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South African Guitar Style

NormanD 17 Jun 10 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Jun 10 - 08:34 AM
NormanD 17 Jun 10 - 12:24 PM
Wesley S 17 Jun 10 - 01:55 PM
wysiwyg 18 Jun 10 - 10:55 AM
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Subject: South African Guitar Style
From: NormanD
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 05:20 AM

....well, more accurately, Botswana rather than South Africa.

There are quite a few YouTube vids of local guitarists, playing and singing.

Here are a couple of examples:
Mosanki Mokete
Kagiso
There are lots of others to hopscotch through. They're all fabulous performers!

I'm intrigued by the fact that many of the guitarists are playing with only one bass string - the A and D tend to be missing.

The stringing seems to be similar to the lap dulcimer - a bass drone, three higher melody strings. Other African acoustic guitar styles (say from Mali or Senegal) use a thumb and index finger picking, and often a capo. I guess this is to emulate (or has grown up in the shadow of) multi-stringed instruments like the kora. I can't think of a Southern African equivalent instrument that might have given a similar influence.

I'm sure the four-string guitar is through choice rather than necessity.

Any thoughts, please?


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Subject: RE: South African Guitar Style
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 08:34 AM

Thanks for the links, Norman. It's interesting.

If the guitars are tuned the usual way (EADGBE) and the A and D strings are missing, then the open strings are playing an Em. Don't know what that means exactly, but it's a thought.


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Subject: RE: South African Guitar Style
From: NormanD
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 12:24 PM

A couple of them - especially the guy called Ronnie (follow the links to find him, he really is good) are playing in some open tunings, maybe of their own making?


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Subject: RE: South African Guitar Style
From: Wesley S
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 01:55 PM

Not exactly South African but I understand that the next issue of Fretboard Journal is supposed to have an article about one of my favorites - King Sunny Ade.


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Subject: RE: South African Guitar Style
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 10:55 AM

Methinks the single bass string would allow a movement from an indigenous instrument I've seen (kora?) to a more portable one.

~S~


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