The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #21655   Message #234661
Posted By: Mark Clark
27-May-00 - 12:06 AM
Thread Name: Help for pickers. Give us a tip.
Subject: RE: Help for pickers. Give us a tip.
Peter, All the scales I practice are flatpicked. I don't think I've ever seen or heard anyone play scales by fingerpicking. Not that one couldn't, I've just never seen it. I think that's because my own fingerpicking is all based on folk and traditional forms. I've never studied clasical or flemenco guitar. I started out using thumb and three fingers with picks on each. Eventually I dropped the use of finger picks. Then, one by one, I droped the use of my ring and middle fingers. Now all my finger picking is thumb (with pick) and bare index finger, often with the heel of my hand resting lightly on the bass strings.

I was at the local B&N today over lunch and discovered a book by Arnie Berle called Patterns Scales & Modes For Jazz Guitar. What a great reference and guide. Lots of interesting scales and exercises. On page 6 he lists four prerequisites to successfully using his book:

  1. A guitar that plays comfortably above the twelfth fret.
  2. An ability to read music notation and rhythmic figures of all kinds.
  3. An understanding of music theory.
  4. Great patience and determination.

It struck me that those are basically the prerequsites for any serious approach to a musical instrument. You need a playable instrument, communication skills, some knowledge of how you expect to proceed and, above all, great patience and determination. I thought he summed it up pretty well.

Berle includes a wonderful quote by jazz guitarist and teacher, Barry Galbraith. Barry was asked how much of what the jazz player playes is truely spontaneous? His answer was: "You practice for about fifteen or twenty years and then it comes out spontaneously." I think most folk music is like that even if it is more accessible than jazz.

      - Mark