The BeatBuddy: The First Guitar Pedal Drum Machine

If you’re like me, you love jamming along with a steady drum beat.  After all, something magical happens when a driving guitar riff locks in with a heavy back beat.  In that instance, the two instruments meld into one, and the groove is born.

And that, Jack, is where it’s at!

But finding a reliable drummer with a rocksteady sense of time under the age of 12 is no simple task!

Enter: The BeatBuddy: The World’s First Guitar Pedal Drum Machine.


The BeatBuddy: The World’s First Guitar Pedal Drum Machine

In 2013, musician David Packouz set out to build the world’s “first drum machine with the simplicity of a pedal.” With the aid of Indiegogo crowdsourcing, Mr. Packouz delivered one of the most innovative and accessible practice tools for guitarists to hit the market in the last two-decades.

Featuring over 200-songs covering 21-genres including blues, rock, country, and jazz, the BeatBuddy is as versatile as it is awesome. The drums sound ultra realistic, the time-signatures are plentiful (including 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, and 12/8 time) and the functions are incredibly easy to use.

In fact, I was able to jam along with the BeatBuddy within minutes of its unboxing because of its simple and intuitive design. Once a genre and a drumbeat are selected, the BeatBuddy provides a intro fill. From there, the first tap provides a drum fill, the second tap a second fill, and the third tap provides a third and final drum fill.

Pretty sweet right? Well, there’s more, so hold onto your guitar straps because it gets even better.

When held down, the BeatBuddy transitions to second ‘part’ with three separate and distinct drum fills!  I hope you didn’t drop the old six-string, but I totally understand it if you did because the implications are staggering indeed! With two parts, guitarists will have the ability to perform fully arranged songs in a variety of styles with multiple sections.

So kiss your drummer goodbye because the BeatBuddy is the most versatile, accessible, and realistic drum machine to hit the market in decades!

Without doubt, the BeatBuddy will make you a better guitarist, and I highly recommend it to all guitar students and music teachers.


Theta Music Trainer – Earn Your Musical Black Belt Faster and Easier Than Ever Before

Are you on the path towards earning your black belt at The Ultimate Rock Guitar Dojo for Kids? Well, Theta Music Trainer can make the journey towards musical mastery easier and more fun than ever before.

Product Description: Featuring 43-games covering sound, pitch, rhythm, scales, and more, Theta Music Trainer is a complete system for sharpening your ear and improving your command of music theory.

While the ear training market is chalk full of great websites and apps designed for music majors and professional musicians alike, Theta Music Trainer turns the routine into the extraordinary providing ear training games that are fast to learn, fun to play, and exceptional at developing your ear.


As a result, ear training is fun with Theta Music Trainer. The website features games like Parrot Phrase for learning melodies by ear, Flash Rhythms for improving timing, and Band Match for recognizing instrumentation.

Pros: While all 43 of the games are entertaining and effective, Channel Scramble, EQ Match, and Flash Effects were the real stars of the show. Each of the aforementioned games delivers the goods with realistic, high quality samples of actual musicians playing actual instruments. For example, level two of EQ Match features an acoustic guitar strumming the exact same measure of music on two different channels with similar EQ settings. The object of the game is to adjust the EQ settings on the first channel so it exactly matches the EQ settings on the target channel.

Sounds complicated, right? It’s actually incredibly simple. And that’s the genius of Theta Music Trainer. It takes complex subjects—like live mixing—and simplifies it to the extreme. In fact, after 10-minutes of playing EQ Match, I grabbed my Ibanez acoustic/electric guitar, plugged it into my amp, and instantly dialed up lush, balanced tones by ear, a feat I never managed to accomplish in the past.

Plus, Theta Music Trainer utilizes the Japanese-style ‘belt class’ to track progress, record scores, and display your achievements.

Cons: While Theta Music Trainer just might be the best ear training platform available online, it’s certainly not perfect. For instance, Parrot Phrase is slightly too challenging at the early stages. Designed as a straightforward ‘call and response’ game, the computer generates a short melody and the player’s object is to instantly play it back using the online guitar or keyboard. But unlike similar games—like Ear Master Pro’s melodic imitation—utilizing three or four tones at a time in a pedagogical manner, Parrot Phrase makes use of the entire major scale within the first two or three levels of play.

Parrot Phrase

Consequently, some of you may find Parrot Phrase a bit too challenging on the first few attempts.

Overall: Priced at $49 per year or $7.95 per month, Theta Music Trainer is the perfect ear training solution for anyone on the path towards musical mastery.  It’s simple, intuitive, and wicked good fun!

This entry was posted in Guitar Practice and tagged Ear Training on .


The Danelectro Honeytone N-10: Another Great Amp for Kids

If you’ve read this blog before, you know I’m a big fan of Danelectro.  And with good reason. Their products are playable, durable, and affordable too.  Furthermore, Danelectro’s amps and guitars are absolutely dripping with those sought after classic tones and vintage looks. That’s why I love them, and that’s why I know your kids will love them too.

The Pros:

While the Hodad DH-1 is Danelectro’s flagship min amp, the Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Guitar Mini Amp is probably its best value. In fact, you won’t find a better value under $20 anywhere. Period.

As for it’s vaunted durability, I’ve owned my Honeytone for 4-years, and it works as well, looks as good, and sounds as great as the first day I got it!

As for performance, this little amp packs a powerful punch.  The Honeytone is capable of crystal clear tones that chime like a bell, and it’s gut-busting overdrive is a spectacle to behold.  But most surprising of all is its volume.  This 9V battery driven amp is loud.  Actually, it’s really, really loud.  Luckily, the Honetyone comes stocked with a headphone jack, so you can plug in and practice to your heart’s content without disturbing anyone.

The Cons:

Most mini amps are designed to handle clean tones and overdriven tones, and that’s about it.  Few mini amp models–except the Hodad DH-1–come with effects of any kind.  So if you’re looking for reverb, tremolo, or echo, the Honeytone might not be for you.


For $20, you get a killer mini amp with a real leather strap, a belt-on clip, a 9V battery (you can also plug in and power it with 9V Power Adapter), and a surprisingly handy control settings chart to help you dial in the perfect tone.  (On a side note: Oh, how I wish the Hodad DH-1 came with a similar chart!!!)

All in all, the Honetone is an excellent starter amp. But if you a few extra dollars to spend, you may consider opting for the slightly more expensive Danelectro DH-1 Hodad .  It’s got all the same great features as the Honeytone, but it comes with slapback echo and tremolo effects.

Please Note: Brian Parham is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

This entry was posted in Gear and tagged gear review, honeytone, Mini Amp on .

The Danelectro Hodad DH1 Mini Amp: The Perfect Starter Amp for Kids


Choosing a guitar amp can be expensive and confusing.  With so many makes and models, its no wonder parents often forsake the electric guitar altogether and purchase an acoustic model instead.  But if your kid is dreaming of rocking out like Angus Young or Jack White, an acoustic guitar just isn’t going to get cut it.

That’s why the Danelectro Hodad DH1 Mini Amp is the perfect choice for kids. After all, it’s small, it’s durable, and it rocks.  Not too mention, it’s pretty dang affordable too.

Priced around $45, the Danelectro DH-1 Hodad Mini Amp features twin speakers, gain and tone controls, a vintage-style tremolo control, and an echo effect. Because it’s powered by a 9V battery–or the Hodad DH1 Power Supply, this amp is perfect for jamming on the run. And better yet, it’s about the size of a large sandwich, so the Hodad will fit comfortably into your backpack with tons of left over space for your books.

While the distortion isn’t as crunchy as some of the other mini amp models, and the volume isn’t as loud as its cousin–the Danelectro Honey Tone, the tremolo and echo effects make the Hodad the perfect amp for any of anyone looking to capture the rockabilly and surf tones of the fifties and sixties.

Click the link below to hear the Hodad in action.

Please Note: Brian Parham is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

This entry was posted in Gear and tagged gear, Hodad Dh 1, Mini Amp, practice amp on .

Five Tips to Choose Your First Guitar

Choosing your first guitar can be confusing, so I put together five tips to help you get the perfect fit.

1. Electric or Acoustic?: For children between the ages of six and ten, I recommend a nylon string acoustic guitar because they’re easier to play than their heavier steel stringed cousins, which tend to hurt sensitive fingers.

My students have had a lot of success with the Amigo AM15 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar. It’s easy to play, it sounds great, and it’s durable enough to survive the worst treatment any six-year-old can offer.

Another great acoustic guitar for kids is the Lucida LG-510-3/4 Student Classical Guitar, 3/4 Size. It’s got a larger body than the Amigo AM15 with a bigger, fuller sound.  Plus, it’s usually about $30 cheaper to boot. Nonetheless, both the Lucida and Amigo make ideal instruments for young guitarists.

2. Don’t Go for the Cheapest: Playing on bad guitar is may be the number one reason most kids quit playing, so purchase the best guitar you can comfortably afford. Keep in mind, you or your child will be playing guitar a little bit everyday for the life of the instrument. Plus, very cheap guitars often come with a host of problems that cost more to fix than the instrument itself.

3. Choose the Right Size: Use the following chart to help you perfect fit for your child.

Ages 4-6: 30″  (also known as 1/2 Sized Guitar)

Ages 6-9: 34″ (also known as 3/4 Sized Guitar)

Ages 9-12: 36″ Student Sized Guitar

Ages 12+: Full Sized Guitar

4. Get a Design you Like: If your son or daughter is a Hendrix or Page fan, get a Fender Standard Stratocaster. (PLEASE NOTE: For kids between 6 and 9-years-old looking to rock out on the electric guitar, you’ll wanna go with the Squier by Fender MINI Strat Electric Guitar, Black.) The Mexican made model costs about half that of its American made cousin, but the Standard series delivers on that classic Fender tone, playability and versatility. However, if you prefer Green Day’s more pop-orientated ballads, get yourself an affordable steel string. Just get the model most closely associated with the style of music you love.

If you decide to go electric, don’t forget to get an amp!  Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Guitar Mini Amp, Aqua is a steal.  It snarls, barks, and shouts.  It’s built to last and priced under $20!  Seriously, it’s the bees knees.

But if you’re willing to spend the extra cash, the Roland Micro Cube Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier | M-CUBE-GX with 8 DSP Effects, 8 COSM Amplifier Models, Chromatic Tuner, iOS i-Cube Link (Black) is the Rolls-Royce of portable amplifiers.  It comes loaded with 8-effects like chorus, flanger, and phaser.  And it’s designed to model 8-classic tube amps like acoustic simulator, classic stack, and an extreme setting.


If that’s not enough, you can also plug the Micro Cube GX into your iPhone and jam along with your favorite tunes.

5. Purchase a Tuner: Few things sound worse than an out of tune guitar, no matter how good you are. There are a ton of clip-on tuners available now, but I recommend the Snark SN-1 Tuner. It’s tough, it’s durable, and it’s affordable too.

Please Note: Brian Parham is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

This entry was posted in Gear, Tips & Tricks and tagged first guitar, guitar size, how to choose first guitar, kids guitar on .

Divide Your Practice Time for Better Results: Part 1 Ear Training and Scales

When you first start learning to play the guitar, it feels like your peering up at the snow covered peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro with naught but a dusty pair of Timberlands and a dream.

But fear not because I’m here to guide you up those vaunted slopes!

Although you can spend the rest of your life mastering a vast array of guitar techniques, there’s really only a handful of skills every successful guitarist needs to master. And those skills are: ear training, scales, chords, sight-reading, and repertoire.

