The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #75650   Message #1331618
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
18-Nov-04 - 07:00 PM
Thread Name: Guitar as accompaniment
Subject: RE: Guitar as accompaniment
The crucial thing is, the song comes first, and any accompaniment that gets in the way of the song is too much accompaniment. (Yes, there are some types of music where it's the other way round, and the voice is just an accompanying instrument - I take it singing in Bluegrass is like that.)

Very often I prefer to sing unacompanied, especially if I'm in a song circle with other people. Perhaps the most important role of the guitar is to make sure I don't start in a key that's going to give me problems later in the song - quite often I'll start with the guitar, and leave off playing for much of the song.

If I'm in a big room or a noisy room, I'll use a plectrum, and probably a predominantly strumming accompaniment. If it's quieter I'll use my fingers, whatever seems to fit. Probably more often than not I'll be using a kind of clawhammer, with the index finger playing most of the melody, and quite a lot of simultaneous plucking of a bass and a treble string. (That's a style I learnt from John Pearse, and it's got a name I forget.)

And the reason I'll use a guitar is because I can't be carrying lots of different instruments around, and guitar the one that I can use most flexibly, especially if there's a group session at some time in the evening.