woody Mann is an American Blues Guitar player, using a picking style. Woody was first taught to play the blues by the Rev Gary Davis. Woody still plays many of his songs in tribute and has expanded his range over many styles including Jazz, and syncopated guitar picking. Woody has collaborated with many names in the Jazz and Blues industry from the British White Blues singer Jo-Ann Kelly, Son House and Dori Previn.
Watermelon Slim and the Workers
Bill Homans, professionally known as “Watermelon Slim”, is an American blues musician. He plays both guitar and harmonica. He is currently signed to NorthernBlues Music, based out of Toronto, Ontario.
Homans has been performing since the 1970s and has been linked to several notable blues musicians, including John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, Champion Jack Dupree, Bonnie Raitt, “Country” Joe McDonald, and Henry Vestine of Canned Heat.
Robert Anthony Plant CBE (born 20 August 1948, West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England) is a British rock singer-songwriter famous for being the lead vocalist of one of the most influential bands of all time: Led Zeppelin. He is known for his powerful style and wide vocal range. After Led Zeppelin’s breakup following the sudden death of drummer John Bonham in 1980, Plant pursued a successful solo career.
Rory Gallagher (1948-1995)
William Rory Gallagher was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and brought up in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s. His albums have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995, but died of complications later that year in London at the age of 47.
John Clayton Mayer is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and raised in nearby Fairfield. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, but disenrolled and moved to Atlanta in 1997 with Clay Cook. Together, they formed a short-lived two-man band called Lo-Fi Masters. After their split, Mayer continued to play local clubs—refining his skills and gaining a following.
Stefan Grossman is an American acoustic fingerstyle guitarist and singer, music producer and educator, and co-founder of Kicking Mule records. He is known for his instructional videos and Vestapol line of videos and DVDs. He also gives lessons on “How To Play Blues Guitar”
Jorma Ludwik Kaukonen, is an American blues, folk, and rock guitarist, best known for his work with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #54 on its list of 100 Greatest Guitarists.
Leo Kottke is an acoustic guitarist. He is known for a fingerpicking style that draws on blues, jazz, and folk music, and for syncopated, polyphonic melodies. He overcame a series of personal obstacles, including partial loss of hearing and a nearly career-ending bout with tendon damage in his right hand, to emerge as a widely recognized master of his instrument. He currently resides in the Minneapolis area with his family. Focusing primarily on instrumental composition and playing, Kottke also sings sporadically, in an unconventional yet expressive baritone described by himself as sounding like “geese farts on a muggy day”.
Brozman was born to a Jewish family living on Long Island, New York, United States. He began playing the guitar when he was 6. He performed in a number of styles, including gypsy jazz, calypso, blues, ragtime, Hawaiian music, and Caribbean music. He also collaborated with musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds, from India, Africa, Japan, Papua New Guinea and Réunion. He has been called “an instrumental wizard” and “a walking archive of 20th Century American music”.
More lists of top players:
- The Top 20 Dobro Players >>
- Top 25 Fingerstyle Guitar Players >>
- Top 25 Best Bluegrass Flatpicking Guitarists >>
The oft-overlooked, but so-essential guitar gear: the guitar stool.
Or maybe you call it a “guitar throne” if: a) you happen to feel awesome today, or b) you’ve been hanging out with drummers lately (they insist on calling their stool a “throne”).
So Why Get a Special Guitar Stool?
Having a well-suited guitar stool helps you as a guitarist in a number of ways:
- It makes it easier to hold the guitar in a playable position.
- It’s more comfortable to play for longer periods.
- You’re able to interact with a recording studio desk or other gear.
- It physically lifts your body, freeing your diaphragm for better singing technique while you play.
Just Two Requirements
The main two things you want to avoid in a guitar stool are:
- Arms. Obviously, chair arms get in the way.
- Too low. Anything that decreases your knee angle below 90deg (your butt is below your knees) is going to make it difficult to play well, especially with an acoustic guitar.
Other than that, it’s really about preference and knowing the environment you’ll be playing in.
