Apr 21

Jason Vieaux, fresh off his GRAMMY win, was in the ArtistWorks studio recently to record new Sor studies (among other things) for his online students. You can see a list of the new classical guitar lessons below, but while he was here we also took some time to discuss recordings from some of the 20th century's greatest classical guitarists. We showed Jason some records which we like to listen to in the office and recorded his natural reaction. You can clearly see how much this music means to Jason, and how influential many of these classical guitar recordings remain to this day. 

Apr 17

Aspiring guitarists often hear about the importance of guitar scales for learning how to improvise. In jazz in particular, we so often hear things like "scales go with chords", "we have to practice scales", and "which scale goes with DMaj7#11(add #9)?" – but what does it all mean? To become fluent musicians and improvisers we must develop our understanding of all guitar scales to a high level, but let's first look at some fundamentals.

In the lesson called "Introduction to Constructing Scales" from the Online Jazz Guitar School with Chuck Loeb, we have a very helpful review of how guitar scales fit into the scheme of things. Chuck goes over how to build a major scale, which as he mentions, is paramount because we relate all other guitar scales to the major scale. Ex 1

guitar scales exercise 1

Posted in chuck loeb, guitar, jazz
Apr 15

tut taylor with dobro

We are sorry to hear of the loss of Tut Taylor, who was known as the "flatpicking Dobro man." He was an influential player on ArtistWorks Dobro instructor Andy Hall who has written a nice tribute:

"A little note about Tut Taylor, the flatpicking Dobro man. I was saddened to hear of Tut’s passing the other day, and it brought back a flood of memories. Tut was the first hero Dobro player of mine that I ever met. It was at Winterhawk bluegrass festival which went on to become Grey Fox. He was giving a very informal Dobro workshop with Pete Reischwein if I remember correctly. I sat right next to Tut on the ground and listened to him play. I was very familiar with his playing from Aereoplane and from Norman Blake records. We all know that feeling of being close to a player you’ve heard and look up to for the first time. At one point I walked with him up to his camper and we sat and talked and picked a bit. Incidentally that was also the first time I ever went to bluegrass festival. He was always welcoming and for a young player that so huge. So inspiring. As far as his playing, I think using a flatpick made his style so clear and un-cluttered. It was simple but powerful and really stood out. His sound is forever woven into the fabric of some of the most influential bluegrass music ever made. So grateful for you Tut!"  - Andy Hall

Posted in andy hall, bluegrass, dobro
Apr 13

This limited edition photobook includes over 200 photos capturing the life of the GRAMMY nominated guitarist Martin Taylor from his early years growing up in the British Isles to his success as an internationally acclaimed touring and recording artist.

There are many behind the scenes photographs documenting his collaborations with Stephane Grappelli, Chet Atkins, Jeff Beck, Bill Wyman, Jamie Cullum, Tommy Emmanuel, Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow, Emily Remler, and many more.

This book is a unique photographic insight into the life of an extraordinary musician.

To order your copy go to:

Posted in guitar, Martin Taylor
Apr 10

jimi hendrix soloingGotcha! That title would definitely have captured my attention when I began to get seriously interested in playing blues guitar. Among my first inspirations was the initial wave of British guitar heroes (plus Hendrix, of course), and after painfully roughing out a few solos by ear I found what seemed to be the common ingredient: the minor pentatonic scale.

When I began to gravitate toward traditional blues, I thought that it must just be a different scale blend – mix the minor pentatonic with the major pentatonic and add a flat-five now and then – but my attempts to turn scales into legitimate-sounding blues solos never seemed to hit the mark. At the same time, I noticed that traditional blues guitarists never mentioned scales – if they talked about their playing at all, they would usually say something mysterious like “I just play what I hear.”

I was confused: If blues solos don’t come from scales, then where do they come from? 

It took a while, but I eventually figured out that “play what you hear” isn’t vague at all – it’s a literal prescription for how to play blues. Best guitar scales for blues soloing? None of them – here’s why:

Posted in Blues, guitar, keith wyatt