Monday, June 27, 2022

Guitar Lessons

I was asked about my background & successes as a music instructor, so I thought I'd post something here for anyone needing the information!
Student Melissa Findley opened for legend Judy Collins

First, I primarily teach guitar, but also electric bass, ukulele, songwriting, improvisation, theory, a "piano for guitarists" workshop, and do some vocal coaching. Many of these are taught not just as weekly private lessons or group lessons, but also as one-time extended workshops and performance clinics.

I teach in-person, via Zoom, and via pre-recorded video.

Contact me via phone/text 909-929-2007 or email at for details...and visit SDML Academy of Guitar.

My bio, also available on the SDML Academy of Guitar site and the Skinny Devil Music Lab site:
David backing Grammy winner Suzy Bogguss on PBS

David is the founder of the SDML Academy of Guitar, built upon his approach to teaching guitar in an efficient way, leveraging on student strengths and developing the fastest pathways to reaching their goals.

As a solo performer, band-leader, and sideman, he has also worked with or shared the stage with many notable artists, including Foghat, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Lori Lieberman, Paul Di'Anno of Iron Maiden, JD Crowe, Muriel Anderson, Tom Rush, Michael Johnathon, Suzy Bogguss, Ben Sollee, J.P. Pennington, Rhonda Vincent, Guy Davis, Steve Wickham, Michael Martin Murphey, Pat Flynn, Si Kahn, Red Molly, Valerie June, and more, on stages, TV (local and national), radio, and the like. David also performed in the Lexington, KY musician tribute to the late Prince.

He performs concert sets as well as master classes and clinics on songwriting, improvisation, hand-drums, music business, and more, across the southeastern US, appearing at private venues, music stores, high schools, and universities.

His students have shared stages with Norah Jones, Judy Collins, Tommy Emmanuel, Pat Benatar, BB King, GooGoo Dolls, Loe Kottke, Ritchie Havens, Amy Grant, JJ Grey, Kenny Loggins, Taj Mahal, Bozz Scaggs, Bela Fleck, Grace Askew, LeeAnn Womack, Lucinda Williams, Gov'T Mule, 3 Doors Down, Mark O'Connor, the Ramones, Jake Shimabukuro, 7 Mary 3, Frank Vignola, Michael Martin Murphy, Black Crows, Craig Morgan, Michelle Shocked, Cindi Lauper, Dustin Lynch, Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul, & Mary), Jefferson Starship, Punch Brothers, Chapin Sisters, Victor Wooten, Exile, Rodney Atkins, Andy McKee, Emmylou Harris, Grammy Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson, Joan Baez, and more They have studied at major music universities including Morehead State University, NYU, Belmont University, EKU, Vandercook College of Music, WKU, Berklee College of Music, and have appeared on TV shows like The Voice, Woodsongs Oldtime Radio Hour, Chasing Nashville, and more.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

2022 Class - Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame

A hearty congratulations to ALL the nominees and inductees this year!

This piece will explore the music (with song charts) of only a handful of the inductees, but they (and all the nominees) are worthy of your ear! I've chosen a handful based on a guitar-centric approach, but we could easily explore the rhythmic vocal approach or lyrical approach of Eminem or the layered production of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, for two examples.

First, our list of the entire Class of 2022 (performer section in bold):
Pat Benatar
Duran Duran
Dolly Parton
Lionel Richie
Carly Simon

Monday, May 2, 2022

FREE Group Class & FREE Strings

ALERT: To celebrate our post-COVID return to group guitar lessons at Willis Music Lexington, we're offering an EIGHT week guitar session (eight 40 minute group classes each Thursday at 5pm) absolutely FREE.

BUT it gets better: If you BRING A FRIEND and attend the entire session, you'll BOTH receive a FREE set of guitar strings!

AND...while classes are set up for in-person instruction, we also have a ZOOM option for virtual learning for anyone unable to attend for any reason...including out of state or even out of country students!

Willis Music is at 130 W. Tiverton Way in Lexington....and contact me directly ( for ZOOM information!

P.S. - I do have (as of this writing) 5 open private lessons slots available (though these are not free). Contact me if interested!

David M. McLean

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Benefactory in the Cyber Age

MUSIC/ART, DIGTAL TIP JARS, & 21st CENTURY BENEFACTORY: I posted a version of this essay last year, but was recently urged to up-date it and share here it is:

It has constantly been suggested to me that I embrace the "subscription model" as an addition to my more traditional biz models. That is to say, I am now offering payment options for anyone who values my work and wants to support it - both one-off "tip jar" model and ongoing "monthly subscription" model.

This is to cover the additional (and unpaid) work that I do, such as the "Guitar Gods" interview series, my "Classic Covers" video performance series, various cost-free lesson articles and "Ask Me Anything" series, un-paid "Jam with the Skinny Devil" invitation open mic gigs, and more....(as a full-time self-employed musician, the overwhelming bulk of my income is through live performance & teaching).

A more comprehensive list is below, but in short, 2021 alone gave me the opportunity to host 36 non-paid invitation open mic gigs giving stage time to almost 50 different players, plus saw me publish 21 articles/lessons at Skinny Devil Magazine, another FIVE at Skinny Devil Universe, THREE "Ask Me Anything" videos, and another 28 performance videos.  More than that if we were counting since COVID struck....and it looks like we're off to a good start for 2022!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Free G4 Class Extras

Howdy, everyone!


We covered finger exercises, rhythm drills, scales, chords/chord drill, and more in the first class!

Below is some supplemental material for the free G4 class! We'll expand this a bit each week, but thought we'd give you a LOT this week to kick things off!