Dan Kanter and JB



Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 12.13.19 AM“What Do You Mean” Acoustic Guitar Tutorial

When I set out to do a guitar tutorial on the Justin Bieber (acoustic version) hit, “What Do You Mean?”Dan Kanter Acoustic Version I had no idea how important that innocuous, deceptive, but irresistible guitar accompaniment would become to me and many others. It truly woke up a whole nation of guitar players to the “coolness” of the acoustic guitar in a pop/hip hop setting. The song would be to so many a “slap back to reality” of sorts to the guitar community of the expressive and colorful possibilities of an acoustic guitar and a voice.

Before you accuse me of leaving out countless other guitar vocal duos, Tuck and Patti Tuck & Patti surely come to mind first, none of them were at their peak during a communication revolution. With information moving faster than we can keep up with,  Dan’s guitar playing on the acoustic “What Do You Mean?” has single-handedly sparked a very big interest in taking the guitar more seriously.

Maybe, just maybe, this has demonstrated that it can be cool to play three, four, maybe a rare five chords and make them groove. Not only that, but when played by a bassist, pianist, guitarist, composer, arranger, music director, producer, current holder of a New York University music degree, and a future York University YorkU Master’s Degree in Musicology YorkU Musicology Program graduate, you see that the word guitarist can now carry much more weight that it has in the past.  

One thing is sure, in a world of incessant musical delivery it’s refreshing to see someone come along and stir up some of us who had become rather comfortable. Keep it up Dan and thanks for the infusion of relevance into the world of the guitar.


Eve’s Apple – Vonn Love

The Funk is Alive and Well

New Music!

A vonnnn.jpgblistering funk/soul track by Maryland’s own Vonn Love, sets the tone for a ride that will have you moving for the next 5 plus minutes! Vonn Love’s clever approach to the subject of “woman” is at once engaging, tongue in cheek, and just plain fun. His ability to combine the best of soul, funk, and blues is tops in the genre.

Love’s sharpshooter guitarist Mark Jeffery Campayno adds some real fire to this biblical bash taking his PGM 150 Paul Gilbert Ibanez and ripping into the strings with a pentatonic, blues, funk, fusion, fury that fits both the mood and the groove of this bouncy and bravado-rich track.

Vonn Love’s mystery vocalist adds the right amount of soul and sass to this collaborative masterwork by mockingly wailing throughout the vonnmiddle section of the tune.
Love is always full of surprises and he doesn’t disappoint here. His very clever refrain, “Look at this mess y0u got us in” is the “Adam Complex” at it’s finest. Ya Adam, sure, blame it all on the woman.

If Love keeps this up, there’s going to be some real juice comin’ his way soon.



YouTube Link:

Eve’s Apple – Vonn Love (featuring Mark Jeffery Campayno)

Meaning verses Purpose

What is the meaning of life? How many times have we asked this question? How many times have we heard someone else ask it? Why do we spend time searching for the meaning of life? Instead, why not search for your purpose in life.

As the days and months pass your time spent searching for the meaning of life could have been spent looking for, working on, or discovering your purpose in life. There is a difference and the difference is huge.

The word purpose is defined as:

: the reason why something is done or used : the aim or intention of something

: the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something

: the aim or goal of a person : what a person is trying to do, become, etc.

Definition of Purposemeaning-of-life

This definition has three glaring calls to action. First, you must have intention, second you must be determined, and finally, you must have a goal. Life without meaning is dark, vacant, and hopeless. Life without purpose is a drain on society and an even larger drain on those around you.

Find your purpose, then search for the meaning in your life.

Video Information:

“A Reflection of Destiny” – An Original Composition
Track by Anurag Mistra
Improvisation by Mark Jeffery Campayno

This is a gorgeous track produced by my friend Anurag Mishra and one that is perfectly suited to playing improvised lines over. Everything about it is suited to melodic development and soaring vocal-like lines.This is my first move into playing lines that are not typical or expected. I played with a more legato tech nique in this solo then I ever have before letting the sound of the guitar do the rest.

This “moving away” from traditional musical expression comes from two things: Daring to be different, forcing change in my usual approach to playing, and a lot of reflection on guitar playing in general. Sometimes expression on the instrument can only be produced by forcing technical demands in both rhythm and note choice.

