The Wisdom of Guthrie Govan

The Wisdom of Guthrie Govan

While he can imitate the greats, his voice on the instrument is also distinct, blending virtuosic technique, great tone, incredible musicality and a healthy dose of humour. All of that has made him an in-demand clinician and very busy player, recording and touring with Asia, Dizzee Rascal, Steven Wilson, Hans Zimmer, and his project, The Aristocrats.

One does not travel this world without gaining experience and wisdom, which Guthrie has shared with many through the years. Without further ado, here is some of the knowledge he has passed on over the years.

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The Guitar and American Pop Culture

The Guitar and American Pop Culture

The guitar has been a game-changer in American popular culture, turning into both a musical powerhouse and a cultural icon. Its influence cuts across genres, decades, and social movements, weaving itself into the essence of American life. From the early days of folk and blues to the electrifying rise of rock 'n' roll and beyond, the guitar has been central in expressing the nation's values, struggles, and triumphs.
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The Guitar Building Recipe

The Guitar Building Recipe

Like good ingredients make a good meal, a great instrument is the sum of the parts. Much like ingredients, many factors can impact the flavor, differentiating between a Michelin-star meal and a dog’s lunch. How do woods shape the sound? What about the fretboard? Or the electronics?
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Iconic Instruments: Prince and the Cloud Guitar

Iconic Instruments: Prince and the Cloud Guitar

We’ve all seen Prince wield some very unique guitars, from the Love Symbol-shaped instrument he played during the Halftime Show at Superbowl XLI to the Hohner Mad Cats he’s been closely associated with (the one he uses while shredding to “My Guitar Gently Weeps” during a performance at the 2004 Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony).
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Making Sense of Odd Times

Making Sense of Odd Times

Back in 2000, when I was studying music at Carleton University, I had the good fortune to attend a masterclass with double bassist and jazz legend Dave Holland (known for his work with Gateway, Miles Davis, and his own ensembles). He discussed his approaches to improvisation and crafting lines, including the concept of Gamala Taki.
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Google, I want to learn guitar...

Google, I want to learn guitar...

If someone were to ask me where they should look for lessons on the Internet, these would be my top three suggestions. There are dozens more, each with its pros and cons, but these would be good places to start.
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Getting Modal Using Pentatonics

Getting Modal Using Pentatonics

The pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that takes notes from either a major or minor scale. If the A minor scale contains the notes A, B, C, D, E, F and G, the minor pentatonic includes the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th degrees of that scale (A, C, D, E, and G).
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Notes From The Rising Sun

Notes From The Rising Sun

To listen to Fujita is to hear someone deeply versed in the language of blues, jazz, and fusion. He can hang with the heaviest players while playing with a sound and feel reminiscent of Larry Carleton, Joe Pass, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. If that wasn’t enough, he also plays a mean slap guitar!
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The Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass - As Iconic As McCartney

The Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass - As Iconic As McCartney

McCartney also had the advantage of having the controls customized on the bass, changing the placement of the controls to accommodate a left-handed player. Höfner would send him an updated model in 1963, and the 1961 model would be kept as a backup.
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Keeping It Old School Here

Keeping It Old School Here

The world of content creation underwent a seismic shift on November 30, 2022, with the launch of Chat GPT. This date marked a pivotal moment, with individuals being able to harness the potential of text-based artificial intelligence. This also means that a computer, rather than a human, can now generate blog posts and other content.
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The Guitar Pairing of Lennon and Harrison

The Guitar Pairing of Lennon and Harrison

The one thing I think is often overlooked is the complementary nature between Lennon and Harrison‘s guitar playing. John was the textbook definition of a rhythm guitarist, while George could craft memorable licks and leads.
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Celebrating St. Patrick's Day On Guitar

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day On Guitar

For example, let's say you want to play the song "The Irish Rover" on guitar. The song uses a lot of open chords and has a distinctive rhythm that can be difficult to replicate in different keys. But by using a capo, you can easily change the key of the song to fit your voice or the sound you're trying to achieve.
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When A Musician Visits Nashville

When A Musician Visits Nashville

To walk into his store is a sight to behold. The walls are lined with instruments from various eras, from legacy brands like Fender and Gibson to instruments from uncommon makers such as Paoletti and Mervin Davis. The staff are also not shy about letting anyone try anything. Want to play the $20,000 1950s Stratocaster? Go ahead!
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If You Have To Ask...

