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4 SONGS TO PLAY

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN The River


PATTY GRIFFIN
Go Wherever You Wanna Go
THE WHO Behind Blue Eyes
TRADITIONAL Wayfaring Stranger
OCTOBER 2013

F O R E V E R Y P L AY E R I N A N Y S T Y L E

Patty
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Honors Her Father on American Kid

21 WAYS

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Parts Shine

MICHAEL
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LESSONS
Folk Song
Accompaniment
Seventh Chords
Demystified
Hammer-Ons
& Pull-Offs

Aoife ODonovan
Steps out Solo

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OCTOBER 2013, ISSUE 250

VOL. 24, NO. 4

departments
14 PRIVATE LESSON
Traditional Folk Song Accompaniment:
Jefferson Hamer on the flatpicking and
hybrid-picking styles he uses to accompany
folk ballads. By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

46

NEW GEAR
18 Gibson J-35: Gibson brings back a classic slope-

features

38 21 Tips for Better


Accompaniment
Learn to make your solo guitar parts more distinctive and
deepen the impact of your songs. By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

46 Patty Griffin
After digging into gospel and touring with Robert Plants
Band of Joy, the singer-songwriter returns with the

shoulder, this time with stage-ready electronics.


By Adam Levy
22 Boulder Creek ECGC-7VB: Stylish, affordable
acoustic-electric with contemporary features.
By Adam Perlmutter
26 Zoom A3: Clean, compact preamp provides
myriad effects, modeling, and EQ to help you
color and perfect your amplified sound.
By Doug Young

28 PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
Aoife ODonovan: The voice of Crooked Still
and the Goat Rodeo Sessions steps out solo.
By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

all-original American Kid. By Derk Richardson

56 Michael Gurian

= video at AcousticGuitar.com

From his days as a luthier in the 1960s and 70s to running


a successful parts factory, Michael Gurian has had a long
and influential life in the guitar trade. By Orville Johnson

Seventh Chords: Learn how to build major,


minor, dominant, and other seventh chords.

12 The River Bruce Springsteen

62 SHOPTALK

53 Go Wherever You Wanna Go

Traugott Guitars: California guitar maker offers


ultra high-end steel-strings. By Teja Gerken

Patty Griffin

64 PLAYLIST

70 Behind Blue Eyes The Who

66 WEEKLY WORKOUT

74 Wayfaring Stranger

Ascending and Descending Slurs:


These hammer-on and pull-off exercises
will strengthen your hand and increase your
finger independence. By Scott Nygaard

Traditional, arr. by Al Petteway

DAN GABEL

in every issue
AG Online
Music Notation Key
Marketplace
Ad Index

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Painting Pictures: Ellis Paul shares tips and


exercises that can help you sharpen your lyrics.
By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

34 THE BASICS

songs to play

8
10
78
80

30 SONGCRAFT

82 GREAT ACOUSTICS
1965 Goya T-18. By Teja Gerken
ON THE COVER: Patty Griffin.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Darren Carroll.

AcousticGuitar.com 7

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ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

Jim Lauderdale
and Collings Guitars

Jim Lauderdale and his 1994 Collings D2H SB

Serious Guitars | www.CollingsGuitars.com | (512) 288-7770

NOTATION

music notation key

Dropped-D Tuning: D A D G B E

D
Guitar tunings are given from the lowest (sixth)
string to the highest (first) string; standard tuning is written as E A D G B E. Arrows underneath
tuning notes indicate strings that are altered
from standard tuning and whether they are
tuned up or down.
In standard notation, small symbols next to
notes refer to fretting-hand fingers: 1 for the
index finger, 2 the middle, 3 the ring, 4 the little
finger, and T the thumb. Picking-hand fingering is
indicated by i for the index finger, m the middle,
a the ring, c the little finger, and p the thumb.

# # 4 3
& 4

m
p

i
p

A7

1/4

m
p

m
p

1/4

3
0

3
0

1/4

1/4

3
2

0
2
0
2
0

In tablature, the horizontal lines represent


the six strings, with the first string on top and
the sixth on the bottom. The numbers refer to
frets on the given string. Slur markings indicate
hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides;
indicates a
bend. The number next to the bend symbol
shows how much the bend raises the pitch:
for a slight bend, 12 for a half step, 1 for a
whole step. Pick and strum direction are shown
below the staff ( =downstroke, =upstroke), and
slashes in the notation and tablature (!) indicate
a strum through the previously played chord.
1/2

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10 AcousticGuitar.com

3 20004

A7

1 3 1 2 11

D m7

5 fr.

x1 3 1 2 1

5 fr.

Chord diagrams show where the fingers go


on the fretboard. Frets are shown horizontally.
The top horizontal line represents the nut,
unless a numeral to the right of the diagram
marks a higher position (5 fr. means fifth fret).
Strings are shown as vertical lines. The line on
the far left represents the sixth (lowest) string,
and the line on the far right represents the first
(highest) string. Dots show where the fingers go,
and thick horizontal lines indicate barres. Numbers above the diagram are fretting-hand finger
numbers. X indicates a string that should be
muted or not played; 0 indicates an open string.
Vocal tunes are sometimes written with a
fully tabbed-out introduction and a vocal melody
with chord diagrams for the rest of the piece.
The tab intro is usually your indication of which
strum or fingerpicking pattern to use in the rest
of the piece.
ag

Want to Know More About


Acoustic Guitar Notation?
To receive a complete guide to Acoustic
Guitar music by mail, send a selfaddressed, stamped envelope to Music
Editor, Acoustic Guitar, 501 Canal Blvd.,
Suite J, Richmond, CA 94804-3505. The
complete guide can also be found online
at AcousticGuitar.com/notationguide.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

Introducing
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ACOUSTIC CLASSIC

While all these patterns translate perfectly


to a six-string guitar, keep in mind that they
wont sound quite the same as they do on a
12-string, because the paired octaves on the
lower four strings can make some notes sound
like theyre played an octave higher than they
really are. When the song builds momentum
in the choruses and later sections, the 12-string
occasionally breaks into full-chord strumming.
Throughout the original recording, youll hear
small chord embellishments, like a walkup
between Em and G chords, a Gsus4 resolving
to G over the word coat in the second verse,
or the Am chords embellished by hammering
on to the first-fret C note of the chord with
your index finger.
ANDREW DuBROCK

The River
Words and music by Bruce Springsteen
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN first performed the title track of his fifth studio
album, The River (1980), a year before its release, at a 1979 No Nukes
benefit in Madison Square Garden. The rhythm part of The River is
held down by a 12-string acoustic guitar, with individual notes of chords
and their embellishments played with a flatpick. Try the flatpicking pattern shown below, which is similar to much of the songs backup. This
pattern is adapted and embellished for each chord and, while you could
use the straight pattern throughout the tune, it will have more of an
organic sound if you vary the strings you pick as you go. This is illustrated in the intro figure shown below, right.

Flatpicking Pattern

#
& 44

Chords

Em
0 23 000

G
3 2 0004

D
x x0 132

C
x 32 0 1 0

Strumming Pattern

G /B A m C add9 G /F #

x 2 00 0 4 x0 231 0 x 21 0 4 0 2 x00 04

Intro

.
*Strum:


0
0
3 3
3


0
0
0
0

Em

0
2
2
0
* = down; = up
2

0 2

G /B
Am
G
C
#D C


& . J

0
2

0
3

0
3

0
3

Em

C G/B Am

Em

2.
Em

1.

I come from down in the valley


D

Cadd9

And, man, that was all she wrote

Cadd9

Em

Where, mister, when youre young


Em

Then I got Mary pregnant

G C

They bring you up to do like your daddy done

We went down to the courthouse

Me and Mary, we met in high school

G/F # Em

And the judge put it all to rest

G/F# Em

And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat

Am

When she was just seventeen

No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle

Am

Wed ride out of this valley down to where the fields were green
Chorus

No flowers, no wedding dress


Chorus

Em

Wed go down to the river and into the river wed dive
Em

Oh, down to the river wed ride


12 AcousticGuitar.com

Cadd9

Em

At night we went down to the river and into the river wed dive
Em

Cadd9

Oh, down to the river we did ride


ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

1980 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (ASCAP). USED BY PERMISSION OF ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Intro

Now those memories come back to haunt me

Harmonica Solo (over verse progression)

G/F # Em

G
Em

3.

Cadd9

They haunt me like a curse

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown company


Em

Am
G

But lately there aint been much work on account of the economy

Is the dream a lie if it dont come true


G

Or is it something worse

Now all them things that seemed so important


G/F#

Em

Well, mister, they vanished right into the air

Chorus
Em

That sends me down to the river

Am

Now I just act like I dont remember


G

Though I know the river is dry

And Mary acts like she dont care

Em

Cadd9

It sends me down to the river tonight


Em

4.

But I remember us riding in my brothers car


D

Cadd9

Her body tanned and wet, down at the reservoir


Em

Down to the river, my baby and I


Em

Cadd9

Oh, down to the river we ride


Em C D G Em C D Cadd9

At night on them banks Id lie awake


C

Em

Ooh,__ ooh, ooh,__________ (repeat, ad-lib, and fade)


G

And pull her close just to feel each breath shed take

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

AcousticGuitar.com 13

PRIVATE LESSON

Given how long the Child Ballads have been


played and adapted, how did you approach
making them your own?
HAMER Well, it all starts with the melody
that dictates the approach I take. With a song
thats more up-tempo, Id probably play with
a flatpick. For something mid or slower tempo, I might use pick-and-fingers technique.
And then really you tackle each song one at
a time and find a style that seems to suit it.

Traditional Folk Song


Accompaniment
Jefferson Hamer on the flatpicking and hybrid-picking styles
he uses to accompany folk ballads.
By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

THE COLLECTION OF ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH folk


songs known as the Child Ballads have been circulating for centuries. During the last 50 years,
they have been interpreted and performed by
such artists as Martin Carthy, Fairport Convention, and Joan Baez. Recently, singer-songwriter
Anas Mitchell (see Player Spotlight, October
2012) teamed up with multi-instrumentalist/
singer Jefferson Hamer to join this venerable
tradition, releasing the duo album Child Ballads
(Wilderland).
Hamer, who also performs traditional Irish
and American music with Eamon OLeary in the
Murphy Beds, was a natural partner for this ballads project with Mitchell. A gifted guitarist and
singer, Hamer is able to hit close harmonies with
Mitchells high voice and weave gorgeous instrumental lines around her fingerstyle guitar. Hamer is also steeped in bluegrass and
plays in the roots/country collective Session Americana, and he and Mitchell steer
their Child Ballads gently in the direction of old-time country duets. During a spring
tour stop with Mitchell at upstate New Yorks Hamilton College, Hamer sat down
with his Collings dreadnought to talk about and demonstrate the intricate guitar
work behind the ballads.

