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On the Workbench - Bearclaw Sitka Spruce/East Indian Rosewood Classical Guitar

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 15:39
I am not sure how long I have owned this bearclaw Sitka spruce top, I think almost 15 years and I know that I bought the back/side set of East Indian rosewood in 2000. This wood has had a decent period in which to age, theoretically, because the wood is this old this guitar should have an amazing sound!

Several years ago, I joined the top and back and inlaid a Manuel Ramirez style rosette in the top with the intention of making a small bodied classical guitar with a fairly short string length, something like a 625mm to a 635mm scale. The project got put aside, there were orders for standard, or full size classical guitars, that guitar would have to wait.

In October, I pulled out the wood so I could work on it over weekends. I planed the back, I thinned the sides and thinned entire top to 2mm. The edges got thinned to about 1.5mm. Sitka spruce is stiff stuff, I want this guitar to be responsive, and thinning the edges a little more helps be responsive.

Then came the neck. After selecting a nice piece of Spanish cedar for the neck, I had to make a decision as to the string length of the guitar. Since the top was all ready cut out for a body length of 470mm, as opposed to 480mm-495mm body length for a "standard" classical, I couldn't make it into a guitar with a 650mm.  A 630mm string is a little short for most people, I chose to make with a 640mm string length. The guitar will have plenty of loudness with that length and will be just a little easier to play.

Today, I glued all the "fan" braces and the transverse braces to the top with hot hide glue. I really like hot hide glue! And I got one brace glued onto the back! I bent the sides last week, I will attach those after I attach the top to the neck.

The goal is to have this guitar ready for bindings by the end of the week!

The 10 Best Gifts for Guitar Players

TrueFire - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 08:00

Gifts for guitar players can be hard to find, but with this list of the 10 best gifts for guitarists, you’ll be able to find the perfect present! If you’re stumped on what birthday present, Christmas gift, or other holiday gifts for guitar players to get this year, no worries — we’ve got you covered!…

The post The 10 Best Gifts for Guitar Players appeared first on TrueFire's Guitar Blog.

PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool (Black, 6-Fret)

Best Beginner Guitar Today - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 19:38

PocketStrings Guitar“You’ve the whole world in your hand!” best describes what PocketStrings Guitar is offering to us. It is a pocket size guitar practice tool especially designed and made for you to practice and polish your guitar playing skills. You can do it without having to take the life-size guitar everywhere with you that can be inconvenient and not possible always. It has made it possible for you to fit it in your pocket and take it anywhere without any hassle, be it commuting through crowded bus, to your office or university. It gives you freedom of practicing your guitar playing skills anywhere without being inconvenient for you and for others around you.

Its sleek, narrow body make it easy to carry it in your pocket or in a compartment of your bag.


The 6 fret PocketStrings guitar practice tool is a fine piece for beginners to learn basic skills while enjoying soft sounds. It produces clear and balanced tones that can be heard in a small room as well as big hall. Whether you are playing it in your bedroom or in a studio, this practice tool generates even and loud sounds to impress the audience.

Being a beginner, you might feel a little playability issues but the sound will be rich and decent in every way. Many players even find its sound as robust as pro level guitars that cost way expensive than this one. You can even tune the guitar from time to time to enjoy high quality of sound. The body shape also supports the production of smoother sounds.


This is true that mostly practice tools are made up of low quality materials in a poor manner. But, this PocketStrings guitar practice tool will surprise you in many ways. From its material to structure, every detail is reliable and good in quality. It’s an easily portable practice tool made up of customized wood. Available in sleek and durable design, this instrument is pretty easy to handle for beginners.

The strings are much similar to real guitar strings that can be replaced and altered according to player needs. The frets allow players to practice chords as well as scales and enjoy improved skills. It’s immune to destruction and made to last long.

Build and Design

It is built considering primarily the factor of portability and convenience. Therefore, when you look at it, it is quite sleek and slender in its make and can be carried in your pocket, purse, handbag etc. It features six real frets to give you feeling of using a real guitar. Its raised strum pad is designed to feign real strumming. It is manufactured using customized wood.
PocketStrings Guitar Black 6-Fret

Who is PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool Suitable for?

PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool is pocket size practicing tool, which is best for the guitar enthusiasts who want to practice their guitar playing skills and master it. They have the luxury to do that anywhere, thanks to PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool. Whether it is a bus, Subway station, university or your office; you can practice in silence without anybody noticing, rock your guitar playing later, and make everyone notice your talent. Its light, sleek design makes it highly portable and easy to use.

Why I liked PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool

I always wanted to play guitar and learning how to play it without practice is not possible. However, my hectic routine makes it impossible to give it due time. Taking my guitar with me to university was impossible due to my commuting pattern.

I came across this innovative solution and decided to try it. It was a good decision and this tool is quite handy when it comes to moving around. Its sleek design is its best feature as it makes it easier to slip it in your pocket and move. I can use it while in bus or train, sitting in library. It is light and easy to use.
PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool


PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool is very useful apparatus. People who have passion for learning how to play guitar and want to master the skill will find this tool very handy. They can use it anywhere. It does not produce sound, which makes it possible to continue your practicing section without disturbing others around them.

The post PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool (Black, 6-Fret) appeared first on Best Beginner Guitar, Best Acoustic Guitar.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

The Impractical Guitar Maker - Wedged Joints

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 12:51
Examination of the interior revealed the junction block used to connect the neck and body. The sides are slotted into the end block and held in place by wedges.

From A Detailed Description of an Early 17th Century Italian Five-Course Guitar

Tom and Mary Anne Evans, Guitars - From Renaissance to Rock, 1977

In making the body and neck of a classical guitar, the most complicated joint used is a scarf joint. The scarf joint is used to connect the headstock to the neck shaft, some makers use a more complicated "V" joint to connect the headstock to the shaft. Miter and butt joints are used on the bindings, but this is purely for decoration, bindings are used to cover simple joints. The guitar sides usually fit into slots cut into the heel block, I like to cut a wider, angled slot and use wedges to hold the sides in the heel block.

Anyone who has made a classical guitar with the help of the book, Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall, should recognize this wedged joint. In Making Master Guitars the joint is touted by the master guitar maker, Jose Romanillos, he used this joint and a variation of it until he retired from making guitars.

I began using this joint early on in my journey in guitar making, it made sense. It is a strong joint and unlike cutting a narrow slot, it allows me some wiggle room in fixing how the side fits against the heel and the wedge against the side.