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” – B.B. King

Ear Training: There are a handful of excellent resources online.  I personally use Ear Master Pro 6 everyday at the start of my practice sessions and with all of my students.  At $59.99, it comes stocked with over 3,000 hours of ear training lessons and covers everything from intervals (the distance between any two notes), chords, scales, and melodies.

Now if you’re a white belt, that may like drinking straight from the fire hose.  That’s why I also recommend Theta Music Trainer, a game based online ear training program.  It costs $7.95 a month, but it’s fun and engaging, especially for younger music students.

Additionally, Train Ear is an excellent and totally free online tool dedicated to teaching students how to identify intervals.  Mastering your intervals is a huge first step towards learning to play by ear.

After a five or ten minutes of ear training, move onto to the next practice module: scales.

Scales: The E Minor Pentatonic is the easiest and most useful scale in rock music.  As a former instructor once told me, “This is the scale you should learn when you first start playing the guitar, and this is the scale you’ll play until you quite playing the guitar.”

Sage advice indeed.  And as such, you should begin your guitar journey by mastering the pentatonic scale.  Practice it in the open position for a few minutes, see ex. 1.  Once you have the basic scale shape under your fingertips, you can begin adding some short licks–or musical phrases–into your practice regimen.

Ex. 1: The E Minor Pentatonic Scale in Open Position

E Minor Pentatonic

In part two of this two-part series, we’ll add chord progressions, sight reading, and repertoire to your practice sessions.  From there, you should be well on your way to the top of that mountain.

This entry was posted in Community and tagged guitar practice, practice schedule on .

Guitar Legend Eric Clapton Demonstrates Some of his Signature Soloing Techniques

In the 1960s, Cream took the rock world by storm.  With it’s driving blend of rock, blues, jazz, and psychedelics, Cream burst onto the scene with classic hits such as “Crossroads,” “Spoonful,” and “Sunshine of Your Love.”  Featuring the blistering guitar work of Eric Clapton, Cream sold over 15 million albums world wide.

During the following clip filmed in 1968, a young Clapton displays his signature vibrato, his acclaimed “woman tone,” his use of the wah-wah pedal, and a handful of the screaming blues runs that won him international fame during his time with Cream.

As one young fan infamously wrote, “Clapton is God.”  Well, click on the video below and judge for yourself.

This entry was posted in Media and tagged blues guitar, Cream, Eric Clapton on .

Fender’s New 3-D Printed Guitar

Is this the future of the electric guitar? If you haven’t heard of it yet, 3-D printing seems like something straight out of science fiction. But its real, its here, and Fender–one of the most iconic and well respected institutions in the music business–is currently developing two prototypes.

So what is 3-D printing?  Well, it’s the process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many successive thin layers of a material.

Click on the video below to watch Fender’s unique 3-D printed guitar prototypes in action.

This entry was posted in Media and tagged 3-D Guitar, Fender on .
Peter Gunn Poster

The “Peter Gunn” Blues

In this lesson, we’re going to learn a simple 12-bar blues based on the theme song of Peter Gunn, a hit detective show from the 1950s.  The original “Peter Gunn Theme,” composed by Henry Mancini, won an Emmy Award and two Grammys and has been covered by a number of jazz, blues, and rock musicians over the years.

If you’re a white belt level student and you’re unfamiliar with the 12-bar blues form, then this lesson is for you!

So what is the blues anyway?

The 12-bar blues was born in the Mississippi Delta and made famous by legendary players such as Robert Johnson, Son House, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. It’s noted for it’s emotive vocals, personal lyrics, and searing guitar leads. It’s hard to overestimate the influence that the blues has played in the history of popular music, but the blues form can be found in rock, jazz, r&b, bluegrass, and country music. In fact, nearly every rock guitar god–including Eric Clapton, Angus Young, and John Mayer–has spent a significant amount of time honing his or her blues chops.

Ex.1 is a 12-bar blues in the key of A.

