Monday, October 26, 2020


Moments before we started playing!
ANOTHER TRIP around the sun, as they say, and now I'm 56....and, more importantly, it means I'm writing another annual "yesterday was great" piece. Only I really have to say the entire week was great, since we kicked off the celebration on Sunday night at Twisted Cork in Lexington, KY with the "Jam with Dave & Greg" (my buddy & bass player Greg Rhodus has a birthday 2 days before mine) event we do each year.

Lots of new folks hopped up to play as well as my good friends Debra Hurt and Ande Fee. Deb came up and sang "Dreams" by The Cranberries, and then Ande sang the Etta James classic "Sunday Kind of Love" and the old Hank Williams song "Cold Cold Heart". The after-party was quite the adventure, as well!

The week was fabulous, mostly teaching and a few business chats (re: Lexi Music Awards).

My actual birthday was Friday, which started with a quick visit to fix the kids breakfast, then a brutal workout at the gym, ran some errands, and then over to visit the kids for the remainder of the day. Upon arrival, I got video or 2 attempts at one-arm pull-ups....the first a trail run (and my 8 year old dancing in the foreground) and then I did the real thing. Bad form, but got one on each side. Not bad for an old guy - haha! Gonna clean up that form and take it to the next level (goal: 3 reps each arm!).

One-arm pull-ups VIDEO.

My youngest granddaughter, Halloween party!

Then ate a HUGE salad (red cabbage, carrots, avocado with balsamic vinegar and oil dressing with extra pepper) and extremely rare beef seared in pepper and a splash of soy sauce. YUM! Being a Friday, I even had a second meal later in the day, and topped it off with spiced rum and a pizza party with the boys. Then one of my sons, Chris, grabbed me for a pitcher of beer & a few games of pool. The rest of the weekend was fabulous to spend more time with the boys as well as see 3 of the granddaughters at a kids Halloween party!

As I do each year, I'm posting an ODIS picture (that stands for "Old Dudes In Shape") as a challenge to my buddies who also post ODIS. Good accountability and keeps us all motivated!

If you are interested in the stories & photos from past birthdays, you can start hit THIS LINK, which will list them all.
Official ODIS photo for 56!

That's it for now. Gotta get to work prepping lessons, Lexi Music Awards, AMA video series, and my Monday Classic Covers video!

See y'all person, online, on TV, or wherever we shall meet!

#StayFierce #SkinnyDevil #FierceAF #SDMLguitar #LexiMusicAwards

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

RIP Eddie Van Halen

The first text & PM came in at 3:40pm today (Tuesday, October 6, 2020). Then my phone blew up....

EVH: One of the greatest EVER.
As I sit here, in between teaching guitar students and sneaking in business calls and trying to just do the gigs and not cancel the remainder of the day, I wonder how many people REALLY grasp the enormity of the impact Eddie has had on the world of guitar. And not just rock guitar, either; but especially rock guitar.

And the enormity of the impact his band, Van Halen, have had on the world of music. And not just rock music, either; but especially rock music. 

And I'm thinking that because I'm trying desperately to write something positive and educational and....of value. Value to everyone from the casual listener to the die-hard fans to the high level guitar shredders. Something useful, as Elon Musk would say.

And I will. And when its done, I'll post it here or, like Michael Jackson and David Bowie and Lemmy and Prince, I'll post it at Skinny Devil Magazine.

But I think I'm not going to write any more right now. I'm just going to go listen to Eddie play......

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Mini SDML Songwriting Workshop

Howdy, folks!

This is a miniature version of the songwriting workshops I've been conducting for the past decade or so as an extension of our work at SDML Academy of Guitar. While each workshop is unique (due to the participants, their skill levels, knowledge levels, and interests), the foundation is the same as what I'll be using here (except here, for brevity, there will be no discussion of items like form, prosody, stylistic tendencies, timbrel concerns, texture, dynamics, interplay, time changes or key changes, theme & variations, and the like).

To wit: Our framework will be to explore....

1) Rhythm

2) Melody

3) Chord progressions & Harmonization

4) Lyrics & Literary Devices

Let's jump right in!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Jimi Hendrix at Monterey - a Guitar Lesson

(The following is an excerpt from the "supplemental lessons" page - September/October edition - for my guitar students. Many more song charts, video tutorials, video drills, text, info, and more available there AND at the official SDML Academy of Guitar website, where you can sign up for a free 60 day trial!)


To only mildly over-simplify for brevity, it was his set at the Monterey Pop Festival (June 1967) that made Jimi an overnight sensation.

In tribute, I'm charting a few songs on his setlist from that show below, all cover songs. His opening song was the Howlin' Wolf classic "Killing Floor" (a classic 12-bar blues in A released in '64)), his mid-point song (5 of 9) was "Hey Joe" (the Byrds version was 1966), and he ended with "Wild Thing" (a song made famous just a year earlier by The Troggs) he was playing contemporary covers of the day, not classic covers. That is a non-trivial detail worthy of discussion in class!

As these are covers, they can also easily be contrasted with his writing style, which at times used simple structures like we see below (with an emphasis then placed on riffs, fills, licks, and the like), but at other times is far more complex (like "The Wind Cries Mary" from his first album, "Little Wing" - which we looks at last month - "Castles Made of Sand", and more).

Read more about the Monterey Pop Festival at the wikipedia page and more about Jimi Hendrix at his official website.....and see Jimi's Monterey setlist below!

"Killing Floor"

framed with a wicked high speed pentatonic riff, the structure is:
A - - - /A - - - /A - - - /A - - - /
D - - - /D - - - /A - - - /A - - - /
E - - - /D - - - /A - - - /E - - - /

"Hey Joe"

C - G - /D - /A - /
E - E7 - /E - E7 - /

"Wild Thing"

A - D - /E - D - /

Jimi's Monterey setlist:

1) "Killing Floor" - Howlin' Wolf
2) "Foxey Lady"
3) "Like a Rolling Stone" - Bob Dylan
4) "Rock Me Baby" - BB King
5) "Hey Joe" - The Byrds
6) "Can You See Me"
7) "The Wind Cries Mary"
8) "Purple Haze"
9) "Wild Thing"

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


HOWDY friends!

For those interested in guitar (or ukulele or electric bass.......or any of our workshops, from songwriting to improvisation to basic keyboard to social drumming and more), I thought I'd make this free mini lesson available so you can get a little taste of how we approach things! The GUITAR VIDEO IS AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE (but the parts of the lessons are not on video, so be sure to read the entire lessons below)....or, if the video isn't displaying properly, you can view it HERE

ALSO....the BASS video is HERE and the UKULELE video is HERE.

If you are interested in lessons, contact me directly at or visit our website for info on the system, instructors (me, Paulie, & JD), needs-based scholarship program, lessons options (group class, private lessons, real-time, pre-recorded, in-person, vitrtual, etc), and more: 

Let's break in down into several components. Several of these items will also be on the video below.