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Since the day I started Dream Guitars I’ve always wanted it to be more than just a guitar shop selling instruments. The sense of community and the shared love of music is one of the reasons that I got into this business and it’s what keeps it so enjoyable for me year after year. All of the wonderful instruments that we sell are for one purpose which is to make music which in turn makes the world a better place. I truly believe that. To that end we have always offered inspiration in the form of our Listening Studio, concerts, performance videos and lesson videos on dreamguitars.com.


Many clients are surprised when they realize how many lessons we have actually produced over the years. We have over 40 free lessons on our website and YouTube Channel today by such artists as Al Petteway, Steve James, Vicki Genfan, Clive Carroll, Konarak Reddy, Danny Ellis, Doug Young and Paul Asbell. In addition we have performance videos by these players and other friends who come by the shop, including Cliff Eberhardt, Loren & Mark, Jordan McConnell (The Duhks), Steve Baughman and Robin Bullock.


All of these can be found on our popular YouTube Channel and we also have a direct link to our Lessons Page on our main menu under Resources.

Have you visited our Listening Studio? Over the years, we at Dream Guitars have been recording each of our in-stock instruments, many by the one and only Al Petteway. As a result, we were able to compile all of these recordings into a database that now allows you to listen to thousands of individual guitar recordings while comparing and analyzing tone woods, builders, models, wood types, and more.


We have also produced a complete book of Sheet Music and TAB for the Dream Guitars Vol. I: The Golden Age of Lutherie CD by Al Petteway.

In addition, we are very excited to have just finished up Dream Guitars Vol. II: Hand Picked by Al Petteway as well. Volume II not only includes Music and Tab but will also include a Video lesson of absolutely every track available on our site in the coming months.

DG II Front Cover-i


Hot News: Robin Bullock has also recently moved back to the Asheville Area and will begin to produce a regular lesson series for us as well!! Stay tuned for more on this.

So take advantage of the Listening Studio as well as all the Lessons, Blog Articles, Interviews and all we create for you. You can find them on our YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and of course dreamguitars.com. Most importantly keep making music!!! The world needs it!

(Clive Carroll has toured with Tommy Emmanuel and Michael Manring, visit Clive’s site for more information.)

We had the absolute pleasure of having Clive Carroll at Dream Guitars for a house concert back in February…and we took full advantage of our time with him before the show!! Clive was gracious enough to perform some of his amazing tunes and provide a handful of lessons for our viewers.


“I have the great fortune as the owner of Dream Guitars to often have the chance to be in the company of some of the world’s top guitarists. I am always amazed at the extremely high level of play they achieve and of course it’s because they put the hard work in on the techniques that often elude mere mortal guitarists. Well here’s a look at a few distinct techniques and riffs that are very doable for everyone, if you just take the time it takes and have fun with it. Challenge yourself to play something new today, something you’ll learn from one of the very best Clive Carrol.” – Paul Heumiller


The grouping of videos include amazing performances of “Autumn Leaves” and “Black Moon” as well as four mini-lessons covering the Plectrum Technique, a great blues riff, a right hand exercise, and a lesson on thumb/finger independence.

Click here to view all six Clive Carroll videos.


About Clive Carroll:

Soon after graduating from London’s prestigious Trinity College in 1998, Clive was given the opportunity to play at a gig with UK guitar maestro John Renbourn, who, on hearing him play, immediately suggested that Clive record an album. So one year later, Clive was working away in the studio, recording his first album ‘Sixth Sense’, which was greeted by press and audiences alike as something of a breath of fresh air in acoustic guitar circles. The album’s 2000 release didn’t go unnoticed by mentor and friend John Renbourn, either, because the pair spent the next two years on tour together in Europe and the United States.

In the meantime, Clive would occasionally return to playing classical repertoire, recording the ever popular ‘Canon’ by Pachelbel for BMG/RCA Victor in 2002. His next solo album, ‘The Red Guitar’ appeared in 2004 and this time it was guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel’s turn to invite Clive to tour with him. After a jaunt across Australia together, the pair continued to perform all over the world. The collaborations with John Renbourn continued, meanwhile, and 2005 saw them work together on the Sony Picture Classics film ‘Driving Lessons’ which starred Julie Waters and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint.

