Ask Charlie…
  • 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 […]

  • Playing Well with Others II

    Hello Troubadourians! I know we’re all missing live music, for both playing and listening. There have been some scattered performances—most of which felt a bit clandestine in nature—but nothing like what we’ve been used to seemingly forever. So many of our normal behaviors and choices have been severely curtailed or eliminated completely. The places where […]

  • Playing Well with Others

    Hello Troubadourians! When I first began writing for the Troubadour the focus of this column was mainly to answer your questions about gear and the technology that is a major part of today’s music, especially as it applies to live performance. While that remains the main focus, I have ventured into other subjects and discussions […]

  • I Wanna Be Like You

    Hello Troubadourians! When you do anything long enough it’s easy to get to a point where you don’t know what else there is to do or learn. And even if you did know, would there be enough time to learn it? This is an easy trap to get caught in and it is one of […]

  • Listening and Learning

    Hello Troubadourians! What is it with me and jazz standards? A few months ago, I wrote about the Hoagy Carmichael’s classic “Stardust.” This time it’s “All Blues” by Miles Davis. Although I took lessons from two excellent jazz guitarists, I am in no real sense a jazz guitarist. I’ve learned some jazz-ish stuff in order […]

  • Making Music in a Pandemic

    Hello Troubadourians! There’s an old saying, some would say a curse, that goes “may you live in interesting times.” These are definitely interesting times. I never considered that we could find ourselves in a situation like the one we find ourselves in now. Regardless of your politics, I suppose it is classic American arrogance to […]