Another #guitarcenter (mayfield heights, ohio) horror story from a few years ago 

About 5 years ago, i went into guitar center in mayfield heights ohio and there was a rare respite from the usual $300 instrument line they normally have hanging there.

There was an Ibanez LGB30 which is the more reasonably priced (chinese made) version of the very expensive LGB-300 guitar.

It was used and they wanted about $800 for it which was reasonable for (retail) used.

I played it and it sounded REALLY good. Except that it was a buzz-fest. Sounded like a sitar if you dug in even a little. I asked them if I could get a free fret level and they said I could not but that the repairman was relatively inexpensive. 

So I bought it and left it for the repairman to work on. I figured if I could get a great jazz axe for $900, it would still be a great deal.

A week later, I get a call from the repairman saying that there was no buzzing and he didn't know what I wanted done on it. I was kind of shocked and offered to come in and demonstrate the issue. I was kind of puzzled because it wasn't just one or two frets. The buzzing was all over. I'm guessing the nut was cut way too low or that there was a high fret, very low on the fingerboard.

At any rate, I come in and he plugs it into a little SS marshall with the preamp dimed, and proceeds to play a bunch of chugga-chugga and metal riffs on it at high gain, on the bridge pickup and says, “See, there's no buzzing”.

I asked him for the guitar, adjusted the amp so that the master was all the way up, the preamp was down around 9 O'Clock, put the guitar on the neck pickup and played a few jazz lines and chords.

He replied, “What is that??? I don't even know what that is. WHO PLAYS LIKE THAT???”

I asked him if he was familiar with jazz guitar or clean sounds and he said he was not but that he knew some people played without gain.


He told me, “I would have no idea how to fix something so that playing that stuff sounds good”. I thanked him for his time and immediately took the guitar back to the sales counter and initiated a return.

Ibanez LGB30 review | MusicRadar

This just happened to me at #guitarcenter mayfield heights, ohio 

This just happened at guitar center in mayfield heights, ohio...

I wanted to buy an alto TS412 powered cab. Web said they had them in stock. The drone there said, we don't carry alto. It's an exclusive brand that you can only buy direct. I told him the website said they had them in stock and he said , "what is it, a guitar cab?". I replied. "no , it's a powered pa cab", and he said, "Raw speaker?". I replied, "look, it doesn't matter what it is. Look it up in your inventory. Unless the site is wrong you have them in stock." He replied, we don't carry them. Finally the manager overheard and said, "we have 5 in stock. They are right over there"...

Then after I paid for it the guy asks me to buy the extended warranty and I said no and he replied, "Why not? You don't care about your gear?". I was ready to punch him. I told him extended warranties were a rip off so he said, "Fine, your loss. Don't come crying to me if it breaks the as soon as you get home. " So I said, "Wait, it comes with a 45 day money back guarantee, doesn't it?" He replies, "Maybe". And I said "look bruh, either it does or it doesn't and I walk". Finally he admits it does.

And then he watched me struggle to carry this big-ass box out the door and didn't offer to help or lend me a cart...

Sad commentary on the perception of what is right or wrong in jazz... 

There's a discussion on one of the jazz guitar forums using E natural on an Fm7 chord in cantalope island.

I had posted this clip.

At the beginning of my solo I play C F G Ab G E and sustain the E natural.

A guitarist on this forum posted that the E natural was a sour note.

I posted that it we considered melodic minor to be a sour note we'd have to go all the way back to 1933 harmony.

He replied, "Straight minor or m6 is one thing; that's an Fm7 in Cantaloupe."...

I replied that martino and pass and others have been using this sound over min7 chords for over 80 years. But it points out one of the shortcomings of online forums. Somewhere along the line, this guitarist was told that you can only play over the exact chord in the rhythm section and that anything else is wrong. 

And he's not the only jazz forum member who posts things like that. I've heard from dozens of folks in the last couple months saying you can't superimpose chords that aren't being played by the rhythm section.

And one poster said on the same forum, (talking about my clip) 

“If he leaned on the maj. 7th over an m7 chord for a few beats as he did over the vamp, don't think many would say it worked.”

Just curious who's teaching these methodologies?

