Guitar talk

Guitar lessons and sources.

Essential Listening: Doc Watson

Doc Watson is a very respected folk guitarist and singer. He flat picks old time and bluegrass tunes with lightning speed and he does Travis picking also. Travis picking and flat picking fiddle tunes are the two most popular styles in American folk music using the flat top acoustic guitar. The following two videos demonstrates the styles. The first one is Deep River Blues (Travis picking) and the second is Black Mountain Rag (flat picking). There is also a link to his biography below the videos.

A Biography of Doc Watson

Essential Listening: Muddy Waters

This is roots stuff. Muddy Waters is the father of electric blues. Along with Son House and Robert Johnson, they were Mississippi delta blues players that influenced Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Mike Bloomfield, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert Collins, Freddy King, B.B. King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and many other players that followed in their footsteps.

Essential Listening: Joe Walsh

Does anyone not like the guitar playing on Hotel California? I like Joe because he is fun to watch, he has a sense of humor, and he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. He seems like the guy next door, the goofy ordinary average guy that can play a mean guitar. I love his phrasing on the solo of Life’s Been Good To Me So Far. He’s never in a hurry. He makes a few notes say a lot. I like his older stuff too such as The Bomber and Funk 49.


Essential Listening: Merle Travis

Merle started the alternating thumb style made famous by Chet Atkins, Tommy Emmanuel, and many more. Most players refer to the style as “Travis picking.”



Essential Listening: Pete Townsend

Pete Townsend (The Who)

Pete started the rock opera or concept album trend with the release of Tommy. The recording Tommy, Quadrophenia, and Who’s Next are  truly great moments in rock history.



Essential Listening: Joscho Stephan

Joscho is one of the young gypsy jazz disciples from Django University.  My favorite song of his is Gypsy.



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.

Friday’s Freebies


Friday’s Freebies