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Amazing New Slap 'n' Tap Acoustic Guitarist

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 29, 2011 at 2:16 PM

We recently came across this video (see below) of then 15 year-old slap 'n' tap acoustic guitarist Ben Lapps playing Justin King's "Phunkdified" and just had to share it with y'all. Not only does the kid have amazing chops, he's got a sense of humor and a natural stage presence sure to help him gain broader recognition than similar stylists who never leave their bedrooms or YouTube.

Now a "veteran guitarist" at the ripe old age of 18, Lapps gigs in the greater Cincinnati area has two albums to his credit. To learn more about Ben, check out

Top 10 Guitar Albums of 2011

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 27, 2011 at 1:16 PM

As we say goodbye to 2011 and prepare to welcome in the new year, it's as good a time as any to look back at our favorite guitar moments of the past year. So without further ado, here are our favorite 10 guitar albums of 2011.

10. Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL Brian Setzer
Jazz-Grass at its best and Setzer's first instrumental record—a must-listen for guitar aficionados. (Brian Setzer guitar tab, lessons, and jam tracks)

9. Dust Bowl Joe Bonamassa
Bonamassa had such a golden touch this year that he could even turn a cover of Barbra Streisand's "Prisoner" into one of the best blues tracks of the year!  (Joe Bonamassa guitar tab)

8.  The Majestic Silver Strings Buddy Miller
With guitarists Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, and Greg Leisz handling six-string duties on this platter of Americana delight from Buddy Miller, it's got to be a top pick. More tasty lines than NYC's restaurant week.

7.  A Dramatic Turn of Events Dream Theater
On this 77-minute magnum opus from the reigning kings of prog-metal, guitarist John Petrucci shows once again why he's one of the best pickers on the planet. (John Petrucci video lessons)

6.  Even Things Up Pete Anderson
With tone to die for and some of the finest phrasing this side of Robben Ford, country-roots guitarist Anderson leaves no room for doubt that he's a bluesman at heart on this high-octane release.

5.  Anything But Time Matt Schofield
Featuring his organ trio lineup and recorded in New Orleans, Anything sees rising British blues superstar Schofield explore his more soulful side. (Matt Schofield video lessons)

4.  Black Country Communion 2 Black Country Communion
Not surprisingly, the Joe Bonamassa-led supergroup brings greater confidence, cohesion, and sense of identity on their sizzling sophomore release on what just may be the best rock guitar album of the year. (Joe Bonamassa video lessons)

3.  Sympathetic Resonance Arch/Matheos
Arguably the best prog-metal release of the year, this reunion of Fates Warning principals shows guitarist Jim Matheos and singer John Arch at the top of their respective games. (Fates Warning guitar tab)

2.  Bakin' @ the Potato! Mike Keneally Band
Rock, jazz, fusion, avant-garde, outside, inside, slap upside yo' head—the only thing that's certain about a Mike Keneally musical experience is that no one—not even Mike—knows what will happen next, and that's what makes it so much fun!

1.  Twisted Blues, Vol. 1 Oz Noy
Truly one of the most unique voices on the instrument in recent memory (and one of its scariest technicians), Noy's version of "blues" is what you might get if Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane jammed over reharmonized shuffles with The Meters as a backing band. Oh yeah!

Van Halen (Sort of) Announce 2012 Tour

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 27, 2011 at 9:08 AM

It's official? Van Halen has sort of announced they will be touring in 2012. In a series of promo video clips at their official web site (see long version below), a scroll along the bottom says, "Van Halen On Tour 2012 .. First Tickets On Sale January 10."

Van Halen guitar tab, video lessons, and jam tracks

To further stoke the rumor mill, the band recently released an image of a freight train with the date 2.7.12 on it (see below). Whether the date is read as February 7, 2012, or July 2, 2012, it could mark the release of the band's highly anticipated new album—the first with Roth since 1984—or perhaps the release date for the first single (perhaps a cover of "Train Kept A'Rollin'"?). Either way, it looks like we're finally going to get some new Van Halen music.


Van Halen guitar tab

Dweezil Zappa Offers History of Jimi Hendrix Fender Strat

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 22, 2011 at 8:58 AM

We just came across this sweet YouTube video (thanks, Michael Ross) of Dweezil Zappa hanging out at Norman's Rare Guitars, discussing the history of Jimi Hendrix's Fender Stratocaster, given to his father, Frank Zappa, at the Miami Pop Festival, in 1968. In the video, Dweezil explains the history of the guitar's various reconstructions and lists some of the guitar giants who have played it, from Frank Zappa to Steve Vai. Very cool clip .. check it out!

Jimi Hendrix guitar tab, video lessons, and jam tracks

New release from Hal Leonard: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention One Size Fits All official guitar tab book:

Frank Zappa guitar tab








Holiday App Alert: Christmas Favorites for Solo Jazz Guitar

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 19, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Cherry Lane and G-Men Productions are pleased to announce the release of their iPad app, Christmas Favorites for Solo Jazz Guitar. Using high-quality audio and animation, it teaches you how to play 16 holiday-themed guitar classics in the jazz style.

CL xmas appMore than just interactive sheet music and tablature, it opens with a music box effect and allows you to enjoy an interactive look at some facts about Christmas traditions all around the world while you enjoy listening to the guitar pieces you will learn with the app.

