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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!
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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."
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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."
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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.
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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.
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Guided Arrangements
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30 Day Challenge
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+Music
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Video Exchange Archive
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: Gear Part 2: Pick-ups, Strings, and DI Boxes

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[MUSIC]
The great thing about Mike, actually he's,
he's also a pick up man as well.
So, if we design these pick ups too.
Again, bringing in some of these
frequencies that,
that I favor more than, more than others.
And also when I'm, when I'm, certainly
when I'm recording, a lot of the time.
I don't have it here, but
very often I, I have a microphone in front
of the guitar or sometimes two or three.
And I blend the sound between, this pickup
and the acoustic sound as well.
I can remember when, as a kid playing and
actually,
I have terrible trouble with strings.
Strings have, are another thing that have
just, moved on beyond all recognition.
When I was a kid, there was only that one
make of strings that you could get.
And I always had trouble, if I was playing
and I used to kinda start to, it was hot,
and I start to sweat and then the, the
strings would would start to tarnish.
And I always thought to myself, wouldn't
it be great if you,
you had strings that had some kinda
coating on them.
I'd had no idea what kinda coating.
That would be.
But a company a, did come out with an
idea, an invention of coating strings.
And it was actually came a material
called, a, gortex.
Which I think is used on, on weather
proof, proof clothes.
So, so there's a very fine coating on, on
these strings.
And, I really like this cuz these strings
can last for, for ages for me.
Using these these covered strings.
A lot of guitar players are starting to
use these more as well.
Some guitar players don't like them
because maybe they don't sustain as much.
But for me they're just right.
Also, when I put the strings on, from the
moment I put them on,
that's exactly how they're gonna sound the
whole time.
You don't have to play them in.
I used to use strings that were too
bright, for the first day, and
then they were just right for about two
hours, and then they became too dull.
These remain just the same, but, another
thing about strings,
if you're gonna be playing, this style of
guitar playing,
where we're playing a lot of chordal
things.
If you have a flat third, if you have
sorry if you have a plane third,
that can vibrate too much and it can
sustain too much and
it always can sound can, can sound
slightly out of tune, and
it sustains far too much for a lot of the
voicings that we're playing.
So I always use a wound third.
And the string, the strings I use are a 12
down to a 52 with a,
a wound third string which is I think a
24.
So they're not really light strings.
And also I don't play with a particularly
low action either.
You often thing well, if you play,
if a guitar has a very low action it will
be easier to play.
That's not always the case because if I,
if the action's too low I can't really dig
in.
But certainly for, for somebody that
started playing, hasn't been playing for
very long, it's best to have a low action.
Because you have and I've been playing for
a long time so I've built up all kinds of,
muscles to to be able to handle heavy
strings and and a high action.
So that's pretty much the, the, the idea
of the guitar.
And the kind of setup that, that I have.
And the, the the pickup and little bit
about the, the microphone.
When I'm playing when I'm playing in a,
in a concert, the only additions to the
guitar that I have,
is I have a di box direct injection box.
I very rarely use an amplifier so
a di box really, I plug into that and then
from the box that goes into the disk.
And the one that I use actually has
equalization on that, EQ, tone controls.
And notch filters on that.
So it gives me a little, little more more
to play with.
It's got a volume control on it as well.
One of, actually, one thing about this
guitar is I don't have
any volume control or tone control.
There's no controls on this at all.
I always say my guitar doesn't have
breaks.
That's kind of pretty much the way it is.
It just, it just plug in and go, this
guitar.
So with the DI Box I've got some,
additional tone controls and
control over, notch filters and certain
frequencies.
And then I use a reverb unit.
So I don't have a really dry sound.
And the reverb unit I have is valve
driven,
it just has a very small valve in it.
What that does is sometimes when you, if
you use a D.I.,
it's such a direct sound, it can be quite
up close and.
Almost a little, a little harsh and, and
if you have a mixture of the reverb
and the valve which softens the sound,
it kinda mellows the sound out a little
bit, and it really warms the sound up.
So, I have a very, very simple system.
I don't have a rack mount or anything like
that.
It's, it's all pretty simple, all pretty
simple.
The only other thing that I have is I
always have a, a guitar tuner.
To to keep me in check.
And that's it, I keep it really, really
pretty simple.
But it, it's a life long journey for
guitar players is, we're always looking
for that.
That guitar, th-that special one that,
that does it, but, but
we mustn't, we mustn't put too much
importance on thinking,
well, if I get that guitar, that will make
me sound the way I, I want to sound.
That will mean I can play what I want to
play.
It only works to a point.
The rest is all up to you.
[MUSIC]
[SOUND]