Guitar

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by KenH, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    Just for personal fun and learning a new skill, how much effort does it take to learn how to play the guitar - specifically, flatpicking Norman Blake style?
     
  2. D28guy

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    KenH,

    1st of all, I am a HUGE Norman Blake fan. I have tons of his recordings. He is also probably my #1 influence regarding my flatpicking. He is nothing less that a true American treasure, who I dont believe has ever gotten his proper due. (The same for Doc Watson)

    Anyway, the easy part regarding Normans playing is that his style of music..."old time" and bluegrass...are based *primarily* on the standard I-IV-V chord progressions. That means that to learn how to simply play rythmn to his songs while singing them would not be anywhere near as difficult as, say, learning to play classical guitar of Jazz guitar.

    If you are interested in learning to "flatpick" the way he does...meaning playing lead during the break of a song or flatpicking an instrumental, it will involve...at 1st...becoming proficient at picking out runs and melody in mostly the 1st position of the guitar (where the chords are fingered..the 1st 3 or 4 frets or so) using both fretted notes ond open notes smoothly. That can take some getting used to but once it "clicks" all kinds of great things start happening.

    Personally I learned just by watching people play and picking in up that way. Do you have opportunities to spend time with some people who play in this style? If so you will find that people in the "old time" and bluegrass communities are among the nicest people you will ever meet and they generally love to help newcomers.

    There are also gobs and gobs of good teaching materials..VCR tape videos and DVD's..starting from beginner, and going all the way through intermediate and advanced as well.

    Google "Homespun Tapes" and you will find that they have tons of instructional stuff available.

    Hope this helps some. If you have more specific questions post back and I'll do my best.

    Good luck and God bless!

    Mike
     
  3. Charles Meadows

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    Blake's style is deceptive. He is not a "flashy" player like Tony Rice or David Grier - but he is extremely good. I think his fluid right hand movement has a lot to do with it.

    He tends to play older and smaller bodied guitars as well. A Gibson L-00 or maybe even LGO might be closer to the Blake sound than a big Martin D 28.

    PS. Check out Bryan Sutton too. He has taken some of the best of Blake, Rice, Crary and others and formed his own distinctive style. My personal favorite!
     
  4. Bro. Curtis

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    Norman Blake is great. No matter what he's playing, he stays on the melody, and has great timing. He's about the closest you can get to Maybelle Carter, who invented bluegrass guitar playing, and didn't even know it.

    Guitar playing is my life, and from what I have noticed, gains are made in big jumps. Practice, practice, practice. Plus, Norman has some instructional videos you can buy.

    And I would recommend either a Martin OOO-18, or one of their 12-fret slothead flat-tops. A Martin dealer will know what you want, if you ask for those.
     
  5. Blammo

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    Ken,

    I have seen many beginners quit after about a month of learning to play the guitar. It can be very frustrating at first. Your fingers just don't seem to have what it takes. My advice would be, if you decide to start, DON'T QUIT, once the coordination comes, you will realize it was well worth it.
     
  6. KenH

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    Thanks for the info. Here is an old video of Norman Blake performing "Nashville Blues" with some great close-ups of his picking:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKLgXgVRqjk

    I have always loved music - I was in the band in junior high and high school. The only real regret I have from my childhood is not learning how to play guitar from my dad - he played the fiddle, too.

    Listening to bluegrass for the past 5-6 years has made me long to go beyond just listening and singing along. It's just a matter of deciding if I want to make the commitment of practicing 30 minutes/day and developing the callouses. :)

    D28guy, I came across the Homespun Tapes website last night. It looks to be a really good webstore.
     
  7. Bro. Curtis

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  8. steveo

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    The thing I learned from teaching guitar was that some students seemed to play overnight and some after 2 years didn't progress that much.
    Having a natural talent from God definitely helps :) along with practice.
    I mostly play acoustic now, but I usually recommended electrics just because strings are thinner even though you can get extra light gauge on the acoustic and you dont need an amp with an acoustic.
     
  9. James_Newman

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    Whatever you do, don't cheap out and buy a wal-mart guitar. The worst experience you will have is trying to make good sounds come out of a bad instrument. You don't have to get anything real expensive to start on, but try to get an opinion from someone who plays if your not sure what to look for. I might recommend yamaha for good inexpensive accoustics.
     
  10. James_Newman

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    Thats what I like to see, a family that plays music together! BTW you look skinnier in your avatar ;)
     
  11. poncho

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    Git yerself a Gibson Hound dog, a handful of thumbpicks some good video tapes a good metronome and practice practice practice. And don't think of it as pain but as building callouses. :smilewinkgrin: I use a thumbpick and fingers for (easy) bluegrass and country rythyms and runs, blues too. Don't worry about how much time it will take Ken just have fun learning and picking.
     
    #11 poncho, Jul 12, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2007
  12. Bro. Curtis

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    I fell in love with her the first time I heard her sing. We knock 'em dead, as a duo, everywhere we play. She has a voice you wouldn't believe. She's also from Sulpher Springs, Texas, don't you know......
     
  13. Bro. Curtis

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    I use steerhorn flatpicks made for me by a local guy. Everyone will develop their own style, and your last statement is the absolute truth. I'll never be rich, or famous, but the guitar has been very good to me. What a blast.
     
  14. James_Newman

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    You guys are making me want to get some flat-picking videos now. I really only strum a few chords. I need to start working on some new techniques.
     
  15. poncho

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    Bro Curtis is right about developing your own style (try it all), I use flatpicks for electric guitar alot but for the acoustic the old National thumbpick and fingers gets Maybelle's rythym pretty good for me. It's easy and kind of soothing and all ya really need to know is a few chords. That alternating bass line will happen almost by itself with alittle practice.

    Boom chicka boom chicka boom! :thumbsup:
     
    #15 poncho, Jul 12, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2007
  16. KenH

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    I have been looking around the Internet at beginner guitars. What do ya'll think about this one?

    www.seagullguitars.com/products6.htm

    I saw a list where it was listed as the No. 1 beginner guitar.

    By the way, I just have to ask this, do any of you have an opinion about the guitars that Esteban sells? :)
     
  17. Bro. Curtis

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    DON"T BUY IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seagulls are fine beginner guitars. You can get one pretty cheap, but if I were you, I'd look for a used professional model, like a Martin D-15.
     
  18. poncho

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    Once in awhile I still go into the music store and try out different guitars, hey ya never know when that deal of life time is gonna happen! You'll know when you get your hands on the "right" one.
     
  19. D28guy

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    KenH...

    Do.....NOT....buy one of those guitar shaped objects!!!!!


    Honestly, that Seagull you posted in 20 times better than the best of Estebans...umm...I dont know exactly what to call them...plywood things.

    The wood is cheap. The "mother of pearl inlay" is stickers. The quality is non-existant.

    I have played 3 of them and the BEST of the 3 is probably worth about $50.00.

    I dont know how "The MAN himself" has managed to not get arrested.

    I would highly reccomend you look at the Blueridge line. Awesome guitars for this style of music, and a good price.

    Mike
     
  20. KenH

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    That's what I figured, D28guy. :laugh:
     

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