with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Category Archives: The 12th Fret

By Brent VanFossen

I’ve played guitar for thirty years, ever since I was a boy of ten. I took lessons a few times, but my goals weren’t clear, and my teachers didn’t inspire me, so I quit them and learned on my own. Now, at the age of 40, I have a renewed interest in the guitar, a world class instrument, and a master teacher who has promised to help me rid myself of bad habits and travel the path to being as good as I want to be.

This page will serve as a collection of all things guitar. You are welcome to read my lesson reports, laugh at my mistakes, and see yourself in my place back in kindergarten after thinking I was all grown up. Welcome to The 12th Fret.

Lesson 8 – Parallel Shifts and Graduation

Rest Stroke I continue to work on my rest stroke. I played Carulli’s Waltz from Shearer “Classic Guitar Technique”, Volume 1, p66. I’ve been working on this for several weeks, and it’s getting noticeably better, though I still consider that it needs work. He reminded me to play the index finger more softly. Its role […]

Lesson 7 – Free Strokes and Rest Strokes Together

Rest Stroke I began the lesson by playing Carulli’s Allegro from Shearer “Classic Guitar Technique”, Volume 1 p56 to show Owen how I had been improving my rest stroke. He commented that I was playing with good form and on the thumb side of the fingers for better tone. When I finished, he was quite […]

Lesson 6 – Rest Strokes and Scales

Rest Strokes We began the lesson when I demonstrated my week’s work on the rest stroke. I played Carulli’s Allegro from Shearer “Classic Guitar Technique”, Volume 1, p 56. The piece is a series of three note arpeggios. Owen asked me to treat it as an exercise, and to play the middle note, the high […]

Lesson 5 – Rest Strokes and Fingering

“What have you been working on? Play me something,” Owen said, as I sat in his studio again. English Dance and Shaking Hands I was excited to show him how I could play the English Dance, a piece from page 69 of Shearer “Classic Guitar Technique”, Volume 1, that he had assigned me last week. […]

CD Review – Peter Finger: The Collection

What a delight this cd is. From the spacious opening phrase of Irish Landscapes, to the angry and intensely sad final notes of Just Another Day In May, Peter Finger plays the guitar like no other. His compositions are complex and riveting, weaving through their various themes and sub-themes, breaking at times into runs of […]

Introducing Brent’s The 12th Fret

My husband, partner, lover, and best friend, Brent, is behind every one of these articles, though he won’t claim any responsibility for the messed up ones. He gives all the blame to me on those and I accept them all. Still, it’s time he had his own space to play on our site. I’ve been […]

Lesson 4 – Adelita and Segovia vs the California Hand

Adelita Owen picked up my music book, and Adelita fell out, landing on the stand ready to be played. That was a fortunate accident. I had forgotten I had it tucked inside. He asked me, “What is this?” and I said that I’d been working on it and had a few questions. I asked him […]

Lesson 3 – Less Tension and More Memorization

My lesson began this week when I told Owen that I had spent the week playing *slowly*. And he said, “Whenever you’re making mistakes, you can count on one thing: You’re going too fast. That’s the reason. And it’s a bad idea to practice mistakes, because that’s what comes out when you perform. It’s not […]

Lesson 2 – Slow Practice and Memorization

I drove to my lesson last night by a different route, and saved more than 20 minutes getting there, so I had a good bit of time to get tuned up and warmed up before my lesson began. Before I knew it, though, Owen had come out, and as I began to put the guitar […]

Lesson 1 – Making Quite a Buzz

Read along as I sit in my first guitar lesson in twenty years… Introductions and Goals As expected, it was rather hard to work all day with the guitar case there under the desk. I succeeded, though, and got a few things done. Then, it was 5pm and I was off to meet my new […]