I always make a point of doing a crash course lesson with any potential instructor. Years ago, the lessons were easy for everyone because my guitar playing was so poor; I was only able to preview the instructors as a true beginner. I still suck, but I’ve improved over the years, and I’ve noticed the crash course lessons are starting to evolve.
I told Gil right off the bat what my MO is: I like to play with my looper pedal and do simple chord changes and then play the pentatonic scale over them. I told him I’d like to get better at doing that and that I felt kind of stuck in the box with my playing these days. Gil took a step back and thought about what I was asking. He talked to me for about 10 minutes about how he looks at the fret board of a guitar like driving a car; there are a lot of different ways to get to the same destination. He told me that any lick I can play in the “box”, I need to learn how to play all the way down on one string, that I should be able to jump up, down, and all around the board and have it not matter which box I’m in. He talked about the guitar in a grand way. To be honest, I have never heard anyone talk about the guitar that way before. My appreciation for the guitar was enhanced by just chatting with Gil.After theorizing and hearing Gil’s philosophies, he could tell I was anxious to start playing something. He asked me if I knew what a blues shuffle was. After asking me a few questions, we both determined that I actually do know what that is, and we started by playing a 1/4/5 blues shuffle using major chords. He then asked me to start playing notes from the chordal tones while he was still playing the blues shuffle in the background. I had to stop him, chordal tones? What is that? He said, just play the notes that make up the chord. Simple enough. I did that. It sounded pretty cool. I wasn’t used to playing major chords in my 1/4/5 (usually mess with minor 7ths) so there were definitely notes that I wasn’t used to hearing. Gil pointed out the few notes in the chords that were not actually in the pentatonic scale. He had me focus on playing those notes and the pentatonic scale when those chords were being played in the shuffle. It was kind of hard for me at first. I was used to just playing away at the pentatonic scale and not really paying much attention to the whether it was the 1 the 4 or the 5 chord playing (pretty much unconnected to the music in my normal dunderhead style). I was super stoked on the sound I found! I’ve been practicing this at home since, and it has really spiced up my improvisation, and I’m starting to become much more aware of what chord is playing and where I am in the shuffle. This small concept has opened up a realm of other possibilities for my playing.
At the end of it all, when I looked at the clock, an hour had passed by. I normally get in and out of my crash lessons because I’m so busy with work. I was busy that day as well, but did I notice it? Heck no! I was so stoked on learning more about the guitar.
Gil will open your eyes to a whole new guitar!
He will be available for lessons at the Pearl City Store on Thursdays from 3:30-7:00. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Spaces are limited and will be filled on a first come first serve basis.
Instructors are not employees of Easy Music Center. They are independent contractors.*
Gilbert Batangan Bio:
Gilbert Batangan has been playing music in the Honolulu scene for over 20 years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Music Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he concentrated on classical guitar, double bass, music theory, and composition.
Gilbert has performed with jazz artists such as Azure McCall, Tennyson Stephens,
Noel Okimoto, Abe Lagrimas, Rich Crandall, Tim Tsukiyama, Satomi Yarimizo, and Frank Vignola. The Gilbert Batangan Quartet has played Tuesdays at Jazzminds for almost 6 years, recently featuring NYC-based musicians Paul Carlon, Valery Ponomarev, Hironobu Saito, Chris Amberger, and Maya Hatch as a guest performer. He has participated in recordings with the Royal Hawaiian Band, Abe Lagrimas, Shawn Conley, and Jacob Koller.
Although known as a Jazz guitarist around town, Gilbert loves to play and teach all styles of music: Jazz, Blues, Classical, Funk, Rhythm and Blues, Reggae, Folk, Fingerstyle, Rock, Soul, Hawaiian, etc. He likes working with guitar students of all ages and levels and has also taught in elementary, middle, and high schools specializing in band, choir, and orchestra.