About WholeNote

"Created by guitarists...for guitarists..."

In early June of 1998, two New York University grad students sat down at the Bendix Diner on the West Side of Manhattan to architect their joint graduate thesis. As an experiment, Christopher Sung and Sean Kelly, being both avid guitarists and programmers, decided to create a unique community-based website to cater to the two strongest characteristics inherent to guitarists: their desire to get better, and their generosity in sharing what they know. The result of this meeting was the conception of the WholeNote.com website.

WholeNote is a free on-line community and education-based site for guitarists. It's designed to enable guitarists of all skill levels and styles to simple point or click or type to share information about all things guitar over the Internet in a manner previously unavailable. Its main educational focus is to provide tools for those that are knowledgeable to create on-line music lessons from which other visitors can learn, thereby creating a collective knowledge that all can use to further their own playing, and to allow visitors to access this knowledge in a fast and intuitive manner.

As Sean puts it:

"WholeNote is a place where all the some-time, full-time, part-time, and not-enough-time guitarists can go to grok musical knowledge and contribute what they know to their fellow players. Even if you only know one lick or wrote one chord progression in your life, you can put it up on WholeNote and someone will be able to find it and learn from it. Over time, we've been growing a musical resource that could never have existed before the web, a living music instruction book that keeps writing itself everyday (and plays all the music at your own speed)."

In the summer of 1999, the site was officially launched, using server space generously donated by the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. The site was an immediate success, resulting in numerous awards, coverage in Guitar Player Magazine and other industry publications, and being named "Best Community Website" at the 1999 Invision Awards presented by New Media Magazine.

In late 1999, Jim Burger joined the fold to provide adult supervision for the endeavor, enabling the site to become self-sustaining outside of its NYU confines. By providing advertising, sponsorships, and other promotional opportunities for music-related companies to reach the thousands of guitarists that visit the site each day, the site is able to offset the substantial costs of hosting, maintenance, and new functionality and musical goodies for the site's growing user base.


WholeNote was conceived, created, and produced by Christopher Sung and Sean Kelly with support from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. The graphical layout is based on a design by Josh Rubin.

WholeNote would like to thank:

  • Red Burns
  • Dan O'Sullivan
  • Danny Rozin
  • Carlo Martino
  • Gilles Bersier
  • Michael Wright
  • Beth Dales
  • Shii-Ann Huang
  • Jim Burger
  • Josh Rubin
  • Veronique Brossier
  • Grant Collier
  • Dan Levy
  • Raj Vaswani
  • Mary Wong
  • Deborah Davis
  • Chuck Sockett