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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
Doug, Thanks for writing! I spoke to Mike Maggio and he did indeed sell some guitars at one time with his name on them, he said they were as you describe, Strats in a natural finish. He added, "Small world!" Do you still have it? -Chris
Thanks, Jim! It was easier to narrow it down to LPs, and then stuff that I've mainly been listening to currently. There's a story behind almost every great record, if you think about it, especially if you've been listening to them for a long, long time. Like when I went by In Living Stereo to hang out and listen to some stuff, I had to bring that Brahms record. It really came to life on that outrageous system, like it was a living, breathing creature. That record has been with me for years. It kind of has a life of its own. Like the time the old lady underneath me in Sunnyside banged on the floor while I was listening to it. She only banged like twice. The other time, it was for EPMD! That I could understand... -Chris
Hi, Bruce I really dig King Zapatas' playing as well. I saw GCJ recently without him and something was definitely missing. The song is a relatively simple minor blues. I think the chord progression is in my post. You should be able to figure out a great deal about what KZ is playing by watching the video and other videos that include him. Get in touch with me on email if you want to continue the discussion. This blog is associated with my website,, which has a link for my email. I'm really interested in rhythm guitar, and other guitarists who appreciate it. It's an art. Thanks for writing! -Chris
One of my guitar students asked me for recommendations of albums on vinyl so I dashed off this list. Many of them I’ve had for a long time and some for less, but one thing that they almost all have in common is that it’s pretty easy to listen all... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2020 at On Practicing Guitar
Fred, Sorry for the late reply. I looked online at the museum's website and didn't see much info, as you must have, as well. I suggest contacting the Shack Up Inn, which is located in Clarksdale. That's how I got the info that led me to the caretaker, Floyd. Believe me, it was just a piece of paper stuck up on the wall, probably hand-written with the phone number and basic info. I only saw it by chance. OK, maybe it was printed and on a bulletin board I don't remember it that way. There are many fans that make the pilgrimage and you've probably found your way by now. Let me know how it goes. Chris
Hi, Jim This post, has links to some other similar posts, including the one above and one for Dead Flowers. They're all related. There's also a good one for Wild Thing. Thanks for visiting and for your comment! I'm starting to do some Zoom/Skype lessons. Let me know if you're interested. -Chris
Experienced guitarist looking for bands, gigs, recording projects, session work and collaborators. I write songs and I’m good at collaborating. I teach guitar. I like to rehearse as long as the ratio of gigs to rehearsal is good. Also looking to join/form a rehearsal band. People say I play really... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2020 at On Practicing Guitar
Chemistry is the elusive facet of any band that truly succeeds. Even at the simplest level, this is what people want to see and hear. With chemistry, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This came into play when I formed The Anodyne Blues Band with a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2020 at On Practicing Guitar
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