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Jody Fisher: News

Some News - May 24, 2006

My new CD, "Wistful Thinking" is due for release in June. This project features original music for solo guitar.
The CD will be available through this site and CD Baby.
You will also be able to purchase individual tracks through iTunes, CD Baby and about 48 other (legal) download sites. I'll provide a complete list after the CD comes out.

If you you are interested in studying with me online at WorkshopLive and want to know more, go here:
Here I am at YouTube--some say I ate my pick at the end....
Summer Workshop Schedule

Once again I will be conducting seminars for the National Guitar Workshop next summer.
For brochures and further information go to or call (860) 234-6479.
Here are the locations and dates:

June 24-29, 2006
"Jazz Skills"
Pacific University
Seattle, WA

July 8-13, 2006
"Letting Go"
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA

July 15-20, 2006
"Jazz Skills"
Judson College
Chicago, IL

July 22-27, 2006
"The Art of Solo Guitar"
Middle Tennessee State University
Nashville, TN

August 7-13, 2006
"NGW Jazz Summit"
New Milford, CT

Have a great summer and I hope to see you at some of my seminars.....


Contact Info - March 28, 2006

For those asking questions in my guestbook--

I can't answer unless I have your email address. If you are interested in lessons, please make first contact via email. I'll be happy to respond...of course.


Me and My klein - March 14, 2006

Hi All,

I've noticed that there has been quite a bit of interest in Klein Electric guitars lately on the jazz guitar newgroups.

The Klein has been my guitar of choice for years. They're ergonomically perfect and they sound great. They are currently impossible to get.

This link takes you to a YouTube video of me playing my "Lorenzo-Built" Klein electric:
The video is a promotional video for Workshop Live.

By the way, if anyone has a Klein Electric for sale please contract me. I could use a backup...
I also have an early 70s Gibson ES175D (blonde) that I would trade as well.

March 7, 2006

I've been very busy this last month finishing a new book called
"The Total Jazz Guitarist". I'll send off the manuscript for publication in a few days. Should be available in stores by the end of the summer.

Meet the jazz teachers at Workshop
I'll be spending a week in Pittsfield, MA to shoot 30 more videos for Workshop Live later this month. If you haven't checked out Workshop Live go to
Summer Workshop Schedule

Once again I will be conducting seminars for the National Guitar Workshop next summer.
For brochures and further information go to or call (860) 234-6479.
Here are the locations and dates:

June 24-29, 2006
"Jazz Skills"
Pacific University
Seattle, WA

July 8-13, 2006
"Letting Go"
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA

July 15-20, 2006
"Jazz Skills"
Judson College
Chicago, IL

July 22-27, 2006
"The Art of Solo Guitar"
Middle Tennessee State University
Nashville, TN

August 7-13, 2006
"NGW Jazz Summit"
New Milford, CT

Some gigs coming up......

I'll be at Papaya Bay in Lake Arrowhead Village on the following dates:

Saturday, March 18
Saturday, March 25
Friday, March 31
Saturday, April 1

5:00 start time each night. (909) 336-5222

Have a great month!

Hi All - January 26, 2006

I just wanted to thanks for all the support out there. I get so many emails that I really have a difficult time answering them all but I do appreciate hearing from everyone.

I spent part of last weekend at the NAMM Show. As usual (this was my 27th time attending!), it was great to hook up with all the friends I've made through the years.

I'm busy right now with a new book which should be out next summer titled "The Total Jazz Guitarist". Plans for the next book are already being made.

I'm also writing lot's of new solo guitar music which I hope will also be available this summer as digital downloads through CD Baby or as a CD also available from CD Baby or through my site.

I'm kicking around the idea of creating monthly, or possibly bimonthly podcasts. I could use this medium to answer questions from students. I'd play a little, talk a little--you know--just see what it turns into over time.

There are a few open spots for lessons in February if anyone is visiting Southern California--contact me at

Check out my calender section for gigs......I'm playing in the mountains a lot these days at a great Thai restaurant called Papaya Bay in Lake Arrowhead. The weather is a little chilly, up there, so bundle up.