12 Bar Blues in G

The form is based on the I, IV, and V chords in the key of A.  If this is confusing, don’t sweat it!  I’m going to do a series of posts on chord progressions in the future.  For now, simply memorize the form to this particular tune.  Notice how it stays on the A7 chord for four measures (or 16 beats).  Next, it moves to the D7 chord for two measure (or 8 beats). From there, it moves to the E7 chord for one measure (or 4 beats) followed by the D7 chord for one measure (or 4 beats) before returning home to the A7 chord for two measures (or 8 beats). Sounds complicated, but it’s actually incredibly simple.  And here at The Dojo, simplicity rules!

Click here to listen to the 12-bar blues form.

Now, onto the “Peter Gunn Blues.” It’s played on all open strings. The A7 chord is now the 5th string, the D7 chord is the 4th string, and the E7 chord is the 6th string.

Ex. 2 illustrates the open string roots.

Root Notes on Open Strings

Ex. 3 illustrates the main riff of the tune. Play it on the open A string.

Peter Gunn Theme - A String-page-001

Got it under your fingers yet?  Excellent! Now, simply transpose this riffs to the D and E string and you’re finished.

Click on the link below to see the entire tune in both standard notation and guitar tab.

Peter Gunn Blues

And finally, jam along with the song by clicking on the link below.

This entry was posted in Blues and tagged Blues Tabs, Peter Gunn on .

Five Practice Tips for Mastering the Guitar

No doubt about it, playing rock guitar is the epitome of cool.  There’s something about the screech and squeal of a Fender “Stratocaster” through an old tube amp or the low, throaty growl of a Gibson “Les Paul” through a Marshall stack that captures the imagination and thrills the soul.

But there are times when learning to play the guitar can be frustrating too.  That’s why I put together five practice tips to help you master the guitar.

1. Frequency: Practice everyday. Seriously, no excuses accepted! It’s far better to practice a little bit everyday than cramming all your practice time into one or two long session a week. So even when you’re dead tired or bogged down with homework, pick up your guitar and play. Five to ten minutes a day is an excellent starting point. Before you know it, you’ll be eagerly anticipating those small musical respites during the busiest of days.  And you’ll be a much better guitarist to boot!

2. Slow It Down: Most kids are enamored by speed. It’s only natural. They see videos of Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, or Stevie Ray Vaughan shredding the fretboard, and they subsequently connect speed with mastery.  I understand. I was the same way when I started learning the guitar, but I’m here tell you those players spent thousands of hours mastering the basics (like rhythm, pitch, expression, and a musical vocabulary) before they learned to play fast. I’m also here to tell you that few things sound worse than a half learned riff played slipshod at breakneck speeds.

So whatever your working on, slow it down!

When you’re learning a new riff or a tricky lick, start at 60 bpm. Clap out the rhythms.  Then play it on the guitar.  Once you can play it cleanly and effortlessly at 60 bpm, increase the tempo by two beats.  Rinse and repeat until you can play it at full speed. By following this process, you’ll  internalize the inner workings of music like rhythm, tension, and release.

Do this long enough and someday some kid might watch you on TV and mistake your speed for mastery.

3. Chunk It: Whenever you encounter a new piece of music, break it down into bite-sized chunks.  For example, let’s say you’re learning a 12-bar blues in the key of G.  Start with the hardest part first.  This is usually the turnaround found in the last measure.  Start their and don’t skimp over the hard stuff.  If the entire measure is still too difficult, split it in half and focus on the first two beats.  Turn on the metronome and play along at a comfortable tempo until you can play it five times in a row without a mistake.

Once you’ve tackled the turnaround, the rest of the tune will be a breeze.

4. Always Practice With a Metronome or a Backing Track: Practicing for 15-minutes with a metronome or a backing track is worth more than an hour of practice without.  Live by this rule, swear by it, and you’ll separate yourself from 95% of the other kids trying to learn to play guitar.

The reason is simple.  Music is all about rhythm.  Without rhythm, it’s just noise.  And nothing helps you develop a better sense of rhythm than playing with a metronome or a backing track. Personally, I prefer to play with a backing track, but I always carry a metronome on me.

