What’s Hot With Jazz Guitar: Dave Woods

by Doc Dosco

This week we feature my friend Dave Woods. Dave has a wonderful website called Jazz Guitar Starting Right (jazzguitarstartingright.com) that has excellent material for the budding young guitar player seeking information on how get started in jazz.

Some of the features he presents are Left Hand – Right Hand, Scales and Arpeggios, Transposition, Song Tutorials, Fretboard Videos, Ear Training, and something Dave calls Take a Bath. “A sound soak, MP3 tracks that provide a sound bath you can immerse your ears in while practicing your intervals in Basic Keys, Harmonic Minor and Major, and Melodic Minor.”

Dave's site is a lot of fun and very instructive for beginning jazz guitar players. This is a great resource. Do check it out.

Online Bio

I'm a New Age composer and teacher who also plays, composes, and improvises on the Guitar. Traditional Jazz from the 1940's and 50's is the style of jazz I love the most. Django's last recording made in 1953 was the first jazz guitar recording that ever captured me. After that, came Tal Farlow. Jimmy Raney, Wes Montgomery, Eddie Diehl my good friend and Teacher, and of course Charlie Parker. The Blues, folk music from all over the world, and the 20th century composers both jazz and classical are also a burning passion with me, and my music reflects all of these influences. I come from a long line of musicians. My father was Harry Woods, a prolific Song writer who flourished during the 1920' and 30's. Among his hits were “Try a Little Tenderness”,”River Stay Way From My Door”. “Hoo Hoo Hoo What a Little Moonlight Could do, sung by Billie Holliday, and many others. My Grand Mother and Grand Father were singers and toured the Vaudeville Circuit. I majored In composition with Grant Fletcher at Arizona Stare University in the early 1960's. Grant was a great composer and teacher. Because there were no Guitar Programs at that time, I took all the music courses I could get my hands on, and left forsaking the degree. I went to New York City, got a gig with the Hal Waters Trio and we ended up playing in Canada for awhile. During the late 60's and early 70's I worked as a composer / Arranger for Famous Music Company, Sunbury Dunbar Music company, and Sy Colman as a song writer and demo arranger.

Later I worked as an independent record producer, and arranger, working for Polydor, Verve Forecast, and Decca. The Folk Rock thing was in full swing at the time. I became lead guitarist for Dave Van Ronks group, The Hudson Dusters, and we toured the East Coast and Canada. I produced and / or arranged for McKendree Spring, Jake And The Family Jewels, Scott Fagin and also did some arranging for Bobby Vinton. I usually played Guitar on the dates I wrote the arrangements for. The commercial music business in those days was a dog eat dog endless hustle. I can tell you that having to make a living that way can kill your love for music.

My wife at the time was an excellent singer and lyric writer. We worked as a team for the publishers. We finally broke up, there were no kids involved. Her father was a Lawyer who was retired except for me. They had me in court every time I became visible in the music business. This put a real damper on my commercial music career, and I'm glad it did. I went underground to avoid them, started teaching Guitar and composition, and I loved it. I could give to others from the heart, survive with integrity, and help people evolve through music. Who could ask for anything more.

The late 70's was a death time for jazz, and A lot of excellent but unknown players took to playing the streets and parks. The street people loved it and supported us with what they could afford out of pocket. It was the worlds biggest night club with the worlds most appreciative audience standing at your feet. I joined up with various groups, and got a musical education on a practical level from great players that could be found nowhere else.

In 1976 the copyright laws changed to 50 years beyond the death of the composer, and I was able retrieve my fathers copyrights and start Callicoon Music ASCAP for the entire Woods family, and my own music as well. With the advent of the computer age, I was able to leave New York City and move upstate to Poughkeepsie. From here I can handle everything by phone, fax, and the internet, and work right out of my house. The digital age has transformed the music business, and given independent musicians a chance to get out there. Gone is the strangle hold that the old time recording industry had on the music business.

I turned my teaching urge into the Music To Light Program, a 501-c3 non profit for teaching inner city kids Guitar and composition with the computer. I also taught in Green Haven a maximum security prison. Jazz Guitar Starting Right is everything I've learned over the years. At 71, I'm closer to the end than the beginning at this point in my life, and still enjoying playing and hanging in.

Through Jazz Guitar Starting Right I'm trying to pass along everything I've ever learned to anyone who can use it, and make the instruction affordable. Lots of free stuff and updates will also be given on a continuous basis on the site, both for those.who purchase Jazz Guitar Starting Right, and those who don't.

Dave Woods's website:

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot with Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc now endorses Peerless Guitars and has the website Jazz Guitar Zone to help promote Peerless jazz guitars in the US. He also endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps — great for jazz (and anything else!)

3 thoughts on “What’s Hot With Jazz Guitar: Dave Woods”

  1. Dave and Hendrix
    J.D. Bell

    Mr. Woods did not mention about his “fame” turn, when he showed up at a gig called Wake at Generation…it was quite the gathering of recent superstars (1968) playing in tribute to MLK, who had been shot…for years, folks thought that the guitarist, dressed mostly in white, sporting a hat and Goatee, was Roy Buchannon….but it was actually Dave Woods, jamming with Jimi Hendrix!…it turns out that a friend/bass player named “Bugs” suggested to Dave that the two of them show up at the venue–Bugs had known, and played behind, Jimi in Jimi’s earlier career days in NYC…This session was filmed, and shows up in the film, Wake at Generation….C’mon Dave, tell us more about that special night!

  2. Jazz Guitar Starting Right
    William Nicholson

    I thought of Dave Wood’s website Jazz Guitar Starting Right recently as I have been thinking about key-centred approaches to improvisation recently and I think his website had some material related to that. Unfortunately, since he sadly died his website has gone offline and I didn’t previously download and keep materials from it; so I don’t have access to that stuff in any form. Does anybody know if any kind of mirror of his website has been put up or if he wrote any books with some of the same ideas?

  3. Re: by Doc Dosco This week we feature my friend Dave... What’s Hot With Jazz Guitar: Dave Woods
    Jimmy Adams

    It is good news to read that your friend Dave has a magnificent website named as Jazz Guitar Starting Right (jazzguitarstartingright.com) offering outstanding stuff for the promising childish guitar player looking for information on how to get started in jazz. I am also new to learn playing guitar. So the website would be very useful for me and for others like me. Thanks

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