Guitar talk

Guitar lessons and sources.

Essential Listening: Chris Smithers

I discovered Chris at The Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas. I was sitting far away in the beginning. As I was watching him, I kept hearing drums. I thought he must have a drum machine. I walked up to the front of the stage and the drums I heard were his feet tapping and shuffling on an old board with a mic pointed at it. Besides playing a mean board with his feet, he’s a great song writer, singer and player. He has a down south bluesy style


Essential Listening: Django Reinhardt

Django is the man! He is the father of jazz guitar. Books have been written about the gypsy jazz guitarist. His left hand was terribly maimed in a fire in the wagon of his gypsy caravan. He overcame the handicap to become the most influential jazz guitarist of all time. He unknowingly created a school of virtuoso disciples. Visit Hot Club Radio  and you’ll see what I mean. (Django made his mark playing in the Quintette of the  Hot Club of France. Anytime you see the two words ‘Hot Club’ in conjunction with jazz and swing it is music in the style of Django and Stephane Grappelli). A few of my favorites songs are Lime House Blues, Tears, Swing 42, Oriental Shuffle and Nuages.

Essential Listening: Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed

Jerry is the daddy of chicken pickin’ guitar. Funny, funky country. He has a great since of humor. My favorites are Amos Moses and Alabama Jubilee.

Essential Listening: Joe Pass

Joe Pass is one of the most respected and emulated of  all solo jazz guitarists. He also has an instructional video that is great for learning solo jazz guitar.

Essential Listening: Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)

Jimmy Page (Led Zepplin)

Is there anyone in this galaxy that hasn’t heard Stairway to Heaven? The thing that impressed me most about Jimmy was his ability to get different sounds on his guitars in the studio. He makes the guitar sound like other instruments and has a large variety of sounds, tones, and timbre. He also does a great job using altered tunings as heard on The Rain Song, Kashmere, Black Mountain Side and Going To California. My favorite songs are The Song Remains the Same and The Rain Song.

Essential Listening: Mike Oldfield

Tubular Bells came out in 1973. It was a concept album. The songs segued from one song to another. In 1992, he released Tubular Bells 2 which were the same tunes with the newest technology. I love this recording. Not just the guitars but everything about it.

The concert is on you tube in it’s entirety! This is my favorite concert on Youtube!

Essential Listening: Steve Morse

Rock, Classical, Jazz, Celtic, Swing, Bluegrass at the speed of light, you name it, he does it. Steve is from Mars. He has to be from another planet. My favorites are Verde Grande and Highland Wedding.


Essential Listening: Joe Maphis

Joe Maphis

Fire on the Strings! This guy could play fast, fast, fast, and in the days of Black Diamond strings as big as power lines (no Super Slinkys in 1960). How did he do that?

Essential Listening: Phil Keaggy

Phil Keaggy is as good as they get. Whether he’s rocking out on a Les Paul with his band or standing on stage by himself with an acoustic guitar he is amazing in either setting. Phil isn’t known to the general population because he plays primarily at Christian venues. He has been recording and touring for decades. My favorite recording of his is The Master and the Musician.

Essential Listening: Steve Kaufman


I had the pleasure to see Steve at a bluegrass jam recently. If you like flatpickin’ old time and bluegrass fiddle tunes on guitar then you’ll love Steve’s playing. He is very good at what he does. He also has tons of  instructional books. I have his Four Hour Bluegrass Jam book/CD. It is a great book.