Carl Verheyen: Pat Martino

| December 17, 2009

I’ve been reading Guitar Player magazine for the last 31 years, and I actually still have every issue from August 1978 to the present. It’s been a great source of knowledge and research info for me. When I want to find out more about someone like Lowell George, I can go back to the various issues where he was featured and check him out. The January 2010 issue just arrived and I dropped everything to dive completely into the amazing Pat Martino lesson on page 77. Like most serious guitar players, I’ve spent hundreds of hours checking out Pat’s recordings. I’ve seen him live many times and even met him on a few occasions. He’s been a constant source of inspiration to rock players, blues players, and jazz guys for many years, and the “10 Things You Gotta Do” article in the new GP will blow you away if you are not familiar with his work.

One afternoon back in the late '70s, I was at Ron Eschete’s house jamming with him when the phone rang. It was Howard Roberts asking him to become a teacher at a new music school he was starting in Hollywood called GIT. Ronnie accepted, and this turned out to be a blessing for me because I’d hear about the many visiting heroes of mine coming to the school for clinics. I would then sneak into the school, find a seat in the front row and proceed to ask all the questions. I found it kinda funny that all the guys paying to attend GIT would sit there dumbfounded and I’d be the only one asking questions! Then I’d sneak out before anyone found out I had slipped in from the street. I was at the 1978 Pat Martino workshop that Jesse Gress describes in the article, and I remember asking all about the diminished scale and his concept of “all 12 dominant chords occur in a 3 note span.” This truly changed my life—as well as some of the other powerful things Pat Martino continues to impart about improvising over the years.

Our quest for knowledge never stops. We distill basic truths about music and life down to simple ideas we can use. Every once in awhile somebody comes along like Pat Martino to show us a new way to see it. Thanks to Jesse Gress for writing the best article/lesson on Pat I’ve ever read. It makes me want to keep collecting GP for another 31 years! —Carl Verheyen

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