Arranged and performed by Paul Pappas, the songs presented in the app feature standard notation and tablature, with animation and audio. You can slow down each piece to 3/4 or 1/2 speed as well as choose start/stop loop points to continuously repeat any portion of the piece, at regular speed or slowed down.

Here are the 16 songs:

Angels We Have Heard on High
Away in a Manger
Deck the Halls
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Good King Wenceslas
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Jingle Bells
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Christmas Tree
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Silent Night
We Three Kings
The First Noel
What Child Is This?
We Wish You a Merry Christmas

To purchase Christmas Favorites for Solo Jazz Guitar for just $1.99, please visit the Apple App Store.


Q&A With Session Guitarist Doug Boduch (part 2)

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 19, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Cont. from previous blog post ...

What has been your favorite project?
I don't think I could pick one, but some of my favorites include the Robben Ford Signature Licks, Stevie Ray Vaughan Guitar Play-Along, Ozzy Osbourne Guitar Play-Along (always been a huge fan of Randy Rhoads), and a Guitar Play-Along of Rock Instrumentals, which included Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover". We also have a Chet Atkins Guitar Play-Along and an Yngwie Malmsteen Guitar Play-Along in the works that I'm really excited about.

What was the toughest one?
I'd have to say either the Robert Johnson Signature Licks or the Jazz Guitar Play-Along. The Robert Johnson material is just bizarre stuff to recreate, and I just don't play much jazz. All the fingerings feel foreign to my hands.

In general, the DVD shoots are the toughest days. There's no punching in on videos, so I need to be able to nail the full song, start to finish.

CastWhat's it been like doing sessions with a dislocated fret-hand thumb and a cast?
Luckily, I'm finishing up a series of Easy Guitar Play-Alongs, so it's a lot of simplified arrangements. I gigged last night and the only stuff I had to leave out of the set was the Tommy Emmanuel. Strangely, barre chords are super easy with the cast, as it distributes the pressure across the entire hand, as opposed to just the thumb. But I wouldn't recommend dislocating any of your fingers.

What advice would you offer to someone interested in doing this type of "scripted" session work?
You really have to have your reading chops in order—especially rhythms. To recreate the parts authentically, we really have to dig in and and analyze the transcription and work out fingerings and positions. It's really a great beta test of the transcription. We'll A/B our parts against the original and if something's not sounding right, we'll dig deeper and fix it. When you hear our demo recording and it sounds identical to the orginal track, you can be 100% sure you're getting the most accurate transcription available.

I feel very fortunate to have the gig with Hal Leonard. Every week is a new challenge. I'll go from recording classical guitar one week to Megadeth the next. I feel like my playing has become more versatile as I've been exposed to so many different styles. I've definitely learned a ton about dialing in tones from having to recreate all these classic signatures sounds. It's like being in the best cover band in the world!

You can learn more about Doug at his web site,, and you can follow him on Facebook here. To check out Doug's video lessons and video song lessons at, click here.


Q&A With Session Guitarist Doug Boduch (part 1)

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 19, 2011 at 9:43 AM

He's likely the most recorded session guitarist in Wisconsin, and even if you've never heard of him, if you've purchased a Hal Leonard instructional book in the past 10 years, you've almost certainly heard him play. Doug Boduch, one of our core instructors here at, has recorded nearly every guitar track on the 1,000-plus jam tracks at the site, not to mention countless audio CDs for our parent company, Hal Leonard Corporation. From B.B. King to Brad Paisley to Yngwie Malmsteen, Doug's our first call.

Doug Boduch lessonsDespite a freak roller-skiing accident that resulted in a dislocated thumb on his fret hand, Doug's still hitting the studio, but he took some time to talk to us about his rather unique studio gig, from how he got it to the biggest joys and challenges of copping the guitar parts of the greatest players on the planet.

Tell us about your background in guitar, and how you came to be the main HL session guitarist.
I started when I was 8, taking lessons from a nun in my grade school. I was learning to read notes and played classical style. A friend of mine then turned me on to KISS when I was 13 and that got me in to playing rock guitar. I got into a band at 14 and was playing clubs, doing the '80s hair metal thing. I remember playing on a Thursday night and coming in to school late with a note from my Mom saying, "Please excuse Doug from his first two classes, he was out late performing with his band". My folks let the band practice at the house. To say they supported me is a gross understatement.

I ended up touring the country with various bands and eventually found myself working in the Hal Leonard sales department answering phones and entering orders, while teaching a few students in the evenings. At the time, Hal Leonard had been contracting their audio production out to guys in New York and L.A., but were looking to move it closer to home. I was offered the chance on a freelance basis. They liked the quality of what I did and how quickly I got things done. It's been my main gig now for almost 13 years.

On average, how much time do you have in preproduction to learn the material, get tones, and so forth?
We generally do about one project per week. If it's an easier book, I can just do a quick read through and I'm ready to go. If it's Eric Johnson or Yngwie Malmsteen, that'll take some woodshedding. As far as tones, once I pick the right guitar, I can dial in a tone pretty quick. I'll get it in the ballpark and then do final tweaking in the mix.

What's the balance between learning a song and simply reading it?
For the most part, I'm reading everything. Since it's of utmost importance that my playing matches the chart, I can't rely on memory. I defintiely have a lot of sections memorized and might use the chart as a road map, but I couldn't play the full song without the paper.

Click here to continue reading ...


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