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Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers

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Rick Fielding 21 Aug 99 - 01:58 PM
Rick Fielding 21 Aug 99 - 02:04 PM
joeler 21 Aug 99 - 02:11 PM
Banjoman_CO 21 Aug 99 - 02:20 PM
j0_77 21 Aug 99 - 02:25 PM
joeler 21 Aug 99 - 02:37 PM
joeler 21 Aug 99 - 02:40 PM
Jeri 21 Aug 99 - 02:52 PM
Rick Fielding 21 Aug 99 - 03:42 PM
katlaughing 21 Aug 99 - 04:25 PM
joeler 21 Aug 99 - 04:37 PM
katlaughing 21 Aug 99 - 04:44 PM
Rick Fielding 21 Aug 99 - 04:55 PM
Jeri 21 Aug 99 - 05:21 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 21 Aug 99 - 05:22 PM
Rick Fielding 21 Aug 99 - 06:14 PM
Peter T. 21 Aug 99 - 06:44 PM
Rick Fielding 21 Aug 99 - 07:31 PM
Peter T. 21 Aug 99 - 08:07 PM
Phil Taylor 21 Aug 99 - 09:30 PM
Barry Finn 21 Aug 99 - 10:30 PM
joeler 21 Aug 99 - 11:19 PM
j0_77 21 Aug 99 - 11:50 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Aug 99 - 01:24 AM
catspaw49 22 Aug 99 - 03:06 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 22 Aug 99 - 04:26 AM
katlaughing 22 Aug 99 - 04:31 AM
Rick Fielding 22 Aug 99 - 12:49 PM
Peter T. 22 Aug 99 - 12:55 PM
Jeri 22 Aug 99 - 01:08 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Aug 99 - 01:24 PM
Peter T. 22 Aug 99 - 01:38 PM
MAG (inactive) 22 Aug 99 - 03:29 PM
Dani 22 Aug 99 - 05:27 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Aug 99 - 07:38 PM
MAG (inactive) 22 Aug 99 - 07:54 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Aug 99 - 08:15 PM
Dani 22 Aug 99 - 10:27 PM
DonMeixner 23 Aug 99 - 12:13 AM
Tiger 23 Aug 99 - 08:27 AM
Neil Lowe 23 Aug 99 - 02:21 PM
katlaughing 23 Aug 99 - 03:10 PM
Vixen 23 Aug 99 - 04:27 PM
Neil Lowe 23 Aug 99 - 04:31 PM
Peter T. 23 Aug 99 - 05:01 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Aug 99 - 07:32 PM
Jeri 23 Aug 99 - 07:42 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 23 Aug 99 - 07:58 PM
Roger in Baltimore 23 Aug 99 - 08:53 PM
Rick Fielding 24 Aug 99 - 01:24 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 24 Aug 99 - 01:41 AM
Rick Fielding 24 Aug 99 - 11:08 AM
Peter T. 24 Aug 99 - 11:12 AM
Roger in Baltimore 24 Aug 99 - 01:16 PM
MAG (inactive) 24 Aug 99 - 01:34 PM
Peter T. 24 Aug 99 - 02:07 PM
Rick Fielding 25 Aug 99 - 12:55 AM
Canberra Chris 25 Aug 99 - 05:01 AM
Rick Fielding 25 Aug 99 - 11:51 AM
Marion 02 Feb 01 - 10:58 PM
Marion 02 Feb 01 - 11:07 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Feb 01 - 11:42 PM
Marion 02 Feb 01 - 11:53 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Feb 01 - 12:05 AM
Rick Fielding 03 Feb 01 - 12:28 AM
Marion 03 Feb 01 - 12:36 AM
Marion 03 Feb 01 - 12:45 AM
Rick Fielding 03 Feb 01 - 12:46 AM
Rick Fielding 03 Feb 01 - 12:48 AM
Peter T. 03 Feb 01 - 11:57 AM
Marion 05 Feb 01 - 11:26 PM
Peter T. 06 Feb 01 - 10:01 AM
Rick Fielding 06 Feb 01 - 12:00 PM
Gray Rooster 06 Feb 01 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Russ 06 Feb 01 - 03:22 PM
Peter T. 06 Feb 01 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Charlie waller's guitar style 07 Dec 04 - 08:05 PM
Ebbie 07 Dec 04 - 09:50 PM
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Subject: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 01:58 PM

Hi. A few folks have suggested this in the last couple of days, so I'll give it a try. If anyone has any queries about "how to play stuff" on any of the folk instruments, let's do it here. I'll do my absolute best not to waste space with bad jokes, puns and general baloney.

There's been a lot of stuff in the "finger picking guitar" thread, and if anyone knows how to transfer it here that would be great, 'cause, God knows, although I can pick fast, I type REALLY slow! Perhaps if it gets unwieldy, we'll just start "tips #2, etc, as long as there's interest.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 02:04 PM

I'm so damned rude! A hell of a lot of folks contributed great suggestions to the "finger picked guitar" thread. I didn't mean to imply that it would just be my opinions here. Please ALL tips welcome! Everyone who teaches knows that they also keep LEARNING every day as well. That's the fun part.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: joeler
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 02:11 PM

I think it's important, when you decide to learn how to finger pick, to commit to how you want to do it. I.E. Fingerpicks, your nails, Alaska picks, fingers. This is my opinion only. I know for myself, (I play with fingerpicks) that I could no more learn how to fingerpick with my nails then I could strum with a thick pick. (I'm left handed, so it is not a natural movement for me.)


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Banjoman_CO
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 02:20 PM

Question! I finger pick very little. I do know some patterns and use them with a little success. I use mostly the 'square roll' and variations off of that. My question: When does it start to feel natural instead of mechanical. And what about syncopation? Does it develope out of patterns or something else?

Fred


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: j0_77
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 02:25 PM

Well Rick here's one for ya - fiddle - What can I do about tension in the bowing arm ? Especially the upper arm and shoulder? 2 How can I get a good sweet sound out of a fiddle?

I am asking for me and lots of folk I met that had the problem. I sorta found a way around it but I will psot that later.

To get the link to work to the other thread (help Max/Joe) I think you copy the Page addy off the browser box tingie and then paste that on the thread.

Ps I have an idea about chording etc., so I will message you :) You can set up the 'holds' and I will do some graphics - but in the long run Max will have to be in on this one - it will take me all day to set up but as there is so much interest, it is well worth the effort. TTY in a bit


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: joeler
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 02:37 PM

Banjoman Here's a basic picking pattern that I learned years ago. I practiced the hell out of it and all of a sudden it turned into a rhythm that I could play Freight train with. Start in G 1. T-6 2. T-3 and middle finger together (pinch) 3. T-6 4. I-2 5. T-4

Good Luck


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: joeler
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 02:40 PM

Take the above finger pattern and put it in a vertical pattern. It's much easier that way.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 02:52 PM

This thread was inspired by: Help: Learning to finger pick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 03:42 PM

Joel: Yeah it helps if you know that bluegrass banjo is played with picks, classical is without. And everything in between is an option. Personally, I use picks when I want a loud crisp sound (and when I want to use thumb and index and middle finger.) I use bare fingers for mellower stuff and find myself often using the ring finger as well in that style.

Banjo man. 'fraid I don't know what the box roll is (I stay away from books) Time for things to feel comfortable really varies. If you're lucky, maybe a week. If it's longer than a month, I usually find that someone may be relying too heavily on tab. It's your "ear" that teaches you to play smoothly.

Jo, I'm a lousy fiddler, although I've never had arm miseries. Any good fiddlers out there to help us?


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 04:25 PM

Well, I got top scores in school competitions, esp. for my bowing, many years ago. It was classical, but the one thing I remember as far as fiddling goes, was to keep a good watch on my bowing arm elbow. It should not be flying out at all angles and being raised above your shoulder. Most of the action should all come from the wrist and lower arm.

There are some really good simple exercises which help to keep those upper arm and shoulder muscles in good shape and from becoming too sore. They really work, I know, from experience! If anyone is interested I could email a picture and description of the ones I those for (if I can find them) and I could decribe the others. The shoulders and neck is where my family traditionally carries their stress, I am convinced it is inherited, so this has always been an important thing for me.

Hope it helps. Oh, as for getting a sweet sound? Watch how you drag the bow, keep it in that area between the neck & the bridge (sorry if that is too obvious of an observation) and also don't choke the neck. Relax. And, watch that elbow, too. Really come around and over the neck with your hand, so that the elbow stays pretty much under the right edge to the middle of the fiddle. Does that make sense?

kat


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: joeler
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 04:37 PM

I love you girls and guys. Please look for a new thread from me in the next couple of days when I ask the question, "how can I break my new found addiction to the Mudcat"

Joel signing off (formally known as Joely)


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 04:44 PM

Joel...search the forum; there are several worthy threads on that subject, but of course you are welcome to start a new one about it:-) Just know there is NO breaking the addiction. Once a Mudder....always a Mudder!Heeheehee

katlaughinguproariously


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 04:55 PM

Kat's mention of something being "inherited" makes sense. I've often heard people who should know , like Doc Watson and Lester Flatt say that a "fiddle wrist" is "born" not "made".

Let's try to keep this thread only for music tips, or it'll fill up fast with "chat", and folks who want to know something technical will get frustrated.

Rick (who's filled a lot of other threads with "chat")!


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 05:21 PM

Re fiddle questions: someone once advised me to practice bowing in front of a mirror and make sure the bow stayed the right distance from the bridge, and perpendicular to the strings. These things are vital to a good tone. (And I need to pay more attention to them myself.)


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 05:22 PM

I'm not a fiddler (but I play one on TV), but it seems to me that a thousand years of fiddlers tucking their instruments up under their chins and holding them with the face horizontal is a thousand years of lousy ergonomics. Old time fiddlers who hold their instruments at midchest level probably have a lot fewer problems with shoulders, elbows, wrists, etc., than do players who hold them in the classical style. But I think there is an even better way: if you could adjust your chin and shoulder holder end piece (whatever it's called) so the fiddle's face is at a 45 degree angle you could saw away at the sucker all you want without ever raising your elbow from your side. In addition, your left hand wouldn't have to do quite as much twisting to work the strings. Does anyone play like this? --seed


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 06:14 PM

I've tried Seed. Certainly it works for Doug Kershaw. My friend from Cape Breton Jaimie Snyder does a brilliant job of it. It's worth a try.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 06:44 PM

Question, oh Rickissimus -- what is the easiest basic blues style to start off on, or copy off records, or from books -- e.g. Mississippi John Hurt? -- and why? (I mean acoustic blues) I know it is partly a matter of taste, but still.... I forget why I haven't asked you this question in person.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 07:31 PM

Peter, start with an absolutely generic blues pattern. No specific song. A straight 12 bar pattern with a simple chord structure. Just hum over top of it until you've nailed the timing. Every musician needs to be able to play the 12 bar pattern correctly. (and without thinking about it) It is the ONE universal musical language on the planet, that is spoken by every good musician. No matter how simply you play it, if your timing's right even Clapton will welcome you.

E(4 beats) A7(4 beats) E(4 beats) E7(4 beats) A7(8 beats)
E(8 beats) B7(8 beats) E(4 beats) B7(4 beats)

Play it over and over and when you're ready to end, just substitute "E" in the last bar. This a VERY simple pattern, but if you can do this with the right timing you can go on to much more complicated ones. Remember, NO specific song, just make up words or la,las while you're learning it.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 08:07 PM

I've got those can't play the guitar bluuues, (mama)
Got those can't play the guitar bluuues
I'd sell my soul right off of my shoes,
If I could lose those guitar bluuues...."

(sound of cardboard train laughing away off in the distance)



yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Phil Taylor
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 09:30 PM

It's true that when you start to learn fingerpicking you have to make some decisions as to which style to concentrate on. Not only whether you use fingerpicks or not (I'm a thumbpick and fingernails type myself), but also whether you want to anchor your right hand or not. Complex picking can be made much more accurate if you rest the palm of your hand on the front of the guitar, but the downside is that that affects the tone. If your hand is off the front you get a more sustained and ringing tone. Some people compromise by resting their pinkie on the fingerplate below the strings, but I find that seriously restricts the movement of my right hand.

Spend a lot of time watching other guitar players and experimenting to find out what suits you (and the kind of music you want to play) before you commit yourself to a habit that will last you a lifetime.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 10:30 PM

Hi Rick, I've asked my doctor about this but you being a musician & my doctor's not, maybe you could give me a better answer? After I've recovered will I be able to play my guitar? I certainly hope so but it doesn't look good seeing that I couldn't play it before. I'm so sorry, I thought I'd try a humor creep? I promise I won't post in this thread again. Barry, who sometimes can't help himself.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: joeler
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 11:19 PM

HI Phil Picking is a bitch! But, being a lefty playing right, if that old pinky isn't on the old pick guard, I'm in real trouble. (translation, I couldn't pick me nose laddie without the big P on the PG. Who cares. It's what comes out the counts. Forgive me. It's saturday night, and I'm half way through my first diet Miller lite.

Your Friend Joel, (formally known as Joely)


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: j0_77
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 11:50 PM

Thankyou Kat and Rick and Seed and everyone - yup it did help and is pretty much what causes the problem. I learned that the biggie for some folks is trying too hard -w hen they realx a little - everything works fine. It is the same problem Finger Picking at speed. If tense the whole thing sounds mechanical and rough but if played with a relaxed attitude - smooth :)

Re the web pages - they are ready but I need Rick's permission to publish em - ie post the link here. 3 Pages with graphics and html took me 9 hours Phew. Max can I come to your puter school :)


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 01:24 AM

Jo and I talked about it, and we feel it's probably better if he posts his pics separately. my approach to teaching is radically different than virtually anybody else's and we'd probably be at odds immediately about what order things should be learned, and probably the fingering - which I consider crucial.

The important thing is that there are MANY approaches and I urge anyone who's interested in learning or improving to check them ALL out. Do what feels best to you. It could be my way or Jo's way or Stefan Grossman's way etc. We ALL have our opinions...but that's all they are. Just opinions!

Well, talk about controversial! Phil. I've always felt that a light touch with the pinky on the fingerboard helps to control your other fingers. Personally I often mute the strings with my palm when I'm doing blues, but don't when it's a ballad. With banjo, I think it's crucial that you always have the Pinky on the head. Not just for bluegrass, but any up-picking style.

Peter and Barry. With humour like that, you can post on our thread any time you like. A laugh or two makes people forget the blood pouring from their fingers!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 03:06 AM

Brother Rick, could you come over to the Welcome Eddie thread and help Catspaw. He's blowing on clay and shaking seaweed. We're in jail,and if you can help Catspaw he could get us out, eh?

Your loving half brothers,

Reg, Reg, and Reg


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 04:26 AM

I think he's pissed because I locked him and you other mad dogs in your cages so you wouldn't bite Fast Eddie the Figment. In his case, I forgot to pour the ale I used for marinating the beef into his water dish. I wondered what he was yowling about while I walked away. --seed


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 04:31 AM

I advised Cletus to send for the Crack Tipling Possum Intervention Team at once.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 12:49 PM

Kat, Seed, and Paw. Welcome to the picking tips corner. I'm going to have to use my psychic powers to divine what you REALLY wanted to know in your posts. Hmmmmm...OK. Got it!
Kat, the answer is: Mix 2 parts violin rosin, with 1 oz. Gin. Rub mixture on your bow, and play.
Seed, Marinate banjo and slowly bake at 350 degrees. Enjoy.
Paw, don't trade your pre-war herringbone possum-28 for less than a gross of plastecine dulcimers.

Glad to be of help.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 12:55 PM

O Rick of All Ricks, returning to my original question upgraded -- if you know the blues form, what is the best easy style to shoot for, but the real thing? Who would you send people off to copy? (boy, you got to ask questions really carefully around here).
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 01:08 PM

Peter T - got DNA?


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 01:24 PM

Thanks for the question Peter. They've been in short supply lately!

My (very predjudiced) suggestions. Shoot AT FIRST(!!) for the blues folk who had (have) good timing. It keeps you learning good habits. After a bit, try the idiosynchratic (sp) ones who play 5 beats to the bar and 11 bar blues. You can then decide whether you want to copy their mistakes or not.

Josh White: One of the most technically accomplished singers and player. Thought by a lot of people to have been "too" slick.
Big Bill Broonzy: A master. When drunk, a lazy master.
Blind Boy Fuller: tremendous technique.
Dick Justice: He was WHITE(!) and could play Blind Lemon Jefferson note for note. Superb musician.
Lonnie Johnson: clean, clear, and totally in control.

Some of the more idiosyncratic (I'll spell it differently this time) players.

Mississippi John Hurt: Simple sounding, HARD to do right!
John Lee Hooker: 2 and a half chords and a great voice.
Lightnin' Hopkins: Knew how to play in time, but often chose not to.

The greatest technician: Blind Blake.
The most feeling: Robert Johnson

Need I repeat these are just MY opinions!


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 01:38 PM

Thanks, Rick, as ever -- the reason there are so few questions is that intelligent people are outside enjoying the last rays of summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 03:29 PM

OK, I'll bit on a couple questions:

Some of those chord positions take a lot of stretch; I have short stubby fingers. I know people who have dont it umpty ump years have stretched out left hand,s but the last time I tried seriously to stretch like this (double entendre intended), 15 years ago, I ended up with overuse injuries that are with me to this day. What is the fine line between growth and injury, when do you know to pull back, and do you recommend anything for old aches?

#2: The flipping fingerpicks STILL slide around on my righthand fingers. I'm one of those who learned picking with the pinkie anchored, to learn accuracy. Playing with my nails tears them (tho' my calcium supplements help with that ;.) ), I'm not happy with my accuracy playing with my bare fingers, a workshop leader from Philadelphia at last year's Tumbleweed Festival convinced me that fingerpicks were my answer and thanks to the Mudcat I finally got some and try them, but I just can't snug 'em to my fingers! and YES, I have them on the bare side of my fingers.

Whew.

TIA, MAG


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Dani
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 05:27 PM

Phil, Re: life-time habits, I think that's what's been my sticking point in getting started learning and devoting myself to practicing. The 'do this hundreds of times' lessons in books and videos have been based on styles of music I'm not sure I want to play. So I've wanted to find generic (well, Rick, like your blues guitar practices) things to work on to get it sounding like music and get my fingers working. Thanks for this thread.

Got any blues for the banjo? I've often said that what I wanted to play on the banjo is Stevie Ray Vaughn. Aim high, I always say.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 07:38 PM

Mag, what kind of guitar are you using. The instrument should fit your limitations and style rather than the other way around. Most of the folks that I've seen who complain that their fingers are too short, are really only lacking in wrist flexibility. The MUCH repeated story of Segovia's short pudgy fingers has merit. In his bio however he said that at age 85 he still practiced 8-10 hours a day! Jeez, he should have done it for a living!

Dani, listen to Pete Seeger play blues on the Banjo. He did a nice job. The album "Goofing Off Suite" on Smithsonian Folkways shows off his playing well.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 07:54 PM

Rick, I play on my Tak dreadnought, which is certainly too big. My beater is a Lotus (Japanese), and, after much (but probably not enough) thought, I have this beautiful, beautiful Webber OO on layaway in Seattle. My fingers itch. I know from some checking around that size is a big factor, and I'm doing something ridiculously expensive about it.

the guitar is too much guitar for me, but I fell in love with it and could not help myself. I just hope I grow into it.

Mary Ann


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 08:15 PM

Great stuff Mary Ann. I'm a firm believer in spending ALL one's money on music stuff.

By the way, if anyone wants the tiniest neck in the universe, hunt down a small bodied Gibson from '64 to '78. The folks at Gibson didn't do much right in that period but they sure made thin necks!


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Dani
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 10:27 PM

Oh, Lord know PETE can do it. I want to do it TOO!


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: DonMeixner
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 12:13 AM

Mary Ann.

I have a great late 50's Guild F-30 with a very trim neck that suits my problematic hand and fingers quite well. I'd love an old Gibson L-0 or LG -1 either in a six or tenor style for the same reasons. Bad fingers. But when it all comes down to it. Practice and accommodation will mean the most to how you play.

Don


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Tiger
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 08:27 AM

Hi, Mary Ann.

I have an LG-1 which matches my short arms and small hands pretty well. Any time I pick up a dreadnaught, I feel like I need a ladder.

I play fingerstyle on medium light strings - the action is set low, and if you really worked it hard with a flat pick, it would buzz.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 02:21 PM

Rick,

Are you familiar with the music of John Fahey? I can copy his licks fairly accurately on his faster tunes, which are the ones I'm interested in - where he gets that thumb doing the rhythm thing - only I can't play them as fast as he does - I'm not worried; I assume that will come with time...what I am wondering though, is how he gets so much volume out of his fingers. Does he use fingerpicks? Or thumbpick and fingernails, or what? And how does he get all that volume when he sounds like he's picking so close to the bridge? If he uses fingerpicks, then I'm up the creek....I've tried Alaska picks, etc....no luck. I don't like anything around my finger; I like using my nails, but they keep breaking...especially when I try to copy Fahey and go for the volume...seems like I've come full circle in this dissociated ramble, but unlike T.S. Eliot, I have not returned to the place I started from and known it for the first time....TIA, Neil.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 03:10 PM

Neil,

One of the things I noticed that helped with my nails breaking was how medication effected them. When I was finally able to stop taking my prescription med, which various sorts I'd been on for years, my nails quit breaking and grew faster than they had in years. I'd always thought it was just the computer keyboard that was being hard on them. Ironies of ironies, I have nice strong nails now and have to keep them trimmed short, again, just like in school, because I am finally playing my violin, again, once in awhile!

kat


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Vixen
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 04:27 PM

Fellow Southpaws--

I have been playing my guitars "righty" for thirty years...and it takes me AGES to learn anything with my right hand. I mean, I've been working on finger pick patterns from Carcassi for 17 years that I still don't have right. And the ones I DO manage still sound/feel "mechanical." I can't strum rhythm for beans. I can play rhythm things like eggs and tambourines with my left hand just fine, but my right hand seems to be rhythmically challenged.

My friend John has been telling me "whaddya expect? yer tryin' to play with the wrong hand!"

So I'm just about at the point where I'm ready to acquire a lefty guitar, and start ALL OVER AGAIN from scratch. (or would that be "pick?") Have any of you southpaws tried this. Is it worth it?

TIA

V


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 04:31 PM

.....thanks kat, but I'm not on any medication....at least not any prescribed (ahem) by bona fide doctor *BG*

Regards, Neil (who'd rather not go into any more details)


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 05:01 PM

Vixen, I am a lefty, too -- Sig Freud, Paul McCartney, Leonardo, you and me!!!! --, but am equally incompetent with both hands. It seems to me that shifting over at this stage doesn't make sense, since you have all those pathways down in your brain (I know, I know, even if they are lousy). Is the problem getting the right hand to work, or getting the left hand in place in time? I can't do either!!! I was once told that it was nothing to do with dexterity (a very sinister word that!) but that lefties had brains that stuttered between options, which is why they are so hard to train, but otherwise brilliant!! (F.Scott Fitzgerald: the definition of a genius is someone who can keep two opposite ideas in the mind simultaneously and still function). Given all the great lefty tennis players and baseball players, I can't go with that, but.... This is no help -- I am just commiserating. The best invention for lefties ever was fast drying ink. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 07:32 PM

Neil. First of all tell me how you know that John gets "so much volume". I saw him once and he practically fell off his chair he was so drunk! His playing was not very clear and his volume quite average. He made some fine recordings, but the volume is taken care of by the engineer.
I'm probably able to play as loudly as anyone I've ever heard, and I'd say that's a combination of many years of experience, an instrument that really puts out (I love a guitar that you can "overdrive") and simplicity of right hand. I've always tried to get the folks I work with to learn the right hand patterns (see "finger picking thread")....If someone could help me with a blue clicky for that thread I'd really appreciate it.....sorry for the interruptions..Learn the right hand patterns FIRST, before tackling a song. If you're really solid and simple with the right hand you WILL get volume..then you can get fancy!

Vixen. All that experience should help tremendously if you did decide to start from fresh with your natural lefty tendencies. Why not give it a shot. You should be able to pick within a month (or real close to it.) If you can't then go back to righty..but you might be surprised. Don't learn by a book this time though. take the first simple pattern from the other thread and spend one day on it..no variation. Practice it while you're watching TV or looking out a window, or talking to someone. Then we'll play something like Skip to my Lou in D. You'll know very quickly whether it's gonna work this way. My feeling is it will. Also don't forget, you got the Mudcats with you all the way now!


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 07:42 PM

Here it is again: Help: Learning to finger pick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 07:58 PM

MAG--I didn't see an answer above to your question about slipping picks. I used to use adhesive tape to keep them from slipping off, and it worked well enough that my autoharpy friend tried it. She used it for a while, then discovered "Gorilla Snot": disgusting, but the actual name of the product. It comes in a tiny bottle--about an inch in diameter and 3/4" high--and is available at lots of music stores. The autoharpy now swears by it, even if she won't say its name aloud. --seed


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 08:53 PM

MAG,

The first finger picks I have ever felt comfortable with are a new design by Pro-Pick. They are metal fingerpicks with a difference. The pick end has a substantial hole cut out so the tip of your finger pokes through and you get some of the "feel" of naked fingerpicking along with the clarity of a stiff pick. They also come in a style with a "split" finger band. The band is about as wide as a National metal finger pick, but it is split so there are two pieces wrapping around each side of your finger. They come in regular and large sizes as well.

They are more comfortable and firmer than any pick I have tried. Unfortunately, they retail for $3 and change per pick!!! Ouch!!

If your local store does not carry them, you can mail order. I found them in an ad in Acoustic Guitar magazine. I swear by them instead of swear at them!. Now if only they came in day glo colors so I would not "misplace" so many of them.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 01:24 AM

Thanks Jeri.

Mary Ann. I forgot about "Gorilla Snot" and I LOVE saying it! Here's something that Earl Scruggs wrote about in his banjo book. Rub violin rosin on your fingers. Now of course he always worked with a fiddler so it was close at hand. You may prefer to go into a music store and ask for rosin rather than Snot...Personally I just squeeze the suckers so tight they've changed the shape of my fingers over the years!
Seed's right about the adhesive tape. I've seen lots of folks use that.
Rog, I've tried Pro picks and it'a neat idea. If they'd been around at the beginning I'd probably use them.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 01:41 AM

I have a design in my head for a fingerpick that could be used both for up picking and strumming--or frailing. I could fabricate them myself except they should be made out of light spring steel, and I wouldn't know how to form that to fit. Any ideas? (I think the design would be great for people who want to feel the strings when either plucking or strumming/frailing.) --seed


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 11:08 AM

Peter T, here's your 3/4 time pattern.

"G" chord. (remember..middle, ring and pinky.

T-6, M-2, T-4, I-3, T-6, M-2.

There are many 3/4 and 4/4 patterns, but this is a good simple one to start with. Learn it well, before you start playing it in a song.

Seed, if you can make those, the world will beat a path to your door. (and I'll be first). I must have two dozen designs for things that I don't have the technical skills to build.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 11:12 AM

Thank you O Supreme Pickerupper. If I do this well will Johann Strauss dance with me?
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 01:16 PM

Peter,

Here are two interesting picking patterns that I learned from Peggy Seeger's little appendix to Folk Songs in North America.

Try that old "G" chord. Remember to alternate bass with your thumb.

T-6, I-3, (M-2, R-1) The parentheses indicate that the two strings are plucked simultaneously. So you have three quarter notes per measure.

An alternative, is the following:

T-6, I-3, (M-2, R-1), I-3, (M-2, R-1), I-3 Here you have essentially 6 eighth notes per measure with the I-3's being the off-beats for three-four time.

If I recall correctly, Peggy suggests alternating your bass, pluck three, pluck three with one of these two for yet another pattern.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 01:34 PM

Thanx for the pick tips, guys; I won't have time 'til after Labor Day to try these ideas, then I will go at it.

MA


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 02:07 PM

Thanks, Roger, I'll work on that one too (or is it three?).
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Aug 99 - 12:55 AM

Rog. Thanks for joinin' in here.

I love to hear someone play waltzes with a flat pick where the "2 and 3" are just "implied", rather than boom, chick,chick. I worked in a Polka band for about two weeks and the leader said "Make it OBVIOUS, boy, Make it OBVIOUS"! And ohhh boy was that band "OBVIOUS"!


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Canberra Chris
Date: 25 Aug 99 - 05:01 AM

Rick, I think it was your thread last week about helping a lass with banjo finger-picking styles. I found that French banjo album. It is LDX 74472, Le Banjo Americain, by Steve Waring, on Le Chant du Monde label. The whole production is a collector's piece, with elaborate sleeve-notes in Franglais - such as "Ici Claude en Cross-Picking really blows my mind!" (followed by a translation into French of 'really blows my mind'.) I acquired the album off a friend in the late seventies, it could be years older. It has some wild technical tracks on it, and full three-fold sleeve notes on technique in French. It may not be what you want, but it should be worth the effort to track down if you can find it. The album's discography cites Folkways albums Dock Boggs, FA 2351, and Roscoe Holcomb & Wade Ward, FA 2363, and also Steve Wray in Tom Banjo, LDX 74393. Hope it's of interest.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Aug 99 - 11:51 AM

Thanks Chris. It sounds weird and wonderful. I'm going to try and get it.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Marion
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for the double thumbing pattern Rick. Very nice.

Here's a picking pattern in 4/4 someone recently gave me. I think it would be best suited for a song where the chords last two bars each: it would sound pretty busy packed into one bar. I'll give the pattern here for a 6 string chord; for a 5 string chord you would let the 5th string be your first bass and the 4th be the second bass, and reverse those for a 4 string chord.

--A---------------------A----------
--M---------M-------M-------M------
--I-------------I---------------I--
------P-------P-------P-------P----
-----------------------------------
--P-------P-------P-------P--------
. . . . . . . .

Marion


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Marion
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 11:07 PM

Ignore the diagram above, it didn't work out with the change in font. I'll try it this way:

For a 6 string chord:

(1/4) T-6, I-3, M-2, and A-1
(1/4) T-4
T-6
M-2
T-4
I-3
T-6
M-2
T-4
R-1
T-6
M-2
T-4
I-3

The ones that are not marked as quarter notes are eighth notes.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 11:42 PM

Well I'll be! I'd forgotten about this. Actually since this came out, I've seen a couple of "up down" finger pick designs. The Indian "sitar pick" seems to be designed for that application. Thanks Marion.

Also, something that I'm using a lot these days that may be of some use to someone. I call it the "thumb roll".

Put an E chord down (to start). now roll your thumb over the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings quickly...but articulating each note. When you've played the fourth, continue with your index, middle, and ring on the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st. It should sound like a smooth uninterrupted "buh,duh,duh,duh,duh,duh. Now learn to articulate any one of the high three strings, so that you can do the roll with any one of those strings sounding prominent. Without hammer-ons or pull-offs (or double hammer-ons or double pull-offs) which I do a lot, you have six "rolling notes'. If you want eight, just come back on the ring and middle finger. Works nice with ballads.

Peter T's learned to do it pretty well. Harder than it seems (to get it smooth) but with practice.....

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Marion
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 11:53 PM

Not sure I understand, Rick. Is this thumb roll filling a 3/4 bar, with each string being an eighth note? Or when you say to do the roll quickly, do you mean doing a triplet then 3 quarter notes for a 4/4 bar? What does articulating mean?

Thanks, Marion


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 12:05 AM

Marion, in the strictest sense the timing is 6/8 or a fast 3/4, but I use it for slow ballads (like Shenandoah) with the notes all sustaining for a bit before you play them again. The amount of sustain actually decides whether you're playing in 4/4 or not.

By articulating, I mean that you play one string Louder than the the other two. This way, when you've got comfortable with the pattern itself (took me about 4 to 5 hours to make it really smooth you can play melodies along with your bass notes. It's almost impossible to put this style on the printed page, but if you practice the first most basic steps (that which I've outlined) you can go in a lot of very complex directions with it.

It's similar in sound (but not execution) to a Flamenco "rasquedo", but played a little more slowly.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 12:28 AM

When your playing a chord with the root on the fifth string (like C or A) you can start the roll on that string, so you're actually playing five notes (the high three are always played with the fingers...so the thumb only rolls over two strings). You lose the "feel" of the roll on a chord where the root is on the fourth string (D) so it's good to use your thumb on the sixth string second fret) and go back to a full six note roll.

A good way to hear how it sounds with added melody notes would be to play a G chord (have to use the middle, ring and pinky here). Do the roll and articulate (play it a bit louder) the G note on the first string. Let it sustain. Now lift off the pinky (keep the two others on) and squeeze your index finger onto the first string second fret. (articulate the note when you roll). The sound will be a G Maj7. Roll again, and put the index on the first string first fret (you'll have a G7th of course) Now lift the index off the first string altogether and roll again. You'll hear a G6.

OK, here's where it breaks from what I described earlier. (not harder, just different) Do the roll with Five strings (thumb still plays three bass notes but fingers (index and middle) play third and second, only. Put your left hand pinky on the second string third fret (where the roll stops) and don't forget to sustain it. You're hearing a regular G with an articulated D note. Now put the index on the second string first fret (remember the two fingers on the bass strings haven't moved) Do the five note roll. You'll hear a G suspended. Do one more (for now) five note roll ending on an open B string (with sustain). The chords back to G.

It's sort of "harp-like" but you've played seven melody notes over the same chord. Once you can do this, you can re-arrange those notes to suit your accompaniement.

One thing I should have said in the first post was that the roll doesn't always involve six strings. It can stop after four, five or six,(always with the sustain..and as often as possible with three bass notes to get that "rolling feel".

Marion I truly understand how confusing this can seem. If you want to give me a call. I'm at 416 690 8697. I'll try and play it for you over the speaker phone, so at least you can hear what it sounds like.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Marion
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 12:36 AM

Do you mean that the notes you are articulating are the melody notes - and the rolls are a fast little envelope for each melody note, like using a lot of grace notes? Gosh, it's also difficult to explain how I'm picturing what you describe.

Is this like a picking pattern that you could use for a whole song, or an embellishment that you would use on a few notes?

Marion


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Marion
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 12:45 AM

Thanks very much for the offer Rick. I hadn't seen your 12:28 post when I wrote last; I imagine that fuller description will help. I'll try it tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

Marion

PS Are you sure it's a good idea to put your phone number in a thread?


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 12:46 AM

"Do you mean that the notes you are articulating are the melody notes - and the rolls are a fast little envelope for each melody note...."

Well put Marion. Yeah, something like that. Bit of a can of worms I've opened. I just got my guitar to see if I was explaining it correctly...and the answer is "Yes....and No".

Let's wait til Peter T sees this. he makes his living explaining things. Trust me, if you were sitting in this room I could show it to you in five minutes!

The problem is that there are more variables than I mentioned. All of which are neccessary in order to use it as a complete accompaniment.

Sorry to be so confusing. If I drank, I'd need a drink!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 12:48 AM

It's been in the resource page for three years now. I'm pretty trusting.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 11:57 AM

All I can say is that to do it right is TOTAL GUITAR HELL. Also, what is slightly buried in Rick's description is that the melody is being played on the high (high as in high notes) 2,1 strings as you go along. Also that you try and keep your three fingers on the right hand as close to those strings as possible always (Rick also anchors it all with his pinkie, but I can't do that -- at least not yet). DID I SAY IT WAS TOTAL HELL? (Not to discourage you or anything).
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Marion
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 11:26 PM

Well I've been playing around with the seven-notes-in-G sequence you describe, so I think I know what you mean, although I can't do it fluently. But it doesn't seem like TOTAL GUITAR HELL [giggle] so maybe I'm not understanding it; I'd better give you a call if you really don't mind.

You never go past the string where the melody note is, right? The way I'm picturing it is as a quick run of grace notes before a long melody note, with the grace notes strategically chosen to be on as many consecutive strings as possible. Right? If that's the case, I could imagine playing an waltz by rolling up to the longer notes and playing the shorter notes normally.

As for doing it fluently, it seems like the devil is in the change from the right hand thumb to the fingers. So why change? Couldn't you create the effect more smoothly and much more easily by doing it all with your right thumb, just stopping wherever you need to?

Speaking of thumbs, Rick: I can't remember which thread this was in (and I've just realized that the double thumb pattern I just thanked you for isn't even in this thread), but you said that if somebody really wants to get better on guitar they should learn to use the left thumb on the E and A, and that this could be learned in a couple of weeks. What do I have to do for those few weeks to develop this skill? Right now I'm not using my left thumb at all. But I have just bought a new guitar so now I'm all inspired to get better.

Thanks, Marion

Oh, and Peter... speaking as a novice fiddler, I don't believe anything can be described as TOTAL HELL that doesn't involve a bow.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 10:01 AM

A VOICE FROM THE INFERNO: Well, you may be right, not having tried a fiddle. Certainly from the outside it sounds like the shrieking of demons....Anyway, you are right that the moment critique is the shift from the thumb to the fingers as you move south -- one reason for not just letting the thumb do all the work is that you can (later on) separate out the thumb to do double thumbing etc, and the fingers can be used in threes and twos and ones in different patterns. Or so I am told.....
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 12:00 PM

I have to admit Marion, that after three years of trying to explain things in understandable ways, I made a total complete and unadulterated hash of the "rolling thumb" thing. If you've managed to decipher some of it...Wonderful, but after sitting down and playing some things in that style, I realize I made it sound so complex, that even I wouldn't have been able to figure it out,...and I think I invented it! It's actually quite a simple concept, but as Peter says, devilishly hard to get smooth.

The REALLY key part is to play the three bass strings so they sound like something in between a strum and a picking pattern.

As far as using the left hand thumb on chords (F, all Ds, B7, Bb etc.) it's simply adding another tool to your arsenal. It's crucial for playing Ragtime, or any style where you want a constant bass playing under your chords and melody.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Gray Rooster
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 12:19 PM

Ken Gaines, a regular at Anderson Fair in Houston, Tx told me a sad tale. Years ago, he was learning about finger picking from one of his idols at the time and was told not to "marry" his fingerpicks. Alas, Ken did and he regrets it now.

I think it is absurd to stick with one method/style/device/sound/etc. Try 'em all and try to develop them all to some degree.


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 03:22 PM

For Master Rick

Duke Huan was reading a book in the hall. Wheelwright Pian, who had been chiseling a wheel in the courtyard below, set down his tools and climbed the stairs to ask Duke Huan, "May I ask what words are in the book Your Grace is reading?"

"The words of sages." the Duke responded.

"Are these sages alive?"

"They are already dead"

"That means you are reading the dregs of long gone men, doesn't it?"

Duke Huan said, "How does a wheelwright get to have opinions on the books I read? If you can explain yourself I'll let it pass otherwise, it's death."

W'heelwright Pian said "In my case I see things in terms of my own work. When I chisel at a wheel, if I go slow the chisel slides and does not stay put; if I hurry, it jams and doesn't move properly When it is neither too slow nor too fast I can feel it in my hand and respond to it from my heart. My mouth cannot describe it in words but there is something there. I cannot teach it to my son and my son cannot learn it from me So I have gone on for seventy years, growing old chiseling wheels The men of old died in possession of what could not transmit. So it follows that what you are reading is their dregs."

Chuang Tzu (http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/chuangtz.html)


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 04:29 PM

Once there was a guitar player, who dreamed he was a Martin guitar -- playing sweet tones, fluttering the hearts of many -- and upon waking he was not now sure if he was a guitar player playing a Martin guitar, or a Martin guitar playing a guitar player -- envy him in his existential fretfulness.

after Chuang Tzu.....


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: GUEST,Charlie waller's guitar style
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 08:05 PM

I have just came across this site and enjoy it so much. I have tried and tried to learn the guitar style of the Late and great Charlie Waller.
He has a down-strum type lick but does something different than most players. Any help would be appreciated.
god bless and Merry Christmas to all.
curtis@243wallmartconnect.com


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Subject: RE: Rick's Pickin' tips. Questions & Answers
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 Dec 04 - 09:50 PM

I miss the man.


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