The wider slot allows me to clean up the saw cut that will be seen once the side is attached with a sanding stick, there is no need to see a gap between the side and the heel!

Once the wedge is cut, I put it in the slot with a "dummy"piece of wood that is the same thickness as the side. I then start to cut a kerf where the wedge and the heel block meet...

and continue to "saw kerf joint" the surfaces until...

I have a nice looking joint!

When the side is ready to be attached to the guitar top, all I need to do is to trim the wedge a little short so when I hammer it in the endow the wedge will be just shy of seating against the top. There is no need to glue the wedge in, it is a strong joint and the wedge won't go anywhere. If the wedge is glued then the joint is not reversible, a consideration if the guitar needs to be repaired!

The Beach Boys and Their Guitars - Surf Music Part Two

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 09:08

The Original Beach Boys
Jan and Dean

The instrumental surf bands were great, however the other part of surf music were the vocal bands. Most of these groups yielded only one hit wonders. Jan and Dean stand out as an exception and had sixteen hit records from 1959 to 1966. Both were singers, and did not play instruments in their concerts.

The Rip Chords

Another surf band of this era was The Rip Chords. They had a hit with "Hey Little Cobra". Ironically Bruce Johnson, who would go on to become one of the Beach Boys, was a member of this group.

The Hondells
The Hondells were a surf group with great vocals and harmonies. They had a big hit with the Brian Wilson/Mike Love penned song; "Little Honda". This band was put together by Beach Boy lyricists Roger Christian and Gary Usher. Usher and Christian penned lyrics for many of the Beach Boys Hot Rod songs.

The Hondells started out in the studio, as a fictitious band. They were later assembled with real perfomers after their version of Little Honda became a national hit. Studio musician Chuck Girard sang the vocals on the recording, and members of the Wrecking Crew provided the instrumental support. Girard later to become a well-known Christian singer-songwriter, and member of the Christian band, Love Song. The Hondells appeared in several of the surf based teen movies of the day.

The Beach Boys 

But by far the most famous vocal surf group was The Beach Boys.  After five decades, their music still has a strong following with concert goers of all ages.

The Wilson brothers grew up in a Hawthorne California bungalow in the 1950’s.

Audree and Murray Wilson

The father of the three Wilson brothers, Murray Wilson
, was injured in an industrial accident and lost an eye. During his long recuperation he began writing music, and came out with a couple of popular songs. This launched his career in the music business.

The Wilson brothers at their home
His oldest son Brian grew up listening to his father playing piano and organ, By the time Brian was 16, he had taught himself to play piano, and taken some music training in high school. It also helped that his middle class family found joy in singing accapella songs together along with their mother, Audree.

Brian also enjoyed listening to the popular music of the day, which included recordings by The Four Freshman, and the hit records by the Ronettes, the Crystals, and Darlene Love.

Brian had this amazing inherent ability to hear the different parts of each vocal, and each instrumental segment. This gave him the skill to dissect each musical line in his head. Some study at a music conservatory for years to develop this craft. Brian was blessed with this gift.

Brian shared a bedroom with his brothers Dennis, and Carl, and for fun he recruited them, neighbor David Marks, and the Wilson's cousin, Mike Love, as well as friend Alan Jardine, to sing harmonies on the songs that he loved. The Wilson boys would even sing in harmony for their family gatherings.

Later on Brian received a reel-to-reel tape recorder and learned how to overdub vocals.  This lead to further recording adventures.

Beach Boys - Torrence High School 1962
Once when the parents left the boys alone, to take a brief get-away to Mexico, Brian and his brothers used the money that their father left them to buy food and went to Hogan’s Music store and rented two guitars, a bass guitar, a drum kit, an amplifier, and a microphone. They then came home and recorded a song that Brian had written called “Surfin".

Another version states that Al Jardine's mother financed the equipment rental. This may be more plausible, since an adult would have to sign a rental agreement.

As Dennis was the only surfer in the group, and we can thank him for prodding Brian to write this song. If not for him, the Beach Boys may have been a long forgotten Folk music group.

By the time the parents arrived home from their trip, the father, Murray, was furious that the boys had used all the food money to rent instruments, until he listened to the recording and realized that his sons were very talented.

The Pendletones
Murray took the boys to a recording studio to make professional demos of two surfing songs that Brian and Mike had written, then he shopped them around to record promoters. At the time the band was known as The Pendletones. Eventually Candix Records picked up their songs and released the demos as promotional records.

The Beach Boys - Candix Records

The company had changed the name  to The Beach Boys by one of the companies promoters without telling the group. At first the members disliked the name, but it stuck and their fame grew.

The Beach Boys "Surfin' Safari 1962
From 1961 to 1966 The Beach Boys had a string of hits, with lyrics about surfing, cars, summer, and high school life, which pretty much summed up white youth culture in Southern California during this era; a culture that much of the rest of the United States envied.

Their first hit was Surfin', later followed up by Surfin' Safari.

The Beach Boys on the Ed Sullivan Show
In 1962, Al Jardine left the group to go to college and was replaced by original member David Marks. Marks was still a teen in school when the groups success lead to touring. Brian continued to write the music for hit songs, though all of the lyrics were done by co-writers, which at times included Mike Love.

Brian did not like to tour and was having some emotional and health issues.  In 1964  he had a traumatic panic attack during a chartered flight. After that experience, he told the group that he could no longer perform, and wanted to stay home and write music. Around this same time, Al Jardine was dissatisfied with undergraduate school, wanted back in the music business. He was invited back to play bass guitar and sing Brian's vocal parts.

David Marks
By late 1963, David Marks could take no more of the heavy handed approach of Murray Wilson, the father of the Wilson boys, and their self-appointed manager. Marks left the group, and Al Jardine, who by now had taken Brian's place as the Beach Boys bass player took over the rhythm guitar parts.

Glen Campbell as a Beach Boy

A new bass player was recruited. The job fell briefly to Glen Campbell, and later in 1965 Bruce Johnston, officially became a Beach Boy.

Murray looks on as the boys play music
Within a few years, Brian was feeling the pressure of writing music, producing and arranging music, recording the music, and fending off the critical directions from his father. In a difficult move, Brian became angry with his father's continual fault finding.

During a recording session at Capitol Records, while Murray was barking orders, Brian shoved his father against a wall, fired him as the groups manager and ordered him to leave.

Pet Sounds -
Their first album not about surf music or cars
Brian Wilson realized that Surf Music, and songs about Hot Rods, high school life, and endless summer were but a fad, and turned his attention to other themes for The Beach Boys music. Though the band members, especially Mike Love, were apprehensive about "killing off their magic formula".

This was actually turned out to be a great move and it accounted for the groups longevity.

The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour
At age 75, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine have celebrated over 50 years as The Beach Boys. They have outlasted most of their peers, and survived the death of some of the group members; Dennis, and Carl. They have lived through divorce, illness, and lawsuits.

Mike Love's Beach Boys
Presently Mike Love is touring with a band known as The Beach Boys. Through the years the band  has reinvented themselves and hired younger musicians to perform in concert. Brian has overcome his personal demons and has been on the road for years, and is still writing new songs.

Al Jardine and Carl Wilson

Al Jardine, and Carl Wilson never claimed to be great guitarists, but they were certainly good enough to play in concert. Dennis Wilson life was all about having a good time. He was never a great drummer, but he could sure keep the beat, and kept the eyes of the ladies. Dennis also wrote some wonderful songs.

The Wrecking Crew
In my opinion, the original recordings were great. The band members played their own played instruments on all of those albums. When Brian made Pet Sounds and hired  professional studio players to play the instrumental parts on their recordings, the Beach Boys sound changed dramatically.

I believe Brian's desire to create huge orchestrated productions of his songs stemmed from a desire he had in the back of his mind for  many years. Brian always had a huge admiration for Phil Spector's production technique, and showed up at his recording sessions, just to watch Spector create his "Wall of Sound". Brian and his brothers also had a friendship with John Maus of the Walker Brothers. The Walker Brothers songs had backing arrangements similar to those Brian was about to develop.

The Pet Sounds album was a huge musical turning point in the Beach Boys career.

Brian coaches bassist Lyle Ritz.
 Drummer Jim Gordon in the back
Brian had all these sounds and arrangements in his mind and needed to get them on record. He could not get this sound with just two guitars, a bass and drums. So he hired a group of studio musicians that eventually came to be known as The Wrecking Crew.

At first the "Wrecking Crew" was a derogatory slur given to this group of players by the "suits" that usually did the background music for Capitol Records arrangements. They thought these musicians were going to wreck the industry by playing pop music, instead of contributing their talent to recordings like Montavani's 1000 strings. Years later members of the "Wrecking Crew" embraced the term. You hear them play on literally thousands of popular hit songs from the 1960's through the 1980's, that were made by thousands of artists.  None of the members ever got credit for their work.

These musicians loved working for Brian. His sessions were long, and the players were paid by the hour. Pet Sounds wound up costing over $70,000 to make and it was not at all financially successful.

At the time the fan base may not have understood the direction that The Beach Boys had taken. But it yielded four of The Beach Boys best songs; Wouldn't It Be Nice,  Sloop John B, God Only Knows, and the mournful Caroline No (which lyricist Tony Asher originally wrote as "Carol, I Know", but Brian misunderstood). In an effort to recoup their money, Capitol Records did not wait long after the release of Pet Sounds, to release a compilation album called The Beach Boys Greatest Hits.

Bruce, Brian, Al, and Dennis
 record vocals
During the early days, between tour dates Al, Carl, Mike, and the new guy, Bruce Johnston, would go to the studio with Brian and lay down the vocal tracks over the already recorded music tracks. Carl was the only Beach Boy to play guitar on any of the recordings.

Brian working with Hal Blaine
Most of the parts were played by the pro's, who penciled in the parts during those sessions, where Brian would hum or sing each part to them. Some parts were made up on the spot. such as Carol Kaye''s great bass line on Good Vibrations.

The Beach Boys (The Pendletones)
Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, and David Marks played guitar for the Beach Boys in concert and even on the first recordings. It is difficult to track down many of the guitars seen in the early black and white videos, because, as Al Jardine explains, “..we kept losing them because we toured so much. They’d get stolen right off the back of the truck. We could never keep them in stock. 

We’d just have to get new ones, so I don’t have a clue where they are.. So through the Sixties we’d just keep recycling them.” 

However we do know about some of the guitars that The Beach Boys used.

Carl took guitar lessons at an accordion studio near Hawthorne, and from a musician that lived in the area named John Maus. John was in a group called The Walker Brothers, and taught guitar out of his home which was a couple of blocks around the corner from the Wilson family home.

Carl with Rickenbacker model 360
One of the guitars that the Wilsons' rented from Hogan's Music to do the original home recordings was a six string Rickenbacker. There are no existing photos of those rental instruments. But we do know that early on, Carl played a Rickenbacker in concert

1959 Carvin Electric guitar

David Marks parents bought him a Sears Silvertone acoustic guitar in 1958. A year later he purchased a Carvin electric guitar from John Maus.

1959 Kay model K899OJC

Carl acknowledged his first guitar was a Kay hollow body electric guitar that he received as a  Christmas present. He played this guitar unplugged on the recording of Surfin’.

Carl '62 Stratocaster

Once the record was released, the Beach Boys needed better equipment. Carl purchased a 1962 sunburst Fender Stratocaster, which he used briefly. Al Jardine was originally the bass player, and for a while played a stand-up string bass. This would figure, as Al was a fan of folk music. He is responsible for introducing the song, Sloop John B, which is properly titled, The John B. Sails. to Brian. If it was up to Al, the Beach Boys would have been a folk group.

We do not know what type of guitar Al used on early recordings, but due to the sound, we are fairly certain it was not a Fender.

Brian with his
'62 Fender Precision Bass

Brian’s first bass was a sunburst ‘62 Fender Precision Bass.

David Marks
 '62 Stratocaster

When Al Jardine left the group to go to school and David Marks came back he was playing a Rickenbacker, before switching to a ‘62 Sunburst Fender Stratocaster.

The Beach Boys amplifiers
Carl and David were playing through Fender amplifiers from the start. Marks used a white tolex Dual Showman, and  Carl Wilson had a 1955-60 tweed Fender Bassman, along with a 1962 Fender Reverb unit. Brian played bass through a tweed Fender Bassman amplifier.

Carl's '62 Jaguar and Al's '62 Stratocaster

Later in 1962, Carl got his Olympic white Fender Jaguar. In 1963 Marks purchased a similar

Carl with Rickenbacker 360/12

In 1964 Carl added a Fire Glow (red sunburst) Rickenbacker 360/12, that he used on some songs.

Beach Boys '63 Al with Gibson SG
By 1964 Al Jardine was in the group again, replacing David Marks. Al originally used a white Gibson SG, but eventually got an Olympic White Fender Stratocaster.  At this time Brian was playing a 1962 Olympic White Fender Precision bass.

