Posted in Acoustic Guitar, Music News, open tuning, youtube

Acoustic Guitar – Jimmy Robinson Youtube

Every now and then I think it’s important to introduce visitors to this site to acoustic guitar players that they are probably not aware of. Recently I got an email from a player  by the name of Jimmy Robinson who said to check out what he was doing, so I did, and I loved his playing.  His choice of notes and chords on guitar is quite extraordinary,  and  also what surprised also was the texture of his voice, how nicely it sat against his guitar.   In some of his other material I was hearing snippets of Robbie Basho, there’s a little Hedges in there two and mabe some Bruce Cockburn and at the same time a uniqueness. Jimmy is from New Orleans.   I’m grateful for the email and more than happy to share his music with you.

Here’s Jimmy’s website, check him out Jimmy Robinson Site

Posted in Acoustic Guitar, youtube

Cold Play Acoustic Youtube – Chris Martin Solo

It’s always very healthy to hear some of the more famous musicians and band members without a band, just a guitar and voice.  It helps the guitar player who is just starting out to put things into perspective and to take away the mystery and hype which builds up due to marketing, production and technology.  Then, when you hear them without the rest of the stuff going on in the music industry, it’s possible to make greater sense of their playing and where you are at as a player.

So here is Chris Martin from Cold Play on youtube video just with an acoustic guitar and voice and minimal sound production.  I love this guys voice and is awsome falsetto. The tune is called Trouble. First time I heard Coldplay some years back, I thought, Oh what have we got here.

Tony Hogan – Worlds Best Guitar Blogs

Posted in Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Makers

Jeff Traugott Guitar Maker

Jeff Traugott Handmade Guitars
Jeff Traugott Handmade Guitars

A few days back I wrote a short article mentioning a great guitar maker called Jim Olson.  In that article I said I thought it was a good idea to introduce a lot of players that ae only used to mainstream guitars (of all qualities) to some other guitar makers.  Some years ago, Acoustic Guitar Magazine did a article about guitar makers, in the article it mentioned the luthier from Santa Cruz, Jeff Traugott.  Arpart from the overall beauty of the  guitars, I really liked the shape of the headstocks, OK that sounds silly but a good simple headstock is nice to have at the top end of a gorgeous instrument.  Here is a link into the Jeff Traugott Guitar site.  His instruments speak for themselves.

A good instrument will make you want to play more because you don’t need to try and squeeze sound out of it, it will just automatically sing naturally for you.

I’ll continue to bring attention to some of the brilliant guitar makers throughout the world because they are the ones that help musicians to raise the standard of their playing.  Sooner or later, most guitar players get themselves a beautiful instrument, and why not.

Note:  This is not advertisement, this is about awareness of things that you may not  know exist.

Tony Hogan Acoustic Guitar Player

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, MUSIC, youtube

Dan Fogelberg youTube Acoustic guitar

I first heard Dan Fogelberg around the time that Souvenirs came out. In fact one of my all time favourite songs is Wysteria of the Homefree album

If you want to do the Acoustic Guitar Singer Songwriter thing, thisis how to do it.   A poem, a story a ballad, a simple melody and a guitar part that stands up by itself, hamer ons, simple chords and and a straight forward finger picking hand.  Dan Fogelbergs death was a loss to the musical community.  But the beauty of the technology we have is it’s ability to capture and freeze time.

A sentimental tune  and it was great that he was successful with it because many people would have got to hear a lot of his other music.  If you are not aware of Dan Fogelbergs music, explore his first few albums.  This guy is good and as a singer songwriter it’s the level to aspire to.


Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, MUSIC, open tuning, youtube

Michael Hedges – The Great Acoustic Innovator

Many people are not aware of the great guitar player that influenced so many guitar players, Michael Hedges died in a car accident in 1993, he was 43 years old. He played open tuning guitar, what this means to the uninitiate is that the guitar was tuned differently. This guy is unbelievable. Be patient with this, he does his intro tune up and then. Personall I think he reinvented the acoustic guitar. He’s quite young in this video.

