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Introduction To The Martin Taylor Guitar Academy
This "introduction" block sets the stage for what is to follow. Put down your guitar, and enjoy learning about Martin's background, influences, and philosophy about music and the guitar. If you are anxious to get going, you can skip ahead to the "Underlying Concepts" block or even "Learn By Playing Tunes" block. Just be sure to get back and watch these important videos!
Underlying Concepts
The "Underlying Concepts" block starts very basic and progressively lays down the foundation for Martin's approach to fingerstyle guitar. Even if you are already an advanced guitarist, Martin asks that you go through all of these lessons. This block ends with Martin teaching two versions of the jazz classic "Satin Doll."
Developing Technique & Musicianship
Here we switch almost entirely to music, musicianship, and advanced techniques for making music on the guitar. To get started right, Martin teaches a simple but soulful version of his own composition "True." Martin uses this tune as reference point throughout the curriculum. More techniques flow from Martin's presentation of jazz blues, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", and "My Romance."
Learn By Playing Tunes
Watch, listen, play. It's all here: A progressive collection of tunes that represent every skill and technique Martin employs in his fingerstyle guitar playing. For many of these tunes, Martin provides a very detailed analysis of all of the techniques employed. All of the tunes are presented with alternate camera angles (you can see exactly what Martin sees using the "topview" camera angle), and slow-motion versions. Many of the tunes have downloadable notation PDF files, though Martin prefers you to use you eyes and ears rather than the notation which can become a "crutch" and inhibit progress.
Auxiliary Lessons
This is the place where material will be placed that relates to specific topics not covered in the core curriculum, such as accompanying a singer, gear, etc.
Guided Arrangements
30 Day Challenge
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: True: Discussion with Alison Burns Part 1

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Well that was the vocal version of true.
And at this point, I should introduce you
to a wonderful singer.
And also the author of the lyrics of, of
All the way from Dundee, Scotland.
Alison Burns.
>> Well, thank you Martin.
>> Now, so Alison and I work together
quite often.
And I was just thinking what we can, some
of the things we can talk about,
about guitar player worker working with
singers, and
in particular working with, with female
singers with a female voice.
The first lesson.
You have to know about is that whatever
key you normally play this,
whatever song it is, when you work with a
singer, it will be in another key.
So all those lessons we did earlier was
getting you to play all over the place in,
in, in different keys this is why.
This is one of the reasons why.
We can play in different keys, but with
with the human voice there, there is a
And that varies from singer to singer.
Male singers, female singers, some singers
have a very very broad range some,
some singers are narrower range, so we
have to find the, the right key.
Now when I played the, the original
version of this, the instrumental version,
I was in the key of a, if you, as you'll
When Allison and
I, decided to do this song together.
We, the first thing that found out was, I
said to Allison.
Well, you sing it, and we'll find out what
key's right for
your voice, cuz if I got Allison to sing
in that key, it wouldn't be right at all.
So we found out that the best key for
Allison to sing this in was the key of e.
So that introduction I did in a.
When I started to play that in e,
further down here.
didn't have the same effect for me as
this, in this key.
Cuz, it's so much brighter.
This sounded a bit heavier.
So, I took a, a, an executive decision
here, and
decided to play a different introduction,
that created the same kind of mood.
So, instead of playing.
I decided.
To play an intro where I was playing
slightly higher up the register.
Because Allison's
voice is gonna come in about this
This is where she's singing.
If I'm down here.
It, it, it's too low.
So, I took this executive decision to.
it still creates the same kind of mood.
It doesn't matter, because there are some
songs where a, the intro
happens to be played a certain way because
it's, it really sets the, a, song up.
But for this one it, it, didn't really
matter so.
We found this as the best introduction.
Second lesson about working with a singer.
Never play an introduction that's too
tricky or clever.
You can do, but at some point.
You've got to state the.
The key.
So the singer can pitch.
Because, it's not like us with an
We know, I, we know we're starting on e.
The singer needs to pitch that
in their head.
And if you play, if I played an intro.
You did it, that was very clever.
[LAUGH] Now that is a good singer.
That can do that.
But, you see what I'm saying.
You've got to really and it doesn't need
to be.
Doesn't need to be one of those,
but just stating.
The singer just needs really like one note
to really to, to find.
>> Really it's, it's like a note that you
almost latch on to.
>> You're aiming for that note.
>> Yes, it's the one note in that, if you,
different singers are different in terms
of what they'll latch on to just in.
To get out of the key, but, for me, and
I'll hear one note, and tha,
that, that, that's enough.
>> Because for a, for a singer that's got
this kind of musical knowledge of,
of intervals, and learning where the, the,
the tonic, the third,
the fifth where the intervals are, once
you know, once you've.
Picked on to, to one note, you can
immediately pitch to the others.
You can hear where they are.
Is, is that right?
>> Hopefully.
>> Hopefully.
[LAUGH] Well, you did it very well.
So, I, once we found that key, then I had
to really set everything up.
I chose this intro.
There is actually so
you've, you got a number of notes that you
can catch up.
>> Yeah.
And, and
then that gives me, it almost lets this,
the, the song breathe there and I can
kinda choose my moment as emotionally.
>> Yeah.
>> I'm supposed to come in.
>> And the, the first lyrics are, kiss his
Just go.
I come in on let.
See, see so, I'm, what I'm,
what I'm doing, even though we're, we're,
we're playing in time, I'm following
everything that Allison is doing.
When we want to, I'm listening to the
I'm listening to the phrasing, and I'm,
I'm keeping with that all the time.
The, the, when your accompanying somebody,
the, the art of listening becomes more
You must always.
Listen, when you're playing with other
you must always keep your ears open to
what they're doing, what's going on.
Even if it's, if it's one other musician,
or if it's a large group.
You've got to listen to what's going on,
and never shut your ears.
Don't put your head down and, and
just start playing as if you were in
another room.
You know, we're making music together, so
we've got to listen all, all the time so.
When, when Alison maybe pulls back on a
phrase, I'm listening to what she's doing.
And I'm also thinking maybe.
See, accompanying isn't just the matter of
playing chords, behind the singer.
We're not doing that.
What I'm, what I'm doing is I'm, I'm
putting a kind of.
A lovely kind of, in the case of this
song, a nice bed underneath, but
also there are times, in between phrases,
where I can then
play another line, a counter line, that
goes with the melody, or a little fill.
So, I don't have to play spass, it's a
very dangerous area, I can actually play.
Quite a lot of, of notes going on as long
as, as long as it's done in context.
Because I don't know whether you've had
experience of working with,
with a accompanies that are not
>> Listening is so crucial, for the singer
that the musicians listen,
listen to the voice, but also for the
singer to listen to the musician as well.
Because I think the main, the main thing
is you're listening to as a whole, but,
you almost, you can't [INAUDIBLE] what's
going to be to happen.
>> Mm-hm.
>> So it's, it's just you've got to know
what's just about to happen.
In terms of the singing.
>> Mm-hm.
>> But the musician doesn't know what
you're gonna wait to do so
it's, it's a big listening experience for
>> If we, if we just try this, this phrase
>> Yeah.
>> From again.
From the top.
There's a little pause there.
That's really important.
I'm playing quite simply
behind Allison there.
I'm just playing really.
Playing chords, but the second time
I may want to elaborate a little more.
When we get to justice ship sail?
What is?
>> Yeah, second verse.
A fill, another fill,
another fill.
Oh, yeah, of course we go into the middle.
But you can see.
Then I'm, I can actually play some other
things, some other lines there.
But I'll show you how not to do it.