Saturday 23 March 2024

Fingerstyle Influences

We are all influenced by music, but further to that, we are influenced by artists, and even further to that we are influenced by artists who play in a style that we'd like to emulate. There are ways to get into fingerstyle and my path started with simply learning classical guitar from the Aaron Shearer Red Book and learning how to strum various chords along with music I liked, but there were three artists that really inspired me - Tommy Emmanuel, Michael Chapdelaine and Naudo Rodrigues.

Tommy was a great starting point, through him in the late '90s I discovered thumb independence which is the backbone of fingerstyle. I've seen Tommy in concert, he's such a good showman too. I did some  of his covers back in the day. With the advent of Youtube in 2005 it got a lot easier to discover other fingerstyle artists which is where I found Michael Chapdelaine. He had a slightly different approach to fingerstyle, that seemed to be born out of classical guitar, which resonated with me more than Tommy, because that is where I too was coming from. I covered his covers of "California Dreamin'" and "Come Together".

But then it was Naudo Rodrigues who I connected with on a guitar level the most, I transcribed/re-covered many of his covers, and still do from time to time. After Naudo's influence I was at a stage where I was doing my own arrangements, my fingerstyle was basically set in motion and rather than needing to play exactly what these artists were playing, I was doing my own stuff.

Artists who influence are pivotal to anyone's musical journey, which is why I was saddened to hear from my internet mate L3fty that Michael died late last year. A friend of his wrote some moving words about him, I wasn't surprised to hear he was a troubled soul. The perfectionism you could hear in Michael's playing was both fantastic and yet deflating. It was the contrast between Michael and Naudo that was freeing for me - Michael wasn't only note perfect, he was dynamics and inflection note perfect. You can hear errors in Naudos playing and that makes his style more relatable to me. I don't want to know how to play 3 songs perfectly, I want to know how to play 100 songs adequately.

And yet, it is the striving for perfection that pushes us to new found guitar heights, but it is a balance. So thanks Michael! reminded me that I once has some correspondence with him.  I dug around and found it deep in my archives. I had covered his "Come Together" and had written up a tab and then did a video where I talked about how to play it and added a link to my tab. He asked me to take it down because he was planning on making his own tab and tutorial. I did, and then let him know, and he got back to me:

28 Nov 2007

hi Jason:
thanks very much for honoring my request.
i would love to see your performance of the tune on so i don't mind if you publish it on the youtube. it was just the teaching part that was a problem.
you are a good man and a very good guitarist.
thanks again for digging my stuff.
hope we get to play together one day.
tu amigo.


No comments:

Post a Comment