Class Reviews

A gigantic list of our class reviews.

Over the years, Mike’s Master Classes have accumulated a lot of reviews.  We want to thank all those that have taken the time to write out thoughtful responses upon completing the classes.  We hope your responses will help others find a new class to expand their studies.

Course Reviews

  • Single Note Melody Part 1: Making The Melody Sing

    I hope this class doesn’t get lost in the shuffle because of the absolute importance of The subject matter 5

    Hey Steve, There’s so much to say about the expressive qualities you bring up here— The heart of phrasing is expression and ornamentation. . I think many guitarists don’t really focus as much as they need to on it. For those of us who aspire to play (lap) piano style guitar, what you talk about here is everything the guitar can provide as a string instrument that the piano cannot. The obvious corollaries are to European classical music and Indian classical music.. Ironically, everything that you speak of here, especially with regard to the glissando and slides, Jack C was the absolute master of, I referred to him often as the Johnny Hodges of the guitar. Interestingly, he would grease his fingers on the left hand, which Indian classical musicians do, especially on guitar and mandolin (Eg, the late great maestro U. Srinivas). The Use of bends versus slides and glissando is actually a very critical one. There is a truly great local musician who is probably the best all-around guitar player I can think of (Who is, incidentally, a dead ringer for my brother, except my brother was like a foot taller 🙂 ) who I heard playing Indian classical music using a lot of Bends. I think that comes across as more B.B. King than Indian classical music.. I don’t know if this is the right word, lyricism is a product expression and ornamentation. We can learn a lot from Indian classical musicians in this regard. I’m going to go meet with a South Indian friend of mine who is studying Carnatic guitar — His mother was a Carnatic classical singer. We’re going to do a trade off: I’m going to teach him about harmony and chords in the fingerboard then he’s going to teach me about ornamentation, which is principally slides, slurs and so forth. I think you got the critical components exactly right. This is an important subject matter, and a lot of jazz players tend to neglect it. Ultimately, lyricism is a function of expression and ornamentation. Looking forward to part 2!
    Navdeep Jhaj
  • Single Note Melody Part 1: Making The Melody Sing

    Secrets of tasteful melody playing 5

    As in all his classes, Steve does a masterful job of demonstrating the secrets of playing beautifully, in this case with single-note song melodies. He goes into the various subtleties of tone, articulation, phrasing, and register. There are no transcribed examples, but I didn't find it necessary because it's really about the creative art of taking a melody and making it sing, not about memorizing a particular example. His playing is very clear and easy to follow, as always, and he talks through what he's doing as he's doing it. He includes a very handy list of concepts to consider and he explains all of them in the video. If you envy the way a horn player or a singer can make a melody sound beautiful and want to be able to do that on the guitar, this class is for you. I'm looking forward to part 2!
    Annabel Chiarell
  • The Art of Fusion 5 – Chords and CAGED System

    Art Of Fusion 5 5

    As a chord lover this course is excellent. The fusion voicings are a great bonus treat.
    Dane Clarke
  • Heads, You Win!

    Insightful is an understatement!!!! 5

    Thank you, Jamie, for the wonderful course! Everything is done very well and your explanations and teachings are beyond my expectations! You gave me the very best analysis of Donna Lee that I have ever learned --and, sad to say, I have been playing that song for over 40 years. Your course demonstrates your expertise in musical understanding and performance; however, it is also a clear demonstration of your tremendous teaching ability. Thanks again!
    John Duncan
  • Delayed Resolutions (Appoggiatura)

    A masterpiece of utility- buy it in the morning and play it on the stand tonight. 5

    This is the masterclass that has shown me how to apply some enclosing of tones along with delayed resolutions. So far i am already realizing that Steve's presentation of ideas offers a straightforward method that give single-note lines a sense of going somewhere, via small tension/resolution patterns that lines that only float aimlessly through scales just can't and don't possess.
    Charles M.
  • The Art of Bass & Chords For Jazz Guitar

    Thinking like a bass player. 5

    Still working through the course but have thoroughly enjoyed it thus far. A great resource for solo jazz guitar. Gives a guitarist like me a much-needed understanding of a bass player's perspective. A course on jazz counterpoint from Tom would be fantastic.
    Joshua Quintanilla
  • Body and Soul: Putting Chords to Work

