Archive for the ‘Technique’ Category

Video-Of-The-Month: Fernando Sor

Posted by Brian on 1st November 2012 in Classical Guitar, Journal, Songs You Should Know, Technique, Video of the Month

Video-of-the-MonthNovember’s Video-of-the-Month features a tune that I have just started working on.

I started guitar lessons a month ago (after not having formal lessons for over 30 years) and this is the second tune that my teacher gave me to work on. It’s a tough one! The thing that I like about this piece is that it is forcing me to use voicings that I would not typically use on my own. It also has some very cool counterpoint (bits that complement the melody and harmony).

Here is Stephen Kenyon playing his interpretation of the tune, which differs from the version that I am learning in the way that he approaches the grace notes.

If you would like to learn the piece, here is a free transcription.

And here is another video that better represents the version that I am learning:

Fernando Sor on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Sor

Quote, Unquote.

Posted by Brian on 22nd July 2012 in General Music, Musicianship, Practice, Quote Unquote, Technique

Quote, UnquoteThis quote was referred to in a discussion of great rhythm guitarists at GuitarsCanada.com:

“A lot of cats don’t work on their rhythm enough, and if you don’t have rhythm, you might as well take up needleoint, or something.”

– Prince in an interview with Guitar Player Magazine


Practicing Without Your Guitar – Part I: Why?

A week and a half ago, I led a workshop on “Practicing Without Your Guitar” at the York Region Fingerstyle Guitar Association’s monthly Open Mic. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting some of the techniques that were discussed for practicing without having an instrument in hand.

First, however, I thought it might be helpful to discuss why one might want to practice without a guitar.

For me, the most obvious situation where one might want to practice without a guitar is when there isn’t a guitar available. When you’re on the bus, or at your kids’ soccer practice, or waiting at the doctor’s office, you may want to wile away the time by practicing without your guitar.

You may also want to practice without your guitar to build non-guitar-specific skills. You can work on rhythm or ear training very easily without having your instrument in hand.

Another reason you may want to practice without your guitar is to avoid (or recover from) injury. Repetitive stress injuries are common with the guitar and we can reduce our playing hours by finding ways to practice without actually playing.

So now that you know why you might want to practice without your guitar, stay tuned to learn how to practice without your guitar…

May 29, 2012:  Part II: Visualizing

June 28, 2012: Part III: Rhythm and Tempo

Video of the Month: Tom Feldman

Posted by Brian on 1st March 2012 in Guitarists, Technique, The Instrument, Uncategorized, Video of the Month

Video-of-the-MonthGrab a coffee (a large one) and put your feet up. This month’s video is a long one.

In this video, which, admittedly, is a long ad for Tom Feldman’s instructional video series, we get an excellent overview of traditional blues styles. In general, I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but several of my “desert-island” recordings are, in fact, blues albums. And whether you are a fan of the genre or not, much of modern music, and particularly modern guitar playing, owes a debt of gratitude to the blues.

Emulation

Posted by Brian on 21st February 2012 in General Music, Musicianship, Practice, Technique

This past week, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to an adjudicator critiquing the performances of young piano players, including my own children. There has been lots of great advice that could apply equally to musicians of all ages and abilities. But one suggestion got me thinking.

As the adjudicator was dissecting performances of some baroque-era pieces, she talked about how piano pieces from that era were, in fact, written for the harpsichord – a keyboard instrument that resembles a small piano, but which sounds much brighter and doesn’t have the volume or sustain of a piano. She then went on to say that when playing such pieces, students should be trying, as much as possible, to emulate, or mimic, the sound and feel of the harpsichord in their piano playing. She then went on to talk about the importance of trying to emulate other instruments too.

This got me thinking about something that I had heard years ago – and I wish my memory was better, but I do remember hearing about a famous guitarist, whose name completely escapes me, who developed his style by trying to emulate the saxophone music of… Charlie Parker… maybe???

Anyways, the point that I am getting to is that, if we really want to hone our expressive chops, we guitarists should not only be trying to emulate other guitarists that we like, we should also be trying to emulate great players of other instruments too.

Quote, Unquote.

Posted by Brian on 25th January 2012 in Composing/Songwriting, Guitar, Music Theory, Musicianship, Technique

While thumbing through the January 2012 edition of Acoustic Guitar magazine I came across two quotes on the importance of learning theory and technique and one on the importance of NOT learning theory and technique – interestingly from someone who has an excellent grasp of musical theory, but has chosen not to apply it to his guitar playing:

“There may be a time when you want to express something that’s more complex, and it would be nice to have that available to you if that were the case. And there are times when just the simplest of chords is going to be the most satisfying, and you would want to know that that moment had arrived. I think the more technique you have, the more choices you have.”

–Paul Simon

“There are so many musicians that come up, so many girls with great voices and great lyrics, and they play their instruments and they haven’t learned them enough. All they can do is work with four or five chords. That’s why I am really lucky and eternally grateful that the order of events happened in the way they did: I learned the neck up and down, and then when it came time to sing over stuff, I had a world of stuff I could throw at my voice to sing over”

– John Mayer

“If somebody walked up to me and pointed to a note on the guitar fretboard and asked me what it was, I wouldn’t have the first idea. I’ve deliberately left certain things vague about the guitar, because I like the primitive aspect of the way I play and think about the guitar. I never think about what key I’m in. I just start to play and hope for the best.”

– Elvis Costello

Video of the Month: Owen Van Larkins

Posted by Brian on 1st December 2011 in Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitarists, Technique, Video of the Month

The video of the month for December is “Wandering Hands” by Owen Van Larkins. It is a very tuneful demonstration of pretty much all of the fingerstyle guitar playing techniques known to mankind – tapping, percussion, partial capo, vibrato using the capo (something I don’t recall seeing before), and both real and artificial harmonics.

Enjoy:

Quote, Unquote

Posted by Brian on 7th November 2011 in Musicianship, Picking Hand, Practice, Technique, Uncategorized

“To be a virtuoso, one of the most important things you must have is as close to a perfect sense of rhythm as you can.”

Pepe Romero

 

“It is very important to work on the tone you have with your right hand [picking hand], to give emotion to a tune… Many guitar players don’t really take care of the right hand, but for me the right hand is producing the music”

Jacques Stotzem