I was just watching a video from James Taylor where he was showing how he plays “Country Road”. And I was reminded of how some of my favorite players have some pretty unorthodox ways of doing things.
Now as someone who started out playing Classical guitar at age 9, and has his degree in Jazz Composition from Berklee College of Music… I do tend to teach all “prim and proper”.
…you know, keep your hands at 10 and 2 while driving at all times 🙂
So when I saw how James was fingering his D and A chords in the song, of course my first guitar teacher instinct was to scream… YOU CAN’T DO IT THAT WAY …IT’S W R O N G !!!
He even calls Pull-offs… “Hammer-offs”.
Now me telling James Taylor how to do it is what would be wrong…
In reality, James Taylor would not be James Taylor if he did it my way, or “my correct way”.
So here is the video. Notice how he plays the D and A chords.
Then there is Albert King… he played the guitar upside down! He was a lefty and played a right handed guitar. But he didn’t restring the guitar the correct way like Jimi Hendrix did.
What can a guitar teacher say about that? But it gave him the ability to play bends and licks that are hard to duplicate playing the “correct way”.
Or how about Jeff Healy. A great blues guitarist who played with the guitar in his lap. He could then use his thumb to fret notes and play licks with wide stretches that could not be played if he held his guitar the “correct way”.
So I do have a little bit of a dilemma when I’m teaching guitar. It’s my duty to show you the most correct way to play things, based on my experience of teaching over a 1200 private students over the last 30 years.
But if “everyone” followed my method, then the quirky and unique ways that some people approach the guitar would not exist.
So hear me out as I am telling you how to approach learning something on the guitar. I have proof that it works, and I will always explain why I suggest doing things a certain way.
And then with that knowledge… go break some rules 🙂