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big band skool

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The purpose of ‘nails’ in fingerstyle

I say ‘nails’ because there are plenty of things that can substitute for real ones; thumb and finger picks, plastic or acrylic nails, nails made from ping pong balls or the fabric that comes with traditional nail repair kits. I have tried them all! But let’s be clear about the purpose of nails and why most of us don’t just use the flesh of our thumb and fingers. Incidentally, I am... read more

Keeping it in time

When I first started playing guitar, I never used a metronome or anything else to keep the beat. In fact, I never played with other musicians so it wasn’t necessarily an issue if you understand me. A few years later and I began to rehearse with other musicians and it was quite a shock, to realise that nothing I played was in time witht the beat. This was a whole new ball game and I had to change my... read more

The process of undoing

Perhaps there are certain habits that one picks up in life that will lead to one’s undoing. Well, that’s as maybe but what I wish to talk about here is having to UNDO certain ways of doing things on the guitar that have gone unnoticed…things of a muscular, physical nature. Perhaps they have gone on for a lifetime. And then one day… Well, that’s where I feel I am at in the... read more

guitar mods

I’ve just had a guitar back from CC Music in Glasgow that was in for some serious mod work – to make it sound and play better. I must say, they’ve done a good job and their suggestion to use Seymour Duncan pick ups as replacements has really made a difference. The guitar in question is an Epiphone Riviera – bought around 97/98 during the Brit Pop/Rock period. The fact is, I hardly... read more

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