“King of the Surf Guitar”

Known as the King of the Surf Guitar during the early sixties, Dick Dale, now 73, a survivor of cancer which struck him at 27, is probably best known today for that amp-driven bassey sixties surfer hit Miserlou, which, by the way, had a comeback in the movie Pulp Fiction. Well Dale is back anew with “Guitar Legend: The Very Best of Dick Dale” and is about to start his “Electric Acoustic” tour in California. Here’s a recent article about him.

Dick Dale & The Del Tones:  “Misirlou” from 1963 (as played in the movie A Swingin’ Affair)

Notes: When you’re watching this try to concentrate on Dale’s playing and not the blonde dancing in front of him; secondly keep in mind that the bass player is NOT a zombie…Here’s Dick Dale performing an updated version of “Misirlou”(1996)…Here’s Dick Dale, along with Stevie Ray Vaughan doing “Pipeline”; it’s about the weirdest video I’ve ever seen (Dale’s hair is scarrrrrrrrey)… It seems, at least in some of his videos (er, like the one above),  Dale plays with the strings in reverse order, high e at the top, then b, g, d, a, and low e…Dale, as he admits in some interviews, isn’t a great player but he does play loud, and for him, and his fans, that’s all that really matters… Type his name in Youtube and you’ll come up with a basket of stuff.

Update: new Dick Dale article.

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Classical to folk…

This is the stuff that gives performers nightmares: what happens to your career when your hand is injured or some medical condition, sometimes even a minor one, reduces your normally superb hand control to something a lot less than it was at its peak. Well about ten years ago this  nightmare came true for world-renowned classical guitarist Liona Boyd. One of her fingers developed a nerve condition which gradually ruled out a concert career. “…I’ve worn out the neuroreceptors that control the fingers,” she explains. “With me, it was mostly the one finger, the one you need for arpeggios…” Result? Today Ms Boyd is a folk singer who, along with performing song styles ranging from Joan Baez and other music from the sixties, to New Age type compositions, and in accompaniment uses a regular strumming technique, which is to say she uses a pick. Read more here (“Liona Boyd Sings a New Song”).

Below is Liona Byrd with a her singing partner Srdjan Givoje. She’s not using a pick here though;  evidently she’s back to fingerstyle to some extent. I’ve seen several of her singing videos on Youtube; though she has a really beautiful voice, some of her facial gestures are overly dramatic, stagy.

Note: As far as a bad finger goes here’s some advice (and I have no idea whether or not it’s sound)

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“Promenade by the Mind”

Haunting little classical guitar composition (here or here) by Woody Guitar Roots (that’s his user name on the Vimeo and Yourtube video sites). Here he is on a hollow-body electric playing a jazzy number called Rain in the Soul. Very nice–and smooth. Channel.

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World’s cheapest electric guitar

Ingredients: strings (well, for this model at least one), pickups, assorted fasteners, and one bottle of beer (but make sure you drink it first).

Here’s another low techie (there’s quite a fiew of these on Youtube)

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Christopher Parkening explains how guitar playing is like trout fishing (who knew?)

By the way this video is from a great Youtube channel–Rare Guitar Video Exchange. Like the name says, there’s lot of rare guitar vids here.

 

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The Fretless guitar

I’ve heard of fretless bass guitars of course but never a regular six string fretless. Below is a demonstration (the guitarist on the right). Looks pretty cool

And here’s your friendly fretless guitar resource.

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What the concert guitarist needs is a new and ever changing repertoire

It’s no secret, in order for the guitar to more effectively and, let’s face it,  commercially, compete for the ever changing tastes of concert audiences, it has to experiment with as many facets of composition as possible, and according to some, like concert guitarist Flavio Sala, in this interview with Guitar International, for example, that includes renditions of pop and other genres and rhythms of music (by the way, Sala also talks about the touchy subject of using amplification). Well, anyway, here’s a quote from Sala stating the crux of the matter: “I spent a lot of time practicing and playing classical repertoire in my concerts and tours, but suddenly I realized that each place has its functional repertoire. I saw quite well known guitarists playing Villa-Lobos Studies and Brouwer compositions in a popular party like they were in the Carnegie Hall. That was just ridiculous…Guitarists should not close their eyes and live their lives as if the traditional classical guitar repertoire is the best in the world. Come on, the world is full of beautiful music. We just need to open our minds, discover it and share it with people…” I guess he’s saying, Loosen up.

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Classical modern: Saudade No 3

I’m surprised how many people think that the classical guitar rep consists only of romantic Spanish or 18th century Western European (Bach, Mozart) transcriptions, or that it that the apex of its modern compositions stopped with H. Villa-Lobos; here’s an example of the wide selection offered by composers of today. For example, this is Saudade #3 by the French composer-guitarist Roland Dyens. It is played here by the great Japanese guitarist Kaori Muraji.

Below is another Dyens piece, played by Meng Su, Yameng Wang, Chen Shanshan ,Li Jie

I think two members of this quartet, Meng Su and Yameng Wang,  are also known as the Beijing Guitar Duo (website)

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Guitar and voice

There’s nothing quite like a classical guitar with classical voice. Here we have the exquisite classical guitarist from Japan, Kaori Muraji along with German tenor Jan Kobow. Here’s Kaori in a solo, playing Recuerdos de la Alhambra; and here she is with orchestra, playing Concierto de Aranjuez (Adagio movement). Just type her name in Youtube and you’ll get a lot more performances.