The Beach Boys 1964 Concert

In 1964 both Carl and Al usually played through 1960-63 white tolex Fender Dual Showman amplifiers, and 1962 Fender stand-alone reverb units. They also used an Ampeg B-15 Portaflex bass amp.

At some concerts they used a Fender 1961-62 Bassman amp with a 1964 white Tolex cabinet.

Carl with Epiphone 12

Besides the 1963 white Jaguar and the fire glow Rickenbacker 360/12, Carl Wilson used some other guitars in concert. These include a sunburst Epiphone Rivera 12-string, that he used on Help Me Rhonda, and Sloop John B.

Carl Gibson ES-335

Carl also owned a Blonde Gibson ES-335, with a Bigsby that he purchased in 1970 from a friend for $300,

Carl - Gibson ES-335 12 string

In addition to the Epiphone 12 string, Carl also owned a red-burst Gibson 12 string Es-335, both a black Les Paul, a sunburst Gibson ES-345, and a red Les Paul, and an Olympic white Fender Stratocaster.

Carl with yellow Stratocaster

He also owned the a tobacco-burst Epiphone 12 string pictured above and, a yellow Fender Stratocaster, that he named Old Yeller, and a yellow Fender Telecaster.

Carl's red Baldwin 12 string

He also owned a blonde Fender Stratocaster, a red Baldwin 12 string, and a Les Paul Jr.

Carl with Yamaha APX700

As for acoustic guitars, Carl owned a Martin D-41, a Gibson J-200, and a Yamaha APX700 acoustic-electric.

Carl with Fender XII
and Dual Showman amp

Over the years a few guitars were stolen that include a Fender XII 12 string, and a Martin D-76 Bicentennial model.

Carl with a white Fender Telecaster

There are a few unusual guitar that he also played which included a white Fender Telecaster with a Bigsby unit. Fender did not offer those until 1967.

Carl and Al Jardine may of received that gratis from Fender, since the Beach Boys did start endorsing Fender products in 1962.

A music dealer once offered Carl a Mosrite, like the ones The Ventures played, in exchanged for endorsements, but he turned that down.

Carl with custom Fender Lucite guitar

Fender also built Carl a special one-of-a-kind Lucite guitar. This guitar  was a prototype model that never went on the market. It was hand built by Roger Rossmeisl. The body was somewhat similar in shape to a Stratocaster.

Fender custom Lucite guitar
This guitar had twin Seth Lover designed Fender Wide-Range Telecaster pickups. The unusually shaped neck was straight off of a Fender Starcaster, which was another Rossmeisll creation. The neck was capped with a rosewood fretboard, that had block pearloid markers.

The guitar also had a vibrato unit, similar to the Fender Mustang vibrato.

Al Jardine with '62 Fender Stratocaster

Al Jardine is usually seen playing his stock Olympic White Stratocaster.

Al Jardine with a black Stratocaster

Though at some venues, he used a black Fender Stratocaster.

Al Jardine -
white Fender Jaguar

However Al also played a Fender Jaguar on some songs.

The 1967 white Telecaster with the Bigsby unit, that Carl is playing in a few videos may have actually belonged to Al. Al has a relationship with Fender Musical Instruments and Senior VP Richard McDonald. They still ship him equipment if he needs it.

Al Jardine with Martin D-45

During the 1980's and 1990's,  Al usually plays a white or red 1962 replica Stratocaster, with a rosewood neck, through a Fender Twin Reverb amplifier. He also owns some Martin acoustic guitars.

Fender Twin Reverb amplifier

The Fender Twin Reverb was designed to be a combo version of the Dual Showman, although it has two 12” speakers with  85 watts of RMS power.

Through the later years the Beach Boys generally relied on Fender Twin Reverb amps in concert, I’ve also read that at one point they used Dumble amplifiers.

Mitchell Pro-100 amplifier

Carl owned a Mitchell amplifier the he really liked.

Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour
During their 50th Anniversary concert, the Beach Boys played through Fender Hot Rod Deville amps.

Carl was the  usually the only Beach Boy to play guitar or bass on their recordings, although some of their first albums featured the members of the band doing the instrumentals.These were the albums done before the Wrecking Crew stepped in to do the instrumental parts.

Carl playing bass in the studio

In an interview Carl stated that most of the guitar parts were recorded using a direct box to the mixing console unless Brian wanted an over driven sound and then they cranked up the amplifier.

David Marks at a guitar clinic
David Marks, he said the group originally used Fender flat-wound strings on their guitars. Carl stated that he switched to Ernie Ball medium gauge strings in the mid-1960’s. As the years progressed he continued to use Ernie Ball strings, but went to lighter, slinky strings.

David Marks and the Marksmen

As for David Marks, he left the Beach Boys after the first five albums, but he maintained a career in music; first with his band, David Marks and the Marksmen, and later as a studio player. He is seen in this picture with a 1960's era Epiphone Crestwood guitar.

David Marks with Dennis Wilson

Marks studied classical and modern music with Warren Zevon, and Robert Kraft. Marks also worked and recorded with composer Mike Curb, who wrote a lot of television theme music, and in the 1960’s put together a group called The MIke Curb Congregation.

Marks came back to The Beach Boys in the 1990’s when Carl became ill. It was only supposed to be a temporary gig. Sadly Carl passed away, and Marks stayed on and was prominently featured in the 50th Anniversary concert.

Early concert with
Al on bass and David Marks

As the years have passed, there have been a lot of legal feuds between the band members. Money talks.

Beach Boys 50th Anniversary

After the 50th Anniversary tour ended Mike Love, through legal maneuvering took possession of the legal name; The Beach Boys, from Brother Record Incorporated. That keeps the money flow going.

Mike Love

Prior to that, Mike Love was touring as America’s Band along with Bruce Johnson and David Marks.

Al Jardine and
the Endless Summer Band
Al Jardine began touring as The Beach Boys; Family and Friends; a band that included several children of Beach Boy members including Brian's daughters, Wendy and Carnie.  A court order was issued to halt using Jardine from using that name. He also toured as the Endless Summer Band, with his son Matthew.

Lawsuits and counter suits resulted. The 50th Anniversary Concert was a truce, and the band rallied to record one more Brian Wilson song called That’s Why God Made The Radio.

Due to discontent and legal bickering between the members, and the deaths of the two Wilson brothers, it is unlikely we will ever see the original Beach Boys perform together again. But it was such a good run while it lasted. And we still have all those great recordings.
The Beach Boys in the U.K.
The Beach Boys music lives on despite the fact that the remaining members are in their mid-70's. Their music is upbeat, fun,  great to dance to, and the lyrics speak to many generations.

