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My biggest fingerpickin' challenge yet


EuroAussie

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So there is a barmaid at our regular playing venue thats been begging us constantly to learn the John Mayer version of Free Fallin'.

 

I always gave her a sigh as it was in the too difficult basket given Ive only been fingerpickin' for about 8 months now.

 

But we finally set down to tried to get this right. I find this song really tricky as unlike other songs like Landslide where there is a constant picking patter, in here there is a tricky intro, with sweeps, synctopation and generally all over the place. Plus the main rhythm has a groove that you need to lock into it and get that percussive slap thing going which is a bit of new world for me.

 

Anyway, wanted to share our WIP version from rehearsal, would be keen to get your feedback as we have basically a week before we want to peform it.

 

Any advice welcome, especially from the many experienced finger pickers what I could work on during the coming week.

 

One thing I do know is I need to either shut up or get my backing vocals in key as Im horribly flat here, probably too focused on not screwing up the guitar parts ...sorry about that. :unsure:

 

Thanks for listening and commenting.

 

chers,

EA

 

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Nice job EA. I learned this tune awhile back. It sounds like you're very close on it, maybe just lacking the confidence attack and picking up the speed a tad. The percussive hand slap on the strings is a key to this version, IMO. It gives that "bounce" and rhythm. Another thing -- I couldn't get the volume loud enough to heard for sure, you should be fretting the low sixth string on the D chord. Maybe you are and I just couldn't hear it. Also, on the A chord, there is an occasional hammer-on up to the D note on the second string (B string) to add some "flavor".

 

Nice job dude! Best of luck.

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Nice job EA. I learned this tune awhile back. It sounds like you're very close on it, maybe just lacking the confidence attack and picking up the speed a tad. The percussive hand slap on the strings is a key to this version, IMO. It gives that "bounce" and rhythm. Another thing -- I couldn't get the volume loud enough to heard for sure, you should be fretting the low sixth string on the D chord. Maybe you are and I just couldn't hear it. Also, on the A chord, there is an occasional hammer-on up to the D note on the second string (B string) to add some "flavor".

 

Nice job dude! Best of luck.

 

Thank you, thats just the advice I was looking for, getting the little details right. This gives me something to work on during the week.

 

cheers !

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I'm totally up on this take.

You've come a long way since the first posted a vox performance.

And you hit pitch like all you had to do was actually listen.

A couple of small 'offs', but that's nothing compared to the daring chances taken.

The feel is absolutely right too. . .

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In cases like this I always think – how would it roll at a private party when most of the guests are gone and only the nitehawks sit around sipping wine and smoking (a situation I know better than well and love as the sky).

I mean the performance is fragile and not yet strong enough for a bar gig, but under mellower circumstances, what would happen.

With this Free Falling I'm sure you'ld hit bulls eye. But for the seven saints sake don't lose pitch due to the grapes and bourbon.

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In cases like this I always think – how would it roll at a private party when most of the guests are gone and only the nitehawks sit around sipping wine and smoking (a situation I know better than well and love as the sky).

I mean the performance is fragile and not yet strong enough for a bar gig, but under mellower circumstances, what would happen.

With this Free Falling I'm sure you'ld hit bulls eye. But for the seven saints sake don't lose pitch due to the grapes and bourbon.

 

Ha, ha thanks for the words Em7. It still definitely needs some work but this was basically our first take, so I think the foundation is there. Its such a great song, the way JM delivers it that we want to do it justice. So we'll keep on working on the details and get our confidence up to make the girls day.

 

btw: I find getting the picking and right tone much harder on the Bird' than on the maple J-150 which I used here. But given Ill most likely play the Bird at the gig those little details and confidence will need to be 100% as its a bit of work with the Bird on this one ...

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That sounds good EA,

 

your definatley progressing.. and as we all know ..it's just down to practice hours.

 

I have been learning John Martyn's... May You Never for a few months now.. I tend to try and watch live versions of songs I'm tryin to learn if they are available, as you tend to pick up the artists technique more.

 

This song has a very strong slap/ rythym all the way thru..and some complicated picking and technique.... From watching John Martyn I see he is pulling off of the strings.. ( don't know if it's called the CLAW technique ? ) in some of the phrazes.. and I've found you have to do this to keep the strong rythym ' slap' going... it's quite difficult..but its a great technique...and it is helping in my playing lots.

