How to Read Lead Sheets, Part 01: What Is a Leadsheet?

Lead Sheets are transcriptions of songs or tunes that contain the melody, harmony and the basic information required to play the piece; even if you haven't ever heard it before. Think of a lead sheet as an outline of instructions for how to play a song. They are loose guides on how to play something and typically leave many performance choices entirely up to the performer(s).

Lead sheets are incredible learning resources and can also be a lifeline on a gig if you don't know a bunch of Jazz standards by heart, yet.

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A New Flair: A Brief History of Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova was a new way of thinking. It was a new way of making music. Compositions such as “Chega de Saudade,” “Desafinado,” “Samba de Uma Nota Só,” and of course “Garôta de Ipanema” reflect this period perfectly with their lyrics that speak of the sea, sun, nightclubs, and women. Like most musical styles, bossa’s prominence was brief (1956-1965). The style branched out and influenced many other musical styles from avante-garde to pop music. Although the bossa nova movement lost its strength in the 1960s, the impression it made on music was everlasting.

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Personal Traits for the Aspiring Pro Guitarist

What do I mean by “Pro Guitarist?”

I mean you can sit in on any musical setting and feel comfortable and confident. You have professional gear. You know about the history of the guitar and of music in general. You don’t have a problem sight-reading sheet music and transposing songs for singers on the fly. You are ready for when things go wrong with your gear or with others’ gear at gigs. You show up early, knowing the music, dressed well and ready to play. After the gig, you stay late, shake hands and network. Then, you go home, take care of your gear and get to bed so you can wake up early and work on your music career. You follow through with your clients and crew to make sure everything went smoothly. All the while, you take care of yourself and your family. When it comes to finances, you have your ducks in a row. If someone calls you for a gig in an hour, you're ready to grab your ax and get to the venue looking good and ready to play.

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10 Tips for More Effective Guitar Practice Sessions

The most important thing that anyone aspiring to improve (at anything in life) needs to realize is that it takes work. Usually, it takes a lot of work. It can be a lot of fun work, but boy does it take a lot of work and time. If you take shortcuts, you will always end up with lesser results that you originally imagined. Do yourself a favor and commit to doing the work. 

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How Fernando Sor Helped to Elevate the Guitar's Role in the Music Community

Although the guitar’s origin dates back over 3000 years, its status as a serious musical instrument was questioned by the vast majority of studious musicians for centuries. It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the guitar’s role as a concert instrument started to rise. Respectable compositions for the instrument were sparse.

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Transcription: Old Folks, Wes Montgomery, as performed on the album "Old Folks"

Wes really knew how to develop an idea and say something. His signature right-hand thumb technique was a product of trying to be quiet while practicing at home. In following solo transcription of “Old Folks,” you will find great examples of use of the Melodic Minor (aka Jazz Minor) scale and octaves as he develops the solo in a fashion that is very much indicative of his mastery of the guitar.

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It's Guitar: The Inaugural Post

When you’re first starting your music career, you probably won’t have a path. You won’t exactly know the road ahead and you won’t know the time, stress, heartache and overwhelming joy and personal fulfillment that all potentially lay ahead.

That's why my main goal is to help you on your own journey. Maybe you can be inspired by my successes and learn from my failures. I want to help you not only develop your musical skills, but I want to help you set goals and develop a plan so you can try to fulfill your potential.

Good thing we are all gifted with enough time to accomplish everything we want to in life.

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