Click on the links under the photos for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)

Categories: General Interest

10 Guitar Accessories Under $20 Guitarists MUST Have

TrueFire - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 07:31

Most guitarists suffer from what is known as G.A.S. – gear acquisition syndrome – and we’re all on a life-long hunt for the ideal rig. If we all had a dollar for every piece of new gear we’ve purchased over the years, we’d all be playing ukes on the beaches of Tahiti. Checking out what…

The post 10 Guitar Accessories Under $20 Guitarists MUST Have appeared first on TrueFire's Guitar Blog.

16 Guitar Effects Pedals Every Guitar Player MUST Have

TrueFire - Sat, 11/25/2017 - 07:00

If you’re one of those “I plug directly into the amp and don’t need no stinkin’ guitar effects pedals” kinda dude, then godspeed and thanks for stopping by. On the other hand, if you own a pedal board upon which you trip the light fantastic, stick around — this list of guitar effects pedals you…

The post 16 Guitar Effects Pedals Every Guitar Player MUST Have appeared first on TrueFire's Guitar Blog.

How to Play Top 17 Electric Guitar Songs

Best Beginner Guitar Today - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 18:50

1. Canon In D Rock

Agree or not, Canon in D major is one of the most enticing pieces of classical music. It was composed by famous German composer Johann Pachelbel. This finest musical piece involves three violins, one cello and eight bars of music that are played repeatedly 28 times. It was composed somewhere around 1680s and since then became a popular choice for weddings. Canon in D major has many versions but the one shook the social media is known as Canon in D rock, a cover by Jerry C.

2. Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing

Dire Straits is a rock band famous for its Sultans of Swing album. It is a compilation of their great hits of all time that have been played live as well as used as the background music for many videos. This album contains almost all the hits released since 1978 including the live performed pieces of music. Sultan of Swing album has all the rocking songs by Dire Straits that you will love to play on electric guitar. For now, check out this song and learn the basic chords.

3. AC/DC – Thunderstruck

AC/DC is an Australian band that produces music in the Rock genre. In 1990, they released an album with the title of ‘The Razors Edge’ which contained a lead solo song called Thunderstruck. This song became a true hit in USA, Japan, Germany and Australia. According to the report of US billboard magazine, Thunderstone peaked at no.5 in hot mainstream rock tracks in 1990. This song also topped the Rock music 500 countdown in Melbourne and surprisingly, all top 5 songs were by AC/DC band. Click here to learn it now.

4. AC/DC – Back In Black

In 1980, AC/DC band released an album titled as Back in Black. The first song of this album was with the same name and recorded as a tribute to their former singer named as Ben Scott. This song is popular for its opening guitar riff. It has been ranked as number 4 in the top 40 greatest metal songs and in 2009, it was declared to be the second hardest rock song of all time. This song is a little bit tricky to learn but here you may find a few easy tips.

5. Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues

Still Got the Blues is the title song of Gary Moore’s top-selling music album of the same name. This song is also marked as Gary Moore’s return to Blues music. It became an average hit and ranked as number 31 on UK’s singles chart in 1990. This is the only song by Moore which was successful enough to become a part of Billboard 100 hot tracks in which it ranked as 97th. Throughout this song, Moore played the Gibson les Paul standard guitar which makes the song pretty easy to learn for amateur guitarists.

6. Californication

The Red Hot Chili Pepper released their seventh album titled as Californication in 1999. This album has the fourth single ‘Californication’ by this band. This song was released separately as a single in 2000 and was ranked as #69 in Billboard hot 100 list. It was at number 16 in the UK’s singles chart and topped as number 1 in the US mainstream rock tracks and modern rock tracks. This song has an incredible composition and is one of the most performed live songs by Red Hot chili Pepper band.

7. Come As You Are

It is a hit by Nirvana band and was released as the second single in their 1992 album titled as Never mind. This song was written by Kurt Cobain and composed by combining two genres, grunge and alternative rock. ‘Come as you are’ was included in the American top 40 and UK’s top 10 hits. In billboard hot 100, this song was ranked at position 32. It is truly an amazing song and has been covered by many guitarists due to its simple and catchy tones. You can also learn it from here.

8. Comfortably Numb

Here comes another great song for electric guitar. It is a single by an English rock band Pink Floyd and was released in 1980. It is a progressive rock song that is composed and written by the guitarist David Gilmour and bass player Roger Waters. Gilmour wrote the chorus music and guitar solos while Waters composed the music for the verses. Due to its incredible guitar solos in the middle, this song is one of the most popular pieces by Pink Floyd band. Click here to learn the basics of this song.

9. Crazy Train

Crazy train is the first solo piece by Ozzy Osbourne, a British metal singer. This song is from his first album titled as Blizzard of Ozz that was released in 1980. It was written by three genius songwriters, Osbourne, Randy Rhodes and Bob Daisley. This song is completely describing the fear of annihilation during the cold war. Its guitar riff has been widely appreciated because full minor scale has been used in it. It is the most played song by Osbourne in the live solo performances.

10. Enter Sandman

Single by the Metallica band, this song is their first solo piece from the fifth album, Metallica. Enter Sandman is a heavy metal song that is written by Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. The subject matter of the lyrics is the concept of child’s nightmares that are beautifully written by James Hetfield. The surprising fact about this song is that it has been featured in all albums of Metallica band since 1991. Enter Sandman has been played by live many times at functions and concerts.

11. Fade to Black

Performed live around 1160 times, fade to black is another great song by Metallica band to play on electric guitar. It is from their second album titled as Ride the Lightening. It was released in 1984 and ranked as 24th best guitar solo in the Guitar World Readers. Fade to Black also came on 100th position on the Swiss singles chart. If you focus on the lyrics, they express suicidal feelings. In the beginning, there is an acoustic introduction and as the song proceeds, the tones begin to get heavier.

12. Hotel California

Hotel California is a single by the Eagles band and was released in 1977. This song is quite popular and voted as the best guitar solo due to its incredibly long guitar coda. According to the Eagles band, this song describes the high life of Los Angeles and journey from innocence to experience. It’s basically a soft rock song that was composed by Don Felder on the Malibu beach. Hotel California is very soft and refreshing song that can be played on electric guitars with a little trick.

13. Heaven’s Door

Written and sung by Bob Dylan, Heaven’s door song is from the album Pat Garett & Billy the Kid. It was recorded and released in 1973 in the genre of gospel and fold rock. This song became a hit of its time and since then, has been covered by many musicians. In addition to the original piece, many cover versions of Heaven’s door have also become quite popular. This song has also been revised to create a tributary song in the memory of lives lost in the Dunblane school massacre.