There is no question that musical performance, especially improvising, it’s the truest manifestation of the soul.

Thank you Anurag for an amazing track.

Check out Anurag’s music!

Anurag Mishra’s Bandcamp

The Lana Del Rey style.

laaaana Exotic and glamorous, Lana Del Rey is an old soul. She is from another time, and I for one, am glad the time is now. A good friend described her music as “exotic”. That’s more accurate that any other description I could come up with.

Brave melodic motifs, unusual leaps, daring scale choices, and surprising twists of phrases, this young lady has unapologetically taken pop music to a higher level well beyond the trite and true banality that calls itself popular music.

She does it so naturally that it’s as though she was born to be the change agent in popular vocal music. But there’s more. Lana isn’t a one trick pony. She is more. Sure, her music is avant guade meets 1940’s style standards, but add to her lyrical strength where she holds back nothing in her black or white description of life and you have a complete artist in every sense of the word.

Take her new single, High By The Beach, from her forthcoming new album, Paradise. Lana does not sugar coat subjects, nor does she doesn’t edit her thoughts for radio. She’s not outrageous flashing about like a firefly trying to wow us. No not this girl. “You take the wheel, I don’t wanna do this anymore. It’s so surreal, I can’t survive if this is all that’s real”. Or take her mission statement for moving on after a relationship, “Everyone can start again, not through love but through revenge. Through the fire, we’re born again. Peace by vengeance brings the end”.

This is not a contrived and processed pop star. Lana Del Rey is an intelligent musician who delivers an orchestrated musical palate that has not been heard for decades, if ever. What’s even better is the way in which she continues to experiment, not seeming to care what the expectations are. Using old-school string sounds with lush orchestration, mixing in beats that are not only current but incredibly appropriate, and adding blazing guitar when needed, we finally have a model of what creative and expressive music can be in world of the chronically vapid.

As for her lyrics, they are deep, harsh, sweet, sarcastic, and full of life’s best and worst moments. At times, I swear she is writing about my experiences. That’s how a real artist connects with an artist in any area of expression. Her prose can only come from one who has lived with extremes in ups and downs. The girl has been there and back and knows exactly how to express it. My God, if I could write one phrase half as good as she can…

Lana Del Rey has hit on something. A music that is both from another time and at the same time, timeless. A woman, strong, beautiful, daring, vulnerable, and smart, I for one am taken in by someone who understands life as I see it.


Guitar tutorial for “High By The Beach” by Lana Del Rey

Link to Tutorial  Guitar Tutorial “High By The Beach” Lana Dey Rey

Key: B Minor Capo Key: A Minor
Scales used in melody: B Natural Minor/B Harmonic Minor
*Capo Guitar at fret 2.

The chords should not give you much trouble technically. The challenge wiil be what you do with them.
How will you interpret this music?

How will you turn a synthesizer-based composition into one that works on an acoustic guitar that has no sustain? Where the notes die quickly where you are the one who must create a sustained effect?

Chord progression for the verse/chorus is:
Am F Dm E
This stays unaltered until the bridge.

Once the bridge does occur, the new progression breathes new life into the structure.
Chord Progression for Bridge:
Dm C G Dm / Dm C G Dm/E7

This new section provides the perfect escape from the previous (and only other) chord progression in Lana’s composition.

The rest, as they say, is up to you.


Lana Del Rey ““High By The Beach” lyrics:

[Lana del Rey]
Boy, look at you, looking at me
I know you know how I feel
Loving you is hard, being here is harder
You take the wheel
I don’t wanna do this anymore
It’s so surreal, I can’t survive
If this is all that’s real

All I wanna do is get high by the beach
Get high by the beach, get high
All I wanna do is get by by the beach
Get by baby, baby, bye, bye
The truth is I never
Bought into your bullshit
When you would pay tribute to me
Cause I know that
All I wanted to do is get high by the beach
Get high baby, baby, bye, bye

Boy look at you, looking at me
I know you don’t understand
You could be a bad motherfucker
But that don’t make you a man
Now you’re just another one of my problems
Because you got out of hand
We won’t survive
We’re sinking into the sand

