Entries by Warren Sirota

Are You Learning Or Just Copying?

Spending as much time as I do – enjoyable time, to be sure – transcribing and playing along with the solos by my musical idols of the moment, I sometimes have to stop and question whether I am making the best use of the (unfortunately) limited time I have for practicing. To begin with, there […]

Django Reinhardt Resources

This is a revision of a page I (Warren) published years ago. It’s almost laughable now, how thin the list originally was. In the intervening time, a Gypsy Jazz Explosion has occurred world-wide, and there are many Django Reinhardt resources available for free or pay, with Django festivals and workshops going on all over the […]

Gypsy Jazz Ornaments

In an earlier article, “Are You Learning Or Just Copying”, I advanced the idea that ornaments are essential elements of any style, and that copying ornaments from records and applying them to new situations is a great way of evoking the feel of a style. This observation applies especially to jazz in the style of Django […]

Learning From Scott LaFaro

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article on Scott LaFaro is authored by Jeff Addicott (not Warren Sirota as the software insists on listing) Once, during my final semester at music school, I was chatting with one of the instructors, and he told me how he was constantly disappointed by the fact that not one of his students […]

Our Fragile Egos

Q: How many guitarists does it take to change a lightbulb? A: 50 – 1 to change the bulb, and 49 to stand around and say, “I can do that”. A subscriber to Woodsheddin’ recently wrote to me and expressed how he was so awed by some of the guitarists that he admired that it was depressing […]

Mind-Bending Upstroke Exercises

If you’re like me, you’ve never paid that much attention to upstrokes. Like many flatpick-wielding guitarists, I’ve concentrated on alternating picking technique for most of my playing life. And that makes sense – it is certainly the most versatile, general purpose technique that there is. You also probably have a smattering of downstroke-based ascending arpeggios […]

Practice Tips: Pushing past your physical limits

  Suppose you have a melodic phrase (or any other kind of passage) that you’re trying to learn that is giving you trouble. I’ve encountered plenty of these transcribing Django Reinhardt guitar parts with SlowGold. Figuring out what notes he’s playing is only half the battle for me – the man just plays so darn […]

Dave McKenna’s Rose Room

by Dr. Joel Simpson Dave McKenna’s music has a special quality of reassurance. All the elements in his playing-lines, rhythm, dynamics, harmony-work together to create a warm feeling that we are in capable hands, that we can relax and be borne up by the music. Everything develops organically, even the surprises: key changes and tempo changes. […]