Duck Backer the great Acoustic Guitar player just posted this video of Tommy Emmanuel , Duck Baker and Buster B Jones. They are sitting around jamming to the jazz standard, Stomping at the Savoy, it’s very casual but some great guitar lines there back in 2000
Here’s an interesting video by acoustic guitar virtuoso Preston Reed, the tune is called Tractor Pull. It includes hammer ons, pull offs, artificial harmonics and tapping. this will be of great interest to acoustic guitar enthusiasts that like players such as Andy Mcgee, Don Ross and Michael Hedges.
Bruce Cockburn is a player I have been listening to since the mid seventies, he’s a magnificent acoustic guitar player from Canada. In this short youtube video there is a sample of his playing and also discussions about his approach.
For more Bruce Cockburn check out his playing with a great Mali musicianBruce Cockburn
Voodoo Chile on Acoustic Guitar by Jimi Hendrix, played by Tony Hogan.
For a couple of years I’ve promoted a few hundred other guitar players on my Acoustic Guitar blog sites of all different standards and styles, some famous and some unknown. So I thought it was time to show something of myself, as I am not an online music journalist or promoter, I am someone who loves the guitar and am also a musician who likes to share information about the acoustic guitar. I also added John Martyn’s “Don’t Want to Know About Evil” at the end of it.
This recording was done in a small hall with about 100 people in Northern NSW Australia, not far from Byron Bay. I had barely sung for ten years due to the death of my oldest son Joshua because I felt extremely vulnerable at the idea of performing and singing. So I thought it fitting to play this song Voodoo Chile for him and also the many other Australian teenagers who suicide each year. I hope that all the young people out there can have happy healthy lives and we can help create a safe environment for them to grow into beautiful adult human beings.
Kevin Eubanks is a guitar player who is more famous amongst a jazz audience but his acoustic guitar playing is definitely something which would probably appeal to guitar players of many other genres. In this Youtube Acoustic Guitar Video, Kevin is playing a ballad. Kevin is highly respected amongst guitar players and is well known for his work as the band leader of the Tonight Show
It’s always great to discover new acoustic fingerstyle guitar players. Recently I came across Vin Downes, and he’s recorded a CD called “Skies and Openings”
“Skies and Openings” is the first recording by fingerstyle guitarist Vin Downes. It is comprised of eleven original songs with influences of Americana, Blues, Classical, Folk and Jazz. It includes seven solo performances and four pieces with guest musicians Lois Carpenter on bass, Mike Fumento on drums, and Jeffrey Young on violin.
Downes began studying guitar at the age of eleven. His early interests were in electric guitar, but this changed when he heard the music of Michael Hedges and Leo Kottke. He was immediately intrigued with the art of fingerstyle acoustic guitar.
Downes went on to earn a degree in classical guitar performance and music education from William Paterson University. Along the way, he has studied classical composition, Indian tabla, and American roots music, while developing a love for jazz and all improvised music. He has been a public school music teacher for the last 15 years and maintains a private guitar teaching studio.
“Skies and Openings” is the culmination of years spent exploring fingerstyle guitar. It is a mix of styles and moods in a pure acoustic setting.
Justin King has a contemporary approach to acoustic guitar, he includes tapping, hammer ons, harmonics, percussive techniques… all at the same time 🙂 There’s a lot going on here, and many people who are only used to traditional guitar styles are in for a shock.
For other guitar players that use contemporary techniques in a musical way check out Anton Dufour
In the early seventies Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull was voted in a survey the man that mothers would least like their daughters to hgo out with. Obviously at that time they were not aware of the beautiful antique parlor guitar collection that he would one day have. Although many people know Ian Anderson as a flute player and Martin Barre as the guitarist of Tull, Ian’s acoustic guitar playing has had an impact on a lot of players. Although simple in style it is always very musical. In this youtube video clip Ian does the classic song Wondering Aloud which was originally on the Aqualung album. In this case the line up is a small ensemble. I all those mums saw it today, they’d probably say “How nice!”
