Ask Charlie…
  • Self Portrait

    Hello Troubadourians! How do you approach learning a new song? With practically everything now available on YouTube, as either the official version of the song or as an instructional video, we have seemingly unlimited access to learning just about anything we might want to play. We can choose from the recorded version, sometimes a live […]

  • From the Beginning

    Hello Troubadourians! Tom Petty said, “the waiting is the hardest part.” I’m not disputing that logic as it is undeniably true. But when it comes to forming a band I would say that the starting is the hardest part. Beginning anything from scratch is difficult but trying to organize the schedules and musical tastes of […]

  • Theoretically Speaking…

    Hello Troubadourians! Do you remember your guitar teacher… or really any music teacher you’ve ever had? Some of us took private lessons, some of us had some music training in school, and many of us are self-taught. Regardless of where and how you started, have you continued to add to your musical knowledge? That concept […]

  • We’re Going Back!

    Hello Troubadourians! I haven’t played for a live audience since November of 2019. That’s a long time but it feels longer. However, I’ve started rehearsing with my good friend Mark Jackson, and we’re going to start playing some gigs this summer. Many of my musician friends in town have already started gigging as the venues […]

  • What Do You Get for Your Money?

    Hello Troubadourians! Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of YouTube reviews of so-called budget guitars—guitars starting from less that $200 in some cases, to under $400—that are receiving rave reviews. I won’t name the brands but you can find them on several YouTube channels and it made me think about what makes a guitar “good” these […]

  • The Illusion of Cool

    Hello Troubadourians! Musicians are cool, right? Everyone thinks that their favorite musicians and performers are the ultimate in cool. We accept as a given that we’ll never be as cool as they are. That doesn’t stop us from trying to be cool, and some of us can and do achieve some semblance of coolness. I […]

  • Are We There Yet?

    Hello Troubadourians! I didn’t want to write another COVID-related article. But it has been on my mind a lot lately as I’m sure it has been on the minds of most readers. I certainly hope that with the increasing number of people getting vaccinated we’ll soon be able to have some real live music again. […]

  • No NAMM

    Hello Troubadourians! In a normal year, this month’s column would be about my experience at the NAMM Show. Not so this year. This is not a normal year and, due to COVID, Disneyland, the Anaheim Convention Center, and what seems like entire city of Anaheim, are all closed, so NAMM was cancelled. There was a […]

  • Substantive

    Hello Troubadourians! What do you want or expect from your playing? When I ask that question of most serious musicians the usual answer is “that it is good.” Okay, but really that answer is just the front end of circularly logical reasoning. How do you know if something is good? Because I like it. Well, […]