Craig Green is one of the most chill, kind and sweet guys I have ever met. He is a Teton endorsed artist too and I love our Teton guitars (I have a decent collection going). I have had several guitar teachers and they were all good in their own way but the way that Craig teaches is the way that I learn best. I want to be able to play like him someday. I had so many questions to ask him because I was curious about how and when and why he came to be the musician he is now. After chatting, I thought “what a cool history and life.” Since doing this interview I have been trying to incorporate the tips he gives into my own playing. I love it! Hopefully this helps to improve your technique and playing abilities. Here’s to us all becoming more musical and better equipped to become closer to our dream musician.-Thacia (Please send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)
When did you start playing guitar and why?
I started playing guitar in my early teens. Growing up in New Orleans was very cultural. Everyone I knew played music professionally or for fun. It was what we did in our free time. It was a natural social thing. We ate food and played music and went to festivals and it was just incorporated into my life.
What was the first song you learned on the guitar?
It was a Freddie King song, I think it was Hideaway or something like that. One of them was House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals but I learned Freddie King pretty early on.
Is your family musical? If so, in what way?
No, my family is not musical at all. No one. There was always a guitar floating around but everybody’s family has a guitar floating around. They didn’t really play though. My family loves music but it was because of the culture. Music isn’t something you do there. It’s just part of the fabric of the culture. It’s a social/cultural combination. My parents and grandparents went to dances, more like Creole or Cajun kind of dance/culture and my life was kind of wrapped up in that.
Do you have any siblings?
Zero actually. I was adopted too. I was adopted when I was two weeks old.
If you could meet and hang out with any musician (or any other person), alive or dead, who would it be?
It would definitely be Bach, Gerhart Richter and Ferran Adria.
Where is your favorite place you have ever played?
Italy for sure. All over in Italy.
Aside from playing guitar, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to run. I also love design. I love mid-century design and modernist design. I’m always checking for mid-century design furniture everywhere I go.
Who are your main musical influences?
There are so many but as far as with a guitar perspective I love John McLaughlin and a lot of the work from the 70’s. I love everything. I listen to classical and contemporary classical. I love world music and East Indian music… I guess the right answer for me is anything that makes me think differently about what I’m doing. Not even just musically but in life in general.
What are your next projects and what are you working on?
I just finished a string quartet. It was a ballet commission. I just got back from England a few weeks ago. I’m doing a record with Clive Deamer. He’s the drummer from Radiohead and Portishead. I worked with him on Get The Blessing. I have a trio called Atomic City and the record with them is also coming out this year. I’m doing this electronic music commission project as well.
How long have you been teaching guitar?
About 30 years. Long time. Since I was a kid.
What are your top playing tips?
I have one playing tip that I always say… Go slow. Play slow. Whatever you think slow is, that’s too fast. If I know what song you’re playing… it’s too fast.
What are the most common errors you see teaching guitar and what are your best tips to overcome them?
I would say that the biggest challenge, from teaching for 30 years, is just fretboard visualization. You have to move from pattern playing to pitch playing. You have to start thinking in terms of notes because notes are music and patterns are not music. That’s probably the biggest tip I would always recommend and I would say… buy a metronome. You can be born with perfect pitch but no one’s born with perfect rhythm.
What is your favorite thing about playing guitar?
The freedom but also the discipline.
What is your favorite thing about teaching guitar?
I love people and I love to see people get better even if it’s a tiny bit at a time. I love to see what that does to their personality when they get good at something.
Do you play any other instruments?
No. I write music for a lot of instruments and I can play a few okay but I don’t play any other instruments in gigs or anything.
What is your favorite food?
Hummus. Hummus is my favorite food. I could have hummus every day. I love hummus. I make my own hummus too.
Cats or dogs or some other animal?
I don’t have any pets but probably dogs. English bulldogs.
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