Dudley Hill

More Guitar Instruction Media

I thought this would be a good time to explore some of the Guitar Instruction Media I have collected over the years. I’ve already touched on this in various posts, here, here and here, and here. AND HERE. Probably after this post I won’t have anything left to show. I know from checking the links that people do seen to like what they see with regards to some of the products I’ve reviewed before. I hope that you are all happy with your purchases and they have helped you sound better, play better or achieve all of the musical goals that you have. Without further ado —

SRV_covHal Leonard Best of Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Licks This is the oldest item I’ll be reviewing today. It’s Hal Leonard’s Best of Stevie Ray Vaughan for guitar taught by the boisterously funny and entertaining Greg Koch. Greg has appeared in many guitar instruction places and is all over YouTube too. Greg can play his butt off and does a great job with the iconic Stevie Ray, showing not only how to play the eight classics on the disc, but also sound considerations and further ideas for original soloing. Songs include, Ain’t Gone ‘N’ Give Up on Love, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, Crossfire, Empty Arms, The House Is Rockin’, Riviera Paradise, Scuttle Buttin’, and Stang’s Swang. A pretty good cross-section of Stevie’s material and songs that end with n + exclamation point!

SRV_discAs I said I’ve had this for a long time, probably 12-13 years now and originally I purchased it to learn how to play Stang’s Swang and Riviera Paradise, two of Stevie’s jazzier numbers. They were fun to learn how to play and served as a nice introduction for the real jazz styles and tunes that I would begin to learn a year later with some of these subsequent books. This disc is still available through online sources, some no doubt better than others. If you want to get the Stevie sound and Stevie licks and techniques under your fingers or learn to play some of his more advance stuff I think this disc is a great way to do that!

pearl_covPearl Django Play-Along Songbook Vol.1 This was the second songbook I bought once I started playing Gypsy Jazz and I can’t say enough about it! The book was put together by Greg Ruby from the band Pearl Django, a Gypsy Jazz outfit formed in the mid-90s by Neil Andersson, David Firman and the late, great Dudley Hill. The songs were out of Pearl Django’s repertoire that included covers of Django Reinhardt tunes, old swing/jazz standards and fresh originals. This was a great book to get early on because it has a CD of various members of the band in a play-a-long setting. Any of the seventeen songs start with a head played by guitar or violin and then there are any number of choruses to solo on with just a rhythmic backing. So cool! So helpful! I’ve spent a lot of time jamming out to Pearl Django and it’s a great product.

pearl4I also like the fact that the song list is way cool — especially the Django standards — Djangology, Minor Blues, Troublant Bolero, Nuages, Swing 42, and Manoir des mes Reves. I also learned and enjoyed guitarist Dudley Hill’s chord melody-based compositions New Metropolitan Swing and Radio City Rhythm. Some of the other covers like Limehouse Blues, I’ll See You in My Dreams and I Found a New Baby are jam session standards that any aspiring Manouche player will want to get under his or her fingers. I bought this book from Djangobooks and it’s still available. At $30 it’s not cheap but you do get a lot for the money: meticulous head/melody arrangements by seasoned pro guitarists with 2nd options for harmony in some cases; all manner of Manouche rhythm chord formation and structure, and as I said above, the play-a-long cd with all songs included. Not only that but it is SPIRAL BOUND!! This definitely adds to the cost, but makes it much easier to use. Highly recommended especially for those starting out.

modal_covJazz Guitar Techniques: Modal Voicings I’ve had this DVD for awhile too and I don’t think I spent more than an hour with it. It was a gift from somebody through Amazon and it didn’t contain whatever booklet was supposed to come along with it. Or maybe there isn’t supposed to be a booklet. I honestly have never been able to figure out what I’m supposed to do when it comes to learning the voicings contained within. This is a Berklee Workshop disc so you would think it would be good, but it just wasn’t. I have subsequently learned a lot of modal ideas and even some modal chords from other sources, so if you want this disc I’ll let it go for $5.99$3.99 $.99! (haha)

Wrewmbel_covMel Bay’s Getting Into Gypsy Jazz Guitar Speaking of Berklee and (guys who went there) this book is very unlike the last offering because it is GREAT GREAT GREAT! Stephane Wrembel put this book together after studying with real Manouche musicians for years and then graduating from Berklee. Not only is it an awesome beginners book for those wishing to dip their proverbial toe into the wonderful world of Gypsy Jazz music, it is also a mind-expanding resource that players can return to over and over again. Stephane covers everything from picking exercises (that include a bit of Indian Music influences) to arpeggios, scales, some music theory and example etudes as well as some stylistic techniques that are endemic to Manouche music. It is a JAM-PACKED resource and I’ve gotten a lot of use out of it. Originally I bought it in a store (you know one of those things…OUTSIDE) but this book is also available at Djangobooks for a very reasonable price. Learn from one of the modern masters!

wes_covMel Bay Presents Wes Montgomery Jazz Guitar Artistry Speaking of Mel Bay and modern masters, here is a songbook of transcriptions from one of the absolute pillars of jazz guitar. Wes Montgomery completely reinvented what playing jazz meant and this book tackles fourteen of his greatest pieces including, Jeanine, Work Song, Missile Blues, Full House, and Mi Cosa. There seems to be some problem getting this book now, or there was a version with inaccurate transcriptions (allegedly). I don’t know what’s going on. It’s available at Amazon for a reasonable price. But there is another listing here where it costs $30 or $55, which is wrong. There is no CD with this book, but the version I have has very accurate transcriptions. I just played along with Wes from his album cuts of the song I was learning. But I guess buyer beware on this one! The good version takes you headfirst into the music of a guitar legend!

