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  #16  
Old 03-30-2021, 11:10 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by schrectacular View Post
Good point and thanks for the encouragement.
I look at it this way...

If you look at finger paintings and say, "Wow, I want to learn how to do THAT", then you'll learn the techniques of those finger painters and how they made their finger paintings looks like that.

If, on the other hand, you look at, say, the Mona Lisa and say, "Wow, I want to learn to do THAT", you'll need to learn the techniques of those who paint like that.

What you learn in finger painting works perfectly to produce finger paintings. However, it won't work to paint the likes of a Mona Lisa. However, many who have the skills to paint the likes of a Mona Lisa can produce finger paintings.

I see playing the guitar in a similar light. That is, if one wants to play a specific style of music the way specific players played it, one can learn the techniques they used to play that music. If the style of music one wants to learn to play is less technically "challenging", many chose not to learn beyond that level of technical ability, instead stopping when they have reached their goal of playing that style of music the way one's roll model played it.

Playing more technically "challenging" music requires more "advanced" technique. With that more "advanced" technique one can play less technically-challenging music. However, those with only "less challenging" technique will largely be limited by their technique in playing styles of music that require more technically advanced abilities. In other words, "well-trained" painters, in addition to painting "advanced" canvases, can easily accomplish finger painting while those who only know finger painting will have considerable difficulty in painting a Mona Lisa.

Grossman is able to play the style of music he wants using the techniques of the players who played the style of music he wants to play. Rightly, he states that if you want to play like that, you don't need to use a different technique (e.g. more plucking fingers, different playing posture, etc.). And, you don't. However, if you want to play some other styles of music, in those styles of music using more fingers and a different playing posture is essential. It is self-serving to state that one shouldn't, or can't, use more fingers (i.e. more advanced technique) or a different playing posture.

In short, I suggest that the minimum level of technical ability required depends upon the technical demands of the music you want to play. If your goal is to strum three chords, you don't need more technical ability than that. If your goal is to play, say, Bach's Toccata and Fugue on a guitar, you're going to need as much technical ability as you can humanly develop, pulling out all of the stops, so to speak.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxWNmGGItXg

Last edited by charles Tauber; 03-30-2021 at 11:22 AM.
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  #17  
Old 03-30-2021, 11:30 AM
davidbeinct davidbeinct is online now
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So in your analogy is Rev. Gary Davis the finger painter?
Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
I look at it this way...

If you look at finger paintings and say, "Wow, I want to learn how to do THAT", then you'll learn the techniques of those finger painters and how they made their finger paintings looks like that.

If, on the other hand, you look at, say, the Mona Lisa and say, "Wow, I want to learn to do THAT", you'll need to learn the techniques of those who paint like that.

What you learn in finger painting works perfectly to produce finger paintings. However, it won't work to paint the likes of a Mona Lisa. However, many who have the skills to paint the likes of a Mona Lisa can produce finger paintings.

I see playing the guitar in a similar light. That is, if one wants to play a specific style of music the way specific players played it, one can learn the techniques they used to play that music. If the style of music one wants to learn to play is less technically "challenging", many chose not to learn beyond that level of technical ability, instead stopping when they have reached their goal of playing that style of music the way one's roll model played it.

Playing more technically "challenging" music requires more "advanced" technique. With that more "advanced" technique one can play less technically-challenging music. However, those with only "less challenging" technique will largely be limited by their technique in playing styles of music that require more technically advanced abilities. In other words, "well-trained" painters, in addition to painting "advanced" canvases, can easily accomplish finger painting while those who only know finger painting will have considerable difficulty in painting a Mona Lisa.

Grossman is able to play the style of music he wants using the techniques of the players who played the style of music he wants to play. Rightly, he states that if you want to play like that, you don't need to use a different technique (e.g. more plucking fingers, different playing posture, etc.). And, you don't. However, if you want to play some other styles of music, in those styles of music using more fingers and a different playing posture is essential. It is self-serving to state that one shouldn't, or can't, use more fingers (i.e. more advanced technique) or a different playing posture.

