This past December I realized on my birthday that I’d been playing guitar for 35 years. Of course I know people who have played guitar or some other instrument longer than that, none the less it is a long time and it caused me to pause and reflect on music, playing the guitar and what has been a part of my life for most of my life.
The dream was originally as easy as sitting on the front porch on summer nights, listening to CCR on a small transistor radio and strumming a baseball bat pretending it was a guitar. From there I have to say that watching Roy Clark and Buck Owens on Hee Haw was a big early inspiration. The clincher however was Frampton Comes Alive. As a 12 year old I would fall asleep every night listening to that album and dreaming of playing a black Les Paul Custom one day with three pickups and red knobs and playing inspired solos night after night.
I was lucky to attend a private school that had a guitar class. The goal of the group was to learn enough chords to lead the school in songs at chapel services on Wednesdays. And so my first experience was extremely fortunate because the goal was to right away perform for other people. Additionally you didn’t have to be perfect or the best to perform. Instead it was like the Darlings on Andy Griffith, “Join in when you can and hang on!”.
As I look at many of the students that I’ve had over the years I have come to appreciate that what is missing in many is the outlet to just jam and play with experienced musicians. Instead there seems to be a belief that an individual must be at a fairly high level before they can play music with others, or there just aren’t many opportunities for them to play music with more experienced players. I recently saw this outstanding video by Victor Wooten which I’d like to share.
I have often thought of and taught music as a language. Victor really has some powerful insights as to how we learned our first language and I look forward to learning that way as well as helping others learn that way.
Today’s entry documents my complete submersion into Apple culture. No doubt my father-in-law is yelling down from above, “I told you so!”
This blog was started on my iPad while on a break at a gig, finished on my iMac, and had a final review on my iPhone while at another gig. Here is how Apple has made my music life easier.
Practice Log App, tuner, metronome, calendar, email and contacts, mileage log, time tracker and of course recorded music always with me.
All of my sheet music is now on the iPad. I don’t carry music books to gigs anymore. Provides music at the break, calendar to check and schedule gigs, etc. I also use project management tools such as ToDo and Corkulous to make sure that I get things done. Then there is the Amazing Slow Downer for use while practicing.
Recording Studio, Transcriber Software, Finale, Photoshop, etc.
Apps and Programs Here are some of the tools that I use.
PreSonus Studio One
Adobe Photoshop and Elements
The Amazing Slow Downer
February was a busy month for my website. I officially let the word out that my website had changed and I began blogging. I’ve setup pages for my students that contain transcriptions, worksheets, Berklee Phase I play-a-long tracks, etc. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve added the following jazz guitar transcriptions:
It Could Happen To You – Lenny Breau
Bermuda Bye Bye – Jim Hall
St. Thomas – Jim Hall
Country Poem – Pat Metheny
Don’t Forget – Pat Metheny
Just Like The Day – Pat Metheny
Unquity Road – Pat Metheny
Baubles Bangles and Beads – Wes Montgomery
Night and Day – Joe Pass
If – Bucky Pizzarelli
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me – Bucky & John Pizzarelli
Pick Yourself Up – Bucky & John Pizzarelli
Satin Doll – Johnny Smith
And I Love Her – George Van Eps
I Got Rhythm – George Van Eps
A Summer Place – George Van Eps
Naima – Jack Wilkins
In addition I’ve posted Stride Guitar arrangements by Guy Van Duser.
Chatanooga Choo Choo – Guy Van Duser
As Time Goes By – Guy Van Duser
Cheek to Cheek – Guy Van Duser
Finally I have started uploading some Rock Guitar transcriptions including a play-a-long of Black Magic Woman recorded in my new studio. More to come this month in Rock Guitar.
If you can’t see the transcription pages and you are currently a student of mine, contact me and I’ll let you know what the password is. If you are a former student, contact me as well as I’m considering opening up the website for all former students while I finish populating the library.
Last year my good friend Jerry Sims called me up and asked if I was ready to buy a gypsy jazz guitar. I replied very quickly with “No”. Jerry was not to be denied and before I knew it, I had a new gypsy jazz guitar, a new microphone to attach to it, a new amp, a pile of new books, a new band, a new photo shoot, and a page full of homework to keep me busy for the next 12 months. It has been a whirlwind to say the least but I’ve had a good time learning about the music of Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and other gypsy jazz artists.Of course all this work led to a new project and a new group. Swing 42 is the culmination of this work. You can see what this group is up to over at their website: http://www.swing42hotclub.com/ Of course I’m still playing my archtops and you can catch me on plenty of gigs in a more “traditional?” setting, but this gypsy thing is pretty fun…
This is the official website for Richard Maxwell. On these pages you can find information about me and my musical activities. There are pages with audio clips, photo albums and resources for students. If you are currently a student, send me a message and I will forward a password to you to access protected content.