fox_covMel Bay Guitar Arpeggio Studies on Jazz Standards Here’s another book courtesy of Mel Bay and authored by jazz guitarist Mimi Fox.  Mimi is a jazz player I’ve heard over the years and I’ve always like what she’s done. This book, which comes with an accompanying CD, was a gift ten plus years ago. I spent some quality time with this book it (along with the Wrembel book above) and that got me going in a big way on arpeggios and how to use them. Well-known jazz standards are used to illustrate how one may pull out various arpeggios from the harmony to begin the arduous, but fun task of understanding how to play an effective solo. The second half of the book focuses on advanced arpeggio concepts and how players can build their own. I think the book is less than 75 pages, but it is an effective study course for what it sets out to do. It gets very positive reviews on Amazon, but I think there is something weird happening with Amazon’s current pricing schematic because there are “new” books listed for almost $100 and I didn’t pay anywhere near that…so don’t buy it there. Buy it HERE where it is the very reasonable price of $19.99.

Django_covDjango Reinhardt: Know the Man, Play the Music Finally there is this book, which was also a gift from my late friend and leader of Cab City Combo, Paul Rubin, who I’ve written about here, here, here and here. This is an interesting book and one I’ve obviously had for a long time given the shape of the cover. I believe that Paul ordered this for me as soon as I told him about my Manouche aspirations. It was definitely a book I used in the early days and I will always treasure it for sentimental reasons.

Django4The first part of the book (Know the Man) is Django’s biography and is a fairly well-done primer for those who don’t know Django’s story. It’s illustrated with cool pics and considering at the time I received the book I knew 10% of what I know now, it is another one of those books that delivers exactly what it promises. The 2nd half of the book (Play the Music) that focuses on technique and six of Django’s most famous performances including Honeysuckle Rose, Nuages, Bouncin’ Around, and Djangology. An accompanying CD will help you work out the songs. By the time I started playing Gypsy Jazz with other people I had Django’s intro, solo and outro bits to Honeysuckle Rose completely worked out thanks to this book, so I think it rocks! The book gets good reviews on Djangobooks forum, is spiral-bound, and can be purchased here and here. It’s on Amazon too at almost double the price if you’re into giving more money to Jeff Bezos

The Schertler David Amp II

One of the great features built in to WordPress is the ability to track what people are reading and what kind of search results draw them to a blog. I’ve noticed that many people end up at The GUITAR CAVE looking for info on the Schertler David amplifier, so I thought I would give an update on this fine piece of equipment. I’ve already given a brief overview HERE, so in this post I’m going to go over some of the best features and give a playing demonstration. Keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that make up a guitar sound. While I love my Saga Gitane 320D, it is certainly not what people would describe as a top of the line Manouche guitar. Pick-ups, string choice, touch and attack of the player also have a lot to do with how good the sound emanating from the amplifier is going to be.

The David has two channels, which is really cool for guitarists and has come in handy for me in live situations. Here is a video of Romane and Stochelo Rosenberg playing Double Jeu. If you notice in the beginning, Stochelo has a cable protruding from his guitar, which I think is from a Bigtone pickup that is located in the guitar bridge. Both he and Romane have the clip-on Audio Technica mics and there is another mic (Shure?) between them. So they are picking up the sound and vibrations of the guitars from 2-4 sources. I do the same thing, albeit in a much more lo-fi manner. I use the Schertler Basik Electrostatic Pickup on the face of the guitar and I have a homemade bar pick-up that the guy who sets up my guitar made inside the sound-hole. The Schertler handles the main part of the sound load and the internal mic provides ambiance and air. I use a L R Baggs Para DI, which is kind of essential for getting the EQ and volume working right. The Schertler has many options too, so there is a lot of playing around you must do to get a good sound. But it is possible as I think the video below proves.

Another important feature of the Schertler David is the Resonance Filter, which STOPS FEEDBACK COLD!! This control works really well when used in conjunction with the Schertler Basik pick-up. I’ve never had a problem with feedback and I’ve done gigs in some loud situations including The Brooklyn Museum and a few dance parties. This is described by SchertlerHERE in a way that sounds really technical and stuff:


“At the touch of a button, David’s “warm” filter on the STAT channel eliminates the harsh upper-frequency sound of many undersaddle pickups. For microphone users, Schertler’s “resonance” control on the DYN channel allows the musician to attenuate the specific low-mid frequencies that often produce feedback or an unnatural bottom-end. Both channels can be used simultaneously and blended on the amplifier’s control panel.

If you don’t use two pickups, don’t use a transducer pickup or use only 1 pickup, this is still a good little amp. You can use the other channel for another instrument or a microphone for vocals. I like to use my Gretsch to get an amplified Django/Wes Montgomery type jazz sound. Playing the Gretsch through the Baggs preamp and then into the David gives an appreciation for how loud this amp can go. This amp and pickup system also work well if you play bluegrass, country, western swing, blues or other types of acoustic music where you need a good sound and reliable stuff.

Here is a video with an assortment of musical styles and guitars all played through the amp. I start off on my Guild with a bit of Keith Richards Beggars Banquet-era Prodigal Son, then some You Gotta Move, then Led Zeppelin’s In My Time of Dying. I switch to my Gitane and do some Gypsy Jazz stuff. At the end I’m playing along with Pearl Django, a song called Radio City Rhythm, which was written by the late Dudley Hill; a wonderful swing, chord-melody player, who was in the group until he passed away a few years ago.