Buckethead Concert

Ok, so 10 days ago I went and saw Buckethead at the Intersection in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I dragged my oldest child along (Andy age 16) so I wouldn’t be alone.

I fully expected to go and see Buckethead along with 50-100 fellow guitar geeks. I was way wrong on that. The place was filled! All different ages, genders, and nationalities. It was amazing and awesome.

He is somebody I have been listening to a lot the last couple of years and is somebody I am convinced is a genius. He is some kinda productive having released over 300 albums.

The first time I ever heard anything about him was when he joined Guns n’ Roses way back in the early 2000s. I remember my brother saying, “what??!! they replaced Slash with somebody who wears a KFC bucket on his head???” Slash is one of the reasons I started playing the guitar. I heard Sweet Child O’ Mine and I was like….I gotta learn that! Anyways…

5 or 6 years ago I started catching some of Buckethead’s videos on Youtube. Slowly I began checking him out more and more. I am currently making my way through his pikes. I started a few days ago and today I finished Pike 6.

If you are interested in learning more about Buckethead I would check these two sites out on Youtube by a couple super fans…

Here is my favorite concert of his that I have found on Youtube…


I’m thinking about seeing Buckethead AGAIN in concert. A week from tonight (05/17/2019) Buckethead is playing in Cincinnati AND my brother lives in Cincinnati. Good enough reason, right? I’m like 80/20 I am going. I’ll probably bring Sam (age 12) with me. I’m sure his teachers won’t mind him missing school for some culture.


Misty Waters

This piece is a half composed/half improv piece. The chord progression for the repeating section was composed ahead of time (Am, Em, Gm, Em, E) but the in between sections are improvised–sort of. I wanted to make use of tapping, so, in the score, I wrote, “tapping.” The specific notes weren’t worked out ahead of time. Here is the score I wrote…

What I love about this type of improv is that I am giving it some direction. It’s very easy to improv and kind of meander around without making much sense (which I actually like as well) but in this case I kind of put a frame around the improvisation.

Asturias (Leyenda)

This is the piece that got me into classical guitar…

During the summer of 1992 my family moved from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Holland, Michigan. I was going to begin my freshmen year at Hope College in the fall. My parents had recently purchased me an Alvarez classical guitar and my dad bought a John Williams CD. Here is me (with Christopher Parkening) with my Alvarez…

I remember laying on the ground listening to that CD and Leyenda came on. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was the most amazing piece of music my young brain had ever heard!! Was that really just one guitar?? I remember thinking, “I have GOT to learn that song!”

That fall, at Hope College, I took a beginning classical guitar class at Hope with Larry Malfroid. I remember before class one time asking him if he knew the piece. He started playing and I was totally impressed.

That piece of music literally changed my life. It was because of that piece I started learning classical guitar which, in turn, made me decide to become a music major which led me to learn composition and so and so on. Here is a version by Julian Bream that I’ve been listening to a lot lately…

Kazuhito Yamashita is My Favorite Guitarist

Yamashita is my favorite guitarist and it isn’t even close. He is like Tiger Woods 15 years ago. There’s Yamashita and then there is everyone else way, way, far away. He plays with tremendous passion and his technique is amazing.

I’ve been listening to his arrangement of Dvořák’s New World Symphony a lot lately. Of course, you can argue whether or not it should be played on the guitar and if I had my choice I would certainly listen to the original BUT….it is so impressive what he has done. Just check out his performance of the second movement. Not to mention the third and fourth movements.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of high quality videos of his on Youtube. Here are a couple of my favorites:

The last video is his complete performance of the “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. Not really a fan of this piece in its original form but I can certainly appreciate his musicality and technique. The guitars greatest strength is the different colors it can produce (dolce, ponticello, etc) and he demonstrates that in the performance even on this awful video recording.

Here is a little excerpt from the score:

How are you supposed to play that trill and the higher chords at the same time??? Guess what? He does it. Watch the video.

Finally, here is nice interview about one of his concerts: