Local Guitar Luthier Jim Blilie – Barbarossa Guitars shows us his B-00 model

For those of you who missed the last video here is a section of it that I found especially interesting where local guitar luthier Jim Blilie of Barbarossa Guitars shows us his B-00 model guitar. The design is his own. I think this guitar would especially appeal to nylon-string players who want a steel-string guitar because the body-size and length of the B-00 are those of a 20th century classical guitar. Having played one, I can personally attest that they sound great and feel good to play.

Barbarossa Guitars makes many other models, both steel-string and classical, that I encourage you to check out on Jim’s website: http://www.barbarossa-guitars.com/ Also, Jim’s guitars can usually be seen and played at Northern Pine Studio Studio in Lino Lakes, MN.

Romance de Amor Tremolo Sheet Music/TAB

Sheet Music/TAB for Romance de Amor (Tremolo)

Hey Everyone,

I thought I would mix it up a little and show you all a little piece that I am working on with one of my classical students who is developing his tremolo technique. The traditional Spanish folk song, Romance de Amor is a more commonly heard arranged in arpeggios but I believe it to be a good beginner tremolo piece for it is much easier than alternatives such as Recuerdos de la Alhambra or Una Limosna Por Amor de Dios by A. Barrios. Let me know if you agree!

Local Guitar Luthier Jim Blilie of Barbarossa Guitars (part 1)

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Barbarossa Guitars Workshop in Shoreview, MN and talking with guitar luthier, Jim Blilie. He told us about himself and the guitars he builds including his own B-00 design which I had a chance to play and can personally attest that it “plays like butter” as Jim likes to say. 

If you want to know more about Barbarossa Guitars, Jim has a very informative website: http://www.barbarossa-guitars.com/

Check back soon for more of my visit to the Barbarossa Guitar Workshop!

Grow Old With You by Adam Sandler – Valentine’s Day Repertoire #2


If you learn “Grow Old With You” by Adam Sandler you can win your girl’s heart while bringing her to loving tears of joy just like Robbie (Adam Sandler) did to Julie (Drew Barrymore) in the hilarious 1998 romantic comedy “The Wedding Singer”. If you aren’t familiar with the scene you should check it out here. And yes, that is Billy Idol in the scene acting as a flight attendant to help Robbie save the day.

Use swing rhythm when you strum the chords and remember that a C#m is just like a Bm but at the 4th fret. Good luck!

Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley – Valentine’s Day Repertoire #1

Chords/Lyrics          Finger Picking Pattern

With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, it’s time for all of us to remember why we picked up the guitar in the first place: to impress girls that are way out of our league (such as our wives or girlfriends). That’s why between now and V-Day I will be showing you how to play a few of the all-time best love songs ever sung so you can woo the object of your affection and honor your original motivation for playing the guitar.

Our first song, the classic 1961 hit, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley, is sure to make her swoon. I have provided both the lyrics with chords as well as a suggested finger picking pattern (it is also possible to use a pick) which closely mimics the piano on The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s original recording. Don’t be thrown off by the 6/8 time signature – there is nothing but straight eighth notes in my arrangement.

Good luck! Let me know if you have any requests for more love songs!

Drop D-Tuning with Paul Stiegler

Paul Shows Us Drop-D Tuning Sheet Music/TAB

I told you I would post the Drop-D tuning chords that Paul Stiegler showed us in my interview with him, and here they are so quit nagging me!

Paul said he uses Drop-D tuning to make his guitar parts fuller and more interesting to back up his singing. Remember, in order to tune your guitar to Drop-D, you must lower your 6th-string a whole step from E to D. Here is the section of the interview where Paul  explains Drop-D Tuning:

Local Singer/Songwriter Paul Stiegler

This video is the first of (what I hope will be) a long series of interviews with local Twin Cities artists. At the end of the video, Paul Stiegler performs his 2011 UK Songwriting Contest winning love song “If This Was the Last Night We Had” which he co-wrote with Rob Crosby. You can listen to more of Paul’s music on his website: http://broadjam.com/paulstiegler, but I highly recommend that you hear him play live at the Bean Good Cafe in St. Louis Park this Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7pm. He will also be performing in Madison, WI at the Brink Lounge on March 16th.

For you guitar players, check out the section of the video where Paul demonstrates how he uses Drop-D Tuning to make his chord progressions fuller and more interesting. Notice that he uses many of those chords when he performs “If This Was the Last Night We Had”. I will be sure to post some sheet music with some of the chords he uses soon! 

The guitar that Paul uses is a Seagull Performer Cutaway Flame Maple QI which I had the pleasure of playing and was all-around impressed with the volume, fullness and feel especially for the price – $749 at Guitar Center.

Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band – Drone Chord Progressions 2 of 3

Sheet Music/TAB          MIDI Sound Byte

Our second installment of drone chord progressions! If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out my first post on this topic. The original version of Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band was played on two guitars but has been adapted to one guitar for our purposes. Notice you never have to change fingerings on the 3rd or 4th strings (pinky on the 4th fret and index on the 2nd fret respectively), and the 1st and 2nd strings remain open the throughout the entire chord progression – only the bass note changes!

You can find the sheet music/tab as well as a MIDI sound byte on my free sheet music page or click the links at the top of this post.

Drone Chord Progressions 1 of 3 – Wonderwall by Oasis

Sheet Music/TAB          MIDI Sound Bytes

Greetings! This is the first of three posts about a topic I like to call “Drone Chord Progressions” (if someone knows the correct or a better term for it let me know). “Drone Chord Progressions” are chord progressions where one or more strings are fretted at the same fret throughout the entire progression. They are great (especially for beginners) because they are easy but still sound good and can be found in countless popular songs.

The first drone chord song I will show you is one of the most popular beginner guitar songs of all time as well as an anthem of the 90’s generation, however, it can still be heard played today by high-school boys all over the English speaking world who are desperately trying to earn their first kiss. “Wonderwall” by Oasis is a drone chord progression because it can be played without moving your ring-finger and pinky from the 3rd fret of the b-string and high e-string respectively for the entire song.

I have added Wonderwall to the free sheet music/tab section of the website as well as some MIDI sound bytes for each of the four sections of this song to help you hear the strumming pattern.

Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple

Smoke on the Water Sheet Music

This was one of my first guitar riffs (nostalgic tear runs down my cheek), and often it’s the first riff I give to my beginning guitar students as it combines maximum simplicity with maximum foot-stomping fun. Even if you are an intermediate or advanced player, Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple is a must-have for your repertoire as it is one of the most legendary rock guitar riffs of all time. So crank up your distortion, assume your power stance and get ready to rock out to this head-banging masterpiece.

I have tabbed it out in three progressively difficult forms which you can check out here.