No. 347 Jul/Aug 2024

No. 347 Jul/Aug 2024

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Special Focus: Playing with Others

The only thing better than making music is making music with others, but doing so can be intimidating at times. Here, veteran roots musicians and educators Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer share tips and tactics for bringing your best musical self to any ensemble setting, from duos to jam sessions and beyond.

In the features department, singer-songwriter Madi Diaz talks guitars and songcraft; Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers profiles four modern acoustic artists/groups who are carrying on the songs of Grateful Dead; Mac Randall checks in with Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra; and Santa Cruz Guitar Company founder Richard Hoover tells the story behind his opulent Vault series guitars.

Also inside: A primer on everything you need to know before participating in your first jam session; a beginner’s guide to using hammer-ons and pull-offs to add variety to open chords; aWeekly Workout on how to add jazz flavors to the 12-bar blues form; an exploration of motivic development with guitarist-educator Ethan Sherman; and more.

Songs to play include Laurence Juber’s solo guitar take on the Beatles’ “In My Life”; a dropped-D arrangement of the Grateful Dead standard “I Know You Rider”; two flatpicking versions of the jam session favorite “Old Joe Clark”; a campfire rendition of “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby”; and a modern interpretation of the traditional spiritual “The Water Is Wide” as conceived by Hiroya Tsukamoto.

Plus, E.E. Bradman chats with Shubb Capos founder Rick Shubb about his company’s 50-year journey; repair expert Martin Keith answers reader questions about nylon strings and the dark art of finish touchup; and Blair Jackson weighs in on Speak to Me, the latest Blue Note release from the young master Julian Lage.

Elsewhere, Emile Menasché tests the innovative Gruhn Versitar, a bold new guitar design from vintage authority George Gruhn; and Doug Young digs into the Taylor Circa 74, the revered guitar maker’s first foray into acoustic amplification.

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