Don Ross

began playing guitar virtually by accident.

There was always a lot of music around the house. Don’s dad is an operatically-trained singer. So, the Ross kids heard plenty of voice exercises around their Montreal home as well as classical music on the record player growing up (not to mention the occasional blast of the bagpipes when Don’s dad felt like waking up the neighbours with another musical skill he acquired growing up in Scotland!). Don was a very musical child, teaching himself some basic piano skills in his early years. But at the age of eight, when Don’s sister came home from boarding school with an old Stella acoustic guitar, he knew he had met his new best friend. Immediately recognizing the portability and “cool factor” of the guitar, Don and his older brother began teaching themselves tunes by the Beatles, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

By the age of ten, Don was playing less with a pick and more with his fingers. He was fascinated by the possibility of playing several lines at once: melody, middle voices, bass line. To achieve some of the musical ideas he had in mind, he started retuning the guitar to suit them, inventing new tunings that made things easier at first. But he also realized that he could expand the range of the instrument to make the low strings lower and the high strings higher. The possibilities seemed almost endless.

He began playing publicly (and for money) in his hometown of Montreal at the age of 15. Fortunately he looked old enough to drink by then and even played occasionally at some of the downtown pubs that featured live acoustic music! Around the same time he discovered the music of legendary Canadian singer/guitarist Bruce Cockburn. Don was amazed that such an insightful lyricist could also be a tremendous guitarist. The musical future seemed very bright indeed. He was inspired to write his first strong instrumental tunes for solo guitar around this time.

Don eventually studied Music at Toronto’s York University. Strangely enough, he didn’t focus on guitar but rather on composition, electronic music, and sound recording. Upon graduating, he had visions of being a composer of orchestral and electronic music or film scores..certainly not any delusions of playing solo guitar for a living. What changed his mind was seeing the success of musicians like Michael Hedges, Steve Reich and Keith Jarrett, player/composers who followed their musical intuitions wherever they led and who fell more into the category of “artist” rather than “guitarist” or “pianist.”

After graduation, Don decided that the best forum for what he did as a composer would be to perform his guitar music himself. In 1988, he won the U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Competition. This earned him a fair amount of media attention back home in Canada, and within days he was scouted to record for Toronto-based independent record label Duke Street Records. He recorded his debut for the label, Bearing Straight, which was released in 1989. Two more recordings for the label followed, 1990’s Don Ross and 1993’s Three Hands. Don then signed with Columbia/Sony and recorded three more CDs for that label: This Dragon Won’t Sleep in 1995, Wintertide in 1996 and Loaded. Leather. Moonroof. in 1997. In the meantime, Don won the Fingerstyle competition in the USA for a second time in 1996. To this day, he is still the only player to have won the competition twice!

Signing with Narada Records in 1999, Don released his first completely solo-guitar CD, Passion Session. Recorded in a series of overnight sessions in Berlin’s Passionskirche (The Church of the Passion), the CD has gone on to top many of the “all time best acoustic guitar recordings” lists in publications like Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Some of the compositions on Passion Session, such as “Michael, Michael, Michael,” “Klimbim,” and “Tight Trite Night” have become standards in world guitar repertoire. Huron Street (2001) and Robot Monster (2003) followed, showcasing the depth of Don’s compositional history as well as his ongoing interest in electronic music, through collaborations with Berlin composer Christoph Bendel.

With the collapse of the conventional recording industry in the early 21st century, Don entered into a new venture with Milwaukee-based CandyRat Records and its founder, Rob Poland. The move to a completely internet-based model of releasing recordings resulted in the first ever CandyRat CD, 2005’s Music for Vacuuming. CandyRat has gone on to release recordings by dozens of international artists, primarily guitarists and songwriters. YouTube exposure has helped all of the CandyRat artists, and made an international star of Don’s good friend Andy McKee. Other recent projects Don has released in collaboration with CandyRat are Live in Your Head (2006), the thing that came from somewhere (2008, with Andy McKee), his all-vocal CD Any Colour (2009), the solo guitar album Breakfast for Dogs! (2010), as well as two performance DVDs: Don Ross Live and Live in Toronto (with Michael Manring and Andy McKee).

Don has toured regularly since 1989, across Canada, the USA, a dozen European countries, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Russia and India. He has played with symphony orchestras in Canada and Germany, and collaborated live and on recording with Andy McKee, Canadian singer/guitarist Brooke Miller, & Toronto bassist Jordan O’Connor. He also composes scores for television, radio and film, and does production and recording engineering for a variety of other musicians. In addition to acoustic guitar, Don also plays electric guitar, slide dobro and lapsteel guitar, voice, piano, keyboards, bass guitar and drums.

Don grew up in Montreal, lived for many years in the Toronto area, and now lives with his wife in Halifax on Canada’s Atlantic coast.

 
CDs & DVDs By Don Ross

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Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

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Don Ross : Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Solo Acoustic Guitar

Don Ross's arrangement for acoustic guitar of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" a composition by Johann Sebastian Bach.

