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Music Education Monday: Guitar lessons from John McLaughlin, and more


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As a sideman to Miles Davis and Tony Williams, founder of the bands Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti, and a prolific solo artist and collaborator, John McLaughlin is one of the most admired guitarists of the past 50 years.

Drawing on jazz, rock, classical, Indian music, and more, McLaughlin, now 73 years old, helped pioneer the jazz/fusion sound of the 1970s, influencing several generations of guitarists in the process. He continues to tour with his current band, the 4th Dimension, and release new recordings, the most recent of which, Black Light, came out in September on the Abstract Logix label.

Today for Music Education Monday, you can see a series of short video lessons from McLaughlin, in which he discusses various techniques and modal and harmonic concepts for the guitar. The lessons, which add up to a little more than 90 minutes total, can be seen in sequence in the first video embed below.

As a bonus, that's followed by another video in which McLaughlin does a “Rig Rundown" for the editors of Premier Guitar magazine, discussing his touring setup (circa 2011), including guitar, MIDI gear, effects, and even his picks.

For some further analysis of McLaughlin's playing, guitarists may also want to check out this article on his alternate picking techniques, this breakdown of five licks in his characteristic style, and a Q&A he did with the readers of

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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