For backing tracks, I recommend I Real Pro for Mac and OSX devices.  It costs around $25, but this backing track generator is worth every penny. If you don’t have a Mac or OSX device, youtube offers a wide selection of free backing tracks.

5. Listen, Listen, Listen: Spend some of your practice time each day listening to the masters of the guitar. Check out your favorite guitarist. Engulf yourself in his or her music. Then, find out who influenced them. Let’s take blues master Stevie Ray Vaughan as an example. Vaughan was a brilliant Texas blues rock guitarist. The guy was sheer force of nature on the guitar. Featuring virtuosic tremolo picking, blazing speeds, and soulful playing, Vaughan was the most influential guitarist from the 1980s.

But even he had his influences.

Vaughan developed his signature style by immersing himself in the sounds and stylings of Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, and Albert King.

Spending a little time each day listening to your favorite players–and their heroes–will cultivate your ear and help you develop your own signature sound.

This entry was posted in Community and tagged guitar mastery, guitar practice on .
The Allman Brothers Band - Dickey Betts

Five Guitarists Every Kid Should Listen To: #3 Dickey Betts

When it comes to legendary rock guitarists, most kids know about the big three: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards.

But there has been a pantheon of gifted and innovative guitarists contributing to the evolution of popular music over the years. From blazing bebop and country soloists to soulful blues and jazz players, here are the five most influential guitarists every kid should hear.

Dickey Betts

A master of the Gibson Les Paul, Forest Richard “Dickey” Betts is a founding member of one of rock’s greatest groups: The Allman Brothers Band.  Inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Betts is known for his thick, greasy tone, his thematic solos, and his total master of the major pentatonic scale.

Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, Betts began playing the ukelele at the age of five.  By the time Betts was 16, he was touring the Florida circuit in a series of rock bands. Betts combines an array of influences ranging from country, blues, and jazz into his own signature sound.

By 1969, Betts helped form one of rock’s most successful and influential groups, the Allman Brother’s Band. Standing toe-to-toe with his bandmate Duane Allman, Betts and Allman completely rewrote the establishes rules for how two rock guitarists could play together paving the way for the era of the Southern Rock bands.  Sadly, in 1971, the iconic slide guitarist Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24. Betts is still alive and touring with his group, Dickey Betts and Great Southern.

In the following clip, notice how Betts and slide guitarist Warren Hayes (who joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1987) work together to create dual harmonic lines and bounce melodic ideas back and forth like a free flowing conversation with an old friend.

This entry was posted in Artists, Rock and tagged dickey betts, rock guitarists on .

Children and the Benefits of Music Education

The Benefits of Music Education

Whether your passionate about learning Beethoven or Chuck Berry, music lessons are a powerful vehicle for self-expression, inspiration, and personal development.  Even if you are six or eighty-six years old, music lessons sharpen the mind, calm the spirit, and enhance creativity.

But did you know music lessons could actually make you smarter?

According to a 2004 study at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, psychology professor E. Glenn Schellenberg “found a small increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons.  Schellenberg provided nine months of piano and voice lessons to a dozen six-year-olds, drama lessons (to see if exposure to arts in general versus just music had an effect) to a second group of six-year-olds, and no lessons to a third group. The children’s IQs were tested before entering the first grade, then again before entering the second grade.”

Surprisingly, the children given music lessons over the school year tested an average of three IQ points higher than the other groups.

Music also improves spatial-temporal skills.  Researchers recently discovered a causal link between music and spatial intelligence.  Spatial intelligence is paramount to solving complex, multi-step problems like those commonly found in architecture, engineering, math, and computer science.

But most important of all, learning an instrument instills a sense of pride and develops self-confidence.  Lets face it: learning to sing or play an instrument is really hard!  It takes a lot of work, dedication, and practice.

However, it’s precisely the challenge of learning music that makes it worthwhile.  Mastering an instrument or the voice takes thousands of hours of practices, hundreds of hours of lessons, and a lifetime of dedication.

