Island Guitar Studios - Guitar Lessons
Island Guitar Studios

Guitar Lessons

Open By Appointment Only!

Island Guitar Studios - Guitar Lessons
We now offer bi-weekly & monthly guitar lessonsWe now offer bi-weekly & monthly guitar lessons - as well as weekly.
Easier for students to fit their busy schedule. 
Burton Jamison Voted Best! 
Favorite Private School Music Instruction!
Island Guitar Studios Teacher
40+ Years Experience Playing Guitar
 Click Here to hear Burt Play Lead Guitar .

Burton Jamison- Island Guitar Studios Owner Playing At The Jetty, Kent Narrows, MDBurt Jamison Island Guitar Studios Voted Best Private School Music Instruction
Hi, I'm Burt.  I may have been 11 when I started playing around with the guitar.  My first guitar was found under the Christmas Tree, an acoustic from Montgomery Wards.  It was one of those guitars that had the strings a half inch from the fret board.  It hurt to try to play it, l but I hardly put it down, even with blisters on my thumb and fingers.  I remember putting a bracelet on the guitar bridge, I liked that fuzzy sound the guitar made as the top vibrated. I guess I was a rock and roller way back in the late 60's. In 1969 I moved, and the guitar was left behind.
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In 1970 at age 13 I received my first electric guitar and amplifier.  I was so excited!  Luckily for me that guitar had a height adjustable bridge.  It was an older one pick up Teisco.  The amp was a Discount one watt tube with one control which turned on the amp and controlled the volume.  The guitar was cool, but still hard on my fingers when I tried to play.  Then my friend Severn Johnson told me about the virtues of super light gauge strings.  He suggested an  Ernie Ball Extra Slinky .008 set.  So I put an .008 set on my guitar.  And then...

everything changed. I mean everything changed, a new door opened for me.  (I knew nothing about different string gauges and types at the time). 

Ernie Ball Extra Slinky .008 Set. - Need New Strings?  Click Here!What changed?  The G string was not wound, it was plain, like the B and E strings (1st and 2nd strings).  Most of all the guitar was much easier to play and to bend strings, but it had an effect on my tone, it became "thin".  The .008 string sets go from .008 to .038.  The lighter the gauge, the easier to play and on the fingers.  I recommend this set or an .009 set for electric guitarists just starting out. I usually have guitar string sets available at the studio.  If you need strings call or text Burt at 410-739-1511.

The original strings were heavy gauge, similar to what AC/DC rhythm guitar player Malcolm Young uses, which are 12 - 56 gauge electric Gibson nickel round wound strings for a tremendous bottom end and thick top end, which was the tone/ sound I was used to.  Take a listen to any AC/CD song, you will notice. 

FYI - 12 -56 gauge strings are used on many acoustic guitars for ease of fingering.  They are also used on electric guitars for drop D tuning, and for D standard tuning, and the low, haunting C# standard tuning Tony Iommi of  Black Sabbath sometimes uses.  There is a YouTube audio file of me playing a classical song on an acoustic guitar with 12's near the bottom of this web page.  Please give a listen. 

I used the .008's for several years (known as eights or "oh oh eights" in guitar talk), and got used to their tone.  Then my friend Chris Franklin insisted I put "hard tension" strings on my classical guitar for better tone, and that I go up one level to have a better tone on my electric guitars, so I went on to .009's (nines) and .010's (tens).  Sometimes even .011's (care to guess what they are called?), depending on the scale of the guitar.  (My Les Paul got nines, and I put tens on my Mustang).  Scale of the guitar?  What's that?  No it is not a musical scale.  Keep reading... 

Playing a Strat, 25.5 inch scale length.Guitar scale length is the distance in inches from the guitar nut to the bridge.  Fender Strats and Teles are 25.5",  Gibson Les Pauls are 24.75".  A Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 has a scale length of 25".   A Gibson Byrdland (Ted Nugent) and a Fender Mustang (Nirvana's Kurt Cobain) both have a short 24" scale.  Guitar scale length also has an effect on string tension and the selection of strings.  The longer the scale length = greater string tension for the same set/ gauge strings.  The lighter (smaller) the gauge strings =  less tension, and easier on fingers to bend, but there is a trade off in tone.  Meaning to put elevens on a 25.5 scale Strat or other guitar will take considerable hand and finger muscles to be able to bend the strings.  I do not recommend it unless the player has considerable playing experience.  If you are struggling with your guitar...  On a longer scale length such as a Strat, start with an eight or nine set.  Nine or ten set on a shorter scale Les Paul style guitar.  Now you may be better able to understand why I was able to put heavier gauge strings (.010's) on my Mustang.  We can talk about all this later on.