Recently I’ve posted about a number of British guitar players, todays acoustic guitar video article is about Martin Carthy, a very good open tuning guitarist. The song is called the Siege of Delhi (not a very nice piece of British history), it is a march and is in the tuning of CGCDGA, it’s in 2/4 time and uses a lot of alternating thumb work. Martin plays a lot of traditional music, but his ability to adapt it to open tunings on guitar separates him out from other players, his tunings are highly unusually and are a long way from the standard D, E , G open tunings. The first part of the video he plays the tune, then he dissects it.
for another great player on video check out Don Ross
Bert Jansch was part of the folk boom in the late sixties in Britain. He was a member of the band Pentangle, the band that also had the guitar great John Renbourn. His style is a little unique, he plays with a slight ‘snap’ to his playing. When you listen closely, you’ll also hear some of the musical elements that Jimmie Page used in his acoustic playing. I got to see both Bert and the great late John Martyn in the 1980’s, absolutely awesome experience. The tune Bert is playing is Black Waterslide.
Many guitar players like myself are familiar with Dan Crary from when he used to write his column in Guitar Player magazine in the seventies. At that time Guitar Player mag was one of the best educational resources for players, there was not a lot of material easily available like there is these days. Today we have an abundance of info for guitar players ranging from brilliany and inspiring to ‘what the?’
Dan Crary has a flawless flatpicking technique and he has inspired millions of players across the globe. This tune is called Sally Goodin (Gooden, Good’n)
Over the last few years a number of acoustic guitar players who play open tuned guitar, one of my favourites who are continuing the michael Hedges tradition, is Antoine Dufour. He seems to be one of the most musical players who do this style. He manages to place the sound and music first and does not get lost in guitar acrobatics. The tune is called Mother
Here’s a Youtube of the great Brazilian guitar player called Joao Gilberto, famous from the sixties for his work with Astrid Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim (also named Tom Jobim). This the classic song Girl from Ipanema, a tune that has been ruined by many 🙂 , but when played well it is a masterpiece. Like any tune, it’s what you do with it that counts. This recording was made 40 years after the original.
This Acoustic Classical Guitar video caught my eye, it is played on a guitar which was built in Paris in 1930. John Doan is playing a piece by Fernando Sor. It also made me laugh a little watching John play, he starts out on the middle instrument and through out quite casually plays on both the upper and lower instruments. The piece is not overly complex but requires a little bit of a rethink.
For information about this type of Harp guitar go to Harpolyre
To hear a contemporaryHarp Guitar Player check out this Youtube of Don Alder Harp Guitar Video
Antoine Dufour is one of the new breed of Acoustic Guitar players who play percussively by using techniques such as hammer ons, Guitar Harmonics and open tunings to take his music outside the traditional way of playing. The difference between Antoine and many of the other players who are attempting this style is on his recordings he focuses on music and not just flamboyancy. Michael Hedges, the great (late) American guitar player was one of the founding players in this style on his recordings in the 1980’s. And these days there are is also Andy McKee and Don Ross who pla in a similar vain.
Every now and then I think it’s important to introduce visitors to this site to acoustic guitar players that they are probably not aware of. Recently I got an email from a player by the name of Jimmy Robinson who said to check out what he was doing, so I did, and I loved his playing. His choice of notes and chords on guitar is quite extraordinary, and also what surprised also was the texture of his voice, how nicely it sat against his guitar. In some of his other material I was hearing snippets of Robbie Basho, there’s a little Hedges in there two and mabe some Bruce Cockburn and at the same time a uniqueness. Jimmy is from New Orleans. I’m grateful for the email and more than happy to share his music with you.
Doc Watson is a player who has inspired many acoustic guitar players, and the tune Deep River Blues is one that is part of many acoustic guitarists repertoire. It’s a great song to build on. Here’s a Youtube of Doc Watson playing and singing his original version, it’s two and a half minutes of classic Doc complete with guitar break. It’s one of those songs that when you can play it, it plays automatically.
Peter Finger is a magnificent acoustic guitar player who I reckon deserves much broader recognition. There are a stack of guitar players out there who are rated very highly and often they are only half the player of guys like Peter. Peter is a European based Guitar Player and if you haven’t heard him maybe it’s time to check him out. The tune is called Vive La Vie. This tune reminds me a little of one Pierre Bensusan’s tunes.
