I placed my D 12-20 in a closet back in 1976 and closed the closet door after having spent three years with "a ragtime rodeo" playing up-and-down the east coast of the USA.
Fast forward to 2011 or so. My day job was about to end (sold the company in. 2014) and I needed more than just a diversion. I needed to find a new purpose- to refocus, not retire.
I ran into a monster guitarist that year. (Matt Smith really was a founding member of the Monstas). I heard Matt play finger style one night I was hooked I asked him for his help. And man over the last seven years I've received more than just a few pointers. I've learned my craft, and furthermore I received a new purpose, a new focus.
Matt started me from the very bottom- he's a REAL teacher. And as all great teachers will do he met me at my beginning, not his; mine. Tempo first then a little theory, more tempo, then more concepts like "embrace the audience bring them to you” and "play behind the beat."
Matt has personal theory galore. One being "A chord progression is only learned correctly after it becomes a part of a song-your song". I was challenged to write.
Well 28 songs and two CD's later I've incorporated Matt's guidance into a one-man one hour show-yeah real live theater piece. 12 original tunes and five movements that tells my life story.
Talk about refocus! The theater is wonderful, and the song is such a joy, and the results of all of this has been a bonanza for several charities here in Texas: Austin Classical Guitar, the North Austin Foundation, ACC, Phoenix house… Even played my first completed one man show in Gatesville women's prison. (A Guru Named Frank-Go to YouTube)
Matt Smith and Beal Cayman are now in partnership. A Six String Ranch is born. Behold a warehouse of all things creative-of all things creative wrapped up in a six spring box. Musical connections and musical education from recording to writing and anything musical in between.
Come see. Come create.
See ya around the Ranch.
-John Henry McDonald.
There really aren’t words to express how happy/pleased/thrilled/honored I was to spend the day with you at Six String Ranch recording the the Frank Hill project yesterday. I’ve been in a lot of recording studios in my life, many costing much, much more per hour, but I’ve never experienced a more pleasant, inspiring and beautifully outfitted environment for making music. The physical space(s), equipment and AMAZING array of musical instruments available are sublime…and an incredible value for any artist/customer. AND all of that doesn’t begin to touch the inestimable value of having YOU as the engineer and guru in the sessions. Your demeanor, mad skills and positive energy made it one of the best creative experiences I can recall…and I have a good memory!
Matt Smith takes complicated theories and breaks them down so they are easy to understand."