And why do people who are student level players have such strong opinions that they feel the need to pontificate about what is right or wrong about someone's solo?

And why do people feel like it's ok to make negative comments about someone else's playing in a public forum?

This is one reason that I do not allow criticism or negative comments in my forum, .

Too many times, i've seen student level players put down others - when it's actually the student who needs to do more work…

Scammers directly coming after musicians now. 

just wanted to warn you guys. 

The scammers are now coming after musicians directly.

Last week a "film producer" contacted me and asked me to overdub rhythm and chords for a 1.5min video he was producing.

We discussed pricing and I agreed to do it for $300 and would give up 2 re-dos if there was something he didn’t like.

He asked me if I could accept an electronic check and asked me the name of my bank, which immediately got my hackles up. I told him I could accept venmo, paypal or zelle but he replied, 

“I would have used it if it was an option, but our business checking account doesn’t support 3rd party payments. Besides the company account has to reflect the payment for the project.”.

So I told him he could send me an image of the check which I would deposit using my mobile app.

Today I received a check for – NOT $300 – but $3000, followed up by an email which said this,

“Hi Jack, I had my assistant forward you the check, so I didn’t double check it before she sent it over. I’m only just seeing it now. 

Apparently my assistant requested a check of $3000 instead of $300 to my manager, and now he processed a check for that amount. I tried to cancel the check, but our account manager said we won’t be able to use the account for 90 days if I cancel the check, and I really won’t want that to happen because I have to pay my employees for the month.


Can you just deposit the check and find a way to send the balance back to my manager?


I’m so so sorry for the inconvenience. My sincere apologies. 🙏”.


Fortunately, I had not spent a lot of time on this project.

Just wanted to let you guys know to beware.



A close-up of a check

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Ruckus over chord substitutions 

I posted this video on thegearpage(dot)net. It caused a lot of churn, chest beating, and claims that the chord substitution theory I teach is invalid. (See my article on Dodecaphonics). In the gearpage thread, one poster claimed over and over again that the chord substitutions were invalid and another poster hijacked the thread and kept attempting to change the whole point of my dominant 7 chord substitution method with his preference of using min7 chords over a Maj7 chord.

I don't mind a meaningful conversation but on guitar forums, there is so much chest beating and thread hijacking that it really gets discouraging.


artists struggling with mental health issues and internet bullying 

I wanted to write a little bit about mental health issues among artists/musicians. As someone who's been honest and up front about my own mental health issues, I just wanted to get some things off my chest and start a dialog.

During a recent struggle with mental health and just prior to my spinal surgery in May 2023, I was prescribed a number of anti-depressants and sadly, most had really bad side effects - not the least of which was extreme insomnia. So I eventually ditched them because I wanted to go into the surgery - well rested. 

People often say that artists and musicians need to have thick skin. I'm sorry but WHAT??? Artists are, “who they are”, because of their sensitivities, their heart, their expression. So we're supposed to just turn that off autoMAGICALLY when someone says horrible things about our art, our playing, our personal life?

Once, on a well known guitar forum, someone started a hate-thread about me. People jumped in to add fuel to the fire saying stuff like,

  • he thinks he's so great
  • you can tell he's an @sshole by the look on his face in his videos
  • he's not really a jazz player
  • he just plays fusion, not jazz
  • he just plays a lot of notes
  • people who compliment him are just being nice
  • he's an {insert derogatory comment}
  • he's ruining his kid's career by posting videos of his guitar playing

Amazingly, this went on for a week and it was 10+ pages long. There were some folks who jumped in and defended me… But many friends and supporters stayed silent. A funny part of internet bullying is that people are hesitant to jump into the fray because they don't want to be attacked. 

Eventually, enough people wrote in to the moderator - that he deleted the thread. But this went on for 7 days straight and even though I tried not to look, I periodically checked to see if anyone was coming to my defense.

I probably slept about 2 hours a night during this period and of course, my mental health was horrible during this time. 

And I wish this were the only case. I've been doxxed, had calls with death threats, had stalkers sending derogatory emails from throwaway accounts, been subject to deep fakes of my face on porn and other bullying - some too horrifying to publicly post about.