A reminder--if you want to subscribe to Workshoplive use the affiliate code 1069 when prompted. They'll know you came from my site that way.

OK--have a great month!


Workshop Live Launched! - January 4, 2006

Well, the biggest news is the launch of the Workshop Live website.
In case you haven't heard, Workshop Live is a revolutionary guitar education site that provides lessons in a variety of formats. The lessons are delivered in streaming video, animation and still graphics.

At the moment there are 20 teachers providing lessons in jazz, rock, blues, classical, acoustic and absolute beginner.

Members of the site can watch teacher "interviews" and then choose the teacher they would like to work with. There are prescribed courses in each style but students are free to surf to any lesson that interests them.

There are so many options that it would be difficult to describe them all here.

Right now there are hundreds of lessons uploaded, and hundreds more will be added every month.

You need to check this place out--
If you decide to join, please use this affiliate code during the sign up process: 1069.
This will show that you were directed there by my site.

You can also go here to explore Workshop Live:
In celebration of the launch, WorkShop Live is giving away a Hamer guitar BUILT TO YOUR SPECS! Check it out at

Summer Workshop Schedule

Once again I will be conducting seminars for the National Guitar Workshop next summer.
For brochures and further information go to or call (860) 234-6479.
Here are the locations and dates:

June 24-29, 2006
"Jazz Skills"
Pacific University
Seattle, WA

July 8-13, 2006
"Letting Go"
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA

July 15-20, 2006
"Jazz Skills"
Judson College
Chicago, IL

July 22-27, 2006
"The Art of Solo Guitar"
Middle Tennessee State University
Nashville, TN

August 7-13, 2006
"NGW Jazz Summit"
New Milford, CT

The site has been updated so you'll find some new links, pics, etc.

Don't forget to check my calender--come by a gig and say hi!

Thanks again for all the nice email folks. Please understand that I try to answer all of them but my inbox is always full and it take a while (sometimes a long while) to get back to you all--


Workshop Live Press Release - September 2, 2005

Hi All,

I just thought I would pass this on. A few weeks ago I wrote a little bit about a project I'm involved with called Workshop Live.

Workshop Live may be one of the most remarkable educational programs in the world today and I'm really proud, and humbled to be involved. Regardless of where you live, as a member, you will be able to study guitar with great teachers in every style of music.
Workshop Live combines streaming video with printable graphics and live lessons online. The technology provides an animated fingerboard, as well as examples in standard notation and TAB.
The lessons are provided in a variety of formats to match the style and level of information you require. This is exciting stuff.......
The following is a press release published on August 29, 2005:

WorkshopLive Passes Midway Point to October Launch,
Recording 300 Guitar and Keyboard Lessons for Online Learning

Announces Content Sharing Partnership with Alfred Publishing
For Instructional Videos from Warner Brothers Catalog

PITTSFIELD, Mass., August 29, 2005 – WorkshopLive today announced completion of more than 300 video lessons for guitar and keyboard, passing the halfway milestone for the October launch of the online learning company. The new video studio in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, has been hosting musicians and recording their lessons since opening in June.

WorkshopLive is a unique educational platform that delivers personalized and completely individualized music lessons through a broadband Internet connection. Its patent-pending technology determines how each student learns best, then delivers the teaching options, lessons and learning environment that best suits the student’s needs.

Some 600 guitar and keyboard lessons will become available to subscribers of the revolutionary Internet learning system in October. In advance of the company’s highly-anticipated debut, sample lessons will be posted at in coming days.

Among the first lessons or courses concluded are those from performers/bestselling authors Susan Mazer [Guitar for the Absolute Beginner] and Jody Fisher [The Complete Jazz Guitar Method, etc.], guitarist/singer-songwriter Matt Smith [Matt Smith Chop Shop for Guitar] and keyboardist Amy Rosser [Max Keyboard].

The company also announced a content sharing partnership with Alfred Publishing, which earlier this year acquired the Warner Bros. Publications catalog of instructional videos and DVDs. Under the arrangement with Alfred, WorkshopLive can include instructional content from major artists like BB King, Joe Pass, and Chick Corea as part of WorkshopLive’s Master Seminar series.

