FRET BUZZ v1.2 ~ Back In Black (and other colors too) Sale; Improv Workshop; Featured Teacher: Brian Hudson

Welcome to the new FRET BUZZ E-Newsletter from TFS!
Spring is here, and the time is right for a cathartic cleansing of our overstocked & overlooked inventory that might just be the perfect piece of gear you've been needing. So check out our BACK IN BLACK (and other colors too) SALE, where our prices are so low that the only way to find out is to email us directly.
The BACK IN BLACK (and other colors too) SALE is happening now!

The “BACK IN BLACK (and other colors too) SALE

Happening Now!

Hurry!  Hurry!  Hurry!   If you’ve been dreaming of owning a guitar with “black tie” aesthetics at blue collar pricing, this is YOUR sale!  True, we’re overstocked with sharp-dressed inventory, but of course there are many sale items that come in a variety of colors as well.  Unfortunately, these closeout prices are so unbelivably low that you’ll have to email us to find out, but here’s some of what you can expect to find storewide:


Amazing savings up to 50% off retail pricing on select models from:

  • Fender
  • Taylor
  • Alvarez
  • Austin
  • Loar
  • DigiTech

Come by the store, call (256) 430-4729 or contact us via email for more details.

Tim May and Dan Miller Guitar and Mandolin Improvisation Workshop

Improvisation for Guitar and Mandolin Workshop Tues., Apr. 16 @ 7pm

From Flatpicking Guitar Magazine editor Dan Miller and Nashville Scene’s “Best Instrumentalist of 2012,” Tim May.

Tim May and Dan Miller (co-authors of the popular eight volume Flatpicking Essentials Guitar Course and the instructional DVD “An Approach to Improvisation”), will conduct a hands-on, all-level Guitar and Mandolin Improvisation Workshop.


The idea of learning how to improvise can be confusing and overwhelming. Tim May and Dan Miller’s workshop will prove to you that it is much easier to improvise than you think, and now is the time to start learning, even if you are a beginner to guitar or mandolin! In the workshop Tim and Dan teach an approach to improvisation that will put you on the road to improvising a solo on a song in a very short amount of time. The method that they teach and the skills that you will learn in this workshop will help really demystify improvisation. In fact, no matter what your current ability level, you will be improvising by the end of this workshop, even on a song that you have never heard before! If you are already an accomplished improvisational player this workshop can help take your abilities to the next level. If you are new to improvisation, this workshop will give you confidence in taking that big step to becoming an improvisational player. Each student will be given several opportunities to play for, and get direct feedback from, the instructors.


Click HERE to purchase tickets…

Parlor Magic

No slight of hand or smoke & mirrors here, Ladies & Gents…these magic music boxes have all the tone and attitude of their larger folk-style cousins, but at a fraction of the size.  Parlor guitars have been making a resurgence in popularity as of late, and The Fret Shop has four unique models to tickle your Lo-Fi fancy (R to L): Fender Ron Emory Parlor, Alvarez AP66, Seagull Entourage Rustic Grand and the Gretsch “Jim Dandy”.  As soon as it was unboxed, the Alvarez AP66 was an instant hit amongst our staffers with its incredible tone, looks and playability.  On the opposite end of the fidelity spectrum lies the humble Gretsch “Jim Dandy,” with its blues box jangle and old school “Stella” vibe, has quickly become a customer fave.  Unique appointments lend a certain SoCal-Cool factor to Fender’s Ron Emory model, and the Seagull Rustic Grand’s Cedar top & Canadian Wild Cherry back and sides makes for a bright-yet-balanced tone that cuts through the mix remarkably well.


And speaking of Seagull Guitars… The Fret Shop is once again carrying these Canadian-crafted beauties.  You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better bang-for-your-buck acoustic line than Seagull, as they have long been the go-to for gigging musicians on a budget.  Take a tonal trip to the Great White North with a Seagull at The Fret Shop today, eh!

The Fret Shop now carries Seagull Guitars!

Featured Teacher: BRIAN HUDSON

Featured Teacher: BRIAN HUDSONThis Buzz installment’s featured instructor is a talented and affable young man with old school chops beyond his years, Brian Hudson.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer, more easy-going instructor than Brian, as he is steadily gaining popularity with young students seeking a fresh perspective on the classics.  And as anyone who has ever seen him perform live with such local faves as Hot Soup and the Dawn Osborne Band knows, this cat can groove with the best of them!  Brian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Performance from Alabama A&M, so if you’ve ever had an inkling to try your hand at Classical guitar, or to revel in the roots of Rhythm & Blues, then give Brian a buzz today before his dance card becomes full.


