Robin Nolan, caught here during the photo shoot for his Sin City album, had a life-changing experience when his father took him to his first Gypsy jazz festival. "The romance of seeing these guys with acoustic guitars, around a campfire— that's what got me, beyond all the shredding," he says.

The virtuoso Gypsy-jazz guitarist pays homage to his two favorite players—Django and Angus Young—on his fiery new instrumental album, Sin City.

Though he's considered one of today's most accomplished Gypsy-jazz guitarists, Amsterdam-based Robin Nolan didn't grow up playing Django-inspired music and he doesn't come from Romani stock. In fact, jazz manouche wasn't even Nolan's first musical love. He only became enamored of the style as a teenager, when his father took him to visit Samois-sur-Seine—the city in north-central France where Reinhardt spent his final years. “Gypsy musicians have been meeting there for decades," Nolan says. “It's turned into a big festival now. The romance of seeing these guys with acoustic guitars, around a campfire—that's what got me, beyond all the shredding, which was really exciting as well. My father had played me Django records before, but I couldn't relate to it. Going to this festival and experiencing the music under the stars was completely different. That's what made it click for me."

While that Samois sojourn was the catalyst that sparked Nolan's passion for Gypsy jazz, he was already playing guitar by then. Like many youngsters, he was passionate about rock 'n' roll—AC/DC's music in particular. “Their wild lyrics, the instrumental hooks, the big power chords. It's all just massive," he says. For many guitarists who get into jazz, it's a natural progression to leave their gritty rock roots behind in favor of headier sounds. Most never look back. Nolan, however, is not like most. His new Sin City record showcases the AC/DC songbook, reimagined and rearranged, Gypsy-jazz style.

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Learn four easy ways to break free from conventional chord-scale relationships.

“Can we talk about outside playing?”

One of my guitar students asked me this recently. This shouldn’t have surprised me, because for quite a while the student had been working so hard at playing inside. For example, if he was improvising over a tune and the sheet music indicated an Am7b5 in the third measure, he was able to outline that chord in a really musical way. He had developed his ears and technique to a level where he could “make the changes,” as jazzers say, whether playing jazz, blues, rock, or other styles. As anyone who’s done the woodshedding knows, this is no small achievement. There are so many rules to heed, so many formulas to memorize, so many fingering patterns to get down pat. My student had done all of this. Then, one day, he was hungry for something different.

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The folk-rock icon takes PG inside his intimate new Lighthouse LP, and shares the surprising story behind his all-time favorite flattops—and they’re not the American mainstays you’d assume.

Five decades into his storied career, David Crosby should need no introduction to anyone seriously interested in guitar playing or songwriting. There are, of course, latecomers to every party, so we’ll start here with a few highlights from his musical life, for those of you who may not know Croz’s story.

Along with fellow singer-songwriters Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark, Crosby was a founding member of the popular and influential folk-rock group the Byrds. Their 1965 cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” was a massive hit in America and the U.K. McGuinn played 12-string electric guitar and sang the lead vocal, with Clark and Crosby sweetening the choruses in tight harmony. A year later, the Byrds released their original song “Eight Miles High,” showcasing the band’s newfound interest in bold-toned psychedelia.

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