Category Archives for "Guitar Interviews"

guitar sharing economy

Fretish Brings The Sharing Economy to Guitars

Guitar Interviews

Rewind the clock 5, 10 or fifteen years. Would anyone have imagined that we would be able to press a button on our phones and minutes later have a person pick us up in their vehicles to safety drive us to our destination? Not us, that's for sure. 

Now, imagine that that "sharing economy" that brought us Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB extended to an area closer to our hearts. Imagine it extended to guitar equipment. 

Sam Tharp did just that. He developed a website called Fretish.com. This site brings musical instrument owners who are willing to lend their instruments (for a price) to those in need of short term rentals. 

So what is Sam's history with the guitar and music, how'd he come up with the idea, and who can this service benefit? We ask all those questions and more in our interview below! 

Interview with Sam Tharp

StringVibe: What is your background with the guitar? 

Sam: Ibelieve I started learning the guitar "late" in life. I grew up in a household where my mother played piano and my uncle (who was always around) was a self-taught guitarist. Yet, it wasn't until 1986, when I was 18 years old, that I decided to take lessons. I saw Journey in concert at the Capital Centre in Landover Maryland and witnessed Neal Schon give a flamboyant performance. Neal was not a potted plant during solos. He'd go directly to center stage and start playing (sometimes with just his left hand on the neck doing hammer-ons and pull-offs) to the crowd. He would play a lick while pointing to the right side of the stage seeking audience feedback. And then he'd walk over to the left side of the stage and do the same thing. I remember walking out of the show, telling myself that I would sign up for guitar lessons the very next day. And that's what I did. 

My first teacher was a gifted lead guitarist. He taught me various modes and scales. He focused on the technical aspects of playing - how to pick, how to play arpeggios, etc. But, I never really learned songs from him. Just riffs and snippets of rock tunes. Over the next 20 years, when I did my daily practice, I would spend 45 minutes doing my technical exercises. Then I'd put my guitar back in its case and wouldn't touch it until the next practice session. I wasn't really playing music. It was almost like a jogging routine for my fingers. 

Then, in 2007, my daughter was taking violin lessons at the Concord Conservatory of Music. My wife and I went to a fundraising even for the Conservatory. Playing at that event was Juanito Pascual, a renowned flamenco guitarist, who was also an instructor at CCM. My wife half-jokingly said to me at the time, "Why don't you take flamenco lessons with Juanito? It would help your daughter stay motivated to do her violin lessons." So, I said yes. Two weeks after I started taking flamenco lessons, my daughter announced that she was quitting the violin. However, I stayed with the flamenco lessons for the next two years. Even when I was finished with flamenco lessons, I continued to exclusively practice and play flamenco until 2011. It was then that I discovered YouTube and the endless amount of guitar lessons across every musical genre.

Between 2011 and 2015, I spent up to two hours per night learning/playing rock and roll songs via YouTube. For the past two years, I've slowly started to write and record my own songs. If I had to do it over again, I would probably reverse everything and start by learning to play songs. I feel like I only became a proper guitarist about six years ago. 

What is Fretish.com and how did you come up with the idea?

Fretish is a peer-to-peer guitar rental marketplace. There are two sides to this marketplace:

1. Owners/Sellers: If you own music instruments that are under-utilized, then you can monetize the equipment by renting it out. Perhaps you could even earn enough money to add to your collection. Instrument owners can also sell their gear outright through Fretish. Listing an instrument is free, but there's a reasonable service fee that Fretish collects for every transaction (11%). 

2. Renters/Buyers: For musicians who like trying different instruments - in search of an elusive tone - or have a short term need for a particular sound, they can rent the guitar/bass/amp/pedal without spending hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

There was no single "ah-ha" moment when the concept for Fretish formed. The idea gradually crystallized over the past couple of years. I've spent most of my professional career building out marketplaces of various types. So, based on that collective experience, it just seemed obvious to me that the "sharing economy" should be extended to apply to musical instruments. 

Who is the service designed for and who can benefit from it?

Guitar Players/Renters:

1. Hobbyists: Fretish "de-risks" the purchase of musical instruments. If you think you want a Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 guitar, then you should try it before you buy it. You should be able to plug it in to your own amplifier to make sure it produces the sound you were looking for. 

2. Touring Musicians: Frind temporary guitars and other gear should yours get delayed, damaged or stolen in transit. 

3. Recording Musicians on a budget: Get that distictive sound of a special instrument before heading into the studio to lay down some tracks. Instead of shelling out $8k for the Gibson L-5 Archtop, rent it for a couple of days at a fraction of the price. 

Guitar Collectors/Owners

1. Anyone with one or more guitars which go unplayed for extended periods of times. Earn passive income from your unused gear, meet fellow musicians, and rid yourself of the guilt that your instrument is not being played. 

What geography does Fretish currently cover and what are the plans to expand?

