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July 30, 2017 | Author: donald_fahey | Category: Guitars, Subscription Business Model, String Instruments, Blues, Musical Instruments
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DAVID BROMBERG | BECKY WARREN | BEN HARPER | PETER MULVEY

ELIZABETH COTTEN Shake Sugaree JAMIE STILLWAY Home: Part 2 FEBRUARY 2017 | ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM

NEW GEAR MARTIN CS-BLUEGRASS-16 TAYLOR 712E

3 SONGS

RICHARD SHINDELL Your Guitar

IMPROVE YOUR ROCK RHYTHM SKILLS 5 WAYS TO MASTER ARTIFICIAL HARMONICS

GUILD D-40 BATSON AMERICANA CORT FRANK GAMBALE ERNIE BALL POWERPEG

ERIC JOHNSON

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CONTENTS

‘I listen, and once I get the sound in my head, it’s just a matter of finding a way to play it on the guitar. Note by note.’ DAVID BROMBERG, p. 23

Features 16 Wrapped in a Cloud Austin electric-guitar phenom Eric Johnson unplugs for a journey to self-realization by Chris Becker

23 Bitten by the Blues David Bromberg completes his long, slow trek back to the music he left abruptly 27 years ago

Special Focus: Tenors & Other Voices 30 It’s a Four-String World The diminutive tenor is drawing a cadre of fans with its ability to add color to performances and recordings

Miscellany 10 The Front Porch 92 Marketplace 93 Ad Index

by Greg Cahill

by Kenny Berkowitz

February 2017 Volume 27, No. 8, Issue 290 On the Cover Eric Johnson Photographer Max Crace

AcousticGuitar.com 5

CONTENTS

Read about Nicolas Wilgenbus’ tree-inspired guitars on p. 74

SETUP 12 Guitar Talk Ben Harper’s passion for Weissenborn guitars was love at first sight

AG TRADE 74 Makers & Shakers Nicolas Wilgenbus draws inspiration from trees for his acoustic guitars

14 The Beat Becky Warren finds inspiration in the ashes of war; tighter rosewood trade restrictions; Martin announces new VP

76 Ask the Expert Make an acoustic play like an electric

PLAY 36 Here’s How 5 tips for musicians who want to get the most from social media 40 Songcraft Richard Shindell finds his voice amid the crowded landscape of his songs 44 The Basics Acoustic rock: Improve your rhythm playing 50 The Basics Master artificial harmonics, in the style of Chet Atkins and Lenny Breau 54 Woodshed Peter Mulvey explains how to create a dynamic solo sound with alternate tunings 60 Weekly Workout Add Mixolydian mode to your improvisation toolbox SONGS 64 Your Guitar The life of a vintage guitar, chronicled by Richard Shindell 66 Shake Sugaree Learn David Bromberg’s take on the Elizabeth Cotten classic 70 Home: Part 2 Jamie Stillway explores open-D tuning and fingerstyle in this original 6 February 2017

78 Review: Guild D-40 The rebirth of an American classic 80 Review: Martin CS-Bluegrass-16 Brilliant resonance in all registers 82 Review: Taylor 712e A 12-fret fantasy 84 Review: Batson Americana Innovative and affordable 86 Review: Cort’s Frank Gambale Luxe A fast-playing and sophisticated flattop 88 Review: Ernie Ball PowerPeg String Winder Makes changing strings a breeze 94 Great Acoustics Falbo’s double-neck is a design marvel MIXED MEDIA 90 Playlist Dirt Band string wizard John McEuen shows off his eclectic nature on new solo album; also, previously unreleased material from Gillian Welch’s 1996 debut Revival; El Alma de Puerto Rico (The Soul of Puerto Rico) captures the essence of jibaro (a Puerto Rican Creole folk tradition); Lawrence Blatt presents an internal travelogue rife with acoustic grooves on Longitudes & Latitudes

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Video Exclusives

BOBBY RUSH The four-time Grammy-nominated Mississippi blues and funk titan celebrates the release of his latest album, Porcupine Meat, by dropping in for an Acoustic Guitar Sessions episode.

RICHARD SHINDELL Watch him perform ‘Your Guitar.’ Learn to play the song on p. 64.

DARRELL SCOTT Nashville studio heavyweight plays tunes and spins yarns.

MICHAELA ANNE Singer-songwriter delivers literate folk-pop.

acousticguitar.com facebook.com/acousticguitarmagazine instagram.com/acousticguitarmag twitter.com/AcousticGuitar_ DOWNLOAD THIS MAGAZINE – FOR FREE! On the run and forgot to pack your magazine? Spend time at the computer and want to scroll through at your leisure? Then download our PDF version of this issue today and enjoy the benefits of a digital edition. Visit store.AcousticGuitar.com/digital-edition, select this issue, then enter the code FEB290FR when you check out to get your version for free! SAVE BIG ON VIDEO LESSONS, SONGBOOKS & MORE Every Friday at 12pm, AG sends a special Acoustic Guitar Deal to thousands of guitarists like you. Recent Deals include the Acoustic Guitar Fingerstyle Method for 50% off and a $9 offer on Inside Blues Guitar.. Sign-up today so you don’t miss out on a deal again. acousticguitar.com/deals

8 February 2017

© 2015 PRS Guitars / photo by Marc Quigley

What’s Your Story?

You have a story to tell and you need an instrument that helps and inspires. The SE Angelus line of acoustics from PRS Guitars are a great tool for songwriters and performing musicians. Choose from our all-mahogany or spruce-top models – all of which come standard with a high-quality piezo system with discreet volume and tone controls in the sound hole. Hear the full line at www.prsguitars.com or check them out at an authorized dealer near you.

THE FRONT PORCH AcousticGuitar.com

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT Editor Greg Cahill Managing Editor & Digital Content Editor Whitney Phaneuf Editor at Large Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers Production Manager Hugh O’Connor Contributing Editors Kenny Berkowitz, David Hamburger, Steve James, Pauline France, Orville Johnson, Richard Johnston, Pete Madsen, Sean McGowan, Jane Miller, Adam Perlmutter, Doug Young

A pack of tenor guitars

enor guitars are the best,” says singer and songwriter Ani DiFranco, who is one of the most interesting guitar geeks you’ll ever meet. “I’ve rarely met one I didn’t like.” The diminutive, (typically) four-string acoustic guitar has captured the attention of Elvis Costello (I once saw him perform an entire show on vintage tenors), Neko Case, and more. Helping others to make that connection is the goal of the Tenor Guitar Foundation Hall of Fame and Josh Reynolds, the son of Kingston trio member Nick Reynolds, a founding member of the Grammy-winning group that helped put the folk revival in the musical mainstream. In this month’s special focus, AG spoke to Reynolds and DiFranco, as well as 2016 Tenor Guitar Foundation Hall of Fame inductee Lowell Levinger (who you may know as “Banana” from the 1960s group the Youngbloods), about their passion for these little axes. Just to tempt readers to consider embracing the tenor and other fretted acoustic voices, former AG senior editor Mark Kemp chased down ex-Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn (who discusses his custombuilt seven string Martin) and folk-rock legend John Sebastian (who lives in a world in which the baritone is quite prominent).

“T

Elsewhere, you’ll find profiles of cover subject Eric Johnson, who has released his first all-acoustic album; David Bromberg, who discusses his love of the blues; and singer-songwriter Becky Warren, who has captured the spotlight with her new album War Surplus, the Nashville singer-songwriter’s perspective of a veteran home from deployment. In a follow up to Christopher Paul Stelling’s feature interview with Ben Harper (October 2016), Stelling delivers a Guitar Talk that focuses on Harper’s love of Weissenborn guitars. There also are tips on playing solos using the Mixolydian scale, coaxing artificial harmonics, playing rhythm accompaniment, and maximizing the effectiveness of your social-media posts. Richard Shindell discusses his songcraft (there’s also a transcript of “Your Guitar,” from his latest album), Jamie Stillway explores open-D tuning and fingerstyle in her original “Home: Part 2,” and there’s a transcription of Bromberg’s beautiful take on the Elizabeth Cotten song “Shake Sugaree.” All of that, plus news, gear reviews, album reviews, and more. Play on! — Greg Cahill

Correction: The January issue review of the G7th Performance 2 Capo included an outdated image. The correct photo is pictured here and at AcousticGuitar.com/ category/gear.

LOWELL LEVINGER

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10 February 2017

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14

The Beat Becky Warren’s war-torn songs

15

The Beat Rosewood trade restrictions grow

15

The Beat Martin guitars welcomes new VP

SETUP

ROBERT FORTE

Ben Harper

GUITAR TALK

Love at First Sight

Ben Harper reflects on his passion for Weissenborn guitars BY CHRISTOPHER PAUL STELLING [Editor’s Note: During guitarist Christopher Paul Stelling’s recent interview with Ben Harper for an Acoustic Guitar feature in the October 2016 issue, the two talked about Harper’s love of Weissenborn guitars. Here’s an unpublished excerpt from their discussion.] Though you’re first and foremost thought of as a songwriter, the next association generally made about you is that of the Weissenborn guitar. What’s your first memory of a Weissenborn? Songwriting and Weissenborn grew up together with me. I started doing them both at the same 12 February 2017

time, and the first song that I thought was something I could call a song was written on the Weissenborn. So, for me they’re one and the same. My first memory of a Weissenborn was seeing them—not even hearing them—and going, “God, that’s one of the more beautiful instruments I’ve ever seen come through the doors of my family’s music shop.” And then I’d hear various people come in and play it and then the sound pulled me in once and for all. It’s a haunting sound. Yeah, haunting and rich and very vocal, very voice-like.

It’s like a human voice. Very much so, and the Nationals and Dobros and things like that also have that aspect to them, but something about the Hawaiian Koa wood and the hollow neck, and the dimensions—the geometry of the instrument itself—just gave it something that stood out. You play a style 4—that’s a hollow neck— but on this tour you’ve also been playing a solid-neck one. Yeah, in the early-to-late teens or early ’20s, depending on which historian you talk to, Weissenborn was experimenting with a lot of

GUITAR TALK

different dimensions, different woods, and the half-hollow, half-solid neck. I’m not even sure if that didn’t come out before the completely hollow neck. I’d have to ask Ben Elder, who Acoustic Guitar knows real well as being one of the main historians on the Weissenborn. But some of his earliest models had this half-solid neck. It seems like he may have jumped to rope-binding pretty quick. It goes [from styles] 1, 2, 3, and 4, with 1 being most simple, 2 being solid binding, 3 having the top rope-binding, and then 4 being entirely rope-bound: top, back, and peg head.

‘My first memory of a Weissenborn was seeing them—not even hearing them—and going, “God, that’s one of the more beautiful instruments I’ve ever seen come through the doors of my family’s music shop.”’ BEN HARPER

No, it was all string noise and round ounds. It never fazed me, but—maybe at this stage I [developed] a sensitivity to string noise all of a sudden. I’m tonally experimenting, basically. It keeps you interested, it keeps your heart in the game. Maybe even before this tour is over, I’ll go back to standard round-wound phosphor bronze light gauge on the Weissenborn, or on the Weissenborn Style 4 square neck that I’m using the most. . . . I mean, I do like the tone of the round-wounds better, but I’m enjoying my strings. AG

That’s the beautiful binding that I think a lot of people associate with Weissenborn and his style of building. Yeah. I did some time as a luthier’s assistant, building guitars, and man, binding is tough. Making it and applying it, right? It makes me wonder how he even bent those around, or if he was doing it piece by piece, you know? Yeah, I think [it was piece by piece] because the binding holds over the 80-plus years that they’ve been around. Weissenborn binding, as much or more than any other guitar, is pretty well intact, even on the ones that are beat up. It’s impressive how his binding stands the test of time. Your guitar tech on this tour told me that you’ve been using D’Addario half-wound strings—I think they call them Flat Tops? That’s right. That’s a new thing for you? That’s completely new. What’s the benefit of those? Oh, maybe around my third record I started using Flat Tops, just in the studio, because what you get as far as less string noise you compromise in high end. Less cut? And clarity. So there’s a trade-off. I’ve been experimenting this tour to see if I could get used to it and I’m still not 100-percent sold because—you know—the earliest recordings of our favorite music was all done on standard round-wound strings. The string noise never—I never batted an eye . . . I never saw them on the blues guys that would come in, on their guitars.

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THE BEAT

COURTESY OF YOUTUBE

Becky Warren

From the Ashes of War Becky Warren turns personal hell into poetic song BY CRISTINA SCHREIL n “Anything That Lasts,” a melancholic acoustic ballad on Becky Warren’s new album War Surplus, the Nashville singersongwriter artfully captures the perspective of a veteran home from deployment: “Your heart gets broke, you’re gonna wanna die / Holding an M16 or a case of Miller Lite.” Warren is singing from the standpoint of a character named Scott, one half of the couple on which the album centers. In other tracks, she embodies Scott’s longtime girlfriend/ eventual wife, June. Though the names have been changed, the characters on her debut solo album are largely informed by Warren’s own life. In 2005, she married a soldier who was deployed days after the wedding and later returned with PTSD. After four years, they divorced. “I found it really freeing, to be able to think about these things as characters instead of as myself,” says Warren, talking by phone just before hitting the road with the Indigo Girls. While married, Warren abandoned music and her Americana band the Great Unknowns, fresh from releasing their debut album, Presenting the Great Unknowns, to

I

14 February 2017

critical praise (the Great Unknowns reunited to release 2012’s Homefront). After her divorce, Warren started writing again. In 2012, she attended the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project, a program that, she says, upped her game. Some students and instructors at the project had musical-theater backgrounds, inspiring Warren to create character-based narratives, starting with Scott. “That’s how I really got the inspiration to just write a whole album about him and his story and eventually that grew into the story of him and June,” Warren says. Finding the right tone for War Surplus was tricky because of the political subject matter. “From the beginning I was really clear that I didn’t want it to come across as a primarily political album. I wanted it to feel like a human story of these characters and I didn’t want it to be sort of a verdict on the Iraq War,” Warren says. “I was married to somebody who was deployed to Iraq, and it doesn’t feel political once someone’s over there—that was hard sometimes because people would hear things as political.” When Warren moved to Nashville in 2013, she hunkered down to fine-tune the more than

40 songs she’d started for War Surplus and whittle them down to 12. After finding a vocal melody, Warren turned to her Takamine parlor guitar, using standard tuning. She tested the new material on the festival circuit, winning first place at the AG-sponsored Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in 2014 for “Call Me Sometime”—the lead track on War Surplus— and being named one of the recipients of the Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition for Emerging Songwriters in 2015. During the songwriting process, Warren found inspiration in My War: Killing Time in Iraq, a memoir by Colby Buzzell, and Bruce Springsteen’s concept album The Rising. Her producer, veteran Jeremy Middleton, also offered perspectives. Middleton plays bass on War Surplus, alongside guitarist and pedalsteel player Paul Niehaus, drummer Dillon Napier, and organ and accordion player Adam Wakefield. While performing songs from War Surplus, Warren has met others with similar experiences, including vets suffering from PTSD. “The only good thing I can say to them is that my ex-husband is doing so well now,” she concludes. AG

THE BEAT

Jackie Renner, president. “Mitchell comes to us with an outstanding background and experience in global sales and consumer technologies. We are looking forward to his leadership as we expand the company’s growth even further.” MARTIN GUITARS ANNOUNCES NEW VP Nollman’s previous experience in audio, C.F. Martin & Co. has hired Mitchell Nollman electronics, and the music industry has included as its new vice president of Global Sales. The positions at Cambridge Sound Management, 183-year-old manufacturer of acoustic Boston Acoustic, and Bose, as well as Polaroid guitars and strings chose Nollman to replace and General Electric. “I am honored and Steve Carletti, who retired after more than humbled to join the team at Martin Guitar,” 16 years at the family-owned, Nazareth, Nollman says. “The authenticity and integrity of Pennsylvania-based company. the brand, products, and people are unmatched “We are extremely excited to have Mitchell ad_ColeClark_AG_HalfPg_Vert_Layout 1 2016-11-09 3:19 PM Page 1 in the market.” —Anna Pulley become part of our Martin Guitar family,” says from having to distinguish between the different species of rosewood, which can often be very difficult.” —Whitney Phaneuf

NEW ROSEWOOD RESTRICTIONS At a summit in September, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreed to get serious about the illegal rosewood trade. Delegates representing 181 countries placed all 300 species of the tree under more stringent trade restrictions. Rosewood, a popular tonewood used in guitars, is the world’s most trafficked wild product, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime. The new restrictions aim to crackdown on a billion-dollar trade in rosewood timber to supply a booming luxury furniture market in China, for which rosewood traffickers have devastated forests in southeast Asia and more than 80 countries across the tropics. The new protections, which go into effect this month, require CITES import/export permits and related fees and forms in order to get the rosewood over any international border. Luthiers Mercantile International, in Healdsburg, California, one of the world’s leading suppliers of exotic tonewoods, released a statement saying that distributors will not be able to sell any rosewood internationally, unless a future annotation to the treaty makes finished products—such as precarved guitar necks or kerfing—exempt. “We hope to know more [about this] soon. Unfortunately, without such an annotation, the import and export of instruments with rosewood components would be affected,” LMI sales manager Chris Herrod writes. “The market is rife with dishonesty, even within established businesses that enjoy a positive reputation in the United States. Indian Rosewood has always been the welcome exception. We regret that it has to be grouped with the other species of rosewood, but by lumping all the rosewoods together it removes the responsibility of customs officials AcousticGuitar.com 15

WRAPPED IN A CLOUD Austin electric-guitar phenom Eric Johnson unplugs for a journey to self-realization

BY CHRIS BECKER

PHOTOS BY MAX CRACE

ERIC JOHNSON

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or his latest album, EJ (Provogue), Texas guitar great Eric Johnson let go of his sonic perfectionist streak and instead made room for what he describes as “a different filtering process.” “I wanted [the album] to be more of an organic thing, where I captured an event rather than put a record together piece by piece,” Johnson says. “Some of my records, where I’ve tried to get everything right . . . I mean, they sound OK, but they don’t have as much vibe as some of the demos and funkier stuff I’ve done.” Those who know Johnson only for his scorching, Grammy Award-winning rock instrumental “Cliffs of Dover”—made even more famous by the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock—may be shocked by EJ, the guitarist’s first all-acoustic set. Born and raised in Austin, the 62-year-old Johnson is among the pantheon of such Texas electric guitar masters as Johnny Winter, Albert King, and Billy Gibbons. But Johnson has always embraced a wide range of musical styles, and he’s played whatever instrument was best suited for his music. As the late Stevie Ray Vaughan once said of Johnson, “He does incredible things with all kinds of guitars— electric, lap steel, acoustic, everything.” Over the course of eight studio albums and four live recordings, Johnson has treated his fans to several acoustic-guitar instrumentals, including the poignant “Song for George” (dedicated to an 80-year-old guitarplaying friend) or Johnson’s fingerpicking

‘I’d pick up an acoustic every once in a while and sort of fiddle around with it, but I never really thought about playing acoustic until years after I started playing electric.’ ERIC JOHNSON homage, “Tribute to Jerry Reed.” In 2004, Johnson hit the road playing just acoustic guitar and piano in support of his (mostly) electric album Souvenir. On EJ, he performs a 13-track collection of originals and covers, instrumentals, and vocal songs, often accompanied by his startlingly youthful, tenor voice and his treasured 1981 Martin D-45. Adding to the album’s organic textures are guests Molly Emerman on violin and John Hagen on cello. The rhythm section consists of Tommy Taylor and Wayne Salzmann on drums and 18 February 2017

Roscoe Beck and Chris Maresh on acoustic bass, each a veteran of Johnson’s bands. The resulting album is a concise statement that proudly references the folk music of the 1960s and ’70s, which was among Johnson’s earliest inspirations as a budding guitarist and songwriter. “Growing up, I loved Simon and Garfunkel, and all the Joni Mitchell stuff,” Johnson says. “Ladies of the Canyon, Blue, Song to a Seagull . . . I knew those records backward and forward. It kind of got ingrained in me, just that whole vibe of music.” Johnson’s listening as a young man also included British rock ’n’ roll, jazz, Texas swing, and everything in between, thanks in part to his father’s extensive record collection. “My dad got me into listening to all styles of music when I was really, really young,” Johnson says. “He loved everything. He didn’t really play an instrument. He just listened to music constantly and sang and whistled and stuff.” It was Johnson’s father who gave him that Martin D-45, in 1982, after several of his guitars were stolen. He’s played it ever since.

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ohnson studied piano first before picking up the electric guitar, but the acoustic did not come into his life until much later. “I’d pick up an acoustic every once in a while and sort of fiddle around with it,” Johnson says. “But I never really thought about playing acoustic until years after I started playing electric.” Johnson’s eventual mastery of the acoustic guitar inspired a signature Martin, created in collaboration with the company’s historian, Dick Boak. The Martin MC-40 Eric Johnson Signature Model, jumbo shape with 000 depth, features frets marked with inlaid images of the nine planets and a beautifully rendered image of an angel on the headstock. But on nine of the new album’s 13 tracks, Johnson plays his Martin D-45 strung with D’Addarrio EJ16s. “I just think they have a nice balanced sound,” he says of the strings. “The intonation is good, and they’re pretty consistent. I wish I could use coated strings, because I get a lot of noise, especially live, when using the internal mic in the guitar. But I haven’t found a way to make the coated strings work for me.” On the album’s title track, a pensive, yet ultimately joyful waltz, Johnson sings his elliptical poetry over a gossamer mix of acoustic guitars, piano, upright bass, cello, and drums. That Johnson chose to build this lush song around what he describes as a “funky little demo track” speaks to his new-

ERIC JOHNSON

found commitment to vibe over perfection. “The guitar and voice for [the single] ‘Wrapped in a Cloud’ were recorded at home, and I liked the way it turned out,” says Johnson, who still resides in Austin. “It was kind of ‘demo-y.’ I played guitar and added the piano. I used a crummy mic, just one mic on the piano, in mono. When I got to the studio, I started overdubbing better sounds and positioning them in a way so that the lo-tech thing would be of value, rather than a deficit. “When I listen to that song,” he adds, “I still feel the emotions from it that I originally felt.”

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ohnson may not be as much of a perfectionist these days, but that doesn’t mean he’s casual when it comes to recording the rich and resonant sound of his favored instruments. You can hear the attention to detail on the new album’s solo-guitar tracks, such as his fingerpicking arrangement of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Mrs. Robinson,” which opens the album, and the cinematic “Once Upon a Time in Texas.” “It’s tough, you know?” says Johnson, who recorded and produced the album at his Saucer Sound Studio. “You’re always dealing with the 150-, 200-cycle ‘woofy’ frequencies. I’ve found that small-diaphragm mics work the best for me. I use KM 56 Neumanns, one near the fretboard, one a little bit away from the body. They’re a little cleaner, a little punchier. There are a couple of tunes where I used a pickup to blend in with the mics. But I prefer an old-school microphone approach.” In addition to the paired Neumanns, Johnson used a separate room mic to provide additional ambiance to the tracks. And there’s a nod to Jimi Hendrix. Johnson has repeatedly paid tribute to Hendrix over the years, most recently on Eclectic (Concord), his collaboration with former Miles Davis shredmeister Mike Stern. Johnson and Stern trade vocals and solos on a Gibson ES-335 and Yamaha Telecaster, respectively, in a down-and-dirty cover of “Red House.” In 2013, Johnson brought Hendrix’s compositional voice into relief with a piano-and-vocals version of “The Wind Cries Mary,” which he released as a single. On EJ, he includes a surprising “unplugged” arrangement of “One Rainy Wish,” with a classic country boom-chuck bridge followed by an extended jazzy piano solo, played by Johnson. The arrangement illuminates the depth and range of Hendrix’s rhythmic and harmonic language. “I think that’s why people will remember Jimi Hendrix hundreds of years from now,” AcousticGuitar.com 19

ERIC JOHNSON

Johnson says of the rock icon’s range. Interestingly, Johnson recently recorded what he calls a “neo-classical, steel-string” solo instrumental version of “One Rainy Wish” for a projected “Volume Two” of his all-acoustic music. “It’s kind of a study of that tune,” Johnson says, “to see how you can take it to different places.”