So here are the top 7 best guitar stools (or at least stool “types”, since there’s any number of Task Chairs out there like the Amazon selection below).The Guitar Stools List
AmazonBasics Low-Back Task Chair
- Comfortable task chair upholstered in black fabric
- Padded seat and back for all-day comfort and support
- Pneumatic seat-height adjustment; 360-degree swivel; smooth-rolling casters
- 250-pound maximum weight capacity; assembly instructions included
- Measures 25.2 by 18.7 by 34.6 to 37.8 inches (LxWxH); 1-year limited warranty
The basic office chair. Comfortable, inexpensive. Well-suited to situations where you’re recording and switching between playing guitar, the computer, keyboard, etc.
Torin TRP6185 Swivel Seat Shop/Bar Stool, Black
The Torin Big Red Swivel Stool features include a padded black vinyl swivel seat, a polished chrome plated heavy duty tubular steel base and a comfortable footrest.
- Black vinyl swivel seat, swivels 360 degrees for easy and efficient movement
- Chrome plated heavy duty steel frame
- Large 14 1/2 inch diameter cushioned seat is made of high density foam padding
- All four legs come with anti-slip protective caps
- Easy to assemble
The classic bar stool with cushion top. Always in style, always comfortable.
Gator Frameworks Combination Guitar Performance Seat and Single Guitar Stand (GFW-GTR-SEAT)
The Gator Frameworks GFW-GTR-SEAT combination guitar seat and single guitar stand provides a place to sit comfortably for you and your guitar. This heavy-duty combination boasts a 300-pound weight capacity and is a perfect height for any musician. The seat furnishes soft support with a durable, thick padded cushion and removable ergonomic backrest. A built-in safety pin ensures stability while the rubber no-slip feet keep you grounded. When actively playing, and using the seat the guitar stand on the bottom front legs neatly folds up and secures out of the way of your toe-tapping feet.
When it’s time to take a break, fold out the guitar stand and slip your guitar on to the finish friendly, rubberized arms and rest the neck against the soft micro-suede patch on the cushion. Removable, red safety rings are provided on the feet to reduce the Risk of tripping in dark venues or on shadowy stages. The collapsible, compact design makes it easy to pack up and store. For tighter storage areas simply remove the backrest to break down the seat even further. When traveling local or abroad consolidating equipment is always a challenge and the Gator Frameworks combination guitar seat and single guitar stand offers a winning combination.
- Guitar performance seat with built-in Guitar stand. Holds Acoustic, Electric and Bass Guitars
- Collapsible design with quick release pin for compact storage
- Durable, padded seat cushion with removable ergonomic backrest
- 300lb weight capacity
- Some assembly required, Hardware included
Nice combination stand and seat, ideal for farmer’s markets, etc.
Taylor 24″ Logo Barstool – Brown
The Taylor Barstool is a 24″ stool sports a padded swivel seat with a Taylor Guitars logo. The foot ring lets you get your leg into the perfect playing position. Spruce up your studio and add some cool and useable furniture with the Taylor Barstool.
- Barstool 24 inch
- The Taylor Barstool fully supports you and your music
- The classic design features a comfy, padded swivel seat in a black matte, vinyl finish with a gray Taylor logo
- A foot ring adds to your playing comfort
- 24 inch
When you want your acoustic guitar man cave to FEEL like an acoustic guitar man cave, this is the one.
Kitchen Counter Stool, 25″ counter stool, kitchen island stool, tiger maple, garny:
This is a 25″ high stool, designed for kitchen counters, kitchen island, playing an instrument or use it on stage. Hand carved from solid tiger maple wood following the anatomical curves of the human body. No pressure points, the whole surface of the stool will support the upper body.
- Legs are supported with traditional mortis and tenon joints with walnut wedge.
- The seat is a solid tiger maple 2″ thick and dyed with vintage orange.
- Legs and stretchers are ash, painted with black milk paint. Footrest is also tiger maple.
- Finished, first with multiple coats of tung oil and then carnauba – bees wax blend, so surface scratches can be buffed off.
- Height: 25″
- Sitting surface: width 17″, front to back: 15″
A really beautiful, wooden, hand-made stool for those with money to burn.