A lot of these melodies are modal and could


be harmonized in so many ways. How did
you decide which chords you use?
HAMER That was one of the joys of working
with Anas on the musical side of the arrangements. We spent a lot of time working with
the lyrics, and then after we had a text we
were happy with, the big challenge was, how
do we want to treat the music? We wanted
to keep it fairly simple, because there are
so many words and we wanted to keep the
spotlight on the text. But we did have a few
simple devices. Like in Willies Lady, the
melody is all over an E chord, but its not re-

LICK OF THE MONTH


This lick shows one way that Jefferson Hamer embellishes a midtempo melody, like Clyde Waters, by adding triplets.
Try substituting this variation for the last four measures of Example 5 (p 17), leading in with the quick flatpicked triplet in the pickup measure.

Dropped-D Tuning: D A D G B E
Capo I

#
& # 44

ww

w
w
3

0 2 4

14 AcousticGuitar.com

2 4 2 0

0
2
5

0
0

0
0 2 4

2
0
0
0

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

PHOTO JAY SANSOME. TEXT 2013 JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED BY PERMISSION.

Did you tune out other guitarists interpretations of these songs to find your own?
HAMER Thats a great question. In the case
of the two songs on this record that came
from Martin CarthyGeordie and Willies
LadyI very much had his versions in mind.
But I didnt just replicate his parts; one, because I dont know how to play exactly what
he doeshes an amazing guitar player. I
kind of simulated his style on Geordie as
I heard it. I didnt sit there with the Slow
Downer [software] and listen to every little
nuance of his playing, and Im not in the
same tuning he uses on that song. Im in a
C-modal tuning, and I actually got the idea
for that tuning from Nic Jones.

See video of the music examples at AcousticGuitar.com

Dropped-D Tuning: D A D G B E (Ex. 12)


Ex. 1
Capo II
= 120

3 5

00

00
0

00

3 5

3 2 3 5

00

00

00

2 0

00

3 5
0

00

00

3 5

0 0

2 3 5

0 0

0 0

0 0

2 0

0 0
0

0 0

3 5

0 0

0 0

0 0

0 0
0

3 5

0 0

3 2 3 5

0 0

0 0

0 0

2 0

0 0
0

5
7

3 5

18

0 0

0 0
0

3 5

0 0

3 2 3 5

2
0
0

0 0

3
2

5
7

4 2

0
0

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

0 0

0 0

2 0

3
2
0
0
0

2 4

3
0

4 0

0 0

0
0
0

0
5

0 0
0

8 5

2
0

5
7

7 5 7 5

2 0 0
0

0 0

3
2

0
0

0
0

2 0

0
0

2
0

0 2 0
0

3 0

1
0 0

0
0

7 5 7 5

= 80

2 4
0
0

0 0

11

Capo VII
Ex. 2

12

0
0

AcousticGuitar.com 15

PRIVATE LESSON

ally major or minor until I add my vocal harmonythen it becomes major. I could have
sung a harmony that was minor, or I could
have avoided the third, but I liked that major
third sound, so I did it that way.
Then we added some substitute chords.
The [second] part of that song is over the E,
but you can sing it over the VII chord, the D.
So we would sometimes substitute that VII
chord as a way to interject some excitement
into the arrangement. Theres also the IV: a
lot of that song is IIV.
Listening to the record, its often hard to
tell whos playing what. Your guitar parts,
like your voices, are so closely entwined.
HAMER That was a goal, for sure. Theres
very little soloing on the record, where Anas
holds down a rhythm and I take a lead. Most
of the album is two interlocking guitar parts.
What I play in Willies Lady sounds like this
[Example 1].
So that would be one pass through the instrumental. If I were playing it solo, without
Anas guitar, I would probably do things a
little differently. Shes giving it a drive, so Im
a little freer to float on top.
Youre using your middle finger to pick
some of those upper notes, right?
HAMER Yeah. There are a few ways to go at it.
One is just a pure flatpicked approach. Sometimes I like to get some finger in there, because
to my ear it creates this clawhammer-banjo
effect. You get a little syncopation and a little
more lilt to the rhythm, and also a little more
dynamics in the tone. If every note is picked
with the flatpick, sometimes, at least in my
own playing, it can sound a little monotone.
If you mix it up with the pick and fingers a
little bit, you can get different sounds and
timbres coming from the guitar, and that can
be exciting.
It sounds like youre using a lot of droppedD tuning on the record.
HAMER My dropped-D songs are Clyde Waters, Willies Lady, and Sir Patrick Spens.
When we recorded Sir Patrick Spens I did
it in D A D G A D tuning, but now when we
play it live I do it in dropped D. It saves some
time in the tuning. But I will say, the melody
for Sir Patrick Spens, which is one that we
came up with, very much revolved around
the D A D G A D sound. Theres something to
be said for trying a tuning and seeing what
you come up with; it might inspire you melodically in a way that if you were in standard
you wouldnt have gotten to.
Would you share a bit of your part on Sir
Patrick Spens?
HAMER This is a good illustration of the hy16 AcousticGuitar.com

brid style. I like to play out of dropped D and


capo high up the neck to shrink the scale of
the guitar a bit. I find that dropped D, because you have these two open drone strings,
helps me get a fuller sound. So if I were going
to play in the key of A, well, obviously I could
use the open A position, or I might capo at
the second fret and play out of G. But doing it
this way [with D shapes, capo on the seventh
fret] gives me a pretty full bass register, and
then I have an octave to work with for the
melody [Example 2].
I try to maintain as much of a bass pulse as
I can. Martin Carthy is a master of thathis
thumb is just infallible with that bass pulse.
The way I just played it is sort of articulating
the single notes of the melody. I could also
play it with a little more of the pick and less
of my fingers and strum more than one string
at a time.
What is the C-modal tuning on Geordie?
HAMER Its C G C G C D. One of the nice
things about C modal is all the strings are
slackened, and if youre playing with your
fingers they get snappy in a nice way, especially if youre using medium-gauge strings.
So heres Geordie [Example 3].
Does your background in bluegrass shape
how you play these songs?
HAMER Very much so, especially when it

WHAT HE PLAYS
ACOUSTIC GUITAR: Collings D2H with a
sunburst finish. Part of the guitars top was
smashed by an airline (despite being in a flight
case), and New Hampshire luthier Pat DiBurro
worked miracles to bring the guitar back to
life, Hamer says. This guitar has a real prominent midrange. Its not a big, booming dreadnought. It has plenty of bass, but I feel like it
has enough presence and crispness that it
articulates single notes really well.
AMPLIFICATION: K&K Pure Mini soundboard
transducer into a Radial JDI passive DI and
then a Grace Design m101 mic preamp.
Onstage, Hamer adds a little breath to the
sound by stepping up to a Shure SM57
external microphone.
RECORDING: For the Child Ballads album,
engineer Gary Paczosa recorded both Hamers
and Anas Mitchells guitars with pairs of
Neumann KM 54s in an X/Y pattern.
STRINGS: Medium gauge, phosphor bronze or
80/20, no particular brand.
ACCESSORIES: Wegen TF 120 triangular flatpick. Shubb capo. Korg Pitchblack tuner pedal.

comes to pick technique. Really all I mean by


that is I put the downbeats on the downstroke
and the syncopated offbeats on the upstroke.
With my students, I try to make sure theyre
doing that when theyre playing a melody.
Sometimes the temptation is to just go up and
down regardless of whether youre playing a
quarter note or an eighth note or a 16th or
whatever. Trying to maintain the [pulse] is always going to be the foundation of your righthand technique, and it helps you play in time
if you syncopate a melody.
A song like Clyde Waters is probably the
closest I come to a bluegrass approach. Anas
starts the song with this rolling finger line. Its
kind of midtempo. It feels funny to call that
bluegrass, because it doesnt have a bluegrass
feel, but what I correlate with the bluegrass
approach is this: You figure out where your
boom-chuck would lie [Example 4]. Thats
the foundation of the tempo. Those are going to be my downstrokes, and most of the
melody can be played with downstrokes [Example 5]. Of course you have the upstrokes
here and there. So thats the melody that I
play in the instrumental breaks.
Your guitar comes in and out in that
arrangement.
HAMER The trick in that song is to stay out
of the way of Anas. The whole song is built
around a front half and a back half. The way
we structured that is she takes the front half
almost soloI hardly even touch the guitar
and then I come in with the harmony and my
guitar on the back half to give it a lift. Each
verse is propelled forward that way. So that
was an example of, what are we going to do
for 20 verses thats going to keep this interesting? Our approach was to give it this kind
of rolling waves type of arrangement.
With these ballads, are you conscious of
making sure you dont play too much?
HAMER Well, yeah, youre trying to respect the
song and let the song speak for itself. When
youve done a lot of work on the lyrics, you
want to let those express themselves. Plus the
harmony singing was a big part of the record.
Everyone has their own way of coming
up with the right guitar part, and mine is
very much trial and error in the studio. I try
things, and then when I listen back I usually
get a better idea of whether Im on the right
track, if it sounds kind of noodley and undefined, or if it lacks a real decisive purpose. I
want the part that goes on the record to feel
like it had to be there.
ag
JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS (jeffreypepperrodgers.
com), the founding editor of Acoustic Guitar, is author
of the Homespun video series Learn Seven Grateful
Dead Classics for Acoustic Guitar.
ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

See video of the music examples at AcousticGuitar.com

Tuning: C G C G C D
Ex. 3

0
0

0
0

4
2
0

2 4 2 0
0

0
0

0
0

2
0

0
0

0 2

0
0

4 0

0
2

0
2

0
4

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

0
0

Dropped-D Tuning: D A D G B E (Ex. 45)


Capo I
Ex. 5
Ex. 4

0
3
2

0
3
2

3
2

3
2

3
4

0
0

0
5

0 4

0 2

0 0
0

0
2

0 4

2 4 0

0 0
0
0 2

0 2

0 4 2 0

3
2
0

AcousticGuitar.com 17

NEW GEAR

See the video review at


AcousticGuitar.com

Gibson J-35
Gibson brings back a classic slope-shoulder dreadnought.
By Adam Levy

GIBSON ISSUED ITS FIRST J-35 MODEL in 1936. The curvaceous flattop delivered rich sound, bore a clean look with a
minimum of cosmetic frills, and its initial $35 price tag was an
appealing selling point. Compared to Gibsons similarly proportioned Jumbo model, priced at $60, the J-35 was a budgetwise buy. (Remember, the Great Depression was in full swing
by the mid 30s.) The J-35 became one of Gibsons most
popular prewar flattops and remained in production until
1942, when it was replaced by the J-45. The company recently
reintroduced the J-35 to its Gibson Acoustic line, which is
built in Bozeman, Montana, and todays J-35 has all the sonic
and aesthetic charm of its ancestor, and is once again priced
competitively.