‘Growing up, I loved Simon and Garfunkel, and all the Joni Mitchell stuff.’ ERIC JOHNSON Johnson plays a Ramirez nylon-string classical guitar on the meditative, Spanishinfluenced solo instrumental “Serinidad,” as well as at the very end of the Paul McCartney-esque ballad “November.” The former track, in particular, provides further evidence of Johnson’s commitment to using spontaneity as inspiration, albeit with just the right amount of self-editing. “I just rolled the tape and made it up in the moment,” Johnson says of the performance. “I played for about five minutes, and then I went back and took out a couple of sections where I just kind of rambled . . . it’s really a somewhat condensed version of a total improv.” On the album’s final solo instrumental, “Song for Irene,” Johnson plays a late-’50s or possibly early-’60s Silvertone, completely redone by Austin luthier Ed Reynolds, who shaved the braces and added a new fingerboard, bridge, and saddle.

J

ohnson’s mission to ensure EJ be a “performance-oriented record” speaks to the importance he places on self-realization, and how the journey to that goal can be articulated in musical terms. Technology, be it a single “crummy mic” or a pair of meticulously positioned Neumanns, is simply a means for capturing what Johnson’s calls “the emotional impact” of his music. “You go to a museum and look at a painting, and everybody can deliberate all the day long on what’s good and what’s not,” Johnson says. “But what is important is, ‘Does it impact you?’ If it does, in what way does it impact you? Is it something that really touches you or uplifts you or changes your life and really gives you new perspective? If that’s my motive, then I have to look at what it is that I need to do to try to make better records. So I’m trying to take another look at what I do, and put more priority on the emotional impact. Because that’s what art should be.” AG 20 February 2017

WHAT ERIC JOHNSON PLAYS On EJ, Eric Johnson plays a 1981 Martin D-45 strung with D’Addarrio EJ16s. Other instruments include a vintage Silvertone, and a Ramirez nylon-string classical guitar. For the Ramirez, Johnson prefers D’Addario, Savarez, or Augustine classical strings. On “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise,” Johnson is joined by Doyle Dykes playing an Olson steel string. Johnson is partial to a Paige capo, which allows him to adjust the pressure on the strings using a screw on the back of the capo. “It has the best tone,” Johnson says, “but I’m still searching for a capo that doesn’t change the tuning and has a good tone.” For his upcoming solo tour, Johnson will bring his Martin D-45, his signature Martin MC-40, a Maton C.S. Classic and C.S. Classic cutaway model, and the Silvertone. The Martin signature is equipped with a K&K pickup, while the Matons each have a built-in piezo and internal mic. Johnson plays through an L.R. Baggs “Venue” preamp and an AER Compact 60 acoustic amplifier.

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Nothing but the blues: David Bromberg

PHOTO BY HARALD KRICHEL

Bitten by the Blues With his latest album, David Bromberg completes his long, slow trek back to the music he left abruptly 27 years ago BY KENNY BERKOWITZ

F

or the first 20 years of his career, David Bromberg—whose initial guitar lessons were with bluesman Reverend Gary Davis in the early 1960s—had a burgeoning solo career and played as a sideman for just about everybody: Bob Dylan, the Eagles, Jerry Garcia, George Harrison, Richie Havens, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Doug Sahm, Johnny Shines, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, Jerry Jeff Walker, and others. But over time, all that touring took its toll, and Bromberg burned out. In 1980, Bromberg startled fans when he quit performing to study violin building at the Kenneth Warren School of Violin Making. For the next three decades, he made his living identifying and assessing American-made violins at David Bromberg Fine Violins, LLC in Wilmington, Delaware, where he settled in 2002. In August of last year, Bromberg announced that he had made a deal to sell 263 of his vintage, American-made fiddles to the Library of Congress.

Meanwhile, during the past decade, the now 71-year-old Bromberg had started playing fingerstyle folk and blues again, returning to the studio for 2007’s Try Me One More Time (Appleseed), 2011’s Use Me (Appleseed), and 2013’s Only Slightly Mad (Appleseed). Last fall, he released The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing but the Blues (Red House). It’s the closest he’s come to recording a full-blown blues album in years, with highlights that include electric versions of Son House’s “Walkin’ Blues” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Eyesight to the Blind” and acoustic takes on Ray Charles’ “A Fool for You” as well as “Kentucky Blues” and the murder ballad “Delia,” a song he first recorded on his 1971 solo debut. A lifetime later, with a full band behind him, he’s back at the top of his game, playing blues that are as funny as they are sad and talking about old songs, new chords, and his custom Martin 0000s. AcousticGuitar.com 23

DAVID BROMBERG

DAVID BROMBERG ESSENTIAL LISTENING

DEMON IN DISGUISE Wounded Bird, 1972

WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE Columbia, 1974

HOW LATE’LL YA PLAY ’TIL VOLS., 1 & 2 Columbia, 1976

TRY ME ONE MORE TIME Appleseed, 2007

USE ME Appleseed, 2011

Why record a straight-ahead blues album? Actually, it was [manager] Mark McKenna who had that idea, and when I first approached Larry Campbell about producing, I wanted to do an even more specific record: not just a record with all kinds of blues, but a Chicago blues record. And Larry said, “No, let’s do an old-fashioned David Bromberg record with everything in the world on it.” So the album is still a mix, but a lot less mixed than any other I’ve ever done. You know, the way I recorded back in the early ’70s, it was commercial suicide. If you wanted to sell records, the stores needed to know what bin to put them in. Nobody knew where to put me, so I was Mr. Miscellaneous. But I was doing what I wanted, so I didn’t much care. You’ve been playing ‘Delia’ (aka “Dehlia”) for close to 50 years. Does it feel different now? I think it feels very much the same. One of the things that has changed, however, is my knowledge of the song’s history. Delia Green was a real human being, and she was murdered in Savannah, Georgia, on Christmas Eve of 1900. The legend that goes with the song is that she was a prostitute. She may have been, but she was 14 years old and so was the guy who murdered her. The legend says [the murder sparked a riot] and the whole town took out after him and that he escaped the mob by going from house to house on the rooftops, which isn’t true. There are 22 or 23 songs about this murder, and I always thought the reason why there were so many songs was because of the riot. But the riot never took place. Why does that song speak to you? Here’s this woman who is said to be a prostitute and is beloved by the entire town, whatever she does. I just thought that was pretty fantastic. I learned it from the singing of Willie McTell [who recorded the song in 1940 and 1949]. Reverend Gary Davis did a version of it, too [released on Delia: Late Concert Recordings 1970–1971], but mine is closer to McTell’s. The Reverend played with a different kind of energy—it was a pretty different song. How long have you been playing Little Hat Jones’ ‘Kentucky Blues’? Not long. I’ve liked the song for a long time, about 40 or 50 years, and I thought I’d try it with an acoustic guitar and a whole band. “Kentucky Blues” sounds like a simple thing to play, but it’s really not. There’s a diminished chord in place of the IV chord, and a guy who teaches the tune online says it’s a mistake, because it’s dissonant. But it’s harder to make that chord than the plain old A or A7. You have

to mean it to make it [work], and that’s one of the things I really like about the song. At the turnaround, where you’d expect a V chord, there’s a II minor chord. The whole thing is just a little weird, and I love it. What about ‘A Fool for You’? “A Fool for You” is a Ray Charles tune. I got a telephone call from a friend who came across a YouTube video of me performing “Drown in My Own Tears,” which is a Ray Charles song that’s fairly similar. He wanted to know, “How did you get the passing chords?” Well, what I did was listen to the Ray Charles performance until I had it really safely locked in my brain. Then I picked up my guitar and found where all those neat chords are. I had to make up a couple—of course, they exist, but I had never played them before. And I just love that the tune is in 6/8. It’s a specific kind of 6/8, a church 6/8, and when I say “church” I mean black church. It’s not so much like a waltz as it is a march, and I really love that feel.

I didn’t want to be one of these guys who drags his sorry ass onto the stage and does a bitter imitation of something he used to love. How do you discover new chords? I listen, and once I get the sound in my head, it’s just a matter of finding a way to play it on the guitar. Note by note. I’ve done this a few times. I wrote a bossa nova when I was in Brazil, and it’s got all kinds of sophisticated chords. I have no idea what the hell they are, but they sound the way I want them to sound. And that’s the way you like to work. Very much so. What guitar are you playing on ‘A Fool for You’? A Martin 0000-21. All of the quadruple-0 guitars that Martin makes—and I’m fairly certain they would confirm this—are copies of a guitar Matt Umanov made for me in the ’60s. Matty stayed at my house for a while, and after he found his own apartment, he called me up and said, “I have this guitar. Come down here and buy it and I’ll give you a present.” I found that intriguing. So I went down to his shop and the guitar was a Martin F7 archtop, a carved-top guitar. I remember it was $400, so I bought it, and then a yearand-a-half or two years later, Matty gave me that guitar with a flattop and 42 continued on p. 26

24 February 2017

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DAVID BROMBERG

appointments. Three people had done that kind of conversion before, but the one Matty did, instead of the original neck, he used a dreadnought neck, and that changed the whole thing. That made it a brilliant guitar and it’s what I’ve played ever since. It’s actually broader across the lower bout than a dreadnought, but the upper bout is narrower. It’s shaped like a 000, but one size bigger. It’s not as deep as a dreadnought, so you don’t get the sound rolling around—that dreadnought roar—which is such a wonderful thing in your living room, but a terrible thing if you’re going through a microphone, either to record or in performance.

WHAT DAVID BROMBERG PLAYS Now that David Bromberg’s flattop F7 is too precious to leave the house, he records with the next best thing: a Martin custom 0000-21 that’s based on the original Matt Umanov conversion. “When the Martin people first approached me, they brought a guitar and asked if I’d give them an opinion,” Bromberg says. “I saw them a couple of weeks later and said, ‘Congratulations, it’s a very nice guitar, but it’s nothing I would ever play.’ And their faces dropped. They said, ‘We didn’t want to tell you, but people have been asking for a guitar like the one you play.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you use my guitar as a model?’ And they said, ‘Because it has no bass.’ And I said, ‘Who told you that?’ ‘Oh, all the executives say it can’t possibly have any bass.’ They thought that because it was thinner than a dreadnought, it would have no bass. I said, ‘Take it, take it. Here.’ So that’s what they used, and anything they make with the designation M is a copy of my old guitar.” The custom acoustic guitar he plays on “A Fool for You” and “Kentucky Blues” is similar—and also similar to Martin’s M-42 David Bromberg Signature Model—with an Adirondack spruce top and scalloped braces, and Madagascar rosewood back and sides.

On “Delia,” recorded as a guitar duet with producer Larry Campbell, Bromberg plays a custom Martin D-21. He uses Martin medium-gauge Lifespan strings on both acoustics, along with Golden Gate thumb picks, National fingerpicks, and Pick World flat picks with his name on one side and “carpe per diem” (“Seize the check”) on the other. For one of the electric tracks, Bromberg plays a new Fender Telecaster, which was sold as part of the album’s crowdfunding campaign, along with one of his bottleneck slides; a 120-minute recording session; a private guitar lesson; a 2011 Martin custom D-21; a fiddle from Bromberg’s collection; and a chance to appear on the front cover of The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing but the Blues. On the rest of the album’s electric songs, Bromberg plays a 1958 Fender Esquire with a patent-applied-for humbucker in the neck position and a Velvet Hammer pickup at the bridge. “When I bought that in the ’60s, it was a used guitar,” Bromberg says. “Now it’s vintage. It’s got the sound I want and nothing else does. Anyone who’s played it has wanted it. It’s just tremendous, it’s a great guitar. That’s the guitar that will be buried with me.” What’s a 1958 Fender Esquire going to do in a coffin? “The same thing I do,” Bromberg says.

Is that the one you’re playing on the album? These days, I don’t take the one that Matty built out of the house. I used to use it in performances until a guy sat on it. So I leave it at home. And I have to tell you, this Martin 0000-21 is a custom-shop guitar and it’s really good. They used hide glue and did all the right things. I’m a violin maker, and if you use any other glue in making a violin, you’ll ruin the instrument. It will not sound. Has building violins changed the way you play guitar? I only built violins in order to learn how they are built. My idea was never to be a violin maker. My idea was to become a violin expert and be able to identify who made what, when, and where. That’s what I do. I am by default, evidently, the world’s expert on violins made in the United States, and the Library of Congress has agreed to try and raise the money to buy my collection of American violins. I hope, I hope, I hope. Do you play them? They’re there for me to study. For identification. Other people will occasionally play one or two of them. When you stopped performing, did you stop playing guitar? Yes. For 22 years? That’s right. Nearly completely. The closest I could come to describing it is this: If you’ve ever been on a picnic and somebody has a glove and a softball, you play softball. But you don’t pick up a glove or a ball until the next picnic. Or even think about it. That was the way I was with guitar. You didn’t miss it? I didn’t. I was pretty busy. continued on p. 28

26 February 2017

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LEARN TO PLAY DAVID BROMBERG’S ARRANGEMENT OF ELIZABETH COTTEN’S ‘SHAKE SUGAREE’ ON p. 66

JON SIEVERT/MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES

Bromberg startled fans when he retired from the blues in 1980

Studying? Yes. After a while I started to think about playing, but I really didn’t get into it that deeply until I moved to Wilmington. When I was thinking about moving here, I had lunch with the mayor, and he told me there used to be live music all up and down the street on which I live,

I don’t play fast any longer. Not as fast as I used to, and I used to play pretty damn fast. But there’s something else that goes on that’s very . . . that works. and he’d really like to see that happen again. So I started some jam sessions. I figured I’d do this for a little while and then they’d either live or die on their own. But some really good musicians started showing up, and I started enjoying playing with people, and that was the difference. Playing with people. I’d stopped because I was 28 February 2017

burned out, I was just working too much. And I didn’t want to be one of these guys who drags his sorry ass onto the stage and does a bitter imitation of something he used to love. So I decided to find another way to lead my life, and that was it. I study violins.

fast any longer. Not as fast as I used to, and I used to play pretty damn fast. But there’s something else that goes on that’s very . . . that works. I’m choosing different notes, I don’t know how else to put it. And I’m happy with my playing.

When you look back, are you surprised you spent 22 years without playing guitar? I am.

What is that something that goes on? If I’d known, I would have told you. If I could have said it, I would have. I’m not trying to be coy. I’m choosing different notes, and I don’t know how else to put it.

What did it take to get back in shape? There was some work before I could get up on a stage and feel secure again. Do you know [fiddler, bassist, and guitarist] Molly Mason? She had a brain tumor, and coming back from that surgery was very difficult. The place she first got back onstage was with my ensemble, so when I wanted to start performing again, I was able to do it with Molly and Jay [Ungar]. At what point did you think you’d made it back? I don’t know how to answer that. My playing and singing are different today. I’m a much better singer and my playing—I don’t play

What first drew you to blues? Irony. Irony? Irony is very important in the blues. How so? People notice it in my songs as humor, and humor can be part of it, but the point is the irony. Like, “I’ve been down so long it looks like up to me.” That’s the typical ironic blues line. Think about it: Any good blues is drenched in irony. AG

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Guitar collector Lowell Levinger with his 1937 Martin 0-18T shaded-top tenor.

PHOTO BY MICHAEL AMSLER

SPECIAL FOCUS

It’s a Four-String World The diminutive tenor is drawing a cadre of fans with its ability to add color to performances and recordings BY GREG CAHILL

“I

certainly am a tenor-guitar proponent. It’s tuned in fifths [CGDA] and playing in fifths just kind of gives you different voicings—it has a rich, dark sound, like a viola, but with cello-like tones. I became enamored of it,” says Lowell “Banana” Levinger, a member of the 1960s band the Youngbloods, roots-music performer, and avid guitar collector. While the diminutive tenor rests in the shadow of the more popular acoustic six-string classical, flattop, and archtop models, and even the 12-string market, the contemporary popmusic scene boasts a small, but enthusiastic, cadre of tenor fans. Those include Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Chris Thile, Ani DiFranco, Josh Rouse, and Carrie Rodriguez. The tenor— along with the baritone guitar, the harp guitar, the ukulele, the mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, the five-string banjo, and the lap-steel guitar (see sidebar, “Other Voices”)—ranks among the fretted instruments that are gaining favor with acoustic guitarists seeking to add color to their stage and studio sound. (Of all those, the uke market has reached a fever pitch; in 2015 the sale of ukes outpaced the unit sales of electric guitars, according to the latest Music Trades music-industry retail census.) Last year, Levinger’s dedication to the tenor earned him a place in the Tenor Guitar Foundation Hall of Fame. That Oregon-based nonprofit was founded by Mark Josephs to celebrate the tenor’s historic role in popular music, educate musicians about the instrument, and advance its use on the contemporary music scene. The reason for Levinger’s induction? He’s a collector and one of the instrument’s true innovators. “I fell in love with it about ten years ago, but what I play on my records and at my gigs is a five-string tenor guitar, because four years or so after I started playing a tenor, I decided I wanted to be a folk singer when I grow up,” says the 70-year-old, tousle-haired musician, noting that mandolinist David Grisman, also a tenor-guitar fan, introduced him to the instrument about 15 years ago. “If you want to sing the folk canon, all those great old songs mostly are in G and A and BH and B, but on a four-string tenor, C is your lowest note—that’s the boom for your boomchick, boom-chick. I just added another fifth down, which is an F. So my [five-string] tenor

guitar is tuned FCGDA and that gives me access to the root-tonic note in the keys of G and A and BH and B. “So that’s what I’ve done to the tenor guitar for my own purposes, and I don’t know anyone else who’s doing that really. It makes such perfect sense to me that I’m sure everyone else will be jumping on that bandwagon, just as soon as I’ve played another thousand gigs,” he adds with a sly smile. THE ROOTS OF THE TENOR Washburn Guitars introduced the four-string tenor in 1925. It proved popular with dance bands of the swing era, and soon replaced the

Rabon Delmore mixed down-home harmony singing with a hard-driving instrumental sound. Rabon’s inventive single-note solos were a huge influence on the country and bluegrass guitarists who followed him—Doc Watson cited such Delmore Brothers songs as “Brown’s Ferry Blues,” “Blues Stay Away from Me,” and “Hillbilly Boogie” as sources of inspiration. By the end of the ’30s, the tenor guitar’s role in popular music had waned. But before it disappeared, a band called the Cats and the Fiddle emerged to give the tenor a new lease on life. The Cats were a vocal quartet that included the unusual instrumental lineup of two tenor guitars, a tiple, and a stand-up bass, the “fiddle”

‘. . . the tenor guitar is a gateway to helping people around the world learn how to sing and play music.’ JOSH REYNOLDS

metallic-sounding tenor banjo, as reported in the 2002 AG article “Tenor Tenure”. Its status rose when Gibson and Martin followed Washburn’s lead with tenor-guitar models of their own. (Those are no longer in their catalog; Ibanez and Kala are two major manufacturers offering new tenors, and the collector’s market is considered undervalued.) In the 1930s, artists found that the bright tone of the tenor guitar cut through the rudimentary recording equipment of the day—Leroy Hurte of the Four Blackbirds, John Mills of the Mills Brothers, William Hartley of the Five Jones Boys, and Clyde Townes of the Lewis Bronzeville Five all recorded sweet-sounding solos on tenor guitar during that decade. In 1933, the tenor guitar also entered country music in a big way when the Delmore Brothers joined the Grand Ole Opry. Alton and

in the band’s name. The band changed personnel often, but in its ten-plus years of performing, it featured some of the finest tenor guitarists in the business, including Austin Powell, Ernie Price, and the influential Tiny Grimes, who left the band to pursue a solo career. Grimes went on to play with some of the best jazz players of the ’40s and ’50s, including Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, and Slam Stewart. The Cats and the Fiddle bridged the gap between the smooth, jazzy sounds of bands like the Mills Brothers and the more raucous sounds of early rhythm and blues bands like Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five. When the Cats and the Fiddle split in the early ’50s, the tenor guitar lost its most musically credible last champion. But it didn’t disappear entirely. Throughout the ’50s, the most visible tenor guitarist could be found on flickering black-and-white TVs in the guise of Jimmie Dodd, chief Mouseketeer on Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club. Though Dodd’s tenor guitar looked like a toy, with its large Mickey Mouse ears, Dodd was an excellent musician who wrote much of the music on the popular television show. AcousticGuitar.com 31

SPECIAL FOCUS

OTHER VOICES ROGER MCGUINN

WHO Roger McGuinn, founder of the Byrds WHAT A Martin custom sevenstring guitar WHY “It came about because Air France had broken one of my 12-string acoustics [a Martin D12-42RM signature model] on the Concorde—it was some years ago; they were still flying at the time. I always carried a six-string and a 12-string on a plane and I thought, well, what if I could combine the two? So I went to [Martin Guitar historian] Dick Boak and he and I had lunch and [sketched out a design] on a paper napkin. He took it to the custom shop and they made me a prototype of what became the HD-7. It’s based on the Herringbone dreadnought, and they put an extra string on the G string—the high string. “To me, the best part of the 12-string is the combination of the high and low strings on the G pair, because I play leads up and down the neck on it [a trick he learned from George Harrison]. It just has that good ring. So, they made one of these, but before Dick could give it to me, a couple of other guitar players came in and played it and said, ‘Hey, I want one of those, too, so he made a signature edition called the Roger McGuinn HD-7. A couple of years later, the European market asked if they could have one with less ornamentation, so they could sell it for a lower price, and they came out with the D-7. “The advantage is that it’s like a six-string in that you can bend the strings and play a little bluegrass on the bottom strings. I like it better because it’s got more bass response than a 12-string, since it doesn’t 32 February 2017

have the octave string on the low E. I end up playing most of my show on it, although I also carry my 12-string, a five-string banjo, and my Rickenbacker electric 12. But I play most of my songs on the HD-7. “Boak brought to my attention that [Neko Case] was playing one, and I got to talking with her on Twitter, and we’ve been kind of Twitter buddies ever since. She plays it basically as a rhythm guitar. Aside from her, I don’t know anyone else who plays the seven-string model. “I did find out that [folk legend] Spider John Koerner had made one up by himself back in the ’60s and it was even on one of his album covers, but I was not aware of that when we came up with the idea, so it was just a coincidence.”

electrics that are very interesting . . . Santa Cruz [Guitars] makes a gorgeous-sounding acoustic baritone, and, of course, Danelectro is always ready when you are! Let’s not forget TV Jones “C” baritones . . . although that’s a little longer neck. My preference is B to B with a 27-inch fingerboard. I’m also a fan of [baritone innovator] Joe Veillette, who has provided me with half a dozen acoustic and electric baritones over the years [including the Veillette-Citron VC Shark]. “Even if you don’t use it regularly, this instrument is the cello of the guitar family . . . it always has its moment.”

