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Letters to the Editor

by the Mel Bay Web Staff

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this months selection. The audio and tab were perfect. I have told everyone to log on and see what you offer. Thanks for the great selection. Fiona

Each one of the articles on the "Guitar Sessions" site, current and back issues, are fantastic! This is a fabulous source for hearing and learning from professional and experienced players.

I've created a bookmark in my browser as I plan to stop back on a very frequent basis to re-read the articles.

An absolute wealth of guitar "insider" information!

I saw your ad in Acoustic Guitar and surfed over to see your Sessions web site. I am impressed! It loads fast, it's well designed, well written, super informative, and it allows me to 'try before I buy'. You are delivering on the promise that 'www evangelists' have been shouting about for years. Great work!

Jeffery Luhn
Video Producer

I enjoy all of the information I get form Guitar Sessions. As I live in country Queensland and don't get to get lessons very much I find them very helpful. I am working my way through the modern guitar method books and other recommended Melbay books. I am very pleased that I can live in the country and be able to get such great help on guitar playing. These articles help me to keep focused and inspired.

Stuart Semple Biloela Queensland Australia
Email -


Web browsing is usually a waste of time, but I was delighted to find your site with it's new magazines. Outstanding, interesting and appropriate. Keep up the good work.

M. Everhart

This is dialog between two of our "Steves" to clear up a "thirds-above-the-melody rule" discussion.


Realizing that thirds-above-the-melody rule in bluegrass vocal and instrumental harmonization, why not thirds (and 4ths) below the melody? While thirds above make pleasant listening, thirds below would be less likely to obscure the melody. My ear, and I think this is true of most listeners, tends to pick out the uppermost note in a chord or interval as the melodic note. I love 70's vocal groups like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Peter, Paul and Mary - but have to admit to occasional frustration when trying to figure out which note is the melody when everyone is singing in parallel thirds.

One more favor to ask- could you name a few of your favorite bluegrass vocal groups? I am open to listening to the best of any musical genre, except rap!


Stephen- The 3rds above goes back to bluegrass band tenor singers. It is usually above. If sung lower than the melody it is usually a baritone part so the 3 voices are usually spaced this way. Sometimes a lower voice will sing an octave lower tenor part placing it as you mentioned.

Listen to Blue Highway, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Lonesome River, Claire Lynch for starters

Bye for now,
Steve Kaufman

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of jazz giant, Sal Salvador. Some forty years ago I had the privilege of studying with Sal for 3-4 years at his studio in the Henry Adler Building on Tin Pan Alley, New York City as well as at his studio in Queens.

As an endorsee of Gretsch Guitars, Sal graciously invited me to the plant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York and together we ordered my custom Country Club 400. This guitar was since stolen along with my D'Angelico. I was also privileged to be invited to Sal's "Colors In Sound" recording session at Webster Hall in New York City, a day I will never forget.

Sal Salvador was a great and knowledgeable player, and one hell of a guy.

Sal, you will truly be missed.
Stan "T" Bonanno
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Web site:

Being receptive to new ideas and different repertoire is essential to becoming a well rounded musician. Specific points of interest in the November issue of "Guitar Sessions" include: the fingerstyle lesson - Paganini is great for theory and technique; Classic guitar - arranging and compositional theory are very important. I cannot stress enough (and I am not an expert by any sense of the word)...the importance of learning to express oneself through the medium of music.

Probably a large percentage of guitarists spend their lives in pursuit of "written for guitar" works. What a shame not to be able to write original music, or arrange music originally intended for voice or other instruments - no matter how simple. Anyway, I will get off my soapbox now. My suggestion is to make "Arranging and Compositional Theory" a separate column to offer a springboard for inner creativity.

ALL work and NO play makes Jack a dull boy. I think that is why jazz is so intimidating for so many guitarists. It's perceived as too much theory and too much work to learn. When somebody comes up with a fun way to learn jazz through musical examples that inspire the guitarist to continue to learn, then it might change this perception. Then again, this is just the opinion of a frustrated jazz guitar beginner.

You guys deserve a standing ovation. Excellent start to the beginning of great things to come!

Brad Duggar


I am writing to express my support for the Guitar Sessions online magazine. I specifically enjoyed reading the Mark Cosgrove article in this months issue. After reading the article and the tab, I decided to go out and purchase the Mark Cosgrove Good Medicine book. I realize that free online magazines like Guitar Sessions cost money to produce. So I wanted you to know that reading your free magazine, especially since it contained real content and real music, prompted me to go purchase a book which I would not have otherwise bought.

