Monday, 7 February 2011

"Time" lesson

Here's a little video primarily for Ryan but for anyone who is interested. "Time" by Pink Floyd played finger flicking :) I'm still not all that comfortable doing video "lessons", but like all things you just have to do it, get on with it, and eventually you'll get better at it.

It's about 10 minutes long, and no, I'm not actually singing in there, it's more like strangling a cat (that's why I play the guitar) :)


Yes, I'm still "developing" my skills as a lesson presenter, one of these days I will get around to posting proper lessons...watch this space!

JAW

27 comments:

  1. Thanks so much Jaw, that was really insightful.

    Cheers,

    Bill

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  2. No worries Bill. What I didn't mention, but I think it came through reasonably obvious, is that "it's sloppy". What I mean by that is it's fluid, organic, never twice the same, and never ever "perfect". Whereas a classical style piece every note has it's right place, this is more gestures, a fumble with feeling.

    Like when you are simply strumming, you go a little bit deeper in your strum to accentuate the bass, or shallower to bring out more treble...not an exact science but feeling is injected.

    When I look to my guru (Naudo) I can see even at the lofty expert heights, it's still not an exact science - and I don't think it's meant to be.

    I still make a lot of mistakes, missing notes or putting in notes I didn't mean to, and I know it, sometime a listener knows it (but not as often as you would think) and it would be great to not flub, but I'm more interested in bringing more feeling to a piece than playing it note-perfect. The fuzzy, gray, impure science of feeling :)

    What I am more interested in is the subtle attacks, sustains, soft parts, parts played down near the bridge for twang factor, stuff played right over the soundhole for maximum mellowness; getting feeling in tone. I've never really concentrated on that side of things, it's usually just play full blast.

    Maturity comes with age? :)
    JAW

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  3. can we just request for a performance of the song :) sloppy or not, i'd just love to have a mp3 (flac?) which i could probably use to playalong. (like the hysteria mp3 you'd put on the blog)

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  4. Ha ha, thanks for the vote of support Q :) Don't forget that I put a copy of all my mp3's from youtube videos here: http://jaw.iinet.net.au/jawmunji/mp3/ and there is a "Time" hidden away in it. Not a amazingly good rendition, but probably adequate for your needs.

    What would be great would be for me to record audio only (so I don't have to worry about video) of all my songs, on my nylon string guitar, played to a drum beat so I don't speed up and slow down, and then everyone can do whatever they want with them - sing, play along, incorporate into a duet.

    Oh to have the luxury of time!

    (yok yok)
    JAW

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  5. Interesting video, this arrangement is the best choice for demonstrating some basic elements of your style, which is undeniably influenced by Naudo. I watched the vid and the song stuck in my head for hours, so I had to pick up the guitar and play it. I should definitely learn to flick this way.
    Thumb slapping: I do it just like you, hit a bass string with the knuckle of the thumb. I noticed that Chapdelaine (and Igor) has a whole different technique, I think they hit the strings with every nails. It's not a slap, but a click :) What do they do exactly?

    Something came into my mind as you mentioned body tapping and flicking. I often listen to flamenco music, where these (and a lot of other) techniques spring from. I suppose, from all the guitar styles, it is the most challenging. I watched the film called "Light and shade" about Paco de Lucia, it's fantastic. Highly recommended for every guitar enthusiast.

    Lefty

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  6. Well well, the more I watch it the more I begin to believe that i need to find my way into a classical nylon guitar. I have avoided this for no good reasons for a long time (mostly monetary excuses). But I believe that it may be the next big purchase I make. I love my 45 year old Yamaha steel though. It's so mellow. I also tried something the other day, just fooling around. Instead of plugging my removable pickup into the USB guitar cord plugin I did away with the whole pickup entirely and simply plugged a decent microphone into it and played into the mic. The recording came out infinitely better than I expected. Much much better than those old MP3's I used to send you and much less "electricky" (for lack of a better word" than the videos I have posted recently. It gives it back that really acoustic "feel". I have yet to make up my mind.

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  7. Ryan - Classical nylon guitars start really cheap, and surprisingly good sound for money. You don't need to make the change though, you can do everything on a steel that you can on nylon (and vice versa). Why did I go back to classical nylon? I play on nails, I wanted more fretboard width and I believe you can create greater dynamics on nylon than steel. The nails thing was the greatest driver though. I couldn't shake the habit of playing on nails; they wear/break quickly on steel and the sound of nails on steel is too harsh for my liking.

    Microphoning a guitar seems to be "the best" recording sounds you will get, not that I've tried it. Obviously needs to be with a good mic, in fact, good *mics* to catch and blend sounds from different positions. But then you need to have an acoustically good room, you need to sit quite still, and do a lot of experimenting to get the sound you desire. I like the simplicity of a pickup, but it's got to be a good pickup(s). Everything is a compromise.