After years of travelling with guitar giants Renbourn and Emmanuel, it was time to go solo and so in 2006 Clive embarked on a series of tours under his own name, accepting an invitation to appear at the highly regarded International Guitar Night of America along the way. All the time, the buzz concerning this young virtuoso began to grow ever louder…

So, with barely time to draw breath in between working on side projects like tutoring at the Irish World Music Centre in Limerick, playing at events organised by the likes of film director Guy Ritchie and Michelin award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and travelling to the Middle East to play at the Strings Of Freedom concert for the Sultanate of Oman, work began on Clive’s third solo album, ‘Life In Colour’. The result is a roller-coaster ride of six string virtuosity that takes the listener from the dusty roads of ‘Mississippi Blues’ one minute to the wide epic open space of ‘Oregon’ the next.

One thing is for sure; ‘Life In Colour’ represents a milestone both in the career of a remarkable musician and the music world in general.

For more information, please visit his website.




We had the luxury of having Indian guitarist Konarak Reddy visit the shop recently, perform and also record a video lesson all available here.

Konarak is an amazing player with a unique style of play. We have asked Konarak a few questions about his history and playing style – following are his responses:

How long have you been playing Fingerstyle?

I have been playing fingerstyle off and on for about 40 years. But I started concentrating solely on fingerstyle about 15 years ago when I performed at Peter Finger’s “Open Strings Festival” in Osnabruck, Germany. Around the age of 13, I first began playing the guitar and it was an acoustic steel string guitar (nylon string guitars were not available in India back then) and I started out by studying western classical guitar from the “Carcassi Classical Guitar Method” book.

What styles are you blending together? Is it Indian classical music or folk music?

I blend styles that range from western classical, jazz, rock, Brazilian, North and South Indian classical and from my experiences of life.

As a child growing up here in India in the 50’s I lived with plurality and multi-culturalism. Every morning I heard the Muslim Mulla’s call echoing from the neighborhood mosque as well as the traditional Subrabhatham, a Sankrit chant sung by the famous M.S.Subbalakshmi playing on temple speakers. We had the Andrew sisters on Radio Ceylon and the western classical music of Beethoven, Chopin, Bach and Tchaikovsky on 33 and 78rpm records at home. We had the churches and the choirs. We had concerts of the great South and North Indian musicians of our time and we also listened to Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, The Who, Ten Years After, Miles Davis whose LP’s we would exchange amongst us friends.

Where did you learn western music skills?

Well, I studied western classical guitar in India and took exams from Trinity and Royal College of Music, London which are held in India annually. After that, I toured India extensively with my rock band. In ’76, I went to Berklee to study jazz and in ’89 to Musicians Institute, Hollywood. I lived in Los Angeles for 6 years, teaching and playing. Finally, I returned to India in 1993 to focus on my music.

What musicians / artists were influences on you along the way?

Lalgudi Jayram, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Bismillah Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, Carl Jung, Jimi Hendrix, Andre Segovia, Flute Mahalingam, The TibetanBook of the Dead, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin…

What else would you like our readership to know about you?

I am very fortunate to be born in India a few years after Indian Independence and that too to parents from a mixed marriage, both of whom were artists. The whole world was open to me. I was not confined by tradition, language or thought.

The Freedom Movement was initially led by minds who were fluent in English, aware of world affairs and not afraid to break with tradition. Later, Mahatma Gandhi took this movement to the masses.

So today, when foreign artists and musicians come to India with folded hands, taking their shoes off, dressed in Indian clothes and try to learn from our traditional systems, they do what most hesitant guests do in a new country. They get mesmerized by the brilliance of the traditional systems. The logic, the mathematics, the return to the sum (one), the Raga system, konakol etc. Fusing, trying to mix and match western harmony and Indian melody and rhythm.

But for people like me who grew up in an Indian environment speaking English and equally comfortable with Jimi Hendrix and Ravi Shanker from an early age, well versed with all the influences of post colonial India, mixing styles and genres was a natural process of assimilation. We own it and can practice it with easy irreverence.

I would love readers to contact me on Facebook, share their comments and also to view my music links:



At Dream Guitars we are often asked for our thoughts on good ways to learn how to play guitar. We are so lucky to live in this modern age where knowledge is all around us and easy to find.

Here are a few thoughts on the best ways to learn guitar.

If you are completely new to the instrument, there’s no substitute for a good teacher, as initially learning the correct hand positions and physical posture are crucial early on in the process. This will help prevent bad habits or even worse, injury in the future.