ANI DIFRANCO

JOHN SEBASTIAN

WHO John Sebastian, pop artist, jug-band pioneer WHAT A Harvey Citron baritone WHY “The instrument is very useful for a One Guy, One Guitar act, which is frequently what I’m doing. Trying to replicate multiple instruments in a pop recording, rather than playing a folk song, that’s where the big voice really helps. It’s also an ally when trying to play in original guitar keys when your voice drops! “I find it essential as a studio tool as well, frequently allowing me to play in different ‘keys’ for a fuller effect on record. There are now some pretty interesting options for players seeking baritones. Heavy metal has been really helpful as guitarists seek those low, dangerous sounding tones. Taylor has made acoustic

WHO Ani DiFranco, singer-songwriter, label chief WHAT A 1930s Cromwell tenor, made by Gibson WHY “I got it when I was 19 and I’ve just always loved the way it sounds. I love the simplicity and limitation of four strings. Sometimes I write a song on my tenor, maybe one-eighth of the time, and so there will be at least a few songs a night that the tenor will come out onstage. It makes a nice foil for the sixstring guitars and usually needs less EQ-ing than the other acoustic guitars. The narrower sound of the tenor seems to translate better through a magnetic pickup. No scratchy high-end or troublesome lowend. It’s aces onstage. I use a DI with no microphone, but then I split to two different send-pedals to two different guitar amps that I can color the sound with. “Tenor guitars are the best. I’ve rarely met one I didn’t like.”

SPECIAL FOCUS Continued from p. 31

Then, in 1958, Nick Reynolds supplanted Dodd’s place as the most famous tenor guitarist in America. The folk-revival was in full swing on college campuses, in coffeehouses, and church basements. And Reynolds hit on the idea of taking a small-bodied Martin 2-18T and tuning its steel strings like a baritone uke [DGBE]. The crisp, ringing tone balanced well with Bob Shane’s Martin D -28 and Dave Guard’s Vega Pete Seeger model banjo, but Reynolds discovered that the small guitar didn’t have enough volume. After an unsuccessful experiment setting up his 2-18T with eight strings, he finally settled on a larger-bodied

Martin 0-18T. The commercial success of such folk-revival hits as “Tom Dooley,” “Scotch and Soda,” and “Tijuana Jail” catapulted the Kingston Trio into the limelight and made the model de rigueur for budding folksingers. Soon, rival bands like the Brothers Four were strumming their own tenor guitars. CARRYING ON THE TRADITION The tenor guitar strikes a deep chord in Josh Reynolds, the son of Kingston trio member Nick Reynolds, a founding member of the Grammywinning trio that helped launch the folk revival. “Whenever I play my dad’s songs, I can feel his

spirit go through me,” says Reynolds, the president of the Tenor Guitar Foundation. Others have caught the tenor bug as well. In addition to the aforementioned players, the four-string instrument has been played by everyone from Terry Bohner of the film mockumentary A Mighty Wind (played by John Michael Higgins) to Limp Bizkit fright-rock guitarist Wes Borland. Josh Reynolds looks like his dad and sounds a bit like him, too. But for decades, he shied away from the guitar, instead becoming a successful producer of TV commercials. “Music was what my dad did, and I wanted to do my own thing,” Reynolds says. But when his father died in 2008, something changed. Reynolds, then 48, took up the guitar and started attending an annual Kingston Trio fantasy camp. He also connected with Mark Josephs, the indefatigable musician who launched both the nonprofit Tenor Guitar Foun-

‘Tenor guitars are the best. I’ve rarely met one I didn’t like.’ ANI DIFRANCO dation—which provides tenor guitars to young students—and an annual gathering for tenor players in Astoria, Oregon. “We were very, very good friends,” Reynolds says. “And Mark helped me realize that the tenor guitar is a gateway to helping people around the world learn how to sing and play music. It’s such a great entrylevel instrument.” When cancer claimed Josephs’ life last year, Reynolds stepped up. He found himself spearheading the seventh year of the Tenor Guitar Gathering, which offers three days of workshops on the tenor, the ukulele, and the mandolin. “It was a challenge,” Reynolds says. “Mark lived for the tenor guitar. He devoted all of his extra time to answering questions and helping artists. There is no way to fill his shoes emotionally and also time-wise.” But the 2016 event was a success—Reynolds says the highlight was the instrument giveaway. “We gave two guitars to a 16-yearold girl and her mother, so she also could learn how to play,” he says. Reynolds is planning the next gathering, scheduled for May. “The whole idea is to keep going with Mark’s dream of fostering musicianship four strings at a time,” Reynolds says. Mark Kemp, Patrick Sullivan, and Michael Simmons contributed to this article. 34 February 2017

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Ten favorite hymns arranged in Walter Rodrigues Jr.’s unique style of solo guitar, in standard notation and tablature. Songs include: Abide with Me • Amazing Grace • Blessed Assurance • Just a Closer Walk with Thee • Oh How I Love Jesus • and more. The book includes access to videos online for download or streaming. 00153842 Book/Online Audio���������������� $19�99

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Songcraft Richard Shindell on listening

44

The Basics Improve your rock rhythm

50

The Basics Master artificial harmonics

54

Woodshed Peter Mulvey’s solo secrets

60

Weekly Workout Mix it up with Mixolydian scales

PLAY

Instagram offers an intimate way to bring people into your world.

HERE’S HOW

Social Hour

5 tips for musicians who want to get the most from social media BY JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS or musicians of all stripes, the social-media age is in many ways a godsend. If you want to share anything with the world, whether it’s a song you just finished writing, a video clip from last night’s show, a banjo joke, a shout-out to a favorite band, a photo of your dog, or commentary on the latest headlines, you can do so instantaneously on any number of platforms. No filter, no gatekeeper, no delay. Along with all the benefits of social media, though, come challenges and questions that many artists struggle to address. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube—where should you focus your attention? What kinds of things should you share with fans and strangers? How do you promote your music without coming across as a smarmy salesperson? And given how addictive Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and

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other social-media platforms can be, how do you stay active without squeezing out the time for actually creating music and having a life? Here are five tips on how to navigate social media, with advice from three different musicians who are engaging voices on these platforms: singer-songwriters Jonathan Byrd and Carsie Blanton, and guitar teacher and composer Rob Bourassa. PICK YOUR PLATFORMS With social media, it doesn’t pay to try to be everywhere—you’ll wind up feeling scattered. A better strategy is to focus on one or two platforms that appeal to you and, in particular, your target audience. “I use Facebook the most,” Jonathan Byrd says. “It’s the most flexible—I can write a story, post a picture or a

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video, or share a link. I think I got lucky and the demographic that uses Facebook most is also where a huge chunk of my fan base comes from: middle aged, college educated.” If you’re drawn to photography and video, Instagram offers an intimate way to bring people into your world and is particularly popular with the under-30 crowd—as is Twitter, which focuses more on quick links to other content. Any working musician needs highquality, representative videos on YouTube—plus a popular YouTube channel can provide significant income from advertising. Because the landscape of social media keeps changing (remember MySpace?), one smart strategy is to use it to lead people to your website, where you have complete control over the content and can build your own list of followers.

Photo by Casey Cosley

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“My Aged Tone D Bourgeois is hardly two years old but has the responsiveness and depth you would expect of a guitar that has been lovingly worn in for decades. It continues to surprise and inspire my playing”

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HERE’S HOW

USE YOUR STRENGTHS When communicating on social media, take advantage of your natural strengths. “I’m a writer, so sharing words is the most fun for me, and feels like something my fans are interested in and ready for,” says Carsie Blanton, who muses on her blog and other social media sites about love, sex, creativity, and other topics. “I think it’s important to use the tools of social media in ways that support and reflect your creative work.” For Bourassa, a clear teacher with a relaxed presence on camera, video is an ideal

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medium—especially for demonstrating his methods for figuring out how to play any music people hear in their heads. “A video or even a live Skype call is better for explaining these concepts,” he says, “because I can simply show them how it works.” SERVE THE AUDIENCE Every musician has gigs and projects to promote, but on social media (as with realworld friendships), don’t just focus on your own needs. “Share, share, share,” Byrd says. “I give away videos and live recordings.

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The Capo Company

I show people what the green room looks like. I post guitar lessons to my mostrequested songs. I share the work of other artists who turn me on. I tell stories. Every now and then, I ask for something.” And when you do ask for something, have fun and be creative with your request. “Nobody is going to pass the word around that you have a concert, or share a video that you make, unless you give them entertainment value,” Bourassa says. BE YOURSELF Want to avoid feeling like a marketer or publicist? Don’t act like one. In reality, you are much better off being an artist, being yourself. Everyone is bombarded by slick marketing all the time. What stands out in the midst of the noise, hype, and demographic targeting is speaking to your audience like a real person.

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‘I think it’s important to use the tools of social media in ways that support and reflect your creative work.’ CARSIE BLANTON “I find that in writing for social media— just like in songwriting—authenticity, humor, and specificity are what people respond to,” Blanton says. “When I can find the place where writing for social media feels like a creative act, I really enjoy it. And I think the fans know the difference.” SCHEDULE YOURSELF Keeping up with social media can easily become overwhelming. So consider allotting certain hours for social media and other types of outreach (and if these are not the optimal times for posting, take advantage of the many available tools for scheduling posts). Setting specific goals for what you want to accomplish each day is helpful, too, so you stay on task and don’t get sucked into that endless feed. And, hey, being efficient with your social media time might even mean you can put down those devices more often . . . and pick up that guitar.

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Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers is the author of The Complete Singer-Songwriter, just published by Backbeat Books in an expanded second edition. Visit the book’s companion website at completesingersongwriter.com.

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SONGCRAFT

The Searcher

Singer-songwriter Richard Shindell finds his own voice amid the crowded landscape of his songs BY STEVE BOISSON s a songwriter, Richard Shindell often speaks for other people. Fictitious people, such as the jaded stockbroker of “Confession,” or the emboldened refugee of “You Stay Here,” or the forgotten grandmother of “Abuelita.” He might also capture a moment, or an incident, like the road rage and redemption depicted in “Transit,” where a traffic jam caused by a nun changing a tire sends commuters “west-bound and into the sun, law and decorum constraining nary a one.” These are all songwriting practices rooted in a smart, literary sensibility, something fans of Shindell’s music have come to expect from him. But the title song from his latest CD,

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40 February 2017

Careless (Amalgamated Balladry), ventures into new territory. It’s a homely, unadorned expression of alcoholic remorse. When I lost you, it was April-May I can’t be more precise, I was drinking then The time frame is a wash . . . . Did it take long to find that voice? “The autobiographical preamble to that song took a while,” Shindell says with a laugh. “I’m talking about myself there—I’m not making it up. It’s much different from a lot of my other songs because it’s so unvarnished. It’s the truth. And once I got to the point of being

able to tell that truth, the song took only a matter of minutes to write.” Not that Shindell has abandoned the florid phrase entirely. Consider these lines from “Infrared,” another song on the new album: “The Gaussian plume is seen, by an oogenetic culex/ Narrowing down the stream, back to the dozing vertex.” Shindell explains: “What I’m describing there is the way a mosquito finds its blood host. Those terms actually make sense, I think. I like to play with words. And once I’m in the ballpark of a certain field of words, I like making them very precise. It was a challenge for me just to make that sing well.” Continued on p. 42

Teach yourself to play your favorite songs on guitar with this multi-media learning experience! Each song in each book includes a comprehensive online video lesson with an interactive song transcription, slow-down features, looping capabilities, track choices, play-along functions, and more. The price of the books includes access to all of these online features!

“COME AS YOU ARE” & 9 MORE ROCK HITS

“MORE THAN WORDS” & 9 MORE ACOUSTIC HITS

Come As You Are (Nirvana) • Do I Wanna Know? (Artic Monkeys) • Heaven (Los Lonely Boys) • Here Without You (3 Doors Down) • Learn to Fly (Foo Fighters) • Plush (Stone Temple Pilots) • Santeria (Sublime) • Say It Ain’t So (Weezer) • 21 Guns (Green Day) • Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers).

Angie (The Rolling Stones) • Daughters (John Mayer) • Drive (Incubus) • Iris (Goo Goo Dolls) • Layla (Eric Clapton) • Mr. Jones (Counting Crows) • More Than Words (Extreme) • Patience (Guns N’ Roses) • Wonderwall (Oasis) • You Were Meant for Me (Jewel).

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“CROSSROADS” & 9 MORE BLUES CLASSICS

“SMOKE ON THE WATER” & 9 MORE HARD ROCK CLASSICS

Born Under a Bad Sign Albert King) • Cross Road Blues (Crossroads) (Cream) • Hide Away (Freddie King) • I’m Tore Down (Eric Clapton) • I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man (Muddy Waters) • Killing Floor (Howlin’ Wolf) • Mary Had a Little Lamb (Buddy Guy) • Still Got the Blues (Gary Moore) • Texas Flood (Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble) • The Thrill Is Gone (B.B. King).

Bark at the Moon (Ozzy Osbourne) • Breaking the Law (Judas Priest) • Iron Man (Black Sabbath) • Photograph (Def Leppard) • Rebel Yell (Billy Idol) • Rock and Roll All Nite (KISS) • Rock You like a Hurricane (Scorpions) • Runnin’ with the Devil (Van Halen) • Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple) • The Trooper (Iron Maiden).

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“DUST IN THE WIND” & 9 MORE FINGERPICKING CLASSICS

“SWEET HOME ALABAMA” & 9 MORE ROCK CLASSICS

Anji (Simon & Garfunkel) • Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin) • Blackbird (The Beatles) • Dee (Randy Rhoads) • Dust in the Wind (Kansas) • Fire and Rain (James Taylor) • Little Martha (The Allman Brothers Band) • Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver) • Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton) • Time in a Bottle (Jim Croce).

All Right Now (Free) • The Boys Are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy) • Day Tripper (The Beatles) • Detroit Rock City (KISS) • Don’t Fear the Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult) • Refugee (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) • Start Me Up (The Rolling Stones) • Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits) • Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd) • Walk This Way (Aerosmith).

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SONGCRAFT

side from playing guitar in a college band with John Gorka—and fan phases for the Grateful Dead, Little Feat, Genesis, and other rock acts—Shindell’s first musical foray was as a busker in the Paris Metro. He was by then under the sway of acoustic guitar greats John Fahey and Leo Kottke. “God, Time and Causality was one of my favorite records,” Shindell says of the album that’s not exactly a list-topper among most Fahey fans. His gateway to Kottke, Circle ‘Round the Sun, is equally unsung. “I love that record. And he hates it, apparently,” Shindell says. “I discovered those two records more or less at the same time, and they were really my first introduction—they and Norman Blake—

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WHAT RICHARD SHINDELL PLAYS Richard Shindell owns many guitars, but his favorite is a 1952 Martin D-18. “It’s your typical responsive, woody, mid-rangy, very focused, mahogany lightweight Martin dreadnought,” he says. His second favorite is his 1962 Epiphone Texan. He uses Martin Retro Monel Nickel strings, and he picks and strums them with a Wegen flatpick. As for amplification, Shindell says, “Everything onstage is going through one guitar amplifier. I don’t use a DI at all. My acoustic guitars and electric guitars are all going through my pedal boards, the acoustics via my Grace Design Felix pre-amp. And they all go into a Headstrong Lil King, which is basically a modern Princeton Reverb. All the monitoring comes off the amplifier; I only hear my voice. I have no guitars in the monitor. And I like that. Sending everything through the amplifier kind of unifies all the instruments.”

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LEARN TO PLAY RICHARD SHINDELL’S ‘YOUR GUITAR’ ON p. 64

to a certain world of acoustic guitar playing.” As busking did not sustain Shindell, he returned home to pursue a postgraduate degree at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He did not complete the program. “I’m a nostalgic believer,” he says. “I was in the Episcopal Church and it was very important to me for a long time. I do have a certain kind of religious tendency—I practice Buddhist meditation—but I have a hard time being a Christian these days.” Still, religion, or the search for it, occasionally recurs in his work. In the agnostic anthem “The Next Best Western,” Shindell’s narrator asks, “Did he who made the Lamb / put the tremble in the hand / that reaches out to take my quarter?” “I’m conflicted about it because there is something very comforting about belonging to the church, but I just can’t do it,” Shindell says. “So that was a misguided adventure on my part.” While at the seminary, Shindell had been writing songs, and once out he pursued the craft in earnest. He regularly attended Jack Hardy’s songwriting workshop on Houston Street in Lower Manhattan. At some point during his early days on the scene, he started compiling a tape of his songs, which a friend copied and sent to Shanachie Records in the early 1990s. Shindell was unaware of his friend’s submission, so he was naturally surprised when a label rep called to express excitement over his “album.” Shindell, who now lives in Argentina, recorded three albums for the New Jersey record company: Sparrow’s Point (1992,) Blue Divide (1994,) and Reunion Hill (1997). The latter won the American Association of Independent Music award for “Best Contemporary Folk Album.” He enjoyed some welcome exposure after Joan Baez recorded three of his songs on her 1997 release, Gone from Danger, and took him along on tour. Shifting gears a bit, he recorded Cry Cry Cry (1998) with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky, performing songs by such colleagues as Ron Sexsmith and Cliff Eberhardt, and swathed in lustrous three-part-harmonies. He has since released two more collections of cover songs. “It’s fun,” he told a recent audience. “It’s what we all did starting out.” ongwriting, of course, remains central to Shindell’s career, and for that, the guitar is an important tool. “I have to get enchanted by a guitar arrangement before I start writing something,” he says, and the rolling DADGAD patterns behind “Hazel’s House,” from his 2004 album Vuelta, are enchanting.

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‘I like to play with words. And once I’m in the ballpark of a certain field of words, I like making them very precise.’ RICHARD SHINDELL “That’s an example of finding a particular groove,” he says. “It starts as a groove, then it becomes a song. But I spend a lot of time, once a song is on the way, getting the arrangement to be a self-contained thing on the guitar.” Shindell’s guitar skills offer many options: He usually uses a pick for strumming, lead lines, and hybrid finger-style picking, but sometimes plays bare-fingered. “Getting the guitar arrangement with basslines and counter-melodies and all that stuff is important to me,” he says. With four albums of new, original material released since 1997’s Reunion Hill, Shindell may not be prolific but he is meticulous. Mining one’s inspiration to find the best expression of a song can be an arduous task. Take the song “Transit,” from his 2000 album Somewhere Near Paterson. It opens on a clogged Route 80 during rush hour. A couple of lines describe a nun changing a tire, but most of the lines focus on the commuters, who have congealed into a raging, muddled mob missing all their exits. “When I first wrote it, the nun was a minor character,” he explains. “She was the reason why there was a traffic jam.” Later, in the studio, the song was still unfinished, and producer Larry Campbell was anxious to record. “I started looking at the lyrics and I saw the nun and I thought, ‘What’s she doing there? Where’s she going?’ And that’s when the song revealed itself.” The nun drives to choir practice at a penitentiary, where the inmates achieve a fleeting spiritual transcendence beyond the ken of the crazed commuters. “It wasn’t like I created it out of whole cloth,” he says. “I don’t write that way. I write in a very circuitous way. That’s why writing is kind of scary.” There are times, as with “Careless,” when a song pours forth without detours, as an honest revelation. “I started my career being a little queasy about confessional songwriting, and there’s nothing wrong with that posture,” Shindell says. “But every once in a while it’s good to speak straight and true and not hide behind another character. I’m trying to write songs a bit more like that, just to be simple. Some of my songs are a bit wordy. And I like a simple song.” AG

HUGH O'CONNOR

BASICS THE BASICS

How to Improve Your Rhythm Playing 5 ways to build your rhythmic rudiments . . . ramble on with acoustic-rock basics BY GRETCHEN MENN THE PROBLEM You fall into predictable patterns and struggle to create interesting phrases in your lead playing. THE SOLUTION Rhythm playing is one of the most essential, yet often overlooked, areas of guitar playing. Think Malcolm Young—his sense of clear, confident time is an essential part of AC/DC’s sound and gave brother Angus the energetic, rock-solid foundation for blazing solos. Think Tommy Emmanuel—his lead playing drops jaws, but his rhythm playing is what allows a single acoustic guitar to fill a concert hall and deliver compelling songs. And what would Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” or “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” be without Jimmy Page driving the rhythm?  Guitar players often spend a lot of energy working on lead playing and perfecting singlenote technical exercises. Yet developing your sense of time and rhythmic vocabulary won’t just make you a better rhythm player, it will make you a better lead player, and a better musician overall. GET A METRONOME Initially, I loathed my metronome. It felt tyrannical. But when I accepted it as a manda-

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44 February 2017

You’ll start hearing and feeling time in a deeper way only when you have the mental space to work on playing better, rather than faster or more complex. tory part of musical growth and reevaluated how I was using it, my attitude changed entirely. I isolated my focus to my picking hand by muting the strings with my fretting hand. I set the metronome to 60 b.p.m. I played the following rudiments for at least one minute each—longer in the cases of subdivisions that were more challenging. If a full minute seems excessive for something that should be easy, keep in mind that you’ll start hearing and feeling time in a deeper way only when you have the mental space to work on playing better, rather than faster or more complex. Concentrate on having a solid attack, feeling settled with the beat, and developing a sense of command and ease.  Staying with the metronome requires listening to both it and yourself. If you notice you are wandering out of synch, try to regain the beat without

stopping completely, but rather by devoting more attention to the click of the metronome.  GO TO RHYTHMIC BOOTCAMP Get in the zone with quarter notes. For all of these boot-camp exercises, you will be approaching the guitar as a purely percussive instrument, and therefore muting the strings with the fretting hand. Play quarter notes, one strum per click, using downstrokes exclusively (Ex. 1). This first minute on quarter notes is when I’ll close my eyes, consider my attack, and try to internalize the click of the metronome. Then check your upstrokes with eighth notes—play two notes per click of the metronome (Ex. 2), using a down-up picking pattern (down picks on downbeats). Downstrokes are naturally stronger—they have both physiology and gravity working for them. Use your ears, as it may mean consciously exaggerating the upstrokes for them to sound truly in balance. Then leave out the first eighth note, and play just the upbeats (Ex. 3).  Now mix up your pick direction with triplets, three evenly spaced notes per beat (Ex. 4). Playing triplets, or any odd subdivision of the beat, means the pick changes direction with every new group. For example, the first group would be down-up-down, then up-down-up, and

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¿ ¿ ¿ ≈ ¿ ¿ ¿ ≈ ¿ ¿ ¿ ≈ ¿ ¿ ¿ ≈ ≥

≤

≥

etc.

