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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
This arrangement of one of Keith Richards’ signature songs with Ron Wood on acoustic slide guitar presents a quirky part of the Rolling Stones’ history – the sideman as star. The Stones have often employed top notch talent in their band onstage and in the studio, think Nicky Hopkins, Billy... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
How I came to so passionate about classical music is not completely clear to me. It may have started in my teens when a friend played an LP from Toscanini’s set of Beethoven Symphonies over a powerful stereo system. Or maybe my obsession had roots in Clockwork Orange, which features... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
Thanks for your comment, Charlie. I was talking about the repetitive aspect of the riff, not the sound. It's more a physical, technical thing. I will have to give my Bo Diddley records some further spins. Definitely some nice tremolo on Heart of Stone, as well. I've only come to use tremolo regularly in the past ten years or so. Growing up I used to think it sounded really dated. But more recently, I realized it was on many of the records that I loved, even after the '60s.
Toggle Commented Oct 26, 2019 on An Ode to Brian Jones at On Practicing Guitar
Thank you Lyall! A lot of time went into it with all the recording and the researching of the songs and their mixes. But the mix listening part was really fun and not that time-consuming by comparison to the production phase, especially the mixing process, which is usually tough. I will see you at the jam! -Chris
Toggle Commented Aug 22, 2019 on Mix It Charlie, Fix It at On Practicing Guitar
Jim, Sorry it took me so long to get back. Thanks! It was a long time coming. Yes, we missed the youtube and smartphone age! It's too bad. But that old film stock took some damn good pictures and it still does. -Chris
Mixing the individual musical tracks of a record can be one of the most difficult phases of the production process. But I managed to get a little bit more of a handle on it when I finished my current album, Saints and Sinners. I was stuck, I admit. But as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
Saints and Sinners will bring some rocking blues and bluesy rock and soul to The Bitter End this Friday, July 12th at 8pm. We last played the venue in February and we're raring to get back in action in Greenwich Village's most historic club. We've been playing an ongoing residency... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
This is possibly the first Gibson Les Paul Sunburt from the late 1950s to find its way to England. Keith Richards brought it over after one of the Stones' early U.S. tours. You can see him playing it in the T.A.M.I. Show, a landmark rock and roll movie. I finally... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
We all have neighbors. For years, I had the worst – complaining all the time, and even threatening violence. It was insane! Then finally, they both died. Joy! Their son took over the apartment, and he was a Saint. He never complained. Well, times change and now I’ve got terrible... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
Spring is in the air and Saints and Sinners will be making our first appearance at The Groove in Greenwich Village on Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:30 pm. We’ve been working hard uptown at The Shrine and we’re excited to bring the music downtown to all our fans in the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
If your pull-offs aren’t working, the first place to look is in the term: “Pull-Off,” accent on the “off” part of the movement or technique. Perhaps they should be called, ‘pull-downs,’ but that would probably be confusing. And it wouldn’t make matchy-matchy with the Hammer-On, would it? The idea is... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
Once, I swore I wouldn’t form any more rock bands. Then a bolt of lightning from Maine called me asking for guitar lessons. It was the beginning of a band and a friendship. Unfortunately, the friendship eventually dissolved into a Nigel Tufnel – David St. Higgins type of, “We shant... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
I went to The Loft at City Winery in NYC to see one of my students play with his band, Mojo And The Mayhem and I was thoroughly impressed by his playing and the lively, accomplished sound of the band. Paul Lederer takes slide guitar lessons from me but he... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2019 at On Practicing Guitar
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