Historic Design
While the current J-35 has its roots in the classic 1936
design, its not intended to be an exact spec-for-spec replica
of the original model or its subsequent refinements. Its more
an amalgam of vintage details. Perhaps inspired by the 1939
edition, the neck and heel of the new J-35 have rounded
profilesunlike the V-shaped neck and pointier
French heel on the first J-35s. The mahogany
back and sides of the J-35 we received for review
are a pale reddish-brown, like those of the
earliest modelswhereas the back and sides
were typically stained a darker brown on later
examples. One particularly interesting design
detail of this modern J-35 is the Only a Gibson
Is Good Enough banner emblazoned on the
headstock beneath the old-style script Gibson
logo. No prewar J-35s would have had this
banner, though it was featured on the 1942
J-45, and some other Gibson flattops,
through 1945. It may not be historically
correct, but it adds a touch of class.
In the original J-35 construction, the
rectangular bridge was affixed with two
small screws that went through the
topand the interior bridge plateon
either side of the E-string bridge pins.
These screws were then covered with
mother-of-pearl dots. Though no
screws are used in the bridge assemblage of the new J-35, pearloid dots
remain as a nod to the look of the original. The white/black/white rosette is
another remnant of the first J-35s, as is the
unique pickguard shape. The back is bound in a

18 AcousticGuitar.com

single plya feature Gibson first added to


its 1937 edition. Todays top has multi-ply
binding, while original models were singleply bound.
The build quality was very high on the
review guitar. Each element looked good,
and the whole had been assembled tightly
and cleanly. The finish on the unbound
fingerboard appeared a little inconsistent
at the endwhere it overlays the guitars
top. Other than that, I could find no
cosmetic hitches.

Full-Bodied and Dynamic


After giving the new J-35 a proper look-see,
it was time to start kicking the tires, so to
speak. The guitar seemed to be a naturalborn strummer, so I improvised a folky Neil
Youngstyle chord progression, experimenting with different picks (nylon, Delrin,
and faux-tortoiseshell celluloid, in various
gauges). Each pick brought out a subtle
variation of the J-35s voice, but its
inherent warmth always came across. The
sound was full-bodied with plenty of
harmonic detail across the dynamic spec-

AT A GLANCE
SPECS: Slope-shoulder 16-inch-wide flattop
with 14-fret neck. Solid Sitka spruce top with
scalloped X-bracing. Solid mahogany back and
sides. Mahogany neck. Dovetail neck joint
bonded with hide glue. Unbound rosewood
fingerboard with 12-inch radius. Tusq nut and
compensated Tusq saddle. 25.75-inch scale
length. 1.725-inch nut width. 2732-inch string
spacing at saddle. Nitrocellulose lacquer
finish. Vintage-style nickel-plated tuners, 15:1
ratio, with white plastic buttons. Active L.R.
Baggs Element pickup system. Gibson lightgauge strings. Made in USA.

PRICE: $2,190 list/$1,699 street.


MAKER: Gibson Acoustic: 1-800-4GIBSON;
gibson.com.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

NEW GEAR
trumfrom murmur quiet to cannon loud.
To explore the J-35s tender side, I fingerpicked renditions of James Taylors Shower
the People and Fire and Rain. (Taylor
favored a Gibson J-50 early in his career.)
This led me to second-guess my initial
impression of the guitar. Its great for strumming, yes, but its a righteous fingerpicker,
too. In open position or capoed anywhere up
the neck, it sounded like a record. That is, it
seemed to be benefiting from a touch of topquality EQ and compression when played
acoustically. Playing JT-style hammer-ons
and pull-offs within chord shapes felt luxurious, thanks to the J-35s remarkable
sustain.

Stage-Ready Sound
The J-35 comes equipped with an L.R. Baggs
Element undersaddle pickup and preamp
system, which includes a small, soundholemounted volume control and is powered by a
single nine-volt battery affixed to the neck
block. I plugged the guitar into a few small
amps and was pleased to find that its natural
sonorities were well represented in the
resulting amplified sound with no major EQ
tweaks. Then I plugged the Gibson into my
laptopvia an Apogee Jam interfaceto see
how it fared for direct recording. As is, with no

EQ or other effects added, the sound was


reasonably balanced and clear. There was
more low-end rumble than would be usable
on most recordings, so I applied a high-pass
filter to quell the big bottom (with a rolloff at
150 Hz) and a parametric EQ to focus the low
mids (175 Hz, -4 dB). EQ is highly subjective,
of course. Choices will depend upon the
voice of the guitar, the other instruments in
the mix, and the desired quality of sound
overall. Suffice it to say, the Elements direct
sound would be a useful recording resource
alone or in conjunction with an external
studio-quality microphone.

A Classic Redefined
With its attractive prewar styling and periodinspired construction, the Gibson J-35 is
easy to love. It would make a great choice
for a modern-day troubadour, old-time revivalist, or anyone else who likes their guitars
with broad curves and lavish tones. It cant
be bought for $35 anymore, but with a street
price at about $500 less than Gibsons
comparable J-45 Standard, its still a relative
bargain.
ag
ADAM LEVY is an itinerant guitarist and performing
songwriter based in Los Angeles. Read more of his
writings and hear his music at adamlevy.com.

EDITORS IMPRESSIONS
TEJA GERKEN: This J-35 shows why
Gibsons short-scale slope-shoulder
dreadnoughts have been popular with
players of all stripes for almost eight decades. Its
responsive enough to sound great when played
fingerstyle (yielding an excellent country-blues
type fingerpicking tone), but not so delicate that
it cant take a heavy pick attack. The guitar produces the classic dry Gibson sound when
strummed, and it has the uncomplicated clarity
you hope for in a mahogany dreadnought.
SCOTT NYGAARD: Gibsons J-35
may have once been an affordable
model, but vintage specimens these
days can run up to five figures. The importance
of the Gibson slope-shoulder dreadnought
sound and style, however, is proven by how
many small manufacturers and luthiers offer
their own versions. What impressed me most
about Gibsons reissue was its clarity and liveliness. Our review instrument did not sound like
a typical new guitar: flatpicked melodies across
its entire range leaped out of the instrument,
tonally balanced but with impressive power,
and open-position strumming and bass lines
were crisp, bright, and muscular.

Turns
out love
CAN be
bought.

Martin, Taylor, McPherson, Larrivee, and Cole Clark guitars.


Custom instruments and premium used guitars always in stock.

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20 AcousticGuitar.com

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ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

NEW GEAR

See the video review at


AcousticGuitar.com

Boulder Creek ECGC-7VB


Stylish, affordable acoustic-electric with a contemporary design.

By Adam Perlmutter

MODERN FEATURES LIKE offset soundholes, side soundports,


and wood binding typically have been found on costly, bespoke
guitars. But these construction attributes are being seen with
increasing regularity on guitars at all levels, including the line of
smartly modern flattops designed in California by Boulder Creek
Guitars. Boulder Creek builds a full complement of instruments,
from nylon-string models to 12-strings, and OMs to jumbos. We
auditioned the Gold Series ECGC-7VB, a grand concertsize
cutaway model with a maple body and a built-in electronics
system.

Classy Styling
The ECGC-7VB is built from an attractive medley of tonewoods.
The spruce soundboard on our review instrument was finely
grained, and the quartersawn flamed maple back (which was
perfectly book-matched) and sides had impressive grain and
figuring, offering a nice contrast to the plain maple used for
the neck. The rosewood headstock cap is a smart touch.
In addition to traditional wood X-bracing, the ECGC-7VB
boasts Boulders Suspended Bracing System. Developed by
Mike Shellhammer, this system incorporates a pair of lightweight aluminum tone bars mounted to plastic brackets that
are glued to the top and designed to provide extra strength
to the soundboard while allowing the top to vibrate freely,
enhancing the guitars sustain and resonance.
Meanwhile, the upper-bout soundhole is intended
to make the guitar louder and create a more
pronounced bottom end than a centrally located
soundhole does, while the side soundport directs
the sound to the players ear.
Finished in a glowing, violin-inspired sunburst,
the ECGC-7VB has an elegant appearance, made
even more so by the natural plain maple used
for the body and headstock binding as well as
the heel cap, back strip, and end strip, all
with twin black definition lines. The fingerboards binding, which has no black lines,
is gracefully thin. A pearl rosette around
the soundhole adds a subtle sparkle, as
do the iridescent dot markers inlaid on
the fingerboard and Boulder Creek logo
on the headstock. And the gold sealed
tuners have handsome ebony-like buttons.
The ECGC-7VB we reviewed is decently
crafted overall, a solidly built guitar that
should hold up well with years of use. Aside
from the frets needing a bit more polishinga
situation that could be addressed easily enough
by a trusted techthere were no anomalies to

22 AcousticGuitar.com

be found that would affect the playability


or the sound. And the superficial rough
spots, like a few internal glue gobs, can
absolutely be forgiven on a $500 guitar.

Impressive Voice
and Responsiveness
Although the ECGC-7VB is a bit heavy, it
sits nicely on the lap, and the neck has
a medium C-shape profile and 11116-inch
nut that will appeal to a broad selection
of players. Its factory-set low action was
comfortable and buzz-free and the notes
rang clear and true at all 20 frets. Despite
some jagged fret edges and a heel-mounted strap button that rubbed against the
fretting hand in the higher positions, the
guitar was a pleasure to play.
Overall the ECGC-7VB had an attractive voiceclear and bright, owing likely to
its maple build, with impressive sustain,
volume, and projection. The low end was
sturdy and the highs well defined, while
the mids were a bit assertive, and the
soundport did, indeed, seem to provide a
detailed listening experience for the player.
The ECGC-7VB excelled in a range of
settings. It was great for strumming approaches, from boom-chuck to Carter-style
to even four-to-the-bar jazz, and chords of

AT A GLANCE
SPECS: Grand concert body size. Solid
spruce top with wood X-brace and aluminum
Suspended Bracing System. Laminated
flamed maple back and sides. Maple neck.
Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Synthetic
bone nut and saddle. 25.624-inch scale.
11116-inch nut width. 2316-inch string spacing
at saddle. Violin Burst gloss finish. Gold tuners
with 18:1 ratio. Proprietary undersaddle pickup
and AB4-T preamp. DAddario EXP (.012.053)
strings. Made in China.

PRICE: $699 list/$489 street.


MAKER: Boulder Creek Guitars:
(408) 779-3845; bouldercreekguitars.com.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

Classical Guitar
Studies at Juilliard
Sharon Isbin
Department Chair

NEW GEAR
all sorts had good note separation and
balance on the instrument. Articulated
with a flatpick, single-note lines in any
style sounded robust.
Despite a relatively narrow nut width
of 11116 inches, the guitars string spacing
didnt feel at all cramped for fingerpicking.
The guitar rang sweetly when placed in alternate tunings like open G or D A D G A D and
subjected to fingerpicked improvisations.

Flexible Electronics
Like many Boulder Creek acoustic-electric
guitars, the ECGC-7VB comes equipped
with the companys AB4-T preamp and
undersaddle piezo pickup. The preamp includes a chromatic tuner, which bypasses
the output when it is engaged; four-band
EQ (brilliance, treble, mid, and bass) with
sliding controls; a volume knob; and a
phase switch. While typical acoustic guitar
electronics include a single 14-inch output,
the AB4-T has both a 14-inch unbalanced
jack and balanced XLR. Though the guitar
had a natural sound when amplified with
the EQ set flat, its nice to have the soundshaping flexibility it offers. Running the
guitar through a Fender Acoustasonic,
I found it easy to dial in dark jazz tones
or shimmering, bright timbres.
Overall, the ECGC-7VB is an attractively
voiced and extremely playable instrument,
an acoustic-electric that sounds good
plugged in or not. As a bonus, the guitar
is styled in the manner of a fine boutique
instrument, but costs a mere fraction of
one, and can therefore be enjoyed without
anxiety.
ag

Private Lessons and


Master Classes
Chamber Music Performance
Guitar History and Literature
Fretboard Harmony
Scholarship and cost-of-living
assistance available
Juilliard.edu/guitar
Apply by December 1

Juilliard.edu/apply

ADAM PERLMUTTER is an Acoustic Guitar contributing editor who transcribes, engraves, and
arranges music for numerous publications.

EDITOR S IMPRESSION
TEJA GERKEN: The Boulder Creek
ECGC-7VB continues the companys
concept of delivering designs and
features found on high-end, luthier-built guitars
to entry-level price regions. But how does it
play and sound? Our review guitar featured an
ultralow action setup that would have made
most electric guitars proud. As such, playability
was very easy, though at the cost of some buzzing with a heavy picking hand. Due to the large
side soundport, the Boulder Creeks impressive

Photo: J Henry Fair

bass sound was more audible to the player

24 AcousticGuitar.com

than to a listener. But even with this caveat,


the guitar offered a lovely, rich voice that, while
Joseph W. Polisi, President

not as dynamic and complex as some, made


the guitar very satisfying to play.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

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NEW GEAR

Zoom A3
Clean, compact preamp provides myriad effects, modeling, and EQ
to help you color and perfect your amplified sound.
By Doug Young

ACOUSTIC GUITARISTS usually depend on effects much less


lies in the software, accessed via the LED
than electric players, but given the chance, the list of devices
screen and controlled by three combinayou might wish to use can be fairly long. String together a
tion push-button/knobs. The LED screen
preamp, DI, EQ, tuners, and footswitches for muting and
presents a virtual pedal board with three
boosting, reverb, chorus, delay, modeler, and a few more
slots. Slot one is always occupied by the
and before you know it youll have an acoustic pedal
modeler, which well explore in a minute.
board that rivals those of its electric cousins. Or you
The other two slots can be loaded with
could have all of those in a single small
any two of a large collection
pedal, which is what Zoom has tried to
of effects, which include
provide with its latest acoustic preamp
reverbs, delays, chorus,
See video of the
and effects unit, the A3.
phaser, flanger, compresgear review at
AcousticGuitar.com
Zoom is a Japanese company with a
sors, auto-wah, exciters, and
long history of turning out impressive and
graphic and parametric EQs.
useful devices for musicians, including handheld
Pushing the buttons steps through the
audio and video recorders, guitar stompboxes, multiavailable effects, while turning them takes
track recorders, and more. Its A2 multi-effects pedal is
you inside the controls of the selected
popular with acoustic guitarists, and Zoom has packed even
effect. Patches can be saved to memory
more functionality into the new A3.
so you can recall different selections as
you need them.
Small and Powerful
Exploring the effects could take a long
At just 414 inches wide and 6 inches long, the Zoom A3 is small enough
time, and there is certainly something here
to fit in the accessory compartment of most guitar cases, but Zoom has
for everyone. I quickly found some subtle
still managed to pack in a lot of functionality. You get a rough sense
chorus sounds I especially liked. Overall,
of the devices complexity just from looking at the controls. The top of
the effect quality is on par with other
the A3 includes three footswitches (Effect On/Off, Volume Boost, and
stompbox effects, but the sheer number
Anti-Feedback), 14 other controls, and a small LED screen. The controls
and tweakability makes it very likely that
fall into several categories. Three knobs cover EQ: Bass, Midrange, and
you can fine-tune one to get a sound you
Treble. Two provide level adjustments for the separate Mic and Pickup
inputs. Another pair provides balance between dry and effected signals
AT A GLANCE
and master volume. Three more controls serve double duty as both
knobs and pushable switches and are used to navigate the LED screen.
There are also three LEDs that serve as both status indicators and
SPECS: Compact floor preamp with effects
pushable buttons that let you control a related setting. The final control
and modeling. 14-inch guitar and XLR mic
allows you to select the body type of the guitar you are using, to allow
inputs. XLR DI and stereo unbalanced
the modeling features to work optimally.
outputs. Bass, midrange, and treble tone
1
1
The A3 also includes stereo 4-inch outputs and a 4-inch mono
controls. Pickup and mic levels. Master
input jack for a pickup, along with a switch that allows you to choose
volume control. Footswitches for mute/tuner,
settings to complement your pickup: flat, magnetic, or piezo. The
boost, and anti-feedback control. Large
manual does not state exactly what these switches do, and I found the
collection of effects, including reverb, chorus,
function to be extremely subtle. It appears that the Magnetic switch
phaser, compression, EQ. Full suite of
boosts the bass a bit, while the Piezo position rolls off some highs.
modeling effects. Runs on internal nine-volt
The manual specs the input impedance at a constant 1 megohm. The
battery, external power, or USB. Made in
back of the unit contains an XLR mic input (24 or 48 volts of phantom
China.
power can be selected via software), a jack for using a nine-volt power
adaptor (the unit can also be powered via USB), a ground-lift switch,
PRICE: $335 list/$199 street.
and an XLR DI out.
MAKER: Zoom Corp: zoom.co.jp (US

Software Effects and Controls


The A3s hardware features are impressive enough, but its real power

26 AcousticGuitar.com

distributor: Samson Tech, samsontech.com/


zoom, [631] 784-2200)

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

like. With 12 reverb algorithms alone, there


are nearly endless options.

Extensive Modeling Possibilities


With all of the effects and features, its easy
to forget one of the most powerful features
of the A3: a full-featured modeler. The modeling is easy to use. First you select the type
of guitar you are using with the body-type
selector knob on top, and your pickup type
from a selector on the side. The body selector provides 16 guitar types to choose from,
including nylon-string, OM, dreadnought, and
even upright bass. Once you have configured
the A3 for the type of guitar and pickup you
are using, you can choose one of 36 model
types from a software menu to alter the way
the A3 transforms your sound. So, at least in
theory, you can set up the Zoom A3 to match
your Martin OM with an undersaddle pickup,
and then make it sound like a Gibson J-200
by choosing the appropriate model.

Test Drive
With all of the features included in this
complex unit, it was hard to know where
to begin in checking it out, so I began with
the basics. You can easily ignore all of the
exotic features and just plug in a guitar, run
the unbalanced or DI output to an amp or
PA, and adjust the sound with the three tone

controls. I was immediately pleased with


the results of this simple test. Plugging in
a Martin OM with a K&K soundboard transducer, I found the sound to be clean and
clear through my small PA system. The tone
controls were effective. The Zoom manual
doesnt specify the frequencies of the tone
controls, but I measured them to be, roughly,
bass, centered around 80 Hz; mid, centered
around 600 Hz; and treble, a shelf starting
at about 2 kHz.
The next logical feature to try is the
modeling, and again, I found plenty of good
sounds to use. Its difficult to say whether
the modeled sounds really reproduce their
targeted instruments, but each model does
seem to have the appropriate characteristics. For example, switching to a D-28 model

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

added a more beefy low end to my OM, while


selecting an 0 model produced less bass
and more mids. Some modeling options
were less useful than othersthe upright
bass model certainly didnt work well with my
OM, but transforming an OM into an upright
bass seemed too much to ask, and most
models produced interesting and useful
sounds. In a live gig I tried the A3 with both
the guitar selector and model set to OM-28
and the mix control at 50 percent, and it
produced a very nice sound with a little more
resonance than the dry pickup.
The A3s strengths and weaknesses are
both products of its massive set of features.
The unit seemingly provides everything you
would ever need, but only if you can figure out
which of the 14 knobs to push to operate it.
The most basic operationsmuting/tuning,
activating or bypassing effects, and signal
boostare easily available via footswitch.
The anti-feedback feature is also very effective, and readily available. Just step on the
footswitch and the A3 will automatically seek out and eliminate up to
three problem frequencies. Unfortunately some of the A3s features
require bending over and twiddling
the tiny knobs. Even changing between saved presets involves turning
knobs that may be hard to reach and
see onstage.
However, I suspect with a bit of
time exploring the unit, most guitarists will settle on a small set of features they actually use, making the
need for live adjustments fairly rare.

Self-Contained Powerhouse
Zoom has set a high bar for features in
the A3its hard to think of anything significant theyve left out, and the A3 could
easily replace an entire row of stompboxes.
Many guitarists will find it attractive just for
its clean sound, musically useful EQ, and
modeling options. The effects are limited to
two at a time, but the large range of options
allows you to explore at your leisure and
find subtle or dramatic colors to add to your
sonic palette.
ag
DOUG YOUNG (dougyoungguitar.com) is a San Francisco Bay Areabased fingerstyle guitarist and contributing editor to Acoustic Guitar.