For further instructional value, WorkshopLive will also offer direct links to Alfred for access to and purchases from that company’s extensive catalog. With offices in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Singapore and Australia, and a roster of renowned authors and composers, Alfred Publishing is a global operation with more than 80 years of uninterrupted growth.

About WorkshopLive
WorkshopLive produces the most dynamic and engaging music instruction content on the Web today. Its patent-pending technology delivers the first truly interactive learning experience of its type, with visual and auditory elements that change to suit the preferences and abilities of the student. WorkshopLive incorporates more than 20 years of music education curricula to create hundreds of lessons for specific styles of music and a variety of instruments. Other divisions include Workshop Arts Publications and summer learning camps operated at 28 locations around the country, the National Guitar Workshop and DayJams. The privately funded company is based in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Additional information is available at 413-358-9606, and

Home Sweet Home - August 23, 2005

Well, I'm finally back home after weeks of traveling. I just want to say how great it was to hang with old friends and students and meet new ones as well.

At the moment, I'm working hard with Workshop Live developing all my online video lessons. This is ONE GREAT project! There has never been anything like it--check it out at The site should launch in mid October.

Time to Sign Up for Lessons!

This year I am changing my teaching policy somewhat. Over the last several years I have given only two hour lessons but after numerous requests for shorter more frequent lessons I have decided to offer the following:

Two Hour Lessons are still available--these are by appointment only--$100.00

One Hour Lessons--These are available on an every-other-week basis. You'll need to commmit to a regular time and day--$55.00

Half Hour Lessons--These are available on a weekly basis only. You'll need to commmit to a regular time and day--$30.00.

First contact should be made by email:
Available times are limited.

My newest book "Teaching Guitar--An In-Depth Guide to Making a Living as a Profesional Guitar Teacher" has just been released and is available.
Here is the publisher's blurb about it:

Optimizing personal income while developing a career both as a guitar teacher and musician can be rewarding, but challenging. Finally, here is a guide written by a seasoned professional--full of teaching tips, musical examples and business advice to help you run a successful teaching business. The Enhanced CD included with this book contains recorded examples, backing tracks for students to improvise over, and helpful forms for bookkeeping and tracking student attendance and progress. This in-depth guide, which explores a diversity of teaching situations and styles, will put you on the right path to follow your dream of making a living as a guitar teacher.
Book and CD....................$17.50

You can order it on my "Buy" page.

Two New CDs Available this Fall!

The first CD will be a trio recording of all original jazz tunes--should be available sometime in November.

The second CD is another solo guitar recording of some great standards. This one should also be available in November.

Next Book!

My next book is a 128 page book entitled "The Total Jazz Guitarist".
I'm really excited about this one--I'll be using several well known standards and jazz tunes to explore many chord melody and improvisational approaches. This one is for folks who aren't afraid to really dig in........

I also wanted to let you know about another cool guitar and music site sponsored by Workshop Live--
It's called "The Practice Room" and you can find it here:
There are several new links and pics on the site and I'll be uploading some new free lessons in the coming weeks.

Stay Cool--


Back in Touch........ - August 3, 2005

Hi All--

Well, due to a LOT of travel and problems with my ISP, I have fallen ridiculously behind responding to email. If you have emailed me in the last three weeks, there is a good chance I never saw it. If you have an urgent message, please resend it.

I am still traveling and will be home in about 21/2 weeks--my inbox is currently empty--so I'll be starting from scratch when I return home.

I had a great time in both Nashville and Chicago--met many new students and friends and heard a lot of great music. Next week is the Jazz Summit in Connecticut.

Unfortunately, some sad news......

For those that haven't heard yet, guitarist/author/teacher Ted Greene passed away last week. Ted was a major inspiration for the entire guitar world. I could go on and on but if you want to know more, or pay tribute go here:
Rest in Peace, Ted, and thanks for everything.

Jody Fisher

Next Stop: Nashville - July 8, 2005

Hi All,

I just finished my "Letting Go" seminar in Los Angeles and had a wonderful time working with my class and spending time with all the faculty members--what a great hang!