Since we are talking scales... Want to learn a new scale or a new position to play it in? 

Try out an A Natural Minor Scale (Also known as the Aeolian Mode) after you get used to an A Minor Pentatonic.  One of Burt's favorites! Play this one over an Am based chord progression such as Am F G Am. 

Try an A Harmonic Minor scale over an E Major chord for a Rock, Middle East, Classical  feel and sound.  It is a natural minor scale with the 7th raised a half step (one fret) from G to G# (Major I know, don't ask...).   In guitar talk a full step is 2 frets, a half is just one fret.

For a Minor Pentatonic Guitar Scale Click Here.  This is the scale most often used in Rock Guitar Leads.  Click Here to hear me play lead guitar using this scale.

I am a guitar player, but I am also a guitar teacher.  I have been told I am a great guitar teacher and love teaching and helping to unlock the secrets of the guitar.  Try me.  Why?  Years of experience, and because sometimes that is all it takes...  a comment, a new lick, scale, chord, a new solo you have never heard.  Maybe what you just read about string gauge and scale length, or the A Harmonic Minor scale.  It is the little things that have made such a huge difference in my guitar knowledge and guitar playing, and will make a huge difference in your knowledge and playing too. 
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At age 16 I found myself playing in a local band.  I played in a few bands through the years, playing all styles of music.  Rock, Southern Rock, Country, Jazz.  My duties included both rhythm and lead guitar. Click Here for a partial song list, which you will find varies.  Much on the list is what I consider old school rock and southern rock, most of which was current when I was out playing live gigs (quite a long time ago). 
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Playing at the Shanty (now Big Owl) in 2006.A recent public "band gig" was Summer 2015 when I was invited twice to sit in with Rebound at Dirty Dave's Tiki Bar.  But back in 2006...  A group of my friends and I were the last band to play at The Shanty before it closed (it is now known as The Big Owl).  The band was Unplugged and Over Served and we still get together and have fun.  I have been invited to share the stage with local musicians such as the band Rebound, Jack Selway, Dave Hawkins, Lisa Rowe, and others at local venues such as Dirty Dave's Tiki Bar/ Kentmorr, The Jetty, Red Eye's Dock Bar, Lola's,  The Big Owl, Blue Water Tavern, Lisa's Small Plates, Lukes,and others.  I still play  almost every other weekend jamming with friends, most of the time with members from Unplugged and Over Served.  Plus I try to practice daily, and you should too.

Click Here to hear Burt Play Comfortably Numb
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I have been teaching guitar informally for many years and have given Lord knows how many lessons, all for free.  I want to develop Island Guitar Studios into a full time business.  I am finally doing what I have always wanted to do to earn my living.  I teach what I wish I would have been taught when I was starting out, along with a lot more.  References and testimonials are now available and will be updated now and then.  Please contact me today by text or voice!  410-739-1511.

Click for the online enrollment form to get started on your guitar lessons or call/ text me 410-739-1511. 

Burt Jamison Island Guitar Studios Voted Best Private School Music Instruction

Mood For A Day is a classical song which was written by Steve Howe while he was with Yes.  It appears on both the Fragile (Studio) and Yes Songs (Live) albums.  This song is always dedicated to the memory of my friend Chris Franklin, who was attending Peabody Conservatory of Music in the late 70's when he showed me how to play it.  Chris was a great friend and a great musician, guitar player, and songwriter.  He toured the world playing guitar with the Bertie Higgins Band who had the hit song "Key Largo".   Chris left this world way too soon (in 2005 at age 45).   This version is my take on the song, slightly different than Mr. Howe's.  A combination of both the Live and Studio versions.  Is it perfect? No, but it was a first take and will give you an idea of my playing ability and technique. I hope you enjoy it.  TURN IT UP!  Better yet, put on your headphones.  Please don't play this through lap top or notebook speakers!
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Tune Your Guitar With This Online Guitar Tuner From  Gibson
Tune Your Guitar With This Online Guitar Tuner From Gibson

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