Here is another video of Peter Fingerat the Guitars dot Net site
It was 1971 when I first heard Crosby Stills and Nash sing Helplessly Hoping. This youtube video was recorded in the early 90’s. Crosby Stills and Nash, set the benchmark for all other acoustic guitar bands with vocal harmonies to be measured by.
You may be familiar with the great Michael Hedges who recorded on the Windham label in the 1980’s. William Akkerman, co-founder of this label introduced us to some extraordinary musicians apart from Hedges, there was keyboard George Winston, Robbie Basho, Darol Anger and among others, Alex De Grassi. I feel that too many people who weren’t listening properly were in a hurry to throw some of the material into the New Age category, something that to many musicians often means 45 minutes of Cmaj7 to Fmaj7 with a synth in he background. Alex De Grassi’s recordings are now legendary and albums such as Turning: Turning Back and Slow Circle set the benchmark for quality in opened tuned guitar playing.
This recording is of Alex De Grassi recorded i a Hotel Room, just the guitar. Watch how he develops.
I just saw the show Rockwiz on television it had Lior and Serena Ryder performing Neil Youngs Heart of Gold. Very nice. Lior also did a very good acoustic tune. Excellent backing band as usual. I love it when music is live and there’s combinations of people peforming who don’t normally work together but manage to create something fresh. Nice harmonica too. I’ll update soon about where Lior is performing, he’s a Sydney based musician and he’s very musical. I’m glad they put this tune on youtube to share with us.
Here is Part 3 of my Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar Arrangements. This is a tune called Maree’s Wedding (Marie’s Wedding), an old Irish tune with the words “Step we gaily on we go etc “.
I’ve thrown it into the key of E so I’d be able to stay in normal tuning. What I’ve also done is eliminate all the chords and just imply them, it is only a melody line and a very simple bass part. When I studied with a guy called Don Andrews about 35 years ago, he would always create arrangements with one or two small things to push the skll level of the guitarist a little further, I have done the same here. In this tune, I’ve written it in such a way that the player has to move around the fretboard just a little, this sort of adds a little bounce to the tune and forces the player to be foused. if everything was stuck at the same fret, the player is more inclined to go into automatic mode.
To view and or download the printable Acrobat reader version click hereMarees_Wedding
EDIT//: Bar 9, 3rd beat move to fret 4
I’ve added a midi file, a compuer generated music file to give the listener an idea of the tune. I realize that many players only read TAB, please add expression, personality and your own phrasing Marees Wedding
Here is a very interesting Acoustic Guitar video of a guitar player by the name of Justin King using acoustic guitar tapping techniques. Justin has an album called Bleu. To hear samples of Justins music, go to the website at the following address, Justin King
To hear another brilliant contemporary acoustic guitar players go to Acoustic Guitar Player, go to Antoin Dufour
Here’s Part 3 of my series on Acoustic Guitar Players
Loren is an Australian musician who comes from Western Australia and now lives on the beauty NSW North Coast. He plays an acoustic style that falls into the category of Roots these days, to me that means acoustic, not overly commercial with a flavour of folk rock blues reggae and anything else that has an edge to it that has the ooccassioal dreadlock. I first encountered him when he was playing acoustic gigs in the local area and I was immediately struck by his musicality. Later I found out he had recorded a number of albums and had quite a following throughout other parts of Australia.
What struck me about Loren was his ability to keep peoples attention in a live situation. He manages to step in and out of styles and textures like no-one I have ever seen and keep the audience focus. A lot of musicians, regardless how great they are, seem to exhaust themselves musically after a number of tunes if they are doing solo material. I could listen to him play for hours and not be tired of what he does, this in itself is quite a statement because even if a good movie goes for anything over an hour and 12 minutes, I’m out of the room.
Loren tours and performs regularly throughout Australia with a band call The Grow Your Owns and has also done a couple of Tours of New Zealand, quite a number of people have heard of him through listening to the JJJ radio station.
“Loren sweet, gentle voice accompanied by relaxed melodically plucked guitar written by a man with a heart of gold.