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The art of the handmade classical guitar

Monica Esparza–this is the first female guitar-maker I’ve come across, though I’m sure there’s more. They seem like first rate instruments. “I create the elegance of the “V-Joint” neck, as employed by Hauser and Romanillos, to add to the craftsmanship and esthetic beauty of the instrument. I finish the instruments with the hand rubbed French polish to bring out the beauty and natural tones of the guitar.” Here’s her website, where the quote was taken.

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“World’s seven most expensive guitars”

Well, actually it’s not the guitar itself that’s so expensive but who owned and played it before. Here.

Below, for example, is Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Fender Stratocaster. Price: two million dollars, surpassed in value only by a Fender Stratocaster signed by the likes of Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, etc., etc and going for two and three-quarter million.

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Nice guitar and voice work

This is (in my ever so humble opinion) the best guitar/voice duo I’ve ever heard.

Duo: Sam and Ruby (2010): The Here and the Now

Related: Sam and Ruby sing This I Know (video from 2006)

Related: My Space page

 

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A whole bunch of styles wrapped in one

The incredible Bill Kirchen playing a succession of styles

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“Future frames”

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John Williams talks classical guitar style

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Iron Man meets electric guitar (via Tesla coils)

Now this is real electric guitar playing.

Story here.

This is their more finished version.

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“He played the wildest strings in town”

Wild Guitar, starring Arch Hall, Jr….You haven’t seen wild till you’ve seen a wild guitar.

Note: Hey, did you know Arch Hall, Jr.–the Wild Guitar man himself– is going to be at Chiller Theatre in Oct?

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Another guitar attack…

Man uses guitar as weapon. Here. This is the second or third such incident using a guitar I’ve read about over the past year. Just a thought–aren’t there enough real weapons out there to commit mayhem with instead of using a guitar? I mean we don’t want the government to start requiring citizens to get a guitar license do we?

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Segovia

“…in his heyday he was an incredible virtuoso and celebrity musician with millions of fans worldwide, including other top-tier musicians, painters, poets, and even heads of state…” Read this article here (Acoustic Guitar Magazine).

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Reso Tone guitars

Check these unique Reso Tone  guitars (and ukes, mandolins, etc) here (National Guitars).

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Classical guitarists from China: The Beijing Guitar Duo

Yameng Wang and Meng Su

Meng Su and Yameng Wang: “The big problem with some guitarists is that they haven’t practiced with the metronome, so their time, their rhythm, is not quite right…” Read this article here (Acoustic Guitar Magazine). Note: the link has an audio section featuring the duo playing various selections; there’s also a description of the kind of guitars and strings they use.

Related: for classical guitarists: Giuliani studies lesson. Here (Acoustic Guitar Magizine).

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The moose antler, shovel, and rake guitars, etc., etc., etc…

“…Trashed rakes, old frying pans and moose antlers might be junk to some, but not Canadian Lorne Collie who has made all of these things into guitars at one time or another. Collie is a “luthier,” or guitar maker, and his hobby is transforming the scrap he stumbles across… into electric guitars… Here, from CNN.

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Now for a lively duet

Parkening and Brandon

Note: Christopher Parkening master class in Malibu, CA in a couple of weeks (free audience admission). Here.

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The day Bob Dylan got booed off stage

”…A  24-year-old Dylan, who had become an icon of folk music, was booed off the stage after playing three songs on an electric guitar. A number of friends and colleagues tried to persuade Dylan to finish his set, including Johnny Cash, Holzman said. When he came back on stage, an ill-humored Dylan sang ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’. It would be 37 years before Dylan returned to the festival…” Here. You might say that’s a long time to hold a grudge but who could blame him. Me? I would’ve never gone back.

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A folding guitar (in other words, it actually folds in half)

Folding guitar–certainly makes traveling easier in cramped quarters. I imagine though it could be a problem if it accidentally folded during a performance.

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Some acoustic guitar history

Click pic for link.

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Classic guitar rising (in S Carolina)

“…picking up classical guitar is a natural progression from playing other genres of music, like rock.”Music is great because there is never a point you get to in which you can’t learn anymore,” Jenkins said. “Especially on the guitar, which is another reason I play. You can literally play any style of music…” Here.

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Dynamic Duo (no, not Batman and Robin)

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“Father of the electric guitar”

Les Paul of course: “..He has performed with Eric Clapton, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Chet Atkins and others. Described as the ‘Father of the Electric Guitar,’ and a pioneer figure of rock and roll, Les Paul developed the solid body guitar. Marketed first in 1952, his designs eventually became a part of Gibson’s electric guitars, known as the Les Paul Models…” Read rest of article here, it’s a good short overview of his carreer. Here’s another overview (with video).

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Music practice software

“ ‘I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if she could take a photograph of her page of music and hear it instantaneously,’ “he recalled. “ ‘She’d know what the right notes are, and what the right rhythms are, and she could imitate what she heard.’ ” Here. (Check this website.)

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