Learning Resources

Michael’s music was truly “beyond boundaries.” He was ahead of his time, and his approach to composition, the guitar and performance was like none other. Michael drew inspiration from many, and inspired scores more to continue in his exploration beyond the limits of guitar music.

These learning resources are for fans of Michael’s music who feel motivated to take a deeper dive into learning the tunings and techniques Michael used in his music. These posts, videos and lessons have been generously created by several musicians and teachers who have studied Michael’s music for thousands of hours and have a deep understanding of his music, and a passion for getting it right.

This is the start of a knowledge base—more videos, lessons and how-to content will be added regularly in the years to come. SUBSCRIBE to the Taproot newsletter to be among the first to know when new learning resources are posted.

 

Core Contributors

Guitar professor John Stropes

John Stropes is a leading authority on finger-style guitar. Through his research, analysis, transcription, teaching and performance of finger-style guitar, he has brought focus to to the genre. His publishing company, Stropes Editions, Ltd., has set a new standard for written music for the guitar and guitar education.

More About John

Andy McKee headshot

Andy McKee is an American fingerstyle guitar player who has released six studio albums, two extended plays, and one live album to date. He is one of the world’s finest acoustic guitarists. Andy is passionate about Michael’s music, which he cites as one of his major inspirations as a guitarist.

More About Andy

Andrew Gorny
Andrew Gorny has an enthusiasm for music that is infectious. He is a working musician and teacher with thousands of hours logged studying Michael’s music, which he makes approachable and exciting to learn. Andrew’s video series “Tips from the Couch” includes many instructions for playing Michael’s music.

More About Andrew

“Why tune the guitar the same way all the time? For security? There’s already been so much written for standard-tuned guitar.”

— Michael Hedges

Michael playing guitar on the headlands by the ocean

Playing Michael’s Music

Many guitar players say they’ve learned such and such a Hedges tune with nothing but the tuning. Even something as complex as “Aerial Boundaries.” But when asked questions such as, “So, you got the upstroke with the thumb in measures 45 and 46 while the other two voices are going?”, or, “So, you got the right hand pinky muting on the upstrokes in the bridge on ‘Jitterboogie’?” they’re not quite sure what to say.

Michael’s music is so rich and full of brilliant nuances which are essential to the music’s execution that you’re not likely to get it all without a perfect transcription. And while his live performance videos can help, there’s more going on than you can see. You are likely to pluck out what your ears and hands are ready for, but not necessarily the full depth of what’s really there. As Michael once said about learning to play other people’s music, “…the path to yourself may be through others.”

Resources from Stropes Editions, Ltd.

In the 1990s, John Stropes worked closely with Michael Hedges to create detailed transcriptions of his music – inventing new notations to accommodate his unique style. The resources below have been used by thousands of guitarists to learn Michael’s music.

In the coming months and years, Stropes Editions, Ltd. is planning to release more transcripts of Hedges tunes for Michael’s fans, as well as an instructional video series for specific techniques and songs. Subscribe for updates so you’re among the first to know when they’re available.

Rhythm, Sonority, Silence Book Re-Print

Michael Hedges/Rhythm, Sonority, Silence

Michael Hedges/Rhythm, Sonority, Silence was originally released in 1995. Given the enduring influence of Michael Hedges’ music, Stropes Editions, Ltd. re-issued this groundbreaking volume in 2020. The acclaim it received upon first release established its place as a seminal document that created a new standard for printed music for fingerstyle guitar.

In the book, transcriptions of “Aerial Boundaries,” “The Naked Stalk,” “Eleven Small Roaches,” “Layover,” “Bensusan,” and “Rickover’s Dreams” are augmented by autobiographical material and essays on composition, electronics, and tunings written by Michael Hedges.

Resources from The Next Generation

Learning resources from a new generation of players who are taking Michael’s music to the next level through their own study, compositions and playing. This series is in currently in development and will include regular releases of new articles, how-to videos, lessons and more from several contributors, including Andy McKee and Andrew Gorny. Subscribe for updates so you’re among the first to know when they’re available.

“Only by becoming acquainted with your own self can you gain the composure to write original music.”

— Michael Hedges

Artistic image of Michael looking down, wearing hat with braided hair coming out of it

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