Q: What kinds of lessons do you offer at The Fret Shop?

I offer lessons for classical, acoustic (steel-string), and electric guitar. I have a strong background in piano as well, along with some experience performing and teaching the electric bass. Most of my students are enrolled in The Fret Shop’s usual 30-minute lesson structure, although I have and do teach hour lessons to those students who wish to do so and have the practice time to make them worthwhile.


Q: What student levels do you teach?

I have taught all levels, from the bare beginner to advanced students. I’ve been very proud to have three different students release studio albums of their own material. I am currently working with one of them in the studio. In teaching private lessons, you typically have more beginning students across the board; however, many adults enroll so as to improve their established playing, sometimes with the goal to get past a “road block”, pick up a new technique and/or style/genre, or to simply learn material that they’d had difficulty trying to learn on their own. I find it exciting to see newer players progress, as well as being alongside to aid someone further their abilities as an established guitarist with some foundations.


Q: What techniques/musical styles do you teach?

I earned a B.S. degree in Music Education with a concentration in classical guitar performance under the mentorship of (Fret Shop and UAH instructor) Phil Weaver, thus I naturally have a liking for the classical approach to music theory and sight-reading. Furthermore, the literature, or music, be it of European or Latin American origin, is very inspiring to me. In my earliest years of playing, I was drawn to heavier music until I found blues and blues-based music (be it jazz, blues rock, etc.) to be the “heaviest” form of music I’d known. Ultimately, I’ve sought out a wide variety of music as regards what I listen to and what I play; I often consider myself a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Fingerstyle guitar (including hybrid and Travis-style picking), lead guitar and lead guitar improvisation, comprehensive or basic music theory, slide guitar, and classical guitar are some of the more popular facets of technique I’ve found myself teaching during my seven years of teaching with the Fret Shop. As regards style and genre, I try to have little or no boundaries, especially as pertains to the interests of the student and the music they aspire to play.

Q: What led you to teach music professionally?

My mother was a teacher; both she and my father instilled a respect for education and educators in me at a young age. Therefore, many of my influential teachers became great mentors to me, most especially Carmelita Gandy, Martha Sue Hutchens, and Phil Weaver. Following graduation from high school, I became a camp counselor for three summers at Pine Hill Day Camp – an experience that awakened the educator in me. Since my first days of working the sales floor at the Fret Shop in 2002 (while teaching on the side), I aspired to one day be a Fret Shop instructor.


Q: How would you describe your approach to teaching?

My approach can vary with the age, goals, and level of proficiency of each student. With younger students, I prefer to teach them the foundations of reading music so that they may have the advantage of being able to read and speak “the language”, especially should they try their hands at other instruments. I try to get an idea of what each student’s personal goal may be, be it certain songs, new styles or techniques, etc. and cater to that. For teenagers and adults, I’m not opposed to somewhat of a “fast-track” approach to teaching, just to get them playing, but I always prefer to give the student some background in sight-reading and music theory.


Q: How would you describe your students?

More than half of my students are younger than driving age. Some are younger than ten years old; the Fret Shop generally has found that most students of a fourth grade age or reading level are the youngest students we can accept and expect to do well. For reasons of the degree of difficulty of the guitar, attention span, and the rigors of good practice, this is oftentimes the case; however, I’ve experimented in teaching students younger than our typical “starting age” to some success. As regards my more mature students, I have high school-age students who study bluegrass, pop, indie, country, hard rock/metal and other genres. I have one adult student (previously mentioned) who has a day job, but is a recording artist on the side. I have another who is an established drummer, but who wishes to be able to play guitar in his church’s band. One of my favorite students was an older Bostonian man who studied blues with me.


Q: In your view, how important is good instruction for beginners?

I believe that a good, well-informed start is paramount to beginners. Guitar is not the easiest instrument for one to learn on their own. I, like many instructors, believe that developing good technique and habits, along with a well-guided sense of direction (so that they may reach and accomplish some shared goals) is a crucial benefit and necessity in teaching and learning the guitar. My father taught me the basics and taught me well. I was largely self-taught through high school. Had I not enrolled in classical guitar lessons with Phil Weaver, I would have never attained the proficiency, experience, and very job title I hold. Mr. Weaver developed my sight-reading for guitar, theory, tone, volume, attack – all aspects of my playing. Although I’d progressed fairly well on my own for my age, his formal aid beyond my high school and through my college years transformed me into a fuller, more complete, musician.


Click the video below to hear Brian performing with the Dawn Osborne Band: