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Acoustic Guitar magazine

Chris Thile on being a “serious, curious” musician

I think serious, curious musicians owe it to themselves and to the music-loving public to avail themselves of all the tools. You run into a lot of people who are consciously leaving vast swaths of their potential musicianship undeveloped in the name of staying pure. Those kinds of decisions don’t achieve the desired result, because...

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David Rawlings on writing songs from tradition

[Poor David's Almanack] came out of 20 years of thinking about folk music and the roots of things, and seeing that so much beauty comes out of the fluidity of writing from things that move you. Sometimes I listen to songs that I love and I think, 'Wow, it’s like we’re all standing on the...

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Songwriting lesson: how to write a bridge

Think of the timeless ballad “Something,” from the Beatles’ Abbey Road, in which George Harrison muses on his lover’s allure over a wistful chord progression in the key of C. He sings a verse and loops back for another by way of the song’s signature guitar line, but the second time he lands not on a...

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BeatleCuse 2017 poster

Re-creating the Beatles’ “Within You Without You”

In the summer of 2016, musician and producer Paul Davie contacted me and my duo partner Wendy Sassafras Ramsay about performing in his annual BeatleCuse concert—a major event involving 70 musicians from the Syracuse area and beyond. Plans for 2017 included appearances by Joey Molland of Badfinger and Hilton Valentine of the Animals, and a complete performance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely...

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Fingerstyle guitar lesson: pianistic picking

Guitarists often rely on default techniques for accompaniment: strumming, alternating boom-chuck bass/strums, or fingerpicking single-note patterns. You can cover a lot of ground with those techniques, but there’s another way to play that is often overlooked: picking multiple strings simultaneously with your fingers. Just out in the November 2016 issue of Acoustic Guitar: my lesson...

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Woodstock Invitational 2016

Songwriting workshop at Woodstock Invitational guitar festival

I'm thrilled to be returning in October to the Woodstock Invitational, an annual gathering of some of the world's best guitar makers (including Linda Manzer, builder of my most prized guitar) and more than a few brilliant players as well. I'll be covering the event for Acoustic Guitar, a festival sponsor, posting photos and checking out the dazzling display of...

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Graham Nash on his songwriting evolution from the Hollies to CSN

I was trained in my time with the Hollies to write two-and-a-half-minute songs to play right before the news. We knew how to make hit records; we knew how to create music you couldn’t forget after you heard it twice. But the lyrics were a little juvenile, a little teenager, you know—“Riding along on a...

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