United Breaks Guitars

Came across the video below on YouTube. I’ve only flown with my guitar once and that was pre-911 when you could bring your guitar as a carry on. This is a fine example of why you need to invest in a good flight case and insure your guitars. I agree with the lyrics, they are liable and it sad to see that customer service is pretty much dead in the airline industry. This is a pretty catchy song too and well written. I don’t think this would have been as effective if it wasn’t so well written but it looks like he might get his claim fulfilled (see links below) after all the attention this song has gotten.

United Breaks Guitars Lyrics

I flew United Airlines on the way to Nebraska
The plane departed Halifax connecting in Chicago’s O’Hare
While on the ground, the passengers said from the seat behind me
“My God! They’re throwing guitars out there.”

The band and exchanged a look, best described as terror
At the action on the tarmac and knowing who’s projectiles these would be
So before I left Chicago, I alerted three employees
Who showed complete indifference towards me


United, United
You broke my Taylor guitar
United, United
Some big help you are
You broke it, you should fix it
You’re liable, just admit it
I should have flown with someone else or
Cause United Breaks Guitars!

When we landed in Nebraska, I confirmed what I suspected
My Taylor had been the victim of a vicious act of malice at O’Hare
So began a year long saga of pass the buck don’t ask me
And I’m sorry sir your claim can go nowhere

So to all the airlines people from New York To New Dehli
Including kind Miss Irlweg who says the final word from them is no
I’ve heard all your excuses and chased your wild gooses
And say this attitude of yours, I say, must go


Well I won’t say I will never fly with you again cause maybe
To save the world, I probably would but that won’t likely happen
And if it did, I wouldn’t bring my luggage
Cause you’d just go and break it
Into a thousand pieces
Just like you broke my heart
When United Breaks Guitars!

Yeah United breaks guitars – End


http://davecarrollmusic.com/story/united-breaks-guitars (back story by the artist)

LA Times story on how Carroll might get some satisfaction from United.


Common Ground

A couple of days back; I attended a service celebrating the life of a friends son. I never met this person, yet I felt a connection and found myself getting emotional from time to time.   Throughout the service I heard how much he loved the guitar and music and was surprised by how we enjoyed the similar musicians and songs.  One song that particularly grabbed me was Joe Satriani’s “Always with you, Always With Me” that the played early on. This is my absolutely favorite Satch song and whenever hear it, I will now think of Jeff; a fellow guitarist.

The connection is that six string wonder that can frustrate the hell out of you and comfort you in times of trouble.


Learn and Master Guitar DVD Course Review

It won a silver medal in the Acoustic Guitar Readers choice poll in 2008 and I’ve seen many opinions (good and bad) about Learn and Master Guitar (LMG) on the web.  Now it’s my turn to check this guitar course out and give you my Two cents.

First Impression:

Opening the kit, I found 20 DVDs, five audio CDs and an instruction booklet; a bit intimidating seeing so much information and potential.  I could see someone thinking to himself or herself that this is way too much to learn and being overwhelmed.
As I examined the contents, I began to see the system.


Each DVD contains two of what are called “Sessions.”  A session goes over an aspect of learning the guitar.  IE, scales, chords, styles, etc… and is about twenty to thirty minutes long.    Steve Krenz, the course creator and instructor, walks you through each session with examples and explanations.  At the end, a review and assignments from the book are given and then you are expected to practice.  If you need help practicing, that’s where the “Bonus Workshops” come in.

Bonus Workshops:  (Expanded Edition)

The bonus workshops are meant to as a companion to your session discs.  They are an in depth review of what you have learned.  Krenz will go over the exercises that were assigned and give tips and pointers on how to move forward.  An aspect I liked in the bonus workshop was the “And your ready to move on when” section.  This is where the instructor gives you a checklist of measurable goals that you need to accomplish before you can move onto the next session or disc.  Goals like, memorize the string names and/or know a certain scale in any position.  Anyway this is a good way to keep an impatient learner on track.

Jam Along CDs:

These are audio CDs that contain the audio of the assignments and accompaniment tracks.  I like the instrumental tracks because I would jam and solo over them.  I guess that’s where the name “Jam Along” comes from.  These CDs are a valuable tool in ensuring that the assignments are played properly.

What will you learn:

If you follow the course exactly how Krenz designed it you should have a solid foundation in guitar that will help you move forward into more intermediate/advanced playing.   Throughout the course, the sessions and assignments will address cores skills that I believe are important in learning the guitar:

  • Knowledge of the many different types of guitar playing (fingerstyle, blues, jazz, flatpicking, Rock, etc…)
  • Reading music (Theory, Scales, Chord Types)
  • Musicianship  (Interpreting the music and making it your own)
  • Improvisation (Jam Along CD’s)

This all depends on your patience and discipline to not skip around the course and follow the course to the T.

Would I Recommend Learn and Master the Guitar?

