February’s Video-of-the-Month features Philadelphia guitarist Trevor Gordon Hall. I’m guessing that he goes through a lot of strings…
While there are a lot of guitarists who incorporate “parlour tricks” into their playing, Trevor does it very tunefully with this track! Outside the Lines is from Trevor’s latest CD “Entelechy”. It is at least his third CD, but his first with CandyRat Records.
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.
“Loopers” have been one of the more popular guitar effects in recent years. Loopers are not an “effect” so much as a device which can record a segment of music as you play it and then play it in a loop until you decide to stop it. You can select your “in” and “out” points as you play with a foot switch and some loopers will allow you to add multiple layers to your loop.
In this case, a video is worth a thousand words, so here is Sergio Altamura of (surprise, surprise) CandyRat Records using a looper in his tune “Before the Sea”:
Loopers can be used in a number of ways. Obviously, as seen in this video, they can be used as a composition and performance tool. They are also a great practice tool. You can record a chord progression or a riff and then play along with it, or you can record a segment of a tune that you are working on and listen objectively to see how it sounds.
If you think a looper is something that you could have some fun with (I know I do – though I don’t actually own one yet), then take your guitar to your local guitar shop and try one (or more) out.
This month’s video features another CandyRat recording artist, Craig D’Andrea. This tune, called “As We Go” is from his most recent CD: “…and the B.L.T.s”. Once again this month, biographical information is hard to find as his website is still under construction, but I can tell you that he is roughly 26 years old and that this CD is Craig’s third release on CandyRat records (who seem to have a monopoly on solo fingerstyle guitar players). I also know that he won the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in 2007 and that he lives in Connecticut.
Berkley Springs is a beautiful guitar tune written by Canadian singer/songwriter David Essig. Written in memory of his mother and named after her hometown, it was originally written in DADGAD tuning. Don Ross wrote his own arrangement of the tune in FACFCF tuning to allow for some different chord inversions. This duet arrangement featuring Don Ross and Peter Kroll-Ploeger is one of the nicest versions I’ve heard. I also love the fact that they really seem to be enjoying themselves while playing it.
Okay, I’ve posted this video before on my website, but I’ve decided to revisit it this month. Over the Christmas holidays I was able to catch up on some back issues of Acoustic Guitar Magazine and the most recent issue (January 2011) featured YouTube sensation Andy McKee.
Andy McKee is a fingerstyle guitarist who cites Preston Reed, Micheal Hedges and Don Ross as his main influences. He became an internet superstar when this video was featured on YouTube. To date it has over 35 million views and Andy’s other videos have combined to give him approximately 100 million views. At one time, he had the three most popular videos on YouTube.
The first time I saw this video I was blown away, but I also considered it a bit of a novelty and filed it under “unplayable for mere mortals”. (Especially mere mortals with two young kids.) However, the magazine article included a transcription of the tune and I thought, “Okay, let’s have another look at that video”. Of course everything in the recorded tune seems to happen at a lightning pace, but when you have a transcription to look at, the main elements of the tune are not out of reach for a decent player. There is a lot in there that I’m not accustomed to doing (i.e. using my guitar as a drum kit) but once I got out my metronome, it didn’t take long to get the gist of the first few bars of the tune – albeit at a comparatively glacial tempo. I may not ever take the time to learn the full tune, but it was a lesson to me – the same lesson that I always try to get across to my students: to play something fast, first you have to play it slow.
Anyways, if you want to learn the tune, its in DADGAD tuning and if you’re like me and need a visual breakdown of everything that is happening in this tune, you can get a transcription from the January 2011 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine or from the CandyRat Records website.
Antoine Dufour is a Canadian guitarist from Quebec who didn’t start playing guitar until he was 15. He continued to study guitar at CEGEP in Joliette, PQ. and has won the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Championship and placed third at the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. Since 2003 he has released 5 CDs of mostly solo acoustic guitar music and has become something of a YouTube sensation along with the likes of Andy McKee and fellow Canadian Don Ross.
In this video of “To Run in a Dream” you can see that he plays his guitar on a stand and he ties a bandana under the strings on the headstock to eliminate resonances on his very responsive guitar:
And watch what he does with a simple Em chord in this instructional video: