• Making use of Musical Cliches

    A cliché sounds like a bad thing. Something old, unoriginal and over used. However, like it or not, this describes pretty much all the music we play and listen to. Sometimes we listen to a new piece of music and find we don’t like it but it grows on us after hearing it a few times. If you hear a sound that is new to you, it takes you a little while to get used to it. John Coltrane said he wanted to play music without resorting to cliché, and if you listen to ‘A Love Supreme’ you will get an idea what he meant.

  • Orchestral Manoeuvres

    What makes a good ensemble? Surprisingly, ability to play well comes a fair way down the list...

  • Notation for Left Hand Fingering

    Most notes on the guitar can be played in several places.

    E is played open on the first string, but that is just one of five places you can play the note. In fact there are even more places if you include harmonics.

  • Left Hand Position, using the fourth finger

    You will notice that many guitar methods tell you to use your third (ring) finger for playing the third fret. I have found that you can keep your hand in a better position if you use your fourth (little) finger to play notes in the third fret, particularly on the first three strings.

  • Books - Further Reading

    There are a number of books which I consider invaluable. They have helped me form my own teaching method. Whilst they may not be so useful to younger students, more advanced players should consider them essential reading.

  • Nails

    Growing your nails can lead to great improvements in your sound. It also creates a number of complications and without care, your nails will make it harder to play guitar. Rough nails can also make it sound like you are scraping them down a blackboard.

  • Preparing, Planting and Striking

    Great technique is all about economy. Why move your fingers more than you have to? Why use muscles when you don't need to? This article concentrates on use of the right hand.

  • What are the most important skills for a musician to develop?

    There are a number of fundamental skills for a musician to master. Posture, listening and reading must be three of the most important. There are many other areas to consider but we will start by exploring these three areas.