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Guitar Techniques - - TALK BACK -


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. my­ 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. mu­s­i­ 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!


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

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