14. Nothing Else Matters

It is another song by Metallica band which you would love to play on electric guitars. It’s a single from their self-titled album that was released in 1992. This heavy metal song is one of the most popular songs by Metallica band as it has been played live as well as in the background of Metallica’s music video. This song has an interesting history as it wasn’t written or composed for release at all. This song was produced by Hetfield when he was on the call with his then girlfriend.

15. Sultans Of Swing

Dire straits is a British rock band and Sultans of Swing was their first solo song released with their debut album that was composed and written by Mark Knopfler. This song came out in 1978 but its re-release in 1979 became the actual cause of its true fame. It turned out to be a great hit in UK as well as USA. It’s a jazz band inspired song that was used to play in the pub when MarkKnopfler first time witnessed them. Let’s check out here how you can play it easily on your electric guitar.

16. Whole Lotta Love

It is a single by Led Zeppelin, an English rock band. This song is the opening track of the second album titled as Zeppelin II. This song lies in the genre of blues rock and hard rock and contains the greatest guitar riff of all times. It has rough blues riff in the intro that ascends into free jazz like tones. The composition has been done very carefully that makes it a tricky piece to play on an electric guitar. Here you can find some tactics to play it properly.

17. Smells Like Teen Spirit

It is another single by Nirvana band released in 1991. It’s an opening track of their album ‘Nevermind’. It lies in the genre of grunge. Smells like Teen Spirit song became the cause of Nevermind’s true success. This album reached the top charts in early 1992, a point that is widely considered to be the era of alternative rock. This incredible hit by nirvana band is one of the top songs that make the history of rock music. This song is not easy to play but here is quick guide to learn it.


These all 17 songs are a great hit of their times that have made the history of rock music. These are best to play on electric guitars due to the rock and grunge effect in them. Check out the quick intro of each song and their guide links to learn your favorite songs.

The post How to Play Top 17 Electric Guitar Songs appeared first on Best Beginner Guitar, Best Acoustic Guitar.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

12 Awesome Gifts for Guitarists

TrueFire - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 01:00

‘Tis the season for gift giving, and we want to help you find the best gifts for guitarists. It can be difficult to find a good gift for a guitar player, especially if you don’t play guitar, so this holiday season we are offering up a number of great guitar gifts. In addition to our…

The post 12 Awesome Gifts for Guitarists appeared first on TrueFire's Guitar Blog.

10 Great Gifts for the Acoustic Guitarist

The Guitar Journal - Thu, 11/23/2017 - 22:17

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

Great GIfts for an Acoustic Guitarist - Dunlop Maintenance 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.

View Dunlop Maintenance Kit >>


Best Gifts for Acoustic Guitarists - Shubb Capo

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.

View Shubb Capo >>


Best Guitar Gifts for Acoustic Guitar Players - Lessons

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.

Get gift voucher from JamPlay >>


Best Gifts for Acoustic Guitarists - Snark tuner

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.

Check out the Snark tuner >>

Wall Mount

Best Gifts for Acoustic Guitarist

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”.

View the String Swing wall mount >>

Restringing Kit

Great Guitar Gifts for Acoustic Players - StringWinder

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.

View 3-in-1 Restringing Tool >>


Best Guitar Gifts for Acoustic Guitar Players - Picks

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.)

View Assorted Pick Pack >>

View Thumbpick Pack >>


10 Great Gifts for the Acoustic Guitarist

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.

View Elixir Strings >>


Great Guitar Gifts for Acoustic Guitar Players - Humidifier

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.

View D’Addario Soundhole Humdifier >>

Guitar Stand

Great Guitar Gifts for Acoustic Guitar Players - Guitar Stand

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.

View Guitar Stand >>


Got some other ideas? Put them in the notes below!


The post 10 Great Gifts for the Acoustic Guitarist appeared first on The Guitar Journal.

Categories: General Interest

Top 10 Electric Guitars Under $500

TrueFire - Thu, 11/23/2017 - 12:41

So you want to shred without all the lettuce. You want to strum without losing all your Benjamins. You want an electric guitar without spending loads of money…is what these metaphors mean. Probably over-explaining it now. If you’re looking for an affordable electric guitar that doesn’t sacrifice quality, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s…

The post Top 10 Electric Guitars Under $500 appeared first on TrueFire's Guitar Blog.

The 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

TrueFire - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 08:56

So you’ve got a chunk of change burning through your pocket, eh? Well we’re here to help you make sure you’re putting your money towards the best acoustic guitar for the price. While you can definitely spend much more than 500 Benjamins on an acoustic guitar, it’s still totally possible to get an incredible guitar…

The post The 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 appeared first on TrueFire's Guitar Blog.

Capos/Cejillas - New Batch of Six Padauk Wood Capos!

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 07:25

Stocking Stuffers for Your Favorite Classical Guitarist!

This week has been dedicated to making 1970's retro style cejillas, or capos, for classical and flamenco guitars.

What makes them retro?

Traditional cejillas used leather straps to protect the guitar's neck from the string that goes around the next and is attached to the peg that tightens the string. In the 1960's and 1970's several capo makers in Spain put vinyl tubing over the string for protection. I think the vinyl tubing was used partly for economic reasons:  it is cheaper than leather and it makes assembling a capo go much faster, plus some of the capos being sold were made from Galalith, a material made from casein and formaldehyde, it looked like plastic and was used to make jewelry. The vinyl tubing went well with the look of the Galalith.

I use vinyl tubing because it allows me to assemble a capo much faster than using a leather strap.

I want to make affordable capos, every classical /flamenco guitarist deserves a wooden capo!

The bodies are padauk with East Indian rosewood pegs; neoprene face; vinyl tubing and the string is a LaBella brand 3rd guitar string. String colors are either black, gold or red.

These are my current capo shapes.

A is a very traditional shape, this shape dates to the late 1600's, early 1700's.

B and C are my interpretation of two shapes used by several traditional Spanish capo makers.

$30 for each capo, shipping and handling are extra.

Due to CITES (Council on International Trade of Endangered Species) regulations, I am unable to ship these capos outside of the United States because of the East Indian rosewood pegs. I don't make enough money off of these to warrant getting re-export certificates for each capo. I can make these capos with boxwood pegs.

