I haven’t been on this site for a while now. Plan to redo the whole thing in a few days, but concentrating mostly on just classical guitar.
Category Archives: Uncategorized
No, I haven’t forgotten about the site; I’ll be posting soon again. BTW I took the Handbook down because it’s going to be published soon.
Famed Indian siitarist still fingerslogging after nine decades–and still giving concerts. Here.
“The genre is played on a large shamisen with thicker strings than those used for most other styles. Unlike other forms of shamisen that use cat skin as a covering for the do, or soundbox, the Tsugaru-jamisen uses dog skin as its traditional material. The bachi (plectrum) is proportionately small. Tsugaru-jamisen is easy to recognize by its percussive quality (the plectrum striking the body of the instrument on each stroke) and the lilt of the rhythms performed. Unlike most other Japanese music, some Tsugaru-jamisen pieces are in triple time, though the three beats are not accentuated in the manner of Western music…” Here.
”…There were no Western instruments onstage when the Malian griot Bassekou Kouyate and his band, Ngoni Ba, performed at SummerStage in Central Park on Sunday afternoon. Ngoni Ba is a string band — four sizes of ngoni, a four-stringed African lute that’s an ancestor of the banjo — with Mr. Kouyate’s wife, Amy Sacko, as lead singer, along with two percussionists playing calabashes and tama, a West African pressure drum…” Here.
“…The organizers of the Black Banjo Gathering want to educate both blacks and whites about where the instrument and the musical tradition originated. Groups like the Carolina Chocolate Drops have reclaimed the banjo, but for them, it’s all about the music…” Here.
More banjo playing (with guitar accompaniment)
Though there’s no guitar in it this is one of my favorite music videos. You might call it boogie woogie with feet. Yeah, piano, feet, bass, and drums. Very addictive. Called “Dancin’ The Boogie” by Swiss composer and performer Silvan Zingg, it’s danced to by world class dance champions William and Maéva.
Here’s some guitar boogie woogie
Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel
As chimps often outperform Wall Street brokers in winning stock picks it looks like birds are getting into the act now by outperforming many human guitarists.
“…The [FBI] agents did not say what they were searching for or if anything was removed from the plant. But some hardwoods used in making premium guitars, like rosewood from the rain forests of Madagascar and Brazil, have recently been banned under a federal law called the Lacey Act because of environmental concerns…” Here.
Though not specifically related to guitar this is an interesting article on music analysis, as in what makes a song tick? “…On first listen, some things grab you for their off-kilter novelty. Like the story of a company that has hired a bunch of “musicologists,” who sit at computers and listen to songs, one at a time, rating them element by element, separating out what sometimes comes to hundreds of data points for a three-minute tune. The company, an Internet radio service called Pandora, is convinced that by pouring this information through a computer into an algorithm, it can guide you, the listener, to music that you like. The premise is that your favorite songs can be stripped to parts and reverse-engineered…” The Song Decoders (Sunday N.Y. Times)
Cavaliers’ star player Delonte West arrested for carrying guitar case–of course, it was full of weapons. Article here.
Hey here’s a slew of strange guitars I got from one of the commenters here.
“Dhia Jabbar hides his oud in a sack when he walks down the street in his Baghdad neighborhood. He used to teach students in the back room of a photo shop, where the sound could not be heard. But last week, militia gunmen invaded the store, destroying one of his instruments and ordering him to stop teaching. He had dreamed of a performing career, but now he has lost hope…BUT…” Seven thousand miles away, Rahim Alhaj, who fled Iraq in 1991, carries his oud without a second thought through the streets of Albuquerque, where he now lives. In New York, Washington and other cities, he plays for audiences of hundreds. An album he recorded was recently nominated for a Grammy Award…” You can read it here.
Note: I only came across this article recently, though it’s from last year’s “NY Times.” Maybe things have a changed a little for the better for Dhia Jabbar during the interim.
“The unsung hero behind Madonna and Michael Jackson died yesterday morning, and the grieving family of David Williams is furious over the disrespect shown to him by the music community and by what they say was neglect by the hospital where he spent his last days. Williams, who was 58, was the guitarist for the pop superstars and toured with both of them as well as Jessica Simpson, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie and Van Halen for more than three decades, succumbed to complications from high blood pressure…” Read article here.
We’ve always heard that the Stradivarius had the finest sound of any wood instrument. Perhaps it does, but why? Is it the age of the wood? The wood itself? The construction procedure? Well it turns out, at least to scientists who have studied this phenomenon for years, the superior tone is actually due to a chemical preservative that had been used to deter the worms 300 years ago. There you have it.
Note: I’d love to do a blind test someday: Several makes from expensive, including a Stradivarius or two, to the cheapest, played all the same–the same phrasing, the same volume, etc. Would the Stradivarius win resoundingly? I have my doubts. I’ve been through this with classical guitars. Some much cheaper models sounded as good or even better, to my ear anyway, than the more expensive.
Here comes the bride…Skip that depressing organ music–Go with guitar theme. Remember, weddings performed with guitar music are seventy-three percent less likely to end up in divorce (official statistics from the Guitar Marriage Institute). Get your wedding book of guitar music here.
I far as I can tell this is the world’s most strung “guitar,” the Pikasso. It has 42 supposedly playable strings. I have no real idea about what technique you’d use on this thing, but I will admit it’s aptly named.
Do you play classical guitar but don’t read music? If so you might want to check this site, Classical Guitar Tabs. You’ll find finger placements tabs for Bach, Tarrega, Sor, Albeniz and a lot of others. It also features videos of virtuoso guitarists playing some of these pieces.
“The Ritter Royal Flora Aurum… has a body carved from a rare, solid piece of maple while the nut is carved from 10,000-year-old mammoth ivory. The fingerboard is decorated with a floral inlay pattern made of 24-karat gold. There’s even a black diamond set in platinum decorating each leaf. Even the bridge, tuner buttons and knobs are cast in gold. The knobs on this luxurious bass hold an additional embellishment—they’re both topped with brilliant-cut diamonds (3.3 carats total).” This description is from here. Also view the photo at the link.
This may be rock bottom but for what he’s working with it’s not half bad. Here’s his website. By the way this video, as seen on Youtube, has had well over 928, 000 views so far. Amazing.
Update: Would you believe this guy’s video is now up to almost 1, 438,000 views?
Amazing what you can do on a four-string bass with only one arm:
I didn’t see any vegetable guitars but here it is anyway, instruments of the vegetable orchestra. There’s also some other musical instruments here too, including manualists (human hands) and a sea organ. Yes, and you might expect in such a list there’s also a description of a helicopter string quartet. This is the home page of the Vienna Vegtable Orchestra, with a full list and photos of their instruments made from vegetables.
“Centuries ago, somewhere in West Africa, the banjo was born on the knees of griots—storytellers who improvised their lyrics as they performed. Almost like forerunners to today’s hip-hop artists, griots interacted with their audiences using call-and-response patterns to liven up the crowd. Their instruments—strings and animal skins tacked across hollowed-out gourds—are considered the first banjos.” Read article here.