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David M. McLean is an American guitarist, music instructor, producer, and music entrepreneur originally from San Antonio, TX, and based in Lexington, KY. He is best known for Skinny Devil Music Lab, an umbrella organization under which he composes, performs, records, teaches, produces, and more.

David is the founder of the SDML Academy of Guitar, built upon his approach to teaching guitar in an efficient way, leveraging on student strengths and developing the fastest pathways to reaching their goals.

As a solo performer, band-leader, and sideman, he has also worked with or shared the stage with many notable artists, including Foghat, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Lori Lieberman, Paul Di'Anno of Iron Maiden, JD Crowe, Muriel Anderson, Tom Rush, Michael Johnathon, Suzy Bogguss, Ben Sollee, J.P. Pennington, Rhonda Vincent, Guy Davis, Steve Wickham,Michael Martin Murphey, Pat Flynn, Si Kahn, Red Molly, Valerie June, and more, on stages,  TV (local and national), radio, and the like. David also performed in the Lexington, KY musician tribute to the late Prince.


He performs concert sets as well as master classes and clinics on songwriting, improvisation, hand-drums, music business, and more, across the southeastern US, appearing at private venues, music stores, high schools, and universities.

His students have shared stages with Norah Jones, Judy Collins, Tommy Emmanuel, Pat Benatar, BB King, GooGoo Dolls, Loe Kottke, Ritchie Havens, Amy Grant, JJ Grey, Kenny Loggins, Taj Mahal, Bozz Scaggs, Bela Fleck, Grace Askew, LeeAnn Womack, Lucinda Williams, Gov'T Mule, 3 Doors Down, Mark O'Connor, the Ramones, Jake Shimabukuro, 7 Mary 3, Frank Vignola, Michael Martin Murphy, Black Crows, Craig Morgan, Michelle Shocked, Cindi Lauper, Dustin Lynch, Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul, & Mary), Jefferson Starship, Punch Brothers, Chapin Sisters, Victor Wooten, Exile, Rodney Atkins, Andy McKee, Emmylou Harris, Grammy Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson, Joan Baez, and more They have studied at major music universities including Morehead State University, NYU, Belmont University, EKU, Vandercook College of Music, WKU, Berklee College of Music, and have appeared on TV shows like The Voice, Woodsongs Oldtime Radio Hour, Chasing Nashville, and more.

In addition to producing albums and performing as a sideman (guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards, vocals) on numerous recordings, David has released (as band member or solo artist) a dozen albums, all now available via Skinny Devil Records.

A few words from David's students...

MistiDawn C.

Lexington, KY

"He's been teaching my 'short-attention-span' 8 yr old son for several months now... David's teaching skills are incredibly 'patient' and more focused on 'teaching' his students how to 'play' music that they enjoy. No my son isn't playing for any headlining bands right now, but he's gradually 'getting' it! I just appreciate him taking the time to 'teach' and it's obvious David really loves what he does!!"

Melissa Deaton-Johnathon

Lexington, KY

"The best of the best! I wouldn't be able to strum a single chord without the outstanding instruction of Paulie Felice & David McLean."

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"Top-tier guitar lessons! If you're looking to improve your playing, David will help you get there. His approach to the instrument is logical, nonsensical and tangible to the point that you'll wish you started lessons sooner. Take it from a student who's now also a teacher: don't wait, make the call and start improving your playing today."

Chris S.

Lexington, KY

"I took guitar lessons from David for about 9 months beginning in 2013. My experience with him was absolutely wonderful. I appreciated his impeccable professionalism -- never once did he miss a lesson or was late. In terms of knowledge and ability, I've never personally known anyone more knowledgeable about the guitar than him nor that could play "better" in such a variety of styles and technique. He's a master at theory, and more importantly is able to relate that to his students in ways immediately useful to whatever their goals are.


He clearly has decades of industry experience in a variety of performance and production roles as his many anecdotes attest and I feel this gives him a broad perspective about the music industry in general which helps him relate to such a diverse student body. On top of all that he's one of the most genuine, caring and nicest people I've ever known.


When I came to him I had been playing casually for a couple years and was kind of in just old ruts. He really helped me figure out where I was and develop a path for development moving forward. Best money I ever spent on guitar, other than buying my guitar."

Russell H.

Lexington, KY

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"I studied at a beginners level. Dave tought me all of the basics of different chord voicings and vibrato styles, etc. I thought that it was what everyone learned. Later, I found out that most guys teach simple chords and one way to play everything. NOT DAVE."

Tim P.

Lexington, KY

"David is a terrific teacher. I was an intermediate guitar player and took some lessons for a year. I got so much out if them. I'm currently playing with a working band. I would recommend David to anyone interested in improving their playing."

Paul M.

Lexington, KY

"My daughter has been taking guitar lessons from David for over 5 years and has had an incredible experience. He is gifted as a teacher and relates to his students as individuals. His musical talent is inspiring and he freely shares his passion with his students and it shows. David is prompt and professional. He is well connected with musicians and venues and is able to connect his students with performance opportunities. My daughters love of music has only grown and been nurtured since working with David. We couldn't have asked for a better teacher and musical mentor!"

Beth P.

Lexington, KY

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