Album: Fretfull (2008)

Artist: Wayne Riker

Label: self-released

Where available/price: Old Time Music Shop in North Park, Tecolote Guitar Works on Morena Boulevard, and online at CDBaby for $15

Songs: 1) The Betrayal 2) 8 p.m. Rag 3) Emancipation 4) Blue Alert 5) Sebastian’s Last Prance 6) Devil’s Dance 7) Minor over Matter 8) Sparkle Lake 9) Blues from A2Z 10) Conversation with Myself 11) Gypsy Cab 12) Fretfully Yours

Band: Wayne Riker (guitar)

Website: waynerikerguitar.com

Wayne Riker is a guitar teacher, and Fretfull should be lesson one because it’s inspirational. Riker makes it sound easy. (Just pick up a guitar, and after 30 years of dedicated study you too could be this good!)

I’ve taken a guitar lesson, and to get my stubby fingers to play a correct F-minor chord took me three hours. My instructor told me, “Yeah, you’re going to have to get new fingers.” The next day I couldn’t repeat what I’d learned, so my guitar stood in a corner of my bedroom for a year before I gave it away to a friend.

Wayne Riker’s guitar supremacy is displayed on Fretfull. The songs follow a classical arrangement, rhythmically driving and complex in parts. Riker throws in a lot of variety, leaning toward jazz and blues riffs.

My one complaint is that the CD might be too scholarly: a dumb blues or rock album would offer more fun for the unwashed masses who might not want to suffer through a 40-minute lesson. But if you’re a guitar student, this disc should be in your collection as a reminder to practice, practice, practice.

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