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Introducing the Riff Ninja!

Riff Ninja GuitarToday the curtain is starting to get pulled back on my latest project… and it might be a little different than you might expect! (video below)

Let me back up, oh… say about 15 years. I met Colin Daniel when I was in high school looking for a guitar teacher. He’s the guy that really got me started on the guitar, and taught me most of what I know about the instrument. In the years that I took lessons with him, I was amazed at his skill on the guitar, his depth of experience as a musician, and his skill as a teacher. I’ve seen Colin quite literally take the students that other guitar teachers had completely written off as being unteachable, and turn them into great musicians. It seems the harder the case, the harder Colin tries to find a way to connect with that student. Tone deaf? Not a problem; he’s fixed that too.

Colin had a unique way of approaching the guitar that I’d not seen before, despite having learned music theory for several years in school. Colin’s lessons made it ‘click’ with me; turning theory into incredibly practical and useful applied knowledge – and I trust I’ve been able to pass that on to some of you as well, through my Unlocking The Guitar series of guitar lessons.

Over his 40+ years as a musician, Colin has personally trained well over 5000 musicians, some purely for their own personal pleasure, some like me have gone on to teach others, and some that have literally ‘gone pro’ and now live off their skill on the guitar.

Anyways, in recent years I’ve been back jamming with Colin on a regular basis, and I really wanted to find a way to bring him to you… thus the Riff Ninja project was born.

In the following video, I’ve interviewed Colin to introduce him to you a bit. We go back a long ways, and I can assure you he is a absolute treasure trove of musical knowledge, not to mention the craziest guy I’ve ever met. (I say that in a good way!)

As you’ll hear in the interview, Colin and I have put together a course on improvising, which is going to be our first offering under the Riff Ninja name. If you’d like to keep up with what’s happening with Riff Ninja (and I can assure you, there’s going to be a LOT happening there!), or if you’d advanced notice about the details on the improvising lesson, I encourage you to enter your name and email in the form directly below to join the Riff Ninja newsletter.

Watch the Riff Ninja interview on Youtube


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  1. I’ve been in the business of building and repairing guitars for 37 years, and never get tried of players talking about their passion. I for one like the change, thank you.

  2. I was happy to have watched that video. I wish that I lived in your town to learn how to become a good guitar player. I live in Florida, if there is any possible way to help me on being a better guitar player, like instructional videos on how to play,let me know and I would appreciate it.
    Thank you kindly.

  3. Gentleman, talk is not why we play. We play to make music. The guitar is an “instrument” for making music. So make some and speak with the voice that you should have found in your instrument.

    Everyone has a story, “musicians” tell theirs with music.

  4. ahh music gurus, lead me to enlightenment, of hendrix styled lead breaks, clapton styled heart, stevie ray compassion, carlos santana fluency, and then I can chant all night in my guitar nirvana dreams………….AUM…

  5. great interview, the man plays well. I don’t agree with what he had to say about the books, I use them to teach theory to my students & how to read notes. Notes are the written language of music. Just like speaking english, if you can’t read or write you don’t get very far. Put a man on a desert island with a sheet of tab and no idea what the song sounds like. Come back in a week and compare what he plays to the original and see what you get! Same man who can play notes, and knows music theory,{ with sheet music} can produce a duplicate of the original. I have been teaching guitar for over 45 years. I have a 95% sucess rate and have over 100 students I teach weekly. 10% of my students are at Conservatory level 5 and above. This is only one man’s opinion, thankyou for a chance to express my opinion! Mike

  6. Did I miss something? Did he play? I heard a I-IV progression in an E blues with a few bass lines. Did I miss the part where he played something?

  7. Jon:

    I have learned more from you than I have any others, and in such a short time. I look forward to this new course the two of you have put together.
    Hurry on.

    Joe (Hose”A”)

  8. No you can’t recognize that someone plays well in a few bars. You can recognize if they have played a lot and if their muscle memory works but you cannot tell if they can make music and that is what playing well is.
    I don’t care if you have taught a million guitar lessons, that does not make you a player and a musician and what I said was simple. Let’s hear the music.
    Talk is cheap.

  9. MR. English, If you are unable to recognize someone’s ability in a few bars then I really think you need help, both in your ego and your musical knowledge. Best of luck to you in your own little world. As for me I will enjoy what ever I can learn from the Riff Ninja and Jonathan, end of story. Mike

  10. Guys,
    Some of you need to take a valium and chill.
    Just enjoy the story and music.Take out of it what you will and make your your own music and story.
    Cheers

  11. WTG, Stibba. I’d like to see the comments made if all the negative Nellie’s got off the couch and did a web gig- I’ll bet they’d be brutal- So put up, or shut-up. Thanks for sharing Jon and Colin.

  12. I have really enjoyed Colins lessons on you tube. He seems to have a gift for cutting the elephant into bite size pieces. And most of all he makes it even more fun and rewarding to learn to play by having what appears to be a blast doing it. So much so I have ordered the early rock DVDS. I can not wait for them to show up.
    That said I am the last person to make comments good or bad . Although I wanted to say thank you for your lessons on you tube and this interview . And apologize to someone who obviously works hard to bring others the joy he has found for the replies I have read before me from people who if they know so much shouldn’t be looking for lessons anyway. And if they are looking to learn as one always should your lessons are very easy to find thank you for that it was this interview I was hoping to find and did only by searching specifically. And was glad to find because I as l am sure others did want to know THE RIFF NINJA.

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