Ex. 14

¿ ≥

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

¿ ≥

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

¿ ¿ ¿ ¿ ¿ ¿ ¿ ≥

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

≤

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

≥

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

≤

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

≥

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

≤

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

≥

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

¿ ≥

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿

Am

œœœ œ œ

¿¿¿ ¿ ¿

œœœ œ œ

¿¿¿ ¿ ¿

¿¿¿ ¿ ¿

0 1 2 2 0

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿

0 1 2 2 0

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿

¿¿ ¿¿ ¿

≥

≥

≥

≥

≤

Dm

œœ œ œ ≥

1 3 2 0

œœ œ œ ≤

1 3 2 0

¿¿ ¿ ¿ ≥

¿¿ ¿¿

œœ œ œ ≤

1 3 2 0

E

œ # œœœ œ œ

œœ œœ œ œ

0 0 1 2 2 0

0 0 1 2 2 0

≥

≥

AcousticGuitar.com 45

THE BASICS

so forth. It can feel inside-out to play a downbeat with an upstroke, but once you realize why it feels weird, working out the problem becomes a matter of listening carefully and feeling the change of where the beat falls within your picking pattern. I found it helpful to exaggerate the first note of every triplet group to help me keep a sense of the downbeat.  Next, leave out the first note of each triplet (Ex. 5). Keep your picking hand moving in the triplet pattern, but don’t hit the strings on what would be the first note of each group. Now leave out the second note of each triplet (Ex. 6). This may feel strange, as the

picking pattern is down, down, then up, up, and so on. But once your ear starts hearing it as a shuffle, that classic blues/R&B rhythm, your body will embrace it more readily.  Finally, leave out the third note of each triplet (Ex. 7). Onward to 16th notes. Play four notes per beat (Ex. 8). Then leave out the first 16th note of each group (Ex. 9), the second 16th note (Ex. 10), the third (Ex. 11), and finally the fourth (Ex. 12).  This boot camp requires 12 minutes of practice allocated to intense focus on rhythmic rudiments. I encourage you also to explore

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quintuplets, sextuplets, and septuplets (five, six, and seven notes per beat, respectively). You could get extremely geeky and continue the process of leaving out certain notes within those subdivisions, but see what feels pertinent and interesting to you and your goals.  MIX UP THE SUBDIVISIONS Once you’re comfortable with Examples 1 through 12, start inventing different groupings—place a few 16th notes within an eighth-note pattern, or intersperse triplets. In general, the picking hand will move with the shortest subdivision of the beat. By playing the eighth notes with two downstrokes, as in Ex. 13, your picking hand is already moving in 16th notes, which will solidify your rhythm and make the 16th notes within the phrase feel natural. 

3

ADD CHORD ACCENTS Ex. 14 builds upon Ex. 13 by taking the same rhythm and adding chord accents to the muted notes. I’ve chosen three familiar open chords—A minor, D minor, and E. Once you get confident moving between muted s tr ums a n d c h o r d a c c e n ts , try ad d in g different chords within a pattern of your own to create a riff or progression. 

4

ENLIST A DRUMMER In my experience, drummers really appreciate guitar players who want to focus more on rhythm playing, and are often thrilled to practice their rudiments alongside some harmonic interest. So chances are you could enlist a practice buddy who rules the rhythm section and might be able to give some helpful suggestions. 

5

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BONUS TIP With every lesson, one of the strongest pieces of advice I can offer is to write with a new concept. Making it your own and incorporating it into your immediate vocabulary will be one of the best paths to deeper understanding and true assimilation. Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris) referred to filmmaking as “sculpting in time,” and music inhabits the same dimension—sounds and silences within the framework of time. Nothing is more fundamental to music than rhythm. Time is your canvas. Know it and use it well.  Gretchen Menn is a guitarist and composer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes, records, and performs original music and is a member of the popular Led Zeppelin tribute band Zepparella. gretchenmenn.com

©2017 Fender Musical Instruments, Corp. Paramount® is a registered trademark of Jackson/Charvel Manufacturing, Inc. All rights reserved.

A N E W GE N E R ATIO N O F AC O US TICS PA R A M O U N T S E R I E S P M -1 A L L M A H O GA N Y N E

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BASICS THE BASICS

Ex 1. F# at 2nd fret

F# at 14th fret

5 Ways to Master Artificial Harmonics

Learn to play tonal colors on your acoustic guitar that channel the sound of a harp BY JEFF GUNN

THE PROBLEM You want to learn how to play those tricky artificial harmonics on your acoustic guitar that channel the sound of a harp, much like Chet Atkins did in his famous version of “Over the Rainbow,” or the way Lenny Breau—a master of artificial harmonics—put his imprint on standards like “Autumn Leaves.” But where to begin?

THE SOLUTION Delve into a series of graduated exercises designed to get you used to playing harp harmonics, first on their own and then in context. CHIME IN WITH THIS EXERCISE Start by fretting a note conventionally, say the FG on string 6, fret 2. Keeping that note held, place your pick-hand’s index finger lightly above the note 12 frets higher on the same string, the 14th-fret FG as shown in Ex. 1. While fingering

1

50 February 2017

that harmonic, pick the string downward, with your pick-hand’s thumb. If you’re playing the harmonic correctly, you’ll get a chime-like tone that’s an octave higher than the second-fret FG. BUILD HARP HARMONICS AROUND A FAMILIAR CHORD SHAPE Ex. 2 subjects a G barre chord to harp harmonics. In notation, each harmonic is indicated by a diamond-shaped notehead; the location of the harmonic is shown in tablature in parentheses. To play the example, maintain the G-chord grip throughout while you pick the harp harmonics. Remember to touch the string lightly when producing each harmonic, and let all notes ring for as long as possible. In Ex. 3, keep the G shape held in your fret hand, but play the harmonics seven frets higher, as opposed to 12. The harmonics sound an octave plus a fifth higher than the fretted notes, so if you’re playing the figure correctly, you’ll

2

hear a D arpeggio. Ex. 4, which combines harp harmonics with a conventionally fretted G note on string 1, fret 3, builds on Ex. 3. Produce the harmonics as you’ve done in previous examples, and pick those Gs, indicated with regular noteheads, with your ring finger. Next try Ex. 5, which is essentially Ex. 3, but with a seven-fret distance between the fretted shape and the harmonics. The resulting sound—a Gmaj9—is rather colorful. Be sure to play the regular notes and harp harmonics at equal volume. ADD CHORDAL ACCENTS WITH REGULAR NOTES Ex. 6 extends the harp-harmonic concept with three-note chords, pitted against harp harmonics played 12 frets higher than the G shape. Strum the chords with your ring finger. You’ll find the same idea, but—you guessed it—with harmonics seven frets higher, in Ex. 7.

3

Ex. 1 Ex. Ex. 1 1 Ex. 1 Ex. Ex. 1 1 4 &Ex. Ex.41 1# O &Ex.4441# O

& 4 #O & 4 #O & & 444 ## OO & 444 # O &B 4 # 2O (14) B ) B 22 ((14 14 ) B ( Ex. 3 2 14 ) B ) B 14 ) D 22 ((14 Ex. Ex. 3 3 Ex. 14 ) B 33 DD 22 ((14 Ex. B 3# D 2 (14)) Ex. D Ex. & 33## D‚‚ Ex. ‚ Ex. & & 3### DDD‚‚ & ‚ & & # ‚ & # ‚ &B 3 (10 ) B ) B 33 ((10 10 ) B 3 (10 ) B ) Ex. B4 33 ((10 10 ) Ex. Ex. 10 ) B444 GG33 ((10 Ex. B4 G3 (10)) Ex. œ Ex. 4# G G & 44## G‚ œœ Ex. Ex. & Ex. & 4### GG‚‚ œœœ & G‚ & & # ‚‚ 33œ & # ‚ 33œ &B 3‚ (15)33 B ) B 5 33 ((15 3 15 )3 Ex. B ( 3 15 )3 B 3 ((15 )) B 5G maj9 Ex. 3 15 Ex. 5 Ex. 5 3 ((15 15 )) B 55GG maj9 Ex. 3 Ex. B G maj9 ( 3 maj915 )œ # G ‚ œ Ex. 5 G maj9 Ex. 5 maj9 & Ex. 5## ‚ ‚ œœ maj9 & & GGG## maj9 ‚‚ œœ maj9 & # ‚ 3 & & # œ 3 & # ‚‚ 33œ &B 3 (10 )33 B ) B 33 ((10 3 10 )3 B ( 3 10 )3 B ) Ex. B 6 33 ((10 10 ) Ex. Ex. 10 )) B 666 GG33 ((10 Ex. B ( 3 10 ) G Ex. œœ Ex. 6 6# G G & 66## G‚ œœœ Ex. Ex. & Ex. & 6### GG‚‚ œœœœ & G‚ œ & & # ‚‚ 333œœ 4 œ & # ‚ 3334œœœ &B 3‚ (15)34343 3 B )4 B 33 ((15 3 15 )4 3 B 3 3 (15 )3 B 33 ((15 )4 B 3 15 )4 4

Ex. 2 Ex. Ex.G2 2 Ex.G2 Ex. G Ex. # GG22 Ex. ## G‚22 Ex. Ex. # G‚2

‚ ‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ G‚ all examples ‚ ## let ‚ throughout ‚‚ ring G‚‚ ‚ ‚ all examples ring ‚ throughout # let let all examples ring throughout ‚ ‚ (16) 4 ‚ throughout ring # let ‚ all examples ) 5 (17 ‚ let all examples ring throughout (16) 4 ( ) let all examples ring throughout 5 17 ‚ 5 ((17)) 4 (16) 3 (15 )

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

5

(12 )

5 5 5 5 5

(12 ) (12 ) (12 ) (12 ) (12 )

5 5 12 )) 5 ((12 (12 )

12 )) ((12 (12 )

5

(12 )

5 5 5 5 5

(12 ) (12 ) (12 ) (12 ) (12 )

5 5 5

‚ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ 3 ‚ 33œœ 5‚ (17) 3 3 5 5 5 5 5

3

(17) (17) 3 (17) 3 (17) 3 (17)

5 ((17 17)) 5 5 (17)

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

5 5 5 5 5 5

œ œœ œœ œ 3 œ 3 3 œ 3

(12) 3 3 (12) (12) 3 (12)3 (12)3 (12)

5 ((12 12)) 5 5 (12)

‚ œœœœ ‚‚ œœ ‚‚ œœœ ‚ 3œœ ‚ 33433œœœ œœ 4 5‚ (17) 3 4 3 5 5 5 5 5

3 3 (17) 4 (17) 3 4 3 (17) 4 3 3 (17) 3 (17) 4 4 3 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ 3 ‚ (15)

3 3 3 5 17 4 (16) 3 5 (( 17)) ring let all examples throughout ) 4 (16) 3 5 (17 let throughout (15examples ) 5 17 ring 3 all (15examples ) 5 ( 17) ring ) 4 (16) 3 all 5 ((17 let throughout 3 ( 17) 5 17) 3 (15 ) 5 3 ( ) 4 ((16 16)) 3 3 ((15 )) 5 17 4 3 15 5 ((17 17)) 4 (16) 5 5 ( 17) ((15 )) 5 ( 17) 5 (17) 3 3 15 5 ( 17) 3 (15 )

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

‚ œ ‚‚ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ 3œ ‚ 3œ œ 5‚ (17) 3 3 5 5 5 5 5

5 5 5

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

5

(17) 3 (17) 3 (17) 3 (17) 3 (17) 3 17)) ((17 (17)

œ œœ œœ œ 3 œ 3 œ (12) 3 3

(12) 3 (12) 3 (12) 3 (12) 3 (12) 3 ( ) 5 12 ( ) 5 12 5 (12) 5 5 5 5 5

‚ œœ ‚‚ œœœ ‚‚ œœœ ‚ 3œœ ‚ 334œœœ œœ 3 5‚ ( 17) 3 3 4 œ 4 3 5 ( 17) 3 3 ( 17) 4 3 ( 17) 3 4 3 ( 17) 4 ( 17) 3 3 3 4 4 5 (( 17 17)) 3 5 4 5 5 5 5

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ 3

(11)

3 3 3 3 3

(11) (11) (11) (11) (11)

4 4 4 4 4

‚ œ ‚‚ œ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œœ 3 ‚ œ 4 ‚ (16 ) 3 3 œ (16 ) 3 (16 ) 3 (16 ) 3 (16 ) (16 ) 3 3 3 ( ) 4 16 4 (16 ) 4 (16 ) 4 4 4 4 4

‚ ‚‚ œ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œœ ‚ 3œ ‚ œ 4 ( 11) 3 3 œ ( )3 ( 11 11) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11)

(10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

3 ((10 10)) 3 3 (10)

4 ((11 11)) 4 4 (11)

4 4 4 4 4

(10)

3 3

3 3 4 (( 11 11)) 3 4 4 ( 11)

‚ œ ‚‚ œœœ ‚‚ œœœ ‚ œœ ‚ 33œœœ 4 ‚(16 ) 3 4 œœ 3 3 œœ 4 ((16 )) 3 4 4 16 3 4 3 3 3 4 (16 ) 4 4 ((16 )) 3 4 4 16 4 3 3 3 3 4 ((16 16 )) 4 4 4 3 4 (16 ) 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚3 ‚ 3 3 3 3 3

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ 3

( 10)

3 3 3 3 3

( 10) ( 10) ( 10) ( 10) ( 10)

3 3 3

10)) (( 10 ( 10)

œ œœ œœ œ3 (15 ) œ3 (15 )œ3 (15 ) 3

(15 ) 3 (15 ) 3 (15 ) 3 3 3 ((15 15 )) 3 3 3 (15 )

‚ ‚‚ œ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œ ‚ œœ3 ‚3 (10) œ 3 3 ((10 )) œ3 3 10 3

(10 ) 3 (10 ) 3 (10 ) 3 3 3 ((10 10 )) 3 3 3 (10 ) 3 3 3

‚ œ ‚‚ œœœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œœœ ‚3 (15) œœ33 ‚ ( ) œœ433 3 ( 15) œ 3 3 15 œ 3 4 4 3 ( 15) œ 3 3 3

3 3 3

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ 3 ‚ 3

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ 3 ‚

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ 3 3 3 3 3 3

3 3 3 3 3

(15 ) (15 ) (15 ) (15 ) (15 )

(15 ) (15 ) (15 ) (15 ) (15 ) (15 )

3 3 3 3 3

3 3 3

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ 3 ‚ 3

(10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 )

3 ((10 10 )) 3 3 (10 )

œ œœ œœ œ (15) 3 (15) œ3 (15) œ3 (15) 3

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ 4 4 4 4 4 4

3 3 3 3 3

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ (16 ) 4

( 15) ( 15) ( 15) ( 15) ( 15)

4 4 4 4 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ 5 ( 17)

(16 ) (16 ) (16 ) (16 ) (16 )

3 3 4 3 4 4 3 3 3 3 4 4 3 4

5 (12)

(11) (11) (11) (11) (11)

4 ((11 11)) 4 4 (11)

‚ œ ‚‚ œ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œœ 3 3‚ ( 15) ‚ 33œœ 3 (( 15)) 3 15 3

(10 ) 3 3 (10) 3 (10 ) 3 3 ((10)) 3 3 10 10 )) 3 3 3 ((10 3 3 ((10 10)) 3 (10 ) 3 3 3 (10)

œœ œœ œœ œœ œ3 (15)œ œœ3 (15) œ4 3 (15) œ3 3 (15) œ3 4 4 (15) œ3

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

(11)

‚ œ ‚‚ œ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œœœ ‚ œœœ (10 ) 3 3 3‚ (10) œ (10 )œ 3 (10 )œ 3 3 (10) 3 3 œ (10 ) 3 3 (10) 3

3 3 3 3 (15) ( 15) 3 3 4 ( 15) 3 4 4 3 3 3 ((15 15)) 3 15)) 3 3 3 (15) ((15 4 ( 15) 4 3 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ 3 ‚ (15)

3 ((15 15 )) 3 15 )) 3 (15 ) 3 3 ((15 15)) ((15 4 ((16 16 )) (15 ) 3 ( 15) 4 4 (16 )

3 3 3 ((15)) 3 3 ( 15) 3 3 15 3 3 ( 15) 3 3 ( 15) 3 ((15 15)) 3 3 3 3 3 3 (( 15 15)) 3 3 (15) 3 3 3 ( 15)

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚‚ ‚ 3‚

VIDEO LESSON ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM/TAG/FEBRUARY-2017

‚ œ ‚‚ œœœœ ‚‚ œ ‚ œœœ ‚ œœ3 3 ( 15) œ3 ‚ œ43 3 ( 15) œ3 3 3 ( 15) œ3 4 4 3 ( 15) œ3

3 (( 15)) 3 3 3 15 4 3 4 4 3 3 ( ) 3 15 3 3 ( 15) 3 4 3 ( 15) 4 3 4

(12) (12) (12) (12) (12)

5 5 5 5 5

5 ((12 12)) 5 5 (12)

‚ œ ‚‚ œ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œœ 3 ‚4 (16 )3œ ‚ 3œ (16 )3 (16 )3 (16 )3 (16 ) (16 ) 3 3 3 ( ) 4 16 4 (16 ) 4 (16 )

4 4 4 4 4

‚ ‚‚ œ ‚‚‚ œœœ œ ‚ 3œ ‚ œ 4 ( 11) 3 3œ 3

4 4 4 4 4

( 11) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11)

3 3

3 3 4 (( 11 11)) 3 4 4 ( 11)

‚ œ œ ‚‚ œœœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œœ ‚ œœœ33 4‚ (16) œ3 œ4333 4 ((16)) œ 4 4 16 œ3 4 3 4 (16) 4 ((16)) 4 16

3 3 4 3 4 4 3 3 3 3 4 ((16 16)) 4 4 4 3 4 (16) 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

5 (( 17)) 5 17 5 (17 ) 5 ( 17) 5 (17 ) 5 ( 17) 5 (17 ) 5 ( 17) 5 (17 ) 5 (17 ) 5 ((17 17)) 5 5 ((17 17 )) 5 ( 17) 5 5 (17 )

5

(12 )

5 5 5 5 5

(12 ) (12 ) (12 ) (12 ) (12 )

5 5 5

12 )) ((12 (12 )

‚ œ ‚‚ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œ3 ‚ œ ‚5 (17) œ333 5 5 5 5 5

(17) (17) (17) (17) (17 )

5 5 5

17)) ((17 (17)

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

3 3 3 3 3

œ œœ œœœ 3 œ33 5 (12) œ 3 5 5 5 5 5

(12) (12) (12) (12) (12)

5 5 5

12)) ((12 (12)

3 3 3 3 3

‚ œœ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ œœ3 œœ3 ‚ ‚5 (17) œœœ33433 œ443 5 (17) 3 (17) (17) (17) (17)

3 3 4 3 4 4 3 3 3 3 4 4 ( ) 5 (17 17) 3 5 4 5 5 5 5

‚ ·. ‚‚ ‚‚ ··· ... ‚ ·· .. ‚ · . ‚ 5 (17 ) · . ·. ·· .. ·· .. ·. ·. ·.

3 (15) 3 3 3 3 3

(15) (15) (15) (15) (15)

3 ((15 15)) 3 3 (15)

3 (10) 3 3 3 3 3

(10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

3 ((10 10)) 3 3 (10)

‚ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ 3 ‚ 33œœ ‚ ( 17) 33 5

5 5 5 5 5

3 ( 17) ( 17) 3 ( 17) 3 ( 17) 3 ( 17)

5 (( 17 17)) 5 5 ( 17)

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚‚ ‚ ‚

œ œœ œœ œ 3 œ 3 3 œ )3

5 (12 3 3 5 ((12)) 5 12 3 5 (12) 3 5 ((12)) 3 5 12 5 ((12 12)) 5 5 (12)

‚ œœœœ ‚‚ œœœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ 3œœ ‚ 33343œœœ ‚ ( 17) 4334œœ 5

5 5 5 5 5

( 17) ( 17) ( 17) ( 17) ( 17)

· ·· ·· · · · 3

3 3 3 3 3

( 15) ( 15) ( 15) ( 15) ( 15) ( 15)

3 (( 15 15)) 3 3 ( 15)

· ·· ·· · · ·

3

(10)

3 3 3 3 3

(10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

3 3 3

10)) ((10 (10)

· ·· ·· · · · 3

( 15) 3 3 4 3 4 3 ( 15) 4 3 3 ( 15) 3 51 3 AcousticGuitar.com 3 ( 15) 3 4 ( 15) 4 3 3 3 ( 15) 4

Ex. 7

THE BASICS G maj9

Ex. Ex. Ex. Ex. Ex. Ex. & Ex.

7 7 7 G maj9 7 G maj9 maj9 7 G #7G maj9 G maj9 ‚ maj9 ## maj9 7 G ‚

‚‚ ## maj9 G # ‚ # ‚‚ # ‚

œœ œœ œœœ œœ 3 œœ 3 œœ 4 3 3 3 3 œ 3

& & & & & & &B 4 3 4 4 3 (10 )3 3 4 3 4 3 B 4 (((10 )))3 3 B 3 10 3 10 3 B ( ) 4 3 10 B ( ) 3 10 3 B Ex. 8 3 (10 )4 B 3 (10 ) Ex. B 88 G3 (10 ) Ex. Ex. Ex. 8 8 Gœ Ex. 8# G G‚ & Ex. 8# G Gœœ # Ex. 8# Gœ‚œ & ## ‚œ‚ & & G & & # 3‚œ‚œ & # 333‚ &B 33‚ ( ) 3 15 3 B (15))) 3 B 3 3 ((15 15 3 B 3 (15) B ) Ex. B9 33 ((15 15) B9G maj9 3 (15) Ex. Ex. 9 B Ex. 9 3 (15) Ex. 9G maj9 maj9 maj9 Ex. 9G œ‚ # maj9 G maj9 Ex. 9G & G œ‚œ ## maj9 Ex. 9G maj9 œ‚‚œ # & # & G maj9 # œ‚‚œ3 & & # & ‚œ & # ‚333 &B 33 ( ) 3 10 3 B ) 3 (10 B 10)) Ex. 10 3333 (((10 B 10) B ( 10) B 10G 3m11 3 (10) Ex. Ex. 10 B 10 3 (10) Ex. G m11 Ex. m11 B 10 m11 3 Ex. 10G ggg ··· (10) G m11 G m11 Ex. 10 gg ··· b bGG m11 Ex. ggg ·· & 10 bbG m11 m11 b bb bb ggg ···· & & & bb b gg 3ggg ·· 15 & & b b gg 3ggg ·· 15 15 & b b gg 333333gg ·· 15 15 15 15 15 &B ggg 3333ggg · 15 15 15 15 gg 3333 15 15 15 15 3 15 g 3 15 3 15 B g 3 15 B g 3 15 3 15 3 15 g B 3 g B Ex. 12 g 33 15 15 B gg 33 15 15 Ggg 33 15 B Ex. 12 15 Ex. 12 g 3 15 g Ex. 12 B12GGgg 3 15 15 Ex. Ex. 12 G œ # Ex. 12 G G‚ & Ex. 12 ## G œœ ## G‚‚ œ & & # ‚ œ & & & # ‚‚ 3œœ & # ‚ 333 &B ‚ ( )33 3 15 3 3 B ) 3 B 3 (((15 15 15 ))3 52 B February32017 3 (15 ) B ) B 33 ((15 15 )

(( )) ((( ))) ()

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

œœ œœ œœœ œœ 3 œœ 3 œœ 4 3 3 3 3 œ 3

5 (12 )4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 5 12 ( ) 5 12 ( ) 3 5 (12 )4 4 5 (12 )3 5 (12 )3 4 5 (12 )3 5 (12 )4 5 (12 )

œ‚ œ‚œ œ‚‚œ œ‚‚3 œ‚ œ‚333 3 5 3 3 5 5 3 5 5 3 5 5 5 5

œ‚ œœ‚‚‚ œœ‚ œ3‚‚ œ œ333‚ 3 5 3 3 5 5 3 5 5 3 5 5 5 5

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚(

(17) (((17 ) 17 17)) (17) (17) (17) (17) (17)

(12) (((12 ) 12 12)) (12) (12) (12) (12) (12)

œ œœ œœ œ 3 œ œ 3 3 3

5 17)3 3 3 (17)))3 5 5 5 ((17 17 5 (17)3 5 (17) 5 (17) 5 (17)

