As you may have guessed, it has been another busy week around here.
After procrastinating for as long as possible, I finally found the
focus and dedication I needed to tackle the TARGET lesson on Hotel
California. I would like to think that I always put forth my best
effort, but when it comes to a masterpiece like this, I feel that
the lesson needs to really do it justice. The only other song I
would put in this category so far is Classical Gas, which as you
know, took a little longer than I had promised, or at least hoped
for. More details about the lesson are below in the TARGET News
TARGET Live! update-
In the interest of keeping an alternating time slot happening, the
next episode of TG Live will be Friday, July 24, at 10:00 AM in
California, which should be a good time for our European members.
That will be 6:00 PM in the UK and 7:00 PM on the continent, very
early Saturday AM across the Pacific.
As our TARGET members now know, there are a lot of new things
coming to TG. We will be restructuring and rearranging many of the
pages and sections over the next few weeks. Most of the changes are
in response to suggestions we have been receiving from our members.
We will try to make it as seamless as possible but be sure to check
in regularly as each day may bring something new.
The lesson on Hotel California is posted in 9 parts, although there
may be more somewhere down the line. Part 1 posed a bit of a
logistical problem as I knew I was not going to combine this many
guitar parts into a solo Play Through, like most of the lessons
start with. I decided to record multiple video tracks, which
presented its own set of problems, the least of which was how to
combine them in a presentable manner. Another issue was how to
record each track the same way it would be done for an audio
recording. The answer to this was that it was not going to happen.
As it turned out, I chose to record each track with nothing but a
metronome and then combine them. In any case, I am pretty happy
with the result. For our non-TARGET members there is a preview
available to all visitors in the TG Videos Section.
In this multi-tracked video, I play most of the important guitar
parts, along with an improvised attempt at the melody to the verse
and chorus, before returning to the closing lead, simply a dual
arpeggio. All of these except the melody to the verse and chorus
are addressed in the video lesson.
I also need to thank my friend Jeff Krupp for the loan of the
12-string guitar, without which the song could not sound quite so
right. I suppose if I ever get around to teaching the main lead I
will have to do the same and look for somebody with an "electric
guitar" (sp. ?) I could borrow. On second thought, maybe I'll leave
that for my electric specialist Stef...
The remaining parts of the lesson include a Preview, a Theory
section, break down segments on 2 different rhythm guitar parts,
the opening lead as done on Hell Freezes Over, the closing duo
lead, and even a Sing-A-Long. This could probably more accurately
be called a "spit out the words and try to stay somewhat in tune"
I hope you can check it out and let me know what you think. Don't
hesitate to ask for additional stuff that might help clarify any
I also managed to put together a TARGET Short on a very popular
song that has the most views of all our songs at YouTube, Nothing
Else Matters, by Metallica. For some reason many people think this
is a very simple song but there are some pretty challenging
techniques that are very subtle. I always laugh when I hear
somebody say, "I've only been playing for 3 months and I can play
it perfectly." There are millions of songs that students can play
the notes to. Turning the notes into music is the real challenge.
Following is a recap of some of the details about the TARGET
The TARGET Program is pretty revolutionary as far as an online
teaching system goes in that it is very interactive. There are many
ways that I stay in touch and interact with my online students. We
have an exclusive section in our Forum where I answer questions
from members, as well as take requests for upcoming lessons.
This interactivity even reaches out to live broadcasts for our
members where we play some songs, help resolve music problems, and
generally have an online group get together in real time. These
episodes are part of out TG Live! Series.
If you are serious about improving your guitar abilities I really
encourage you to join our TARGET Program while it is still open. I
can't say how many students we will be able to handle but I know
there will be a limit as to how many I feel I can work with. I want
to be able to devote the same time and attention to my online
students as I do for students I see in my studio every week.
