Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | February 18, 2018

Your at the Crossroads

Students generally come along to me with a idea in mind of the the type of guitar music they want to play. Of course that is not always the case with younger students but they soon develop an idea of the direction they want to take.

They may want to be able to play along with the rhythm of the song and spend their first learning period getting a handle on playing chords and their construction and composition. Others are wanting to be more upfront by leading the melody of the music and learn the components of lead guitar.

Eventually all will come to the “Crossroads” of guitar learning where lead guitar and rhythm guitar meet. Many pieces are designed to be played in both at this crossroads and this is just one of them.

Crossroads is a classic piece written by Robert Johnson in 1936 and displays this “crossroad” where lead and rhythm intersect to bring the piece to life. This is classic blues piece using syncopated notes to give it a real blues feel  and I’m sure that you will enjoy learning no matter what level your learning is at.

Get a feel for the man with some history courtesy of Wikipedia and check out the videos, which show how this piece can be played in different ways.


Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy and poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend. One Faustian myth says that he sold his soul to the devil at a local crossroads of Mississippi highways to achieve success. As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, Johnson had little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime.

After the reissue of his recordings in 1961, on the LP King of the Delta Blues Singers, his work reached a wider audience. Johnson is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly of the Mississippi Delta blues style. He is credited by many rock musicians as an important influence; the blues and rock musician Eric Clapton has called Johnson “the most important blues singer that ever lived.”

Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its first induction ceremony, in 1986, as an early influence on rock and roll. In 2003, David Fricke ranked Johnson fifth in Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | January 26, 2018

Heart shaped box

Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana. It’s a classic rock song from 1993 from a band that was only around from 1988 to 1994 but since that time has become one of the best selling rock bands of all time selling over 75 million records.

Formed by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990. Despite releasing only three full-length studio albums in their seven-year career, Nirvana has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and important alternative bands in history. Though the band dissolved in 1994 after the death of Cobain, their music maintains a popular following and continues to influence modern rock and roll culture…. Wikipedia

I admit I have no idea what the lyrics mean and they have been open to interpretation for years, so your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the fact that Kurt Cobain once said that he writes the lyrics minutes before recording and they may have nothing to do with the title, has something to do with the lyric mystery.

This piece can be learnt by students around grade 2 standard. It includes a range of skills including notes, arpeggios, bends and power chords, which makes it not only a great piece of music but introduces  a number of factors into the one piece.

I have put together a snippet of the song so you you can hear what can be achieved at this level and make sure you check out the second video for the Nirvana original and maybe you can work out the lyrics 🙂


Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | January 17, 2018

Stretch your New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year

Yes I know it’s a bit late but there is still time for New Year’s resolutions to be made and kept.

I often talk to students about the importance of warming up with scales etc, but thinking about it there is something you should do even before that. Stretching your arms and fingers before starting practice should be everyone’s New Year’s Resolution.

Searching around the internet I found a great source of simple stretches you can do before starting your practice session. So think like an athlete; stretch and warm up before you get down to the serious business.

Here’s a few ideas I like courtesy of “Seymour Duncan Pickups”.
Give them a try and see if you can make them one of your New Year’s Resolutions.

  1. Place your palms together in front of your chest. Push your hands downward as far as you can, keeping your palms flat together. You should feel the stretch on the inside of your wrists. Hold for 10 seconds.
  2. While holding this pose, slowly rotate your wrists so your fingertips point downward. Rotate as far as you can before it starts to hurt, keeping your palms together. This stretches the tendons along the sides of your wrists. Hold for another 10 seconds.
  3. Use the palm of one hand to bend back the thumb of the other hand. Push gently until you feel a stretch in your thumb muscle. Hold each thumb for six seconds.
  4. Now stretch each finger back using the palm of your other hand to apply pressure. Keep your wrist loose. Push gently until you feel a stretch in your palm and wrist. Hold each finger for six seconds.
  5. With one arm, point your elbow down and keep your forearm vertical. Grab the fingers with your other hand and pull them toward the floor, keeping your forearm straight up. Pull until you feel a stretch in the top of your forearm. Hold for ten seconds on each arm.
  6. Lace your fingers together in front of your chest and push your palms out in front of you. This will stretch your forearms, triceps, and shoulders. Hold for 12 seconds.
  7. Lace your fingers together again behind the small of your back. Pull your shoulders back and try to extend your arms out behind you. This will stretch your forearms, biceps, pecs, and shoulders. Hold for 12 seconds.
  8. With your arms above your head, grab one elbow with the other hand and pull your upper arm toward your ear. Try to reach behind your back with your free hand. This is a big tricep stretch. Hold each arm for 10 seconds.
  9. Let your arms hang at your sides and shake them up. Relax your elbows and wrists and let your hands swing around a little. This loosens up your muscles and helps get blood circulating into your arms and hands. Shake those arms around for five seconds.

If everything went well, your hands should feel loose and energized, and ready to play.






Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | October 19, 2017

Handel’s Largo

“Handel’s Largo” is the popular title for an aria composed by George Frideric Handel. He wrote it in 1738 for the opera Serse (English: Xerxes). The opera was a failure and closed after only five performances but one hundred years later the aria became a big hit.

It has been arranged for all sorts of instruments and the version I play is by my guitar teacher Jason Waldron. Although it is an advanced piece any student from Grade 2 onwards can start learning the piece, perhaps just learning the chords or bass to begin with. Let me know if this piece takes your fancy the next time we catch up.

It is known by many people as “Ombra mai fu” because those words are the first words of the aria, but I’m sure you will recognise the music as it is often used at solemn occasions.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my version and make sure that you also check out the video of Largo by the London Symphony Orchestra.


Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | October 12, 2017

Never too old or too young


You’re never too old or too young to start learning the Guitar.

My students come in all shapes and sizes, young and old, with varying interests across the modern and classical guitar spectrum and the one thing they have in common is the satisfaction of learning and performing.


Everyone remembers their first performance no matter what their age or ability and today I would like to share a video, starring four of my young students giving their first public guitar performance.

George, Harrison, Nate and Laikin (L to R in video) are aged between 7 and 9 years and have been learning guitar for 6 months. They had learned the piece individually and this was the first time they had played together.

Hope you enjoy the video. (Ps. That’s me on the right)


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