Shortly before 10:00 this morning I posted a message to FLATPICK-L, an email list of acoustic guitar enthusiasts, in which I mentioned that I had been kicking around a notion to take some classical guitar lessons.
As mentioned in the “By Way Of Introduction…“ page elsewhere in this blog, I’ve been playing guitar for a long time without ever having more than the most rudimentary instruction. I’ve arrived at a point where I’m curious to apply some good solid theory to what it is I’ve been doing all these years. And more importantly, I’d like to know the fretboard better than I do. Less importantly, but still of some interest, I think it would be nice to know how to read music for guitar. Not just tablature, but actual notes on the staff.
I’ve never played classical music, but I got it into my head that classical lessons would be a way to learn these things. And surely whatever I learned that was pertinent would transfer to whatever music I wanted to play at any given time.
Anyway, before 3:30 rolled around this afternoon, National Fingerpicking Champion Rolly Brown had read my post and responded to me with a suggestion. Given that I live in Maplewood, NJ, Rolly’s speculation was that I must be within relatively close proximity to John Carlini, who would likely take me on as a student.
“John is an excellent guy to study with for sightreading and fingerboard skills, and also understands bluegrass,” Rolly wrote.
John, whose musical resumé is wide and deep, is well-known in the acoustic guitar community, especially in bluegrass and folk music circles, as the former musical director for the David Grisman Quintet, and also for River Suite For Two Guitars, an album of guitar duets he recorded with legendary bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice. Additionally, John writes a regular column for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, the only guitar magazine I have ever subscribed to. I had no idea that he lives near me, nor that he gave private lessons.