Take Guitar Lessons from Preston Reed

Preston is a Guitar instructor at JamPlay.com

Preston Reed has 21 guitar lessons and videos at JamPlay, with 4 song lessons and 17 lessons in our Artist Series. Use the tabs below to learn more.

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Integrated Percussive Technique with Preston Reed

Preston Reed is a world renowned acoustic guitar player. He single handedly created his own style of guitar which he dubs the "Integrated Percussive Technique." In this series of lessons he will explain his method of playing and get you started on your path to guitar mastery.

Lesson 1

Introduction to the...

Preston demonstrates two of his popular tunes and talks about what he has in store for...

Length: 2:15
Lesson 2

Meet Your Acoustic Guitar

Preston demonstrates the dazzling array of techniques that can be played on acoustic guitar....

Length: 8:46
Lesson 3

Alternate Tunings

Preston's Style heavily revolves around alternate tunings. In this lesson, he discusses...

Length: 5:45
Lesson 4

Percussion and an Exercise

Preston talks about percussion, why he prefers not to call this style "tapping," and introduces...

Length: 5:59
Lesson 5

Over the Neck

Preston explains how he is able to play his over-the-neck style without hurting his hands...

Length: 3:43
Lesson 6

Left Hand Techniques

Preston talks about how the left hand is used in his "Integrated Percussive Technique"....

Length: 8:36
Lesson 7

Right Hand Techniques

Preston discusses how he uses his right hand to generate percussive sounds. This lesson...

Length: 6:47
Lesson 8

Left Hand Barre Techniques

Preston demonstrates a cornucopia of left hand techniques that use a barre. This includes...

Length: 7:35
Lesson 9

Slap Harmonics, Chunks...

This lesson's name might strike you as a bit esoteric, or even downright silly; nothing...

Length: 6:37
Lesson 10

The Acoustic Guitar...

In this lesson, Preston Reed demonstrates how to transform your acoustic guitar into a...

Length: 7:05
Lesson 11

Dampening Techniques

Knowing when not to make sound is an important part of music that is often overlooked....

Length: 5:16
Lesson 12

Using Both Hands

Preston demonstrates how to combine both of the hands for greater speed, variety, and...

Length: 8:32
Lesson 13

Here Comes the Groove

Preston talks about one of the most essential aspects of any musical piece, the groove....

Length: 7:14
Lesson 14

Thumb Picking

Though Preston's technique generally features intense rhythms with soaring melodies, he...

Length: 6:25
Lesson 15

Playing Chords

Preston demonstrates how to play chords using his "Integrated Percussive Technique" with...

Length: 6:13
Lesson 16

Blending Techniques

Preston talks about how he combines his techniques to create thrilling arrangements.

Length: 5:46
Lesson 17

Preston's Thoughts on...

Preston takes some time to share his thoughts on music, creativity and his style of playing....

Length: 9:32
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Learn more About Preston Reed

Preston Reed has virtually reinvented how the acoustic guitar is played. Reed practices a flamboyant self-invented style, characterized by percussive techniques and simultaneous rhythm and melody lines that dance and ricochet around each other, giving his music a level of excitement that is unparalleled among today's guitarists.

Preston Reed has virtually reinvented how the acoustic guitar is played. Reed practices a flamboyant self-invented style, characterized by percussive techniques and simultaneous rhythm and melody lines that dance and ricochet around each other, giving his music a level of excitement that is unparalleled among today's guitarists.

Playing an array of guitars from acoustic to electric to classical Reed's vast range of explosively original music will forever change your expectation of a guitarist.

First-time listeners find it impossible to believe that they're hearing just the one musician, in real time. Reed attacks the entire instrument in a never-ending search for the orchestra he knows is lurking inside. At full tilt, his fingers, thumbs, fists and hands at once suggest a drummer, keyboardist, bassist and several guitarists at work.

The most impressive thing about Reed's technique, though, is that it doesn't draw attention to itself. His compositions are far from abstract virtuosic displays; even without lyrics he creates vivid, engrossing scenes. Sometimes the effect is almost onomatopoetic. Reed generates visual stimuli with every tweak of his instrument, thus augmenting his wordless compositions with an aura of the poetic. Each tune is a story in itself with a potent, cinematic atmosphere and an almost tangible thread of communication between Preston Reed and the listener.

Reed's entry into this guitar odyssey was inauspicious enough, his path thereafter largely self-discovered. A few chords learned from his guitar playing father, a brief, very brief, flirtation with the ukulele, clandestine practice sessions of his favourite Beatles and Stones songs on dad's guitar .... and then a too-strict classical guitar teacher led to premature retirement.

At 16, however, Reed heard Jefferson Airplane's rootsy blues offshoot, Hot Tuna. His interest was rekindled big time. Acoustic guitar heroes John Fahey and Leo Kottke were studied, their styles absorbed but not imitated, and at this point things really begin to get interesting because, at 17, Reed, by now precociously proficient, played his first live gig, supporting beat poet Allen Ginsberg at the Smithsonian Institute.

Just getting on a train from his native Armonk in New York State to Washington was a cool adventure. And it was just the first of many, not least of which was the one which resulted from his signing his first deal with a major record company, MCA, through the auspices of his friend, country singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett.

Determined to make the most of this opportunity, Reed pushed himself to go beyond the standard fingerpicking styles he'd perfected. The result was the beginnings of Reeds startlingly innovative style, with its percussive, two-handed fretboard attack, that you hear today and which has caused guitar luminaries such as Al DiMeola and the late Michael Hedges to describe Reed as "phenomenal" and "inspiring". His playing has spawned a generation of imitators, yet Reed remains one of a kind.

Reed's compositional talents extend to film soundtracks and prestigious commissions for the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, and as well as appearances alongside Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt his major performances include an historic live satellite broadcast on Turkish National Television in 1997 with renowned saz player and composer Arif Sag which reached an audience of 120 million in 17 countries, prompting a flood of international telephone calls to the station from stunned viewers.

Since 1979, he has recorded thirteen albums and three videos and charmed audiences on three continents. He continues to tour with the same hunger and relish that informs his guitar playing. The secret, he says, is to relax and let the guitar patterns run by themselves. Which explains how, at full tilt, he may sound like a full-on heavy metal band but he still won't have broken sweat.