So when people advise artists to just “get a thicker skin”, i push back. Instead of getting a thicker skin, I want bullying to be out in the open and called out for what it is.

Because the truth is, people with mental health issues have taken their own lives when confronted with internet bullying. 

Why then would an artist be expected to shrug it off and develop thick skin???

It's just practice man... 

I hear Iverson's voice in my head whenever I feel like talking about practice. I'm 66 years old and have been playing for over 50 years. I'm a few months away from retiring from my day gig. I still try to practice 3-4 hours a day. 3 feels like a minimum for me to improve slightly. That extra hour makes a big difference to me in terms of learning new material and learning to improve and add to my repertoire…

We all have responsibilities and as we get older, we end up having more commitments instead of less. Sometimes, it feels selfish or self-indulgent to continue to voraciously try to improve but I view it as a long game.

I plan to keep working hard and improving until I can no longer play the instrument.

And closely related is practicing vs. entertaining yourself. When I was at the University of Miami, I was wandering the practice hall in the jazz department and a few guys were sneakily listening in on a trombone player who was awful. Struggling to play his major scales. Stan Samole wandered by and yelled at the kids to get away from the practice room door and said something like, “The guy is in there doing what he is supposed to do. He's working on stuff that he CAN'T play so he can get better. If you're practicing and you sound great, it's because you're entertaining yourself and not practicing!”.


Barney Kessel told me once in a lesson that there are only 2 reasons to open the guitar case. You are either trying to learn something or you are making money.

I differ from that viewpoint in that I believe it's important to entertain yourself as long as that is not ALL that you do. Entertaining yourself keeps you grounded and gives you a sense of satisfaction that all the hard work and dedication you are putting in has paid off.

It doesn't matter if I am playing for an audience or not. I am competing with myself and am still striving to get better. 


Dave Creamer - one of the best guitarists I've ever heard. 

have you guys heard Dave Creamer? Back in the late '70s, Bob Roetker and I shared some cassette lessons with Dave. 

Dave was one of the most amazing players in history. His mastery of 4ths and 5ths exceeded any other guitarist including Diorio, Holdsworth, etc. He could execute them in an extremely legato fashion with no overdrive and it sounded as clean as most people playing major scales. 

I never found a representative recording up until today. I believe this album with John Abercrombie and Dave Creamer was recorded around 1981/1982. 

Thanks to Ron Benbasset for turning me onto this recording.


Your Eyes (feat. Will Dithrich) - YouTube


Maj7#5 over dominant 7? 

The Maj7#5 chord works great over altered chords. For example, play the (Ab)Maj7#5 over the 3rd of an E7Alt to outline all the juice notes of the chord (particularly The #5, #9)

Here are a couple diagrams. 

first one is the AbMaj7#5 hexatonic 

Second one is the same scale but with Analysis over E so you can see the alterations


Social Media - Engagement, fusion, growing up with a diverse musical experience! 

Lately, I've posted a lot of fusion videos on my IG, youtube, tiktok, threads, facebook.

It seems that the engagement is approximately 10-15x higher than an old guy playing clean, archtop guitar. (as opposed to an old guy playing fusion guitar)

I find this interesting because the interwebs regularly belittle fusion and I often read about how it has a smaller fan base than staight ahead jazz…

One of the things I've always struggled with is that I love jazz, fusion, rock, blues, bluegrass - equally.

I listen to Coltrane, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Allan Holdsworth, Joe Pass, Albert Lee, John Mayer, Jimi Hendrix - And I love them all.

I've often thought that if I had just concentrated on one thing I'd have been much better. 

Alas, growing up, I was likely to hear Ray Charles, Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson and Jimi Hendrix - IN THE SAME DAY, played by my parents who had really diverse tastes.

My dad used to jam with me playing Jimi tunes. Like a good father, he never tried to tell me that I shouldn't listen to jimi and that I should be listening to Wes or 'Trane instead.

He was a great dad and my parents helped forge my love of ALL music. Not just jazz.

So…I'm going to continue to post fusiony clips and jazz clips, as I feel motivated. I do not want to be pigeon-holed into a single style…

Love you guys!