Currently, Fretish serves musicians in the Boston and greater New England area. By the end of 2017, we plan to expand into New York. And, if everything goes to plan, we'll spread to Nashville and Los Angeles by the middle of 2018. 

Anything else you'd like to share with the StringVibe audience? How can readers learn more about your service? 

Fretish is not simply about commerce. It's a community as well. Music brings people together, and that's what Fretish strives to do - to bring musicians together in a spirt of discovery, freindship, trust and respect. 

The most direct way to contact me is through the site Fretish.

Your also welcome to follow and reach out to me via Instagram @fretish_com, Twitter @fretish_com and Facebook @fretishMusicRentals.

Thanks Sam!

What a cool service. What an exciting way to test out, shop for, and put to use that wall full of guitars gathering dust. 

What do you think of the service? Leave us a comment below to let us know your thoughts! 

Lastly, if you liked this interview check out our full list of interviews where we talk to professional musicians, teachers, and companies that are involved with the instruments we love! 

Guitar Technique before Speed

Guitar Technique Before Speed: Interview with Natalie Wilson

Guitar Interviews

We meet people occasionally that seem to have been born with an instrument in their hands. 

In every picture we see, a guitar sits in the background. When they sit down with the instrument, it seems to be a natural extension of them. It's comfortable, and it sounds amazing. 

Natalie Wilson falls into this category. 

A guitarist since the tender age of FIVE, she is now a professional musician, session guitar player, and guitar teacher, she also runs the popular guitar blog MusicalAdvisors.

So what would someone with this much experience tell us about learning guitar, mistakes that beginners make, bad habits while playing, and the importance of a metronome... read on to find out!

Interview with Natalie Wilson

StringVibe: What is the biggest mistake you see beginners making when learning to play guitar? What should they do instead?

Natalie: Beginners are always so excited to start playing songs on the guitar, which makes my job as a guitar teacher so much more motivating. However, I’ve noticed that because my beginner students are so excited to sound great, they often rush the learning process and put speed before technique. This backward way of learning guitar can lead to really poor technique in the future which will have a big impact on their playing abilities. I always say: “build your foundation first with good technique, and the speed will come later.”

What bad habits or mistakes do you see most often with professional, or very experienced players?

I occasionally see too much confidence in professional or very experienced players. Of course, these musicians have put the work in and they won't need to practice as much as a beginner or amateur player would. However, some of my friends have found themselves in a pickle when they haven't reviewed their material for a performance because they're just too confident. Musicians have memory slips all the time, so it's important to prepare for them.

Do you have a few songs you like to start new players off with to build fundamentals?

I definitely tend to start players off with songs they enjoy so I can keep them motivated and show them that guitar is challenging, but also a lot of fun. This means the songs I use change because some students prefer rock music and some prefer country. If my student shows any interest in rock, I tend to show them the riff from “Smoke on the Water”. This is a classic, easy riff that most guitarists will be able to play after a week of practice.

What is your best advice to give to someone who is struggling with strumming in time?

Use a metronome! Metronomes are a great way to practice playing steadily to a pre-programmed beat. Even though I've been playing the guitar since I was five years old, I'm always surprised at how the metronome will still reveal fluctuations in my strumming time.

Is there a piece of advice that is commonly given to beginners that you feel is bad? What would you say instead?

Often, I think beginners are told that guitar is easy. While it may be pretty easy to learn a few chords on the guitar, learning more advanced techniques can take a lifetime. Fingerstyle is one of the hardest techniques I've had to learn, as it involves individual control of each one of your fingers. Just remember to be patient with yourself, and enjoy the fact that you’ll never run out of things to practice with this instrument.

Thank you, Natalie!!!

It is always interesting hearing the opinions and experience of someone who has been playing the instrument for most of their lives!

As we were reading through this interview, we were happy that we had a metronome sitting near us! One point for StringVibe! ​

If you want to find out more about Natalie find her at her site: MusicalAdvisors!​

Natalie Wilson

My name’s Natalie Wilson and I’m an avid music lover and guitar player who has dedicated my life to sharing what I know on my blog. You’ll find a wide range of topics on my blog, including reviews, tutorials, and tips for musicians.

Feel free to contact me: natalie.musicaladvisors@gmail.com.

blues guitar lessons

Blues Guitar Lessons with Keith Wyatt

Guitar Interviews , Interview

If you don't know who Keith Wyatt is then you are missing out on a premier guitar player and instructor. Since 1977 he's been playing and teaching music around the world. 

He's helped shape a generation of musicians with the curriculum he developed at the Musicians Institute. He also has released a number of popular books and best selling instructional videos. In 2014 he developed a course with ArtistWorks on Blues guitar playing. 

To say it's an honor and a privilege to pick the brain of such an artist is an understatement. Keith was kind enough to answer a handful of questions for us about starting out as a guitarist. Check out his answers below! 

Interview with Keith Wyatt

StringVibe: What is the biggest mistake you see beginners making when learning to play guitar? What should they do instead?

