The internet is awash with, among other things, great guitar related clips. YouTube is probably the best source and the fact that this stuff is free still blows my mind. As with everything, quality varies, and I have created a channel on YouTube which contains material I hope will be useful, informative and inspirational. It doesn’t seem that long ago I was watching Vinnie Moore on VHS, manically shuffling the tape back and forward in an attempt to work out how he pulled off some unfeasibly complex arpeggio. Of all the ‘mega teachers’ out there, Paul Gilbert is one of the best. So, until I manage to work out how to integrate my YouTube channel into this page, here’s a wee taster.

Again, there are obviously loads available. In about 1984 I subscribed to Guitarist magazine and collected about 40 magazines until, though some misplaced sense of ‘de-cluttering’, I threw the majority of them out. Bad Move. The magazine used to have a ‘solo analysis’ section, which was brilliant. For some reason, perhaps copyright related, they stopped including this feature which is a shame. If there’s one ‘type’ of practising that was responsible for personal improvement it was the learning, slowly and painfully, a lead guitar solo.

I’ll eventually get round to catergorising all the material I use, but it broadly falls into three categories: songbooks, course books (such as Rockschool and Trinity) and ‘transcription’ books, of which there is no shortage. My plan is to add a store to the site where you can get hold of some of this stuff through Amazon. Until such time, if there’s one book a base my teaching structure on, it’s ‘The Guitarist’s ABC of Music by John W. Duarte’. I still have the same book given to me in 1982.

As I’ve said elsewhere on the site, Scotland punches well above its weight with respect to music shops. Guitar Guitar, based out of Glasgow and Edinburgh, have to be among one of the best guitar stores in Europe and the guys at Park Music in Dunfermline deserve all the praise they get as being the among the nicest blokes ever to sell you a capo and buy you a pint afterwards. Remember that a guitar will often need ‘set up’, it may have been hanging on the store wall for months, or even years. Both the stores I’ve mentioned here will fine tune the guitar based on your preferences; action, string gauge, tremolo balance etc.

I get a lot of enquiries about this, possibly because so many students turn up with ‘their Uncles guitar that was left in the loft for a while’… or similar. In many cases the guitar is fine, and sometimes better than fine. More often than not there will be some maintenance required which is beyond the scope of me and my Swiss army knife. Typical issues include locked machine heads, ancient strings, free buzz, warped neck etc. I’ve recently met Bryan Drummond who has forgotten more about fixing this stuff than I’ll ever know. A good guitar tech is worth his weight in haggis suppers.

Other teachers
I only really teach in and around the Stirling area, though I do have some students that make the pilgrimage from as far afield as Fife. If you’ve stumbled across this site and you’re out-with my geographical sphere of influence, you might want to contact Neil Goodman who is a Glasgow based friend of mine. Nice guy and great teacher.

Park Music Dunfermline