Check out the TARGET Program here
Latest Free Lessons/TARGET Previews
This week we posted the following TARGET Previews
Nothing Else Matters
Recent Comments from Visitors
Very good lesson Neil and you make it very simple to play, great
teaching method on this song. I love the way you teach all songs
and I love Neil Young songs and you are by far the best teacher
going. I am glad to be a Target member I have learned so much from
Nothing Else Matters
What a great song. Thanks for getting Neil to do this Matt. Neil
looks like he can't wait to finish the lesson so he hurry to get a
root canal or something
Interesting side note- the guitar I borrowed for Hotel California
belongs to an endodontist, Jeff Krupp. I also am trying to keep
TARGET Shorts to 20 minutes or less. I didn't quite pull it off
with Nothing Else Matters.
From The Beginning
I cannot believe I can play this song. After watching your video
playthrough I thought to myself but I better try another song.
Since I liked that song so much, I found myself watching your video
of it over and over....eventually, I grabbed my guitar and learned
it section by section. I still can't believe it. Moral of the
story...Never underestimate yourself
The TG Blog
Here it is, late Thursday night in Northern California, and I am
checking out for a couple of days. The files for Hotel California
are finished and should be available soon, along with way more TAB
than anybody could really use. I do have to say that this was a
great challenge and a lot of fun. Most of what kept prolonging the
project was similar to my problems with Classical Gas- a
masterpiece like this really requires seriously intense effort,
research, practice, and concentration- most of which has been
difficult to come by lately.
I hope you like the finished product, although I hesitate to
consider anything ever really finished, and have plenty of material
to keep you busy for a little while. I am on my way to Southern
California early tomorrow (read that as pre-dawn) to check in on
one of my other lives- Softball Dad. Although I will be close, I
will probably not be visiting the 'real' Hotel California (in
Beverly Hills, as per the photo on the album) but will be happy
hanging out in Huntington Beach with the girls and the team.
I hope everybody is OK with my taking a few days off, but it will
help me get refocused next week on TG events- new songs (surprises,
I hope), and our next TARGET Live! broadcast Friday, July 24 at
10:00 AM in California. Until then...
Q&A for Neil
Hey Neil!! I need assistance with Classical Gas section B. It is
difficult to bar the 5th fret and make this sound musical. Do you
have an alternative fingering for this section or is it worth
putting the time in for this version?
Let me know what you think.
Section B can be played slightly modified by using a half-barre at
the 5th fret and open bass notes rather than the full barre. I have
attached a copy of the TAB for this to the original lesson.
I am new here, so forgive me if this has been asked before.
I really like the sound of Neil's guitar.
I've been looking here and reading everything I can to find out if
any one knows what is the guitar Neil plays on most of his videos.
I'm guessing it's a Seagull. Can anyone confirm?
I'd like to know the make and model.
No, neither of Neil's guitars are Seagulls, (which are great
guitars by the way, I own one an love it). The guitar with the
fancy fretboard inlay is a Santa Cruz guitar and the other with no
fretboard markings is a custom made by some one who's name escapes
me a this time.
Neil, you can correct me if I'm wrong on this and perhaps put a
sticky up somewhere telling everyone what your guitars are.
And my response
You are right about the fancy inlay guitar; although I'm not sure
I'd call it fancy (google Tree of Life something or other). It was
made for me by the Santa Cruz Guitar Company in 1981 when there
were 2 guys, Bruce Ross and Richard Hoover building some guitars a
few years ahead of their time. As a matter of fact, the inlays and
logo on the headstock were hand done by Richard's wife Beth.
The other guitar, without any fretboard markers, was built by Ed
Claxton around 2001. Ed is also in Santa Cruz and stays off most
people's radar unless you are a seriously sick guitar geek (SSGG
around here, not to be confused with SCGC).
That's the scoop for now...
That's it for this week!
Stay tuned and in touch,
P.S. - Feel free to get back to me on the blog and on the forum to
let me know what else YOU would like to see in this weekly
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