Keep up the great work,

Your interview with my former teacher Carlos Barbosa -Lima was totally awesome in every way.The best interview I have seen in years in ANY MAGAZINE!!

Keep up the great work!

Don Witter, Jr.

In response to his interview with Bucky Pizzarelli in the July issue of Guitar Sessions Charles Chapman received the following kudos:

"I thought the review you did with my father was terrific! Look forward to seeing you in September [at the Great Midwest Guitar Show in St. Louis, MO].

John Pizzarelli

I really enjoyed your interview with Bucky Pizzarelli in the current Mel Bay "Guitar Sessions"- great job!

Mitch Holder
(Mitch is an LA studio musician and was the guitarist for the Johnny Carson Show during the late 70's and 80's).

The web-zine actually provides much more useful information for players wanting to improve than the magazines on the market. I am enjoying it very much and, yes, it does lead to sale of Mel Bay books. But, unlike the magazines where I can't even find the articles among the ads, I only go to look for the relevant books after I get an understanding of what I want or need.

I hope you can maintain and enhance the "Guitar Sessions" idea.

Bill Farone

I recently read your interview with El Mcmeen after finding the link on his Web site. Excellent interview, and wonderful to have FREE access to it. I own all of Mr. McMeen's CD's and several of his books.

I'm a non-professional fingerstyle player (intermediate to advanced). I'm very fussy about the quality of the guitar music I listen to and learn. In my opinion, some of his arrangements are true steel-string guitar masterpieces (e.g., Danny Boy, Fairwell to Music, the South Wind medley, Mo Giolla Mear). I and the people I've played this stuff for are blown away by its beauty.

Thank goodness for guitars, El McMeen, and Mel Bay.

Wayne Walden
Muskegon, Michigan

My compliments on the Tommy Flint interview. Tommy is a great man and great guitarist and friend, too!

Please extend our congratulations to Tommy Flint.

Best Regards, Wayne & Freda

Hello Mr. Rekas,

I've enjoyed the Guitar Sessions web magazine. I am a luthier and a guitarist with a degree in classical guitar performance from CSUN. I found the article on the Grand Staff guitar interesting although there is something that did not sit well with me. Mr.Fernsemer says the following:

"......Unless the traditional six-string shackle is removed by luthiers, we can't realize the full potential of the guitar."

This is an offensive statement to luthiers. We are more then willing to build such instruments. In fact we would love to do so. Guitarists need to order them, after all - we need to be paid for our work in order to survive. I do not feel that luthiers have put the "shackles" on the guitar. Luthiers are more then willing to build what the client desires. Let's not blame the luthiers for "shackling" the guitar, but the market and tradition.

Keep up the great work!

David Schramm

Dear Mr. Schramm:

Whether we like it or not the guitar does seem to be shackled by tradition and by economics or perceived economics. We can argue all day as to who is to blame and accomplish nothing. What is more important is that the situation can be alleviated. There are good traditions and there are bad traditions. Traditions are established by people and traditions can be changed by people. It only takes leadership. Leadership is not for the novice, however, but for seasoned veterans like you. Are you willing to provide leadership?

In all fairness, luthiers up to now have not had a good model for a Grand Staff guitar. I have done my part and provided a model for it. It is a good model, a very workable model, a do-able model.
As both a luthier and a master guitarist, you are in a unique position. The challenge before you then is which direction are you going to lead your followers? In other words, what kind of leadership are you going to provide?

    Fred Fernsemer

I just wanted to touch base and congratulate you on your continued hard work publishing Guitar Sessions®. I especially appreciated the Charles Chapman interview with Juan Martin in the September issue. You're performing a service to guitarists everywhere and I appreciate the amount of work that must be involved in producing a monthly magazine (in addition to all your other duties at Mel Bay). So, please keep up the fine work!


I have been an infrequent visitor to your web site up until now... How wonderful it is that you are putting so much great info out there for all of us to absorb.... Thank you so very much! I'll be by much more often!

Jay Seibert

Today, I enjoyed reading about the classical guitar in Buenos Aires on your web magazine via The article helped me do music research for my daughter and son-in-law.

Thank you,
Bob Schneider
guitar enthusiast

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