All I wanna do is get high by the beach
Get high by the beach, get high
All I wanna do is get by by the beach
Get by baby, baby, bye, bye
The truth is I never
Bought into your bullshit
When you would pay tribute to me
Cause I know that
All I wanted to do is get high by the beach
Get high baby, baby, bye, bye

Lights, camera, acción
I’ll do it on my own
Don’t need your money, money
To get me what I want
Lights camera action
I’ll do it on my own
Don’t need your money, money
To get me what I want

All I wanna do is get high by the beach
Get high by the beach, get high
All I wanna do is get by by the beach
Get by baby, baby, bye, bye
The truth is I never
Bought into your bullshit
When you would pay tribute to me
Cause I know that
All I wanted to do is get high by the beach
Get high baby, baby, bye, bye


Everyone can start again
Not through love but through revenge
Through the fire, we’re born again
Peace by vengeance
Brings the end

lyrics by Lana Del Rey

Lana’s Twitter
Lana’s Bio

“High By The Beach” Video Link from Billboard

YouTube Video Link:

MarcusGtr | “She Dreams, She Loves”

via MarcusGtr | Free Listening on SoundCloud.

This is a good example of being ready to move away from preconceived ideas and methods of playing on the guitar. Unfortunately, guitarists tend to develop “comfort zones” in their playing that can become crutches inhibiting true creativity. Not that there is anything wrong with planning ahead and sticking with the script, but being ready to move into an area you hadn’t planned can keep your music alive and relevant.

But, it takes a certain amount of openness, which is directly tied to your musical preference, background, and technique. Typically, we get lost in the technical expression more than anything. We tend to shy aways from things that require struggle and time. We want things now, today…the immediacy of “I don’t want to wait” is death in musical expression, composition, and especially performance. The effort required to refine a technique can become a block to forward movement especially when you want to compose a piece.

During this work, one innocent unplanned slur became the catalyst for the construction of the entire work. Lesson learned. Keep it real and don’t hold back from opening doors that lead you where you hadn’t planned on going.

“The Mountain Stream” – A student’s journey towards the mastery of the score and a teachers paradigm shift.

“The Mountain Stream” is a wonderful guitar composition by Sveinn Ehthorsson. Mr. Ehthorsson runs a wonderful guitar website, The Guitar School http://www.classicalguitarschool.net/en/. I’ve used this site for many yea2014-12-25 00.10.38rs in my public school guitar teaching and have been very happy with it. One of my current students, Michael, is working on “The Mountain Stream” for an upcoming evaluation at his high school. He is doing very well so far and we both absolutely LOVE this piece. I have included a recording that we did of the first minute or so of the music. Once Michael completes the piece we will record the entire four pages. The score for the work is available on the website. Here is the sound clip of the first section of Michael’s performance of “The Mountain Stream”. WE recorded it on Pro Tools 9 using a Shure 137 condenser mic about one foot away from his guitar’s soundhole angled in towards the bridge slightly.

The following is a brief look at how Michael has influenced me. Far be it for a teacher to be influenced by a student right? Wrong. If you are not learning from your students then something is out of balance.


You know I love to create music. Just create. No music on paper. Just a guitar and an idea. However, my conservative side, which is much larger that it may appear, was honed in the early days of my playing when technology was in book form. No aids, no shortcuts, just the music. I learned to play on a Yamaha classical guitar, which I still have at my studio. It is worn, beaten, doesn’t play well, and is fading fast. But, in it is the beginning of a lifetime of guitar playing, studying, and teaching that has brought me further than I could have ever dreamed.

My student, Michael, is discovering this same joy. Michael is dedicated, serious, task-oriented, and talented. I say this because teaching Michael keeps me keenly aware of my roots in music. I love to study music in all forms and to be honest I miss that part of my musical life. The reality is that when you teach and have successful students, you teach more. Your “alone time” with the guitar becomes scarce. It starts to dwindle down to spasms of random time. You begin to realize that you have to fight to stay on top of your musical goals. In the end, I have realized that I must be more like Michael. I must become more focused and driven in terms of working on more structured guitar music. I’ve created a lot of original acoustic music that I’m very proud of, so I am in the process of a shift of priorities in a sense. I want to be Michael again.