    Putting what you learn to good use 5

    I enjoyed this class very much. It addresses an important issue: what do you do with all the chords you've learned? Are you really using all the voicings, or are you just sticking to certain ones all the time (guilty). Are you aware of all the possible substitutions that you can use (really important, since rootless voicings keep the bass player happy). Do you play drop 3 chords starting from the 5th string? (some, not enough). Finally, do you ever use drop 2&4 or something besides drop 2 or drop 3? I will definitely use these ideas when learning tunes (and maybe even try something like comping the whole tune within the first 4 frets, then frets 5-8, etc. forcing me to not always go to the "typical" chords I use). Highly recommended.
    DAVID TARDIO
  • Body and Soul: Putting Chords to Work

    Putting chords to work 5

    Hello Tom, I really love the way you laid all this out. An immense amount of work I'm sure. What I really love is the concept of working on chord inversions while all the while being inside a really good song. The old idea of two birds with one stone. Also the included charts of associated chords for color are invaluable. Thank you very much for this course. Robert Gannon
    Robert Gannon
  • Fretboard Harmony: Breaking Out of The ‘Box’

    Great way to break out of position playing. 4

    Good class on fretboard navigation! Thank you for using a guitar with fret markers. One friendly tip to vastly improve the usefulness of your video lesson (without buying any new equipment): Reposition your camera to get close-up shots of your fretboard. This is especially important when you don’t supply a companion PDF of your lesson. As a paying student, all I need to see is the fretboard, your hands, and hear your voice. You can still do an intro video with wide portrait framing but after that its all about that fretboard. I hope you can do this on your next one. Lastly, please give us at least one VERY slow demo of each exercise. This was especially crucial in the second half of the lesson when you started demoing scales. Playing a scale exercise at full speed in an instructional video is not helpful. The half-speed feature for playback can only go so far and it doesn’t remove motion blur.
    Louis Bravo
  • The Shadow of Your Smile: Solo Guitar Arranging Master Class

    Excellent arranging class 5

    Jake Thx so much for this detailed description of how you go about playing tunes solo. This in conjunction with your 2 hr arranging course pretty much gives one all the tools needed to start playing solo guitar. I know it will take time to put in place all of the different techniques but at least I know where I am going in this style. Again thx (no PDF needed) because it is so well laid out 🙂
    George Cole
  • The Life Vest Arpeggio for Jazzers

    Life Vest Arpeggio Indeed! All the classic sounds! 5

    Great lesson! Can't wait for Part 2
    Clinton Carnegie
  • Nuages: Solo 7-String Guitar Arrangement

    Nuages 5

    Fantastic as always. I never go wrong with Steve. To the Woodshed!!!!
    james seaberry
  • Tetrachord Scales – Part 1

    Tetrachord Scales-Part 1-Randy Johnston 5

    Always loved Randy's playing-this is my first exposure to his teaching. Have to say, his approach makes jazz guitar a whole lot simpler and much more logical-not necessary to learn endless fingering patterns. This system allows you to actually play much more melodically, which is really what it's all about!
    David Klausner
  • Melodic Minor Complete – Part II: Practical Application

    5

    A wealth of information masterfully delivered and illustrated.
    Dane Clarke
  • Melodic Minor Complete – Part II: Practical Application

    mel minor II 5

    ...lots of bang for the buck!!!
    Dirk Banken
  • 8 Sets of Jazz Blues Changes

    Great overview 5

    Nice overview of the various blues changes and some ideas on how to solo over them. Very informative!
    Henry Rutgers
  • Guide Tone Lines

    Excellent course 5

    Thank you, Howard, for putting this information in such a clear, concise, and useful manner. You are an incredible teacher and an amazing guitarist and also possess the gift of making concepts easily understandable. I was able to take this lesson and put these concepts to work in many of the standards that I have played for years. it added a dimension that I had not previously known to my lines.
    John Duncan
  • “West Coast Blues” [Guitar Masterclass]