Tomorrow morning I fly to Nashville to do my "Art of Solo Guitar" workshop at Middle Tennessee State University. I'm always eager to find out who my students will be. The workshop is six hours per day for five days so we get to know each other pretty well by the end of the session. I also have many friends in Nashville, so once again, I'm looking forward to hanging out with them and meeting new people as well.

My email is starting to stack up--I'm never sure what my internet accessability will be on the road, so please have patience......I will answer all email as soon as a I can.


News from the Clinic Tour - June 28, 2005

Hi All,

I have a few minutes so I thought I check in.......

I'm in Seattle conducting the "Jazz Skills" clinic. I have a class of very dedicated jazz students and they're absorbing everything I can throw their way.

Pat Martino came for a visit today and gave a very inspiring clinic. Everyone loved it. I can listen to him play and teach all day. He's beautiful person and a beautiful player.

Ben Verdery is also here. He presented a piece that was absolutely astounding--some traditional classical guitar augmented with delay, and played with chopsticks and paper clips (yup, you read right). His new CD is really exciting--and what a great guy.

The teachers and staff here are really great players and the "hang" is outrageously fun.

I'll be here for two more days, then it's off to Los Angeles where I'm teaching my "Letting Go" clinic. I'll try to write a little more when I get there.


News From Jody - June 23, 2005

Hi All,

To everyone who has been emailing me over the past few weeks:

I know I've been responding late--I am currently on the road with limited internet access in some locations (I know, it's hard to believe).

I do answer email when I'm traveling but it takes a little (sometimes, much) longer.

Anyway, I am currently on the East coast recording 50, yes 50, video lessons. This for a company called Workshop Live.
In October, Workshop Live launches it's new site providing hundreds of instructional video lessons, and lots of other features for a small monthly membership charge. It's cutting edge technology and a real opportunity for guitarists to study and learn in an entirely new way. I'm really excited about this.

I will provide more info as time goes on.

The site will launch in October 2005. Watch this space--
you're not going to believe what this company is's pretty great.

Saturday, I leave for Seattle where I am conducting a seminar at Pacific University. From there I go to Los Angeles and do a workshop at Loyola Marymount.
Next it's Nashville--Middle Tennesee State University, then Chicago, at Judson College, then New Milford, Conecticut, at the Canterbury School, for the National Guitar Workshop's Jazz Summit.
Hope to meet many of you folks at some of these locations. If you're interested in attending any of these Workshops or events, call 1-800-234-6479.



Another Question - June 23, 2005

In a guestbook entry, Tam writes:

Do you think it's important to be a good sight reader or
do you think it depends on what sort of guitarist's you are ie. session player, or one who likes to strum away in the house. I never started reading to about 7 years ago still find it a bit alien at times. Sometimes I feel I should abandon everything else till i've nailed it.
Btw had a wee listen to your mp3's sound excellent , I must
invest in some of your cd's

Tam Reilly

I answer:

Hi Tam,

Reading is important but you have to be clear about your goals when thinking about this.

Being a good reader will expand your musicianship in many ways. It simply makes you more literate musically.
If your goal is to become someone who makes their living playing gigs that require a lot of reading, like shows, studio work and the like, then I suggest you make this your top priority.

If this is not your goal, then becoming a proficient reader should be enough. Good readers learn and understand new concepts faster. This leads to being able to play the things you want with less hassle.

Figure out what your musical goals are first--then adjust your reading routine accordingly. Most players just need to becom withe strong readers, not ace sightreaders.
If you love to read--just go for it adn have fun with it.

