Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guitar Workshop: The Best of 2010

For new readers to man with black hat, we have a feature on most Thursdays entitled “Guitar Workshop” which should be self-explanatory. But even though we're running a bit behind with our retrospectives of the previous year, we wanted to give you an idea of what we had to offer here, so you can get an idea of what's coming up. To wit, here are five of the best episodes from 2010.

Feb 25: Pentatonic Scale

We begin with what I wish I'd known better eight years ago, the blues scale used by most lead players as the point of departure for improvisation. This set of three videos, geared toward the lower intermediate player, was followed by a segment for the next level on embellishments. Together, they made for a wonderful pair.

Apr 15: Gettin’ Rhythm

Mother Maybelle Carter was the inspiration for this style of playing, a virtual standard for even beginning acoustic rhythm players. This episode had something for both the novice and the not-so-novice. This clip from that episode shows the range of possibilities.

Sep 30: Beginning Travis Picking

When you read the story behind this one, it only seems as if this was included for sentimental reasons. But this style was very influential on a fifteen-year-old who was too nerdy to rock-and-roll (or so the local kids thought) and too young not to try.

Oct 28: Percussive Guitar (Introduction)

This was our most ambitious series within the series, consisting of five parts, and representing new directions in acoustic guitar playing. Not for the faint of heart, this video by Andy McGee gives the viewer a taste of what is definitely outside the box. While geared to the advanced player, included in the series is an exercise that shows how some techniques contained herein are already possible.

Dec 9: Roger McGuinn and Folk-Rock Plugged-In

Finally, we feature a walk down the memory lane of Roger McGuinn, formerly of The Byrds, who explains the American answer to the British invasion, one that changed the popular culture. It is a place where both acoustic and electric currents meet, resulting in a signature sound that makes its home in both the folk festival and the rock arena. Neither would be the same. Neither was this picker after picking up on it.

We have more where this came from. And while every picture tells a story, the song remains the same. Or something.

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