About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Seven String Guitar Book

The 7-string guitar adventure continues. I've been messing around with the 7-string guitar for a couple weeks. I figured out a few things, but it quickly became apparent that I needed some direction. My teacher suggested Mel Bay's Complete 7-String Guitar Method. A quote from the introduction reads "[This book] is geared toward the intermediate to advanced student. Those who already have an understanding of scale and chord construction, and other basics of jazz guitar playing, will probably benefit most from this book." Perfect! That description sounds an awful lot like me.

This isn't a book you'll typically find at your local music store, so I ordered a used copy online. Returning from a late rehearsal, I found my new (to me) book waiting for me in the mailbox last night. I started working through it today, and it's just what I need to help me tackle this beast.

The book is organized into three sections: Scales, Arpeggios, and Chord Voicings. It's set up so that you can work through each section independently. I'm spending most of my time on the scales and chord voicings. I'll start working through the arpeggio section after I'm familiar with the major scale patterns.

The material in the book is both new and familiar. Let's take scales as an example. The 7-string guitar is tuned exactly like a 6-string guitar, with a low A string added. So really, the scales are all patterns that I already know, but there is another string that extends the low range. It won't be long before the extended scale patterns are ingrained – same with chords and arpeggios.

The chord section is written with the assumption that you already know 6-string jazz chords, so the author concentrates on chords that are unique to the 7-string guitar. The chord exercises are pretty simple. They are all written in the key of C, with the assumption that you'll learn to play them in all keys. As simple as the chord exercises are, it's thrilling to hear those low notes.

If you are a jazz guitarist exploring the 7-string guitar, I highly recommend Mel Bay's Complete 7-String Guitar Method.

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