Most often we are asked about learning a particular style of play such as Fingerstyle guitar. Many players are brought up on electric guitar, learning to play with a pic and strumming. Hence, the switch to Fingerstyle can seem daunting.

For Fingerstyle, there are some amazing resources that we can highly recommend.

Al Petteway Teaching "The Crossing" from Dream Guitars Vol. 1 The Golden Age of Lutherie

Dream Guitars itself is proud to be producing more and more in the way of free lessons for our viewers. Please be sure to check our website and our Youtube channel often for the latest lessons from some of the top Fingerstyle players in the world.

Dream Guitars also offers a CD and tab combination that is a wonderful learning tool for Fingerstyle: Dream Guitars Volume One: The Golden age of Lutherie DVD by Al Petteway featuring some of the finest guitars in the world and a companion tab book making it easy to learn your favorite Dream Guitars songs that you’ve heard on our website.

Homespun is another company that has long offered some of the best tutelage in the business. Their myriad of DVDs, featuring some of the best players in the world, are a great way to learn Fingerstyle guitar. Dream Guitars owner Paul Heumiller says “I grew up playing electric guitar and blues. When I switched to Fingerstyle I was lucky to find the Stefan Grossman tapes that taught the early blues material with alternate thumb finger picking. This was a great start for me as getting some independence from the thumb and the other fingers on the right hand is key to Fingerstyle. Then I moved into slide material and later found the homespun tapes from Martin Simpson, Al Petteway and many more of my heroes.

Another great resource is CandyRat Records – they have some of the best Canadian artists on their label and offer educational material as well. Look for Don Ross, Antoine Dufour, and Craig D’Andrea.

But don’t forget about private lessons and camps as you begin to improve with Fingerstyle guitar. Some of our clients will book a private lesson with Al Petteway when they come to visit the shop. Spending an hour or two with the Grammy-winning guitarist can shed light on your strengths and weaknesses and give you a fresh look going forward.

There also amazing workshops all over the country, most in the summertime, in the form of week-long camps where you can study with a half dozen or more teachers and jam with many like-minded guitar loving nuts. Here in Asheville we have the Swannanoa Gathering every summer where Al Petteway hires many of the top players in the world to come and teach for a week at Warren Wilson College. You choose classes each day from a variety of instructors and styles. It’s simply magical. You’ll go away with enough material for a year or more of practice.

We highly recommend the Swannanoa Gathering and if you plan to attend, come swing by Dream Guitars as well while you’re in the area. We’d love to have you.

For more information on any of the resources above or to pick our brains further on the topic, please feel free to call the shop 828-658-9795.

Gel nails look very natural, they are clear and just a bit shinier than your normal nail. I typically get nice comments on them when folks notice them and it’s a great conversation starter.

Last night I was sitting in the salon getting my nails done when I realized I should do an article as so many players ask about my nails at the shop. There are many ways to go and it’s a personal decision for each player. But here’s what I do and how I got there.

When I initially started playing Fingerstyle I used my own natural nails. The nails were weak, though especially at the end where they often broke, a serious impediment to progress so I switched to metal finger pics – the kind that many Blues players use. I used these for several years. They were extremely uncomfortable and I never liked the metallic attack on the strings.

Then one day I found myself in New York City attending a workshop with Martin Simpson who was one of the instructors. The first song I heard them play was Rosie Anderson and the tone Martin produced was just amazing. Single notes were fat and clear and the overall tone was just beautiful sounding. After the performance we had a chance to meet and chat and he showed me his acrylic nails. Martin told me he goes to the salon every few weeks. I walked out of the door at Columbia University down the street to the first salon I could find and gave them my right hand!! It was pretty comical actually because they thought I wanted both hands done – I mean it was New York City after all. They didn’t speak much English but as soon as I made the motion of playing air guitar they understood.

This was probably 16 or 17 years ago and back then the acrylic nails were a powder and a resin that were mixed together and applied to the nail. Not a great product as it would dry out the original nail and was prone to chipping more often than it should. However over the past few years, a new acrylic nail gel product came out that is not only healthier for your real nail but much more durable and in fact a bit more flexible and better sounding.