AcousticGuitar.com 27

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

ately puts me in this one box, and I think I


dont just live in that box. I would say I am a
singer and a songwriter, but when you put the
two together its its own genre. My friends
and I often joke that I should call myself a
songer-singwriter.

The voice of Crooked Still and the Goat Rodeo Sessions


steps out solo.
By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

OVER THE LAST DOZEN YEARS,


Aoife ODonovan has emerged
as one of the most distinctive
young singers in contemporary
folk. Her pure, silky voice has
been heard with the neo-traditional string band Crooked Still,
the folk noir trio Sometymes
Why with Ruth Merenda and
Kristin Andreassen, and the allstar Goat Rodeo Sessions band
with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer,
Stuart Duncan, and Chris Thile.
Along the way Aoife (pronounced EE-fah) has recorded/
performed some of her original
tunes with various combos, and
her song Lay My
Burden Down was notably covered by Alison Krauss on her 2011
album, Paper Airplane. But until this year, ODonovan has never fully
launched herself as a solo artist.
ODonovans solo album Fossils, released in June by Yep Roc, was
worth the wait. The record opens with Lay My Burden Down and
proceeds through a set of richly textured original songs, with acousticelectric band arrangements centered around ODonovans serene voice
and guitar. ODonovans songwriting style is tough to pigeonhole, reflecting her deep roots in traditional music (her father was born in
Ireland and hosts A Celtic Sojourn on Bostons WGBH), her training at
the New England Conservatory, and her love of the jazzy syncopation of Joni Mitchell. Like her voice itself, the music on Fossils is gently understated yet sneaks up on
you with its emotional intensity.
In the spring, as ODonovan was gearing up to hit the road with her own band,
followed by tour dates with Garrison Keillors A Prairie Home Companion and with
the Goat Rodeo Sessions, she spoke with me from her home in Brooklyn about this
new phase in her busy musical life.

The banner on your website says your name and singer. Does releasing a solo
album of all original tunes suggest its time to update that tag?
ODONOVAN It says singer there because I feel like that is definitely my identity. If
I were to update my website to say Aoife ODonovan, singer-songwriter, it immedi28 AcousticGuitar.com

How far back does songwriting go for you?


ODONOVAN The songwriting goes back to the
beginning really. Back when I was a college
student at New England Conservatory I was
writing a ton, and performing original music
at my recitals as well as with classmates of
mine at NEC. And songwriting even predates
that. When I was 12, my best friend, Sara
Heatonwho is now an accomplished opera
singer actuallyhad a band called Faerie
Mist. We wrote two songs that we recorded,
and I still like em.
Were you always writing on guitar?
ODONOVAN Its been on guitar and piano. A
bunch of my earlier tunes were actually piano
based. Thinking about myself as a guitar
player is a pretty new thing. I took guitar lessons in high school and Ive always played the
guitar, but about a year and a half ago, when
I was getting ready to go on my first solo tour,
opening for Punch Brothers, I was like, man,
Ive got to get better on the guitar if Im going
to go onstage and play in front of 600 people
every night. So I got the metronome and actually practiced the guitar, and Im continuing to
practice the guitar. Its amazing what a metronome will do to your guitar playing.
What do you practice?
ODONOVAN What I practice is being able to
accompany myself in a style thats distinctive.
One of the things that Ive always done on guitar is fingerpicking, but my
style is based around a twofinger pattern I like to call the
clawI use my thumbnail and
my index finger. Ive recently
incorporated a third finger into
it, which is sort of more like a
banjo roll, and sometimes a
fourth finger as well. But before last year I was pretty uncomfortable playing with a
pick, so practicing picking patterns with a metronome, with an actual pick, is something that
Ive been working on.
Are there particular players who inspired
your approach to guitar?
ODONOVAN I dont know. I feel like the direction I took with the guitar kind of happened
out of poor training. Neil Young and Joan
Baez, I guess, were people I was listening to a
lot when I was learning to play the guitar, and
they both do a fingerpicking kind of thing. But
ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

PHOTO SHAWN BRACKBILL. TEXT 2013 JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED BY PERMISSION.

Aoife ODonovan

by no means was it thought outmy style just


came to be because it was what I started
doing naturally.
Youve covered Joni Mitchells Amelia,
and a few of your new songs, like Pearls,
have Joni-esque chord voicings. The chords
may not be in an alternate tuning, but have
that open, ringing quality.
ODONOVAN Pearls is actually standard tuning. That song started out with a quarter-notey
fingerpicking pattern, and I changed it to the
syncopated strumming pattern that ended up
on the record. But yeah, of course, Ive listened
to a ton of Joni Mitchell and think shes just
really unbelievable and would never try to
deny the influence in any way.
Your song Beekeeper has a cool rhythm
in seven, I believe. How did that come
about?
ODONOVAN That just came from me messing
around on the guitar and then realizing that
I was playing a pattern in 7/4. I was humming a melody to myself, and there are a
bunch of early demos where I was singing all
kinds of random words with a pretty similar
melody and chord progression. I really love
playing that song because it is in an odd
meter, but when Im in the song it doesnt
seem odd to me. Im not counting it out or
struggling to keep time because the words
themselves fit with the rhythm. Theres nothing oddly spaced.
When I brought that song to the people I
recorded it with, we came up with those two
interlocking guitar partsthe electric guitar
and the acoustic guitarand then the drumbeat is pretty much 4/4 with a dropped beat.
Theres no syncopated jazz stuff going on. Its
pretty straight, but then if you try to tap your

WHAT SHE PLAYS


ACOUSTIC GUITAR: 1934 Martin 0-17.
ODonovan came across the guitar at Ithaca
Guitar Works in 2006 while on tour with Chris
Thile and notes that its not all originala
previous owner had the guitar refinished and
the pickguard and tuners replaced. On her
guitar wish list is a hollow-body electric similar
to a Gibson ES-125 she had on loan recently
from Rob Moose of Bon Iver.
AMPLIFICATION: K&K Pure Western Mini
pickup installed by Bob (Yukon) Stubblebine
in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
ACCESSORIES: DAddario phosphor-bronze
light strings, Shubb capo, Boss pedal tuner
(for use onstage), and Snark tuner (for
unplugged use).

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

feet to it, its like, oh weirdI cant really tap


my feet to this.
Did the existence of Alison Krausss version
of your song Lay My Burden Down affect
how you recorded that song yourself?
ODONOVAN Possibly subliminally it did.
Initially I was like, Im not going to record that
song because Alison already recorded it. In a
lot of ways, even for me, her version has become the definitive version. Its so beautiful. I
feel like her singing that song brought it to life
for me. But theres a lot of emotion in that
song. There are a couple of different ways you
can interpret the lyrics, and my version, I
think, pulls out some of the joy in it. Its a little
more upbeat, its got more of a country leaning, theres the steel, theres that really amazing baritone electric guitar solo, which is one
of my favorite points in the record, and there
are harmony vocals, which is the one thing I
missed from her versionI wished that [Union
Stations Dan] Tyminski had jumped in on the
harmony there. So I got Annalisa Tornfelt from
Black Prairie to sing this really beautiful low
harmony, and I love the way that came out.

When I was getting


ready to go on my
first solo tour, opening
for Punch Brothers,
I was like, man,
Ive got to get better
on the guitar.
How does it feel to switch gears from collaborating with so many other musicians,
to working with your own band, to playing
solo?
ODONOVAN Whats been really great about
the last 12 years of my life as a musician is
all the different things that Ive done. To get
to spend one week doing one thing and another week a totally different thing keeps your
creative chops engaged and always keeps you
inspired. Touring with Crooked Still was incredible, and Im looking forward to really hitting the road with my band. But right now Im
on the road solo with the Milk Carton Kids,
and thats really fun.
The main difference in playing solo and
doing a band set is that you have to pace your
set really differently when its just you. You
cant rely on the tricks and the sounds of a
band. But the pros are that you dont ever have
to make a set list and you can do whatever you
want. If you want to do a song in a different
key, you can do that. You can add beats, you
can add choruses . . . its very free.
ag
AcousticGuitar.com 29

SONGCRAFT

Ellis Paul shares tips and exercises that can help you
sharpen your lyrics
By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

She fell to the mattress with the grace of an actress


Youre falling like a thief from a roof
Shes asking for proof, Are you staying?
Outside you hear mission bells
Welcome to Marias beautiful mess
In a cluttered apartment on the West Side
Ellis Paul, Marias Beautiful Mess

PERHAPS THE GREATEST MAGIC OF SONGWRITING is how, with just a few notes and
words, a song can transport a listener to a faraway time and place, and even into
the head of another person. Ellis Paul is one songwriter who has been accomplishing
this for more than 20 years, rising from the Boston coffeehouses to become a big
draw around the country on the strength of his sharply observant, hooky folk-rock
songs. One measure of the passion of Pauls fans is that they contributed $100,000 to
support the release of his 2010 album, The Day Everything Changedat this writing,
Pauls current fan-funding campaign is closing in on an equal amount for his next
studio release, due this fall.
Along the way, Paul has written many memorable character songs, from the
travelogue 3,000 Miles and the Katrina story Hurricane Angel to the songs
on his recent kids album, The Hero in You, for which he wrote musical profiles of
such figures as Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, and Georgia OKeefe.
On tour, Paul shares his passion for songwriting in workshops (see Sketching a
Character, page 33 for one of the writing exercises he uses). In a conversation
from his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, he shared these thoughts on how to
sharpen your lyrics.

As a songwriter, have you always been drawn to telling other peoples stories in
addition to writing about your own life?
PAUL Well, folk music embraces every kind of song you can think ofthere are
childrens songs, character songs, singer-songwriter bare your heart and your love
life wide open kind of songs. One reason I like folk music so much is I can get away
with anything I want. I dont have to worry about singles; I just have to worry about
content and believability.
When youre chasing down a song, do you think much about what category it
might fall into?
PAUL When Im building an album, sometimes Ill try to get some sort of a ballpark
30 AcousticGuitar.com

Is painting a picture ultimately what


youre trying to do with your lyrics?
PAUL Yeah, youre trying to show. You can think
of a character as being frustrated and depressed;
these are conceptual things. But in order to
write the character in a song, you cant tell the
audience hes depressedyou have to show it.
Thats something all of my favorite songs have
and something I aspire to in all of my songs is
creating a little bit of a snow globe, so people
are looking into it and then suddenly theyre
inside ittheyre part of the song. Theyve escaped from their life into the songs life.

