About

My name is David V. Stewart. I am a writer, musician, and educator originally from Lufkin, Texas.

In 2013, while moving out of Las Vegas, I made a sharp turn in my creative goals and direction, choosing to focus on the writing of original fiction rather than music composition, my primary creative focus since I was a music undergraduate. Since that time I have written two screenplays and a teleplay with my screenwriting partner and best friend, Matt Wellman (find his blog here), two novels as part of a fantasy series, and numerous articles of both fiction and non-fiction on this site

My current creative focus is displayed in the serialization of my third novel, Muramasa: Blood Drinker, links to which may be found on its page above, or by clicking here.

As a musician, I have performed professionally on the guitar and bass (along with a smattering of other instruments) for more than a decade in a variety of styles, playing concerts throughout California and Nevada. During this time my primary focus has been solo guitar, specializing in flamenco, original music, and traditional classical guitar repertoire from the 17th to the 20th century.

I have also taught the guitar, clarinet, and bass since 2003 as both a private and a classroom instructor, including several years teaching at the college level. Much of my instructional content can be found for free on my youtube channel by clicking here. As a teacher, I eschew the slick but misleading gimmicks propagated by courses and content sites marketed toward beginners. Instead, I advocate a balanced and traditional approach that makes use of reading, music theory, solid technique, and practice of worthy music. Great skill takes great practice, and I do my best to not mislead my viewers and students with unrealistic expectations or sell them short on a music education that does not give them the tools to be a great composer, performer, or be able to navigate the business of music in a fruitful and fulfilling manner.

16 Comments

  1. Christophe Reiland

    Hi David was wondering if you could give me some advice. I’ve been teaching myself guitar with Steve Krentz learn and master guitar but I realize he is going more towards electrical guitar. I bought myself a cordoba F7 because I like flamenco,blues and jazz.
    My question is should I finish with Steve Krentz or can you recommend something else to improve my classical guitar.

    Thank you

    Christophe

    • The classical text I usually recommend is the Christopher Parkening Method. The left hand will be much the same, but a classical method will include instruction for the right hand. I cover my suggestions in this video and the included playlist contains all the basic right hand techniques you would use in the Parkening or any other classical method. http://youtu.be/u2Pt3nxWzTI?list=PLrcjHcKc8BLh_vOtwJLu-nrsZeifH46Uu

      • I watched one of your flamenco vids on YouTube and then saw your vid about why you stopped playing CG. Very interesting! You will see
        in a moment why I am posting this comment here.
        I was a piano major in college — 1 year, then got my draft notice (during Vietnam). So much for being a concert pianist . . . After eventually getting out of the Army, I practiced piano on my own. At one point, I told my wife that I liked to listen to classical guitar music. Well, she happened to go to an auction one time and, since I liked listening to CG, she thought she’d bid on a 1967 Gibson folk guitar. She won the bid and presented it to me, so naturally I had to give it a go. I looked at the CG learning methods and also settled on Christopher Parkening’s.
        I studied on my own for a year, then took lessons for a year, but since I did not care for my instructor’s teaching methods I dropped him and have been learning/playing on my own since then. So, how old was I when I started CG? 50 years old! And I am glad that some folks like to hear me play (gigs, church, special events, etc.), whether I get paid or not (since it obviously wasn’t my vocation). Although I am not a fan of metal, I will check out your metal material to see if there’s some aspect of it I have not been exposed to just yet. The reason I will check it out? Because of your vid about why you aren’t playing CG anymore.

        • My next album isn’t actually metal at all – you can check it out at zulonline.com. It’s something that crosses a lot of boundaries – mostly instrumental or ambient rock mixed with classical and jazz, with minimalism and some other stuff. I actually have two classical guitar compositions on the album (one solo, one ensemble reminiscent of Robert Strizich’s “Fractal Sketches”), along with a Lute-features piece, EWI… lots of odd stuff, really. There’s even a few bars of metal amid an orchestral rock track. I actually just finished mastering it today, so I’m pretty excited to get the album out. The next album I plan to make a much more stark mix of classical and atmospheric metal material, like Ulver’s Natten’s Madrigal, but much more refined and orchestral.
          Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad you got some value out of my talks. I have a lot of free instruction material up here as well, so hopefully you will be able to continue learning on your own.

