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Nic Jones Guitar Technique

07 Dec 18 - 10:44 AM (#3965269)
From: The Sandman

A question for experienced guitarists,tdo what extent do people think there is an influence from the 5 string banjo

07 Dec 18 - 12:30 PM (#3965284)
From: GUEST,Ray

What style of 5 string banjo? Scruggs? Keith? Clawhammer?

My impression from seeing him many years ago was that he used a thumb pick bith up and down. i’ve never seen a banjo player do that!

07 Dec 18 - 12:43 PM (#3965286)
From: Howard Jones

That percussive strike which is such a distinctive feature of his playing is possibly reminiscent of clawhammer, but he didn't really play in a clawhammer style. I would say very little banjo influence - if there is any it probably came via other guitar styles and is heavily diluted. I don't hear anything in his playing which makes me think "banjo".

07 Dec 18 - 01:45 PM (#3965294)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: The Sandman

ok,Ray. Roscoe Holcomb did that,
the percussive damping is reminiscent to some extent of hitting a 5 string on banjo and damping, and playing melody up[ when he played melody] pete seeger style, of course Nic did a lot more than play melody in open tuning. the tuning cgcgcd could be derivative of a banjo double c or alternatively banjo gdgcd known as sawmill

07 Dec 18 - 01:59 PM (#3965296)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: Stanron

I'd always assumed that that part of his technique came from the playing of John Martyn. John Martyn was a great innovator of guitar technique. There was his percussive style, his experimentation with tunings and later his use of electronics along with the acoustic guitar. The way Nic used tunings and percussion were different but back then everyone was experimenting. The guitarist who led the most was Davy Graham but for the combination of picking and percussion I'd go for John Martyn.

07 Dec 18 - 02:55 PM (#3965306)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: The Sandman

this thread is specifically about Nic Jones

08 Dec 18 - 04:09 AM (#3965394)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: Backwoodsman

Stanron - I've always thought there was a distinct link between Nic's playing style and John Martyn's. The period in which Nic was at his most active was one of experimentation amongst players, and I'm pretty sure they fed off each other at the same time as developing their own styles.

When I listen to Nic, I don't think 'banjo', but I do think 'John Martyn'.

Now if anyone wants to listen to a banjo-influenced guitar-style, try Molly Tuttle, flat-picker and guitar-frailer extraordinaire!

08 Dec 18 - 04:33 AM (#3965406)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

I would guess that Bert Jansch was his main inspiration plus all the other 60s players - Davy, Martin etc - impacting his playing, as well.

08 Dec 18 - 06:16 AM (#3965422)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: GUEST,Some bloke

I hear the authentic sound of Nic Jones on a guitar. His style had more variety than he is given credit for. The percussive hammering style did exist before him but he applied it how he felt he wanted it and in that, his influence must have been sitting on the settee adapting it till he was happy.

08 Dec 18 - 06:37 AM (#3965426)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: graham_t

An article by Mike Raven describing Nic's guitar technique is still online here

08 Dec 18 - 02:01 PM (#3965490)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: GUEST,johnmc

The various guitaristic effects are all as described, but when I hear his accompaniments
I hear amazing musicality. Harmonised bass lines, incredible chord voicings, contrapuntal
sections etc.
" Courting is a Pleasure " is such a textured, atmospheric accompaniment and I don't
know of anything else like it.
I also think this came so easily to him (relatively speaking) that he genuinely doesn't
realise how good it was,
Can anyone think of anyone better in the genre ?

09 Dec 18 - 09:22 AM (#3965592)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: John Robinson

I play fingerstyle guitar, but I don't sound anything like Nic. Having said that, I don't think that Nic's style has anything to do with clawhammer banjo. He used open C tuning a lot, and a percussive technique which involved flicking the strings with the back of his nails somewhere near the guitar's bridge. This interview on Bright Young Folk should help a lot. Plus, Nic is a huge Bob Marley fan - probably because of Bob's unconventional time signatures.

09 Dec 18 - 10:30 AM (#3965601)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

Mike Raven once wrote that he wished Nic didn't use altered tunings but rather played in standard tuning, and that is probably the daftest thing Mike ever said.
Interestingly, old time banjo players do use an amazing amount of altered tunings; indeed, the wondeful Art Rosenbaum has a book devoted to dozens of altered tunings.

10 Dec 18 - 03:58 AM (#3965727)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: The Sandman

of course like all good musician, his technique evolved and changed, his first two lps are quite diferent from penguin eggs., annanwater that was recorded in 1970, and is lacking the percussive later style
the first recording which[i think] was demonstrating the percussive style was noahs arktrap 1977, sometime bteween 1970 and 1977 his style evolved
Wikipedis [which is not always the last word on everything] says
Another important feature was a regular percussive sound made by striking downwards with the middle and ring fingers of the right hand on damped bass strings close to or above the bridge of the guitar. This is akin to the technique used by banjo players called frailing. This can be heard to good effect on such Jones tracks as "Ten Thousand miles" (on The Noah's Ark Trap, 1977) and "Master Kilby" (on From the Devil to a Stranger, 1978). Jones also skilfully used selective string damping to achieve other percussive effects such as on "Billy Don't Weep For Me" (on From the Devil to a Stranger).

10 Dec 18 - 06:22 AM (#3965746)
Subject: RE: Nic Jones Guitar Technique
From: GUEST,Richard

Another feature of the playing of Nic Jones, John Martin, Bert Jansch etc. style is the RH falling on to the strings to damp them with a percussive noise; often followed by a syncopated or of-beat thumb stroke. Along with the frailing stroke, it seems to fit into a rhythmic groove, where something has to happen on a particular beat that doesn't seem to want a picked note. To me, it seems like a physical thing; once the rhythm gets going, it's almost instinctive, like a drummer deciding what to hit on which beat; so long as it's something. Like Howard Jones above, I don't see it as a banjo style, just something guitarists have developed along a parallel path. I hope that makes some sort of sense.