Enjoy the Michael Hedges youtube video

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, learning guitar, MUSIC, youtube

Russ Barenberg and Jerry Douglas

Russ Barenberg is definetly one of the cleanest sounding acoustic guitar players around.  If you want to help mke your playing smoother, one of the best things to use for developing fluency is to learn a number of old bluegrass tunes.  Although playing scales is useful, learning to play some of the old Irish and Bluegrass tunes is definitely a way to practice, up your technique a little and at the same time it will help you develop an ear for melody as well. Jerry Douglas is by far my most favourite Dobro player.

I will continue to post youtube videos of great acoustic guitar players. I also have some tremendous ones at

Enjoy the Russbarenburg and Jerry Douglas youTube video

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar

How to be a good guitarist

How to be a good guitarist?


There are a lot of pieces to that puzzle.  This is a major one.   What I’ve noticed over the years is that the players that have played with a lot of other players eventually develop a good sense of time.  Some players that only ever play solo can often end up a bit wobbly with their time.  So the bottom line is  DEVELOP a GOOD SENSE OF TIME, it doesn’t need to RIGID, but it does need to be solid but with a little flexibility.  A lot of players speed up, try to avoid this.  Practice with a drum machine or rhythm track, the more musical the drum machine is, the better.  Or use some sort of drum loop. Start working at a very slow tempo and gradually over a period of times learn to play faster.

If you really want to hear some great guitar accompaniment, listen to what Tony Rice did on Hot Dawg with David Grisman.  In fact one of the all time great acoustic solos is on a song called 16/16.

If you can keep good time, musicians will want to play with you, if you’re real clever, very flash and showy but can’t keep time, other musicians won’t bother working with you, there are a lot of good guitar players out there.  Timing is everything.

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, MUSIC

Acoustic guitar albums collection

Every acoustic guitar player has albums that really impacted on them.  I thought I’d list a few of mine.  These are my personal, INSTRUMENTAL from my ‘can’t live without them’ collection.  I haven’t included my favourites with vocals or albums with bands. 

Michael Hedges – Breakfast in the Field

Michael Hedges – Aerial Boundaries

Alex De Grassi – Turning: Turning back

Pierre Bensusan – Intuite

Pierre Bensusan – Solilai

Pat Metheny – One Quiet Night

Pat Metheny   Charle Haden – Missouri Sky

Bill Connors – Swimming with a hole in my body

Ansgar Daelken – Llanezza

John Renbourn and Stefan Grossman – self titled

Stefan Grossman – Thunder on the run

Tim Sparks – One string leads to another

Sargasso Sea – Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie

Ralph Towner – Batik

Egberto Gismonti – Dancas das cabacas (unusual but Egberto is brilliant)

tomorrow…I’ll list the ones that I should have listed as well


Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD, MUSIC

DADGAD BLUES arrangements

Lastest updates of my DADGAD Blues and other arrangements are:

Four fingerstyle blues that are simple and musical.  There are a few twists that might be challenging for some players.

 An old folk song called Gypsy Rover with a simple bass part.

 Amazing Grace with a bluesy feel, a bit of new life breathed into it.

A 3 octave D blues scale, more of a rock style fingering.

 And also an Eastern sounding scale.

 Go to they are free tab and music notation in DADGAD downloadable in pdf format

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD

DADGAD guitar arrangements

I have written a couple of very playable DADGAD arrangements that are posted at These are free, extremely musical and will be really useful if you are swapping over to playing in DADGAD open tuning on acoustic guitar.  Although they are fingerstyle arrangements for both classical and steel string guitar there would be no lproblem in using a plectrum / pick or a combination of fingers and picks.  These tunes could easily be extended and modified  into songs that you’d play in an acoustic guitar repertoire.  Enjoy them, they are in acrobat reader format pdf, I have found that pdf prints much better than saving guitar tab and notation in an image format.

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD

dadgad blues scale

DADGAD Blues Scale

I’ve had a couple of requests from people wanting to know how to play a Blues scale in D. I purchased some new software today, (that’s right, a guitarist who purchases guitar software).