How to play top 17 guitar songs

Best Beginner Guitar Today - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:17

From kids to adults, everyone is taking guitar lessons and learning to play this soothing instrument. Guitars are pretty easy to play and once you know the basics, you can get creative as you like. Guitars can be used to enjoy different genre including rock, classical and blues. If you want to learn some interesting guitar songs to impress everybody in the college or family gatherings, check out this perfect collection of top 10 guitar songs with helpful links.

1. How to Play “Hotel California”

Hotel California song is a single by Eagles band. It is the title track of their same named album that was released in 1977. This song is a soft rock and has been voted as the best solo guitar song due to its outstanding long guitar coda. It is a hit of its times and received the Grammy Award for record of the year in 1978.

2. How to Play Blackbird

Blackbird is a hit from 1968 that was released by The Beatles band. This song is beautifully written by McCartney and composed in a folk music style. It is basically inspired by a well-known lute piece Bourrée in E minor released by Johann Sebastian Bach. The opening of the Blackbird has been adapted from this popular piece. An interesting fact many people don’t know about Blackbird song is that a specific fingerpicking technique was used by McCartney while composing this song which was taught by a folk singer Donovan.

3. How to Play Angie

Angie is a single by The Rolling Stones from the album Goats Head Soup. It was released in 1973 and soothes everybody with its soft rock genre. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, this song is acoustic guitar driven piece. Throughout the song, you can ghost vocals, faintly audible voice of Mick Jagger. Angie is a true hit of its times as it got a spot not only in the Billboard hot 100 tracks but also succeeded in securing the position 5 in UK’s singles chart.

4. How to Play “Heart of Gold”

Another song that has been used by many guitarists to create innovative covers is the 1972’s hit, Heart of Gold. It’s a single by Neil Young who is also the writer this masterpiece. It lies in the folk rock and country rock genre and is an outstanding example of soft acoustic music. This song has been played by Young a couple of times live before the official recording. From piano to guitar to harmonica, this song has been played with number of instruments impressively. Now it’s your turn to play it on your guitar.

5. How to Play – More Than Words

This soft rock song is an amazing acoustic guitar piece. It is a single by Extreme band from the Pornograffitti album that was released in 1991. The strings of acoustic guitar have been set by Nuno Bettencourt while vocals have been handled by Gary Cherone. It is beautiful sung and composed in funk metal style. More than Words song is widely played by the band in many shows live and considered to be the blessing for Extreme. Considering the lyrics, this song is pretty deep in its content.

6. How to play Wonderwall | Oasis

Released in 1995, Wonderwall is a Britpop song by Oasis band from (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? Album. The lyrics of this song focus on an imaginary friend who will come to save you from yourself. This is one of the all-time hit band songs, ranked in the top ten charts of UK, Canada and USA. It was composed by Noel Gallagher who used an impressive technique of brickwalling to intensify the sounds and make lyrics stronger. This song has also been played live in a semi-acoustic style.

7. How to Play “Under The Bridge”

Here comes as alternative rock song for guitarists who want to enjoy some action and creativity. Under the Bridge is a single by Red Hot Chili Pepper band from the album titled as Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It was recorded in 1991 and released in 1992 as the second single of this album. Anthony Kiedis is the vocalist as well as the writer of the song who expressed the concept of loneliness and reflected the impact of narcotics on his life. This song became an unexpected hit and inspiration for other bands.

8. How to play Working Class Hero

Sung and written by John Lennon, the Working Class Hero is a folk ballad released in 1971. It is the first song he released after his breakup with the rock band ‘The Beatles’. It is basically a political song reflecting the prominent difference between social classes. The lyrics focus on working class that is turned into a machine class. This song is supported by a fine acoustic guitar sound in the background. The chords are pretty simple as they are built on A minor and G major on the chorus.

9. How to Play Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen

An absolute hit from Queen Band, Crazy Little Thing Called Love is a rockabilly song. It was released in 1979 and is featured on the album The Game. This song was also included in the band’s hit songs compilations album because of its undeniable success. From Billboard hot 100 to UK singles chart, this song successfully peaked in almost every music list from 1979 to 1980. Beautifully composed on the guitar, it was played by Mercury live in the many concerts and those performances are recorded in different albums from this band.

10. How to Play Dust In The Wind

Written by Kerry Livgren, Dust in the Wind is a soft rock song that was released in 1978 as a track from the album Point of Know Return. This song has a very interesting background. The guitar line of this song was composed unintentionally when Livgren was just learning the fingerpicking. His wife liked the melody and encouraged him to write lyrics for it. This is how it was created and became a greatest hit from Kansas band. It’s one of the top acoustic guitar tracks from this band.

11. How to Play Daughters

Belonging to the genre of blues rock, Daughters is a 2004 release by John Mayer from the album ‘Heavier Things’. It is one of the greatest songs ever released by Mayer that became a true hit due to strong lyrics and catchy melody. This song is much popular for its acoustic elements that put life into the overall melody. There is also an electric guitar mix version of the song which is not as attractive as original one.

12. How to Play Everlong

For hard rock lovers, Everlong is the best song to play on guitars. It is a second single by Foo Fighters from the album ‘The Color and the Shape’. Released in 1997, this song is written by Dave Grohl while Taylor Hawkins appeared in its video as a drummer. This alternative rock song has many versions that have been played live during different performances. It has many acoustic and electric variations.

13. How to Play The Scientist

The Scientist song is a 2002 release by Coldplay, a British rock band. It is from the album ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’ and melody is built around the piano chords along guitars tones. This melancholic song starts with the four chord piano melody that is then joined by the rest of the band including acoustic guitars, drums and bass riffs. As the song reaches the end notes, electric guitar can be heard in high chorus. This song is a perfect example of a harmonious performance of a band.

14. How to Play The Ain’t No Sunshine

Ain’t No Sunshine is a Bill Withers’ song from the album ‘Just as I am’. Belonging to the genre of blues and R&B, this song was released in 1971 and became a hit of its times. It featured the famous Donald Duck Dunn on the bass guitar while Stephen Gills handled the acoustic guitar. String of the guitar was arranged by Booker T. Jones and overall, the whole song lies in the key of a minor. This song became an ultimate hit when Michael Jackson recorded its cover version in psychedelic soul genre.

15. How to Play Jolene – Dolly Parton

The American country artists Dolly Parton wrote and performed a song titled as Jolene in 1973 that became an all-time country pop hit. According to Parton, she has written many songs but Jolene is the one recorded by most of artists. From lyrics to the composition, this song has strong features to attract music lovers. Jolene peaked in the music charts of UK, USA and Canada and became a moderate pop hit for Parton. It has already many covers and it’s time that you create one as well.