Guitar Stool/ Guitar Stand by Todd Fillingham
A stool that holds your guitar when you are not playing it. Your guitar is always ready even if you only have a few minutes to sit, relax and play a few chords before getting on with your day. Hardwood surfaces (walnut and ash) are finished with a custom, hand rubbed finish that improves with age and use. The pads are natural felt and cork and will not damage your guitar’s finish. Stability is enhanced with a counter weight under the front of the seat. Works best as a stand for hollow body guitars.
- Handmade item
- Materials: wood, walnut, ash, felt, cork, yacht braid
A TRULY beautiful, wooden, hand-made stool and stand combination. For those with even more money to burn.
Curvy & Swervy in Cherry-n-Walnut Bar Stools:
These handsome and sturdy stools can be customized for you in any height, wood(s), or stain color. The curvy seats are comfortable and composed of walnut and the base is solid cherry. The standard height, ready-to-ship immediately is 31″ from floor to base of the seat but we can size them for you quickly! The stools include no-scuff feet for hard floors and they include heavy duty swivels for years and years of smooth operation. These stools include heavy duty swivels for years and years of twirling in your seat! The seats are a VERY comfortable 18″ wide.
- Handmade item
- Materials: Wood, Walnut, Cherry, Maple
A curvey chair for those who want that. Decent cost, decent quality.
Do you have another guitar stool you love? Let us know in the comments below!
The post Top 7 Best Guitar Stools (or “Guitar Throne”, if you’re feeling awesome…) appeared first on The Guitar Journal.
A guitar capo is essentially a clamp for the guitar neck, which depresses all (or some) of the strings at a given fret. The guitar capo is usually just called a “capo”, short for capo d’astro (Italian) – “the head of the fretboard”.
The main advantage of a capo is that it shortens the playable length of the guitar string, raising the “open” tuning of the guitar. The result is that the player can now use normal “open” chord shapes in a new key, yielding the big, beautiful, resonant sounding chords that we’re used to in standard open position.
Why Use a Capo?
Basically…because they make chords sound better. And they make life easier. Especially on acoustic guitars. And, truly, capos are used mostly on acoustic guitars. That’s for two reasons:
- Capos allow you to play open chords in different keys on the neck then normal. The sonic benefit of this – bigger sounding chords, ringing pedal tones, creative voicings, the overtones and resonance – is most beneficial on acoustic guitar.
- The ability to finger big open chord positions is more difficult on an acoustic than an electric due to the higher action and thicker strings (usually). So the physical benefit to the guitar player is greatest on an acoustic guitar.
For example, playing a full B Major barre chord at the 7th position is fine on an electric, but can be tiring on an acoustic. Much better just to put the capo at the 5th fret and play the shape of a regular “E Major” chord, right?
How Do Capos Work?
As stated, a guitar capo is a clamp that is place on the neck of the guitar. Almost all capos cover all strings at a given fret when they’re applied. And they can be moved to any fret desired (until you run into the body of the guitar up past the 12th fret).
When you apply the capo and strum the open strings, you’re no longer strumming E – A – D – G – B – E as in normal standard tuning. You’re strumming the note values at the new fret where you place the capo.
For example, if you place it at the 5th fret, the open strings are now A – D – G – C – E – A.
This is the reason for the name: capo d’astro. You’ve artificially moved the “head of the fretboard” up to a new position.
What Chords Do I Play?
The trick to using a guitar capo is picturing your open chords (G, C, E, D, A) as shapes instead of unique chords with a set value. You’ve probably done this already – you keep your fingers in the open “G” chord shape, but move it up the neck to, say…the 7th fret. What does it sound like? Probably not that good. The notes that you’re fretting sound fine, but the open strings in the middle are now the wrong open strings (unless you’re messing with alternate tunings, but nevermind that for now).
This is where the capo comes in. If you move that “G” chord shape up to the 7th fret, and apply the capo where the nut of the guitar WOULD have been in your original position, voila! You’ve reproduced the entire “G” shape at the 7th fret. Its sounds amazing.
But what is that chords name, now? It looks like a G, but it sounds like a concert pitch B. That is to say, it would be the same as a B chord on a piano.
How Do You Figure Out What The New Chord Actually Is?
