Archive for March, 2011

Book Review: Six String Nation

Posted by Brian on 29th March 2011 in Book Review, Guitar, Review, The Instrument

Back in December, I wrote a post on the Six String Nation Guitar. A guitar that was built using Canadian historical and cultural artifacts.

Shortly after I wrote that post, I was given the Six String Nation book written by Jowi Taylor, who first conceived the idea of the Six String Nation Guitar.

The book is basically a history of the guitar, which has been nicknamed “Voyageur”.

Taylor starts with the initial concept and takes us through the collection of materials and construction of the instrument, to its performance debut, and beyond to its appearances at various music festivals and other events. There are also a number of short pieces throughout the book featuring various people who were involved in the creation of the instrument and stories of how various artifacts from different regions came to be  part of the instrument.

The book is well written and interesting, but what really struck me was the photography. One of the features of the Six String Nation project is that when the guitar is at a public event, a photographer is available to take pictures of different people holding the guitar. The photos are all taken with the same white backdrop, but the artistry of the photos is quite striking. There are also lots of photos of the guitar being played both on stage and off, by a number of Canadian performers.

So if you’re looking for a gift for that special guitar-playing someone, this just may be the ticket.

Ordering information can be found on the Six String Nation Website.
(Note: I have no affiliation with the book, its author, or its publisher.)



Quote, Unquote.

Posted by Brian on 23rd March 2011 in Guitar, Guitarists, Practice, The Instrument

A selection of favourite guitar quotes:

“A guitar is something you can hold and love and it’s never going to bug you. But here’s the secret about the guitar — it’s defiant. It will never let you conquer it. The more you get involved with it, the more you realize how little you know.”
Les Paul

“I got my first guitar when i was about nine years old. It took me five years to learn how to tune it but it was easy from there on.”
—The Edge

“Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re gonna be rewarded.”
— Jimi Hendrix

“No matter how long you play guitar, there’s always something else to learn.”
— Tom Petty

“About 10 years ago I knew three chords on the guitar. Now, in 1982, I know three chords on the guitar.”
— Freddie Mercury

“I’d think learning to play the guitar would be very confusing for sighted people.”
— Doc Watson

“I began to learn a lot of chords and rhythms. It was a bit boring at the time but came in very handy later on.”
— Alvin Lee

“I can’t say I’ve really mastered the instrument but I’m able to get it to where it speaks for me.”
— Dave Mason

“I’m really very embarrassed about my guitar playing, in one way, because it’s very poor. I can never move but I can make a guitar speak.”
— John Lennon

“The guitar is the easiest instrument to play and the hardest to play well.”
— Andres Segovia

“I wanted to learn how to do everything a person could do on a guitar. Of course, that was impossible.”
— David Bromberg

“My chosen instrument is guitar and, fortunately, I’m able to muddle through that. I can play guitar to the point where I can express myself artistically.”
— Joe Perry

“The thing about guitar players is we’re all like a brotherhood or sisterhood. We don’t care if you’re great, good, bad, in between or whatever. As long as you love it, then we’re all going to help each other.”
— Tommy Emmanuel

“Because of its low cost, ease of playing, and quick learning curve, you should seriously consider whether the air guitar is the instrument for you.”
— Larry Sanders

“Pain or romance. That’s what I do with the guitar. I don’t do scales. I either make it sound like it’s in pain or in love.
Dick Dale

“I have always felt — from the very first day that I picked up the guitar — that this journey was never going to end.”
— Steve Vai

“There’s so much that can be done on the guitar. And that’s what is so good about the guitar — everyone can really enjoy themselves on it and have a good time, which is what it’s all about. Right?”
— Jimmy Page

“If something is too hard to do, then it’s not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your shortwave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we’ll go inside and watch TV.”
— Homer Simpson

Video of the Month: Macyn Taylor

Posted by Brian on 14th March 2011 in Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitarists, Video of the Month

Macyn Taylor is an up-and-coming young guitarist who hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Biographical information is sketchy, but I’m pretty sure that she’s not more than seventeen years old. Despite her youth, she is a brilliant fingerstyle guitarist who is studying guitar at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

This is her version of Simon Fox’s “The Fisherman”

Macyn Taylor’s website:

Macyn Taylor‘s MySpace page:

Macyn Taylor‘s YouTube channel:

UWM guitar students’ YouTube Channel:

Canadian Guitarists You Should Know About: Bob Evans

Posted by Brian on 10th March 2011 in Canadian Guitarists, Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitarists

“Bob Evans is not a well known restaurant chain. Well, ok, technically it is. But THIS Bob Evans is the award winning, Canadian finger-style guitarist.”

intro on Bob Evans’ website

In fact, this Bob Evans has a whole page on his website dedicated to over forty of the Bob Evanses that he is not. This Bob Evans is the only Canadian Guitarist not named Don Ross to ever win the U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship (2003) and two of his albums have won “Outstanding Instrumental Album” at the Western Canadian Music Awards and a third was nominated. And despite his instrumental prowess, this Bob Evans is not afraid to open his mouth and sing.

This Bob Evans – and this is one of the things I like most – provides free transcriptions to a number of his tunes and arrangements on his website. And, I’ve got tickets to see this Bob Evans when he plays at the Earl of Whitchurch Pub in Stouffville on May 1. (You can get your tickets through – Note: I have no commercial interest in this, or any other, Bob Evans.)

Deep River Blues (Delmore Brothers):

The Things We Said Today (Lennon/McCartney):

On the Tip of the Tongue:

Bob Evans’ website:

Bob Evans’ YouTube channel:

So, What Are You Going To Play?

Posted by Brian on 1st March 2011 in Guitar, Memorabilia, Performing

Here’s the scenario: You’re at someone’s house and you notice a guitar hanging on the wall. They say, “Oh, do you play? Play something.” What are you going to play?

Its a question that my guitar teacher asked me a long, long time ago and, eventually,  it profoundly affected my approach to the guitar and continues to affect the way I teach guitar.

At the time, I launched into “Takin’ Care of Business”. After a few bars my teacher asked, “Is that it?”

“I guess.”
“Are you going to sing?”
“No.” (with a hint of “duh” in my voice.)
“How long do you think that will hold someone’s attention?”
“I dunno.”

From there, he started to teach me how to find a melody within a chord progression and play melody and accompaniment simultaneously. It would be years before I fully appreciated what my teacher was trying to do (I still had rockstar aspirations), but eventually my first love would be playing fingerstyle guitar.

Anyways, today, if asked to play something I would probably launch into “Remembering Linda” by Mike Christiansen or “Village Dance” by Ritchie Blackmore. Both good tunes in standard tuning that I can play with minimal warm-up.

So, what would you play?



Edit (March 2, 2011): This posting started out as a thread that I started on which I later realized might make a good blog post. It generated a fair bit of response, which you can read here.