The other day, Adam Levy told a roomful of students that they ought to buy some drum kits and learn to play them. Taken out of context, this would hardly seem like unusual advice, but Levy, a contributing AG writer and ace guitarist, singer-songwriter, sideman, and educator, was in fact teaching a master class for guitarists.
The class, called True Guit!, was held on Saturday, July 7, at San Francisco’s Blue Bear School of Music and was designed to help guitarists explore new avenues in their playing. Levy’s multi-talented cohort Joe Gore, the guitarist, composer, sound designer, and music journalist, co-led the proceedings.
Over the course of six hours, Levy, with a Waterloo WL-K at hand, exchanged turns lecturing with Gore, who played a 1941 Martin 00-17. Both guitarists shared their unconventional approaches to thinking about music in highly approachable ways, sometimes with colorful language. “I call b.s. on that,” Gore said, referring to the ways in which the modes of the major scale are traditionally taught.
The students played in assorted styles with varying levels of proficiency, but had a uniform level of enthusiasm. They all wanted to break out of their self-described ruts and had clearly come to the right place. In learning new and interesting ways to use a metronome in developing a solid internal clock from Levy, how to deploy chromatic voice leading in ii–V–I progressions from Gore, and a whole lot more, it was obvious that the students were indeed opening up to new possibilities on the guitar. —Adam Perlmutter