I¹ve watched Loren play a few times and am always inspired by how effortless the music is.”
Some people had waited twenty five years to see Pierre Bensusan; others had heard a great guitar master was in town, and strangely enough there were those who just happened to turn up to the local venue for a night out. Regardless what was the driving force of them being there, by the end of the night the audience was in awe and speechless after hearing one of the greatest acoustic guitar performances ever on Australian shores.
Pierre Bensusan walked out on stage and bowed. He had an Acoustic Guitar made by Irish luthier George Lowden in one hand. It was tuned down to DADGAD tuning. Not a word was spoken; he sat hunched over his steel string, his head leaning towards the lower guitar bout, as if he was listening to the nuances of the instrument, he then headed into Le Voyage Pour L’Irlande, a song recorded on the album Musiques in 1979.
At the fourth song in the set, Pierre ventured into a vocal improvisation, not unlike the great songwriter Milton Nascimento. As it developed, he added a Brazilian style of accompaniment, the vocal had already mesmerized the audience and the rhythm almost lifted the roof off the building. Throughout the show he performed a number of tunes from his most recent album Altiplanos, one being a tune where he sang a poem by Victor Hugo. He also did another very sensitive tune called Hymn 11 off the same album. Amongst a night full of highlights, an outstanding song was the one in dedication to guitar great Michael Hedges, called So Long Michael. He also did another song from the Intuite album called Silent Passenger and some older songs were given new life, such as Nice Feeling off the Solilai album, Agadiraman off Spices and other tunes which long term fans recognize as classics.
Pierre’s has the unique ability to draw a range of tones out of the steel string guitar which generally are inconsistent with what emerges from that type of instrument, the tones we were hearing are more common to the nylon string guitar. In the song Intuite, dedicated to Mounir Bachir, it sounded like the Persian instrument the oud. This sound was achieved by using advanced harmonic techniques and tapping on the upper area of the fretboard on the lower strings. How he can achieve a nylon string and an oud sound from a steel string guitar can only be a combination of some sort of hidden pact between George Lowden and Pierre that the world does not yet know about.
With the sensitivity of Ralph Towner, the inventiveness of Micheal Hedges, the complexity of Egberto Gismonti and the confidence of Paco de Lucia, Pierre Bensusan is beyond a doubt the guitar player’s guitar player and is truly one of the greatest innovators of the steel string guitar of our time.
And as a friend said to me later, “now I know it’s for real, there are not three guitarists playing on the recordings, it’s only one.”
As one of the audience who waited twenty five years, I must say, it was worth waiting, and I’ll wait another twenty five if need be.
At Soundlounge – Currumbin Gold Coast Queensland Australia
Regardless of what style of guitar you like, it would be very hard to deny the brilliance and beauty displayed in this Guitar Video on Youtube by Stochelo Rosenberg and Romane. They have taken aspects of what Django started and built it into their own unique style. It’s taken from an album called Gipsy Guitar Master. The other musicians are Contrabass: Marc-Michel Le Bévillonand on Accordion: Richard Galliano
I will continue to post about high quality guitar players, those famous and not so famous. So bookmark this site, or suscribe with the RSS feed.
Here’s some very nice Steel String Acoustic Guitar by an Australian based Acoustic Guitarist calledPeter Miller. Peter will be performing on the same bill as the great French based guitar player Pierre Bensusan at the Soundlounge on the Gold Coast Queensland.
“Norman Savitt is a unique acoustic guitarist with a versatility, texture and expression that is distinct and timeless. His debut CD, “Norman Savitt and Friends”, brings Norman together with master musicians Howard Levy, Eugene Friesen, David Amram and Susan Mitchell, in a mix of duo and solo pieces, a “compelling musical mix of happy and meditative tunes, played with enjoyment, imagination and care… full of beautiful sounds and good feelings. ”
Normans guitar playing has a folkish, slight roots sort of feel to it, with a hint every now and then of the great Celtic players, but it has a refreshing newness about it. I’m a fan already only after one day.
