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Noted Jazz Guitar Instructor Jack Grassel Now Accepting Students For Lessons Via Skype

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 29, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Jazz guitarist and renowned instructor/author Jack Grassel has announced that he is now accepting students with moderate to professional skill levels for private online lessons live via Skype. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection, a microphone, a webcam, and your guitar.

In the interest of full disclosure, I studied with Jack for two years. And as a former student, I can attest not only to his amazing depth of musical knowledge and understanding and downright jaw-dropping technique but also to his utmost professionalism. You will get your money's worth—and then some!

To inquire about private Skype lessons with Jack, please contact him via email at:

For a taste of Jack's talents, check out his video guitar lessons here at And if you decide to contact him about lessons, tell him Mike at sent you.


Foo Fighters Return! New Album in 2011

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 28, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Foo Fighters guitar tabAfter a 2-1/2 year hiatus, there will be new rock 'n' Grohl hoochie Foo in 2011! According to BBC Radio 1, the Foo Fighters will release a new album next year, featuring a guest appearance from Grohl's ex-Nirvana battery mate Krist Novoselic, and with Nevermind producer Butch Vig at the controls.

Download Foo Fighters guitar tab, video lessons, and jam tracks

"The last month and a half we've been recording in my garage, totally old school analog," Grohl told Radio 1. "We're seven song in, with five or six more we're gonna do."

The band's frontman later described the new material as "their heaviest yet," a phrase typically reserved for metal bands, but used here, and with Vig helming the project, we could be in store for a Nevermind-style platter of bleeding, raw rock 'n' roll."

Additionally, the Foo Fighters will play the Milton Keynes Bowl, in Buckinghamshire, England, on July 2-3, with Biffy Clyro, Death Cab For Cutie, and Jimmy Eat World tapped as opening acts.

Finally, Grohl announced that they're filming the whole experience. "Basically 2011 you're not gonna be able to get us out of your hair, that's what we're planning. I'm excited."

Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 10-26-2010

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 27, 2010 at 8:35 AM

It's one of the great clichés of the rock guitar solo: the adrenaline-fueled ascending crescendo. Typically, it's achieved with gobs of gain applied to a speedy three-notes-per-string sequence (as in Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again"), or perhaps a fiery pentatonic phrase (like Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer"). But leave it to one of the most inventive barn-burning shredders of the 21st century, John 5, to offer up a different take on it.

John 5 guitar tabs

This week's lick, which John showed to me in a lesson a few years ago, utilizes two common country guitar devices: forward rolls and open strings. Set in E major, it's an incredibly fast—and easy—way to climb three octaves in almost no time at all. Each beat is its own phrase, starting with an open string and hammering onto the subsequent note, following that with the next diatonic 3rd, and then ending on the next open string. You may notice that the open D and G strings do not belong to the key of E major, but those two strings represent the dominant 7th and minor 3rd, respectively, and their inclusion gives the lick just the right dose of bluesy tension heard in most great country licks and solos.

The video below shows the lick played fingerstyle. You can also play it with hybrid picking, using your pick for the lower two strings of each beat and snapping the final open string with your middle finger. Also, you may—and probably should—choose to end the lick with a fretted, staccato high E note on the 12th fret. One of my favorite options is to let my index finger, which is fretting the 12-fret B note in the fourth beat, to lightly touch the open E, to sound the natural harmonic. Take some time to explore your own variations.

For more, be sure to check out our online video lessons with John 5!

Lick of the Week John 5

Iron Maiden's "The Trooper" - The Bossa Nova Version

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 26, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Guitarist Andy Rehfeldt has given Iron Maiden a Brazilian ... no, not that kind. From the man who brought us the smooth jazz version of "Enter Sandman," we get the bossa nova take on "The Trooper." Words cannot describe, so here it is:

Download Iron Maiden guitar tab, video lessons, and jam tracks

Van Halen - 80 Rare and Unreleased Tracks Online

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Van Halen guitar tabWe recently reported on the possibility of a 2011 Van Halen tour, and there is speculation that a new album may be released early next year, too. But until then, you can get your VH fix by checking out the 80 rare and unreleased tracks—including 25 from a 2008 concert—posted by Chris Gossett, who runs the web site devoted to the band.

