Julian Lage, 28, is an American jazz guitarist and composer known for his solo, duo, and ensemble work.

In this 5-Minute Lesson, Lage explains the benefits of practicing quietly on the acoustic guitar.  “You think when you play an acoustic guitar you have to work harder, or play with more muscular tension, or somehow manifest a sound. One of the things that has helped me a lot, is practicing extremely quietly, and touching it very gently. Try to get in touch with your guitar’s ability to turn whatever you do into a beautiful sound. That’s why acoustic guitars are cool, they are doing a lot of the work for you.”

Lage also touches on his method of getting out of rut, by spending time improvising. Try the figure he plays at 3:13:


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In addition to his own group, Lage is a member of Gary Burton‘s New Quartet and Eric Harland‘s Voyager. He also has a duo project with Chris Eldridge and another with Nels Cline.

A West Coast native and former resident of Boston, Lage attended the Berklee College of Music. He plays a Linda Manzer Blue Note Archtop, which he has owned since he was 11, and a ladder-braced Waterloo made by Collings.


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Watch an Acoustic Guitar Sessions episode with Lage on which he plays three songs, including an inventive,engaging take on the Elizabeth Cotten classic “Freight Train.”

This 5-Minute Lesson was filmed in 2016. Read Adam Perlmutter’s 2018 interview with Lage here:

Julian Lage at 30: A Visit in San Francisco With the Jazz Guitar Phenomenon