​Keith: The biggest mistake beginners make is to be impatient. It takes a lot of time to train your muscles and neural pathways to react smoothly and accurately, but if you just keep at it and don't get disappointed right away, things will start to happen.

StringVibe: ​What bad habits or mistakes do you see most often with professional, or very experienced players?

Very experienced/professional players generally don't have very bad habits, which is what makes them professional. The differences between experienced players are mostly a matter of taste and style, which aren't good or bad, just different.​

StringVibe: Do you have a few songs you like to start new players off with to build fundamentals?

​Blues songs are mostly built on very similar chord progressions - 12-bar, 8-bar etc.- so I start students off by learning how to play rhythm and memorize the form before we get into particular songs.

StringVibe: What skills should a novice guitar player work on if they'd like to play a lot of Blues Style as they progress?

​To develop broad blues skills it's essential to develop a good ear for rhythm and form. The shuffle is the traditional rhythm of blues, so knowing how to play shuffles at slow, medium, and fast tempos is a good starting point. To play blues/rock, blues/funk or other hybrid styles, listen to those styles of music, learn their rhythm patterns and play blues melodies over the top.

​StringVibe: Is there a piece of advice that is commonly given to beginners that you feel is bad? What would you say instead?

​The most misleading advice that beginners usually get in terms of playing blues is an emphasis on practicing scale patterns. Blues melodies are phrases that balance melody with rhythm and touch, so copying blues melodies and phrases from people who know how to play is a much more effective method for learning to play blues than practicing generic scale patterns.

We don't find it surprising at all that Keith talks about patience as a beginner and stresses rhythm for a budding blues musician. 

For guitarist who are just starting out, ArtistWorks has a great Acoustic Guitar 101 course that is FREE!

For more experienced players interested in blues to check out Keith's course. Want to get a taste of what you'll be getting? Keith has put up a free sample lesson on his personal site: KeithWyatt

We want to thank Keith for taking the time out to do this interview, a lot of great wisdom here!

Have questions about the article or know someone you'd like to see interviewed next? Shoot us a message and we'll do our best to make it happen! 

Mindful Guitar Practice

Mindful Guitar Practice with Mike Philippov

Guitar Interviews , Interview

How many guitar sites can you name that have a great selection of videos showing how to play different songs or riffs? We can think of a half dozen right off the top of our heads. Even most of the best of these don't talk much about how to effectively practice guitar. 

Enter ​PracticeGuitarNow.

The guitar teacher running this site is Mike Philippov, and his site is dedicated to making sure you are making the most of your practice time. 

Not only does he have a large selection of free videos and articles to help you improve, but he has a couple paid courses around practice and scales. 

We wanted to interview Mike because of his unique approach to teaching guitar online. His answers did not disappoint. 

Interview with Mike Philippov

StringVibe: Your courses stress the need to "practice guitar perfectly". How did you come up with this method?

Mike: Practicing guitar perfectly is not a "method", it's a necessity for anyone who wants to play guitar well and make rapid progress. Anyone who practices guitar wants to make more progress and faster progress. My course helps guitarists learn how to do exactly that.

StringVibe: What is the biggest mistake you see beginners making when learning to play guitar? What should they do instead?

The biggest general mistake is learning without a guitar teacher to guide them. The biggest mistake relating to practicing is focusing too much on what your hands and fingers are doing, vs. what your brain is focused on (or not focused on). Mindless practicing is the #1 guitar practice mistake that holds guitarists back from making rapid progress. Guitar practice training tells you what to focus on, when to focus on it and how to focus on it in the right way as you practice.

StringVibe: What bad habits or mistakes do you see most often with professional, or very experienced players?

Not focusing on the foundation of their playing. Many guitarists (even experienced ones) have bad habits in their technique that they aren't aware of. These bad habits hold back their progress past a certain skill level and result in long-term plateaus. The solution is to invest part of your practice time to refine the foundation of your guitar technique. Look for inefficiencies and bad habits that get in the way of your progress and fix them. When you do, improving your guitar playing becomes much, much easier (at any level).

StringVibe: How many people have benefited from your "Rapid Fire Guitar Practice Training", and will it work for everyone?

Of course, my guitar practice training method work for all guitarists who desire to get better. Anyone can understand and follow them to improve their guitar playing. There is nothing hard about effective guitar practice. It's simply an acquired skill set and a new way of thinking.

StringVibe: If you could only play one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If I could only play one song and nothing else, I would have quit playing guitar a long time ago 🙂 My goal is to be completely free in my guitar playing so I can learn to play anything I want. My goal with my website: PracticeGuitarNow.com is to empower other guitarists to do exactly the same.

Hope you enjoyed those answers as much as we did! 

Mindfulness is a concept that is talked a lot about in self improvement and some other popular communities today, but ​rarely in relation to music! 

Need an Electric Guitar? Check out our recommendation HERE

If you'd like to see more of what Mike has to offer, or learn more about his courses, please check out his site at ​PracticeGuitarNow.