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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
Video Exchange Archive
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: Gear Part 1: Finding the Right Set-up

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Course Description

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thought it would be a good idea to talk a
little bit about guitars and
strings and pick ups and all that kinda
These are the things that guitar players
love talking about when we get together.
We're always talking about you know, what
kinda strings are you using?
Pick ups and everything, and amplifiers
and, and it's it's,
it's a never ending obsession amongst us.
Trying to find the perfect guitar.
The perfect strings.
The perfect amp.
All of these things become, we become
quite absorbed in, in all this.
And it, it is really important to, to find
the right instrument, and the right setup.
And for me, I've always played an, an
archtop guitar.
This, this, this kinda guitar, with these
this kinda based on the violin setup,
These really came about, I think the
archtop guitar came about really
because of Italian, Italian immigrants
that came to America.
And they brought with them the,
the violin building skills and making
Using the, the same principles as making a
This is just the same principles there.
And if you look at the, the great archtop
guitar builders in America.
There's, you can see the Italian lineage
from D'Angelico, the great master himself.
I'm very fortunate to have a D'Angelico
guitar, which I absolutely love.
D'Aquisto, Benedetto, it's like a, a
lineage of, of guitar builders.
That that have go right back to the,
to the great craftsmen that came over from
I've always liked the, the archtop guitar
right from the beginning.
I think the first thing that attracted me
to it actually was because I liked
the look of them.
I thought they looked fantastic.
And then I found that I, the way they
don't have a,
a huge sustain on them in, in the same way
some other guitars have.
[SOUND] And there's a, a, there's a full
bodied sound to archtop guitar.
Which, which, which I was attracted to and
I've had a number of guitars
over the years and I still have quite a
few vintage guitars.
These are the guitars that I use these are
my working guitars nearly all the time,
well just about all the time now.
They're made by Mike Vandon who's a very
good friend of mine in Scotland.
And he actually came to making archtop
guitars by making
F style mandolins, first of all.
Again, it's exactly the same, the same
principle of the,
these archtop instruments.
And what I did with, with Mike because
archtops usually,
they weren't really designed to be played
They were, arch-top players always played
with a pick.
Gotta remember, back in those days, there
was no amplification.
You had to play really, really loud, you
have to have a loud guitar, play it hard,
they played with great big picks, high
action, heavy strings.
And you'll notice when you did hear a
guitar solo,
within a, a band context in the, in the
early days.
It was usually a chord solo.
Most guitar players, they in those days
started out as banjo players, and
then went onto the guitar.
And brought those banjo, like tenor banjo
techniques into playing the guitar.
And the only way that they could really be
When they got to play a solo, was to play
a chord solo.
Rather than playing a single line, cuz it
just wasn't loud enough.
So, as, as time developed, and, they
started to put in, pickups,
on the archtop guitar.
What I, really said to Mike was, there,
lot of, characteristics of the archtop
that I really, like.
And there were some things that I wanted
to, kinda, play down a little.
For instance, I wanted, because I've been
playing mostly finger style on,
on the archtop.
I wanted the to have more sustain than
most archtops have.
Most archtops don't
Don't have that kinda sustain.
They it dies away quite quickly.
Also they, they have a lot of mid-range to
And I wanted to cut some of that out and
I wanted to have a bigger, bigger base
sound as well.
So we came up with this idea.
This is only 15 inch body guitar.
It has a spruce top, carved spruce top.
And the way he configured it inside.
Which I don't know exactly how that is.
He managed to bring out some of those
frequencies that I prefer of having
having more sustained having more bass,
less less middle.
So this guitar is really been finely tuned
finely developed.
To help my, help my playing the way I play
It doesn't mean that the, the sound I get
is entirely to do with the guitar.
Because if I listen to a lot of my
recordings over the years, you can,
I've playing lots of different guitars,
you can always tell that it's me.
I always have this underlying sound.
I, I can listen to it, and maybe say oh
I think that was, that was my Gibson
Johnny Smith I was playing there,
or, or one, one of the other guitars.
But what it really does is, having the
right guitar is,
is such a great step in the right
For instance, for me to play this kinda
Wouldn't work if I was playing a stripe.
It, it wouldn't be even playing lot of
flat tops.
Top guitars wouldn't work.
Nylon string wouldn't work for me.
And the way I've I express myself through
the guitar this is
the kinda instrument that, that I need.
>> Teach the world.