Nelson currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
Nelson was born and raised in Viroqua, Wisconsin, and is a graduate of Viroqua High School. He has also lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New York, New York; Hoboken, New Jersey; Athens, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee.
Nelson graduated with honors from the University of Georgia (summa cum laude), where he earned a bachelor's degree in Sports Management. He also holds an associate degree in Occupational Music from Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Nelson spent several years working in Milwaukee as a freelance editor for Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest music print publisher. While at Hal Leonard, he transcribed and edited many of the top guitar songs of the day and, in 1995, began work on a new magazine Hal Leonard was launching, Guitar One.
In 1999, Nelson moved with the magazine to New York City. For a decade, Nelson worked at the magazine, holding the titles of music editor, senior editor, and, finally, editor-in-chief, a position he occupied for over five years. Just a few years after its launch, Guitar One had become one of the top guitar magazines in the world. “I’m quite proud of what we accomplished at Guitar One. What began as a start-up, evolved into the No. 2 guitar title in the world when I left in 2005,” remembers Nelson.
Nelson also spent time as the senior editor of Guitar Edge magazine.
In addition to his guitar skills, Nelson has an eye for football talent. Since 2005, Nelson has spent time with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, All American Football League, and BLESTO, a football scouting cooperative owned and operated by seven NFL teams.
Guitar Aerobics is a daily guitar tutorial first published in 2007. Since its release, Guitar Aerobics has become one of the world's best-selling instructional guitar books.
“As a guitarist, I wanted to write a technique book that would appeal to me; that is, a book that had a practical structure and music examples that didn’t sound like warm-up exercises. I wanted to compose music examples that guitarists could incorporate into their own music while, at the same time, improving their chops,” says Nelson.
Fretboard Freedom is a novel approach to visualizing and navigating the neck of the guitar—a concept that initially struck Nelson while he wrote Guitar Aerobics back in 2007.
“Like my other books, Rhythm Guitar 365 contains daily music exercises—one for every day of the year—with this book focusing on rhythm-guitar playing, which doesn’t get nearly the attention that lead playing does,” says Nelson of his third guitar instructional title.
This book covers the art of self-accompaniment while soloing. Incorporating the styles of blues, rock, jazz, country, and funk, the jams will enhance your ability to play chords and bass lines simultaneously. You'll increase your scale and chord-voicing vocabulary, and you'll improve your rhythm, groove, and phrasing. Audio demos of all 150 guitar jams are available for download or streaming.