SPECIAL ISSUES & FEATURES
The current series on Reading Music by Charlie Griffiths is coming to an end. Could I suggest you bring out a booklet containing all the parts, plus a CD with the tracks? It would also be an idea to include a DVD of the course. This could be on permanent sale, as every year guitar teachers will want their students to buy a copy. It would be the best way to introduce students to reading music notation, a much neglected part of today’s learning process, and will surely give a lifetime of benefit.
While I am on the subject – in the past you have produced some excellent series by Stuart Ryan, such as How To Play Acoustic Guitar, Acoustic Blues, Roots, Country etc, and, not forgetting, the gem from Bridget Mermikides: How To Play Classical Guitar. These disappeared off the shelves never more to be seen! When I am teaching guitar, especially finger picking, I want students to get their technique right from the start – and Bridget’s DVD is unbeatable. But, it’s nowhere to be purchased! Could these, and Charlie Griffiths series, be on permanent sale on your website, as I’m sure it would be create extra traffic for you, extra sales, and brilliant content for students?
Just a further thought for GT. How about a series for guitar teachers? Maybe it could be developed as a separate item for sale. I would expect a big reaction if a programme could be developed, with notes, DVD, and CD/backing tracks, etc. We all teach much the same items to beginners/improvers. But it’s presentation that counts. A fixed, organised programme would avert the problems of teachers and/or pupils going too slow or too fast, and straying into cul de sacs, and over-complicating matters. It would also avert the problem of pupils requesting certain songs, resulting in a different programme for each student. We all fall into the same traps.
I teach one-to-one lessons, and I also teach groups at a college night class. I even wrote up notes myself to put structure in it. But my IT skills aren’t great, so I am slow to copy them to my students. I’m sure there are many similar problems. With so many books and DVDs already produced, it could be that you could use some of that material to supplement the programme. Keep up the great work. Noel Walsh. The Reading Music series was conceived as something that could possibly be put together as a standalone product later on. Charlie is actually adding a few extra columns in order to give readers full pieces to get to grips with, but that in itself will make it better as a compilation magazine. I can’t say when or even if it will actually happen, but I do like the idea. The Play Guitar Now series was printed in relatively low quantities and some have sold out completely while there are a few titles still left on www. myfavouritemagazines.co.uk. We reprinted several and also bundled some together, so who knows what might get reused in the future – I could see all the Blues ones being cobbled into one much bigger magazine, although the limiting factor here is disk space, unless the videos were stored on www. musicradar.com. I agree though, that Bridget, Stuart, Milton, Jon and others did a sterling job on them and they would be hard to better! As regards the teaching feature, that’s also very interesting but would need to be seriously thought through. Presumably, for it to be of real value, it would somehow need to be accredited. Lots of fine suggestions there, so thanks!
GOES DOWN TO NOUGHT!
Love the cover of the recent issue (Jam Bands) featuring a guy wailing away on an SG, with the volume knob on 0. No worries, we’ve ALL been there! Ah, yes, the famous GT ‘deliberate mistake’. We occasionally drop them in to keep you on your toes (of course, the truth is that the model – ie me – forgot to turn it up). I was very careful with this month’s Stratocaster to ensure that everything was properly set, and I’ll determine to watch for such oversights in the future.
Chet Atkins’ Yakety Axe is beautiful to play, not too difficult and plenty interesting! I still regularly find myself playing the Atkins’ rag-style country piece from issue 218 – a bit more difficult but also splendidly varied. Mostly I play finger-picking blues but now I’m a country player too! In favour of all finger-pickers, please may I request a still greater emphasis from you and your magazine on classical/ blues/jazz/ragtime? Looking forward to receiving many more great issues of GT. Brian Johnson The Chet style is a beautiful thing to behold and, as you know full well, has been the basis for so many other great players that followed – Tommy Emmanuel, John Knowles, Jerry Reed and Richard Smith among them. Chet even devised the CGP (Certified Guitar Player) award to honour a select few guitarists that have given a lifetime of ‘above brilliant’ service to music. Actually, perhaps a Fingerstyle Blues or Ragtime Guitar series might suit Stuart Ryan at some point. Again, all excellent ideas gratefully received.
I’m sure your magazine hardly ever gets anything wrong, but you seem to have got a bit confused about Chicago in the recent issue. Last month you trailed this feature with, ‘The stunning guitar of Terry Kath’ and in your listing at the beginning of the mag it states that Martin Cooper examines Chicago and guitarist Terry Kath. You illustrate the feature with a picture of Kath, but your examples are from the band’s rockballad 80s style, which came after Kath had died. I was looking forward to seeing what you had to say about Kath, so I was very disappointed with this feature. Kath’s style was not the same at all – have a listen to Chicago Transit Authority and hear the difference. Martin Fowkes Oh dear. And I’ve already used the ‘deliberate mistake’ excuse! Yes, despite my being a great fan of Chicago Transit Authority, especially tracks like I’m A Man and Twenty-Five Or Six To Four, we still managed to make a hash of describing the feature and captioning the wrong photo. No excuses, just an apology for hopefully unusual sloppiness – on our part, not on Martin Cooper’s. But you’re right: a full feature on the Terry Kath years in the band, before his untimely shooting accident, is now a must. I’ll get onto Martin to do a follow-up on Terry (who apparently really was one of Jimi Hendrix’s favourite players) as soon as possible.
Terry Kath of Chicago: a full feature soon!
A bit more acoustic blues and ragtime playing please
The volume knob refused to budge from zero!
Charlie: reading music tutor