Saturday, September 3, 2011

James Taylor's Acoustic Guitar Lessons

James Taylor is offering acoustic guitar lessons at his website and I for one am totally thrilled!

In addition to being an incredible singer and songsmith, James is also a truly great guitar player.  I've always marvelled at his incredible touch on the acoustic guitar and the little filigree decorative figures he uses to embellish chords.  And some of those chord voicings used to keep me up at night! 

You always know something is truly great when it doesn't draw attention to itself  in spite of its intricacy.  In James's playing, it was always about serving the song.

As of this writing, he has put up two songs, Country Road and Little Wheel.  Watching these two videos I came to realize that his use of the occasional unorthodox left hand fingering enabled him to play certain chord passages smoothly that would have made for a more disjointed sound using more conventional fingerings.

The lessons are shot in HD, and show very high production values.  Split-screen is used to good effect, but what I like the most is the additional camera placed in the soundhole of his Olsen guitar that captures his right hand technique so we actually see the articulation of his right hand fingers against the strings!  This definitely raises the bar for future guitar instructional videos.

James's lessons are being put online slowly in installments but if he keeps it up it will be a great testimony to his music and his playing.

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