WHAT HE PLAYS
ACOUSTIC GUITAR: Custom Taylor jumbo
built for Oklahoma Vintage Guitars in El Reno,
Oklahoma. This one-of-a-kind Taylor, which has
an Adirondack spruce top and cocobolo back
and sides, is a phenomenal guitar, Paul says.
Its changing how I play. He calls the guitar
Guinness because of the cocobolos resemblance to a glass of the Irish stout. A falling
speaker once punched a fist-sized hole in the
guitars side, which was meticulously repaired
by Virginia luthier John Hamlett. When the
Guinness beer company heard about the accident, Paul says, they sent me an enormous
care package filled with company paraphernalia
and beer.
Along with standard tuning, Pauls alternate
tunings include open C (open D down a half
step), C G D G B D (which he calls open Joni),
and D A D D A D (with the third string tuned
way down, in unison with the fourth string). Paul
says he learned a lot about open Dand about
creating rhythms with his right handfrom some
informal backstage lessons with the late, great
Richie Havens.
AMPLIFICATION: Fishman Matrix Infinity
pickup/preamp, with soundhole volume and
tone controls, and Fishman Aura Spectrum DI.
STRINGS: DAddario phosphor-bronze
mediums.
ACCESSORIES: Kyser capos. Intellitouch
tuners. Paul strums with a Clayton .80-mm
flatpick or fingerpicks with the pads of his
fingers.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

PHOTO JACK LOONEY.


TEXT 2013 JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED BY PERMISSION.

Painting Pictures

for all of the songs to live in. Im like any other


songwriter: sometimes the personal life takes
over the songwriting, and then I do an album
more like [Joni Mitchells] Blue and less like
a John Prine record. But, for the most part,
Im just writing the songs that come to me. I
never know what form theyre going to take,
even if Im painting a picture thats outside of
my own life.

What allows that to happen?


PAUL Its details of the persons life. Those
details work best when they trigger sensory
experiences in the listeners mind. You know,
like the first line of any great song, like [the
Eagles] Peaceful Easy Feeling: I like the
way your sparkling earrings lay / Against
your skin so brown / And I want to sleep with
you in the desert tonight / With a billion stars
all around. All of that is laying out a detailed
picture that is a sensory experience for the
listener.
Is it the same sort of process when you write
from your own experience? In a way, you
are creating yourself as a character.
PAUL It is. With all of my songs, I write as
much as I can in 48 hours. And then after 48
hours, if you have a rough draft of the song,
you go back and you sharpen your pencil and
get your eraser, because the editing is where
a song goes from being a B or C song to being
an A song. You ask yourself, whats the mission statement of the song? Even if its a personal song, even if youre writing about isolation or loneliness or longing or love, what is
the song trying to say? You put that on the
top of the paper, and then you have to weigh
how you can support the mission statement
by improving every line.
Do you ever spend time collecting assorted
details that you may or may not use in a
song?
PAUL I wait until the subject comes to me. For
example, I have a new record coming out, and
theres a song written from the perspective of
the Empire State Building. The Empire State
Building is actually the thing thats talking. I
wanted to write about something historical in
the vein of City of New Orleans, by Steve
Goodman. The thing I love about that song,
its a character song that was written from the
perspective of the train. So I decided maybe
the Empire State Building would work.
Whats cool about the Empire State Building is that it was built during the Great Depression, but its this monument of capitalism
at the same time. It was funded by DuPont,
but it was built by immigrants from every
walk of lifeItalians and Russians and Irish.
So I did all this research and started collecting.
The mission statement of this song is about
the importance of the symboland its rich
and poor, capitalism and socialism. I looked
for historical details of the building that could
fill in the gaps.
Theres another new song where Im writing about a guy named Jimmy Angel, who
was a barnstorming airplane pilot in the
1930s and 40s. Theres not a lot of historical
documentation of his life, but the stuff that I
October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

AcousticGuitar.com 31

SONGCRAFT

found was fascinating. He discovered Angel


Falls in Venezuela. He was a World War I pilot
and barnstormed from point to point to point,
so he had this kind of restless life. Im trying
to build a song about that restlessness. Its a
relationship song about someone hes abandonedmaybe a kid or a girlfriend. I havent
gotten all the details squared away yet. But
the metaphor of flying and escaping and being in constant motion is the mission statement of that song.

articulate

1.800.788.5828
www.rainsong.com

Escape the expected. Experience graphite.

32 AcousticGuitar.com

Do you like singing a character song in first


person, as in your song 3,000 Miles?
PAUL I do. I think it provides authenticity, the
closer to the source you get. There are still
great songs written in third person, but you
lose a certain amount of presence and vulnerability. First-person songs tend to be a little
bit more powerful. But when youre writing
characters, you have to weigh each line for
believability, and thats why all those details
are important. If youre just sort of glossing
over the details and youre telling the story
rather than showing the story, you lose believability, and a lot of the sizzle of the song will
disappear.
Do you have to identify somehow with a
character youre writing?
PAUL I do. Otherwise, there is no inspiration.
If you dont have a personal connection, you
cant assume the body of that person when
youre talking.
I understand this barnstormer guy because
Im living that kind of lifeIm leaving my
children every week to hit the road, going to
these foreign environments, a completely restless kind of lifestyle. I can connect to the
Empire State Building because Im a history
buff, and its the story of our country in one
fell swoop.
Is Woody Guthrie an inspiration for writing
songs about characters and history?
PAUL Hes absolutely the best lyricist of this
kind of writing whos ever been born to it.
Hes brilliant with the words, and he doesnt
go out of his way to be complicated or heady.
The wordplay, the internal rhymes . . . the
writing is so beautiful. Even when you just
say the words out loud, its shocking how
great the poetry is. And then he understood
the importance of sensory involvement in the
song. He uses colors a lot. He talks about nature a lothes always pinpointing fields and
orchards and peaches and grain and trees
and forests and mountains. He just had a really great paintbrush, and he knew how to
do it.
He sang like a rusty door hinge, and what
often happens is people who are limited in
their range and their vocal presentation end
ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

Sketching a Character
When teaching workshops on songwriting, Ellis Paul uses an exercise that he
compares to writing a characters back
story for a novel. He asks students to
think of a historical character and
make the following list of attributes
(afterwards without knowing the name,
the other students try to guess the identity based on the list). As an example
here, he uses Charlie Chaplin.
1. List five things youd find in his
bedroom.
A black bowler hat.
A cane with a curled handle.
An open script at his bedside.
An open jar of white clown
makeup.
A red violin on his bed.
2. List five things he sees when
he looks in the mirror.
A headful of black tousled hair.
Just a patch of a mustache
twitching beneath his nose.
A hint of unwashed white makeup
on his cheek.
Hes practicing expressions
and posing with posture like a
dancer.
His pants are too big and baggy
but flow with his movements.

Does the guitar lead you to the characters


or subject to write about?
PAUL Yeah, most often the song will start as
a piece of guitar music that will tell me the
mood before the subject. Ill do free verse
over the guitar until I come up with a catchphrase that I like, and then Ill ask myself
what the catchphrase is about. Ill set the
guitar down and take a piece of paper and
start writing, and Ill go back and forth between guitar and paper at that point.
Sometimes, like the Empire State song, I
know what its going to be about. Sometimes
Im halfway through a song before I know
what its about. Its not a precise science. They
can come on any surfboard they choose. ag

up using the written word to become these


great lyricistslike Dylan, John Prine, Sam
Baker, and Bill Morrissey, some of my favorite
writers.
As youre working on lyrics, what role does
your guitar play?
PAUL The guitar is sort of your dance partner.
Its the color part. I feel like the lyrics are the
black-and-white movie and the guitar throws
color in. Instead of being in that house in that
tornado with Dorothy spinning around, when
the guitar is working at its best, youll open
the door and its the Land of Ozsuddenly its
colors and munchkins and witches and drama
in a different way.

Courtney
Hear

Hartman

and

3. Describe the character as a color.


He lives in a black-and-white world.
4. Describe the character as a
nonhuman or inanimate object.
He walked like a penguin, but held
his space like a bird of paradise
when standing still.
5. Give the character a voicea onesentence quote.
Every movement, every expression
must tell the inner workings of the
characters mind.
This example, says Paul, reveals
that physical dancer side of Chaplins
personality. I would perhaps focus
on that in a songthe awareness of
movement, a dance in a silent picture
. . . interesting opposites there. Black
and white would have a presence in
the songopposites as wellwhen
describing the word on the page of
a script, perhaps a description of his
clothing, or as a metaphor for his life.

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Della Mae
with

dellamae.com
bourgeoisguitars.com

This World Oft Can Be


Produced by Bryan Sutton

AcousticGuitar.com 33

THE BASICS

Seventh Chords
Learn how to build major seventh, minor seventh,
dominant seventh, and other seventh chords.
By Andrew DuBrock

used most often in rock and blues. Dominantseventh chords resolve strongly to a chord
whose root is a fifth lower. That means that
in the key of C, a G7 chordwhich is a fifth
higher than Cresolves back to C. Example
8 shows this in a chord progression similar
to the Beatles song Hey Jude. Notice how
moving from a regular G to the G7 in measure 3 really accentuates the resolution back
to C in measure 4. Also check out how we
take the C chord and turn it into a C7 midway
through the measure to highlight the upcoming F chord (C7 is a fifth above F).
Dominant-seventh chords are so common
in rock and blues that you often hear them
used for every chord in a song, as shown in
Example 9. This progression, similar to the
verse of the Beatles song When I Saw Her
Standing There, could just as easily be an
EAEB progression, but the added flattedseventh gives it a bluesy bite that major
chords alone dont provide.