The process is pretty simple, as the name implies – the product, which is a gel, goes on thick and gooey and levels itself. If it is your first time and if you want your nails to be longer  they will first apply some fake nail tips to form a bridge for the new gel nail to go over. You then place your hand under a UV light which hardens and cures the gel in short order (warning this can get hot and burning, pull them out for a few seconds to cool and then reinsert them). There’s a few iterations of sanding your nails and adding coats of gel and drying under the UV. This takes about 30 or 40 minutes, then you are ready to go home and play. Well almost. One of the great benefits of this product is shaping. The standard nail file goes from course to fine so you can experiment with beveling your nail and polishing it to different ranges of smooth for the particular tone that you want for your music. Think about the bevel on your favorite pick and try for that for starters.

The long-term care of these nails is pretty straightforward as well – about every 2 to 4 weeks depending on your own situation, you can go back to the salon for what is called a fill. This is where they simply fill in the portion of your nail that has grown out and add any more gel towards the base of your fingernail, fixing any minor nicks or things that need to be touched up.

Nail salon price varies around the country but anywhere from $20-$30 will get you a set of these nails, and fills usually range from $15-$20. Well worth it – I used to lose my pics all the time and now I simply can’t leave home without them.

PS -Be sure and get a pedicure while you’re at the salon, it’s not just for the ladies and it’s fabulous!

A while back, guitar great Al Petteway sat in front of the camera at our showroom in Weaverville, North Carolina, just outside of Asheville, and gave us all a lesson on how to play his own composition, “Tennessee Mountain Rag,” which is included on the “Dream Guitars, Volume 1, The Golden Age of Luthiers” CD and tablature book.

For the lesson, Al plays a Tippin Al Petteway Signature Model with Brazilian Rosewood and Moon Spruce, built by one of the great luthiers in the United States, Bill Tippin of Tippin Guitars.

“In this style of music, everything is out there to be had,” Al explains when discussing his writing method for this song, which taps into many other tunes and progressions in the genre, and the way he puts it all together to make it his own. This is songwriting, folks.

Al also details his chords as well as a cool “chicken picking” technique that he uses for a neat walk-down. He also details optional rhythm choices, which he points out are reminiscent of the style of Chet Atkins. He also shows you a neat lick he learned from listening to Atkins.

You can watch the video here on our Dream Guitars YouTube channel. The “Dream Guitars, Vol. 1” CD and complete book of tablature is available in our online store. All of this and more is available in the online shopping cart.

You should also visit his website at www.alandamy.com to learn more about Al Petteway, his wife, Amy.

Singer-songwriter Danny Ellis has had an interesting life to say the least. After growing up in an orphanage in Ireland in the 1950s, Danny found music and it saved his life. He began his professional career as a trombone player with “The Boyne Valley Stompers,” a Dixieland band touring Ireland. From there, Danny expanded his horizons, his singing and playing and started a diverse musical career that has taken him all over the world as a trombonist, keyboardist and guitarist as well as a professional songwriter.

Flash forward to today and Danny is opening for for many musicians, including the great Bonnie Raitt for her recent show at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Bonnie is a great fan of Danny and his music and personally invited him to fill the opening slot.

Danny now maintains a studio in Asheville, NC, just down the road a spell from our Dream Guitars headquarters in Weaverville. We have built a solid professional relationship with Danny and he granted us some of his time to record a lengthy video interview with our own Paul Heumiller to talk about singing, songwriting, musicianship and his latest role as a teacher, which he conducts out of his studio in person as well as on Skype. In fact, Paul himself has spent plenty of time learning from Danny, studying the finer points of singing and songwriting. Paul considers Danny a mentor and a friend as well as a teacher. You can get more information about Danny’s teaching career and how to become a student by visiting his website and checking out his lessons page (www.dannyellismusic.com/musiclessons.cfm).

We have two videos on our YouTube Dream Guitars channel, one the full-length interview (22:28) and a short highlight reel of the same (5:31). Check them both out, then take a trip to Danny’s site, where you can read about his history, his discography, find links to his Facebook and YouTube pages as well as learn more about his teaching methods and how to contact him for lessons.

When Steve James spent time with us at Dream Guitars just before his rocking house concert performance at our Weaverville, NC, offices, not only did he demo several amazing National Resophonic guitars, he also taught us all a lesson in bottleneck slide playing the legendary “Guitar Rag.”

Your moment of musical history for today: Sylvester Weaver’s “Guitar Rag” is recognized as the first recording of slide guitar. That was way back in 1923, though Steve’s classic style is more than simply reminiscent of the period.

Now you can learn a thing or two from James himself right here at our YouTube channel, study the master’s moves and styles. There is an awful lot of information here and you’ll be able to apply what you learn as you progress as a player. Steve takes the time to demonstrate basic hand placement, string contact, touch, pick technique, vibrato, chords and more as he teaches the viewer how to play like a pro.