But if you can dedicate yourself to learning and mastering a musical instrument, you can learn and master anything at all.

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Five Guitarists Every Kid Should Listen To: #4 Albert Lee

When it comes to legendary rock guitarists, most kids know about the big three: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards. But there has been a pantheon of gifted and innovative guitarists contributing to the evolution of popular music over the years. From blazing bebop and country soloists to soulful blues and jazz players, here are the five most influential guitarists every kid should hear.

Albert “Mr. Telecaster” Lee 

Born in England in 1943, Lee began playing guitar at age seven.  As the sun of an amateur pianist, Lee was exposed to a variety of music as a chid.  But his earliest influences are Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Mr. Telecaster: Albert Lee

As a teenager, Lee played the local R&B and rock ‘n’ roll circuits.  And by 1959, he was playing Memphis soul style guitar for Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds.

But Lee’s true love was for country music.

Today, Lee is known for his breakneck speed and virtuosity, but his playing is also soulful and melodic. Over the course of his career, he was named Guitar Player’s “Best Country Guitarist” five times.

He’s worked with notable stars such as Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris, Tonny Emanuel, and Willie Nelson.

In fac, Lee joined Emmylou Harris’ group, “The Hot Band,” replacing Elvis Presley’s legendary guitarist James Burton.

Despite never achieving widespread commercial success, Lee is the consummate guitarist’s guitarist.  He’s influenced countless guitarists with his blazing open string licks, his banjo style phrasing, and his uncanny ability to replicate the pedal steel on the guitar

This entry was posted in Artists, Rock and tagged Albert Lee, Keith Richards, rock guitarists on .

Five Guitarists Every Kid Should Listen To: #5 Steve Cropper

When it comes to legendary rock guitarists, most kids know about the big three: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards.

A Young Steve Cropper

But there has been a pantheon of gifted and innovative guitarists contributing to the evolution of popular music over the years. From blazing bebop and country soloists to soulful blues and jazz players, here are the top five most influential guitarists every kid should hear.

Steve “The Colonel” Cropper

Born in Dora, Missouri, Steve Cropper began playing the guitar at age 10.  By the time he turned 15, he received his first mail order mail order guitar and was already gigging with the local musicians. Inspired by his heroes: Lowman Pauling, Chuck Berry, Chet Akins, and Jimmy Reed, Cropper formed the Royal Spades with fellow guitarist Charlie Freeman.

The Royal Spades, who eventually changed their name to Mar-Keys, recorded their first hit single, “Last Night,” in 1961, But Cropper is best known for his longtime session work on Stax Records.  Backing up artists like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and Johnnie Taylor, Cropper’s guitar playing is sparse and expressive, and his rhythm chops are legendary.

During his time with Stax Records, Cropper composed classic soul songs such as “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” “In the Midnight Hour,” and “Soul Man.” Blending the sweet sound of country with the raw emotion and hypnotic groove of American blues music, Cropper invented Memphis Soul style guitar. In 1966, Cropper was named the “greatest living guitarists” by Britain’s Mojo Magazine, and his music has influenced rock gods like Keith Richards and Jimi Hendrix.

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Lesson 1- Boogie Blues in G Major

Today, we’re going to look at an easy 12-bar boogie boogie blues in the key of G.  The boogie woogie originated in the 1920s by African-American piano players like Pintetop Smith.

John Lee Hooker’s “Boogie Chillen” and Eric Clapton’s “I’m Tore Down” are two iconic examples of the boogie woogie played on the guitar.

The boogie woogie is perfect for beginners because it’s based off of a couple of very easy-to-play shapes called “blues boxes.”

Ex. 1 Features the Root 5 and Root 6 boxes

Root 5 and Root 6 Blues Boxes

Ex. 2 Click here to view the guitar tab for this lesson.

Simple Boogie Blues in G

Ex 3. Click here to listen to the sound file.