  2. Kent D, WPB, FL

    Hi David,
    I have one question that maybe you can help me with. My current guitar (Cordoba GK Studio Negra) uses tie end classical/flamenco strings. Is it also possible to use the ball-end strings (like Ernie Ball Ernesto Palla type strings) without hurting my bridge or guitar? Is there any benefit or detriment to using them? Would you recommend that I not use them? Thanks in advance for your time & consideration

    • I do not recommend ball-end strings, even if they are nylon ball-end strings, for a standard classical bridge. They do not offer any benefit, but they can potentially harm the bridge by forcing apart the wood at the location of the hole. I have seen the top part of classical bridges get broken away by using such strings, since most bridges are made of a single piece of wood in which the grain runs lengthwise along the bridge, making it easy to split. They also, supposedly, offer decreased tonal quality and volume since less of the string is in contact with the bridge and this muffles some of the vibrations that would go to the top. In short, I recommend using traditional strings. If you find it annoying to tie them or you do not know how, please check out this video, it should explain everything you need to know about strings on a classical or flamenco guitar:

      https://youtu.be/vWaf7QYrxLE

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’ve been performing research on the web-site and will have to say Thanks a ton! The information and facts has been right on the target. I will be also interested in online education if you have time to publish more info on the matter. Again, Thanks a lot!

  4. Hi David,
    I found your videos today. Thank you so much, they are wonderful. I took guitar for about 3 months back in Jr. High (I’m now 50) which was a long time ago. My fingers hurt so I gave it up but I have always loved classic guitar, which I thought was Spanish guitar, but from your videos I have learned they are not the same. Like many people my age the death of Prince has shocked me to my core and I find myself again wanting to learn how to play. I don’t want to play electric guitar, I don’t want to play like Prince, I can listen to him for that but I do want to learn classical guitar. I saw your video about purchasing a first guitar. I’m older and have a little more money to spend so I was thinking about the Cordova C5…do you think that is too much to spend.

    • The Cordoba C5 is an excellent model. I owned a C5E and it was great to me. I only got rid of it because that version of the C5 had a nut width that was not to my preference. The amount you spend is your own decision, but a good guitar will last several lifetimes. To most beginners I recommend buying a cheaper guitar only because as a beginner you usually are not the best at knowing quality or some of the major brands, but it is all relative. If you are serious it is okay to spend a buck or two, as long as you don’t have some other use for the money that would upset you if you decided that music was not for you. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. Thanks so much for your reply! My step daughter is a guitarist (she has her own punk band) so I’m taking her with me to go shopping as you suggested. She’ll keep on the straight and narrow…$300 bucks is the most I’ll spend but we’ll see what we can do for less, I was looking at the Ortegas too. I’ve looked at the videos on your site and a few others. I purchased the Christopher Parkening book, a set of flash cards and a site reading book. I think I’m ready to go. My plan is to give myself about 9 months of self teaching and then see if I can find a teacher. I just want to get the basics down before I start paying someone. How much do you think I should practice? I was thinking an hour a day 5/a week give or take. There are a lot of websites out there that say 10-30 minutes a day is enough but I remember what you said about being realistic and it seems that 10-30 minutes wouldn’t be enough.

    • Practice as much as you feel comfortable. As a beginner usually it is hard to dedicate more than about 20 minutes due to physical and mental fatigue, but there are exceptions. Consistency is the key. The more OFTEN you practice something, the better you will learn it, as opposed to repeating something many times in one sitting. It’s better to practice every day for 20 minutes than it is to practice two hours once a week.

  6. Perfect! Thanks Teach!

  7. Hi, I really want to learn flamenco guitar, but I don’t know where to start. Should I start with classical and then switch to flamenco after a while or just start with flamenco? Are there any online courses for either? I don’t even know what guitar to get. Should I get a classical guitar or a flamenco? Do you have any brand suggestions? Sorry for all the questions.

    • I would just start with Flamenco guitar, since you can play all the repertoire on it. Cordoba makes a number of entry-level flamenco models that will suit any player, though they tend to have a more classical (or high) action. There are companies that specialize in online courses; I don’t have one constructed as of yet, though you can check out my big back catalog of videos to see all the techniques in action. I would get a good couple of method books and find a teacher; nothing really replaces a great teacher who can see your hands, but otherwise I would check out the videos. I have no specific recommendations for online courses as I haven’t tried them and have no use for them myself.

  8. David,
    I’ve been a follower of your Youtube channel for quite a while and have read Prophet of the God Seed. I’m constantly impressed with your understanding of story telling. I’m working on a video game (http://store.steampowered.com/app/251650/Rays_The_Dead/) and we are looking for someone to provide editorial and polish work on the script to help wrap things up. I know you are busy with many projects but if you are interested I’d be happy to talk to you further about our game and our needs for a writer.

    Thanks,
    Matt

    • Of course I’m interested! I’ve been a gamer my whole life and it’s my only real hobby. I’ve been studying game design on my own for a little while, and I love doing game analysis as well. I’d be very excited to work on your project. And your art looks fantastic so far. Feel free to email me at stu@davidvstewart.com or stu@dvspress.com

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