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Hole Notes: Examining Paul McCartney’s “Two-Finger” Magic in “Blackbird”

The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” performed entirely by Paul McCartney using his Martin D-28, was released on the 1968 album The Beatles (commonly referred to as the White Album). From a guitar standpoint, the song’s roots and inspiration can be traced back to McCartney’s early experimentation with a well-known piece by J.S. Bach titled “Bourée in E Minor,” which he woodshedded in his youth.

Hole Notes: The Fingerstyle and Flat-Picking Passages of John Denver

John Denver began his career in folk groups in the Sixties and had chart success as a songwriter, but it was the sweet sounds of his Seventies solo records that made him a household name. Hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Annie’s Song” and “Rocky Mountain High” helped bring folk, pop and country to the commercial forefront that decade. Though he was often dismissed for his wholesome, clean-cut image, Denver was undeniably a stellar tunesmith and a fantastic fingerpicker.

Hole Notes: The Genius of Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins made countless recordings as a studio musician, producer and solo artist. Many of his recordings — particularly those of the artists he produced in Nashville, like Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers — laid the foundation for early rock and roll.

Hole Notes: The Unsung Acoustic Artistry of Nick Drake

The late British singer-songwriter/multi-intrumentalist Nick Drake was largely unknown until a 1999 car commercial featuring an acoustic-guitar-and-vocal song called "Pink Moon" hit the airwaves. As a result, almost 30 years after his death at age 26, Drake enjoyed a resurgence.

Hole Notes: The Bossa Nova Rhythms of Antonio Carlos Jobim

In the late Fifties, Brazilian guitarist/pianist/vocalist Antonio Carlos Jobim took his fascination with jazz harmony and the guitar compositions of Heitor Villa-Lobos, combined it with influences as varied as composers like Debussy, Chopin, Ravel and Rachmaninoff, and helped give birth to a whole new style: bossa nova. (Translated from Portuguese, bossa nova means the “new way of doing” something.) This fresh-sounding, über-groovy, guitar-centric music (typically played on a nylon-string acoustic, accompanying a vocalist) required fluid fingerstyle chops, flawless time feel, a command of seventh and extended/altered chords—what’s known as “upper-structure harmony”—and the ability to improvise.

Hole Notes: The Chordal Stylings of the Late Jeff Buckley

"Jeff Buckley release only one full-length studio album in his lifetime, 1994's Grace," writes Dale Turner, "but in the 15 years since his passing on May 29, 1997, his influence endures, often cited as an inspiration by artist like Radiohead, Chris Cornell, Muse, Coldplay and a host of newer acts."

Hole Notes: The Acoustic Guitar Technique of Steve Morse

This month in "Hole Notes," Musicians Institute instructor Dale Turner tries to crack Steve Morse's elusive acoustic code.

Hole Notes: The Chord and Rhythm Patterns of Django Reinhardt

In this month's "Hole Notes," Musician's Institute instructor Dale Turned takes a look at artistry of guitar great and inventor of "gypsy jazz," Django Reinhardt. Because his famed quintet, Hot Club of France, didn't have a percussionist, the rhythmic patterns and chord choices in Django's unique brand of jazz were of paramount importance.

Hole Notes: John Lennon's Acoustic Technique

This month's edition of "Hole Notes" feature Musicians Institute instructor Dale Turner taking a lot at the acoustic artistry of the great John Lennon.