You need to know a tiny bit of theory, and a bit about the fretboard.
- The Theory: The building blocks Western music are semi-tones. A semi-tone is essentially one key on the piano. If you move to the right or left on the piano, to the closest white or black key, you’ve moved one semi-tone. And the next key is one more. Chords and scales are created by choosing to play certain semi-tones at specific intervals, and skipping the ones in between.
- The Fretboard: Each fret on your guitar equals one semi-tone. Going up one fret on a string is like moving to the next key on the piano.
What does this mean? It means that in order to get the new value of your capo-ed chord you have to count how many semi-tones you’ve moved the capo up the neck.
If you put the capo at the 5th fret, you can still play an “E” shape there. But since you’ve moved the capo up 5 frets (semi-tones) from normal open position, the value of the “E” shape has moved up 5 semi-tones as well. You can do this in your head, or you can sit at a piano for a second and just plunk it out. E… F….F#….G…G#….A! The E shape at the 5th fret is 5 semi-tones up from E, it’s an A chord.
Once you’ve worked out this logic for a given key, it becomes intuitive to transpose entire songs. If you’re going to start with one key, I would work on moving the chords shapes in the key of “G” around (G, C, D, Em). There’s a ton of folk and country tunes that use these chord shapes to create a cool sound.
Note: Capos Are Not Cheating
There’s a school of thought, particularly from a jazz backbround, that capos are cheating. This line of thinking says, You should be able to play in any key, anywhere on the neck, at any time.
But this isn’t true. Well, at least it isn’t true outside of jazz.
Sure, in jazz a single song may go through a half dozen keys (I’m looking at you, Giant Steps), so capos don’t make sense. But in many other styles, capos are simply another tool of the trade to make excellent sounding music. And in certain styles, especially folk and country, capos are neccessary to capturing the unique “sound” of the genre.
The Shubb Deluxe Series GC-30 is your best bet. It’s only a few dollars (approx. $15) more than the spring-loaded competition, but it gives you better intonation by evenly applying pressure to all the strings.
Watch Video Lessons:
Let Trace Bundy help you have fun with capos. Her video lesson series will help you see and hear how it all works.
A Nice Song Example:
Check out If I Had A Boat by Lyle Lovett. He puts the capo up at the 9th fret, and uses “G” shape chords to play this pretty song in the key of E.
…Why 97 seconds?
Because it was how long it took me to read through this article when publishing it : )
Thoughts? Questions? Let us know in the comments below!
Writing guitar tabs? There are a lot of tools that can help you do this – some are better than others. Here is a quick overview of several, popular software tools for writing guitar tabs.
Keep in mind, there are a few basic goals you should identify before choosing one:
- Are you only working from guitar, or do you want a more comprehensive tool? If you’re a guitarist working mostly from that instrument, check out the first batch of options. If you’re multi-instrumentalist, pianist, composer who is looking to write some parts for a guitarist BUT also do a lot of other stuff, you’ll probably be more interested in the second batch of options.
- Are you looking to write professional level scores, or just jot down some riffs? For professional scores, you’ll need a robust software tool and probably need to pay a few more dollars. These are serious options designed for both guitarists and general musicians. But if you just want to jot down quick riffs, you might look at the Tabd software app.
These software tools are designed with the guitarist in mind first. That means they do standard musical notation and other things, but are primarily set up for writing guitar tabs, composing, and generally working within a guitarists mindset.
Guitar Pro 7
Guitar Pro 7 is a professional tab and notation system with loads of features for guitarists who want to literally write music. Truly a “best in class” piece of software specifically for guitarists.
Tabd is an iOS (and soon Android) app aimed at another type of guitar player: the guitarist who wants to do light tab notation, and that’s it. For jotting down riffs, sending them to friends, keeping a library of tab on your phone, it can’t be beat.
Note: there’s no desktop version of this.
Progression is another powerful software for guitarists, guitarists, and drummers to notate music. One advantage of Progression is the interface for entering music through a visual fretboard, keyboard, and drum pad. Another is the real music sampling done by folks like Victor Wooten, so you can play back your tab in style.
