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Best Music Teacher 2018 Nomination

Holy kamoley! I’ve been nominated for Best Music Teacher for the Expatriates Magazine 2018 Best of Paris awards! You can vote here… Best Music Teacher in Paris …and see the other categories here… http://paris.expatriatesmagazine.com/category/best-of-paris-2018/

Pickup comparison: DiMarzio Area 58, Area 61, and Area 67

I bought the DiMarzio Area Set (Area 58, Area 61, and Area 67) while looking for new single coils to go in the neck and middle positions of my Silhouette Special. There are lots of reviews of the DiMarzio Area pickups out there but I don’t think nobody has ever directly compared all three in the same pickup position. This may the first!

How do I feel about vintage instruments?

Question on a forum: “Let’s focus lower on the totem pole around those under $10k. How do you feel about these as a player? Do you think modern production more than makes up for old wood? Would you pay the asking price if you intended to play it, rather than resell it? If you found one at a yard sale, would you flip it and buy a reissue instead?”

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!

Cryogenically-treated Guitar Cables? No, Dean Markley. Just, No.

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, a guitarist and physics PhD, arrived at my opinion…

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 10 years-old. In this post I explain why guitar poses difficulties for younger children and what I recommend to parents when young children want to play the guitar.

Treble Bleed Mod Round-up

As a reference resource, I have collected the treble bleed capacitor and resistor combinations recommended by many 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.

The Paris Expat’s Guide to Buying a Guitar

Most of my clients/students are expats in Paris and many are first-time players, just starting out with the guitar. As a result I am frequently asked about where to buy a guitar and to give recommendations on what to buy and in what price range. In this post I answer all those questions for you, and more.

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.

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.

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.