This week I have been revisiting some pieces in various stages of arranging and ran through a couple as the update evolved. I also started with a very unusual jazz standard that I have been afraid of tackling after John Renbourn told me that he and Bert Jansch recorded it and were blasted by critics for playing jazz as folk guitar players. Some of you may be familiar with it.

You have probably heard that we are asking for help again as the site evolves and I am thrilled that this has given me a chance to reconnect with my old friend Richard Hoover, head honcho of the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. They have generously offered us 50 sets of their new line of guitar strings to give away to folks who respond to our survey. I spent a bit of time there this morning and expect to have some video for you next week. I have to say I was very impressed with the difference I felt and heard in the strings.

This week we brought out lesson on Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi, Breathe by Faith Hill, Neil Diamond’s Song Sung Blue, and a FOTW with Kevin where we explored transposing and capoing options when a song is in an unfriendly vocal key with Peaceful Easy Feeling.

Songs that I revisited this week included Last Train Home by Pat Metheny and Sylvia, which is finally starting to get close to comfortable. I have been working on extending Last Train Home by changing octaves for the melody but that is in the infancy stages, as you will see when I struggle through it. Hopefully you will get a kick out of it.

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Guitar lessons online from Totally Guitars!
Totally Guitars News Podcast

The Santa Cruz strings have been on my guitar for a week now and they sound and feel pretty much the same, not the usual week old sound that I am used to. I think that 30 some years of D’Addario history is now history. Today’s update started with a little blues based on Want You To Know, as I remember it from the second Hot Tuna album. My agenda today included talking about our May sale on Beatles lessons, some news about both IGCs this summer, and a mimi-lesson on modes. The talk about modes may clear up some things, but it may cloud things as well since I wanted to keep it to just a few minutes.

This week we added lessons on Cocaine, as made famous by Eric Clapton, Goodnight Elisabeth by Counting Crows, and after a few setbacks I finally finished the look at Al Stewart’s Tim Passages. Songs like that can get quite complicated when I consider what I want to include and what can be left out or considered later. The sax solo here was an example. But now it is time to move on and I played a piece I am thinking of doing a lesson on, The Earl Of Salisbury. It has been a while since a classical lesson was added so I hope to get to that next week. In any case, I hope you enjoy hearing it.

That was about the shape of the News today,

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Guitar lessons online from Totally Guitars!
Totally Guitars News Podcast

Last week I had a great catch up call with my old friend Richard Hoover, of the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. We caught up about old times and he told me about the string set they have developed, over quite a few years. It is a really interesting concept about balancing tension rather than worrying about string gauge. He sent me some samples and today’s update started off with me playing the strings I had just put on the guitar last night without really touching them until the camera was running. I have to say they felt and sounded quite different from the D’Addario EJ-17s I have played for a couple decades. I was pretty impressed and I will explore more in the next few hours. I improvised a little A Minor piece with them as I recall.

I apologize for not getting to an update last week but a few technical issues arose with the lesson I was working on and I had to address them. As it was part of a lesson on Al Stewart’s Time Passages was finished and posted early this week, with the rest to follow soon. The next part will be based on the type of stuff Dave Nachmanoff plays when he accompanies Al live nowadays.

Other recent new lessons included Those Magic Changes by Sha Na Na, Still by The Commodores, and a FOTW lesson as Sandy’s project Landslide continued.

Max brought us a couple lessons with a different take than most of what we have once again. It started last week with a theory lesson on Soloing Over Dominant chords, and followed this week with a classic jazz tune from Herbie Hancock, Cantaloupe Island. Both of these offer great insight into the inner workings of the guitar.

I just got some of the last video from IGC 2017 and took a moment to remind people that all the video from every year is available to anyone signing up for this year’s camp. We have room for about 5 more people so if you are thinking of joining us, please do it soon.

The last thoughts I had were about a couple of the recent uploads from the TG Community, Bob’s Jamming With Friends thread, John’s nice rendition of In My Life, and Craig’s double tracked Wonderful Tonight. For that one I offered suggestions on embellishing and smoothing out the melody, after congratulating him again for a job well done.

And, as usual, there was a bit of random playing as I enjoyed the new strings. I definitely encourage everybody to give them a try. Maybe we’ll even look into a TG discount at Santa Cruz Guitars, if a few people seem interested. I would also like to hear from anybody else who has tried them. Maybe we need to start a new thread on the Forum to trade thoughts and experiences with strings.

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