In short, I suggest that the minimum level of technical ability required depends upon the technical demands of the music you want to play. If your goal is to strum three chords, you don't need more technical ability than that. If your goal is to play, say, Bach's Toccata and Fugue on a guitar, you're going to need as much technical ability as you can humanly develop, pulling out all of the stops, so to speak.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxWNmGGItXg
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  #18  
Old 03-30-2021, 11:36 AM
schrectacular schrectacular is offline
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Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
A baritone ukelele? That’s like a tiny guitar. Or a jumbo shrimp or something. What’s the width between the nut and the first fret?
I think the technical term is "Elfin Guitar", unless I've been using the wrong nomenclature?

My uke is a basic Pono MGB, 20" scale. I got out the calipers (thanks for the excuse to use them!) and measured nut to first fret: 1.1". Distance between strings is 0.585" over the sound hole. Let's just say the Ever Globe would have no trouble navigating a bari-uke.

Happy to measure other stuff if you want me to. My guitar is the older Martin 000-15 (not the newer "M") which has a 1 11/16'' nut equating to string distance over the sound hole of about 0.385".

Last edited by schrectacular; 03-30-2021 at 11:46 AM.
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  #19  
Old 03-30-2021, 11:45 AM
schrectacular schrectacular is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
In short, I suggest that the minimum level of technical ability required depends upon the technical demands of the music you want to play. If your goal is to strum three chords, you don't need more technical ability than that. If your goal is to play, say, Bach's Toccata and Fugue on a guitar, you're going to need as much technical ability as you can humanly develop, pulling out all of the stops, so to speak.
I like the analogy, makes a lot of sense. Actually the main reason for the thread was that Grossman said using three, for this style of music doesn't seem to work. Because it sounds to me like I'm able to play these pieces... and logically it seems like using less would actually make your job harder in a way... So much along the lines of your analogy. And I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something.

And FWIW I use thumb and two on the uke. And sometimes find myself using the middle finger on the high e on guitar, so I totally see why people would use two. But for me, I find that when learning from tabs, for that alternating bass style of playing, that there is less to think about if I just give each of the highest strings a finger each. I suppose I could come up with a different rule for using two. But before I went down that path I figured I'd ask y'all.
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  #20  
Old 03-30-2021, 11:52 AM
NormanKliman NormanKliman is offline
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Originally Posted by schrectacular View Post
Happy to measure other stuff if you want me to.
Not necessary. The point is that your instrument is smaller than mine and that it provides an easier transition to narrow-necked acoustics.
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  #21  
Old 03-30-2021, 12:02 PM
davidbeinct davidbeinct is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schrectacular View Post
I like the analogy, makes a lot of sense. Actually the main reason for the thread was that Grossman said using three, for this style of music doesn't seem to work. Because it sounds to me like I'm able to play these pieces... and logically it seems like using less would actually make your job harder in a way... So much along the lines of your analogy. And I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something.

And FWIW I use thumb and two on the uke. And sometimes find myself using the middle finger on the high e on guitar, so I totally see why people would use two. But for me, I find that when learning from tabs, for that alternating bass style of playing, that there is less to think about if I just give each of the highest strings a finger each. I suppose I could come up with a different rule for using two. But before I went down that path I figured I'd ask y'all.
I agree with your take and the consensus of the thread that Grossman is wrong about that. I made the switch to thumb n two because I also found out that for me John Miller was also right, itís easier for me to play faster with thumb n two. I still sometimes throw my ring finger back in, which for me has given me the confidence to know I can use different combinations of right hand fingers more freely than I thought I could before I made the switch.
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  #22  
Old 03-30-2021, 12:34 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by davidbeinct View Post
So in your analogy is Rev. Gary Davis the finger painter?
No. I was pretty careful to use language that did not apply value judgements or assignments.

The technical requirements of music are a continuum, from very simple to very complex. Where one puts a specific style of music, or individual piece of music, in that continuum is somewhat subjective. It's up to you where on that continuum you place any specific player or his or her music, including Rev. Davis.

If I was to bestow the "finger painter" (i.e. "simple", least technical in its requirements) label on any player, it would be the strummer of three (first-position) chords that I mentioned. One can play a lot of songs with only three chords. That isn't a bad thing. It just isn't very technically complex.

Last edited by charles Tauber; 03-30-2021 at 12:45 PM.
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  #23  
Old 03-30-2021, 12:51 PM
davidbeinct davidbeinct is online now
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
No. I was pretty careful to use language that did not apply value judgements or assignments.

