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Rick Beato: Behind the Curtain

Bob Bakert, Editor

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RICK’S GUITARS

Bob –  May I check out your guitar?

Rick – – Yeah.

Bob – I want to check out what you like in terms of action and all that.

Oh, I can see why you like it. Yeah.

Rick – – All of my guitars have different gauge strings on them., they’re eights.  (his now TV yellow Les Paul Jr strung with .008 gauge strings)

Bob – These are eights? (The guitar plays beautifully with a very full sound, I found it hard to believe that these were .008s)

Rick – Yeah… People used to play eights all the time.

Bob – That’s incredible… I like them. It definitely makes it easier for me to play legato kind of stuff… I guess it makes sense, Holdsworth I’m told used eights.

Rick – Yeah… Yeah, he did. Yeah… most people back in the day used eights.

(Bob – It should be noted that Rick’s Les Paul Jr has the finish completely worn off the back of the neck from all the hours he has played it… it was a stock new guitar when he bought it and from all the hours of playing there is no finish on the neck, like an extreme relic job… thousands and thousands of hours for sure)

Bob – That’s crazy. I’m blown away. Usually, when I throw eights on a guitar,  I can’t feel the strings (I usually play 10s on my Strats, Teles, 335, etc)

Rick – – Yeah, this guitar plays unbelievably well.

Bob – Now, where’d you pick that one up?

Rick – Bought it off the wall at Guitar Center.

Bob – I love the P90’s too.

Rick – Yeah, I do too.

Bob – I’ve never thought they (P90s) were cool looking, so I never had a thing to do with them simply because I didn’t think they were cool. Silly, nothing to do with tone, it was just because I liked the way humbuckers looked. I wanted humbuckers on my guitars. And then, in a studio, I picked up a guitar that was laying around that had P90’s on it and plugged it into an amp, I went, “Whoa!”. I was blown away by all those overtones and dynamics.  I became a believer.

Rick – Yeah, I love P90’s.

Bob – So where were we? We were talking about what you like to do: playing the guitar, educating people, you don’t miss producing…

Rick –  The ear training course is taking a lot of time. I still have the second half to finish on it. So we’ve released the first half of it.

(At the time of this publication the Ear Training course is done and available at rickbeato.com)

Bob – I asked about the pricing for the Ear Training Course…

Rick – It’s kind of like what a textbook costs. A textbook costs about 200 bucks nowadays. I mean it’s a whole program that could be easily used for a college course and so that’s kind of how we priced it. We already have colleges that are interested.

We’ve got videos that teach stuff and then you have the programs which teach other stuff as well as test progress. 

Bob – What else do you want to do?

Rick – I mean, that’s it for now… kind of release things occasionally when when I have an idea.

INTERVIEWS

Bob – You’re interviewing people. I mean you’ve got a nice secondary career going as an interviewer of famous musicians. When you think about the people (Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton to name a few) that you’ve put on your channel and the rapport that you establish with them is like instantaneous, it’s very impressive.  Your body of work is so respected that you attract so many of the top musicians and when they are in front of the camera they are instantly comfortable with you.  That says a lot! 

Rick – That’s fun. I like doing that.

Bob – Yeah. Well, that’s obvious and again, you’re highly respected and they’re having a good time with you.

Rick – Yeah. I mean, I really like interviewing people. I mean, everybody I’ve interviewed are people that I love.

YOUTUBE

Bob – We talked about the success of his YouTube channel.  I asked about Youtube in general.

Rick – out of the 1.5+ million people who have subscribed to my channel, 64% (of the viewership at any given time) are not even subscribed to my channel, they just watch it.

Bob – 64% are not subscribed?

Rick – Yeah, the people that watch it…

Bob – So the real number of watchers  is up, crazy millions.

Rick – Yeah.

Yeah. Only 32% of the people that watch my videos are subscribed to my channel.

Bob – Wow, that is…

Rick – That’s amazing, right?

Bob – Yes, that is an amazing statistic.  So do you do anything to try to reel those other people in?

Rick – I guess. But my demographics biggest group is 25 to 34, 25%; 35 to 44 is 22%; 18 to 24 is 16%; 45 to 54 is 19%. It’s pretty even.

Bob – Yeah. It’s real even.

Rick – Yeah. 55 to 64 is almost 11%.