I’ve decided to change the fingering a little to help players get out of the normal patterns and allow a few open strings to ring out.  Put it this way, if you want to do normal fingering, just stay in normal tuning; open tuning is about expanding as a guitar player.  

Below is a gif image, if you want a better print copy, Download the PDF at the link  dadgad blues scale for acoustic guitar in pdf

 dadgad blues scale

This is a Minor Blues scale (note the Flat 3 note, the F natural) , it also has a flattened 5th note which gives it that BLUE sound as well, yes it clashes sometimes with other notes, it’s about tension ……………..and………….release.

 Use it against a standard blues pattern in D.  As you may know the foundation chords would be D, G and A or A7th.

I thought very carefully about the fingering, I was going to write in the fingering but I thought, why not offer a challenge.  My first fretted note would be with my 1st finger on the 3rd fret.

Good luck…plenty to follow on this topic.

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD

Open tuning guitar – beginning

The first thing we notice when we start playing open tunings after playing in standard tuning is that the guitar suddenly relaxes.  It’s a bit like wearing a suit and tie and then suddenly being barefoot on the beach wearing shorts.

I was ready to post an article on something else today but I received a question from a blogger called MulledVine, it got me thinking.  He was wanting to find some online resources e.g. good basic arrangements of DADGAD songs.  OK, on the spot I couldn’t answer that because I write my own arrangements if I want to play a song.  But I’ll see what I can find in the near future.  But the question had a number of things that prompted me to write this article.

 I had a great teacher (and many others)  Ike Isaacs (Stephane Grapelli Quartet), I’d been playing 20 years when I met him and what he said was ‘you only need to learn about three songs (contrary to popular opinion)’.  What he also said was you need to learn them inside out, play them in every key,  play them with lots of chord substitutions and improvise over them.  If you do all this to three good songs that have great chord changes, by the end of it you’ll be a great player.

Getting back to DADGAD.  If you play an open chord in DADGAD it will give you a chord that I would call a Dsus4(no3rd). 
This chord is neither minor or major because it doesn’t have a 3rd; a 3rd being the defining factor of whether it is min or maj.  It has the first, a D note, a 5th an A note and the 4th note of the D scale G ( D, E, F sharp, G,  1234). 

 A lot of people would like the 3rd ( an F sharp)  to make a standard D chord, me I don’t mind, it’s implied in some way, the ear fills in the gaps.  One of the beauties of DADGAD is that it doesn’t sound like normal tuning.  But if you want a D sounding chord without the frills, the added G note, all you need to do is add a finger at the second fret on your 3rd string and it will give you another A note, so what you have now is a stack of D’s and A’s.  This is very useable regardless of all the repeated notes.


Lots of songs have 3 chords, so for this post I’ll add a couple of other chords.  To play a  G (type of) chord is very simple, just add three fretted notes, one to the 3rd string on the 4th fret, one to the 6th string on the 5th fret, and also a note at the 5th fret of the 2nd string.  The notes you would have then would be G A (avoid this low A when you strum) D B D D.  This is a G chord. In some tunes,  leaving the 2nd string open and adding that high A is quite sweet and useable.

DADGAD G chord how to

The next chord we add will be an A chord.  All you need to do is slide the fingers up two frets. 
You’ll have A A D C sharp E D. You can use the added high D note depending on the tune. 


Now, above we have three foundation chords in the key of D, with 3 chords we can play a lot of simple tunes.

Many classical players have a glorious guitar technique, but sometimes ( not always) they haven’t developed an ear because when they studied guitar they learnt to rely on dots, dots are a bit like training wheels, there’s a time to get rid of them.  The remedy that I find is useful for fixing this is to sit with a guitar, hum a few notes and then play them.  Then gradually get to the point where you can hum a whole melody and then play it.  Whenever I work with a singer I always learn to play a complete arrangement of a song that includes the melody and the chords together.  If the singer falls off the stage or falls in love with someone in the audience and runs off, I can keep playing.