 

It's the thumb producing the slap..on the low E string...( If i keep this in mind..it helps..although..the full hand is also doing it... with damping too )

 

I'm really trying to move away from just bluesy playing and have also been studying Bert Jansch stuff... he is a very technical player..has a loose bluesy..jazzy feel also.

 

I'm finding the Bird a little hard to play lately... esp' when doing all finger picking... Jansch has stated he doesnt like thin necks because he said they cut into his hand.

 

I have heard this before..and did not understand what is meant by it. I now do know what this means I think..as I've been playing my Seagul a lot..which has a much beefier neck..and is 1 3/4 at nut.

 

when I move back to the Bird... the frets seem to cut into me...and some stuff I'm playing is much more difficult to play..

 

I know I have stated the HB is a good finger picking guitar..and I still think so... but I think I need another guitar..:)

 

keep picking

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Nice one, EA, fairly coming along mate.

I'm finding the Bird a little hard to play lately... esp' when doing all finger picking... Jansch has stated he doesnt like thin necks because he said they cut into his hand.

 

I have heard this before..and did not understand what is meant by it. I now do know what this means I think..as I've been playing my Seagul a lot..which has a much beefier neck..and is 1 3/4 at nut.

 

when I move back to the Bird... the frets seem to cut into me...and some stuff I'm playing is much more difficult to play..

 

I know I have stated the HB is a good finger picking guitar..and I still think so... but I think I need another guitar..:)

 

 

Thoroughly agreed, thin necks really aren't the best for much more than strumming. Have a look at the Recording King copies of the Martin VS series, such as the ROS-626, ROS-627, Del, larger vintage style necks, I thoroughly enjoy mine (Ros-627, the one I normally play in Ayetunes videos) for the very same reasons mentioned above.

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Nice one, EA, fairly coming along mate.

 

 

Thoroughly agreed, thin necks really aren't the best for much more than strumming. Have a look at the Recording King copies of the Martin VS series, such as the ROS-626, ROS-627, Del, larger vintage style necks, I thoroughly enjoy mine (Ros-627, the one I normally play in Ayetunes videos) for the very same reasons mentioned above.

 

I wouldnt say the HB TV has a thin neck, far from it. Its pretty much like my other modern Gibsons, aside the AL SJ which has a chunkier 50's neck.

 

My biggest gripe from the Bird is in terms of finerpicking in that with its ncetar tone one really needs to dig in and work those strings to get some bite out of them, as opposed to the slope or jumbo gibsons. Its OK for folky pickin' but when I need to dig in to get some dynamics for this John Mayer track it is really hard work.

(Ims sure Del however could make it looks easy.)

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Thoroughly agreed, thin necks really aren't the best for much more than strumming. Have a look at the Recording King copies of the Martin VS series, such as the ROS-626, ROS-627, Del, larger vintage style necks, I thoroughly enjoy mine (Ros-627, the one I normally play in Ayetunes videos) for the very same reasons mentioned above.

Yea cheers PM

 

I have heard you recommend the RK guitars before.. I'll defo check them out if I get a chance.

 

I love the tone of the HB..thats why I got one..I think I'm after a similar tone .. but with a differnt neck..and wider nut.. so i don't think it will be a Gibson..always wanted a Matrin..so that will be my next purchase I think.... or maybe a Lowden...or even a high end Yamaha...

 

I

 

I wouldnt say the HB TV has a thin neck, far from it. Its pretty much like my other modern Gibsons, aside the AL SJ which has a chunkier 50's neck.

 

 

Yeah..i wouldn't say the HB has a really thin neck..but compared to my Seagul...or these vintage and reissue L00's ect...I think they are thinner no ?

 

I did'nt touch my Bird there for a week or so...and going back to it..it was hurting... but after a few hours..it feels ok again

 

I kinda like at at the mo..as it causes me to be very precise in my fingering..and not press so hard ( which i have tended to do )..

 

I can get the exact tone I'm after out of her sometimes

 

also I must say..she had been stored in her case in a cooler room..and has taken a day to open up again..if that makes sense ?

 

I think the spec's i mention would just be an easier ride..... I'm probably going travelling again at the end of the year..and will be taking my Seagul..so at lewast i have a half decent travel guitar already :)

 

Edit

 

and as you say..your AJ has the chunkier neck... these Legend series L00's and the AJ's sound really nice from folk here.. but I think they are really suited to Blues playing tone wise

 

and dont have the High shimmery ...folky tone i am aiming for ?