    Excellent course 5

    Thanks Randy for your valuable insights on this difficult jazz blues waltz from the master Wes Montgomery! I learned some new approaches and found the material instructive.
    John Duncan
  • Giant Steps

    Very useful 5

    Thanks, Jay, for an insightful group of lessons on this challenging tune! I have always been a bit baffled by it and you helped me understand some new approaches to playing it.
    John Duncan
  • Diminished Harmony Secrets: Expand Your Diminished Harmony Vocabulary Infinitely

    Very useful 5

    Thanks, Jake! I enjoyed this lesson and put the ideas to work right away!
    John Duncan
  • The Harmonic Major Scale

    Always amazing 5

    Tom is a master player and teacher. I feel very lucky to live in a day and age where I can get all this wonderful information from a master teacher at the touch of a button.
    Pete Swanson Swanson
  • Diminished Harmony Secrets: Expand Your Diminished Harmony Vocabulary Infinitely

    Excellent information 5

    This is a really interesting class showing possibilities with diminished chords. Jake gives a well presented and organized class. It gives me some very interesting and modern sounding chords and a system I can use to come up with my own application of his concept. I'll be working on this concept for daily. Just what I was looking for to expand my harmonic sound.
    Robert Minchin
  • Diminished Harmony Secrets: Expand Your Diminished Harmony Vocabulary Infinitely

    Diminished Harmony Secrets 5

    Beautiful sounds! A side benefit is the voice leading...very cool 🙂 The video got cut off at the end...whats up with that?
    George Cole
  • Heads, You Win!

    Essential viewing 5

    Superb. Hard to know what else to say. This guy is just a great teacher. Get this lesson.
    Ian Gow
  • Comping with Artificial Harmonic Voicings

    comping with harmonics 5

    Great class, well presented, very complete. This class takes the use of harmonics out of the "novelty" or embellishment sphere and makes it something useful for any and every measure of your playing.
    james seaberry
  • II-V-I Motivic Phrases

    using Motifs 5

    This is fun musical stuff. Awesome presentation!
    Robert Gannon
  • Going For Baroque Part III

    Steve hits it out of the park here 5

    I remember taking his first baroque class — like with everything that he does it’s completely comprehensive with tons of material. My rule of thumb with regard to these master classes, as Vic Juris said many years ago, was that if you can get one or two really important fundamental things that you can genuinely incorporate into your playing, it would’ve been well worth it. I absolutely got something very important from that first class, which I still use to this day when I improvise: how to use tritones and displaced tritones to get you to play tenths and thirteenths. The secondary effects of that class was that kind of information really helps with fingerboard knowledge as well. This class In a way builds on this fundamental information from the first class. I took copious notes of all the exercises and condensed them to eight pages of really essential stuff that I know if I worked tirelessly on, will immensely improve my playing. Steve is right when he declared in this class that mastery of fundamental counterpoint and cadential mechanisms, maybe used in the way that George v EPS used it, Will enable one to improvise more readily. And that’s exactly what this class is, even building on some of the fundamental principles of the first class. When I analyze the material, it really came down to really knowing your 10ths, 13ths, and spread triads and being able to work with these. Now that I have eight notes of really important stuff synthesized, the next step is to hit the woodshed and as my original teacher said, “ work the shit out of it!“
    Navdeep Jhaj
  • You Stepped Out of a Dream – Masterclass (Arrangement by Sid Jacobs)

    Two Hands clapping ad infinitum ! Bravo Again 5

    Wow Again! Another Guitar-Haiku Jewel From Sid Jacobs , Two Hands Clapping ad infinitum , oh yeah , that one chord break up exercise , for some reason made me think of Robert Johnson , Anyway ,Bravo Again
    Shawn Loudermilk
  • It Ain’t Necessarily So – Masterclass (Arrangement by Sid Jacobs)

    It Is Not Necessarily As You Assert 5

    The length of the class does not concern me; it is full of great ideas, techniques, and good jokes. Only criticism: the dog is badly out of tune.
    james seaberry
  • Walking Chords for Jazz Guitar

    5

    If you're new to this stuff you're going to find a treasure here. I have been digging on and off in this topic for years but, even so, I have gone further with this class. As always, the material is supremely well organized.
    pedro munoz
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