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Upright & Locked Position
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Cup of Pop
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New Aaron

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Don Ross : Upright & Locked Position

Solo Acoustic Guitar

"Upright & Locked Position" is Don Ross's 14th solo recording. This time around he revisits some songs from his first three albums from 20+ years ago, along with some new originals.

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Crazy
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Red Ships Take Off in the Distance
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From France to India

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Don Ross : Breakfast for Dogs!

Solo Acoustic Guitar

Breakfast for Dogs is Don Ross's first all-solo-guitar record in years (namely since Passion Session in 1999). "I decided just to record whatever the heck I felt like doing for this one, bit by bit over the course of several months in 2010. Hence the album title. I think of the CD as a bit of a "dog's breakfast," in that there's no particular theme that binds the tunes"

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Tochigi
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Brooke's Waltz
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Rockbarra

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Don Ross : Music for Vacuuming

Solo Acoustic Guitar

Don Ross's latest released, Music for Vacuuming, shows a renewed optimism in Don's creative approach thanks to the wonderful changes in his life. One of today's true innovators of guitar composition and technique, Don Ross has emerged as one of the most respected musicians in Canada and one of the top guitarists in the world.

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Dolphins
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Rylynn
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Spirit of the West

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Don Ross & Andy McKee : The Thing that came from Somewhere

Acoustic Music

The new cd includes duets versions of five familiar tunes composed by each guitarist, two duet arrangements of compositions by Russell Ferrante and Mike Marshall, and two solo tracks by each of Don and Andy for a total of 11 great performances.

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Afraid to Dance
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Catherine
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With you in Mind

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Don Ross : Live in your Head

Acoustic Guitar & Band

"Live in Your Head" is a collection of solo and ensemble live recordings from concerts, collected by Don Ross over the past five years. This 80-minute CD has been carefully assembled and mixed by Don Ross personally.

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Klimbim
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Michael, Michael, Michael
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So Little Time

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Don Ross : Passion Session

Solo Acoustic Guitar

Don's Passion Session CD, recorded in Berlin's Passionskirche, was released in March 1999 on Narada/Virgin Records. The recording brings Don back to his roots as a solo fingerstyle guitarist, as he produces his first totally solo album ever for Narada's Masters of Acoustic Guitar series. Don got the news of the offer of a new contract with Narada while on tour in Germany in November 1998. The planned release date for his first CD for the company was so soon that he decided to team up with his recording engineer friend Knut Becker right away and record the album straight to two-track digital through a Schoeps stereo microphone in the acoustically perfect confines of the Passionskirche (The Church of the Passion) in Berlin's funky Kreuzberg neighbourhood.

Don Ross / Michael Manring / Andy McKee : Live in Toronto

DVD

This DVD, shot by Bernard Leroux, was made near the beginning of a tour in November 2006 at the beautiful Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto. It was a pleasure to be on the road again with Michael Manring, and to be introducing Andy McKee to my audience. This performance was just a few days before Andy shot the fateful YouTube videos that went on to launch his now worldwide fame. It was a great night

Don Ross : Live : DVD

DVD

Don Ross captured live in concert at two performances in Ontario, Canada. Discs are universal format (playable on any DVD player in the world). Performances include: It's Fun Being Lucky, Blue Bear, Loaded. Leather. Moonroof., Any Colour But Blue, Dracula and Friends Part One, Afraid to Dance, King Street Suite, Jesse Helms' Night in Havana, Manha da Carnaval, Tight Trite Night, Slow Burn, Wall of Glass, Catherine, & Sweet Sister

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Any Colour but Blue
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Spirit Wars
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Head and Heart

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Don Ross : Any Colour

Vocal / Band / Folk

A la Prince or Steve Winwood, Don plays ALL the instruments on his first all-vocal release, the one his fans have been egging him on to make. Acoustic, electric, passionate and funky, virtuosity meets great singing and songwriting.

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Loaded, Leather, Moonroof
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Wave From Your Window
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Meanwhile Road (solo reprise)

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Don Ross : Loaded, Leather, Moonroof

Instrumental Acoustic

 Loaded. Leather. Moonroof., released in November, 1997. The album "...is a further exploration for a rich sense of harmony and groove," according to Don. The CD treats Don's listeners to a compilation of diverse sounds that reflects his influence by all types of music. On this album, Don passionately plays the six-string and seven-string guitars as well as the dobro. He is often accompanied by several other musicians whom all add their specialty.

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In The Bleak Midwinter
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Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming
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Huron Carol

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Don Ross : Wintertide

Instrumental Acoustic

In the fall of 1996 Don released Wintertide, an instrumental album of traditional Christmas tunes played in his trademark style. Lynn Saxberg of the Ottawa Citizen called the CD a "masterpiece," and the public response was no less enthusiastic.