Hope this helps a little,


A Question - June 23, 2005

In an email, John writes:

I have spent quality time with your DVD Beginning Jazz and feel I have
learned a great deal. I appreciate your method of training. I
certainly have a lot of time and engery still to invest before I can
to suggest I have "finished the course".
I am a raw (62 year old) beginner with fair skills with chords,
scales and right hand techiques as described in your DVD training
tool. However, I find your written manual far more complex and
confusing in that the DVD and Manual seems not to correlate with each
other. Am I to concentrate on the DVD level of instruction
exclusively or to dig in detail in the written before I pursue
the next level of instruction?
My ambition is to be able to play standards with a combo at an
intermediate level at some point in time. I am encouraged in my level
of progress to date but not confident in being able to reach my goals
in the immedite future.
Pardon me for this complex e-mail but a short note from you with
advise and info will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,


PS If your are ever playing in Central Texas I hope to hear you in

i answer:

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the email, and thanks for the support. I am currently on the
road with pretty limited internet access so I'll have to answer rather

I think I would work with the book mostly. that's where all the info lies.
DVD is probably best used to clarify some points in the book.
We cannot possibly make a DVD as informative as a book, so the publishers
and producers of my DVDs ask me to use the DVD format to provide an
overview of what the book is about.

Going straight through the book or DVD will not make anyone a jazz
guitarist. I think the best approach, and the one I use with my private
students, is to concentrate on learning songs. Whatever you have learned
from the book should be applied to repertoire. Inserting new information
into an actual playing situation is the best way to reinforce and use the
things you have learned. Take your time with this.

For instance, if you learned a new chord voicing from the book, you should
be able to insert it in any song you know easily before trying to learn
any more new chords. I tell my students that they haven't really learned
somethng until they are USING it on a regular basis. Yes, this can take
some time but there is no real rush--good playing has more to do with HOW
you use what you know rather than how MUCH you know.

Hope this helps a little,

Jody Fisher

May 30, 2005

On Tue, May 10, 2005 7:50 am, Ron said:

Hey Jody, I really enjoy your playing, I play solo jazz guitar and was wondering if you can offer any tips on single note fills.
Thanks !


I write:

Hi Ron,

First--sorry for taking so long--I'm usually much more prompt than this
but I've been extremely busy the last several weeks with travel, a few too
many recording projects and my son's wedding. Thanks for your patience.


Most folks complain that when they they start playing with single notes
the harmony or the "bottom" drops out--here are a few solutions--

1. Make sure you are spelling out the changes in your fills. Use lots of
arpeggio based ideas. You can play "outside" in a solo setting but I think
it's good to return to lines that really fit the harmony more frequently
than when playing with another chordal instrument.

2. Play your fills and single note lines at the same volume you play
chordal ideas. This REALLY keeps things from sounding "empty". This took
me years to realize.

3. Get comfortable with open space in your playing. Avoid feeling like you
have to fill every beat with sound, You really don't.......

4. Single note fills come from the same place as improvised solos. Study,
listen and takes longer than we want it to......that's
the same for all of us.

I haven't heard your playing so I don't really know what you need to hear
but hopefully you can glean something useful from these suggestions.


Let me know if you have other questions.
I've been hired to develop a jazz curriculum for an internet company in MA
right now so I'm flying across the US pretty frequently. I also have a
full clinic schedule this summer--so response time could be slow. I'll be
home for a good long time (I hope) starting in September. Please feel free
to write, but my internet time is fairly limited when I'm traveling so

Hope this has helped........

Jody Fisher

Tom's Question - May 3, 2005

In a March 30 guestbook entry, Tom wrote:

I hope questions are all right here. I couldn't find any other place to leave a question. I have books 1 and 2 - the Beginning and Intermediate Jazz Guitar. Book 1 has major scales. I can't find where minor scales are presented. Are we just supposed to derive them from the six major scales presented? If so, should we think of them as paralell minor with the same starting notes or relative minor that starts on the relative minor degree of the major scale? Thank you for any help you can give me on this.
PS. If this is not the proper place for questions, please tell me how to access the place for questions.

I write:

It's cool to ask questions in the guestbook--you can always just send an email as well. Either way, it sometimes takes a few days for me to respond depending on the time of year and my schedule--but I'm always happy to try and answer questions or respond to comments.

In the book series you have, the minor scale info can be found in "Mastering Improvisation". There is also a lot of minor scale info in my books "Jazz Guitar Harmony" and "The Guitar Mode Encyclopedia".

