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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
Thanks for writing, Evan! I've been trying to adapt Scrapper's licks for my own stuff but it's easier said than done. They are so distinctive. One of the things about Leroy Carr is, he's such a great singer. The music is incredibly well balanced. -Chris
Thanks, Jos! I had a blast creating that post, but with the huge amount of Led Zep stuff on the web, there was barely a giggle. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Let me know what else you're up to on guitar. -Chris
Hi Jos, Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad there is information here that can benefit your guitar playing. What kind of music do you like? What are you working on? The hand positioning issue is something that all levels of players will think about from time to time. If you let me know what you're working on, I can recommend some other posts. -Chris
Hi Amelia, Thanks for writing! No, it's not the original sheet music. It says Let Ring, which means let the notes of the chord ring out. Don't stop them. They must sustain. You want to be able to hear all four notes of the chord ringing together. -Chris
Thanks for writing, Blaine! It's amazing how you can miss some of these important John Hurt landmarks and they're all within a few miles of each other. We saw the museum and the grocery store, but missed the cemetery. I don't know if I would have even been able to find those without the help of Floyd. And we found his number at the Shack Up Inn. So, things can be a little iffy. I think many MJH Pilgrims return again and again, and that's how they know the way. Either way, you definitely need to prepare with whatever maps, contacts, or otherwise that you can find. Thanks for the kind words on my blues posts! I'm glad that people are enjoying and hopefully benefiting from them! -Chris
Years ago, I bought a Fender Made in Mexico Strat with the intention of creating a “stealth guitar” or “secret weapon.” The idea was, I would have this cool looking guitar that hardly cost anything and sounded great. It was an Olympic White Strat with a rosewood fretboard (one of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2023 at On Practicing Guitar
We're living in the golden age of stomp boxes. Pedal reviews, instructional videos and comparisons proliferate on YouTube. Newbie players acquire gargantuan pedal boards. And top selling pedals are sold out everywhere. There’s no question, effects pedals are massively popular right now. What follows here isn’t an exhaustive look at... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2022 at On Practicing Guitar
I love phase shifters. Unfortunately, their heyday was about forty-five years ago. So, you’ve got to find ways to fit them into your music. Or fit your music around the phase shifter sound. The early Cure comes to mind. Phase shifters aren’t subtle. Lucky for me, I am the proud... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2022 at On Practicing Guitar
Learn the central riff of this Zep classic, including the rhythm, picking, fretboard theory, and more! Playing a repetitive riff, over and over again, can be a great way to get some exercise for your left and right hands, as well as giving you an idea of where you are... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2022 at On Practicing Guitar
The Derek and the Dominoes cover is my favorite cover of the song. Duane's lead is so poignant and powerful, yet somehow hopeful and heroic. I've never taken to the Stevie version. I will have to give it another try. Thanks again for stopping by! -Chris
Thank you so much, Shirley! Please let me know how your cover turns out! I really like the Sting cover. What are some others that you like/know? It seems to me there are the big three covers: Dominoes, Sting, Stevie. Any more? I guess I'll have to do some research. Happy 4th of July!
What a night, Mike! We've got to play together again sometime soon! -Chris
Sitting On Top of the World is a blues song that has fascinated me for years. I originally heard the Cream version, and that led me to Howlin' Wolf. In this lesson, we'll take a look at the structure of the song, sometimes known as the inside. That includes the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2022 at On Practicing Guitar
Thanks for your comment, Cyrus! I checked multiple sources and I have it right. Plus, it sounds right. However, your version sounds good. You should try writing a song around that. That's the way the pros do it! -Chris
I’ve been a fan of Freddie King for a long time, but I didn’t take the deep dive until I had to learn the "The Stumble" when I joined a band called The Fountain of Blues. One thing led to another and soon I was ripping the Texas Cannonball’s riffs,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2022 at On Practicing Guitar
Sorry to hear that, Steve! The only information that I could find at the time was on a bulletin board at the Shack Up Inn right outside Clarksdale. I would try giving them a call if I was down there and couldn't find any other info. -Chris
Thanks for checking in, Jeremy. The exhibit was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I think it may have made a few stops in other cities, but I'm not sure. I went three times. -Chris
The beautiful chord changes of “Little Wing,” Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic ballad, are an opportunity for beginners to up their game. You may feel that you want to play the intricate melodies, fills, and leads that Jimi and others play, but you’ll be much better prepared for that if you master... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2022 at On Practicing Guitar
There used to be an adage that learning the blues provided a strong background for playing rock music. Much of today’s rock music isn't based on the blues, so this theory may not be entirely accurate anymore. But one thing still holds true: Learning the blues is a great way... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2022 at On Practicing Guitar
Thanks for writing, Andy! I give lessons on Zoom and in person, if you happen to be in the New York area. Otherwise, check out my posts on the rhythm for Hey Joe and Dead Flowers. Hey Joe uses a pattern that's a combination of Knockin' On Heaven's Door and Dead Flowers. They're all linked. I hope to do more strumming articles soon. Thanks again, Chris
Thanks for writing Phillip! I would love to go back there. -Chris
Thanks again, WC! It's a classic! Some others to try are In My Time of Dying by Led Zeppelin and No Expectations by the Stones. -Chris
Take a look at this picture of Jimi backing up Wilson Pickett with Cornell Dupree riding shotgun. Jimi has his thumb over the top of the neck. But the left hand is more telling - he has his pinky and ring fingers touching the guitar while the thumb and index... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2021 at On Practicing Guitar
A cover of Jimmy Reed's fourth single for Vee-Jay Records, "I'm Gonna Ruin You." It features a transcription of the harmonica solo arranged for slide guitar. Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2021 at On Practicing Guitar
Thanks, WC! I was looking at it the other day and thought about how it could have used some compression, ie the top notes were too much louder than the low ones. Gotta get back to basics. Where do you hail from? What are you working on these days? -Chris