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Old 01-10-2021, 04:16 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
Well, I don’t consider myself a hair-splitter. I like learning about the guitar and its history, but I don’t care much for bickering.
I'm not bickering. But I do enjoy the occasional bit of hair-splitting. I'm a pedant - because one thing that frustrates me about internet forums is that imprecision of language wastes a whole lot of time, as people misread one another, or think they're disagreeing when really they're not.
Sorry if I misread anything you wrote. I'm not disagreeing with you, only disambiguating - to use a wikipedia term. Or trying to anyway. (If you misread me, that's my fault, not yours.)
Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
Are you saying that was unusual at the time and unique to him?
I don't know. I only know I've never seen anyone else play like that. Everyone else I've seen playing in that style uses (used) at least index and middle, occasionally ring too. They may use index primarily, but commonly backed up with the middle.
Travis - in all the videos I've seen - seemed to never use his middle finger at all, let alone the ring. But he did develop incredible dexterity with just thumb and index.
Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
I would call it classical guitar technique. I didn’t say anything about it because it has nothing to do with what’s being discussed.
Understood. I was only making the (admittedly pedantic) point, that it's also "fingerstyle" in the definition you gave: playing the guitar without a pick (plectrum).

And I wouldn't say it has nothing to do with the topic. I'm sure most people on this forum are folk or blues players, not classical players, but there is a lot of overlap in the technique (if not in the material), we can all learn something from classical techniques.
Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
Yes, but, on those old recordings, they played with just the thumb and a finger or two. Are there many (any?) from the first half of the 20th century in which the guitarist plays with more than that?
Again, I don't know. Film of players from that era is very thin on the ground!
But what does seem to be the case is that that style doesn't generally require more than two fingers - and sometimes (as Travis proved later) - one finger might well be enough. (I'd guess the man he learned from might have used just thumb and index.)

I was just surprised when you described the style as "developed in the late 20th century". I wasn't aware of any different style developed that late. Of course you're right it "combine[d] several techniques and musical influences", but - AFAIK - only in the sense that the players of that period copied many preceding players (recordings from the previous decades).
The way you expressed it made it seem as if it was a new style, that was my point. (Sorry again if I misunderstood your point - I know you were being deliberately brief.)

The acoustic fingerstyle of the 1960s and later was often a little different in sound from the styles recorded between the late 20s and late 50s that the later players copied, but mostly in quality of sound, not really in terms of fingering.
There certainly were some new techniques developed alongside that "traditional" (alternating bass) approach - such as various percussive techniques and new tunings - but I'm guessing you weren't thinking of those.
Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
I use all five fingers (little finger only for strumming).
Right. Flamenco players also use all five - but that's another potential area of confusion of course.
"All five fingers" includes the "thumb"! That's OK, but if we count the thumb as a 5th "finger", and then read someone saying they "only use two fingers" how do we know whether they mean "thumb and index", or "index and middle" (thumb being assumed)?
Disambiguation does come in useful sometimes...

Again, sorry to make such a meal of some very trivial distinctions. Hopefully there's some clarification amongst the verbosity here...
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen.
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