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  8. on the other hand, unlike the 'click sounding thumb tapping technique', flicking requires you to hold the right chord with your left hand.
    With yhis in mind, do you think you could fingerflick through california dreaming?

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  9. ...or at least hold the part of the chord you are flicking, or mute with left hand the parts you don't want to hear. Even when un-flicked, neighbouring strings will resonate in sympathy, which is not good if it is a note not in chord you don't want to hear. In the chorus/bridge of Time, there is a chord fragment with the bass note wandering down that I must not play the 4th string, I need to be careful not to let it ring (which I did in that last demo) - practise, care, and not playing full blast! :)

    It's like you are reading my mind. I haven't played California Dreaming for two years because I am disgusted with the technique :) At some stage I will "re-learn" it fingerflick - I did a test several months ago - it will be much better flicked. One of the video responses I received to that video the guy did it flicking, much better! For starters, you can get all the percussive strokes in while still on melody, but the thumb whack you can't.
    JAW

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  10. can you tell me which? there are like 10 x)

    I've just learnt this song and I'm still playing around with the percussion. I whack the strings with all my fingers, and sometimes a finger slips between 2 strings and when I get it out my alaska pick drops off, haha.

    By the way, whereas I feel flicking is more groovy, I think the whacking is more impressive, at least for a non guitarist listener, because they don't expect a guitar to sound that way at all.

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  11. wow well you won't believe this. on my way out from my buddy's house i got the door slammed onto my right hand. caught my last knuckle on my middle finger. when i pulled it out it was all but bent sideways (about a 30deg angle) with a gash on the middle almost to the bone. my heart SANK. nothing ran through my mind except my guitar. no pain, no anything except the thought of not picking up my guitar for weeks. tried to go to the after hours clinic but they were closed. ER requires insurance. I'll have to wait until the morning to go to the clinic and get x-rays and such. Man o man. i would rather break my leg. On the bright side, i have been playing everyday for anywhere between 1 - 3 hrs sometimes more. A short break may help as sometimes coming back to a song you haven't played in a long time makes it sound better in a way. i guess your brain never really quits working on it. what a god-da## day.

    Spirits high that its only dislocated and there is no damage to the joint itself. we'll see.

    I'll let you know. :)
    Ryan

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  12. Ryan
    I am sorry to hear about your finger. Take care of yourself and try air-guitar for a while ;)

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  13. as far as the nylons go i know they are relatively cheap .i may pick up a cheap one just to hack around on. I'm like you in a lot of ways. I hold my entire hand over the strings, hovering them above the sound hole almost perpendicular to the strings.I felt, when I began, that that would help me integrate other motions ore easily since the hand is not confined, constrained, or otherwise mounted on anything. I have tried resting the pinky and it felt so alien. Tried the palm on bridge like i see Jung do and it really felt uncomfortable. To the point where it seemed impossible to do. Perhaps everyone's hands bend and flex a bit differently. I prefer the nail on strings more than anything. they do get eaten up a bit even with my thick nails but i enjoy the distinct sound they make. A wider neck will take some getting used to but the tone of the classical makes up for any negative aspects. I think I'm gonna lose my fingernail on my middle finger but I hope not. got it in a rigged up splint for the night... still all bent up.
    anyway wish me luck :)
    Ryan

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  14. Ha! air guitar. my next endeavor. May as well be the best i can be at that for now :)

    Wonder what kind of competition there is in the solo instrumental finger-style air guitar league. :)

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  15. I found your post hillarous, Ryan. "my heart SANK. nothing ran through my mind except my guitar." I'm sorry about your finger, though.

    If I were you I'd play with a flat or thumb pick, being able to combine fingerstyle and pick techniques is best :)

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  16. I have considered that. And yes I found it funny that i wasn't worried about not being able to write or work. Just play guitar. don't know if that's a good thing.. just a thing. Had you seen it you probably would have thought the same :) I'm sure plenty of us players would have. and yes, combining a flat pick with finger picking intrigues me. somehow combining the best of both worlds without eradicating the unique characteristics and possibilities of both styles would be amazing.
    My brother in law taught me my 1st chord, and i still live with him. About 3 years ago he lost his index, ring and pinky finger on his right hand in a battle with a dado blade on a table saw. instant ground beef. He uses a pick now.. never really gave up. so hell if he can do it then I certainly can't use this as an excuse. ever :) Just wish i had insurance so i would be sure that everything gets set back into its proper place with minimal tissue damage :P

    Good night everyone : ) thanks for the support :)
    Ryan G

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  17. Hey Rian,

    sorry to hear about your injury. Did you know that Django Reinhardt had a serious hand burn? His two fingers on the left hand got burnt and became "useless". He didn't give up, but developed a special fretting technique and got back to the top.
    http://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b5348.full

    And yes, go for the nylon! I started on steel, but changed to nylon, and it was the best decision. Try a semi-classical one, it has a narrower neck, and the neck joins at the 14th fret to the body. Yamaha, Cort and Taylor makes models like this.

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  18. Thank you. I am glad I am not in such dire straits
    The top portion is turning some funky colors now so it's time for that trip to the doctor.

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  19. Well, i now have 2 pins sticking out of my middle finger, about a quarter inch long. 6 WEEKS!!!! What will I do? Anyone know any appropriate styles or techniques for that? hehe

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  20. About Andy McKee's song, there's no doubt that the arrangement is good, but again, the click sound to me is like turning on a drum machine that would have only one beat available (and only the snare drum sound).
    What I find really "groovy" and full of surprises is the type of rhythm Naudo uses in his arrangements for "I Will Survive", and a few more, and it doesn't come from the bass there but the syncopated and constant funky strumming/flicking. But I'm aware that it's just Naudo who does that, and in fact it takes its roots in Brazilian music, even though is is applied to pop.
    As for a pure classical style, I agree, I find that boring too, although I respect and it also takes great skill, but when playing pop music there's definitely something more to expect.

    Jaw, haven't you improved you right hand position? (I noticed that in the video). It seems that it used to be kind of bended (an angle between the forearm and the hand), when now it goes in the continuity of the forearm, I know it happened to me, anyway whether you see that as an improvement or not (I definitely think it is), it stems from the position of the forearm itself, starting from the elbow, I'd say that having the elbow farther on the right, and a bit lower, makes the forearm-hand more aligned (I mean no angle, hard to describe!!).

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  21. I agree with your comments on Naudo, I guess that's why we all follow him...looks like the clicking is going to have to remain subjective, and you might have to persist through a few songs I will do that are "clicky" :)

    Right hand? I might have brought it in a bit, it's obviously an easier angle to pick from and I think it offers a bit of extra stability. The problem is that the attack angle on the nails goes from being almost vertical to heading off to one side, which doesn't (yet) feel right to me. When you hold a guitar in the classical position on left leg the neck is pointing right up, and you easily get a nice picking angle. When I "got all cool" holding the guitar on the right leg, I turned my wrist in to achieve the same picking angle. It's been a long, long while for me to change that angle, and although I see a lot of other great guitarists with the low/straight angle (including Naudo) I struggle to do it. In fact, I hadn't noticed I was straightening my position out...funny how these things sneak up on you :)
    JAW

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  22. Allow me to apologize for flooding this post the other day. Chalk it up to pain pills and stress :) mostly those damn pills.

    I think I will use this opportunity to delve into the theory behind all of this. If I can't play it I may as well UNDERSTAND it :) .

    Thank you for your kind words and comments.

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  23. No worries, it showed the anxiety and incredulity you were experiencing :) Yep, anything that happens that has the potential to rob us of guitar playing is a grave concern!

    In 6 weeks, when you are totally healed and playing guitar better than ever because you learnt a heap of theory, write up a retelling and send it to me for posting. It's always good to hear a success story!
    JAW

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  24. Hey, been a while since we heard from yah. Everything good?
    I found a great site about theory for experienced guitar players. I try to look at it everyday at least a little. I am taking notes and trying to come up with a very short essay or document that includes most of the not so obvious points. One thing I am noticing, however, is the seemingly pointless ambiguity when it comes to giving proper names to chords. Also, I'm happy to say that I can name the note of each fret on each string now. (And i feel like an idiot for not knowing this before, after seeing how easy and obvious it should have been. I always kinda figured there was an easy pattern or order to all of it but can it really be that simple?) That was the easy part, however. Now I'm looking at the augmented and suspended and 7ths and all that. School is first though... anyway..
    The doctor says everything is looking good and the rods will come out on the 21st. I obviously can't wait. ... Your lesson on "Time" is taunting me every time I open my bookmark tab.

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  25. All good here Ryan, so only a few weeks left eh? Good to see you are making use of this time for some theory. Send a link to that website, I can't name all the notes on the fretboard! :)

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  26. hi - Indeed your tabs are impressive. I only have 1 suggestion which could make them even better :-)
    I would suggest you also mention the chords in them - that way it's easier finding finger positions.

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  27. Thanks - probably half my tabs have the chords, sometimes I forget. I often forget the key signature too :) You are right however, just seeing a string of notes to program into your brain isn't all that useful for someone who already has a good understanding of playing the guitar.

    JAW

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