If You Have To Ask...

Louis Armstrong once famously said, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” Some will say that talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Jazz has undergone several phases over the years, from big band to bebop to fusion to fuzak (though the less said about that one, the better). Many common elements exist in these styles that help define them as jazz.
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A Silent Night For Every Player

A Silent Night For Every Player

One of the most popular, if not the most popular, songs of the holiday season, Silent Night, originated in 1818 in the Austrian village of Oberndorf. Joseph Mohr, the local parish priest, approached Franz Xaver Gruber, a school teacher and organist, with a poem he had written. On Christmas Eve, faced with a malfunctioning organ, Gruber composed a simple melody to accompany Mohr's verses (with a guitar, no less! How fitting for this blog!). The song was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818 at the St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf
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Now, they want a piece of the paddle

Now, they want a piece of the paddle

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece for this blog called “Down That Stream Without A Paddle.”  It was a bit of a grim tale about how streaming is making it harder for musicians and songwriters to earn any decent amount of money from their work. Compared to radio and physical sales, the amounts the streamers (even the well-paying ones) are dishing out per spin almost seemed like a joke.
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When Three Is Better Than One

When Three Is Better Than One

Rather than the traditional bar used by lap and pedal steel players, he has three differing ball-ended slides on his fingers, one on his ring finger and two smaller ones on his index finger and thumb. He began working on a technique around 2014 when he was gifted a lap steel guitar.
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The Life and Times of Willie

The Life and Times of Willie

Austin’s Hippie scene was likely what Nelson needed to get his creativity going again. He went back to performing and writing, combining his songwriting style with elements of country, folk, jazz, and rock and roll into a new sound (creating the blueprint for what would be known as Outlaw Country).
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There’s no bad music

There’s no bad music

For one thing, it helps keep our ears and minds fresh. After listening to tons of guitar-based music, you do hit a saturation point where you do want to listen to something else. It can be possible to have too much of a good thing. Sometimes, a trip into another genre is all you need to clear your mind.
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Hold Your Position

Hold Your Position

Many, many years ago, while perusing the pages of a guitar magazine, there was an article with various pro players offering various tips to improve one’s playing. One that stood out for me was a tip from the great Steve Morse (of the Dixie Dregs and Deep Purple), who had a tip about soloing over changes.

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From East of Richmond

From East of Richmond

People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers. I don't want 6 tour buses, 15 tractor trailers and a jet. I don't want to play stadium shows, I don't want to be in the spotlight. I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression. These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they're being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung.
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How to get yourself an instrument just for you!

How to get yourself an instrument just for you!

Some may think though that this truly isn’t a custom instrument, to which I say poppycock! Some of the most iconic instruments, from Billy Sheehan’s original P-Bass, to Brent Mason’s famous three-pickup Telecaster, were all the result of a player taking an instrument and improving it to suit their needs.
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Down That Stream Without A Paddle

Down That Stream Without A Paddle

We love our streaming services (the Apple Musics and Spotifys of the world). They’re cheap and convenient ways to access vast libraries of music. For the artists though, cheap and convenient comes at a cost. 
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A Beginner’s Guide to Open D Tuning

A Beginner’s Guide to Open D Tuning

As promised at the end of that post, we would dive next into the world of Open D tuning, another favourite among many guitar players. Open D (and its variants of Open C and Open E) have been used by the likes of Derek Trucks, Joey Landreth, Stone Gossard, Neil Young and a plethora of other players.
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