THE TERM SEVENTH CHORD is one that may come up in your first
Minor-Seventh Chords
week of guitar lessons, but many players arent aware that it enTo build a minor-seventh chord, take any
compasses a wider range of chords beyond dominant-seventh
dominant-seventh chord and lower the third
chords, like D7, G7, and C7. Chords like C major seventh and D
a half step, turning it from a major third into
minor seventh are also types of seventh chords, as are more exotic
a minor third (Example 10). For another apones, like G minor-major seventh.
proach to the same process, you could build
In this lesson, well take a close look at three of the more comthis chord by adding a minor-seventh interval
mon seventh chords: major seventh, minor seventh, and dominant sevon top of a minor triad (this gives
enth. Well also briefly touch on less common seventh chords, like the
you the exact same chord). Like
minor-major seventh, diminished seventh, and half-diminished seventh.
the C7 voicing in Example 6, the
See video of the
To get a handle on what these names mean, lets start by taking a look at
Cm7 in Example 10 would require
music examples at
how chords are built.
a big stretch, so most people reorAcousticGuitar.com
ganize the notes into shapes that
are easier to play (like the barre chord in ExAdd a Major Seventh
ample 11).
Major and minor chords are all built from three notes: the root, third, and fifth
Minor-seventh chords are also common
notes of a scale. A seventh chord adds the seventh note of the scale to those other
in pop and rock, and Example 12 shows this
three notes, creating a four-note chord. Example 1 shows a C-major scale, along
chord in a progression similar to the bridge in
with each scale degree. Example 2 takes the root, third, fifth, and seventh notes
Norwegian Wood, by the Beatles. You can
and pulls them into a chordin this case, a C major-seventh chord (Cmaj7). What
color many minor chords with this sound. In
makes this a major seventh chord? Two things: the third and seventh degrees,
Example 13 an Em7 chord is used to make
which are both major intervals (a major third and a major seventh, in relation to
the transition between Em and the next
the root). A simpler way to look at it is that if you add a major-seventh interval (the
chord (C) more interesting, in a progression
seventh degree of the major scale) to a major chord, you end up with a majorsimilar to the opening of the Beatles song A
seventh chord. Many people play this chord with the high E string, as shown in
Day in the Life.
Example 3; just form a standard C chord and remove your index finger from the
second string. Major seventh chords offer a wistful, dreamy sort of sound that is
different from a regular major chord. Example 4 shows how this chord colors the
Exotic Seventh Chords
sound of a Cmaj7F chord progression similar to what John Lennon played on his
The half-diminished, diminished seventh, and
piano part for Imagine. You can also start with a major chord, then move through
minor-major seventh chords arent used quite
its maj7 chord and onto something else, as Example 5 shows in a passage similar
as often as their other seventh-chord counto the opening of the Eagles song Lyin Eyes.
terparts, but they do come in handy every so
often.
A half-diminished chord lowers the fifth
Dominant-Seventh Chords
of a minor-seventh chord one half step (ExIf you take a major-seventh chord and replace the major-seventh degree with a
ample 14), yielding a chord that also goes by
minor-seventh degree (the seventh note of the minor scale), you get a dominantthe name minor seven, flat five. Reorganize
seventh chord (Example 6). All were doing is lowering the seventh degree by a half
step (one fret). Stacking the notes on top of each other the way theyre shown in
Example 6 requires an uncomfortable stretch on the guitar, but its fine to organize
Take this lesson at
them in a different order. Most guitarists play a root-position C dominant-seventh
AcousticGuitarU.com
chord (C7 for short) as shown in Example 7. This type of seventh chord is the one
34 AcousticGuitar.com

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

See video of the music examples at AcousticGuitar.com

Ex. 1: C-Major Scale with Scale Degrees

root

major2nd

Ex. 2

Ex. 5

perfect4th perfect5th major6th major7th octave(8th)

Ex. 3

C maj7

0
0
2
3

0
0
0
2
3

0
0
2

13 4 21 1

0
0
2

0
0
2

0
0
2

Cx32maj7
00 0

x 32 0 1 0

x 32 00 0

Ex. 4

C maj7
x 32 00 0

C maj7
x 32 00 x

major3rd

1
2
3

1
2
3

1
2
3

1
2
3

13 4 21 1

Tommy
Emmanuel

Xuefei YANG

Sat. 10/5/13, SFJAZZ Center*

Roland DYENS

Sat. Oct. 12, 2013, St. Marks Lutheran Church

KATONA TWINS

Fri. 11/1/13, St. Marks Lutheran Church*

Alvaro PIERRI

Sat. 11/23/13, St. Marks Lutheran Church

Ex. 6

Ex. 7

C maj7

C7

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ)


Sat. 12/7/13, SFJAZZ Center*

Tommy EMMANUEL CGP


Martin TAYLOR Fri. & Sat. 1/17 & 1/18/14
Palace of Fine Arts Theater

those notes into a playable order, and you may


end up with the great movable voicing shown
in Example 15. Half-diminished chords are
rare in rock music but turn up quite a bit in
jazz, where they often serve as the ii chord in
iiVi progressions like Example 16.
The diminished-seventh chord lowers the
flatted seventh of the half-diminished chord
another half step (Example 17). Diminishedseventh chords are built from four equidistant
intervalsfour minor thirdswhich means
that if you move a diminished-seventh chord
shape three frets higher or lower on the neck,
you end up with the exact same notes. This
makes diminished-seventh inversions incredibly easy to play on the guitar. Take any of the
movable diminished-seventh voicings in Example 18 and move them around the neck in
minor-third intervals, as shown in Example
19. It works great resolving to other chords
like the I chord, as shown in Example 20. In
Example 21 (similar to a progression heard
October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

C7
x 3241 0

Chris THILE

Fri. 2/14/14, SFJAZZ Center*

SOLODUO

Sat. 2/22/14, St. Marks Lutheran Church

TOMATITO & his Flamenco Sextet


in the Beatles song Michelle), it resolves to
the V chord. In Example 21, Ive called the
two diminished chords by different names:
Ddim7 and Bdim7, based on their respective
bass notesbut they are both the same chord
since theyre three frets apart and include the
same four notes.
Build a minor-majorseventh chord by
taking a minor chord and stacking a major seventh on top of it (Example 22). This
chord is seldom used on its own since it
sounds so discordant, but it works great as
a passing chord. Example 23 shows how
its used between minor and minor-seventh
chords in a progression similar to a passage
from the Beatles Something.
ag

Wed. 3/12/14, Palace of Fine Arts Theater**

David RUSSELL

Sat. 3/15/14, St. Marks Lutheran Church*

Manuel BARRUECO

Sun. 4/6/14, SFJAZZ Center*

Grigory GORYACHEV & Jerome MOUFFE


Fri. 4/25/14, St. Marks Lutheran Church

*Presented in association with San Francisco Performances.


**Presented with the Flamenco Society of San Jose.

Learn more acoustic rock techniques in


Andrew DuBrocks Acoustic Rock Essentials
downloads available at store.AcousticGuitar.com.
Includes video

AcousticGuitar.com 35

THE BASICS

Ex. 8

See video of the music examples at AcousticGuitar.com

x 32 0 1 0

G7

3 2 0 0 04

E7

Ex. 9

x1 3 1 4 1

A7

1 3 1 24 1

7 fr.

Ex. 11

Ex. 10

E7

x1 3 1 4 1

5 fr.

x 3241 0

13 4 21 1

B7

1 3 1 24 1

7 fr.

Ex. 12

C m7
x1 3 1 2 1

C7

x 32 0 1 0

32 000 1

E m7

Dm

7 fr.

x0 123 0

0 23 0 4 0

xx0 231

C 7 C m7

Ex. 13

Bm

Em

x 1 342 1

3 2 0 0 04

E m7

0 23 000

Ex. 15

Ex. 14

C m7

C m7 C m7

Ex. 16

Cm

x 1 342 1

D m7

x 1324 x

3 fr.

G7

5
5 fr.

1 3 1 24 1

Ex. 17

Cm

x 1 342 1

3 fr.

Ex. 19

C dim7

C dim7

xx 1324

xx 1324

Ex. 21 F

13 4 21 1

Ex. 22

C m(maj7)
x 31 00 x

C dim7
xx 1324

7 fr.

Ex. 20

C dim7
xx 1324

10 fr.

Ex. 23

Am
x0 231 0

x 32 0 1 0

A m(maj7)
x 312
0

5 fr.

A m7

x0 2 0 1 0

Ex. 18

C dim7

xx1 3 2 4

4 fr.

x x0 132

C dim7

x2 3 1 4 x

2 x1 3 1 x

* Also E dim7, G dim7, or Adim7 (A=B )

Dx2314
dim7
x

C dim7*

x 32 0 1 0

3 2 0 0 04

Dm

x 1 342 1

x 1 333 x

3 fr.

C m7 5 C dim7

x 1324 x

x 32 0 1 0

0 23 0 4 0

x 32 0 1 0

13 4 21 1

B dim7

x 2314 x

Bx2314
dim7
x

x 32 0 1 0

x 32 0 1 0

Fm

1 34 111

13 4 21 1

x 32 0 1 0

major 7th

minor chord
36 AcousticGuitar.com

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

21 TIPS
Better Accompaniment
for

Learn to make your solo guitar


parts more distinctive and deepen
the impact of your songs.
BY JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS

Creating Space
1. Strum less. Perhaps the most common mistake in accompaniment is to play too much and
too relentlessly. Good grooves need breathing
room, which means that in most situations you
should not be strumming constantly at full volume. Once youve established the tempo, listeners can still feel the pulses you dont play.
When you leave some open space in the accompaniment, what you do play will have much
more impact.
For comparison, first play Example 1, strumming on the first two beats of each measure
and then doubling up (with down/up pick
strokes) on beats three and four. Every beat
has a strum (or two), and notice the full voicings of all the chordsfive strings in the case
of Am and C and six for G. The guitar rings con38 AcousticGuitar.com

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

2013 JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED BY PERMISSION.

hen you perform solo, your guitar is


the whole band. This simple truth is
too often underappreciated by singersongwriters who work hard at putting their own
stamp on the vocals and lyrics, yet strum the
same basic rhythms on every song. Thats a
missed opportunity, because the guitar is capable of so much more than just supplying the
chords and keeping time. Skillfully played, one
guitar can cover the roles of bass and drums,
and add riffs that hold the songs togethera
true band in a box.
In this lesson well explore ways to get more
out of your accompaniment by paying close attention to rhythmic feel, dynamics, chord voicings, picking-hand technique, and the nuances
of the song itself. The goal is not to play anything tricky or fancy and steal the spotlight from
the vocal, but to make the guitar parts more
distinctiveand ultimately to deepen the impact of the song itself.