Download Van Halen guitar tabs, video lessons, and jam tracks

Highlights from this impressive library include a 1975 cover of Led Zeppelin's "Trampled Under Foot,"  a 1977 live cover of ZZ Top's "Chevrolet," and perhaps most interesting, a song called "Iwo Jima" performed by Roger Waters with Eddie Van Halen on guitar, doing his best David Gilmour-style work:


Sony (Mostly) Retires the Cassette Walkman

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 25, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Sony WalkmanWho here besides me remembers popping an audio cassette into your Sony Walkman and furiously manipulating the Play and Rewind buttons over and over again to learn that killer Yngwie lick? Yeah, well, say goodbye to that era (if you haven't already).

s the world turns to increasingly futuristic means of accessing music on the go, we say goodbye to an old friend. Sony announced it has halted the Japanese manufacture and distribution of the cassette Walkman. The company will, however, continue production in China, to service users (a group comprising primarily the elderly) in the U.S. and Europe.

The Walkman, which was the world's first affordable portable music player, was first released on July 1, 1979, in Japan. Over the next 30 years, Sony sold some 220 million units. But with the advent first of the portable CD player, and then with the iPod and other MP3 players, the cassette Walkman has, like the rotary phone, the typewriter, and even rabbit ears, become the anachronistic butt of tech jokes.

Goodbye old friend!


Preview of New Eric Johnson Album "Up Close"

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 25, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Eric Johnson guitar tabWhat? Is it a blue moon already? Austin-based guitar hero Eric Johnson will release his new album, Up Close, on December 7. The album—his first record since 2005's Bloom—features 15 tunes and includes guest appearances from Sonny Landreth, Steve Miller, Jimmie Vaughan, and Jonny Lang, and GuitarInstructor was lucky enough to hear it this past weekend!

Download official Eric Johnson guitar tabs and video lessons.

For his latest effort, Johnson says he turned to spontaneity for inspiration—an inspired move in itself, given his well-earned reputation as a perfectionist. The album opens with the first of three brief musical interludes, "Awaken," which is subtly Indian-sounding, with sitar-like drones chiming in the background. The uptempo instrumental "Fatdaddy" is a ZZ Top-influenced rocker that fits squarely into the EJ repertoire.

Album highlights include:

  • the slow blues track "Texas," featuring Steve Miller on vocals and with fellow guest Jimmie Vaughan's stellar, raw blues lines playing foil to Johnson's more polished approach.
  • the autobiographical "Austin"—in which Johnson tells the story of growing up in the Texas capital and watching his city change over the years—features Jonny Lang on vocals and, a bit oddly, a Jason Becker-style neoclassical arpeggio sequence that serves as an interlude to the guitar solo.
  • "On the Way" is a fun, upbeat Chet Atkins-style country instrumental, the roots of which can be heard on Johnson's "Live in Anaheim" DVD.
  • the moderate ballad "Arithmetic," which actually opens with a rapid-fire, cascading descent that I think I'll be spending some time learning in the near future.
  • the instrumental "Vortexan," with its Queens of the Stone Age-style main riff is vintage EJ.

Finally, Sonny Landreth, who with his own violin-like tone and similar phrasing approach has been called the  Eric Johnson of slide guitar, lends his finely tuned sense for all the right notes and his incredible grasp of dynamics to the closing piano ballad "Your Book."

Johnson recently wrapped up the first leg of the acoustic Guitar Masters tour, also featuring Andy McKee and Peppino D'Agostino. He next heads out for Experience Hendrix dates, beginning Tuesday, October 26 in Pittsburgh, PA, and wrapping up on Saturday, November 20, in Indianapolis, IN. He'll kick off the new year with a string of California dates for the Guitar Masters tour.

For all the latest news and tour info, visit


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