There many ways to view these (and other) scales. I think it's a pretty good idea to learn them from a variety of perspectives. In your actual playing, you may favor one view over the others, but the overall depth of your understanding and possibly your musicality could be enhanced by the larger view.

Learn scales, by formula, thinking intervallically, by modifying another scale, by parallel thinking, and by fingering in "locked" positions, horizontally along each string and in open position, if possible.

Most importantly, don't get overly hung up academically--PLAY. WORKING with scales (and any other improvisational device) will teach you far more. Ultimately, it's about your fingers and your heart.

Good Luck!


Accessing Free Lessons - April 29, 2005

Hi Folks,

First of all--thanks for the nice comments and emails.........

RE: trouble accessing the lessons--

The same thing happened last month--too many people trying to access them at the same time. I've tested it quite a few times. During "peak" times for visitors to my site I can't access the lessons either. During "off-times" there's no problem. Just keep trying I guess.

I'll be looking for alternative ways to post these lessons soon. I
appreciate the patience and support.


"Teaching Guitar" Book Scheduled for July Release! - April 28, 2005

For those of you who are interested in teaching guitar for a living, or those teachers looking for new ideas, my new book, "Teaching Guitar" could fill the bill.

This 96-page book covers a huge variety of topics including:

Personal Skills
Musical Skills
Teaching Skills
Teaching Environments
Supplies and Equipment
Running and Promoting Your Buisness
Bookkeeping/Record Keeping
Attendance and Cancellation Policies
Basic Instructions for all Styles

This book also includes an enhanced CD. In it are examples of teaching ideas in many styles, a few play-along tracks and printable student roster and bookkeeping forms.

Watch this space for release annoucement!

--Summer NAMM release--

Three New Free Lessons Uploaded! - April 28, 2005

The topics are:

1.Dominant Seventh Flat Five Licks

2. Symmetrical Chord Lines

3. Turnarounds

Of course, all the older lessons are still there. Watch for new ones each month.

Just copy and paste the "free lessons" URL at the top of the "Home" page into your browser--OR-- click "Free Lessons" on the bottom of the "Links" page.



2005 Summer Clinics! - April 28, 2005

Summer clinics with the National Guitar Workshop include five-day sessions in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, and New Milford, CT.

The seminar dates are:

Seattle: "Jazz Skills"
June 25--June 30, 2005

Los Angeles: "Letting Go"
Julyl 2--July 7

Nashville: "The Art of Solo Guitar"
July 10--July 15

Chicago: "Jazz Skills"
July 16--July 21

New Milford, CT: The Jazz Summit, "Chord Melody and Accompaniment"
August 8--August 14

Call the National Guitar Workshop office for a brochure and application—


Go to:

Another Student Question - April 28, 2005

Hi Jody,

Firstly, thanks for writing the jazz guitar series by Alfted. I have found them really rewarding and easy to understand, great job!

Mate, I just had a couple of questions about exercises in the Mastering Improvisation book:

Page 54. Ex 70. The first two bars look like the eight tone 2-5 scale
in C Maj, should it be in F Maj to match up with the chords? My understanding was you play the I chord across the whole 2-5-1 but with either the b7 or the sharp 5 depending on what chord you are playing over. Is that right because I was a little confused.

Page 62 Ex 88. Should it be the D minor triad player over C Maj 13 and C13, not D major? Wouldn't only a D minor create the diatonic chord C
Maj 13?

I look forward to your reply. Thanks again for helping me become a better guitarist!


Brisbane, Australia

I answered:

Hi Russell,

First of all, thanks for the support! Now, on to your questions.

Page 54--

The scale in the first two bars is indeed the C 8-tone scale. It is not really in C MAJOR---the scale is ROOTED on a C--that's all. When we use this scale we match the root of the scale to the root of the V7 chord. Then we can use it over the associated ii-V7 progression. When we use the MAJOR scale, the scale of the "I" chord will work over the entire ii-V7-I. This is not the case with the 8-tone scales.

Page 62--

Good question. For the CMajor13--the D major triad is correct. A D minor triad would insert an F natural into the chord. We never do this, but we Do add #11ths to major chords all the time. The natural 11th clashes pretty
badly with the 3rd of the chord--this is why we automatically use #11ths instead.

For the C13--either a D Major or a D minor triad will work because dominant chords can use both 11ths and #11ths. Thanks for pointing out the omission of the D minor explanation on this. We'll have to fix that in the next printing.

Good Luck,


A Student's Question - April 28, 2005

In an email, David asks:

Hi Jody,
I'm considering your new books, the Art of Solo Guitar, and I wanted to consult with you on it. Among the plethora of theory and lead sheet books I have are the first three of your four Jazz Guitar books,
including Mastering Chord Melody.

My goal is to be able to read a lead sheet and put together, on the fly, a chord melody/single line solo in the style of a Joe Pass or someone similar - though perhaps with a little less technical prowess. I know
theory well, having been a pianist for 20 years, and I've been learning the guitar fretboard and the CAGED
system for the past year or so. However I'm having trouble using what I know to actually play a
reasonably nice arrangement of a piece and I'm not sure what I'm missing. My hands are medium size-- I can reach an octave plus a third on a piano keyboard, although I have trouble fingering some of the voicings in Mastering Chord
Melody because of the hand stretch involved.
My technique is not as strong but I feel I should still be able to arrange and play more tunes than I do. Because I know theory (2-5-1 changes, passing tones, approach chords, scales and arpeggios --
although I need more physical practice to get them stronger under my fingers), I'm considering getting
just the second of Art of Solo Guitar books. Any thoughts?

Thanks, David

P.S. feel free to post this letter on your blog if it
helps other players as well.

I answered:

Hi David,

Thanks for writing.
From what you have written, I see a few different topics that need discussion.

First, your hands and technique.
Happily, here is another area where "size doesn't matter". I, personally, have rather small hands--this has never affected my ability to execute any chord form. When learning a new chord shape, make the chord, check each string to make sure they sound clear and balanced--then HOLD the chord for about 30 seconds. then repeat over and over. The process of "stretching and holding" will do more to teach your hands what to do than constantly making the chord and releasing. You will find that this is a much faster and more efficient way to improve your chordal technique.

You say you are familiar with some theoretical concepts--OK, then. Start learning tunes. Put away the books for a while and start arranging tunes. If you can read the lead sheets and you have a sizable chord vocabulary, then you're good to go. Just jump in. If you're unsure how to start, check out page 11 in Mastering Chord Melody for some guidelines.

If you're missing some of the basics, The Art of Solo Guitar-Book One would be the way to go--

That book shows how to harmonize tunes from lead sheets. Once you have some tunes together and want to start improvising on them, check out Book Two.

Once again, the main thing is to start arranging tunes. Each one will get better than the one before and it does take time--have patience.

Good Luck,


To Mike Calvaneso-- - April 22, 2005

Drop me an email with your phone # in it and maybe we can set up a lesson. Cool?

Too Late to Learn? - April 13, 2005

Jose asked (in a guestbook entry) if 54 was too old to begin studying jazz. It's never too late to enjoy yourself. There is no age limit for the kind of intrigue and facination that studying music provides. Learning jazz is more about the journey than the destination. There is so much to learn that no one every really "finishes". Jump in with both feet. You may be surprised by how quickly some concepts can be learned. Some others, of course will be more difficult and take more time. Don't worry about "finishing". Each new thing you learn should bring you more and more satisfaction.
I've heard many students say, "Do you know how old I'll be by the time I get this together?" I always say, "The same age you'll be if you don't". So get started--and enjoy yourself!

Boatman/Summers Gig - March 20, 2005

I had the greatest time last night......

I played a concert in Claremont, California with bassist Jeff Stover. The atmosphere was quiet and intimate and the audience was there to listen. A perfect setup for a great jazz gig.

Dale Boatman and Bob Summers (both very talented guitarists in their own right) sponser and produce this monthly jazz event. Everyone in the Southern California area who cares about jazz should support these guys. They are doing good things and have plans to do much more.

You can visit them on the web at
You can also find them on my links page under "Other Music Sites".

Thanks to Dale and Bob and to all who attended last night. It was a pleasure to play for you.
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