In this premiere edition our resident guitar guru lays out his vision for a biweekly helping of guitar lore and offers a little personal history.
Hello! I'm Brian Baggett and I'd like to welcome you to our new feature, Guitar Notes.
I've been told many times that I have the coolest job in the world. I’m the video presenter at Musician’s Friend Private Reserve, the high-end guitar division of Musician's Friend. Over the past year I've made over 200 guitar videos and had the privilege of visiting most of the guitar factories in the U.S.. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with lots of great folks in the guitar world—even hosting a webcast at BOSS headquarters with the amazing Steve Vai in which we discussed effect pedals and pedal order among other things.
Our goal with Guitar Notes is to give you an inside look at not only truly great guitars but also share my experiences playing, testing and comparing these instruments as well as working with the craftspeople and designers behind them.
In this inaugural post I'd like to give you a little background about myself and set some basic ground rules for Guitar Notes.
I started playing guitar at age 12 after a friend loaned me Van Halen's album, 5150. As I got older my tastes changed but one thing stayed the same: I've always been drawn to great playing. This led me to jazz guitar which I studied extensively at The University of Kansas and Washburn University. I began playing professionally in the year 2000 and currently play Wednesday and Saturday nights at Kansas City's premier jazz club, The Green Lady Lounge. I’ve taught private guitar lessons since 1995, spent three years as the guitar professor at Ottawa University and nearly 10 years on the faculty for the KU Jazz Workshop. I have written a guitar method book, Keys to Unlocking the Fretboard, which also has a companion DVD with the same title.
My dad is actually the person responsible for getting me into the retail music store business. He suggested I look for a job in a music store just in case playing and teaching didn't pay the bills. I ended up managing a brick-and-mortar music store for 14 years while gigging at night. This is really where I got interested in not only gear but also guitar design, construction, set up, hardware options, etc. I believe you can do great things with the equipment you already have, but given the many instruments I’ve played, I’ve learned there is a big difference between great guitars and the rest.
I am no doubt a guitar nut…I love everything from guitar fly swatters to guitar spatulas. I'll never forget a trip I took to New Mexico when I was 14. I thought I'd be okay leaving my guitar behind. I was so wrong! I was miserable the entire trip and realized at that moment that I needed a guitar in my hands every single day. I’ve played nearly every day since!
Enough about me; let's talk about Guitar Notes.
In each post I'll share not only my work with the Private Reserve but also the endless experiences I've had as both a working musician and music teacher. Here are some of the topics we've got planned for future posts: factory visits, guitar design and manufacturing, inside looks at the Private Reserve and our video studio, the music business, guitar instruction, guitar history, and more. If it's about guitar it'll be open for discussion.
As I've developed Guitar Notes with the Musician's Friend team I've lobbied hard to give YOU the ability to join in the discussion. After all, WE ARE YOUR BIGGEST FANS and we love to hear from you. I'll do my best to be part of each discussion, but please know that I simply cannot respond to every comment. In addition, please post responsibly and be a positive contributor to Guitar Notes. Musician's Friend reserves the right to remove any offensive posts including but not limited to posts dealing with politics, race, creed, sexual orientation, country of origin, etc.
As a video presenter at Musician’s Friend Private Reserve, my goal is to be the hands, eyes and ears of our customers. Guitar Notes will take this concept even further by sharing my experiences with you and taking part in your ensuing discussion. Welcome to Guitar Notes. Until next time...keep playing!