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On Practicing Guitar
Christian Botta
Guitarist, Singer, Teacher, Songwriter and Producer
Interests: Music, cinema, reading, hockey, family, friends, cooking, wine
Recent Activity
I hit the Red Lion Blues Jam on Bleecker Street on maybe the second coldest night of the year about ten days ago on Monday, January 21st aka Martin Luther King Day. Due to the weather there weren’t as many jammers as usual but the place eventually filled up with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
Hello and Happy New Year! Saints and Sinners has some good stuff planned for the beginning of the year and we thought we would share it with you. First of all, we have a residency at The Shrine, one of our favorite venues. We’re playing every other Tuesday in January... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
While visiting my girlfriend in Budapest, we took a side trip to Salzburg, Austria, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Those who are familiar with my blog must know that I’m a diehard Mozart fanatic. Have you ever cooked a Sunday pasta dinner while listening to Don Giovanni? You must... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
The first time the violinist Maxim Vengerov came to my attention, he was pictured in the print version of the New York Times. Eyes closed and leaning back with his violin like Jimmy Page, he had a soulful, intense look on his face and was clearly caught up in a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
I was lucky to have the opportunity to catch a few concerts these past few months in NYC and beyond. I’m very picky, it’s true and the venue means a lot to me. Also, I don’t have a ton of dough and I’ve seen a shitload of really outstanding concerts... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
It’s a crazy world. And Saints and Sinners are here to add some reality and emotion along with a good time to the situation. With their debut album, Saints and Sinners, the blues rock band from NYC brings you five originals, a few reworked classics and more choice covers from... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
Have you ever tried to pursue the mythical, deified “perfect Strat”? My first real guitar was a 1975 Fender Strat with a maple fingerboard, and it cost $220, made in America, no tremolo bar aka a “Hardtail.” I thought I knew something about Strats. How much can you know? Turns... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
Thanks, Bob! Since I published the article, I discovered that a great source for Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell is the complete box set on Document Records. Many amazing cuts released and unreleased plus excellent liner notes. -Chris
Thanks again, Jim! I've been re-reading my Clapton: Complete Recording Sessions and it makes me want to check out the Crossroads boxset although I've never been a big boxset person when it comes to artists who I've got a lot of their stuff. I know that the '70s stuff is often very well produced and in particular I'm a huge fan of Glyn Johns. But a lot of the songs seem like filler to me, besides the hits which I've heard on the radio many times. I'm not a big fan of JJ Cale and it seems to me you could almost call this period EC's JJ Cale period. I have to check out the Just One Night record. I assume that's the big live hit version of Cocaine that you would hear all the time on classic rock stations back in the day. Right now, I have my sights on There's One In Every Crowd. Never owned it. The time has come. I'm moving forward! -Chris
Thanks Jim! It was a long time in the making. The hardest part was figuring out which licks to transcribe. And the keys! Like, should I transpose them, etc? But I'm really happy with it. Thanks for your support! -Chris
Scrapper Blackwell is one of the most stylish blues guitar players to come out of the classic period of the late 1920s and early ‘30s. Yet, few modern fans even know his name, despite its romantic swagger. He was a true lead guitarist and played on over a hundred sides... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
A guitar student of mine asked the question, almost to himself, “How do I know which Clapton album to buy?” The reason behind this is of course my student has a cool turntable now, but nevertheless it was music to my ears. Because I LOVE Eric Clapton. When I started... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
The jamming scene in NYC has been going full tilt recently. I’ve been going to the Red Lion in Greenwich Village on Monday nights and American Trash on Wednesdays in the Upper East Side, as often as I can. I recently made it out to the Red Lion for what... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
When I was still carryin’ my guitar in a gunny sack, I started playin’ Johnny B. Goode, and jamming on it with some local kids. I thought it was the greatest thing. One of the kids even told me, “you can really play that song.” I was like, “everybody plays... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
The new film by the Safdie brothers, Good Time, finally found its proper venue - for me. The Roxy is a beautiful, Paris-inspired movie theatre in the basement of the Roxy Hotel in Tribeca that shows classic, indie and other creative films for $12 a pop. Red curtains, red seats,... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
Love and devotion were in the air at the recent “John Abercrombie: Timeless,” tribute at Roulette in Brooklyn. The music was spot on – inspired, beautifully played and non-competitive. In a tribute to a great guitarist, only three guitarists would take the stage. For me, there was reason to be... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
With the wind at my back, I steadied myself. And pushed on. I could see the city lights before me. The wharf, the piers, les clochards, all beckoned. I was headed to the LIC Bar to play a gig with Saints and Sinners, AND Mancie, mind you. This was no... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
Hi, David Thanks very much for writing! What kind of guitar are you playing? How long have you been playing? Let me know if you have any questions and thanks again for getting in touch. Have a good one, Chris
Sadly, ruts are a part of practicing – I first noticed it when I was fourteen. My teacher explained to me, “You’re going to have ups and downs.” I won’t say that I was in a rut recently, but I felt that I was having trouble getting my practice sessions... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
The cold winds of February brought along a trio of blues gigs in my hometown, New York City. Two of the hits were over in a New York minute, but there were lots of great musicians and plenty of fun. The venues included the Delancey on the Lower East Side,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
“Killing Me Softly (With His Song)” makes for an excellent review and exercise of the basic chords in addition to being a lovely tune with some interesting theory behind it. The song was a number one hit for Roberta Flack in 1973 and with her beautiful vocal and arrangement she... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
When I first heard Gary Clark, Jr., I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. The hype surrounding his playing, his acting gigs, the perfect image and awesome singing voice made me wonder about his gasp, authenticity as a player, but the truth is that what I heard in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2018 at On Practicing Guitar
To All My Friends, Happy New Year and Many Happy Returns! It’s been a bit of a crazy year, but let’s not worry about the tough stuff. It was productive if arduous. I spent a lot of time working on a new album which will be ready soon. A lot... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at On Practicing Guitar
Hey Noah, Did you try it yet? There is no proceedure, other than that you have to join the group. Are you a member? I have to warn you though, some of the people on the Frank group are not the friendliest. No offense, but there are some of what might be called Neo-Nazis in today's parlance. How would I define this? When someone has a Nazi flag among their profile pictures. These people think they are somehow upholding FZ's political attitude/beliefs, whatever they were, which are not easily defined. I'm sure he would be mortified. But many of the people are very nice. In an FZ group, you have to expect a certain outspoken style. Let me know what happens. -Chris
Thanks for your comment, Diane! I agree! -Chris