 If you are interested in DADGAD.  I highly recommend two things, artilcles from acoustic guitar magazine Oct 2007 edition and also the April 1997 edition if you can get your hands on it.  Also the Mel Bay Complete Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar Book By Stefan Grossman, Duck Baker and El McMeen has some good arrangements. update I have checked the book this evening and I have noticed there are only three tunes in there that are DADGAD, but there are numerous arrangements by El McMeen in CGDGAD, these tunes are beautiful to play. There is a simple arrangement at  which is worth a look and could easily be developed into something much larger.

 In a nutshell, what I’m implying in this article is:

  • Develop an ear for melody and the ability to play what you here
  • Learn some basic chords in DADGAD
  • DADGAD is different to normal tuning and chords are implied not necessarily played

The idea of playing in DADGAD is to broaden your musical possibilities.  Take a simple 3 chord song that you know and try and put it into the key of D.

To be continued…

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar

DADGAD tuning and similar tunings

DADGAD and other similar tunings

There are times when each of us as musicians feels a little musically ‘stale’. The general tendency for most of us is to put our instrument down and find something a bit more stimulating to do – that is anything except music. These times in our musical life may possibly be signposts to expand out of our limited musical habits.  Most of us fear change; this is probably one of the greatest stumbling blocks that we as humans seem to be burdened with.  The most difficult thing as an artist of any medium to do is to balance the ‘creative aspect’ with the ‘practical side’ that gives us the necessary tools to develop technique.  When we’re not feeling creative it’s the perfect opportunity to look for building blocks to help us expand our musical vocabulary.  Not for the sake of being artistically clever but to develop a broader creative palette to draw from and venture out and explore new musical directions.

I wrote the article was written in 2000 to read the rest of it and find out and get some good simple ideas about playing in similar tunings go to

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, MUSIC

Did you stop playing guitar?

Someone visited my blog yesterday and she said had tried learning guitar, was useless and gave up.

After teaching for many years I’ve noticed there are phases to learning, and this is not just about guitar, it’s in all learning.

 When we first get the idea to play guitar we’re wide eyed and have lots of dreams.

The first week or two we’re in seventh heaven and are really clear…’I want to play music..that’s we’re I’m going and what I’ve always wanted.  Does this sound familiar?  If not, read on anyway.

 Week three we wobble, it starts to hurt a bit, the fingers suffer, co-ordinating the two hands is difficult and you’re wondering why you don’t have two brains…one for the left hand and one for he right…your confidence goes down.

 Week four is when most people drop out of playng an instrument, that’s if they don’t have the right things in place.

So what are the things that need to be in place?

 Firstly (and I’ve mentioned this in one of my other posts.)

It’s important to create something musical as soon as possible.  Unfortunately a lot of the old school ( I don’t mean old age) teachers are hell bent on shoving music theory at you straight way.  They suffered…you must suffer.  This is a really, really bad teaching practice and contributes to the dropout rate.  They don’t have an understanding of music, it comes from a limited mindset.

Find yourself a teacher that can inspire you. 

So how to chose a teacher?  Audition them…yes that’s right, they are working for you, audition them, make them show you their worth.   Oddly enough, I did this at 13 years age…I said to a guy …i want to play like Santana…he said ‘a what’…i said ‘latin music’…he played something that I couldn’t relate to, I went somewhere else and the guy taught me Blind Faith, Cream and some other stuff…this was about 1971.  Within a few years I was studying with great jazz musicians.

See if the person you are auditioning can play what you would like to play.  Give them a clear understanding of what you like, take a CD.  Be wary of the guys that want to sell you their ‘kit’…it might include a T shirt with their pic on it 🙂 .  There’s a teacher I know that teaches like that,  he’s a good player but starts everyone from the same place.  I don’t like it at all, music is personal.  It’s possible to deliver a professional service but also have respect for the needs of others.  The Internet marketing guys are telling everyone to ‘give em what the want’…’not what they need’..well my obligation is to music and not to Internet Marketing. 

 But I’ll tell you something, sometimes a teacher may not play the style you like but if they have their head screwed on correctly they’ll be able to take you a certain level, make it enjoyable and inspire you to play what’s in your heart.