See video of the musical examples at AcousticGuitar.com

stantly and mechanically, and the eighth-note


strums are like a drummer adding fills in every
measure. Too much.
Now try Example 2, which thins out quite a
few notes. Hold down the same Am, C, and G
fingerings as in Example 1, but this time strum
only two or three strings at a time. The first two
strums in each measure ring for one and a half
beats (three eighth notes), and on beat four of
measures 1 and 3, substitute a quarter note
for the two eighth-note strums. This pattern is
way less busy than Example 1 and has a touch
of syncopationa real improvement in sound
and feel.
2. Play the bass. Even better than thinning out
the strum pattern is using some bass notes
in place of chords. After all, you are the bass
player in this one-person band, so you should
think about creating movement and interest in
the low end. Check out one idea in Example 3,
which substitutes a moving bass line for most
of the strums in the previous examples. Notice
how the bass reinforces the harmony even
when youre not playing the chords.
You can also try leaving out the chords completely at first and figuring out a bass line with
a nice feel all by itself. Once the bass is solid,
add chords sparingly. You may be surprised at
how few chords you actually need to create a
full sound.
3. Roll it. One effective way for flatpickers to
create lighter, airier accompaniment parts, especially in songs rooted in country and folk, is
to use cross-picking rolls. Essentially this
means picking individual strings, as you would
when playing fingerstyle, while still being able
to switch easily to strumming when you want.
In Example 4, play the same AmCG progression as in the previous examples, but this time
intersperse sequences of cross-picked eighth
notes with just a few strums. Use alternating
down/up picking for the single notes, and keep
your picking hand relaxed and loose. If youre
not accustomed to skipping over strings like
this (for instance, playing a pattern of strings
five, three, four, two in the first measure), slow
the tempo down until you can play it smoothly.
But dont worry too much about playing the exact notes in the tab. As long as youre picking
chord tones and staying in time, you can make
up your own patterns.
4. Work the dynamics. When you do want to
create a big, intense sound, its always tempting to play as hard and loud as you can, using
the fullest chord voicings youve got. The problem with this approach, though, is that once
youve cranked up to 11 you have nowhere to
go but down, dynamically speaking. Its far better to allow yourself some headroom, so you
can either ratchet up the intensity for a climax
October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Ex. 1 A m

& 44

Ex. 2

0
1
2
2
0

Am

& 44 .
.
B

Ex. 3

& 44

0
1
2

2
0

Ex. 4

& 44

Ex. 5

0
1

0
1
0

2
3

. J

0 0
1 1
0

0
2
3

0
1
0

Am

3
0
0
0
2
3



J
3
0
0

3
0

3 3
0 0
0

3
0

3
0
0

0
2
3

3
0
0



... J



. J
# .

0 0
1 1
2

1
2

0
3

1
2

1
1
2 2
3
3

0
0
2 2
3
3

3
0
0

& 44
B

3
0
0
0
2
3


.. J
...

Am

0
1
2

0
1
0
2
3

in the song or bring it down for contrast. The


dynamics are a function of not only your attack
but also what sort of chord voicings you use;
if you start with two- or three-note chords (as
in Example 2), you can either expand to fiveor six-string voicings or cut back to bass notes
only. Like a good band, you can create a dynamic range within the song.

3
0
0

0
0

0
0

0
0
0 0
2
2
3

3
3 3
1
1

2
3

Chord Voicings
5. Reduce the chords. Now, lets look closer at
the chords themselves. Any given chord can be
played in many spots on the neck. Implicit in
the tips above is the idea that it can be more
effective to play reduced chord voicings (with,
say, three notes instead of six), which have the
extra perk of being easier to play.
AcousticGuitar.com 39

21 Tips for Better Accompaniment


Ex. 6

C /G

0
1
0
2

B
Ex. 7

1
0
2
3
0

Ex. 8

1
0
2
3

3
3
0
0
3

1
2
3
3

1
2
3

2
3
2
4

3
2
0
0
2

1
2
3
3

1
2
3

0
1
0
2

0
0
4
2
2
4

0
1
0

0
0
0

0
0
3

0
0
0
5
7
7

1
2
3
3

0
1
0
2

0
1
0
2
3

D5

E5

E5

B5

5
2
2
0

0
10
9
7
0

3
1
0

5
3
2
0

0
0
4
2
2
0

0
0
9
9
7
0

0
4
4
2

C sus4

3
3
2
0

3
1
0
0

0
0
2
2
0

0
3
2
2
0

3
0
2
3

1
0
3
3

A sus4

2
2

3
0

D sus2

D sus4

0
3
2
0

3
3
2
0

D sus4 D

3
2

3
3
0

2
3

0
0

E sus2

E sus4

B sus2

B sus4

4
4
7
0

0
0
2
2
2
0

2
2
4
4
2

5
4
4
2

A sus4

2
2

0
1
0
3

3
4
4

C5

C sus2

40 AcousticGuitar.com

0
0
4
6

A5

A sus4

3
0
0
5
5

3
0
0
2

E /G E m/B F /C B m/F

A5

A sus2

2
2

G /D E /G

G sus4

Ex. 10

1
3
2
3

1
0
2
0

D m/F G /B

3
2
4
0

1
0
2
3

D /A

G sus2

5
5
7
7
0

D /F

C /E

1
0
2
0

A m/E D /F

5
6
7
7
0

G5

A /E

2
2
2
4

C /E

Ex. 9

C /E A /C

2
2

D sus2

3
0

0
2

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

See video of the musical examples at AcousticGuitar.com

Take a look at Example 5, which opens and


closes with every guitarists least favorite chord,
F. Instead of the full-barre version of F, hold
down a friendlier three-string version in measure 1, playing the arpeggio either fingerstyle
or with a pick. In measure 2, play the same pattern on C, shifted over to the fifth, fourth, and
third strings; then do a slightly different pattern
on G, now on the bottom four strings. In the
final measure, play a lower version of F, with
a root on the sixth stringstill with no barre
(youre not playing the top two strings).
By voicing the chords this way, weve created a pattern thats not only easier on the
fingers but has its own descending bass movement. Rather than just a sequence of chords,
this accompaniment is starting to sound more
like a song, which is our ultimate goal.
6. Use alternate bass notes. Another way to
make a chord pattern more distinctive is to put
notes other than the root in the bass on some
of the chords. A basic chord consists of the
root, third, and fifthin a C major chord, for
instance, those notes are C, E, and G. To vary
the sound, you can use inversions of C major
with an E or G in the bass. Example 6 shows a
few such inversions, named with the alternate
bass note after the slash. Note that several of
these fingerings have no open strings, so you
can move them up the neck to get different
chords.
Try substituting a few of these inversions
into an accompaniment pattern. A chord with
the third in the bass (like C/E, A/C, or D/F)
wont sound resolved, and you can use this to
your advantage. Heres an example from my
arrangement of Tom Waitss In the Neighborhood, in which the chorus goes CF twice and
then resolves with CG. In Example 7, play C/E
in measures 1 and 3, and then switch to a regular C in measures 5, 7, and 9. Within this little
section, we move from tension (because of the
C/E) to resolution (C with the root in the bass).
Note also that measure 7 uses an Alices Restaurantstyle walk-up from G to CI play this
pick-and-fingers style (see tip 14).
7. Go modal. A great way to add punch to an accompaniment pattern is to use modal chords
often called 5 chords or power chords. These
chords consist of just roots and fifths; they
have no thirds and so are not explicitly major
or minor. Example 8 shows a few modal chord
fingerings. On the G5 and C5, mute the strings
that youre skipping over by leaning the adjacent fretting finger against them: on the G5,
lean your middle finger against the fifth string,
and on the C5, lean your ring finger against the
fourth string.
Modal chords have an edge that can be especially powerful in hard-driving songshence
their frequent use in rock, bluegrass, old-time,
October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Celtic, and other styles. Try substituting them for


either major or minor chords in a progression.
8. Sus out. Sus (or suspended) chords are another important type of chord to add to your accompaniment toolbox. In a sus chord, the third
is replaced with either the second or the fourth.
A few sus chord fingerings are shown in Example 9. Notice how they sound unresolved; often
they do resolve to the regular major chord, as in
the classic James Tayloresque embellishment
Dsus4DDsus2D.

Accompaniment gets
monotonous if youre
always playing in the same
zone on the guitarusing
open-position chords on
every song, for example.
Shifting to a different
register makes for a
refreshing change.

Sus chord voicings can be great connectors


between chords too. The basic movement of
Example 10 is A to D, played twice. Using the
sus4 and sus2, as shown, makes the pattern
much more graceful and musical than it would
be with blocky chords. Play this one fingerstyle,
letting the notes ring as long as possible.
9. Hold it. With accompaniment, its always a
good idea to look for notes in common between
chords in a progression. If you can hold down
the same note (or let a note ring) between two
chords, that will smooth out the sound and
make the fingering easier. If you carry this
idea further and play the same note(s) below
or above an entire sequence of chords, thats
called a pedal point.
Lets say youve got this typical chord sequence: GDEmCD. In Example 11, start
with a (modal) G5, and then leave your fingers
planted at the third fret on the top two strings
for all the other chords. These pedal points
turn the D into a Dsus4, the Em into an Em7,
and the C into a Csus2the Indigo Girls use a
similar effect in Hammer and a Nail. Youve
now got a continuous ringing sound through the
whole sequence, and cooler chord voicings, too.

Combining strength and


precision in a string that
feels soft and comfortable.

martinguitar.com/strings

AcousticGuitar.com 41

21 Tips for Better Accompaniment


10. Change register. Accompaniment gets monotonous if youre always playing in the same
zone on the guitarusing open-position chords
on every song, for example. Simply shifting to
a different register, higher or lower, makes for a
refreshing change.
For going to a higher register, the capo is
your friend. Familiarize yourself with how to
use a capo to play the same chord using different fingerings up the neck (see Arranging
with a Capo, April 2012). For example, you
can play an E chord using a D fingering capoed
at the second fret, a C fingering capoed at the
fourth fret, and an A fingering capoed at the
seventh fret. You may find fresh sounds for
your accompaniment part in these up-the-neck
capo positions.
To lower the register of the guitar part, you
can explore the world of alternate tunings (a big
topic beyond the scope of this lesson) or, more
simply, try lowering the pitch of all the strings
by a half step or a whole step. In a lowered version of standard tuning, you can still use all the
fingerings you already know. Its amazing how
different chords sound when they are pitched
slightly lower than we normally hear them.

Ex. 11

G5

D sus4

3 3
3 3
0
0
0

12. Mute it. To go even more rock n roll with


your accompaniment, use palm muting. Lay the
side of your picking-hand palm on the strings
just in front of the bridge to deaden the strings,
but not silence them completely. Try it on Examples 12a and 12b. