Guitar Time

The sad truth is I have barely picked up a guitar in weeks. Okay let’s call that months. Working long hours, flitting between work commitments and home commitments, I don’t seem to have room for it. And there’s only so many things I can stay motivated about. Remaining focused on the business has been my number one priority.

But if my business is all about the music, it’s time to get down to it. So along with all the other challenges, to do lists, plans and scheduled (I do not and will not ever have a bullet journal btw … ) I now need to set aside some guitar time.

Here’s the plan:

  • Move a guitar, any guitar, back to the sofa end of the living room
  • Tape a practice list to it
  • No turning on the TV till I’ve picked up the guitar for 10 minutes
  • We know 10 will turn to 20, 30, 40
  • Every day.

What’s been going on?



20170228_161821-2Front of house, it might look like there’s not a whole lot going on round here.  But I’ve been ridiculously busy.  I have a PLAN for 2017.  It’s a huge series of plans actually, and it’s all in my huge-series-of-plans book.

Guitar Geekery is going wholesale this year.  I’m in the process of designing a new set of products especially for that.  And they’ll also of course be available here.

I’ve said a sad goodbye to my Leeds stockist Our Handmade Collective and my Huddersfield stockist Crafty Praxis.   They’ve both been great over the past couple of years, but it’s time for Guitar Geekery to spread it’s wings.  I’ll let you know when I’ve got some new bricks and mortar stockists.


Jewellery, brooches, guitar accessories all seemed to go down well at Christmas, so I’ll be getting them into production in the next few weeks.  I’ll also be producing some new notebooks, with useful sections for guitar players… watch this space.


Of course there’s more to the business than just designing and making.  This next month, I’m getting to grips with accountancy software, in readiness for new rules from HMRC.  And to make my life a whole lot easier I hope too.  I’m going to be learning how to use some new-to-me design software.  I’ve started to get a handle on Instagram.  (If you don’t already follow me, I’m @GuitarGeekery, would be great to see you over there).  So I’ve actually been very busy in the backroom.

And of course I’ll be listening to some music too.  Talking of which, here’s a bit of Ida Nielsen for you.




National Storytelling Week

It’s National Storytelling Week this week and I was wondering what to post. Of all the ballads and musical stories I could have chosen, this one just kept jumping up.  My grandparents had it on vinyl when we were kids.  We loved it.  Pete Seeger was a great storyteller.  Share it with a child today!

Jazz in a Tiny Room

The last time I saw the Nik Svarc Trio they blew my ears off. In a good way. We are so lucky to have these guys in Leeds.

My love of jazz guitar is in no small part encouraged  by our own local jazz musicians. I think I’ve seen all these guys play in the tiniest (but best) jazz venue in Leeds: Cafe Lento.  The venue holds around 25 people sitting, plus the band,  but I’ve seen it with twice that, and more dancing on the pavement outside.  I joked last week with cafe owner about getting a heavy metal band to play, wondering if the walls could stand it.  But come to think of it, the last time I saw the Nik Svarc Trio there, it blew my ears off.  In a good way.  A very good way.  We are so lucky to have these guys in my home city of Leeds.

Nic Svark, Jiannis Pavlidis, Jamie Taylor, Sam Dunn

Jazz Guitar Week: Joe Pass

“He looks like somebody’s uncle and plays like nobody’s business”

1929 – 1994

Difficult to have a Jazz Guitar Week without a mention of Joe Pass.  Pass was born into a working class American/Sicilian family.  His father saw early on that Joe had talent, and encouraged him to take the instrument that little bit further.  By 15, Pass was getting gigs with established musicians.  His heroin addiction saw him spending much of the 1950s in prison.  But he overcame it, and picked up his guitar again by the end of the decade.  He started recording again in the 1960s though most of his work came as a TV and recording session musician.  He worked with Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald.  In 1974 Pass recorded his first solo album, Virtuoso, and The Trio (feat Pass, Oscar Peterson, Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson).  The Trio won a Grammy in 1975.

He died in 1994 of liver cancer.  The New York Magazine had this to say of him: “Joe Pass looks like somebody’s uncle and plays guitar like nobody’s business.”

Jazz Guitar Week: Sheryl Bailey

Sheryl Bailey started taking guitar seriously round about the time I stopped. Ah, see, nothing good comes of being distracted by boys and rugby.

“Sizzling Guitar Goddess”  [Elliot Simon]

Born in 1966, Bailey got her first Strat aged 13 (round about the time I was being distracted from guitar by boys and Leeds RL actually, and look where that led – certainly not to being a guitar goddess).  Initially, she was hooked on rock music.  But she was introduced by her teacher to Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Raney and Joe Pass, and never looked back.  Alongside her extensive live and recording career, she’s also a professor at Berklee College of Music.