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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
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
Hi there! Thanks for visiting my site. My name is Christian Botta and I’m a guitar teacher and performing musician with lots of experience and training. I work in NYC but I’m available for ZOOM lessons far and wide. I teach all levels of students, from total beginners (click links... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2021 at On Practicing Guitar
Thank you, Rory! It's great to hear from you. You might try learning the song "And It Stoned Me," by Van Morrison. It has the same strum pattern but with an extra chord, and then there's a bridge, a chorus and a little melodic figure, as well. Same key/chords. I give Zoom lessons, BTW. You'd be surprised at how much you can learn in one private lesson after you've been working so hard to figure things out by yourself. Thanks again, Chris
Thank you, Bones! I'm glad that it was helpful for you. I hope this finds you well and that you're getting plenty of practice in during this challenging year. Take care, Chris
Eight Million Ways (To Be Alone) - A New Song In 2019, I started a big push to write songs and I did pretty well with it for a while. I had a lot of ideas saved up and I just kept ‘working with what’s in front of me,’ a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2020 at On Practicing Guitar
Big Bill Broonzy Illustration by Jake Bialos The great blues master Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key to the Highway” is one of the most famous eight bar blues. Besides the evocative lyrics and simple but catchy melody, the chord progression itself helps to make the song compelling. Eight bar blues are... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2020 at On Practicing Guitar
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