Steve James is world-renowned as an expert slide guitar master, not only touring and recording his own material and but acting as a sideman for such legends as Bo Diddley, Kinky Friedman, Buddy Guy and John Hammond. For more information and cool stuff, visit Steve’s homepage… after you learn how to play “Guitar Rag” his way — arguably the best way!

Here at Dream Guitars, we discovered early on that one element of selling world-class guitars online was missing for our online customers: the sound. We then became perhaps the first online dealer of guitars to offer sound samples by recording every guitar we have in stock, played by any number of our favorite friends. In fact, we made every effort to use snippets of the same song for each guitar to give customers a great point of tonal reference.

If you are a fan and frequent visitor, you are no doubt familiar with, “The Crossing,” written and performed by Al Petteway and included on the “Dream Guitars, Volume 1” compact disc. In effect, it has become our unofficial theme song. In fact, we’ve noticed that many clients come into the showroom outside of Asheville, NC, and play snippets of the very same song they had heard on this site. Kind of cool on the one hand, but very telling on the other.

As a result, we have put together two videos: one with Al performing the piece, the other with a full-blown lesson from Mr. Petteway, complete with detailed instructions on how to play “The Crossing” from the composer himself. The videos are available on our Dream Guitars YouTube channel.

The “Dream Guitars, Vol. 1” CD and complete book of tablature is available in our online store. All of this and more is available in the online shopping cart.

You should also check out the world of Al Petteway at his home website at www.alandamy.com.



(scroll down to download audio and tab)

Frequent visitors to the Dream Guitars website will be familiar with the excellent playing on the classical guitar demos of David Stevenson. In addition to being a skilled guitarist, David is also a superb classical guitar instructor, and an adjunct faculty member of the University of North Carolina at Asheville since 1987 and at Clemson University since 1994.

Just in time for the holidays, David has graciously provided this lovely arrangement of traditional music for the enjoyment of us all.

David explains:

Renaissance Christmas Medley

This lighthearted Christmas medley was inspired by the well known Tanz (dance) by Georg Fuhrmann.  I first encountered the piece in the 1970’s from the series of period books by Frederick Noad, this one from the Renaissance collection. The melody is also now part of the Suzuki Guitar repertoire.

Tune the 6th string to “D” and for the majority of the piece you simply play the open 6,5 and 4th strings as the bass.  In “I Saw 3 Ships,” an “A” chord appears at the end of the 3rd and 4th lines and I accomplish this with a partial bar on  the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings.  You have to be careful to leave the 1st string open here.

On the final line of the piece this repeated bass pattern is replaced by dotted 1/2 notes.  Beat 2 on the final line has the stem pointed downwards, but the note is played with the “i” finger. You may want to repeat the final line.

Enjoy! and Merry Christmas!

David Stevenson

Click here for audio.

Click here for the transcription and tablature.



Recently Doug Young dropped by Dream Guitars and taught this great 3 part guitar lesson on arranging Amazing Grace for fingerstyle guitar. To follow along with the tablature, please click here.

From Doug’s website:

Doug Young is a fingerstyle instrumental guitarist based in the San Francisco South Bay area. An active perfomer in the local acoustic guitar scene, Doug hosts a monthly guitar showcase that has featured performers like Dorian Michael, Thomas Leeb, Steve Baughman, Teja Gerken, and many more. So far, Doug has released one CD, Laurel Mill, featuring his solo guitar playing, compositions and arrangements. Mel Bay has published his best-selling instructional book: “Understanding DADGAD: For Fingerstyle Guitar.” He is a Contributing Editor for Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and has also been published in Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine. In his role at Acoustic Guitar, Doug has written numerous instructional articles, gear reviews, and interviewed many of today’s top guitarists including Tommy Emmanuel, Sergio Assad, Andy McKee, Laurence Juber and Pierre Bensusan.

To learn more about Doug, his gig schedule, and his array of reviews and quality products, click here.




Everyone knows that Al Petteway is an extremely fine guitarist, but what you may not know is that he is also an excellent guitar teacher. In this video Al instructs how to play  his  original tune “Tennessee Mountain Rag”. If you live in the greater Asheville area or just visiting, Al is available for one-on-one lessons that are sure to inspire. Give us a call anytime — we’ll be happy to schedule a lesson or two for you!