Sunday 29 July 2012

Video Blog: Disco fan confession with Funky Town

I talk a bit about thumb independence, and play a bit of "Funky Town"...and admit to being a Disco fan. I'm a bit rambly in this one, sorry, I need to plan what I'm going to talk about more!




  1. Hi Jaw,
    you got a lot of projects going on!
    I like the baseline and the grove fo funky town a lot. I think it doesn`t need to be more elaborate.
    Concerning the thumb independence, I think you have to have played every intervall or triad so many times with the different base note, that you are able to switch without thinking.
    I am now going through my 3rd fingerstyle guitar book and all of them do quite a lot playing the c-scale over a c chord, the g-scale over a gchord, the f-scale over an f chord, a minor and d. I have gone back and forth over playing the scale while keeping the basic chord shape, and changing the base, I am really fast at cathcing up in this guitar are. But only on the first 3 frets. I think if you have done this often ehough in any key that is used on the guitar, you have all the variations in your blood.
    It is quite simmilar with strumming. You have to get your right hand in a constant up and down movement, being able to switch between 8th note 16th note and 32th note strumming and "only downstroke" strumming patterns, no matter what chord change or chord melody you are playing with the left hand.
    This is what I got down really good by now.
    You can quite impress people then if you can sing to your playing, also fellow guitarists. (But at least it always takes quite some extra practice time to be able to sing over your playing, at least if you`re doing more than G C D and Down Down Up Up Down Up. Quite often I need a multiple effort to incorporate singing, than only playing)
    A lot of easier though!

    Greets Andi

  2. Hey Andi, yep, my life sure is full of projects - of all kinds! I reckon you are spot on; once you know your intervals, and all your chord inversions, in all positions, the left hand "becomes easy" :) And being able to strum up/down for your 1/8ths and 1/16ths is an important part of "feeling" rhythm. The thumb independence is just another thing you need to put in your bag of tricks, being able to thumb a bassnote on beat 1 should come easily, but sticking it on beat "2-and"...or worse, on a sixteenth! There are so many things you have to jam into your brain so you don't have to think about them. And singing on top!

    That brain-challenge is one of the reasons fingerstyle is exciting to me. And it is kinda amusing that pianists are all "fingerstylists" by nature. I reckon they get a lucky break that one hand is playing bass while the other is playing melody - your brain naturally breaks up stuff across two hands. It's like you get a CPU core for your left hand and a CPU core for your right hand. It's not "hard" to co-ordinate your left hand and right hand - a pianist playing a bassline and a melody, a guitarist strumming and making chord changes.

    But for the fingerstylist, you have to mentally split your right hand into two to get thumb independence. I don't think you can create a new CPU core for just your thumb, so it's all CPU time-slicing, relying on learned thumb/finger patterns. I've said it before and I'll say it again: there is no such thing as "true" thumb independence. If you can play happy birthday and mary had a little lamb at the same time then yep, that's thumb independence - but when you can play one at a different speed to the other one, or start at different offsets - then I'll call it true thumb independence :)

    But I digress. What fingerstyle books have you been looking at? Would you recommend any? I've never read a fingerstyle book, I would be interested to see what people say. I just make everything up as I see it ;)

    Good to hear from you Andi,

  3. Hi Jaw,

    I have the beginning and intermediate figerstyle guitar method from Alfred Publishing. They basically learn you everything you need to know. Playing in intervalls, travis fingerstyle and the most common chord variations, alternate tunings, many interesting picking pattern and a good section about playing bar chords. Then the art of solo fingerstyle. This is the most challenging book. It is only about Travis fingerstyle techniques. I haven`t finished it yet. But I was able to play windy and warm more or less of the paper, as well as Tommy Emmanuels HabanaHaba, because you get really good at chord variations and playing that alternating bass stuff. Another advance of this book is, that all the pieces are performance peaces, which you could play for an audience.
    The last book, which I just started is from Ulli Bögershausen. "Von Anfang an 2". This book is very interesting and challenging from the rythm viewpoint. I really had to start to tap my foot, which I never do, to get the playing. Otherwise he teaches a lot playing the melody over the chord on the first 3 frets.
    I can recommend every of those books, but they take some time to go throuh.
    But for your style of playing, they probably wont help so much. If I have time I can upload somthing from the books on youtube.

  4. You are correct about piano, JAW. I won't say its easy, but compared to FS its not super hard.
    I never got any real difficult songs down for FS, and ATM I only know a few on the piano but I can tell already how much simpler it is. Its just so symmetric in a way.
    Fretting all the right strings with your left hand while picking, strumming, tapping and beating out all of the rhythm/bass/melody with your right, all while you sing is simply more taxing.

    I have picked up a few guitar books in my time, mostly books on keys and chords. Although I have perhaps not put the time into slowly and carefully reading every nook and cranny in them I still feel like I got ten times more just watching and listening to JAW.

    I listened to the 3rd movement of moonlight sonata for the 1st time a week ago. ... I have a new favorite song ;) Love to see a non-thrash FS shot at that.

  5. As a person who can play piano and fingerstyle, I think I have to disagree with Ryan. Surely doing all the picking, strumming, tapping, etc. is quite taxing indeed, but I personally don't find it as difficult as piano.
    It's quite true that many of the simpler piano pieces are more symmetric, but if you ever tried to play a fugue by Bach, then perhaps you will find a new perspective since when I play a fugue, I have to make sure that I make all four or five of the melodies being played simultaneously are distinct.
    Many of the fugues are more difficult than the 3rd movement of the moonlight sonata though. The moonlight is faster, but the fugue is much more difficult technically.

  6. dead blog is dead

  7. Its not dead. :) He just has a life outside of this subject.

    We do miss yah though, buddy.


  8. Yep, thanks Ryan, I'm still here. I've pulled another song out of nowhere and it is ready for recording, I've just got to find the time to record it. It will be a 2-3 hour process start to finish, and I just can't find a 2-3 hour block of time! I'm up to 55 hours a week at work...helping out with my three kids who are homeschooled (I've probably never mentioned that before)...I like to do at least 60-70kms per week on my push bike...and spend quality time with wifey of course!

    But anyway, I'm quite excited about the new song, love playing it, the bass line is different to what I've done before. It won't blow your socks off but I'm happy with the overall feel and balance of the arrangement.

    Sorry to build you up and not deliver straight away - soon, I promise, I am keen to record it and write a story about it! :)


  9. Hi JAW. I'm a beginner and would like to know what is the best of your songs for me to start playing finger style.

    Thanks in advance.