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Old 01-24-2020, 02:31 PM
foxo foxo is offline
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Default Simple instrumental pieces

I’ve been playing guitar for two and a half years now but solely as a tool for accompanying my singing. I really want to improve into more melodic stuff than just fingerpicked patterns and strummed chords. What would be a good instrumental piece to start me off?

I have the Bert Jansch song book but I am finding it frustratingly difficult. I really need something easier as my first instrumental piece. Folk or blues preferably but open to suggestions please.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:37 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Hi Foxo,

A lot folks started out finger picking on Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotton. It was the first piece I learned, a simple version in Mark Hanson's book on Travis picking.

You might also enjoy some of John Hurt's simpler tunes for starters. Lightin' Hopkins, too. Plenty of online teaching for this stuff.

I've been at it for just over 3 years and there is no way I would try anything by Bert Jansch!

Good luck!
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:40 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is online now
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Though I have mentioned this guy in another thread here, he bears repeating since his arrangements would be ideal for what the OP seems to be looking for:

The web site:

https://www.lexvonsumayo.com/sheet-music.html

You can purchase individual arrangements or one or more of his books containing a bunch of arrangements. They are standard notation and TAB, and very well done.

The youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/VonLexSumayo/videos

A sample video:



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Old 01-24-2020, 02:52 PM
foxo foxo is offline
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Thanks for advice so far.

This is the second time Mark Hanson has been recommended to me - going to buy The Art of Solo Fingerstyle and the travis picking ones.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxo View Post
Thanks for advice so far.

This is the second time Mark Hanson has been recommended to me - going to buy The Art of Solo Fingerstyle and the travis picking ones.
Wise move. Work thru both and you will end up with a solid fingerstyle foundation. I’m sure you know the books compliment each other, start with Contemporary Travis Picking. It may seem too basic based on your current skill level but worth the effort.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxo View Post
I’ve been playing guitar for two and a half years now but solely as a tool for accompanying my singing. I really want to improve into more melodic stuff than just fingerpicked patterns and strummed chords. What would be a good instrumental piece to start me off?

I have the Bert Jansch song book but I am finding it frustratingly difficult.
Ha! Bert wasn't one for composing easy instrumentals! Assuming you mean the Bert Transcribed book, I wouldn't consider any of the instrumentals we put in there to be easy.
But there are one or two he recorded that are not as tricky. These are the easiest instrumentals of his that I know:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is-B_pA9kRY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk_uI_4CmLA drop D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-BOxivT_po DADGAD - OK, some tricky bits in that one...

The first one will be in the planned Vol.2, but that could be several months away.
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I really need something easier as my first instrumental piece. Folk or blues preferably but open to suggestions please.
There's a nice Mississippi John Hurt tune in open D that works quite well as an instrumental:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-p214l5QLI
I consider that a beginner fingerpicking tune - easier then Freight Train because of the tuning and the single chord.

I can send tabs for any of the above if you want them. PM me with an email.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
Wise move. Work thru both and you will end up with a solid fingerstyle foundation. I’m sure you know the books compliment each other, start with Contemporary Travis Picking. It may seem too basic based on your current skill level but worth the effort.
Aye, started Travis Picking one a few days ago. It seems good so far! I’m willing to go back a few steps to start at the right place and make sure I have those fundamentals.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
Ha! Bert wasn't one for composing easy instrumentals! Assuming you mean the Bert Transcribed book, I wouldn't consider any of the instrumentals we put in there to be easy.
But there are one or two he recorded that are not as tricky. These are the easiest instrumentals of his that I know:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is-B_pA9kRY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk_uI_4CmLA drop D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-BOxivT_po DADGAD - OK, some tricky bits in that one...

The first one will be in the planned Vol.2, but that could be several months away.
There's a nice Mississippi John Hurt tune in open D that works quite well as an instrumental:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-p214l5QLI
I consider that a beginner fingerpicking tune - easier then Freight Train because of the tuning and the single chord.

I can send tabs for any of the above if you want them. PM me with an email.
You worked on Bert Transcribed? Thanks very much for your work, I think it’s a great tribute to the late great Jansch.

Will get in touch with my email.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:54 AM
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Aye, started Travis Picking one a few days ago. It seems good so far! I’m willing to go back a few steps to start at the right place and make sure I have those fundamentals.
Well, you have the best of both worlds. You sing and strum well and you want to dip your toes into fingerstyle.

My singing makes the cats hide so I primarily play solo fingerstyle.

Have fun!
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
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Well, you have the best of both worlds. You sing and strum well and you want to dip your toes into fingerstyle.
Agreed. If you just add melody lines to your playing & singing, you don't have to make it as involved as a pure instrumental arrangement. That way you can start with short sections, added into a song, rather than a full instrumental version of the song. That would be much less involved.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:30 PM
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Yes, you can arrange any of the songs you currently play/sing for fingerstyle guitar by weaving the melody in with the rhythm/chords. This is a very common practice. For example, pretty much all Beatles songs have been arranged for fingerstyle guitar. Also, it can be fun, instructive, and rewarding to make your own arrangements instead of using someone else's.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:01 PM
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You might want to run through Mark Hanson's two Travis picking books. This will give your thumb (and brain) the "independence" factor (which is a myth, btw) that is needed for finger style.
Then try something like Jerry's Guitar Bar.

https://www.jerrysguitarbar.com/

The thing with finger style is that learning a tune is a bit more intensive than just strumming so its best to start off as slow as paint drying, then speed up as you gain the muscle memory for whatever tune you are working on.
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:22 AM
M Hayden M Hayden is offline
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Eric Tingstad’s “Prelude to the Bridal Suite” is not difficult and definitely has classical overtones.
Andrew York’s “Andecy” is a beautiful tune which is also a great technique-builder.
Roger de Visee’s “Passacaille” is an easy Em-based classical piece which opens up the neck a bit by incorporating a number of different intervals up the neck.

All of these work fine on steel or nylon.
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:03 PM
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Get a decent hold on Travis picking... I still remember knocking my brains out to learn that as a teenager...

As well as "working on" Davey Graham's "Angie" for about 5 years before it was "presentable"!!! (I was entranced by Paul Simon's version of the tune...)
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jseth View Post
Get a decent hold on Travis picking... I still remember knocking my brains out to learn that as a teenager...

As well as "working on" Davey Graham's "Angie" for about 5 years before it was "presentable"!!! (I was entranced by Paul Simon's version of the tune...)
Yeah, Bert Jansch's arrangement of Angie is one I have been repeatedly giving up on for a long time.
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