Check out TuxGuitar if you’re looking for free and open source solution. It provides the ability to write scores with tab or standard notation.
Fair warning: at the time of this writing, last release was January 2016.
General Scoring Software with Tab functionality
These software tools are designed for the general musician to create standard musical notation. This often means that they are designed for a piano-based workflow. Guitar tab options are present, but often incorporated as a second, derivative option.
The gold standard of music notation software. Finale has long been the ‘go to’ solution for notating music in any genre and for any instrument. It’s a powerful software that takes some time to learn, sort of like Photoshop. But once you do, you can create anything you want.
Sibelius is the other ‘go to’ solution for music notation software. Like Coke and Pepsi, Ford and Chevy, Macs and PCs – there are just different groups of people who are strongly committed to either brand. In the end, you get the same high horsepower from Sibelius in terms of notation, scoring, and features.
MagicScore Maestro aims to be a full service music notation software, but at a lower price. If you want to work with traditional scoring and music notation but are budget-constrained, this may be something to check out.
Have a software recommendation? Let us know in the comments below!
The post Writing Guitar Tabs? Seven Serious Software Options appeared first on The Guitar Journal.
Guitar Pro 7 is a tab/notation software that aims to handle the entire compose-to-share cycle.
The goal is to help serious musicians notate, practice, arrange, and export guitar tab and scores. And, true to their goal, Arobas Music delivers a powerful piece of software that is not short of bells and whistles.
In addition, Arobas Music provides “MySongBook” – an online catalogue of guitar tabs and scores that can be played in Guitar Pro 7 (or in a free “light” player).
A Quick Feature Breakdown
- Read Music Score and Tabs – Tab, Standard Notation, Slash Rythym
- Music Score Edition – Customize layout, multitrack scores, notation and effects
- Tools for Composing Music – Tools for Chords, Scales, Lyric input, Tuner, and Virtual Instruments
- Print and Share Your Files – Formats listed below, also includes a LOCK feature Lock/Unlock a file with a password.
- .gpx Guitar Pro Import/Export
- .midi MIDI Import/Export
- .musicxml MusicXML Import/Export
- .pdf PDF Export
- .ptb PowerTab/TablEdit Import
- .ascii ASCII Import/Export
- .audio MP3, WAV, FLAC, Ogg and AIFF Export
- .png PNG Export
- Languages – Available in English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish.
- Multi-Install – The purchased license gives you the right to install the software on a maximum of 5 computer or operating systems at the same time.
As you can see, Guitar Pro 7 has a lot of horsepower. If you want to write, compose, or arrange written music, it has the tools you need.
Purchasing Guitar Pro 7
Price is $75 for a new license, or $37.50 to upgrade an old license.
You can purchase the software directly here.
They also provide a 30-day trial.
If you’re looking for a simple Tab storage and editing software, you might look at Tabd. Not nearly the same amount of features, but a better fit for casual players who just need a place to save their tabs.
For heavy users, a serious alternative to Guitar Pro 7 is Finale by MakeMusic, a long-standing industry software for writing music. It is not tailored for guitar, but instead is aimed at the entire music industry.
- Guitar Pro 7 has all the features you want. It’s highly unlikely that you will ever say, “too bad it doesn’t do x”.
- The MySongBook companion library gives you a ready supply of tabs to learn, experiment with, and test.
- The virtual sounds are great, a huge advancement over previous generations midi-sounding score playbacks
- Guitar Pro 7 can import and export lots of file types.
- They also have special packages available for education folks.
- There’s a learning curve. As with all powerful software, it takes a while to learn how to do even (seemingly) small tasks. As mentioned, Tabd would be a better solution for guitarists unable to invest time in learning a dense piece of software.
- iOS and Android apps are an additional charge (iOS – $6.99 and Android – $5.49) with limited functionality in editing and writing. So don’t expect a 100% seamless experience from laptop to handheld.
Guitar Pro 7 is great. If you want to do some real work.
If you want to write professional looking tabs and sheet music, compose multiple parts, and share music with other serious musicians – than this is an excellent software for you.
If you just want to download and play tabs that other people have written, you should go with Arobas Music’s MySongBook. The local player software is free, and you just pay per tab download.