The beauty of the Blog / Web technology that we have at our finger tips now is it gives people like myself who like people and music the ability to quickly put information out to a broad audience. Readers of my guitar blog sites would recognise by now that I’m always trying to support players of the acoustic guitar of all standards and genres, to inspire, introduce new players and create much healthier relationships with musicians.
Curently I’m writing a series of about thirty guitar players, which are already quite famous and ell respected in their fields. BUT I’ve also decided to do a series of 10 articles on Guitar Players who are passionate about what they do but don’t necessarily aim for the BIG stage. And as I’ve said many times... Music is About Emotions, and it’s not just about technique or getting a Grammy or recognition by musical peers.
The First Guitar Player who I’m profiling in this series is Dan Tharp from Green Valley Illinois
Dan plays nylon and steel string acoustic and uses the occassional digital effect to add texture to enhance his instrumental tunes. His playing is very clean and melodic, it’s thoughful and what I have noticed is I could sit for ages with his music running and go about my business without my thoughts bcoming cluttered. This is actually very good for someone like myself, because I often find myself in a situation where I have to solve complex Web Development issues for myself and others. To have some music which is both musical from a guitarists point of view and accessible to allow the listener to move in and out, shows the quality of what he is doing.
Dan has also made his music available for Web Developers / Site Designers.
You may or may not be familiar with the guitarist Gordon Giltrap, but for those of you that have heard of the brilliant Scottish Jazz guitar player Martin Taylor, Gordon has recorded with Martin. For me that was a surprise because of my memories of Gordon’s album Perilous Journey which came out some years ago.
It looks like Gordon is playing a Flyde Guitar, made popular in the 70’s. His playng at somemoments when he fingerpicks reminds me a little of Bert Jansch. It’s a very live sounding piece.
Here is a tune on Yotube Video by the great acoustic fingerstye guitar player Phil Keaggy. It starts off as a reasonably simple tune but then develops with some rather interesting techniques, it’s a very nice acoustic piece. I was recently introduced to this piece by Peter Miller, an Australian Fingerstyle acoustic guitar player who is playing as a support act for Pierre Bensusanin Queensland Australia at the Soundlounge in Currumbin. Peter’s Website is Peter Miller com
Thanks Peter Miller for introducing us to another great Phil Keaggy tune
Over the years I’ve noticed that a lot of guitar players start playing, then they hit points in their life where other things take over and music drops to the background, their guitar that they so passionately treasured just sits in the corner of a room to gather dust.
I’ll side track a little. I discovered an easy way to get around this happening in the first place, it was something I arrived at due to teaching guitar to a lot of kids over the years. I had always tried to get the parents to NOT call music practice HOMEWORK. When people call music development ‘homework’, the kid suddenly sees music as a chore, or maybe even the ENEMY, instead of being the beautiful gift it is which they can carry through their life to express themselves. So, the underlying thing here is about the thinking; if we can’t see the benefits and only see the work involved we lose sight of why we’re doing something in the first place.
What I found with kids learning music was it was important to take time out from their music practice. The ultimate goal, as I see it for a music teacher to do is to get the student to the point when they fall in love with music. Once this happens it’s easy to teach, until then there’s often a bit of a pull in all directions. What’s needed is to be able to get the student to be organised enough with their time, that they can comfortably do enough for their music skills to gradually increase and then become a natural part of their life.
My understanding, which made me rethink a lot of things about playing was when one day, a kid asked me “Do I have to practice in the holidays?”. My reply was “no, I think it’s good to take a break, this will help your return to music a little fresher, go swimming, ride your bike, fallout of a tree, eat ice cream, break a leg or something crazy, but you’re going to need to set a date to get back into some organised pattern again”.
I’m pretty sure, the reason why a lot of players leave the guitar in the corner and don’t return to it is because they don’t organise their time and don’t have the right resources and inspirational material close at hand, and then it all seems too much
The best way to reenter music after time of is:
Set a return date and stick to it
Have plenty of resources around to inspire you
Clean the guitar and change the strings, even go a gauge lighter
Play a few simple things to warm yourself up a but, if you try and play things that are a little complex you can end up frustrated
Tell the world to go away, you’re busy because music is important to you