The technical requirements of music are a continuum, from very simple to very complex. Where one puts a specific style of music, or individual piece of music, in that continuum is somewhat subjective. It's up to you where on that continuum you place any specific player or his or her music, including Rev. Davis.

If I was to bestow the "finger painter" (i.e. "simple", least technical in its requirements) label on any player, it would be the strummer of three (first-position) chords that I mentioned. One can play a lot of songs with only three chords. That isn't a bad thing. It just isn't very technically complex.
Roger that. I inferred a value judgment you did not imply from the finger painter label.
That said, although your position on technique is probably sound, I suspect there are players in the non-classical arena who would, despite idiosyncratic, perhaps simpler or more limiting technique, give other players fits. Two that spring to mind are Gary Davis and Wes Montgomery. I could well be wrong as Iím a noob and have enough trouble with Mississippi John Hurt. I did google classical players playing Rev. Gary Davis and no examples immediately sprung up in the results.
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  #24  
Old 03-30-2021, 01:21 PM
schrectacular schrectacular is offline
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Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
Not necessary. The point is that your instrument is smaller than mine and that it provides an easier transition to narrow-necked acoustics.
"WHOOOOSHH" is the sound of that flying over my head in the original post...

With regards to the plucking hand though, to me it feels a lot different going from my guitar to the uke than to a wider-necked guitar. But maybe that makes it easier since the brain can more readily distinguish.. anyway, I was just trying to offer some encouragement that maybe the wall is closer than it seems.
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  #25  
Old 03-30-2021, 02:31 PM
NormanKliman NormanKliman is offline
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...anyway, I was just trying to offer some encouragement that maybe the wall is closer than it seems.


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  #26  
Old 03-30-2021, 04:10 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by davidbeinct View Post
...I’m a noob and have enough trouble with Mississippi John Hurt.
Having not listened to John Hurt in decades, I randomly pulled up this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fg20kQUMHY

I was immediately struck by the similarity of it to Bruce Cockburn's old tune, one I used to play as a teenager:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrjuriwfPiI

Both are typical I, IV, V blues, both use a similar alternating bass repeated picking pattern. Different keys, though: Cockburn's is in C major shapes, C, F, G (tuned a semi-tone flat), Hurt's probably E major. Once you get the constant bass down, the rest isn't too difficult, fingers picking either on the beat, with the thumb, or off the beat, in-between thumb notes. Fun stuff to play.
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  #27  
Old 03-30-2021, 04:43 PM
schrectacular schrectacular is offline
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
Once you get the constant bass down, the rest isn't too difficult, fingers picking either on the beat, with the thumb, or off the beat, in-between thumb notes. Fun stuff to play.
Yes, yes, it's great fun to play. But you left out the most relevant detail to this thread - which fingers are you picking with?!
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  #28  
Old 03-30-2021, 05:20 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by schrectacular View Post
Yes, yes, it's great fun to play. But you left out the most relevant detail to this thread - which fingers are you picking with?!
Thumb and three fingers. No way else to practically play Cockburnís song.
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  #29  
Old 03-31-2021, 07:57 PM
schrectacular schrectacular is offline
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
Thumb and three fingers. No way else to practically play Cockburnís song.
That was a great song btw, thanks for sharing!
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  #30  
Old 04-01-2021, 03:21 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by schrectacular View Post
That's interesting! And of course there are many players (Richard Thomson comes to mind) who use the same three but because the index is busy holding a pick.
Yes, except hybrid picking is something I could never do, and still can't.
Although I don't use my index much, it seems silly to tie it up to the thumb just to hold a pick.
When holding a pick, the movement of the other fingers feels awkward. I.e., hybrid picking requires the index to move in the same direction as the thumb, which is often the opposite direction to the fingers. Bizarre!

Obviously, that's just me, and it would have to get easier with practice. I've just never seen the point, personally. Anything a hybrid picker can do, one can do with thumb and fingers - it's only the sound of the pick you miss, and I guess the option of breaking into lines requiring rapid alternate picking.
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Originally Posted by schrectacular View Post
Thanks for the replies, all. I just thought it was odd that Grossman said using more fingers "doesn't seem to work" when it seems to work just fine for me... Reminds me of the old saying, "everyone is entitled to their opinions, even if they're wrong."

True! Obviously Grossman is talking from his own experience. That experience is considerable (and authoritative), but he's still just one guy.
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