I posed a question of some of the greatest guitar players living in/emanating from/or with ties to New Orleans recently regarding picking/fingering technique that some guitar players grapple with, particularly jazz guitarists:
Q: Alright guitarists, question. I often prefer using thumb and fingers to pluck chords, especially when omitting a string, but prefer the pick when soloing. I’ve seen some with a “slip” pick that’s attached to a thumb or finger that you can slide around as needed. Have you found an off the shelf solution, and if you’ve developed your own gizmo, what do you use?
“I slip the pick between my index and middle while comping chords or chord melody playing…when I need to solo the pick is handy”
“I always use pick and fingers, and keep my nails kinda long, so they sound kinda like picks. I wrestled with various solutions for years before settling on this one….”
“I make a pick with a plastic electrical clamp and a little screwpost. It fits on my index finger. When using my fingers, or thumb, the pick is completely out of the way. It does require re learning technique a bit, but it works for me. Cranston Clements is the other person on earth who uses it. You can see it in this clip”
“I play finger style completely using classical guitar technique along with a few of my own!!!”
Bill’s (and vocalist Kim Prevost’s) Website
Quote of the day:
“It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit”
I’ve seen this quote that has been attributed to 18th century politician, judge, and author, Robert Yates. It is a reminder of the power of selflessness. It is in my estimation the reason that music survives and thrives in times that are very challenging for artists – There are enough wonderfully talented musicians and music teachers who care more about mentoring the next generation of musicians than receiving accolades or the spotlight.
More about this topic in a previous post – I wrote about this topic with regard to a wonderful collaborative recording between guitarists John Pizzarelli and Davy Mooney.
Listening to the CD Last Train Home, a collection of duets by jazz guitarists Davy Mooney and John Pizzarelli, I’m struck once again by the unselfish manner in which musicians share their talents and knowledge of music with younger generations. Pizzarelli is more than 20 years older than Mooney, and the two actually met when Mooney entered a jazz guitar competition in which Pizzarelli was a judge.
With more than 40 feature albums and 140 as a contributor, Pizzarelli’s resume is impressive. It speaks volumes of the selflessness of Pizzarelli that he would lend his talents to this project with an “up and comer” such as Mooney, though I don’t want to suggest that Mooney’s talents are anything less than exceptional. It’s simply not something you’d always expect of a tenured professional – yet in music it happens all of the time.
Musicians are outstanding when it comes to sharing their expertise and grooming young talent. Ellis Marsalis, the father of the renowned jazz musicians and a great jazz pianist himself routinely allows young jazz artists to sit in with him during his regular Friday night gig and nurture their skills. I see and hear it all of the time with regard to the musicians I’ve met, followed, spoken to, and interviewed throughout my career.
Other professions should take note. In corporate settings and in other professions, it’s not always a given that talented tenured employees will openly share their knowledge and expertise. It’s generally a matter of fear and insecurity, yet it’s the greatest way to accelerate productivity.
They could learn a lesson from the music world.
I have an Kay archtop acoustic guitar that I keep handy, and I play it often. My Guild semi-hollow body has remained in the case a lot lately, but after listening to a new CD of duets by jazz guitarists John Pizzarelli and New Orleanian Davy Mooney entitled Last Train Home, I got the desire to break out the electric again. From this point forward I’m going to leave it on the stand with the guitar cord plugged into the amp. I thoroughly enjoyed playing last night for a few hours. I find if you make access easier you’ll play more often.
That’s a good lesson for introducing kids to music. If you just make instruments available, curiosity and the explorative nature of children will take over.