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I have been learning John Martyn's... May You Never for a few months now.. I tend to try and watch live versions of songs I'm tryin to learn if they are available, as you tend to pick up the artists technique more.

 

This song has a very strong slap/ rythym all the way thru..and some complicated picking and technique.... From watching John Martyn I see he is pulling off of the strings.. ( don't know if it's called the CLAW technique ? ) in some of the phrazes.. and I've found you have to do this to keep the strong rythym ' slap' going... it's quite difficult..but its a great technique...and it is helping in my playing lots.

 

It's the thumb producing the slap..on the low E string...( If i keep this in mind..it helps..although..the full hand is also doing it... with damping too )

 

 

 

Yes, took a good listen to this track and indeed the percussive slap is very present and key to the groove. Its quite similar in approach to the John Mayer track. This is definitely worth learning as it opens up the world to quite a few songs with a good groove, in particular material from Jack Johnson whom I like a lot and he uses the percussive slap and muting extensively.

 

Thanks for the feedback man.

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In a live scenario this is where stuff like the LRBaggs M1 gets its name 'the industry standard' as it'll mic the percussive stuff quite well compared to a lot of other pickups.

 

Thats actually very true PM. For the percussive tap the M1 would be great, I will give you that one ......utterly useless for everything else. I hate that pickup with a passion.

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Thats actually very true PM. For the percussive tap the M1 would be great, I will give you that one ......utterly useless for everything else. I hate that pickup with a passion.

 

I think it just doesn't work for you with the rest of your setup, EA, there's plenty folk using one live with a great acoustic sound, I watched a full live set by that young fella Jake Bugg a few days ago, 90% of the set was him on his Martin 000 (Mahogany) and with the M1 installed, great acoustic live sound. Loads of others as well... Perhaps the EQ required is a bit different to what you'd use with your fishmans etc... hence the poor result for you in your tests.

 

Far too many good examples out there for me to trash it completely...

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Great job. I find it challenging to finger pick and sing, as opposed to strum and sing, but that's because I am a work in progress. I guess it come for all of us with practice, like Tommy Emmanuel preaches. Your vocals are right there too. Yeah you can play this out.

 

Cheers Sal, but just so youre aware of it, I had my singer next to me doing the lead vocals. I was just in the background hitting the flat notes ... ;-)

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Like the sound very much! I'm not one to have any technical advice to offer, but when it comes time to perform? Forget the 'technical' stuff (for you will have all your prep onboard at that point) and listen for and follow the heart of the song. That's what the audience responds to, I think. As someone wiser than me has said, 'an audience will tolerate bad notes, but not insincere ones.'

 

Great song for you- I wanna hear the live cut! 👌

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Like the sound very much! I'm not one to have any technical advice to offer, but when it comes time to perform? Forget the 'technical' stuff (for you will have all your prep onboard at that point) and listen for and follow the heart of the song. That's what the audience responds to, I think. As someone wiser than me has said, 'an audience will tolerate bad notes, but not insincere ones.'

 

Great song for you- I wanna hear the live cut! 👌

 

Thanks Anne, I think thats very sound advice. I think with fingerpicking you just have to go with the flow when performing live, otherwise you can worry yourself into a potential train wreck ..... cheers.

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Sounds good, EA, congratulations.

 

 

The next step would be to ditch the picks and play every single little thing you do live with fingers - it will involve sometimes awful pain in the fingers, but you will then develop a callous or two that will be like steel, which if maintained, will help you rule the world! No more looking for picks on a dark stage floor, at the least!

 

But playing any tune live seems to advance some part of muscle memory.........ONE gig is worth a million practices....

 

 

Lonnie Johnson says it: "To Do This, You Got To Know How!"

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Sounds good, EA, congratulations.

 

 

The next step would be to ditch the picks and play every single little thing you do live with fingers - it will involve sometimes awful pain in the fingers, but you will then develop a callous or two that will be like steel, which if maintained, will help you rule the world! No more looking for picks on a dark stage floor, at the least!

 

But playing any tune live seems to advance some part of muscle memory.........ONE gig is worth a million practices....

 

 

Lonnie Johnson says it: "To Do This, You Got To Know How!"

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

The whole show .... with my fingers BK .. ?? [scared] :blink: Now there's a Pepsi challenge !

 

Maybe if we change our format to a purely blues band and I give myself a few years ...?

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