now offer bi-weekly & monthly guitar lessons - as well as weekly. Easier
for students to fit their busy schedule.
Burton Jamison Voted
Best! Favorite Private School
Music Instruction! Island Guitar Studios
Teacher 40+ Years Experience
Playing Guitar Click
Here to hear Burt Play Lead Guitar
Hi, I'm Burt. I may
have been 11 when I started playing around with the guitar. My first
guitar was found under the Christmas Tree, an acoustic from Montgomery
Wards. It was one of those guitars that had the strings a half inch
from the fret board. It hurt to try to play it, l but I hardly put
it down, even with blisters on my thumb and fingers. I remember putting
a bracelet on the guitar bridge, I liked that fuzzy sound the guitar made
as the top vibrated. I guess I was a rock and roller way back in the late
60's. In 1969 I moved, and the guitar was left behind.
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In 1970 at age 13 I received
my first electric guitar and amplifier. I was so excited! Luckily
for me that guitar had a height adjustable bridge. It was an older
one pick up Teisco.
The amp was a Discount one watt tube with one control which turned on the
amp and controlled the volume. The guitar was cool, but still hard
on my fingers when I tried to play. Then my friend Severn Johnson
told me about the virtues of super light gauge strings. He suggested
an Ernie Ball Extra Slinky .008 set. So I put an .008 set on
my guitar. And then...
everything changed. I mean
everything changed, a new door opened for me. (I knew nothing about
different string gauges and types at the time).
changed? The G string was not wound, it was plain, like
the B and E strings (1st and 2nd strings). Most of all
the guitar was much easier to play and to bend strings, but
it had an effect on my tone, it became "thin". The .008
string sets go from .008 to .038. The lighter the gauge,
the easier to play and on the fingers. I recommend this
set or an .009 set for electric guitarists just starting out.
I usually have guitar string sets and individual strings
available at the studio. If you need strings call or text
Burt at 410-739-1511.
The original strings were
heavy gauge, similar to what AC/DC rhythm guitar player Malcolm Young uses,
which are 12 - 56 gauge electric Gibson nickel round wound strings for
a tremendous bottom end and thick top end, which was the tone/ sound I
was used to. Take a listen to any AC/CD song, you will notice.
FYI - 12 -56 gauge strings
are used on many acoustic guitars for ease of fingering. They are
also used on electric guitars for drop D tuning, and for D standard tuning,
and the low, haunting C# standard tuning Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath
sometimes uses. There is a YouTube audio file of me playing a classical
song on an acoustic guitar with 12's near the bottom
of this web page. Please give a listen.
I used the .008's for several
years (known as eights or "oh oh eights" in guitar talk), and got used
to their tone. Then my friend Chris Franklin insisted I put "hard
tension" strings on my classical guitar for better tone, and that I go
up one level to have a better tone on my electric guitars, so I went on
to .009's (nines) and .010's (tens). Sometimes even .011's (care
to guess what they are called?), depending on the scale of the guitar.
(My Les Paul got nines, and I put tens on my Mustang). Scale of the
guitar? What's that? No it is not a musical scale. Keep
scale length is the distance in inches from the guitar nut to the bridge.
Fender Strats and Teles are 25.5", Gibson Les Pauls are 24.75".
A Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 has a scale length of 25". A Gibson
Byrdland (Ted Nugent) and a Fender Mustang (Nirvana's Kurt Cobain) both
have a short 24" scale. Guitar scale length also has an effect on
string tension and the selection of strings. The longer the scale
length = greater string tension for the same set/ gauge strings.
The lighter (smaller) the gauge strings = less tension, and easier
on fingers to bend, but there is a trade off in tone. Meaning to
put elevens on a 25.5 scale Strat or other guitar will take considerable
hand and finger muscles to be able to bend the strings. I do not
recommend it unless the player has considerable playing experience.
If you are struggling with your guitar... On a longer scale length
such as a Strat, start with an eight or nine set. Nine or ten set
on a shorter scale Les Paul style guitar. Now you may be better able
to understand why I was able to put heavier gauge strings (.010's) on my
Mustang. We can talk about all this later on.
Since we are talking scales...
Want to learn a new scale or a new position to play it in?
Try out an A Natural
Minor Scale (Also known as the Aeolian Mode) after you get used
to an A Minor Pentatonic. One of Burt's favorites! Play this one
over an Am based chord progression such as Am F G Am.
Harmonic Minor scale over an E Major chord for a Rock, Middle East,
Classical feel and sound. It is a natural minor scale with
the 7th raised a half step (one fret) from G to G# (Major I know, don't
ask...). In guitar talk a full step is 2 frets, a half is just
I am a guitar player, but
I am also a guitar teacher. I have been told I am a great guitar
teacher and love teaching and helping to unlock the secrets of the guitar.
Try me. Why? Years of experience, and because sometimes that
is all it takes... a comment, a new lick, scale, chord, a new solo
you have never heard. Maybe what you just read about string gauge
and scale length, or the A Harmonic Minor scale. It is the little
things that have made such a huge difference in my guitar knowledge and
guitar playing, and will make a huge difference in your knowledge and playing
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At age 16 I found myself
playing in a local band. I played in a few bands through the years,
playing all styles of music. Rock, Southern Rock, Country, Jazz.
My duties included both rhythm and lead guitar.
Here for a partial song list, which you will find varies.
Much on the list is what I consider old school rock and southern rock,
most of which was current when I was out playing live gigs (quite a long
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recent public "band gig" was Summer 2017 when I was invited
twice to sit in with Rebound at Dirty Dave's Tiki Bar. They
allowed me to close out the evening playing the leads of Confortably
Numb. But back in 2006... A group of my friends and I
were the last band to play at The Shanty before it closed (it
is now known as The Big Owl). The band was Unplugged
and Over Servedand we still get together and have fun.
I have been invited to share the stage with local musicians
such as Chris Sacks, the band Rebound, Jack Selway, Dave Hawkins,
Lisa Rowe, and others at local venues such as El Jefe, Dirty
Dave's Tiki Bar/ Kentmorr, The Jetty, Red Eye's Dock Bar, Lola's,
The Big Owl, Blue Water Tavern, Lisa's Small Plates, Lukes,and
others. I still play almost every other weekend
jamming with friends, most of the time with members from Unplugged
and Over Served. Plus I try to practice daily, and you
Here to hear Burt Play Comfortably
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I have been teaching guitar
informally for many years and have given Lord knows how many lessons, all
for free. I want to develop Island Guitar Studios into a full time
business. I am finally doing what I have always wanted to do to earn
my living. I teach what I wish I would have been taught when I was
starting out, along with a lot more. References
and testimonials are now available and will be updated now and
then. Please contact me today by text or voice! 410-739-1511.
Mood For A Day is a classical
song which was written by Steve Howe while he was with Yes. It appears
on both the Fragile (Studio) and Yes Songs (Live) albums. This song
is always dedicated to the memory of my friend Chris Franklin, who was
attending Peabody Conservatory of Music in the late 70's when he showed
me how to play it. Chris was a great friend and a great musician,
guitar player, and songwriter. He toured the world playing guitar
with the Bertie Higgins Band who had the hit song "Key Largo".
Chris left this world way too soon (in 2005 at age 45). This
version is my take on the song, slightly different than Mr. Howe's.
A combination of both the Live and Studio versions. Is it perfect?
No, but it was a first take and will give you an idea of my playing ability
and technique. I hope you enjoy it. TURN IT UP! Better yet,
put on your headphones. Please don't play this through lap top or