I have to admit that I was skeptical about these courses but after reviewing them, I would recommend them to my friends and to you.  But only if I feel that they were right for you.

Who is LMG right for:

  1. If you are someone that really wants to learn guitar but can’t afford lessons or doesn’t have access to them.
  2. Road warriors:  If you are on the road a lot and need to kill time in the hotel room.
  3. Someone that works well alone
  4. Self motivated (It will be you and only you to get you to practice)
  5. Someone who is well disciplined:  You must follow the course to get the maximum benefit

Who LMG might not be right for:

  1. Someone that is not self-motivated
  2. If you like to ask questions.  It’s kind of hard to ask the DVD a question.  However, there is a forum on the LMG website that might fit that need.
  3. Young children (ages 6- 10 or so).  There is a quite a bit of information and a child might get overwhelmed.  Although, a parent/adult learning along with a child might be a good application.
  4. Already know how to play guitar and looking for advanced lessons.  The last couple of DVD’s might fit that need but probably not worth the cost for just a few DVD’s

The cost, $249 for the expanded and $219 for the original, might seem a bit high but compared to taking lessons; it’s the equivalent of one to four months tuition depending on what the instructor charges per lesson.  *At the time of this writing, there is a sale of $100 off any of the lessons.


If you follow the sessions and practice the assignments as laid out, you will be rewarded with a solid foundation in your quest to learn the guitar.  Mastering it?  Probably not.  That comes with many years of practice and study.  Even then, I don’t think there is enough time in ones life to truly “master” the guitar.


Learn and Master Guitar’s Home Page


Guitar Musings on YouTube

I have threatened and promised that I would put something on YouTube for the past year but have yet to do anything, until now.   Finally got the right take and a good recording of me playing Tommy Emmanuel’s Dixie McGuire.  Hope you like and I plan on doing more.  Any requests? : )

I hope you enjoy!

Notes:  The tab I used was the same that I wrote about in my Tommy Emmannel Tabs post.    Also, there is quite a bit of flexibility required for this song, especially between the index and middle finger on on your fretting hand.   I found that the stretching exercises in John Petrucci’s Rock Discipline were very helpful.  Are there any you would recommend?


Guitar: Amusing Inconsistencies and Subtle Nuances

Hola, fellow twangers!

In my last blog entry, I promised that I would offer up an instructional based on the pentatonic scale in my next entry. OK, I lied. Kind of. Turns out, as I began to write the entry, I kept coming up with idea after idea after idea. As it stands, I still plan on writing on this topic, but it’s going to take some time as it’s going to be a big one. In the meantime, I give you Amusing Inconsistencies and Subtle Nuances.

Amusing inconsistency number one: the use of the word tremolo. On a guitar, it’s the thing that changes pitch. On an amplifier, it’s the effect that changes volume. I blame Leo Fender. Mainly because his biographers blame him. Speaking of Leo, amusing inconsistency number two: a radio repairman who didn’t know how to play guitar creates one of the most successful guitar brands in the world. Huh. And to segue into the ‘subtle nuances’ discussion, inconsistency number three: frets.

If I were to say “put your index finger on the 12th fret of you high E string”, chances are you’ll put your index finger between two pieces of wire over a couple of dots (or a block, shark tooth, etc.). But why would you do that? Technically, the fret is the piece of wire itself. Shouldn’t you put your finger on the wire? Well, hopefully we all understand that that’s not what I mean when I say those words. Any noob knows that you don’t press down on the actual fret wire. It sounds bad. But as a player advances, the distinction between subtle nuances like this becomes important.

For example, harmonics get to be pretty tricky if there isn’t this clear distinction. Let’s say I instruct you to put your index finger on the “2nd fret” of the G string, then tap a harmonic 12 frets higher. Common thinking would have you tap at the area between the two pieces of wire on either side of the “14th fret”. But to achieve the cleanest execution of the harmonic, you’ll want to tap directly over the fret wire on the high side of the “14th fret”.

The reason? Although your fret hand finger is pressing between the two fret wires, the string length actually begins (or ends) exactly on the wire at the high side of the fretting finger. This means that the spot on the string exactly 12 frets higher is exactly over the fret wire at the high side of the “14th fret”.

This can all sound a bit OCD, but it’s like the old cliché, “Tone is in the hands” (yeah, tell that to a guitar builder, amp designer, or effects processor engineer).  For me, this means that you can hand the exact same guitar, pick, strings, cable, effects, and amp to two different players, and it will be the subtle nuances in technique that will produce two unique sounds. Subtle changes in the placement of the pick over pickups can have a big impact on timbre, adding the fleshy part of the thumb during specific downstrokes to create partial pinch harmonics can add bite and attitude to notes/chords, facing the amp at different angles to manipulate feedback, etc. It all adds up to create your own unique sound.

In other words, subtlety can be huge. How’s that for an amusing inconsistency?


You can find out more about Hercules and his music at http://www.herculescastro.com