A “capo”—short for capotasto, which means “principal fret” in Italian—is a device used to shorten the vibrating lengths of a guitar’s strings; when fitted behind a given fret, it stops the strings at that point, as if you were barring a finger across them, while creating a new “nut,” or “zero fret,” in the process freeing up all four fingers.
I love a great cover performance. Especially one that has a different take than the original, but remains recognizable. Sometimes I am more interested in listening to great cover than to the original! The artist took something that’s already familiar and added his or her own personality to it. Not only that, but the new performer is paying respect to another artist.
For 40 years, Pat Metheny’s musical path has continuously evolved, embracing acoustic, electronic and symphonic sounds, pitting him alongside disparate luminaries like David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Ornette Coleman, Steve Reich, Bruce Hornsby, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock.
Back in 2000, in Los Angeles’ Conga Room, as a guest of a Virgin Records publicist, I had my mind blown by my friend’s new client, singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur. When actress Rosanna Arquette came onstage for a duet on Arthur’s “Invisible Hands,” I was hooked.
In past lessons we’ve spruced up rhythm patterns by adding extra notes to chords, and by inserting bass lines and scale runs. This time around the subject is intervals, specifically thirds. Here we give you some practical examples of how to put thirds to work for you. In fact, thirds in particular are real workhorses, frequently used by guitarist, R&B, rock, country and blues.
Jerry Reed (1937–2008), known by many as Burt Reynolds’ truck-driving partner in crime in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, was also a highly accomplished and influential guitar picker. Let’s look at some of the technical and stylistic elements that made Reed a great player.
Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Delta blues wizard Robert Johnson recorded only 29 songs (plus 13 alternate takes, in two sessions) during his 27 years of life. They were cut when he wasn’t playing for tips on street corners, in juke joints or in front of barbershops and other commercial establishments.
What happens when you mix bluesy, Robert Johnson–style fingerpicking and tropical “Calypso” grooves, with repertoire consisting of spiritual hymns and sea shanties sung by a gruff-voiced, scat-singing, foot-stomping stonemason? You get the inimitable Joseph Spence (1910–1984)
On March 26, 2015, the guitar community lost a legend: progressive folk master and founding member of Pentangle, John Renbourn, a picker who literally did what he loved—playing and teaching—up until the end. Let’s pay our respects to Renbourn with a retrospective look at his influential solo output.
While Don McLean was recording “American Pie,” the eight-minute-plus song that brought him stardom in late 1971, his label, Media Arts Records, went under. Understandably, the situation put a damper on any great expectations McLean had for the song. “I wasn’t thinking of releasing or editing it,” he says today. “My expectations were that I would be looking for a record company.”