Notes from the Carl Verheyen Clinic, July 5, 2000

Carl spoke about being versatile as a player. He played a little jazz piece in G Myxolydian, and changed it into a country "chicken pickin'" piece with what looked like little effort! He said that "ornamentation" is what sets one style of music apart from another. The ornamentation he described was, for example, the double stops played in a country solo.

Carl stated that he didn't practice exercises; rather he practices music. He studied with jazz great Joe Diorio. During this period, Carl started writing down ideas from his practice sessions in manuscript, with fingerings. He stated that during some sessions he wrote down nothing; during others he wrote down a great deal. The only criteria for writing an idea down is that it had to be original. He said that many of his ideas were only one or two measures.

To get his great patterns, Carl takes a scale (his example was G Dorian) and play it "up" the neck. To make it sound original, he'll throw in extra notes with wide intervals. He demonstrated some of these stretches, and it was amazing.

Carl is a dedicated Strat player, and he gave a pretty good run down on how to set up the tremolo. He sets his tremolo up to float above the guitar's top. He has to be able to pull the G string up to a B. He explained that the majority of the tension on the tremolo is on the low E side of the guitar, while the least is on the high E side. He sets his tremolo claw at a pretty radical angle, with it being closest to the neck side of the guitar on the low E side, and angling at about 45 degrees toward the treble side. He demonstrated his technique, and it was pretty impressive.

He said he checks guitar hanging on the wall in shops by plucking the B string pretty strongly. He then feels the lower bout by the output jack for vibrations. He said he could tell if the guitar is resonant by using this method.

Carl uses "hybrid picking". This is a combination of flat picking and finger picking most associated with country pickers. He took a lot of classical guitar, and he stated that the hybrid picking really helps his speed.

During several jams, Carl used the five-way switch as almost a mini wah pedal. He set the middle tone on the Strat to 1, then left the other tone on 10. He would play hammer-ons and pull-offs while moving the switch up and down very quickly. A neat trick.

To finish up he played a version of Goodbye Porkpie Hat that was just killer. His playing reminded me of Eric Johnson's.


The playing in the concert was predictably excellent. What really impressed me was when Carl's pedal board fried right before the last song.  After a couple of minutes of messing with the dead board, he plugged straight into the Peavey and kept playing. What was interesting is that he was able to make the guitar speak with any effects. His playing was so great -- go see him if you get a chance.


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