1961 Sea Foam Green Fender Strat That Changed My Life

I’m fortunate enough to have collected a lot of guitars over the years. Not a LOT, like some guys I know, but around 70. My motto is, if it sounds good, don’t sell it. You may not use it for an entire year but one day it will be the perfect guitar for the recording session or live performance booked that day. I was a serious “Gibson Guy” for most of the 70’s, playing a ES-175 hollow body for my […]


I haven’t been posting much on social media this summer because I’ve been too busy. I’m in the studio every week producing and playing on two extensive projects that demand my attention every day. The CVB has played 3 festivals and 2 smaller concerts in between all this “day job” work and I’ve barely had time to catch my breath. Playing too much guitar for a living is a nice problem to have, so I’m not complaining. And social media […]

From the Studio to the Stage

There have been many studio musicians that transitioned from a full time career in the studios to a full time career as an artist. Some of my peers straddled both worlds for a while and eventually ended up on the road. This slow transition eventually eases one out of the daily grind of session work and on to the stage. I fall into that category. From age 11 on I wanted nothing more that to be a recording artist.I told […]

Session Stories: Confidence

Real confidence only comes with experience. And real-world work experience can never be learned in the practice room or the rehearsal studio. I spent months teaching myself how to sight-read on the guitar in my apartment bedroom. But I never “owned it” until I’d done a handful of TV and movie sessions where the chart reading was difficult and there was pressure involved. On one particular session I had 19 bars of solo nylon string guitar before the orchestra’s entrance. […]

Life on the Road: a Reality Check

Sometimes in the middle of a long tour I get a little down. Everybody does. I miss my wife, my home and my familiar surroundings like guitars, studio and cappuccino maker. I stare out the window on long bus rides at the trees and the towns and wonder what’s going on 2, 3 or 9 time zones away in my part of the world where home is. When my son was a little boy I would experience serious heartache when […]

Thoughts on Releasing a new Album, Formats and Streaming

Finishing a recording project and sending an album out into the world always feels a bit like giving birth. As you can imagine, the recording process is extremely creative. You’re deciding on the arrangements of the songs and what textures and instruments to add in the overdub process. Then comes the mixing which brings another level of discovery and creativity. After that comes the mastering, the photo shoot and the artwork and design process before it goes to the pressing […]

The CV Academy

As I put together the universal concept laid out in the CV Academy, I realized that I learned to play the guitar from two completely different angles: From the outside in and from the inside out. From the Outside In simply translates into INFLUENCES. We start out emulating our heroes and transcribing their music. This is why I have a huge amount of material in my “What I learned from” section. Chapters like “What I learned from Jimi Hendrix” or […]


When it comes to guitars, every once in a while a real good deal comes along. I’m convinced you only get a few of those in your entire lifetime. The greatest one for me happened back in 1985 when a dear friend and fellow guitarist named Jeff Taylor offered to sell me his sea-foam green 1961 Stratocaster for $500.00. I was playing a custom Strat-style guitar at the time and beginning to gravitate to the single coil sound when he […]

Remembering Allan Holdsworth

I just finished writing an article for Guitar Player Magazine about the passing of my friend Allan Holdsworth. But there is so much more to say… I first met Allan in the early 80s after hearing him on a Bill Bruford album called “One of a Kind” that came out in ’79. None of us had ever heard anything like that on the guitar, and I was amazed to find out he’d moved to California and was living nearby. His […]

Wang Bar Height Adjustment

The amount of clearance of my vibrato bar off the deck of the pick guard is very important to me. It can’t be too high, I want to be able to grab it in the middle of a melodic line. And not so low that it hits the jack when you spin it around. So I keep a two foot long piece of 2×4 wood on my workbench that says: Carl’s Wang Bar Adjuster: Do Not Toss! It’s decorated with […]

Gary Shandling

Gary Shandling passed away one year ago this week, and I’m reminded of the multiple times I worked with him over the years. During the “It’s Gary Shandling’s Show” back in the 80s I was called in to the TV sound stage to play his “hands.” They needed some live footage of guitar shredding hands that were supposed to look like Gary’s. We met briefly, compared hand sizes and it was determined that I would be a perfect “stunt guitar […]

Recording the Blues…Live!

Last week (March, 2017) I had the unique task of recording an entire blues album in 3 days. The self inflicted parameters were: I would play just 2 guitars, 2 amps, do no overdubs and everything must be played and sung live in the room with bass, drums and keyboards. What really surprised me was how difficult that was! Sitting in a chair and wearing headphones is a lot different than a performance in front of an appreciative audience. And […]

Intonating the Guitar

Making your chords perfectly in tune up the neck is next to impossible. The guitar isn’t really set up to do that, but we can temper our tuning to facilitate better intonation up and down the fret board. I almost never take all my strings off at once, preferring to change them one at a time starting with the low E string. It might be superstition, because I know wood has a memory, but I don’t like to put the neck […]