Ask Charlie…
  • 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, […]

  • Picky, Picky, Picky

    Hello Troubadourians! Happy 2021! I’m sure most of us are glad to see 2020 in the rear view mirror. For many, high hopes quickly turned into worries, but maybe we’ll be able to view this past year in 20-20 hindsight and reflection. The guitar informs much of my musical vision but when I write this […]

  • Transpose

    Transpose Hello Troubadourians! I’m writing this column on the day after Thanksgiving 2020. To say that it has been a really tumultuous year is an understatement. Thankfulness has been an off-and-on feeling for a long time, yet I am thankful for many things that I must mention. I’m thankful to be healthy, not just that […]

  • In the Woods

    Hello Troubadourians! Which elements define the tone of an electric guitar? Just like any guitar, electric guitars are first and foremost acoustic guitars. I can say from experience that an electric guitar that doesn’t sound good acoustically—that means unplugged—it is unlikely that it will sound good when it is plugged into an amp. Likewise, if […]

  • Regrets

    Hello Troubadourians! A good friend of mine recently posted a question on Facebook: name two talents you always wished you had but just don’t. Probably 95% of the answers were either play an instrument or sing or both. Think about that for a minute. This column is written for, and mostly read by, those of […]

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