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Steve Goodman Guitar Style


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GUEST,SirCoughsalot 24 Nov 12 - 01:45 AM
Phil Cooper 24 Nov 12 - 09:19 AM
treeman 24 Nov 12 - 08:19 PM
Mark Ross 24 Nov 12 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,gillymor 25 Nov 12 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Stim 26 Nov 12 - 12:21 AM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 26 Nov 12 - 12:56 AM
GUEST,DougS 14 Jan 22 - 04:53 PM
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Subject: Steve Goodman Guitar Style
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 24 Nov 12 - 01:45 AM

Hi all. Recently, I've been listening to a lot of Steve Goodman. I'd heard of Steve before, and it was always in the context of writing and who had sung his songs - quite impressive. But when I actually listened to the man himself what immediately struck me was what a fantastic guitar player he was! Examples of what I'm talking about can be heard here and here. There are many other examples on many of his recordings... I've never heard a solo acoustic act play solos the way he does. Even on very simple songs there are great touches he adds, even with no breaks. But what I really want to know is is there anywhere I can find out more about playing the way Steve did or even how he developed this style. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Subject: RE: Steve Goodman Guitar Style
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 24 Nov 12 - 09:19 AM

I saw Steve perform several times throughout his all too short life. Short of watching youtube videos, I'm not sure what else you can do. He was the best at playing what was perfect for the song, that didn't get in the way. He could be flashy, but like you were saying, those simple touches brought out the words.

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Subject: RE: Steve Goodman Guitar Style
From: treeman
Date: 24 Nov 12 - 08:19 PM

His right hand appears to strum like a metronome; his left hand appears to form a few chords. How the heck does he produce such a wonderful sound!? Inspiring to see and hear.

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Subject: RE: Steve Goodman Guitar Style
From: Mark Ross
Date: 24 Nov 12 - 08:51 PM

Steve had very short fingers also. Bass player & producer Steve Burgh once bought him a 3/4 size Gibson as a present so he could feel like a normal sized person. A dreadnought looked like the size of a battleship when he was playing one.

Mark Ross

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Subject: RE: Steve Goodman Guitar Style
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 25 Nov 12 - 06:52 AM

I saw Goodman quite a few times. With the possible exception of Doc Watson he was my favorite performer. I was always curious as to how he could shift so seamlessly from fingerpicking to flatpicking and then I saw him up close at the Cellar Door and noticed that when he took breaks in a song he would make a flatpick appear and disappear as needed. He must have been holding it in his palm.

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Subject: RE: Steve Goodman Guitar Style
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 12:21 AM

Check YouTube for videos of Frank Vignola, who plays in a similar style, also on acoustic guitar, as Steve did. Also look for Birelli Lagrene, who sometimes plays in this style(not always, tho)

It isn't a particularly rare or unusual technique--it's the "Django" rhythm(which was actually mostly played by his brother Joseph) which is just straight eight note chords played as down strokes but occasionally sounding the upstroke for emphasis(making it sixteenths).

The Chord positions that Steve used were often the floating F barre and the floating C7or C9.

The single note/solo stuff uses the same eight note chord feel, but with the upstrokes always sounding.

There are a couple different scale fingerings commonly used in this style--

You can work from the a floating "A" fingering where (you play the three finger A chord on the second fret by barring across the D-G-B strings with your index finger, put your pinky on the low E, fifth fret and your ring finger on the A string, fourth fret, and work your scale from there, popping the pinky up to the high E string(If you can't figure out how to do this, you can probably find a bunch of videos on YouTube showing how to play this scale)

You can also work from a floating "D" fingering, which would be kind of the same, but with the D fingering on the second and third fret G-D-E strings, and the pinky starting the scale on the Fifth fret, A string.(Probably on YouTube, as well)

It is also possible to play a scale from the F barre chord, though I'm not sure whether Steve used it or not.

You can also use the "Django" scale fingerings, which are really Eddie Lang scale fingerings, but Steve, from what I gather, did not use them.

And yeah, I know it this explanation is a bit dense, but what did you expect? The hard part is actually squeezing those chords and scale fingerings while you pound out that rhythm with metronome-like precision.

It's actually relatively simple, conceptually, but it takes a bit of persistence, and perhaps some indifference to pain.

The trick is to learn to keep the hand relaxed and above strings, and only put the strings to fret for the fraction of a second that the notes are actually sounding. That is also the trick to keeping the rhythm going while playing single note leads.

You got that all, right?;-)

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Subject: RE: Steve Goodman Guitar Style
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 12:56 AM

Thanks for that, gillymoor, that actually clears up a bit of a mystery for me!

Stim: Thank you very, very much for your informative response. I'll have to revisit it in the morning when I have my guitar in my hands. I appreciate it.

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Subject: RE: Steve Goodman Guitar Style
From: GUEST,DougS
Date: 14 Jan 22 - 04:53 PM

Nice observations and guidance, GUEST,Stim.
I too have been studying Steve's playing for a while and as you say, with persistence, learning to keep the right hand relaxed (yet disciplined and in control), learning to keep the rhythm going while inserting the leads, the riffs and all the other ornamentation, etc., learning which chords he used most, knowing where all the pertinent chords when playing in a given key are and how to get to them deftly, and then oh yeah, the singing too, in a way that is good, natural, engaging, entertaining, etc. - then yes, you can definitely do it! (if not quite as well as Steve did) I agree that conceptually it is actually simple, but execution is anything but and requires a lot of dedicated and determined practice (and yes, indifference to pain). I'm getting there but still a long way to go. Best is to study the existing youtubes where you can see pretty well what his hands are doing.

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