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Bouzouki playing styles

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Stu 07 Jun 04 - 02:07 PM
Les from Hull 07 Jun 04 - 04:35 PM
Stu 08 Jun 04 - 05:42 AM
Pete_Standing 08 Jun 04 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,allen woodpecker 08 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM
Stu 09 Jun 04 - 09:45 AM
michaelr 09 Jun 04 - 07:11 PM
John P 09 Jun 04 - 08:50 PM
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Subject: Bouzouki playing styles
From: Stu
Date: 07 Jun 04 - 02:07 PM

Oh bugger, I spelt bouzouki wrong! Sorry about that, I pressed the 'go' button too quickly.

So, I've been playing bouzouki for about three years now. I play chords in the rhythmic style mainly, but am now beginning to wonder about other stlyes of playing.

Forget tunes, this is accompaniment I am interested in primarily. I listen to many players who play a picking style, but apaprt from Han's bouzouki page,(here), I can't find much about how to gop abou this. The tutors I've brought don't address other styles, so I'm open to suggestions.


stigweard the bod spiller

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Subject: RE: Bouzouki playing styles
From: Les from Hull
Date: 07 Jun 04 - 04:35 PM

By rhythmic I presume you mean strumming. So instead of strumming you can flatpick in patterns. Because of the nature of the bouzouki you can pick in an almost random way, the notes you are playing are all relevant (there are no strings you need to avoid, which might be the case with guitar). It's also useful to find ways of moving between chords you use a lot, like D to G for instance.

You can combine this with hammering on and pulling off. And like a lot of things with music, take it slowly at first. Of the various tunings in use on the bouzouki, I find GDAD very useful, especially for playing in the key of D, of course. With a capo you can use the same techniques in different keys.

I didn't know there were tutors. I'm crap at learning from a book anyway.

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Subject: RE: Bouzouki playing styles
From: Stu
Date: 08 Jun 04 - 05:42 AM

The books generally aren't very good.

I got a bouzouki tutorial from MadForTrad
which is on CD, hosted by Gerry McKee, and that is very good, but doesn't cover flatpicking.

I do sort of do the random thing, I will try to refine the style a little and introduce some patterns, as suggesdted on Han's site.

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Subject: RE: Bouzouki playing styles
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 08 Jun 04 - 09:38 AM

Tuned GDAD, I find I'm able to play chords and melody intertwined. This can be done either by adding extra fingers as a progressive pattern to a chord to expose the melody, or by letting the strings of a chord ring and then playing the melody over the top. Works reasonably well for keys of D G and A, and others too when a capo is used, but I tend not to use a capo because my instrument rings best without one. D and G seem to be very folk friendly keys for sessions and for singing.

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Subject: RE: Bouzouki playing styles
From: GUEST,allen woodpecker
Date: 08 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM

Bouzouki Joke for you.

Q. How many bouzouki players does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Eight. One to change the lightbulb, and 7 to discuss how Donal Lunny would have changed it.

There's lots of different players you could listen to recordings of. Try the great Alec Finn, Malcolm Stitt, Aaron Jones, Andy Irvine, Ciaran Curran, Fintan McManus for starters.
Good Luck, a.w.

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Subject: RE: Bouzouki playing styles
From: Stu
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:45 AM

Like the joke!

I do listen to as many players as possible Alan, but I find it awkward to work out exactly how they're doing it.

Pete's method is good (provided you know th melody!), and I will give that a go too. Practice makes perfect, so it's off to have a try!

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Subject: RE: Bouzouki playing styles
From: michaelr
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:11 PM

Homespun Tapes have a very useful DVD/VHS "Learn to play the Irish Bouzouki" in which Zan McLeod teaches basics as well as cross picking, moving lines, chord substitutions, harmonized scales etc.
They also have "The Mandolin and Bouzouki of Tim O'Brien."

Info here (clique). Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki playing styles
From: John P
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 08:50 PM

One thing I do a lot is to play what is basically a countermelody made up of notes from the chords with transition notes between them. A simple example: for a chord pattern that is Am, G, Em, Am, G, Em, I might play a series of descending runs, like starting on a high A note at the beginning of the Am chord and running down: A, G, E, D, C, A. And then when the G chord starts go back up high and play a descending run: G, E, D, C, B. Then maybe for the Em chord, play a run the descends and then ascends: E, D, B, D, E, G. And then you're back at the high A note for the next Am chord. The hard part is actually thinking of the countermelody you want, one that will suit the feel you like for the song.

Another thing to try is playing an ascending or descending bass line that follows the chord pattern, then finding other bits of the chord to play along with that in some arpeggiated or cross-picked pattern. To use the same chord pattern as that above, you might have a bass line that ascends from a low A: A on the Am chord, B, C, D on the G chord, E, F, G, on the Em chord. And then descend again: A, G, E on the Am chord, D, C on the G chord, B, A, G on the Em chord, and then back up to A to start it over again.

Have fun!

John Peekstok

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