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

‚œ ‚‚œœ ‚‚œœ ‚œ3 ‚œ ‚œ3353 3 3 3 5 5 5 3 5 5 3 5 5 5

‚œ ‚‚œ ‚œœ‚ ‚œœ ‚œ 3 ‚œ 3 3 3 5 3 3 3 5 5 5 3 5 5 3 5 5 5

œœ œœ œœœ œœ 3 œœ 3 œœ 4 3 3 (12 ) 3 3 œ 3 4 3 4 3 3 (((12 )4 12 12 )) 4 4 3 (12 ) 3 4 (12 ) 3 (12 ) 3 4 (12 ) 3 4 (12 )

(17) (((17 ) 17 17)) (17) (17) (17) (17) (17)

(12) (((12 ) 12 12)) (12) (12) (12) (12) (12)

‚ œ ‚‚ œœ ‚‚ œœ ‚ 3œ ‚ œ ‚ 33œ 5 (17 ) 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

3 3 (((17 ) 17 )) 3 17 (17 ) 3 (17 ) (17 ) 3 (17 )

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

œœ œœ œœœ œœ œœ33 ( ) 4 11 œ3 œœ43333 ((( 11 ) 11 11)) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11)

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

‚œ ‚œ‚œ ‚œ‚ ‚œœ ‚œ3 ‚œ343 3

4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 4

( 16)

3 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 3 4

((( 16 ) 16 16)) ( 16) ( 16) ( 16) ( 16) 4 ( 16)

‚ œ‚ ‚‚ œ‚œ œ‚œ ‚œ 3 ‚œ œ 4 3 3 3

(11)

3 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 3 4

(((11 ) 11 11)) (11) (11) (11) (11) 4 (11)

ggg ··· gg ·· gg ·· ggg ··· ggg ·· gggg 33··· 15 gg 3333·· 15 15 15 15 gg 333·· 15 15 15 ggg 3333 15 15 15 15 3 15 gg 333 15 15 15 gg 333 15 15 15 15 15 ggg 3333 15 15 15 gg 333 15 15 ggg 33 15 15 15 gg 33 15 ‚g 15œ ‚‚ œœ ‚‚ œ ‚ œœ ‚ 3œ ‚ 3œ 4 ( 16) 3

(( )) ((( ))) ()

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

3 3 ((( 16 ) 16 16)) 3 ( 16) 3 ( 16) 3 ( 16) ( 16) 3 ( 16)

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

‚œ ‚‚œ ‚œœ‚ ‚œœ ‚œ 3 ‚œ 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

‚ ‚œ‚ ‚œ‚ ‚œœ ‚œœ ‚œ 3 3 œ 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

œœ œœ œœœ œœ œ3 (10 ) œ3 œ3433 (((10 ))) œ 10 3 10 œ3

(10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 )

(15) (((15 ) 15 15)) (15) (15) (15) (15) (15)

(10) (((10 ) 10 10)) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

‚œ ‚œ‚œ ‚œ‚ ‚œœ ‚œ3 ‚œ343 3 3 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 3 4 4

‚ œ‚ ‚‚ œ‚œ œ‚œ ‚œ ‚œ3 œ3433 3 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 3 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

œœ œœ œœœ œ (10 )œ œœ 33 3 (((10 )œ 4 10 3 10 ))œ 3 3 3 (10 )œ 3 3 3 3 (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 )

(16) (((16 ) 16 16)) (16) (16) (16) (16) (16)

( 11)

((( 11 11 11))) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11) 4 ( 11)

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 4

3 3 3 3 3

‚œ ‚‚œœ ‚‚œœ ‚3œ ‚œ ‚3353œ 3 3 3 5 5 5 3 5 5 3 5 5 5

‚œ ‚‚œ ‚œœ‚ ‚œœ ‚ 3œ ‚œ

œœ œœ œœœ œœ 3 (10 ) œ œœ334 3 (((10 ) œ3 10 3 10 )) œ3 (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 )

4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 4

(17) (((17 ) 17 17)) (17) (17) (17) (17) (17)

3 3 3 (12) 5 3 3 3 (12))) 5 5 5 ((12 12 3 5 (12) 5 (12) (12) 3 5 11 Ex. 5 (12) D m11 Ex. 11 Ex. (12) 5 11 Ex. 11 D m11 Ex. 11 m11 D m11 Ex. 11 D m11 D m11 Ex. 11 D m11 Ex. D m1111 D m11

ggg ··· gg ·· ggg ·· gg ·· ggg ·· g ·· gggg ···33 10 gg ·33 10 10 10 gg ·3333 10 10 10 ggg 3333 10 10 10 10 10 gg 3333 10 10 10 ggg 333 10 10 10 10 3 10 gg 333 10 10 10 gg 333 10 10 10 ggg 333 10 G maj9 10 10 3 10 g g G maj9 3 gg 10 G maj9 maj9 G maj9 œ G maj9 ‚ G maj9 G maj9 ‚‚ œœœ G maj9 ‚‚ œœ ‚ 3œ ‚ 3œ ‚ 333

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

4 ( 11) 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

(17 )

3 5 3 3 5 5 3 5 5 3 5 5 5 5

(12)

œ‚ œœ‚‚‚ œœ‚ œ‚ 3œ‚ œ‚ 3 3 3

3 3 3 3 3 3 3

œœ œœ œœœ œœ œœ33 œ3433 5 (12 ) œ œ33

4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 4

5 3 3 5 5 3 5 5 3 5 5 5 5

(( )) ((( ))) () 3 (10 )3 3 (((10 ) 10 10 ))3 (10 ) (10 ) (10 )

((( 11 11 11))) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11) ( 11)

œ‚ œ‚œ œ‚‚œ œ‚ 3‚ œ‚ œ 3 3 3‚ 3

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

œœ œœ œœœ œœ œœ33 œœ3433 œ33

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

w ·ww w·w· w·· 3 w· w· 3 3 3 3 · 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

(((17 ) 17 17 )) (17 ) (17 ) (17 ) (17 ) (17 )

w· w·w w··w w·· 3 w· w· 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

(((12 ) 12 12)) (12) (12) (12) (12) (12)

‚ ‚‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚

œ œ œœ œ 3 œ œ 3 3 3

5 (12 )3 3 3 (12 )))3 5 5 5 ((12 12 5 (12 )3 5 (12 ) 5 (12 ) 5 (12 )

‚ ‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

(((12 ) 12 12 )) (12 ) (12 ) (12 ) (12 ) (12 )

4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 4

‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

œœ œœ œœœ œœ 3 œœ 3 œœ 4 3 3 3 3 3 )œ

5 (12 4 3 4 3 4 3 ((12 )) 4 3 5 ( ) 5 12 3 5 12 4 4 3 5 (12 ) 3 ( ) 5 12 4 5 (12 ) 3 5 (12 ) 4 5 (12 )

· ·· ·· · · ·

3

(10 )

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

(((10 ) 10 10 )) (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 )

(15) ) (((15 15 15)) (15) (15) (15) (15) (15)

(10 ) ) (((10 10 10 )) (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 ) (10 )

œ œ œœ œ 3 œ œ 3 3 (12 ) 3 3 3 3 (((12 ) ) 12 12 ) (12 ) 3 (12 ) (12 ) 3 (12 )

ggg ··· gg ·· ggg ·· ggg ··· gggg ··· gg ··3 ggg ·3 gg ··333333 ggg 333 ggg 3333 gg 333333 gg 33 ggg 333 gg 333 ‚gggg 33 ‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

(( )) ((( ))) () 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

œ œ œœ œ 3 œ œ 4 ( 11) 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

3 ((( 11 11 11))) 3 ( 11) 3 ( 11) 3 ( 11) ( 11) 3 ( 11)

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

VIDEO LESSON ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM/TAG/FEBRUARY-2017

You will up the ante in Ex. 8 and Ex. 9, in which harp harmonics and regular notes are sounded in pairs. As before, pick each harmonic with your thumb while catching the other note with your ring finger. Take care not to play the fretted notes too loudly.  

hand’s index finger at fret 15 and strumming the strings with your ring finger. Be sure to move your ring finger across the set of strings in a synchronized way with your index finger. In Ex. 11, do the same thing, but with your index finger at fret 10, forming a Dm11 chord.

PLAY FULL CHORDS USING HARP HARMONICS Ex. 10 reveals how to sound entire chords using harp harmonics. Use your fret hand’s first finger to bar all six strings at fret 3. Sound the Gm11 chord by placing your pick-

MOVE THINGS AROUND In practice, skilled guitarists don’t stick to one location when deploying harp harmonics. Here’s how to get started switching among different spots on the neck: In Ex. 12, you’ll hold that G barre chord while shifting between

4

Ex. 13

&

#

Am



3 (15)

3 5 (17 )

3 5 (17)

3

Jeff Gunn is author of the Hidden Sounds: Discover Your Own Method on Guitar series. He is the musical director of Emmanuel Jal. jeffgunn.ca

‚ G add9 ‚ E m11 ‚ œ ‚ œ ‚ œ ‚ œ ‚ œ ‚ œ œ œ ‚ œ ‚ œ ‚ œ œ

œ‚ œ ‚ œ ‚ œ ‚

G

3

B

5

harmonics played 12 and seven frets higher. Ex. 13 moves around even more, with a chord progression using a variety of different harmonics. Once you’re comfortable with this lesson’s exercises, try spicing up some of your own favorite chord progressions with harp harmonics, and you’ll have some cool new tonal colors at your disposal.

5

5

4 (16) 5 (17 )

7 (19)

5 7 (19 )

5

5

5

5 (17 ) 5 (12)

7 (14 )

5 7 (14)

5

5

5

5 (12 ) 8 (15)

7 (14 )

5 5 (12 )

5 5 (12 )

AcousticGuitar.com 53

WOODSHED

Peter Mulvey

Band in a Box

Folk-rock songwriter Peter Mulvey explains how to create a dynamic solo sound with alternate tunings BY JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS very solo performer faces the same challenge when taking the stage: How, with one voice and one guitar, do you convey a song—especially a simple one—in a dynamic way that holds an audience’s attention for three to four minutes? When you’re playing with a good band, songs develop naturally as instruments enter or drop out of the arrangement, change textures from section to section, and add solos to break up the vocals. Creating this kind of variety and interest as a solo act

E

54 February 2017

requires a much more sophisticated approach to accompaniment than knocking out the same rhythm pattern throughout the song. Folk-rock singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey is one performer who rises to this challenge. He sounds great fronting a band, as he does on many of his albums. But he usually performs solo—and his songs are just as dynamic. Mulvey’s masterful guitar work incorporates varied fingerstyle and flatpicking textures, string percussion, deep basslines, and melodic

solos, often using alternate tunings and partial capos to open up new sonic possibilities. To shed light on his approach to accompaniment, Mulvey visited my home studio while on tour in upstate New York and walked me through his song “The Knuckleball Suite,” which he originally recorded in standard tuning with a band (on his album The Knuckleball Suite), but also performs solo with an unorthodox alternate tuning and partial capo setup. That latter arrangement was captured

VIDEO LESSON ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM/TAG/FEBRUARY-2017

Ex. 1 Tuning: D G C F A D Capo II

C

F maj9

x 32 0 1 0

& 68 œ œ œ It

is

œ

a

œ œ œ

warm

œ

œ œ

sum - mer eve - ning,

I

can

F maj9/C 34 0 21 0

& Œ.

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œ.

œ

just

œ

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warm

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sum - mer eve - ning

I

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can

just

I hear the

œ œ œ œ.

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clo - ver hum a - long.

œ œ œ I

D add9 F #m9

D add9/A D add9/A D add9 x02010

0 0 000 0

x02010

3 x 2 000

T 02010

T 02010

œ œ.

can hear

Tuning: A F C F A C Capo IV (strings 5–1)

A A

C

x 32 0 1 0

œ œ œ

the Knuck - le

ball

F #m

4 x 1 00 x

the rain

j œ œ

Œ.

Suite.

C

T x 3210

Tuning: AFCFAC Ex. 2 Capo IV (strings 5–1)

0 0 000 0

Suite.

F maj7

œ œ œ œ œ

Œ.

œ.

the Knuck - le - ball

T x 3210

Dm

‰ ≈

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hear

xx0231

& Œ. Ex. 2

x 32 0 1 0

F maj7

6 fr.

œ œ œ

Œ

C

T x 3010

x 32 0 1 0

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clouds

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F #m9 B m11

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3 x 2 000

4 x 1 00 x

x 23 0 1 0

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feet.

B m11 x 23 0 1 0

© Copyright 2006 Peter Mulvey/Black Walnut Music]

Ex. Ex. 33

AA

D add9/A D add9/A

# # # # #6 6œœ ..œœœ ... Û ÛÛ Û Û Û Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û & & 8 8œœ ..œ .. œ .œ

BB

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0

Û ÛÛ Û Û Û Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û

œœœ œœœ œ œœœœœœœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœ œœ œ œ œœ œœ

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 01 11 1 0 0 0 02 22 2 0 0 0

D add9/A D add9/A

Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û

AA

œœœ ...œœœ ... Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û œœ ..œœ ..

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0

AA

Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û

AcousticGuitar.com 55 # # # # #œœ œœœÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û œœœœœ Û Û Û Û Û ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ Û Û ÛÛ Û .Û . Û ÛÛ ÛÛ Û œœ œœœ œœ œœœœœ œœœœœ œœœœœ œœœœœ œœœ œœ œœœœœ œœœœœ œœœœœ œœœ Û &

WOODSHED

on his album Notes from Elsewhere. This threechord song has no chorus and no bridge. “So it’s just the same thing over and over,” Mulvey says. “The entire game is dynamics.” HOW TO PLAY ‘THE KNUCKLEBALL SUITE’ In this multimedia lesson (check out the companion video at acousticguitar.com), Mulvey demonstrates how he creates those dynamics, and shares advice for how you can apply this approach to your own arrangements. The inspiration for “The Knuckleball Suite” arrived one late night at a bar in Boston, when Mulvey was swapping songs with members of Session Americana and decided to put a little spin on Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me” by playing it in 6/8 time. Digging the results, Mulvey resolved to write his own song over Dylan’s progression, changing the II chord (D) from major to minor to arrive at Ex. 1, the first verse of “The Knuckleball Suite.” (Note that Mulvey’s guitar is always tuned down a whole step, so in this example he capoes at the second fret to be in E-to-E standard tuning.) This is the basis of his original recording of “The Knuckleball Suite” on the album of the same title, in the key of C, with a band to flesh out the sound. When Mulvey went to perform the song solo, however, he felt limited by the C shapes in standard tuning, with no open string root available for the I (C) or IV (F). His solution was to use open-G tuning (again down a step, Ex.actually 3 so it’s open-F tuning), with a partial capo covering the top five strings at the fourth fret. Then he A dropped the uncapoed sixth string all the way to A—an octave below the (capoed) fifth string. So without the capo, the open-string notes are AFCFAC; with the capo, they are AAEACGE—an open-A tuning. This version of the song is in the key of A.

# # œ. & # 68 œœœ ... œ.

Ex.B3

0 0 0 0 0 Continued

With this setup, Mulvey says, “You are much freer to roam. Essentially, what I’m trying to do is rcreate all the roles that are played on the record by the electric guitar, by the drummer, by the bass player. It’s like hiring a band.” In Ex. 2, Mulvey runs through some basic chord shapes in this tuning/capo configuration: the I, IV, V, vi, and ii. “Knuckleball” uses

VARIATIONS ON THE THEME

One of the keys to Mulvey’s approach to the guitar is withholding notes that he could play, in order to give himself dynamic headroom. only the I, IV, and ii. Note that in these chord diagrams and in the subsequent examples, chord shapes and tab numbers are shown in D add9/A relation to the capo (for example, a 2 in tab means two frets above the capo); because of the partial capo, the open sixth string actually rings four frets below the capo. The standard notation shows the actual pitches.

Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœœœ œœ œ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û

0 0 0 0 0

1 2

œœœ Û Û Û Û œ œ 0 1 0 2 0

Û Û Û Û

D add9/A D add9/A

B

B

0 00 00 00 00 0

ÛÛÛÛÛÛÛÛÛÛÛ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û

0 10 00 20 00 0

Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û

Û Û Û Û

Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û

B m11 D add9/A

0 0 0 0 0

A

œœœ œÛ œ

œœœ œœœ œœœ œœœ œœœ œœ Ûœœ Û œœÛ œœ Û œœ

œœœ œœ

Û 0Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û00 Û 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 1 1 Û Û Û Û 0 00Û Û00 00Û 00Û 00 Û00 Û 00 Û 00 Û 00 0 Û Û Û Û

0 0 0 0 0

A

Ûœœ ..Û œœ .. œ.

0

2

0 0

2 0

## œ œ # # # œœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœ Û Û Û Û Û Û

56 February 2017

As he continues to roll through the progression, Mulvey spins out variations, drawing on a vocabulary of moves worked out in years of performances. In Ex. 5, he shares an off-thecuff way he might go from the I to the IV. (See a video demonstration of yet another approach to the progression at acousticguitar.com.) “Improvising keeps me interested,” he says, “and if I’m interested, then the song by default is going to be more interesting to the listener. If I’m just doing it the same way every night, I’ll be bored, and there’s nothing more boring than watching a bored person.” “The Knuckleball Suite” also includes two instrumental breaks, in which Mulvey takes advantage of open-string bass notes to travel up the neck. “When you’re the only guy onstage and you’re taking a guitar solo,” he says,A“the most challenging thing is to just accept that it is alright to let the accompaniment drop away and let the melody of the solo you’re playing pretty much carry the weight of the tune.” Ex. 6 is a sample solo line. “What worked

Û Û Û Û œœœœ .... œ.

## # # # 6# œœœœœœ.. Û ÛÛ ÛÛ Û ÛÛ Û ÛÛ ÛÛ Û ÛÛ ÛÛ œœœœœœ œÛ œœÛ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û . Û & œœ œJ œœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û & 8 œœœ.. œ œ. œ œ A

Ex. 3 shows a straightforward strum through the “Knuckleball” progression—which sounds fine, but is fuller than what Mulvey wants at the outset. “If that is your starting point, you have much less room to build on it,” he says. “And so the very first thing I did was sort of strip that way down, [using] harmonics and just one fretted note.” Check out this minimalist pattern in Ex. 4, which opens the song and returns in the final verse. One of the reasons you can get away with such bare-bones accompaniment is that the melody supplies chord tones you’re not playing on the guitar. “The melody tells the listener much more emphatically what chords we’re really using,” Mulvey says.

D add9/A

œœœ

œœ Ûœœœ 0

œœœ œœÛ 0

œœœ œœÛ 0

0

0

0

0

0

A A j œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œœœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û

&

8 œ. œ.

œœ œ œœ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ

0 0 0 0 0 0

œœ .. ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ

ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ

0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 D add9/A there was, I didn’t really feel the need to play D add9/A he says. “Get familiar with a simple territory the chords,” he says. “Especially because this is and then wander in that territory.” our third time through those changes, just trust Instrumental breaks don’t need to be based that the audience is going to fill in those around melodies, he adds. The 6/8 pulse is the chords.” In his soloing on “Knuckleball,” Mulvey most important aspect of the guitar part, so he never frets the first string—he moves up and might play something like Ex. 7, adding quick down strings two, three, and four. Working pull-offs (as in measures 6 and 8) and what he within a limited calls drum fills (for instance, the fast strums in 0 zone on the fingerboard can be 0 1 0 a good way to0 become comfortable improvising, measure 11) to emphasize the rhythm. 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0

B B

## # ## & & #

œœœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœœœ œœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœ œ œœ œ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ

B B

## # ## & & #

B B Ex. 4

Û Û Û Û Û Û Û ÛÛ

A

YouAmay have noticed that in the examples so far Mulvey has barely touched the sixth string. In fact, he reaches around the neck with his left-hand thumb to mute that string, saving the super-low bass note for a dramatic entrance later in the song. “Through the first two verses and the first solo and the third verse, we’re 0 0really 0 0just0 working 0 0 the 0 first 0 0five 0 he0says. 0 “And 0 0 the 0 reason 0 0 is 0that0 on strings,” 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

œœœ œœ œœ

œœœ œœ œœ

œœœ œœ œœ

œœœ œœ œœ

œœœ œœ œœ

œœœ œœ œœ

œœœ œœ œœ

œœœ œœ œœ

ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ

œœœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœœ Û Û Û Û Û Û œ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœœœ Û Û Û Û ÛJ Û œœ œ J ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ

0 0 0 0

ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ .. ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ œœœœ œœœœ œœ œœ JJ œ œ

B m11 B m11

0 0 0 0 0 0

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ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ

0 1 0 0 1 2 0 2 2

œœœœ œœœ œ

j œœœœj œœœ œ

œœœœ œœœ œ

œœœœ œœœ œ

œœœœ œœœ œ

œœœœ œœœ œ

œœœœ œœœ œ

A A

0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0

0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0

0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0

0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0

0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0

0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0

0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0

0 0 0 0 0 0

D add9/A D add9/A

œœœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œ ÛÛÛÛÛ ÛÛÛÛ œœ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ ÛÛ

A D A D A ## # ## A‚ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ Dœ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ œ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ A‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ Dœ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ A‚ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚. ‚. ‚ ‚. ‚ œ. œ œ & & # Ex. 4

12 12

B B

12 12

12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 10 12 10

12 12

12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 10 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 10 12 12 12 12 10 12 10 12

12 12

12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12

D A ## # ## Dœ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ œ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ œ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ œ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ A‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ . ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚‚ ‚ ‚. ‚. œ. œ œ. œ. & & #

10 10

B B

12 12

12 12 12 12 10 12 12 10

B m11

&

B

###

12 12

10 10

12 12 12 12 12 12 10 10

12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12

D add9

A

œ œœœ ... œœœ œœœ œœœ œœœ ... Û Û Û Û . Û Û Û ‚ . œ œ œ. œœ ..

2

0 0

0 1 1 0

0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0

0 5 0 0 5

ÛÛÛÛ ÛÛÛ

12

‚ ‚ ‚

12

12

œ

10

12 12

‚ ‚ ‚ ‚

12 12 12 12

12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12

12 12 12 12 12 12

. ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚.

12

12 12

12

AcousticGuitar.com 57

WOODSHED

Ex. 5a Ex. 5a

A A

D add9/A add9/A D add9/A

# # ## 6 œœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœ œ œœ & # # 86 œœœ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û œœœ œ œœœ & 8 œ œ œ œ Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û Û

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VIDEO LESSON ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM/TAG/FEBRUARY-2017

that fourth verse, when you finally add that low A—especially when it’s going through a magnetic pickup and out through speakers into a rock club or folk club—that note takes the whole thing to a new dimension. It’s like the bass player was savvy enough to just lay out and then enter on the fourth verse.” ENTER THE BASS NOTES In the full performance of the song on the AG website, notice how he adds the low bass notes in verse four and his second instrumental break—he plays the sixth string open under the A chord, and on the D he frets the first fret above the capo with his thumb—and then strips back to harmonics for a hushed opening of the final verse. Although the same 12-bar progression repeats eight times through the song, each pass holds surprises.

He adds a sweet touch in the outro, too, harmonizing his voice with the guitar melody. One of the keys to Mulvey’s approach to the guitar is withholding notes that he could play, in order to give himself dynamic headroom. “It’s like when you tell a joke—you have to withhold information so that the punch line works,” he says. “All stories are made better by withholding information. The great poet Billy Collins said it’s like a card game: If you don’t turn over any cards, we don’t have a game, but if you turn over all the cards immediately, we also don’t have a game. “That’s my biggest strategy as both a lyricist and a musician,” Mulvey adds. “You have the thought and then you reframe the thought, asking yourself, how little of this can I begin with that’ll still be interesting? Because I think for a listener to a joke or a short story or an

‘Improvising keeps me interested, and if I’m interested, then the song by default is going to be more interesting to the listener.’ PETER MULVEY instrumental or a song, the most satisfying thing is to be surprised by something that in retrospect you were told in the beginning was coming.” Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers (jeffreypepperrodgers. com), Acoustic Guitar’s founding editor, is author of The Complete Singer-Songwriter, just published by Backbeat Books in an expanded second edition.

Ex. 7 Ex. 7 Ex.# 7#

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AcousticGuitar.com 59

WEEKLY WORKOUT

Mixolydian Madness

This mode is an essential tool for soloing in all styles

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The following Weekly Workout examples are based on the E Mixolydian scale, the 5th mode of the A-major scale.

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WEEK 1 Ex. 1a is a two-octave E-Mixolydian mode (E FG GG A B CG D) in first position. It’s important to learn scale and mode patterns, but it's equally important—if not more so—to create musical phrases from them. Examples 1b–1d show you how to do this with three different

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ored of soloing with the major scale or the minor pentatonic? Looking for something new to help expand your musical palette? The Mixolydian mode might just be the thing. This mode can be a great tool for improvising in blues, jazz, rock, or practically any other style. Here’s something cool: If you know the major scale, then you have easy access to the Mixolydian mode. The major scale contains seven modes, and Mixolydian is the one based on the fifth note of the scale. For example, play the C-major scale, starting on the fifth note, G, and you’ve got the G-Mixolydian mode. In other words, the G-Mixolydian mode is essentially a reordering of the C-major scale. Another way of looking at the Mixolydian mode is that it’s like a major scale, but with a flatted seventh. The G-major scale, for example, is spelled G A B C D E FG, while the G-Mixolydian mode is G A B C D E F. That one note makes a big difference, as you’ll hear in this modal workout.

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phrases derived from Ex. 1a. One way to develop your soloing acuity is to lay down a simple backing track, like the one shown in Ex. 2. You can loop this one-chord pattern and experiment with different phrases and licks. Keep track of what sounds good 0 and 0 2Try3 to create add that to your lick vocabulary. 1 2

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nœ 5 œ Ex.

0 3

0 5

1

2

j œ..œœ ˙˙˙ œ ˙ œ ˙ œ œ nœ œ œ

Ex. œ 4˙

. .

0 0 2 0 4 0

7 9

Ex. 4

0

5 7 9

2

E

nœ .. . .

œœ nœ œœ

6

0 0 4 0 5 0

œ

1/2 1/2 1/2

(4) 2 (4) 2 (4) 2

4 4 4

B B B Week 2

nœ œ œ

œœ œ œ 1/4 1/4 1/4

2 2 2

4 4 4

2 2 2

Week 2 Ex. 322 WEEK Week Ex. 3 #Ex.# 3

2 2 2

0 0 0

0 0 0

0 0 0

2 2 2

2 2 2

2 2 2

1 1 1

. ... ..

2 2 2

n œœ .. œ.

n œœœ .. œ.

œœ ˙˙ œ ˙

0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 2 0

0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 4 0 2 0 4 0 0 4 0

œœ ˙˙ œ ˙

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. ... ..

œ œJ œ œ œœ œœ nn œœJ œ œ œ œ # n œ n œ # œ œ œ œ & ## # ## # œ œ œœ œœ œœ œ nn œœ œœ œœ œœ œJ ‰‰ œ œ n œ œ œ œœ œœ œœ œ nn œœ œœ œœ œœ œ œ œ n œJJ ‰‰ ŒŒ ÓÓ n œ œ œ # & J ‰ œ ‰ Œ Ó & # œœ œ œœ nn œœ œœ œœ œ œ œ œ œœ œœ nn œœ œœ œœ œ œ œ œ œ B B B

Ex. 4 Ex. 4 Ex. 4

4 6 7 5 7 4 6 7 5 7 4 6 7 5 7

4 5 7 4 5 7 4 5 7

Ex. 4a Ex. 4a Ex. 4a

## & ## ## ## ## œ œ œ œ & & # # œ œœ œœ œœ œ

Ex. 7 Ex. 7 # 7 #Ex.

& ## ## ## ## œ œœ œœ œœœ nn œœœ œ œ & & # # œœ œœœ œœ œœ n œœ œ

œœ œœ œ

7 7 7 7 7

9 9 9 9 9

B B B

7 7 7 7 7

9 9 9 9 9

7 7 7 7 7

œ œœ

œ œœ œ œ nn œœ œ œ œœ œœ œœ n œ œ œ

9 9 9 9 9

œœ œœœ œ

œœ œœœ œ

œœ n œœ œœœ n œœ œ n œœ

7 7 7 7 7

9 9 9 9 9

9 9 9 9 9

7 7 7 7 7

3

3

3

7 9 7 9 7 9

6 7 6 7 6 7

####

œœ œœœ œ

œœ n œœ œœœ n œœ œ nœ 6 7 6 7 6 7

(9) 7 (9) 7 (9) 7

9 9 9

œ œœ

œ n˙ œœ n ˙ n˙

1/2 1/2 1/2

nn œœ

7

4

7

7 7

5

6 6 6

1/2 1/2

6 6 6

œ œœ œ œœ œœ œ œ œ n œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œœ œ n œ œ œ œ œ3 n œ œ œ3 œ 3 3 3 3 3 3

3

3 3

3

10 9 7 10 9 7 10 9 7 9 8 7 7 10 9 7 10 9 7 10 9 7 9 8 7 9 7 9 9 8 7 9 7 9 9 9

6 5 6 5 6 5

œ œœ

œ n˙ œœ n ˙ n˙

1/2 1/2 1/2

(6) (6) 5 (6) 5 5

Ex. 6 Ex. 6 Ex. 6

n œ œ œ œ œ œ33 œ œ nn œœ œœ œœ œ œ œ œ œ 3 œ œœœœ 3 3

3

7976 7976 7976

7976 7976 7976

3 ~~~~ 3 œ œ nœ œ œ Œ 3 ~~~~ 3 œ 3 œ œ œœ œ n œ œ œ Œ ~~~~ 3 œ œ œ n 3œ œ œ Œ œœ œœ œœ œ œ œ œœ nn œœ œ œœ œ œ n œ 3 3 ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ 9 6 7 6

9 9

6 7 6 7 6 7 6 7 7

6 7 6 6 7 6 7 6 7 6 7 7

7 6 5 7 7 6 5 7 7 6 5 7

Ex. 11

4

5 7

4 6 7

4 5 7

5 7

5

WEEK 4 4 Week Ex. 14

7

5

3 5

7 9

E7

5

(6) (6) 7 (6) 7 7

1/2

(9) (9) 7 (9) 7 7

œ œ œ œ œj œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ n œj # œ œ œ n œ œ .. œœœ ... n œœ .. œ. 6

œ œœ

Ex. 8 Ex. n œ 88œ Ex.

Ex. 13

5

œ nœ œ ˙ œœ nn œœ œœ ˙ ˙

10 10 10

nœ œ œœœ œ œ œ œ n œ œ œ œ ‰ ‰ œœœ œ nœ œ œ œœœœœ œ œ œ nœ œ

5 7

Ex. 12

B

œœ œœœ œ

1/2 1/2

10 7 0 9 7 0

B

&

9 9 9

œœ œœœ œ

œ œœ

1/2

Week 3 Ex. 10

nœ œ #### œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ & 10 7 0 9 7 0

œ ˙ œœ nn œœ œœ ˙ ˙

7 9 7 9 7 WEEK 39

Ex. 9

3

œ œœ Ó ÓÓ

7 9 7 9 10 7 9 6 7 9 7 9 10 7 9 6 7 9 7 9 10 6 7 9

6 7 9 5 7 9 6 7 9 5 7 9 6 7 9 5 7 9

7 9 7 9 7 9

Ex. 5 Ex. n5œ œ5 Ex.

7 9 7 9 7 9 7 9 7 9 7 9

7 9 7 9 7 9 7 9 9 7 9 7 9 7 9 7 7 9 7 9 7 9 7 9

B B B

4 5 5 7 4 5 4 6 7 5 7 4 5 4 6 7 5 7 4 6 7

7 9

9

8

9

. .

0 0 1 0 2 0

j œœœ œœ œ

0 0 2 0 4 0

˙˙˙ ˙˙ ˙

6 7 9

œœœ ... n œœ .. œ. 0 0 4 0 5 0

6 7 9

j œœœ œœ œ

0 0 2 0 4 0

˙˙˙ ˙˙ ˙

6 8 9

7 9

5 7

j œœ ... n œœ ˙˙ n œœ . œœ ˙˙ œ. œ ˙ A7

0 2 0 2 0

0 3 0 4 0 AcousticGuitar.com 61

B

E7

WEEKLY WORKOUT

some of your own phrases using a variety of different techniques: hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and string skipping. WEEK 2 Work up the neck in two new positions. Ex. 3 is a two-octave A-major scale. This pattern starts and ends on A. In Ex. 4, you’ll find a two-octave pattern than begins and ends on B, the second note of the A-major scale, for example, the B-Dorian mode. But over an E7

Beginners’ Tip #1 Backing Tracks: Creating your own backing track does not have to be complicated. Simply use GarageBand or any other DAW to record yourself. It will help you on two levels: 1) make you play consistent rhythm over a given period of time and; 2) give you made-to-order background for practicing solos.

chord, it is really E Mixolydian. One of the cool aspects of this pattern is that it has a “box” shape that stretches between the seventh and ninth frets on each string, as shown in Ex. 4a. Using these frets as reference points, you can create some cool licks with adjacent notes. In Ex. 5, bend in half steps and release on strings 1–4 to build a sinewy lick. In Ex. 6, pick the seventh-fret D once, then hammer on, pull off, and slide down to CG before moving the pattern to the fourth string. Ex. 7 ascends the strings using box-pattern double stops, then descends using diatonic thirds. E x . 8 uses a series of triplet-based double pull-offs that first descend strings 1, 2, and 3 and then 4, 5, and 6, with a short chromatic run at the end. In Ex. 9, use the double pull offs that resolve to the open 1st and 2nd strings to produce a fast lick that is repeatable. WEEK 3 One of the great things about the Mixolydian mode is that if you’re playing a series of

dominant seventh chords (1 3 5 H7), like in many blues and jazz songs, you can outline the progression using different Mixolydian patterns. For instance, if you’re playing a blues in E, negotiate the I, IV, and V chords (E7, A7, and B7) using the E-, A-, and B-Mixolydian modes, respectively. For example: Ex. 10 and Ex. 11 are twooctave A- and B-Mixolydian modes starting and ending on the root note. Ex 12 is a jazzy-sounding lick drawn from A Mixolydian. Ex. 13 uses B Mixolydian and starts out by hitting the flatted seventh a couple of times as it slides up and descends to a resolution on the tonic, B7.

Beginners’ Tip #2 Alternate picking: When I practice scales, I usually use alternate picking (down/up/down/up…); this helps with right- and left-hand coordination.

SHUBB The best performers will settle for no less.

Brad Davis

THE PORTABLE, GO ANYWHERE, PLAY ANYTHING, INSANELY POWERFUL, ROOM FILLING, TONE ON THE GO,

WONDER BOX. [email protected] • www.shubb.com 707-843-4068 62 February 2017

TheBudAmp.com

B B

7 7

# # # œœ . & # ## # # n œœ .... n œœ .. & œ. B BEx. 15

0 5 0 0 5 5 0 0 5 0

4 4

7 7

j n œjœ n œœ œœ œ 0 3 0 0 3 4 0 0 4 0

5 5

6 5 6 5

7 7

7 7

5 5

B B

˙˙ ˙˙ ˙˙ ˙

5 5

œœ .. œœ .. œ.

œ œœœ Jœ J

4 4 4 4 4 4

5 4 5 6 4 6

7 7

5 7 9 5 7 9

9 9

8 8

9 9

œœ .. œœ ... œ.

˙˙ ˙˙ ˙

. .. . œ œœœ Jœ J

7 4 7 4 4 4

0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0

0 0 0 2 0 0 2 4 0 0 4 0

˙˙ ˙˙ ˙

E7 E7

j n œj n œœ œœ œ

6 0 6 7 0 0 7 0

7 0 7 9 0 0 9 0

œ. n œœ ... n œœ . œ.

5 4 5 6 4 6

Ex.“Mixed-o-Lydian” 15 “Mixed-o-Lydian” E7

0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 0 4 2 0 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 2 4 4 2 0 0 5 4 0 0 0 0 2 4 0 0 5 4 0VIDEO LESSON 0 0 0 ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM/TAG/FEBRUARY-2017

˙ ˙ ˙˙˙ ˙

œ. n œœœ .... nœ. œ.

j n œj n œœ œœ œ

9 0 9 11 0 0 11 0

7 0 7 9 0 0 9 0

˙ ˙ ˙˙˙ ˙

.. .. . .. .

A7 # # # # E 7 n œ œ œ œœ ˙~~~~ œ nœ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ~~~~ n œ œ n œ # œ œ œ # œ œ œ œ # œ ˙ & # # œ nœ n œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œ œ n œ œ œ œ n œ # œ œ œ nn œœ œ n œ œ œ œ œ œ œ & œ œ œ œ nœ œ œ œ ~~~~ (7) (7) 7 9 7~~~~ 5 7 A7

E7

B B

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

7 7 9 7 7 9 7 9

B7 B7 j

7 9 7 6 7 6 7 9 7 6 7 9 7 9 7 6 0 0

7

7 7

6 6

5 5

7 7

# # # # œjj œ œœ œ œœ œœ nn œœ œœ œ n œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ nœ œ œ œ œ œ œ #œ nœ & #### œ œ œ #œ nœ 3 3 & j œ j œ

3

5 7

B B

5 7

5 7 9 5 7 9

7 7

9 9

8 8

3

7 7

WEEK 4 Now put it all together. Flesh out the rhythm from Week 1 to an eight-bar sequence using the I, IV, and V (E7, A7, and B) chords. These intervals are harmonized sixths that climb up and down the neck via the Mixolydian mode. In Ex. 14, the E chord sequence from Week 1 and the A chord sequence are similar.

Beginners’ Tip #3 Hammer-ons, pull-offs, and bends: Like any other technique, these slurs need to be practiced as exercises. For example, a double pull-off, as in Ex. 8, requires that you have three fingers on the string so that when you pull one finger off, the next one will be there to sound the note. That might seem obvious, but I have watched many students struggle with this technique.

9 9

8 8

7 7

8 8

7 7

8 8

7 7

9 9

8 8

7 7

4 4

7 7

5 5

6 6

5

7 7

5 5

(7)

7

6 6

(7)

E7 E7

œœ œœ œ œœ œ œ œœ œ œ nn œœ œœ œœ œ nn œœ œ œ œ 3 œ œ œ ˙˙ 3 3 3 3 3

9 10 9 9 10 9 9 9

It’s best to record yourself playing this rhythm slowly, so you can use it to practice the solo (“Mixed-o-Lydian”) in Ex. 15. The solo starts with a sweep-picked ascending run that flows into a half-step bend. In the second bar, play a couple of four-note slurs like those in Ex. 6 and then a descending run to the flatted seventh, D. This sets up the jazzy run over the A7 chord that you used in Ex. 12. Use a single pick stroke for the bend—which toggles between the sixth (FG) and the flatted seventh

Beginners’ Tip #4 Phrasing: Let your everyday speech patterns inform your phrasing on the guitar. You speak with cadences, inflections, stops, starts, and exclamations. Let your solos do the same.

7 9 7 7 7 9 7 7 9 7 9 7

9 9

7 7

7 7

6 6

7 7

(G)—over the next three beats of bar 4. Play a run similar to Ex. 13 under the B7 chord, but then ascend to the root note. Use a short chromatic run on the first and second strings, followed by a bounce between the major third (DG) and fifth (FG) of the B7, before resolving with another chromatic run down from the root to the flatted seven. Finally, there is another pseudo sweep outlining an E chord that ascends to the fourth (A). A couple of hammer-on/pull-off licks help descend to a final run that resolves to E. This eight-bar solo utilizes adjacent Mixolydian patterns: E, A, and B, played between the fifth and tenth frets. You can also navigate the Mixolydian mode horizontally—on one or more strings, as well as a matrix of other possibilities. As you experiment with the mode over different chord patterns, try to target specific chord tones for a richer and more focused sound. Hopefully, your creativity and musical expression will be stimulated in the process. AG AcousticGuitar.com 63

WATCH RICHARD SHINDELL PERFORM ‘YOUR GUITAR’ AT ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM/TAG/FEBRUARY-2017

ACOUSTIC CLASSIC

Old Wood, New Song

The life of a vintage guitar is chronicled in a terrific song by Richard Shindell BY ADAM PERLMUTTER ny guitarist who’s ever scored a vintage instrument has likely wondered about the music, travels, and caretakers it has known. That reflection is the inspiration behind Richard Shindell’s “Your Guitar,” from the singer-songwriter’s most recent album, Careless (Continental Record Services). (Read a Songcraft featuring Shindell on p. 40.) Shindell recorded the song not on an old guitar, but a recent Fairbanks homage to a vintage Stella 12-string (see the Songcraft interview on page 40). He tuned the instrument to CGCFGC (relative to DADGAD, but down a whole step), but in concert he plays the song on a Martin D-18 in straight DADGAD, to avoid tuning hassles onstage.

A

Though the verse has a rich modal sound (specifically, D Mixolydian: DEFGGABC), you can play most of that section just by moving your first finger along the third string. Pretty much any strumming pattern in 3/4 time will do, but start by trying out the ones shown here in the first two bars of notation, with a fuller voicing on beat 1, and upper-string notes on 2 and 3. On the studio recording, particularly in the first verse, Shindell tends to avoid strings 6 and 5—an effective strategy that keeps the guitar from overwhelming his voice—but feel free to use these low notes to bolster any of the D-type chords. Also, try sliding into each new chord like Shindell does, as shown in the last two bars of notation.

Richard Shindell

The instrumental section that precedes the second verse can provide a nice showcase for your guitar. Using the suggested strumming patterns, try improvising a little solo from within the D Mixolydian mode—you can do it as before, all on string 3—and let your guitar tell the story it wants to. AG

Powered by Hal Leonard

64 February 2017

YOUR GUITAR

BY RICHARD SHINDELL

*DADGAD tuning

Picking Patterns

D5

Chords, Capo III

D5

D7

0001 00

000 1 00

7 fr.

E m11 2 x 3 000

D /F #

2 x31 00

D 6 D sus4 D 5(open)

000 1 00

000000

000 1 00

G

C sus2 B m7 x 2 x0 3 0

D7

# . & # 43 .. œœœœ œœ œœ œœ œœ .. .. œœœœ ... œJ œ œ .. œœœœ n œ œœ œœ œœ œœ > > >

**Strum/pick: 2 x0 1 3 0

D5

x 134 00

B

. .

≥ ≥ ≤ ≥ ≤

0 0 7 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

** ≥ = down; ≤ = up

. . . .

≥

0 0 7 0

≤ ≥ ≥

0

0

0

. .

≥

D5

œœœ œœ œœ œœ œœ œ >

≥ ≤ ≥ ≤ ≥ ≥ ≤ ≥ ≤

0 0 4 0

5

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 4 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

*To match studio recording, tune down one whole step (low to high: C G C F G C)

Intro

3.

D5 D5

1.

D7

D6

Your guitar has travelled far D7

D5 D7

All the way from California Dsus4

D5(open) D7 D6

My stranger‘s touch, she is skittish still So I start out taking it slowly The familiar tunes to take her back First up the Red River Valley To let her know that she’s not alone That I know something about leaving a home We settle down in Shenandoah

In a big brown box, on an airplane D7

D5 D7 D6

Interlude (played twice)

Way down to Patagonia Em11

Bm7 G

D/Fs

So far south, she’s never been G

Csus2

G

Bm7 G

D5

G

D5

She must be wondering what kind of trouble she's in

Outro

Your Guitar, words and music by Richard Shindell, © 2014 Amalgamated Balladry

D5

2.

But just look at her, she’s beautiful And her face shines with its own light No longer young, she’s seen her years And I can see that you loved her truly As she loved you and stayed by your side A constant voice all through your life All her sweet spots making you sigh

D5

Flows out of your guitar

A change of season and a cold desert wind Em11

D5

And the wide Missouri

D7

D6

Your guitar has travelled far D7

D5 D7 G D5

All the way from California

Instrumental (14 bars)

AcousticGuitar.com 65

READ A FEATURE ON DAVID BROMBERG ON p. 22

ACOUSTIC CLASSIC

Family Affair

Learn David Bromberg’s take on a song Elizabeth Cotten wrote with her great-grandchildren BY ADAM PERLMUTTER n the early 1960s, the folk-blues singer-songwriter Elizabeth Cotten invented a catchy melody that she presented to her four greatgrandchildren. One by one, the children made up a verse to the tune at bedtime. Cotten recorded the results of this intergenerational collaboration as the title track to her 1967 album Shake Sugaree. In the song, Cotten accompanies the sweet, callow voice of her great-granddaughter Brenda Evans, who at the time was 12. Though not as famous as Cotten’s classic fingerstyle song “Freight Train,” “Shake Sugaree” has had a clear impact on American popular music. It informs the song “Sugaree” on Jerry Garcia’s 1972 solo debut, Garcia, and it’s been covered by everyone from Taj Mahal to the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens.

I

David Bromberg, the great multi-instrumentalist and violin-store proprietor, recorded “Shake Sugaree” on his 2007 album Try Me One More Time. This arrangement is based on Bromberg’s interpretation of the tune, which he plays in the key of D major, in drop-D tuning (identical to standard tuning, but with the sixth string lowered to D from E). This allows Bromberg to pick Cotten’s signature alternating bass pattern, established in the first measure, on the open sixth and fourth strings for the D chord. Play the arrangement as you would any fingerstyle piece—pick the down-stemmed notes with your thumb and the up-stemmed ones with your index and middle fingers. If needed, practice the down-stemmed and up-stemmed parts independently before combining them.

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66 February 2017

David Bromberg

Also, take note of the song’s unusual form: The verse is 17 bars long, as opposed to the customary 12-bar blues. The takeaway: A good song doesn’t always fit into an established template, so in your own writing, don’t be afraid to modify classic structures when the music doesn’t want to conform. AG

SHAKE SUGAREE

BY ELIZABETH COTTEN, ARRANGED BY DAVID BROMBERG

Tuning: D A D G B E Intro/Guitar Solo

%

Moderately

j j j œ. ˙ jœ œ jœ ## 4 . œ œ œ . nœ œ œ œ n œœ œ Œ Œ . . & 4 œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ D

. .