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Godzilla
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Obrigado (Egberto)
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This Dragon Won't Sleep

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Don Ross : This Dragon Won't Sleep

Instrumental Acoustic

This Dragon Won't Sleep, released in 1995, features full band arrangements on most of the tracks and a few solo guitar pieces. Afraid to Dance, one of Don’s most requested song’s to perform live, highlights the diverse range of acoustic music on this CD. He is often accompanied by several other musicians whom all add their specialty.

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Hoover the Musical Dog
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3 Hands
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Kehewin

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Don Ross : Three Hands

Instrumental Acoustic with some Vocals

 Originally realeased in 1992, Three Hands is mostly solo fingerstyle CD with a few songs with vocals and other various instruments. Track eight "Kehewin" means "Eagle" and the song does soar with a fiery groove. Other long time favorites such as "Big Buck" and "Three Hands" are on this CD.

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Lucy Watusi
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Wall of Glass
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August on the Island

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Don Ross : Don Ross

Solo Acoustic Guitar

Released in 1990, Don's second solo release, included original versions of some of his most popular songs. The song August on the Island is one of Don's most traditional fingerstyle pieces he has ever recorded. The CD met with unanimous critical acclaim and numerous tours across Canada and the U.S.

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Silversmith
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The Is-Ought Controversy
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Slow Burn

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Don Ross : Bearing Straight

Solo Acoustic Guitar

Bearing Straight released in 1989. Don Ross's debut release.

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Rakish Paddy / Bunch of Keys / Green Fields of Glentown
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If the Walls Had Ears
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Road to Kullu / Donald Ross / Circle of Stone

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Don Ross : Harbord Trio : Circle of Stone

Acoustic Music

In addition to his solo Don Ross's solo career, he performed with the soprano Kelly McGowan (his wife, d 2001), first in 1986-7 as a duo and then, with the violinist Oliver Schroer added, as the Harbord Trio (In from the Cold from 1987 and Harbord Trio from 1990).

Guitar Tabs By Don Ross
Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Tight Trite Night
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Thin Air
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39 Weeks

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 1

This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Tight Trite Night

Thin Air

39 Weeks

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Berkeley Springs
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Elevation Music
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Leger de Main

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 2

This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Berkley Springs

Elevation Music

Leger de Main

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Brooke's Waltz
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Catherine
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This Dragon Won't Sleep

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 3

This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Brooke's Waltz

Catherine

This Dragon Won't Sleep

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Klimbim
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Michael, Michael, Michael
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The Thing...

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 4

This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Michael, Michael, Michael

Klimbim

The Thing that came from Somewhere

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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3 Hands
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Blue Bear
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Dracula And Friends (Part One)

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 5

Transcribed by Frank Larouche. This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Three Hands

Blue Bear

Dracula anf Friends - Part 1

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Godzilla
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It's Fun Being Lucky
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Hoover the Musical Dog

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 6

Transcribed by Frank Larouche. This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Godzilla

It's Fun Being Lucky

Hoover the Musical Dog

Download Now $14.95

Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Loaded, Leather, Moonroof
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Fader Jones
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The Is-Ought Controversy

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 7

Transcribed by Frank Larouche. This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Loaded, Leather, Moonroof

Fader Jones

The Is-Ought Controversy

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Thin Air
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With You In Mind
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Yoyomama

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 8

Transcribed by Frank Larouche. This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Thin Air

With You in Mind

Yoyomama

Download Now $14.95

Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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No Goodbyes

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 9

This download comes with one song in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

No Goodbyes

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Robot Monster
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Jesse Helms' Night in Havana
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Kehewin

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 10

Transcribed by Frank Larouche. This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and three guitar (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Robot Monster

Jesse Helms' Night in Havana

Kehewin

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Never Got To Pernambuco
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Wave From Your Window
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How to Eat An Avalanche - solo version

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 11

Transcribed by Frank Larouche. This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and three guitar (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Never Got to Pernambuco

Wave From Your Window

How to Eat an Avalanche

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Rockbarra
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My Previous Life
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Another Island of Women

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 12

Transcribed by Frank Larouche. This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and three guitar (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

Rockbarra

My Previous Life

Another Island of Women

Download Now $14.95

Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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From France to India
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Slow Burn
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Zarzuela

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 13

Transcribed by Frank Larouche. This download comes with three songs in MP3 format and three guitar (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

From France to India

Slow Burn

Zarzuela

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Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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It's Fun Being Lucky

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 15

This download comes with one song in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Microsoft XPS formats for the following songs:

It's Fun Being Lucky

Download Now $5.00

Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Upright & Locked Position
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Cup of Pop

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 16

This download comes with two songs in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Adobe PDF and Guitar Pro formats for the following songs:

Upright & Locked Position

Cup of Pop

Download Now $9.95

Antoine Dufour Guitar Tabs

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Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Don Ross : Transcriptions Set 17

This download comes with one song in MP3 format and matching (Standard Notation & Guitar Tab Format) transcriptions in Guitar Pro and Adobe PDF formats for the following songs:

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Download Now $5.00

 
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