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There's a lot more to playing Blues than three chords and a pentatonic scale. From beginner to pro, if you're unhappy with the limits of your playing, and have difficulty coming up with new ideas, consider:

"I used to refuse to THINK outside the minor pentatonic scale." -- Tom Morello Interview, Guitar Player Magazine

"If you want to be a good Jazz player, devote 5 to 10 YEARS of your life studying and playing Blues." -- Wynton Marsalis.

"I learned to LISTEN with all my being." -- Eric Clapton

"ALL practicing is ear training in one way or another." -- (Jazz Pianist) Hal Galper

"The Blues was Charlie Parker's home base" -- Jazz Tenor Sax Player Joe Lovano

"My favorite song is "Grinning in Your Face". (By the Great Delta Bluesman Son House) -- Jack White


ELECTRIC, SLIDE, FINGERSTYLE, RESOPHONIC. Here's the place; So many GREAT 20th (and 21st) century musicians influenced by so many styles of Blues!!!; whether you've been playing Blues for a week, or a half-century (like me) this is the place to get to the next level. I specialize in very PERSONALIZED instruction for both Traditional or Contemporary Blues -- from Delta Blues like Son House, Slide like Muddy Waters, or acoustic fingerstyle like Keb' Mo'and Rev. Gary Davis, Electric Styles like all the Three Kings, early Eric Clapton and Peter Green, to 'contemporary' styles like Robben Ford, Gary Moore, Scott Henderson and John Scofield: Blues can be (and is) a whole lot more than a minor pentatonic fingering and just three chords -- I7, IV7 and V7. If your Blues playing is stale, or you want to expand your command of the minor pentatonic scale, or you're tired of playing "in the box", or playing just finger patterns....or the neck baffles you....or your vibrato and bending need work ...or you have trouble tuning your guitar without a tuner not knowing that our system is out of tune by design, or you don't realize that by relying on a tuner you will prevent yourself from developing a better sense of intonation and microtonal auditory perception.... or you're just at a dead end and don't know how to get to the next level... then this is the place. Learn how to REALLY HEAR and play with the chord changes -- including those tricky Blues (like 8, 16, or 24 bar Blues) with different changes where you can't figure out or HEAR what to do. (Most of my advanced students don't have mechanical problems; they have problems HEARING new ideas; this is because they ignore their listening/hearing skills and limit themselves only to "think" or "see" in finger patterns (-- note in Tom Morello's quote above he uses the word "thinking" not hearing). The result is a misconception about how to improvise/solo. I teach those skills and most teachers do not. As well, learn Blues INTONATION and vibrato; it's all about sound and hearing and not about mere mechanics. Ever wonder why the books, articles, and DVDs don't cover anything except for the minor pentatonic scale? Learn how the dominant 7th chords in a 12 bar really work and how ALL 12 notes work...not just five! The minor Pentatonic scale is NOT the scale that captures the essence of the dom. 7th chord. No matter who you like: from Son House, to SRV, Robben Ford, and John Scofield, we ccan take a really in depth look at how they get their sounds and feel.

Please don't shy away if you're a beginner or intermediate player; I like especially to teach adult beginners who just love guitar and music who don't know how to get better -- as one said "I love guitar as my hobby and always return to it, but I've been playing so long and know so little, that I'm embarrassed about it." But I do I teach all levels and enjoy most and most welcome adult beginners. Lessons are as informal as possible and they're all about having FUN while playing and LISTENING MORE CLOSELY than you may be used to.

Take lessons with Richard Rabatin, a professional guitarist, who has received favorable CRITICAL ACCLAIM FROM ALL NYC MAJOR NEWSPAPERS including the NY TIMES. In 2002 he appeared at RIVERHEAD BLUES FESTIVAL as a clinician. (Formal education: BERKLEE ALUM, Jazz Comp., BA, MA, JD. Informal education: played/studied/transcribed Blues since 1963; has studied advanced improvisation with WORLD CLASS Jazz piano player Hal Galper. He been called "NY Guitar Teaching Guru" and a "Blues and Jazz Scholar and Wizard" by a former student and touring artist who was awarded the 2002 Best New Artist Award for Smooth Jazz (by nationally renowned New York City's101.9 FM).

For a very detailed bio please go to -- STONY BROOK SCHOOL OF MUSIC. My rates vary depending on the level of the student. If you are interested in HEARING and PLAYING Blues on an entirely different level, please call and stop by for an evaluation session -- no obligation on your part; what do you have to lose? You will NOT be disappointed. I take my students seriously -- they are my living. Hope to hear from you.
  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

post id: 4631475987



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