B

0 0

j j œ # # œ œœ & œ œ

Copyright (c) 1993 by Stormking Music, Inc., All Rights Administered by Figs. D Music c/o Bicycle Music Company, All Rights Reserved Used by Permission, Reprinted by Permission of Hal Leonard LLC

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ACOUSTIC CLASSIC

WATCH JAMIE STILLWAY’S AG SESSION AT ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM/TAG/FEBRUARY-2017

Open House

Jamie Stillway explores open-D tuning in her fingerstyle original ‘Home: Part 2’ BY ADAM PERLMUTTER pen-D tuning is most closely associated with such traditional blues guitarists as Elmore James, but Jamie Stillway, the modern fingerstyle player based in Portland, Oregon, stakes out creative new territory in the tuning. Her meditative “Home: Part 2,” taken at a relaxed tempo, serves as an excellent introduction both to Stillway’s music and to the colorful timbral and harmonic possibilities inherent to the tuning. If you’ve never tuned your guitar to open D (low to high: DADFGAD), in which the open strings form a D-major chord, here’s how: From standard, lower strings 1, 2, and 6 by a whole step (the equivalent of two frets) and

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Jamie Stillway

string 3 by a half step (equal to one fret). An electronic tuner or smartphone app will make this easy to do. Before you delve into the intermediatelevel “Home: Part 2,” check out its structure. The piece is comprised of two eight-bar sections, each with two similar four-bar phrases. Also pay attention to where the bass notes fall: There’s an alternating bass line that, like in many fingerpicked pieces, serves as an anchor for the syncopated melody notes above. Knowing how a piece is put together will make it easier to learn. The fret-hand fingerings for the piece should be fairly obvious. If it feels too

straining to bar the G and A chords across all six strings, try barring just strings 1–4 with your first finger and using the open A string for the lowest note on the A chord; for the lowest note on the G chord, you could wrap your thumb around the neck to grab the fifthfret G. As for the pick hand, try using a kind of classical approach as Stillway does: Pick the notes on strings 1, 2, and 3 with your ring, middle, and index finger, respectively, and articulate the lower notes with your thumb. Let all of the notes rings for as long as possible, and remember not to rush this lovely piece—and to give it space to breathe. AG

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HOME: PART 2

BY JAMIE STILLWAY

Tuning: D A D Fs A D Moderately A

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76

Ask the Expert Make your acoustic play like an electric

78

New Gear Guild revives its D-40 dreadnought

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New Gear Martin’s CS-Bluegrass-16

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New Gear 12-fret fantasy: Taylor’s 712e

AG TRADE

COURTESY OF WILGENBUS GUITARS

Wilgenbus’ integral-neck design unites the neck and top bracing.

MAKERS & SHAKERS

Nature Boy

Nicolas Wilgenbus draws on the structure of a tree as the inspiration for his acoustic guitars BY ADAM PERLMUTTER

ast January, the luthier Nicolas Wilgenbus left his workshop in Réunion, a small French Island in the Indian Ocean, next to Madagascar, and took a 24-hour trek to a much louder scene: the winter NAMM show, in Anaheim, California. At the sprawling music-trade show, hosted by the National Association of Music Merchants, Wilgenbus displayed his trademark design, the integralneck guitar, whose neck extends far into the soundboard in a series of branches. “I drew most of my inspiration [for the neck] in observing such elements as the water cycle and plant growth,” Wilgenbus says. “This vision of nature allowed me to imagine the integral-neck concept. I symbolized the guitar neck as a tree trunk and the bracings as its roots. Since a tree cannot live without its roots,

L

74 February 2017

I connected the neck and bracing to create continuity, just like in the nature cycle.” ilgenbus, now in his late 30s, grew up outside of Paris. He taught himself folk, reggae, and metal songs as a teenager and dreamt of building a guitar, but it wasn’t until he was 20 that he sought formal training as a luthier. Unable to find a local mentor or lutherie school, he learned the basics of woodcraft at a school in the French Pyrenees between 1998 and 2000. During that period, he received the instructional book Making Master Guitars by Roy Courtnall as a Christmas gift. He devoured it in two days. “I had finally found my master: a book,” Wilgenbus says. Wilgenbus had soon made two Antonio de Torres-style classical guitars at home. Then

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he reached out to the nearest master luthier he could find, Jean-Pierre Favino, for an assessment of his instruments. Favino was impressed by the quality of this early work, but he wasn’t taking on apprentices. So Wilgenbus kept plugging away on his own. “The good side of this is that learning by yourself makes you explore other ways and experiment,” he says. “I have never been managed or trapped into a specific technique.” Once he’d completed a handful of instruments, Wilgenbus became determined to take his guitar craft to Quebec, Canada, where, as an avid fan of the outdoors, he could enjoy nature, while not in his shop. But given the protracted process of securing a visa, he decided to hang out on tropical Réunion for a year before heading to the cold north. He never left and has

MAKERS & SHAKERS

n the island hideaway that is his workshop, Wilgenbus branched away from traditional building, starting in the mid-2000s. He began experimenting with soundhole placement and started thinking about a problem common to steel-string guitars as they age and the tension of the strings that causes an instruments’ structures to become distorted. In a light-bulb moment, Wilgenbus says, “I realized that extending the neck under the soundboard would remove this hinge effect.” Wilgenbus made his first extended neck in 2008, with the extended portion of the neck acting as a series of braces, in a pattern similar to the fan bracing that the pioneering luthier Antonio de Torres devised in the middle of the 19th century. “This new technique allowed me to evenly distribute the mechanical forces and the sound waves to the entire soundboard while improving the

COURTESY OF WILGENBUS GUITARS

found it a fertile place to work. “Almost everything that I learned [about guitar making] has been in Réunion, in the wild south of the island near a beautiful river called Langevin,” he says.

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vibration conductivity between the handle [neck] and the body,” Wilgenbus says. But the extended neck also raised a conundrum. Ideally, a guitar’s bracing is made from a low-density wood, for the best transfer of sound, while its neck uses a higher-density species, for rigidity. To address the problem, Wilgenbus refined the extended neck to include alternating strips of soft and hard woods. “With this technology, the neck remains stable and

‘Learning by yourself makes you explore other ways and experiment. I have never been managed or trapped into a specific technique.’ NICOLAS WILGENBUS vibrant,” he says of the design that in 2013 earned him an innovation patent from France’s National Institute of Industrial Property. Wilgenbus, who works alone, makes about ten of his integral-neck guitars per year, both acoustic and electric. The luthier was tickled that a few Southern California dealers signed on to sell these instruments after seeing them at the 2016 NAMM show. He returned to Réunion freshly inspired. “What a pleasure to get back to work knowing that so many musicians in LA liked my design, my innovations, and the tone of my instruments, Wilgenbus says. “Especially now that I am known in Réunion as the luthier who went to Los Angeles!” AG

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ASK THE EXPERT

How to Make an Acoustic Play Like an Electric Does the action on your dreadnought make it hard to play? BY MAMIE MINCH

Q:

I’m an electric-guitar player who’s recently started picking up the acoustic. I find my dreadnought is much harder to play due to the higher action up the neck, so I tried putting extra-light strings on it. This made it easier to play, but all of a sudden it didn’t sound as good. Why is that? Is there a solution that would make an acoustic play more like an electric guitar? —James, Brooklyn, New York

A:

This is an issue I hear about a lot in the shop: A player will bring in an acoustic with what most would consider a reasonably low action complaining that the strings are too high for them. They may be coming from an electric-guitar background, or they may be a newer player with the expectation that playing the guitar should be easy. In both cases, these players are working under the same misconception: that lower action is better action. Sometimes you’ll see a guitarist who’s tried to remedy this “problem” by using very light strings (even electric strings) on a big acoustic guitar. In the process, they’re giving up more than they bargained for. Here’s what I wish these guitarists knew: It

There are lots of ways to tweak and customize a guitar to serve a player’s individual needs. takes a certain amount of string tension and down-bearing pressure on a top to make a guitar sound its best. Without enough tension or with ultra-low action, you lose volume, punch, complexity, dynamic range—all the things in your palette that add color to your playing. Often, what could be a great-sounding guitar ends up coming across as thin or not expressive—and your guitar always responds in the same way even when you vary the right-hand approach. Additionally, strings that are too light or too close to the fingerboard will sound slappy and buzzy, and frets that may be only slightly uneven will be highlighted by ultra-low action. When I set up an acoustic guitar, I’m thinking about the particular player—setups are not one size fits all. I want the client to be happy and enjoy playing their instrument. There are lots of ways to tweak and customize a guitar to serve a player’s individual needs: Are they strumming with a heavy pick in front of a band, or are they

GOT A QUESTION? Uncertain about guitar care and maintenance? The ins-and-outs of guitar building? Or a topic related to your gear? Mamie Minch

76 February 2017

Ask Acoustic Guitar’s resident repair expert. Send an email titled “Repair Expert” to editor Greg Cahill at [email protected], and he’ll forward it to Mamie.

fingerpicking in their living room? Will they play single-string leads as well as rhythm? Do they capo up the neck often? It’s important for me listen to what a client is hoping to get out of their guitar. The right action for a particular guitar and player is really a compromise: high enough to sound good and for the strings to vibrate freely, but low enough to be comfortable. There are subtle things your repair person can do to help your guitar play more agreeably without giving you that extra-low action that will kill your tone before it starts. So, how does someone get an acoustic guitar to play more like an electric? I’d like to encourage you to think about them as different instruments. The bottom line is that it’s very unlikely that super-low action on an acoustic guitar will sound good. Frankly, a bit more action on an electric often doesn’t hurt either. While it’s crucial to take into consideration what a client wants, there are things I have to tell them they can’t have without giving up something that they might really miss. Mamie Minch is the co-owner of Brooklyn Lutherie. She is the former head of repair at Retrofret Guitars and an active blues player.

If AG selects your question for publication, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of AG’s The Acoustic Guitar Owner’s Manual.

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NEW GEAR

While it packs a punch, and produces the volume bluegrass and rock players covet, the D-40 also has a sweet, clear, resonant voice that is wellsuited to folk music.

Compensated bone saddle

78 February 2017

Pearl inlaid Guild logo

Made in USA

ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM/TAG/FEBRUARY-2017

AT A GLANCE

GUILD D-40 BODY 14-fret dreadnought Solid Sitka spruce top Solid mahogany back and sides

Return of a Legend The Guild D-40 dreadnought is an American classic BY GREG CAHILL like a guitar that packs a punch. And the newly relaunched Guild D-40 fits the bill. With a solid Sitka top, Sitka spruce bracing, and solid mahogany back and sides, this surprisingly light (4.5 lbs.), US-made dreadnought has the sonic punch of a cannon—strumming with a heavy pick while palm muting in drop-D is a revelatory experience. Seldom have I connected with an instrument on such a visceral level as when I first picked up this D-40.

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AN ICONIC SOUND Of course, the Guild D-40 has a long history of producing an iconic sound. Much of the desirable tone heard on 1960s folk-revival recordings is compliments of a Guild D-40, which was introduced in 1963—ironically, some players striving to replicate that sound go elsewhere and overlook the obvious choice. Most famously, Richie Havens performed on a D-40, tuned to an open-D, during the opening set of 1969’s groundbreaking Woodstock Festival, filling Max Yasgur’s hippie-packed cow pasture with his trademark percussive strumming and chiming melodies. It was one of the most notable acoustic folk-rock performances of the modern era. Over the years, the D-40 has remained a bedrock of the Guild acoustic guitar line (in the early 1970s, the model became the foundation for the D-40C, the first dreadnought with a cutaway body). Bluegrass players embraced it—the 1970s, pre-Fender Bluegrass Jubilee model built in Westerly, Rhode Island, boasted an Adirondack spruce top that was highly sought-after by bluegrass players. Those 1960sand ’70s-vintage models are still revered (Guild plans to offer a D-40 Traditional model based on those classic ’60s models with nitro-cellulose gloss finish and a dovetail neck joint). Word that Guild was back in production brought anticipation over the release of new

US-built D-40s—Guild was relaunched last year after Cordoba Music Group purchased the company from Fender, following several years of turmoil for the brand. The new D-40 is one of Guild’s three initial offerings: A D-20 dread and an M-20 Nick Drake small-body, all-mahogany model reviewed in the November 2016 issue. Guild fans won’t be disappointed. A THOUGHTFUL BUILD The new D-40 boasts a full-bodied, robust tone. While it packs a punch, and produces the volume bluegrass and rock players covet, the D-40 also has a sweet, clear, resonant voice that is well-suited to folk music. I’ve taken it for a prolonged test drive. It handles the bluegrass chestnut “Man of Constant Sorrow” (Soggy Bottom Boys version), the Beatles’ “I’m Only Sleeping,” Blind Faith’s fingerstyle “Can’t Find My Way Home,” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice (It’s All Right)” with equal aplomb. Tuning the D-40 to DADGAD opened endless avenues of fretboard possibilities during hours of couch-friendly noodling—the mark of a truly great guitar. Indeed, the D-40 has much to offer. As a fingerpicker, and one with a bum lefthand that reacts poorly to chunky necks, I found the slim neck profile comfortable. Still, some fingerstylists may find the classic 1 11/ 16 -inch-wide nut a tad tight. The satinnatural finish (antique sunburst is also an option); simple, but striking vintage-style rosette; and lack of bling overall belie such thoughtful appointments as a hand-cut bone nut and saddle; East Indian rosewood bridge and fingerboard; scalloped Sitka spruce bracing; white ABS binding; and 20:1 opengeared tuners with cream buttons. Power, punch, clarity, and playability, the D-40 checks all the boxes for an impressive dreadnought. AG

Scalloped Sitka spruce bracing NECK Mahogany Hand-cut bone nut 1 11/16-inch nut width Rosewood fretboard 12-inch radius (305 mm) 20 frets 25.625-inch (65.09 cm) scale length Rosewood bridge Compensated bone saddle Ivoroid bridge pins Dual-action truss rod EXTRAS L.R. Baggs Element VTC Pickup (optional) Strings: D’Addario Exp 16 Coated Phosphor Bronze (.012–.053 gauges) Deluxe archtop hardshell case (with built-in humidification system) PRICE $2,000 list ($2,250 with pickup system); street $1,699 Made in the USA guildguitars.com AcousticGuitar.com 79

NEW GEAR

Bluegrass Power

Martin custom shop’s limited-edition CS-Bluegrass-16 Dreadnought delivers the goods BY ADAM PERLMUTTER

trum an open-E chord on the CS-Bluegrass-16, a new dreadnought model by Martin & Co., and the comparison between this body style and the revolutionary 20th-century battleship after which it’s named is clear. When driven, the CS-Bluegrass-16 can be loud and aggressive, almost as if amplified, and it vibrates mightily—you can feel the pulsations in both hands. Its sound is nicely split between robust fundamentals and shimmering overtones. It’s everything a fine dreadnought should be—and then some.

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VINTAGE CHARMS The CS-Bluegrass-16—which is limited to 100 instruments, to commemorate the Martin dreadnought’s centennial—is a vintageinspired example. It’s built with hide glue, the animal protein used on prewar instruments, more difficult to work with than a modern adhesive, but thought to better transfer sound. Its soundboard is made from Adirondack or red spruce, used commonly on older guitars, but far more seldom on newer models, due to limited supply—the guitar boasts Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS). Its soundboard and scalloped bracing, also Adirondack, are thermally cured—aged through a carefully controlled heating process, so that it resembles old wood in terms of resonance, stability, and appearance. The soundboard is made to look older still through the use of an antique toner, a pigment added to the lacquer finish that simulates the amber glow of a mature guitar.

The top has an oversized soundhole—a nod to the late Clarence White’s iconic 1935 Martin D-28, which was passed on to Tony Rice. The edges of the soundhole on this guitar were damaged and so it was enlarged, possibly at White’s request, to smooth things out. Some builders now offer a large soundhole as an option, as it’s thought to be beneficial to a guitar’s tone. Other details borrowed from the Clarence White/Tony Rice guitar include a faux tortoise pickguard with a Dalmatian pattern and a bound fretboard. When the original instrument needed a new fretboard, instead of an unbound Martin replacement, it received what the repair tech happened to have on hand, a Gretsch fingerboard, bound and overly long, extending over the soundhole. The CS-Bluegrass-16’s fretboard, though, stops just shy of the soundhole. The craftsmanship on the guitar is of the highest order, as I’ve seen on all new highend Martins. There’s no sloppiness to be found in any of the details like the bracing or neck joint, no unwanted artifacts of the manufacturing process inside or outside the box. Its Vintage Gloss finish, made from Martin’s original 1900s recipe, is desirably thin and absolutely flawless. Thanks to a PLEK (computerized) setup, the frets are leveled perfectly and then finished by hand to smooth perfection. A SLEEK-FAST NECK Despite its vintage styling, the CS-Bluegrass-16 has a decidedly modern neck profile—Martin’s modified low oval with high-performance taper, wide at the nut, and relatively narrow at the 12th fret. It feels sleek and fast, supportive of barre chords and single-note runs, and the taper makes it easier to play notes past the 12th fret. The CS-Bluegrass-16 was clearly designed with the modern bluegrass and country picker in mind, and it performs incredibly well in these contexts. The bass notes are highly defined and powerful, but not overpowering, and the trebles are clear and singing. When subjected to boom-chuck and Carter-style accompaniments, the guitar sounds rich and lively, a perfect choice for accompaniment in a bluegrass jam. It will definitely hold up well to a banjo or mandolin.

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Our CS-Bluegrass-16 handles single-note lines equally well. From bass-note fills to open-G runs to modal soloing high up the neck, the CS-Bluegrass-16 has a fast response, a consistently brawny voice, and a brilliant resonance in all registers. It’s a sound that fills a room. But the guitar also delivers the

The CS-Bluegrass-16 has a fast response, a consistently brawny voice, and a brilliant resonance in all registers. It’s a sound that fills a room. goods for situations outside of bluegrass. It feels dynamic and responsive when fingerpicked in standard tuning as well as open-G and DADGAD, and it’s inspiring to use the instrument for situations not commonly associated with dreadnoughts, like playing jazz standards. And for the songwriter, the instrument really feels like it’s got some tunes in it. These days there are plenty of great options, both modern and vintage, when it comes to dreadnoughts. The CS-Bluegrass-16, with its dazzling sound and easy playability, is among the best of them, old or new. The limited availability and unique style only sweeten the appeal of this awesome dreadnought. AG

AT A GLANCE

MARTIN CSBLUEGRASS-16 BODY 14-fret dreadnought size Adirondack top with VTS (Vintage Tone System) Guatemalan rosewood back and sides Ebony bridge Vintage gloss finish NECK Mahogany Ebony fingerboard 25.4-inch scale 1 3/4 - inch bone nut Waverly tuners EXTRAS Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium (MSP7200) strings (13–56)

CHRIS TOMLIN TALKS ABOUT SONGWRITING AND PERFORMING

Chris Tomlin has sold millions of records, won a Grammy and has over 20 Dove Awards. His chart topping hit songs and sold-out performances brought music of faith to this generation. Since his early days playing Willie Nelson songs with his father, Chris has always loved the guitar, the art of songwriting, joy of performing and reaching people’s heart through music. Chris’s new album, Never Lose Sight, is available now. Check out christomlin.com. What makes Elixir® Strings a favorite among artists like Chris? It’s their great tone, smooth feel, no string squeak and extended tone life. And for Chris, the playability, comfort, and awesome sound enables his guitars to sound and feel their best.

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NEW GEAR

An Impressive Makeover The revoiced Taylor 712e is one sweet-sounding 12-fret guitar BY ADAM PERLMUTTER n 1984, Taylor Guitars created a boon for modern fingerstyle players with its first Grand Concert: a small-bodied guitar that negated the boom and muddiness sometimes associated with dreadnoughts and other larger guitars, while also providing player comfort. This winning design has been a mainstay in Taylor’s offerings ever since. The 712e 12-fret, a member of the newly refreshed 700 Series, is Taylor’s most recent variation on the Grand Concert platform. And it’s one sweet guitar. True to form, it’s got a brilliant and balanced voice, with the lushness characteristic of Indian rosewood back and sides. The instrument has impressive clarity as well, with just the right amount of harmonic content. Taylor consistently hits the highwater mark in terms of playability. As expected, the 712e 12-Fret, with its streamlined, C-shaped neck and shortscale length, feels silky smooth. The action is low and speedy runs that are difficult to pull off on other steelstrings are made possible on the 712e. It’s almost too easy to play.

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TAYLOR 712E 12-FRET BODY 12-fret Grand Concert size Lutz spruce top Indian rosewood back and sides Gloss western sunburst or natural finish NECK Mahogany Ebony fretboard 24 7/8-inch scale length 1 3/4-inch nut Taylor slot-head tuners Satin finish EXTRAS Elixir Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings (.012–.053) Expression System 2 electronics Hardshell case PRICE $4,098 list; $2,949 street Made in the USA taylorguitars.com 82 February 2017

OLD-SCHOOL CHARM The 712e 12-Fret might boast modern playability, but it takes its aesthetic cues from vintage instruments. The guitar’s slotted headstock houses opengeared tuners with ivoroid buttons, while the abalone “Reflections” inlay recalls the ornamental work found on fancy prewar instruments. The warm Western Sunburst finish on our review model is similarly old school. (The guitar is also available in Natural.) Then there are design flourishes unique to Taylor. The pickguard, made from wood fiber, looks a lot like old leather. Wooden binding

might be common these days, but Taylor applies its own treatment with a Douglas firand-maple rosette, echoed in the top purfling, as well as koa binding. This handsome and smartly designed instrument is flawlessly realized. The body’s gloss finish is completely free from imperfections, the frets are meticulously dressed, and the Tusq nut and Micarta saddle are perfectly notched. Things are just as clean inside the guitar, and the instrument left the factory with an excellent setup. A VERSATILE PERFORMER The first things I notice about the 712e are its warmth and power, likely owing to its 12th-fret neck junction, which shifts the bridge from where it’s located on a 14-fret model to a sweet spot in the middle of the lower bout. The Lutz spruce soundboard (a new addition to the company’s 700 Series), which is known to have a similar velocity of sound as Adirondack spruce, no doubt adds to the robustness of the voice. I test the 712e 12-Fret using some selections I recently transcribed. When I play through David Bromberg’s interpretation of the Elizabeth Cotten classic “Shake Sugaree,” (Learn to play on p. 66) in drop-D tuning, I’m as impressed by the tightness of the bass notes as I am by the fullness of the trebles. The guitar has an immediate response and a highly detailed sound, making it ideal for fingerpicking. When I play Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” in standard tuning, the guitar has good punch and presence. It works quite well for playing this tune with its percussive, stripped-down chord work. In a different mode, working through the lesson that Adam Levy penned for the December

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2016 issue on Bob Dylan’s acoustic-guitar style reveals the 712e 12-Fret to be just as good for strumming as it is for fingerpicking. The guitar is loud and projective. And whether in the style of Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe,” “Desolation Row” (which is in drop-C tuning, with a capo at fret 4), or “One Too Many Mornings” (in open A, with a capo at fret 3), the guitar has a clear and uncluttered sound that will blend well with other instruments or sit nicely in a mix. Taylor’s Expression System 2 comes standard Elixir Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings

Taylor consistently hits the high-water mark in terms of playability. with the 712e. So, the pickup’s elements are placed behind the saddle rather than underneath it. The idea is that the Expression System 2’s elements will respond more naturally to the string’s vibrations than those found in a traditional undersaddle pickup. I wasn’t able to test this claim, but

I did notice that the pickup—which is paired with an onboard preamp and tone/volume controls— sounded exceptionally rich and lifelike when plugged into a Fender Acoustasonic amp. With the newly revoiced 712e 12-Fret, Taylor Guitars has unveiled yet another small-bodied winner, with one of the company’s most satisfying cosmetic treatments to date. Any modern guitarist looking for a smart new companion should definitely give this one a spin. AG

Lutz spruce top

Gloss Western Sunburst finish

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NEW GEAR

AT A GLANCE

BATSON AMERICANA BODY Sitka spruce soundboard Mahogany back and sides Flamed-maple binding and armrest bevel Venetian cutaway Body depth: 4.5 inches Body length: 20 inches Lower bout: 15 inches Upper bout: 11 inches

An Americana Sound Batson introduces a more affordable production model BY PETE MADSEN

NECK Ebony fretboard (14-inch fretboard radius) and bridge 25.5-inch scale length 1.75-inch wide bone nut Bone saddle (string spacing 2.25-inches) 21:1 tuners EXTRAS Batson Clear Voice piezo UST with tone and volume control Hardshell case $2,300 list; $1,599 street batsonguitars.com 84 February 2017

nspired by his brother’s Lowden guitar, but unable to afford his own, Cory Batson’s lightbulb moment prompted an ambitious response: Build your own guitar. With a guitar-making book in hand, he went on to build and experiment with his guitars to come up with designs that would include a side-mounted sound port, cantilevered fretboard, beveled armrest, and architecturally inspired bracing systems. These custom Batson guitars are as beautiful as they are expensive (in the $9,000 range). Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Batson has been striving to create more affordable versions of his guitars of late. A few years back, Batson introduced the No. 5 model to bring a more affordable Batson to the masses. Now, Batson has gone one step further, taking his designs to the “oldest guitar production facility in Korea,” where the company is producing three models: the Americana, the Troubadour, and the Gypsy. AG tested the Americana.