Bob – It blows me away that you got that many young people because you’re more guitar centered than anything, I think. Wouldn’t you agree? (guitar is noticeably absent in much of today’s pop music)

Rick – Yeah, lately.

Although I’ve had a lot of big drum videos, also.

Bob – Yeah. I enjoy those. 

Rick – Yeah. I have a lot of big drum videos.

Bob – I personally enjoy them.  I decided a while back to take drum lessons.  I did it  because I wanted to learn how to communicate with drummers. I’m playing with these groups and I’m going, “What is this guy thinking about? How can I play better in this setting, contribute better to the sound.  I realized I had a huge hole in my musical knowledge, so I took a bunch of drum lessons. I really enjoy them (drum videos) to see what I can pick up. 

Bob – A lot of players, are doing the blues thing and all that because that’s all the stuff that we/I grew up with, and I know you did too. But these younger guys, they grew up with something completely different. Yet there seems to be a fascination based on what you’re saying from a group of these younger guys. You got any explanation for that?

Rick – I don’t know. That’s the thing about this is that it’s really hard to explain why people dig it…

Bob – Yeah.


JAZZ

Bob – Okay. The whole jazz thing, where are you at with that?

Rick – Which part of it?

Bob – Any of it.

Rick – Yeah. I’m a jazz person.

Bob – Yeah…

Rick – I’m a jazz guy…

Bob – So who are your favorite players? What’s your favorite instrument? Who do you like to listen to? If you say, “I’m a jazz guy”. I want to listen to this guy and that guy…who talks to you?

Rick – It depends on what mood I’m in…

Bob – What jazz guitarists do you like?

Rick – I like Wes. I like Joe Pass. I like George Benson. I like John Scofield. I like Metheny…

Bob – Are you familiar with any of the younger guys?

Rick – Yes, I like  I like Pascual Grasso, he’s a great guitar player.  There’s a lot of guys in Instagram that I love. They’re not really jazz guys. But they’re kind of fusion guys.

Bob –  They’re using the (jazz) language…

Rick – Yeah, a lot of young people in their 20s.

Bob – Do you like Julian Lage for example?

Rick – I like Julian Lage a lot… Yeah, he’s great player.

cont… In Virtuoso (Joe Pass), I like “How High The Moon” a lot. 

Bob – Do you play that stuff, those arrangements? 

Rick – Yeah. I mean, I can play it some of them.

Bob- Was that something that you did back in the day?

Rick – Yeah.

Bob –  I know you played jazz gigs back when you were in Ithaca.

Rick – That’s all I did.

Bob – Solo guitar?

Rick – Solo guitar only once a week.

Bob –  So did you play an Archtop?

Rick – Archtop or classical guitar depending on what the gig was. Sometimes, it’s like finger-style classical guitar.

Bob – I want to highlight what I think are the two big schools in jazz guitar. One is the fat Arch top tone, and the other one’s rock based like the Carlton-type tone with overdrive and various pedals, Dumble, 335s, Strats etc…  All improvisational rooted in jazz. And so I’m going to try to draw that distinction for people that may be just coming into this jazz genre, those two schools. You play both.

Rick – Yeah, Joe Pass, Wes, Straight-ahead bebop kind of stuff. That’s how I learned lines. I also played a lot of fusion, whatever you want to call it.

Bob – So fusion as in like Larry Coryell type fusion or…?

Rick- Not really Larry Coryell… Yeah, maybe  Holdsworth, Larry Carlton. I mean, the gamut of all those guys?

Bob –  They’re all very different.

Rick – Yeah. Well, that’s the hard part about trying to describe that, trying to capsulize all that stuff… is when you get out, the straight-ahead bebop guys are pretty easy to kind of figure them all out. 


Bob – I understand you read ALL comments.

Rick – Yeah, I’m reading every single comment as it comes in.  (people can comment in realtime on live streams as well as comment on videos)


Bob: Rick’s Youtube channel “Everything Music” addresses everything that I personally care about in music and in my estimation – and the estimation of millions is a real treasure.  I and many of my friends have learned so much from him and it still amazes me how deep that his knowledge “well” is…  Rick is now at 1.53 million subscribers with another more than 2.5 million tuning in… an amazing number, an amazing accomplishment, an amazing man…!

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