At LegendaryTones we certainly love discussing gear, but make no mistake, the gear is only part of the equation when it comes to tone and being a better player. A great player, with excellent technique and one who has the knowledge to apply musical principles, will not only be more enjoyable to listen to, but also have better overall tone. There certainly is truth to the adage, at least to some degree that “tone is in the fingers.”
One such musician who has spent years honing his craft is Dave Weiner (www.daveweiner.com). Dave runs GUITOPIA, on online guitar education website that is packed full of resources designed to make you a better player. Dave’s philosophy is to to teach in ways that focus on effectiveness and efficiency to maximize results. He focuses on creativity and opening up ways for players to develop their own styles. He does not, however, rely on tricks or gimmicks stating that players will become experienced, pro-level guitarists in a short period of time. At the end of the day, it still takes work and practice and what you get out of it is what you put into it.
Dave Weiner’s accomplishments and resume are lengthy. A former graduate at the Musician’s Institute: Guitar Institute of Music in Hollywood, after graduation, he was tapped by Steve Vai to become his touring guitarist and Dave has since toured around the world for over the past 16 years. Dave was honored as a four-time Grammy nominee, released three albums, and has shared the stage with guitar legends including Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Al DiMeola, Yngwie Malmsteen, and others.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with Dave during the most recent Steve Vai “Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour” in San Francisco at the famous Fillmore. While on tour, Dave offers in-person lessons by appointment. It had been years since I had taken a formal lesson, but this is one of the opportunities that I could not miss.
The experience was definitely worthwhile. Dave showed me several areas within my own technique to work at, identified a couple of bad habits, and we also discussed and explored theory. I wanted to receive some tips on his approach to modal usage. We talked about inspiration. We talked about practice. Obviously only so much can be covered in one hour, and I did my best to soak it all in. There was a lot of information, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Dave has often gone back to the Musician’s Institute to guest teach, and indeed was a pioneer of online music education in the early 2000’s with his “Riff of the Week” series, so his teaching style is first rate.
Perhaps most importantly, I came away from the experience feeling genuinely inspired. Wanting to create, wanting to improve, and also having that excited feeling I used to get when I was learning something new on guitar during my formative years.
GUITOPIA hosts nearly 500 online lessons to this date, with a new lesson posted each week. In addition, there are hundreds of Jamtracks posted, live chats, guitar master guest hosted videos and more. Dave also offers personalized lessons via Skype, customized to your needs. The costs are very reasonable, with different membership levels available. Considering the quality of the information being provided, they are very reasonable and cost-effective. The tools are out there for you to become the player you want to be and Dave has put together quite the toolbox of options within GUITOPIA for you to achieve your goals.