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My New Year’s resolution for 2021 is to thoroughly familiarise myself with music theory as it applies to the fretboard. Many times over the years, I’ve rued the fact I didn’t start learning music on piano, where each note appears only once in a very logical sequence on the keyboard, making early understanding of how intervals, scales and chords relate to one another a lot easier, I’d imagine. Instead, I did as most budding guitar players do when starting out and completely ignored theory in favour of just bashing out my first Beatles and Hendrix songs. That changed when I went to music college, but I’ve let that knowledge get a bit rusty since then, so I’ve now started studying again with a will as there’s no way to break into playing jazz guitar without it, which is my goal. To my surprise, learning theory has been a pleasure rather than a chore this time round. What’s changed? Motivation, I think. I realised that playing guitar without decent theory knowledge is like trying to navigate your house at night without the lights on. Sure, you know roughly where everything is from long habit – and you can get from A to B okay, after a few stumbles and a bit of groping around. But it’s just so much easier when you can see where you’re going! What’s motivating you on guitar in 2021? Write in and tell us and we’ll print the most inspiring stories. In the meantime, enjoy the issue and see you next time.
Jamie Dickson Editor-in-chief
A Breed Apart Breedlove’s superb Premier Concertina CE has the perfect balance between projection and sweet, silvery tone p16
The Rivals The story of how Fender and Gibson battled to define the soul of the electric guitar resonates to this day as we see on p52
COVER IMAGE CREDITS: PAUL MCCARTNEY IMAGE © MARY MCCARTNEY / MPL COMMUNICATIONS; PETE TOWNSHEND IMAGE BY NEIL LUPIN/REDFERNS VIA GETTY IMAGES
Wood Work Don’t know the difference between quarter-sawn tonewood and other grades? Be confused no longer with our expert guide on p118
MARCH 2021 GUITARIST