Jon Taubman / Blog


Practicing away from your instrument: When I was an undergrad at University of Wisconsin-Madison I started taking the guitar more seriously and studied with a local teacher Roger Brotherhood. One of the first things he showed me was how to extract 4-note 7th chords using the CAGED system. At the time this was mind blowing and I became obsessed with learning these chord forms. What I quickly discovered is the geometric shapes of these chord forms was difficult to finger on the fret board but not as difficult to picture in my head. I also learned that becoming fluent with the shapes not only required memorizing them but also developing muscle memory and endurance. This was a lot to manage all at once and it quickly became frustrating and overwhelming.

As an undergraduate I spent a lot of time at the gym. As I starred blankly out the window chugging along on a Nordic track listening to whatever 90’s dance remixes were playing that morning I found myself thinking about these shapes on the neck of the guitar. Not being distracted by the instrument itself I was able to systematically go up and down the guitar neck in my head envisioning all the different inversions. After a few weeks of this mental exercise I was recalling different inversions and even different keys in my head with relative ease. The best part is I had learned the forms in my mind and was now able to focus entirely on the physical engagement, the muscle memory piece, during practice time. I learned the 4-note 7th chords much more quickly by combing regular practice time with the mental focus exercise away from the instrument. Ever since then I always practice new scales and chord progressions away form my instrument. It’s more efficient, quiet, and exercises your brain. Good stuff!

Mike Prigodich
Mike Prigodich  (over 6 years ago)

Hey, I do the same thing. I learned a ton of jazz theory (scales, voicings, taking stuff through all twelve keys, etc.) while working out on my exercise bike over the years. All that mental stuff comes to my aid when I'm sitting at the instrument.


Well no time like the present to start a blog. Thought I mention the gear I currently use and what I'll be using at tonights show. Currently I play a 1979 Ibanez AS200 through an early 90's Mesa Boogie .50 Caliber 1x12 combo. I set the Volume at around 7 and the Master around 2. This breaks the amp up nicely for a bluesy tone. I just roll my volume pot off to clean it up. I'll also be using a Fender Acoustisonic Jr. amp, an old boss reverb and a boss delay. Trying the stereo amp thing tonight, we'll see how it goes.

I also have an Epiphone Emperor Regent reissue with a Johnny Smith Mini Humbucker, sounds great! Only bringing the Ibanez tonight.

Jon Taubman
Jon Taubman  (almost 7 years ago)

I'm replying to my own blog, is that strange? I talk to my self all the time so how is this really any different...

I ended up not using the Acoustisonic Jr. last night. There was a trivia event at Mississippi Pizza immediately preceding the gig and only had a few minutes to set up. Didn't need it anyway. The Mesa Boogie did a fine job on its own and didn't cut out on me. Have a nice verb and delay setting which can be heard in the video I just posted.

Planning to upgrade to a Line 6 m9 soon. Love the Verbzilla presets and delays in that unit. We'll see...$$$ poor right now.