Flying with Guitars and Other Instruments

Over the years I’ve heard of many musicians who are afraid of checking their instruments when flying. Musicians are afraid of rough treatment by airport baggage handlers, and rightly so. But many people also fear that the environmental conditions in the aircraft’s baggage compartment can damage their instruments. I asked some airline captains about the conditions inside aircraft that instruments with be subjected to. Their answers are very reassuring!

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Cryogenically-treated Guitar Cables? No, Dean Markley, there is no Santa Claus.

Yesterday I saw a press release via the Premier Guitar Twitter feed announcing Dean Markley Blue Steel instrument cables. Promising all kinds of magical tonal benefits due to the cable receiving a brief blast of liquid nitrogen. I say it’s pseudo-scientific nonsense. Dean Markley say that’s just my opinion. Well, this is how I arrived at that opinion…

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Teaching Children – How Young is Too Young?

At any one time 1/3 to a 1/2 of my students are children and I am frequently approached by parents looking for a guitar teacher for their child. However, as a general rule, the youngest I am willing to teach is about 9 to 10 years-old. In this post I explain why guitar is difficult for younger children and what I recommend to parents when young children want to play the guitar.

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Treble Bleed Mod Round-up

As a reference resource, I have collected the treble bleed capacitor and resistor combinations recommended by the the major guitar pickup manufacturers (and some guitar makers too). I am reproducing that list here. Below the list I have also included notes and additional information based on my research and experience. I hope you find it useful. Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

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Video – Better Barre Chords

When we start playing barre chords, getting every note to ring clearly can be frustrating. Here are some tips to help solve those problems and an exercise I give my students that improves their barre chord playing, clarity, and stamina.

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Video – Strumming Perfect Upstrokes

Beginning guitar players will have some initial difficulty with strumming and rhythm. for many players, part of the difficulty is learning to strum upstrokes. In this video I explain the ‘secret’ to playing upstrokes, along with a simple practice technique that will make your strumming and rhythm playing smoother and more fluid.

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Video – Chords are Notes, not Fingers!

Beginning guitar players usually learn their first chords by following the little dot chord diagrams which show where to put their fingers. But this usually results in thinking of chords as shapes of fingers, rather than shapes of notes, ignoring the contribution of open strings to the chord. It’s a common mistake that slows down our learning and progress. I explain why.

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The Credit-Experience-Break Myth

In response to a recent twitter conversation (I wish Karen was getting paid)…

As a musician I see it all the time – “I can’t pay you but you’ll get a credit”. I’m sure every professional (or want-to-be professional) musician, sound engineer, video editor, actor, model, photographer, painter, journalist, graphic designer, translator, web designer, and toilet cleaner has heard it a million times.

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Beginners: Left- or Right-Handed?

Any left-handed player who has ever stepped into a guitar store will have discovered a distinct lack of left-handed instruments. The situation is even worse when we are looking for quality 3/4 or 1/2 size instruments for children. Consequently I’m often asked if it’s really necessary for left-handed beginners to learn to play left-handed guitar. I don’t think it is, and this is why…

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Truth About Truss Rods – Part 1 – The Basics

No single part of a guitar is more terrifying or mysterious to many guitarists than the humble truss rod. For years we have been told that we can ruin our precious and fragile guitars by just looking at them funny. But truss rods are very simple devices and are nothing to be afraid of. So let’s dispel the fears and the myths.

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Guitar Lessons for Your Kids – Advice to Parents

Photo by Eva Hamori

A love of music and the ability to play is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child, one that will last the rest of their life. As a guitar teacher, my role concerns the lessons themselves. But time spent between lessons is just as important, perhaps more so. That means that you as parents play an important role in supporting your child’s interest and improvement. Here are some pointers that I hope you find useful.

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