16. How to Play Redemption Song

Sung by Bob Marley, Redemption is a folk song from Uprising album that was released in 1980. This song is one of the remarkable works by Marley. It is truly a solo acoustic guitar piece that is played in the key of G major. Although whole band is used to perform the song in live concerts, original recording involves only Marley’s vocals and acoustic guitar chords. It is a simple song with easy chorus lines and acoustic strumming. You may find its different covers on YouTube but the original piece is worth learning.

17. How to Play Free fallin’

The last guitar song on the list you may try is called Free Fallin by Tom Petty from the album Full Moon Fever. This song was released in 1989 and lies in the soft rock genre. While this song was written and sung by Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne provided backing vocals and played the bass guitar. The shocking fact about this song is that it was completed in two days and successfully ranked as number 7 in Billboard hot 100 lists. It was also used in the Jerry McGuire movie and The Sapranos series.


Guitarists are always looking for interesting songs to learn and play in order to impress everybody at home and outdoors. Try out these 17 all-time hit guitar songs that are not only easy to play but also quite attractive in the terms of melody and lyrics. Each one of them has been a great hit of its times and still continues to impress music lovers. Check out the help links to learn simple song tips.

The post How to play top 17 guitar songs appeared first on Best Beginner Guitar, Best Acoustic Guitar.

Categories: Learning and Lessons

Two Flamenco Techniques to Enhance Your Right Hand

The Guitar Journal - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 13:10

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.

1. Abanico

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:

The post Two Flamenco Techniques to Enhance Your Right Hand appeared first on The Guitar Journal.

Categories: General Interest

Using My Jack Planes As Smoothing Planes

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 06:43
The earliest known plane was a flat-bottomed tool for smoothing wood and nothing more.

Aldren A. Watson, Hand Tools, Their Ways and Workings, 1982

The only plane I owned when I started working with wood was a Stanley No.5, Type 4 plane. It wasn't tuned properly, the tote was a replacement my grandfather had made from a walnut board that never did fit the plane quite right, and because it was a Type 4 the depth adjuster knob turned the opposite direction from the later Stanley. It had most of its japanning and the sides had a wonderful patina on them that I later discovered was really rust. The iron was not original to the plane, the original iron mostly likely got worn down to nothing or was stolen from the plane while it was at a job site. I have no idea when my grandfather acquired this plane, perhaps he got it through a trade or barter for some carpentry job he did in the early part of the 20th century. I know he didn't buy it brand new, if I remember correctly, Type 4 Stanley planes were manufactured between 1874-88, my grandfather was born in 1881!

It was my smoothing plane, jointer plane and when pressed into service it was a really big block plane. I remember at the time I read in some woodworking book that No.5's were called "jack" planes because, as the author stated, you could use them for just about anything - dimensioning stock, smoothing stock and jointing edges, it was a "the jack of all trades" kind of plane. It was all that I needed, I didn't have much money back then, new tools were a luxury, I got by with what I had.

As time went on and I gained more experience in wood working,  I purchased several Stanley No.4 smoothing planes because books and magazines stated those were "the planes" a woodworker should own and use.  I spent quite a bit of time and effort to "tune" those planes, again, according to the information found woodworking books and magazines. Which each new plane I flatten the sole, I sharpened the edge of the chip breaker so it mated perfectly with the back of the iron, the iron was regulation shaped and sharpened and you know what? I never could get those planes to work the way I wanted them to. The iron would chatter or dig in at the wrong place, there was always something about those planes that fought me at every turn.

Whenever frustration would set in with a No.4 plane I turned to my faithful No.5. If I kept the iron of the No.5 sharp the plane always worked when I needed it to. Maybe it worked well for me because of the longer length or that it was the first plane I learned to use. The only other size plane that works well for me as a smoothing plane is a No.3 plane, we all know a No.3 is a smoothing plane.

Today, I use the No.5 to thin down classical guitar tops, backs and sides, I need to be fairly precise when doing this activity. Tops and backs need to be within the 1.8mm-2.3mm range, sides a little less than 2mm, I find that the the added weigh of the plane helps it go through the wood better, thus easier for me to control;  the extra length takes care of the high spots on the wood better than a regular smoothing plane and it is much lighter and more wildly than a No.7. I have never set up a No.5 plane to be a scrub plane, I have a No.40 Stanley scrub plane for that, one of the No.5's has an iron set up for smoothing, the other No.5 has a toothing plane which is used to help dimension guitar parts.

I sold the No.4 smoothing planes and an extra No.7 jointer plane last year in an effort to downsize my tool collection. I don't miss the No.4's and I tend not to recommend them to people just getting into woodworking, I suggest it may be better for them to start with a No.3 smoothing plane and I tell them that Alan Peters thought a No.7 was the best one to use.

Once you have decided what your focus is in woodworking, be it making Federal style furniture, Welsh stick chairs or classical guitars, you will discover what tools work best for you and when you do, stick with them!

Herald Sun, How Dare You

I Heart Guitar - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 16:53

I can’t let this slide. Australian newspaper The Herald Sun has just published a tribute to Malcolm Young, and look at the title of this front-page pointer. 

Bass? BASS? BASS!?!

This is inarguably one of the greatest, most solid rhythm guitarists of all time, from one of the most popular bands of all time. I don’t know who the f**k goofed up to make this abomination of a headline a reality but holy crap, is it really that hard to go to Wikipedia and double-check this stuff? Absolutely ridiculous and a massive insult to Malcolm and all AC/DC fans. I mean, if you needed to write a cheesy headline, how about ‘Back In Black’ or ‘We Salute You’ or maybe just ‘Malcolm Young – 1954 – 2017′? This is like saying Ringo was The Beatles’ guitarist, or Adam West played TV’s Robin, or that the Herald Sun is a respectable newspaper. Every day this Facebook page seems more and more justified. 

The post Herald Sun, How Dare You appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

St. Andrews Dinner & Dance

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 12:21
We make fiddles so we can make music.  And often we make music so folks can dance.

Our local Scottish Country Dance club, the Thistle & Ghillies, had our annual St. Andrews Day dinner & ball last night.  Good times.  And while most of the dance was done to recorded music, my wife Monica, on piano, and I on one of my fiddles, did play for the waltz at the end of the evening.  We're not a big enough group to have live music all the time.

We do, though, regularly play for the Boise Contra Dance Society dances, on the second Saturdays September through May.  If you're in town, come on by and dance with us.

Here's another shot of last night's St. Andrews Day dance.


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