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THE DESIGN ELEMENTS The Americana is visually striking: The ebony fretboard, bridge, and tailpiece make a beautiful, chocolate-hued center line against the vanilla-shaded, solid Sitka spruce top; and the light-colored, solid mahogany back and sides have a honey-hued, koa-like sheen. Then there’s the soundhole: Batson Guitars has been around since 1997, but you can’t help but do a double take when you see a guitar with no front-facing soundhole. The sound port, which is located in the top upper bout, directs the sound toward the player’s face, which can be a bit bracing if you are not used to it. There are several benefits to the sound port: You can hear the dynamics of your playing better and you can mic the guitar without getting much feedback—highly beneficial for both live and recording situations. Another benefit of the sound port is that you can see directly into the guts of the guitar, where I notice that instead of ladder or X bracing, the

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Americana has a series of diamond-shaped scalloped braces that undergird the entire top. I also notice a bit of overspray and some rough edges on the sound port, as well some glue marks showing above the purfling. But these are minor cosmetic quibbles. The guitar has fairly high action. (The company sets the height at a medium level ideal for flatpicking.) It has accurate intonation up and down the neck and the fretwork is well-executed. Whether I am standing or sitting, the beveled armrest makes the Americana comfortable to play: As a result, my arm swing for strumming and fingerpicking is relaxed and should make for many hours of playing ease. I wish all acoustic guitars came with that option. CAPTURING THE ESSENCE OF SOUND The tonal palette of the Americana is focused on the midrange. It has a nice growl when I tune down to open G (DGDGBD) and try some fingerpicked blues runs. I also pick my way through John Fahey’s “Spanish Two-

‘With a light touch, I manage a pretty shimmer while strumming some ethereal open chords, like Andy Summers might do in a song like “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.’ Step,” and play some bottleneck slide that produces a resonator-type quality: a bit brash and in-your-face. Note: Because I use a thumb pick, I have to alter my pick-hand form a little to keep from tapping the top— I usually direct my right hand attack over the soundhole. In standard tuning, I play a bit of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and find that the Americana responds nicely to a lighter touch. Fingerpicked notes ring with a pronounced clarity and excellent separation between bass and treble. I also get a nice bass thump while playing Big Bill Broonzy’s monotonic-based classic “Hey Hey.”

With a light touch, I manage a pretty shimmer while strumming some ethereal open chords, like Andy Summers might do on a Police song like “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.” The Americana’s Batson Clear Voice piezo UST pickup system does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the sound and transferring it to the electric realm. I plug into my Schertler Jam 150 and everything from the acoustic timbre is there. Plus, with a responsive tone wheel (mounted inside the sound port along with the volume), I am able to get a wide sweep from mellow warmth to bright and brash. I would say that the Americana actually opens up a bit when plugged in. This could be a boon for guitarists who play in loud environments and need to boost their volume, but who are wary of feedback issues. I crank up the volume on the Schertler while I stand close to the amp and get nary a peep of feedback. For those looking for an innovative guitar, but who don’t want to break the bank; or for those who have been seeking a more affordable Batson, here is your guitar. AG

The Edo Guitar 11 months in the making and over 20,000 pieces of inlay created especially for a celebration of the Art of Inlay

Harvey Leach Inlays P.O. Box 1315 Cedar Ridge, CA 95924    530-477-2938 harveyleachinlays.com [email protected]

To see this guitar in person visit the “Dragons and Vines” exhibition at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona November 5, 2016 through September 4, 2017

NOW THEY DON’T The NS Micro Soundhole Tuner is nearly invisible in any soundhole. Its luminous display is visible only to you, the player, without distracting from the look of your instrument or the strength of your performance.

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NEW GEAR

Built for Speed

Cort’s Frank Gambale Luxe is a fast and responsive flattop BY PETE MADSEN he Cort Frank Gambale signature model is a collaboration between the guitar company and the artist, who oversaw almost

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string, it’s easy to bend and fly around the neck, which features a 1 11/16 - inch nut and tight string spacing. One drawback to extralight strings is that the guitar can sound out of tune if you fret too forcefully. For those who are used to heavier-gauge strings, you will probably need to adopt a lighter fretting touch or change to heavier strings.

guitar that should be able to cut through in the mix. Since the Luxe handles like an electric, I played a few chunky power-chord rhythms, which sounded good as long as I didn’t hit the strings too hard (that produced a buzz on the sixth string). As a strummer, the Luxe has a nice sparkle, but not a whole lot of bass.

PUT TO THE TEST The concert-sized body is small enough to sit comfortably in most anyone’s lap and the cutaway gives the player access all the way to the 20th fret. Strings are surface threaded through the ebony bridge without going into the body of the guitar. The ebony fretboard yields to a silky touch.

every detail of this guitar. Gambale, a jazzfusion shredder who often records and performs acoustically, wanted an acoustic that played like an electric, and he has put his personal stamp on the Luxe. For example, some of the design features are whimsical— like the Jetsons-style swoop and the trio of crystals on the headstock, as well as the horizontal inlay on the fretboard. But the Luxe also sports such sophisticated features as an Adirondack spruce top, Australian blackwood back and sides (a nod to Gambale’s Australian home), a custom wood rosette, and an L.R. Baggs EAS-VTC EQ pickup system. The Luxe will favor those seeking a fast-playing acoustic guitar. Set up almost like an electric with extra-light gauge strings (10–47), with an unwound third (G) 86 February 2017

I fingerpicked my way through Merle Travis’ “Cannonball Rag,” thinking this guitar is, in some ways, similar to what Travis played—he favored thin necks and lightergauge strings. The thinner neck of the Luxe makes it easier to wrap your fretting-hand thumb around the neck to reproduce some of the chord grips that Travis used. I played a “La Grange”/“Boogie Chillen”style groove and was able to fly around the neck picking lots of cool blues riffage. The Luxe has a punchy midrange that makes it a

PLUG & PLAY The L.R. Baggs pickup reproduces the acoustic sound with astonishing clarity. Plugged in, I realized that the Luxe really

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AT A GLANCE

responds better to a lighter touch. I played a bit of Martin Carthy’s “Scarborough Fair” and the ever-popular Beatles song “Blackbird.” OK, now I get it. This guitar is actually quite pretty, and even though you can play fast runs on it, it’s not a guitar you want to dig into. Better to let it chime away, using your finger and pick softly.

CORT FRANK GAMBALE LUXE

It really does play like what an electric-based jazz guitarist might want out of a flattop acoustic.

Flamed blackwood back and sides

BODY Concert size Solid Adirondack spruce top

Florentine cutaway Custom wooden rosette Ebony bridge Sonically enhanced UV finish

Cort and Gambale have put a lot of thought and care into the design of the Luxe. It really does play like what an electric-based jazz guitarist might want out of a flattop acoustic—it’s fast and responsive, not requiring too much muscle, which just might make you want to play the guitar for hours and hours without getting fatigued. AG

Tortoise binding 20 frets 25.3 inches (643mm) scale Custom fingerboard inlay Gold-plated tuners EXTRAS L.R. Baggs EAS-VTC EQ D’Addario coated string: custom gauge 1st–6th: 010, 014, 018 (unwound), 030, 039, 047

NECK Mahogany

Hardshell case included

Ebony fingerboard

PRICE $799 street

43mm (1 11/16 -inch) GraphTech black Tusq nut

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NEW GEAR

Batteries Not Included Ernie Ball PowerPeg String Winder makes life easier BY DENNIS GLOBUS f you have a fondness for carpal tunnel syndrome, read no further. Everyone else, follow me to a product that’s brimming with awesomeness. In short, the Ernie Ball PowerPeg String Winder is a little motorized device that completely eliminates the hand-cranked manual string winders of yesteryear. Yeah, that’s quite a claim, yet the PowerPeg delivers on the promise. For starters, the PowerPeg has a proprietary head that fits several different-size tuning pegs, whether you play acoustic, electric, 12-string, or bass. Fit the PowerPeg Winder’s head over a tuning peg, press one end of the rocker switch, and watch with delight as it quickly loosens your string. Press the other end of the switch to tighten. It’s that easy. The manufacturer claims that the PowerPeg will help you restring your instrument 70-percent faster than traditional manual peg winders. Having clocked my string changes with a manual winder and the PowerPeg, I’d say that figure is pretty much right on the button, because I’m able to restring my guitars in at least half the time it used to take. And then there’s the fatigue factor. If you’re the type who likes to change the

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strings on multiple guitars (or a 12-string) in one sitting, you know how tiring it can be— and hard on your wrist—to continually crank a manual winder. The Ernie Ball PowerPeg String Winder uses four AA batteries (not included), which I’ve found to last through several string changes. Since I use coated strings, which last quite a long time before needing to be changed, I’ve found that one set of batteries will live on for many months before giving up the ghost. But if the thought of buying and changing batteries goes against your nature, there’s a PowerPeg Pro model that’s fully rechargeable. Some industrious people have built their own PowerPeg-like devices by buying a special winder head and attaching it to a power drill. Good for them. Me? I don’t want to hold a drill. The basic PowerPeg can be had for around $20 retail; the Pro model will cost about $10 more. Whichever one you choose, it’s likely that you’ll cram your manual winder into your gig bag, never to be used again until you have an emergency string change right before a performance. Otherwise, it’s PowerPeg to the people. AG

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PLAYLIST

MIXED MEDIA John McEuen Made in Brooklyn (Chesky)

Beyond the Dirt Band

John McEuen gets down to the real nitty gritty on new solo project BY MARK KEMP he Nitty Gritty Dirt Band may have gotten more attention for its late-2016 album Circlin’ Back: Celebrating 50 Years, taped live in Nashville for public TV and featuring an all-star lineup of bluegrass and folk greats. But Dirt Band multi-instrumentalist John McEuen also quietly released a more modest recent solo project, Made in Brooklyn. It features acousticguitar great David Bromberg, banjo-playing funnyman Steve Martin, and African-American/Native American roots singer Martha Redbone. Made in Brooklyn, as its title suggests, is a more adventurous project recorded for the

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indie label Chesky Records, known for its warm, surround-sound recordings that favor musical spontaneity and sweet spots that make it feel as if you’re sitting in on the session. McEuen comes out of the gate picking a National resonator in open D on the jazz-folk instrumental “Brooklyn Crossing.” It’s a moody, low-key beginning to a winding, eclectic road that passes through a pair of Warren Zevon covers (including a bluegrass version of “Excitable Boy”), a playful acoustic duet between McEuen and Bromberg on the obscure Willie Wayne country-blues “Travelin’ Mood,” and a

William Blake poem sung as gospel by the phenomenal Redbone (“I Rose Up”). But the real sweet spot involves a familiar old dog. Two years after McEuen’s Dirt Band took Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” to the Billboard Top 10 in 1970, Bromberg recorded a longer live version that featured his shaky, vulnerable voice, killer guitar licks, and a spoken story about how Walker had come to write the song. On Made in Brooklyn, McEuen passes the song back to Bromberg for a performance and a chat about it that provides the perfect ending for this modest 16-track gem.

Gillian Welch

Ecos de Borinquen

Lawrence Blatt

Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg (Acony)

El Alma de Puerto Rico (Smithsonian Folkways)

Longitudes & Latitudes (LMB Music)

Previously unreleased material from Welch’s acclaimed 1996 debut I remember listening to Gillian Welch’s 1996 debut Revival before it came out, feeling awestruck, and immediately having to hear it again—and to play it on the radio, trying to make sure everyone else heard it, too. It was that good. Twenty years later, it still is, but what you hear on Boots No. 1 are the near-misses from that album: a home demo of “Orphan Girl” that’s faster than it needs to be, an electric version of “455 Rocket” that would later become a hit for Kathy Mattea, and six songs that Welch and her partner David Rawlings never released and never re-recorded. You hear “I Don’t Want to Go Downtown,” showing clear echoes of Robert Earl Keen, with Rawlings playing slide on his new ’35 Epiphone Olympic. You hear “Wichita,” which wouldn’t surface again for several years until the DVD companion to Time (The Revelator), after it’d been covered by Tim and Mollie O’Brien. Mostly, you hear Welch and Rawlings growing more confident as they shed the self-consciousness of Berklee alums writing and playing this preternaturally old mountain music. Best of all—for me—is witnessing the genius of producer T Bone Burnett, who clearly understood which songs wouldn’t suit the album and how to transform the ones that would. The released versions are consistently slower, sparser, lonelier than the demos, with Rawlings’ guitar growing more brittle, more restrained, more plaintive through the process. For all the polish of recording in a Hollywood studio, the finished versions actually feel rougher, grainier than homemade, which was so startling to hear in 1996: the sound of these sophisticated primitives finding a new voice. —Kenny Berkowitz

Creole folk music from Puerto Rico is a contagious affair The folk music of Puerto Rico often is overshadowed by the regional sounds of such Caribbean neighbors as Trinidad and Haiti. But it has much to offer. El Alma de Puerto Rico (The Soul of Puerto Rico) captures the essence of jibaro (a Puerto Rican Creole folk tradition) on the Grammy– and Latin Grammy-nominated Ecos de Borinquen’s sophomore effort on the Smithsonian Folkways label. These 16 Spanishlanguage, acoustic recordings, packaged with an informative 36-page booklet that includes extensive liner notes, embrace a number of genres that fall under the jibaro rubic: seis, aguinaldo, and cadena. The songs feature instrumentalist Ramon Vázquez Lamboy leading several guitarists and arranging the music to these ten-verse songs for a six-string and pair of cuatros, a six-stringed guitar that is iconic in jibaro music. Oftentimes, the cuatros are played in unison, with one guitarist playing the melodies high and the other playing low to create a chiming harmony. The arrangements are rounded out with a rasp and bongos. These songs are light, lively, and rooted in the rich tradition of the island nation’s rural farm communities. Especially catchy are the title track and “Gloria al Idioma Español (Glory of the Spanish Language),” a seis in the marumba style. Those tracks feature ebullient single-line melodies, often mirrored by the pair of cuatro players, over rhythms that are reminiscent of Ghanaian highlife or the Nigerian jūjú music of King Sunny Ade. It’s a zesty, life-affirming, and contagious sound that requires no special language skills. But it speaks volumes. —Greg Cahill

An internal travelogue rife with strong acoustic grooves For his fifth album, Lawrence Blatt is shifting away from the quiet, mostly solo meditations of Emergence (2014) to embrace a light jazzy, post-Windham Hill adult contemporary, complete with cello (Eugene Friesen), flugelhorn (Jeff Oster), sax (Premik Russell Tubbs), violin (Charlie Bisharat, Lila Sklar), and percussion (Jeff Haynes). Each of these 14 pieces was written in a different city, as near as San Francisco and as far away as China, but there’s little overtly geographical about these compositions. Yes, there’s a nod to klezmer in “Flying over Ellis Island” and flamenco in “Noches de Barcelona,” but “Hyde Park Bench” doesn’t feel any more like London than “Slow Walk Past the Bank” feels like Paris or “The Places Left Behind” feels like Boulder. Instead, they feel like pure Blatt. They’re internal travelogues, capturing his mood as he travels around the globe, inspired by the beauty around him. They’re setting a tone that’s warm, relaxed, and perfectly peaceful, translating a deeply felt romanticism into nylon and steel strings. That’s Blatt’s gift: to find sweetness at any latitude and create a gentle acoustic groove to go along with it. Produced by Will Ackerman, who plays acoustic guitar on one song and electric on another, the album is quietly perfect in every way, the ensemble beautifully balanced and the sounds lovingly recorded. And after playing more than a dozen different guitars, Blatt leaves a surprise at the end, a solo ukulele version of “Over the Rainbow” that dances lightly around the edges of Harold Arlen’s melody, finding a dreaminess that matches his own. —K.B. AcousticGuitar.com 91

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92 February 2017

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PLAY LIKE BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON

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BUDDY MILLER | ‘BLIND BOY’ PAXTON | LUTHER DICKINSON | DAVID BOWIE

APRIL 2016 | ACOUSTICGUITAR.COM

WIN A TAKAMINE EF360S-TT P. 86

WIN A TAKAMINE EF360S-TT P. 86

NEW LESSONS SOUND LIKE ROBERT JOHNSON NEW LESSONS

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SOUND LIKE LEARN TO PLAY ROBERT JOHNSON ACOUSTIC FUNK LEARN TO YOUR PLAY IMPROVE ACOUSTIC FUNK SPEED & FLEXIBILITY IMPROVE YOUR SPEED & FLEXIBILITY GLEN CAMPBELL Gentle on My Mind GLEN CAMPBELL MISSISSIPPI Gentle MCDOWELL on My Mind FRED You Gotta Move MISSISSIPPI FRED MCDOWELL DAVEY GRAHAM You Gotta Move Anji DAVEY GRAHAM Anji

DELVE INTO CLASSICAL & BEYOND PLUS

HOW TO SOUND LIKE JERRY REED & OTHER TIPS 5 NEW NYLONSTRING GUITARS FOR ANY STYLE

NEW GEAR BREEDLOVE JOURNEY CONCERT BRAZILIAN FENDER PARAMOUNT SERIES WASHBURN WOODLINE 10 RMI ACOUSWITCH IQ DI

LUCINDA WILLIAMS ‘The Ghosts of Highway 20’ & other tales from the road

NEW GEAR BIG NEWHOLLOW GEAR PLAINSMAN DOUBLE 0 BIG HOLLOW PLAINSMAN DOUBLE 0 JAZZKAT TOMKAT TUBE AMP JAZZKAT TOMKAT TUBE AMP TC ELECTRONIC BODYREZ ACOUSTIC TC ELECTRONIC ENHANCER BODYREZ ACOUSTIC ENHANCER

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ADVERTISER INDEX Acoustic Remedy Cases, acousticremedycases.com . . . . . . 87

Fender Acoustic Guitars, www.fender.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Original Guitar Chair, originalguitarchair.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

Armadillo Enterprises, www.lunaguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

Fishman Transducers, fishman.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

P .K . Thompson Guitars, pkthompsonguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . 8

Bose Corporation, bose.com/live1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

G7th, Ltd ., g7th.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Paul Reed Smith Guitars, prsguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Bourgeois Guitars, pantheonguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Guitar Salon International, guitarsalon.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Radial Engineering, radialeng.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Bread & Roses, breadandroses.org . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

GuitarInstructor, GuitarInstructor.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

RainSong Graphite Guitars, rainsong.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Breezy Ridge Instruments, Ltd ., www.jpstrings.com . . . . . . 66

Harvey Leach Inlay & Guitars, harveyleachguitars.com. . . . 85

Sam Ash Direct, samash.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

C .F . Martin & Co ., Inc ., martinguitar.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

Henriksen Amplifiers, henriksenamplifiers.com . . . . . . . . . . 62

Shubb Capos, shubb.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Cole Clark, coleclarkguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Homespun, homespun.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Steven Kaufman Enterprises, Inc, flatpik.com . . . . . . . . 66, 70

Collings Guitars, collingsguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Guitar Humidor, http://guitarhumidor.com/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

Sweetwater Sound, sweetwater.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

D’Addario & Company, www.daddario.com . 33, 39, 69, 83, 85

Lanikai Ukuleles , lanikaiukuleles.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

Taylor, www.taylorguitarscom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

DR Music, drstrings.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

Kyser Musical Products, kysermusical.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Thalia Capos, www.thaliacapos.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Ear Trumpet Labs, www.eartrumpetlabs.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

Marchione Guitars, www.marchione.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

The Swannanoa Gathering, swangathering.com . . . . . . . . . 75

Eastman Strings, Inc ., www.eastmanstrings.com . . . . . . . . . . 6

Memphis Acoustic Guitar Festival, www.memphisguitarfest.com . .11

Two Old Hippies twooldhippies.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

ELIXIR Strings, www.elixirstrings.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

Music Dispatch, http://www.halleonard.com/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Washburn Guitars, washburn.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Epiphone Guitars, epiphone.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Music Dispatch, http://www.halleonard.com/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Yamaha Corporation of America, yamaha.com . . . . . . . . . . . 4

AcousticGuitar.com 93

GREAT ACOUSTICS

A Double Dare

If both string sets are 12 gauge, then the string tension is about 160 lbs. on the six, and 320 lbs. on the 12 for a total of 480 lbs. of string tension.

This Falbo double-neck pushes the boundaries of guitar design BY GREG CAHILL t started innocently enough. Kevan Geier, the inventor of the Tremol-No (a device that locks and unlocks tremolo systems on electric guitars), who is a friend of luthier Frank Falbo, approached the guitar maker about building a guitar that pushed the boundaries of the Falbo Intension Bridge design. “The first conclusion he reached was, ‘If you are balancing the torque, then you could make an acoustic with an unconventional top like lacewood,’” Falbo recalls. “The next thing he said was, ‘If you can make a six-string with it, then surely you can make a 12-string,’ to which I agreed. “It was only then that he announced, ‘Then you’re making me a double neck.’”   There were a lot of challenges with a build like this, which include the highly figured lacewood, delicate inlay, and leaf-shaped soundholes. And lots and lots of tension. “The top is not thicker, and the bracing is still light. Lacewood is comprised of a harder infrastructure with softer pockets that are almost clay-like in texture,” Falbo explains. “The intension bridge is what selfbalances the torque, so that I can use a wood like lacewood safely. Next, with the thinness of the body, a traditional bent-side construction could buckle or deflect over time from the string tension. If both string sets are 12s, then the string tension is about 160 lbs. on the six, and 320 lbs. on the 12 for a total of 480 lbs. of string tension! “So the center piece—the core—is carved from a solid piece of mahogany. It’s 90 percent hollow, but with branch-like connections to handle the total string tension. This leaves the top and back to float like a full-sized acoustic. That’s why it’s so loud.”  The bracing is interwoven, but still leaves the area behind the bridge open, as with the other Falbos. The electronics are two custom Fishman preamps, in the Kula ukulele format. “I needed something slim enough to install into the ultrathin body,” Falbo says. “The Kula is normally voiced for ukulele, but these have been modified to put the frequencies back where they would have been for a full-sized acoustic.” The results are impressive, indeed. AG

I

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94 February 2017

INTRODUCING THE NEW BREEDLOVE CONCERTO Shaping the future of guitar The new Breedlove Concerto is a scientifically designed new body shape that increases the size of the air chamber in the lower bout, reduces the size of the soundhole for more air compression, and maintains a defined waist for more comfort. The result is a bigger, louder, more lush sounding guitar with complex, textured tone.

Learn more at BreedloveGuitars.com

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