 Music is very personal and what you need is someone that can:

  • Teach you what you need to know to be a good musician.
  • This means the basics to start playing simple music that is in time and in tune and most of all WITH FEELING.
  • Teach you to be a good self-learner and not dependant on them
  • Help build your confidence
  • Help draw the music out of you

Now here’s an interesting one that no one has ever mentioned to me but I know from personal experience.

The music that wants to come out of you may not necessarily be what you like to listen to.  This is a major factor that has not been addressed by any teacher I’ve met or in any magazine that I have read in the 37 years that I have been playing.  It’s an obvious one really. 

If you play the music that suits your nature and not what is fashionable, you’ll get a much better result musicaly and emotionally. ..And this may not be a thing that you will appreciate when you are younger but it’s worth considering.  It’s just a matter of being yourself.

 Thanks Lady Banana for the inspiration.

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, MUSIC

Learn the guitar fretboard

I have uploaded a guitar fretboard tutorial.  It is to help guitar self learners understand the notes on the fretboard.  It is in MS word. I will make the pdf version available over the next 24 hours

 Click on the  Acoustic guitar fretboard to download > Select save > choose a location to save and remember the location > always scan for virues when downloading from the web


 Tony Hogan

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, MUSIC

how to make your guitar practice musical

Practicing the guitar is a bit like life, you can do it the hard way or be easy on yourself.  If you do it the hard way you’ll end up being frustrated and your music won’t feel right.  Believe me, there are ways of making guitar practice enjoyable.  But like many things that we wish to master in our lives, you will need to put in a tiny bit of effort to get some sort of decent result where there’s measurable progress.  I’ve seen some people put hours and hours into the guitar and work really hard at it and they get really tense about it all, there is another way of doing it that might suit you better.

First of all, I’ll assume you play music for fun, yes?  Whether it’s professional at the highest level, as a job or just for you and your dog, it’s got to be enjoyable.  If not, maybe you went to wrong teacher or at a young age you were pushed into it by well meaning parents that misunderstood music or had the agenda of music helps your maths, and then I really feel for you and hope the suffering finishes soon.  It’s important to find a balance between  a good technique and creativity. And by good technique I don’t mean that you need to be flashy, and yeah that’s fine if that’s your nature, but it shouldn’t be the end goal..the goal is good music, right?  Good music comes in every style,  shape and size.  And when I say creativity, I don’t mean frigging  around for hours as if you are lost in space, I mean doing something that has some sort of outcome.

 Here’s what I worked out years ago.  You might find it useful. 

There are days when you are not feeling musical.  There is a tendency for people not to play on these days.  When I’m not feeling musical I have a good look at what  things I can work on to develop my skill level, I’ll set myslf a task like starting work on a new arrangement of a song by someone else, or look at other ways of playing chords, find  a new scale or chords, or sometimes I’ll try playing in an open tuning e.g bass E B D F# A D.   I work on things that when I put the guitar down at the end of the session, I feel like I’ve moved ahead.  I’m a firm believer that the days when we don’t feel musical is definitely the time when something inside us is telling us to UP the skill level. 

On the other hand, if all we do is play scales and modes at a billion miles an hour and aim at two billion by Christmas, we probably won’t be getting much back from the music, it feels like a chore or maybe a great ego hit.  I once worked with a sax player that had a beautiful tone, his turning point was when a member of the audience came up to him and said “Gee you play great scales”, he changed his focus to music.  And yes, to have a giant toolbox of musical possibilities is great because it enables us to create without be disadvantaged by a limited skill set, but it should never outweigh the music. 

When you’re feeling creative go with it, music comes in waves, it’s not something you can just turn on.  It’s possible to play well at all times, yes, but not always possible to play great music. When you’re going through a creative phase, go with it, don’t bog yourself down with technique too much when you’re in your creative mode, it will just get in the way of the music. 

The ability to move comfortably between the creative mode and the study mode is what will ultimately help you be a great musician, one that is unique and not just a bad copy of your favourite player.

Learn from others but be yourself  most of all.  There’s room for everyone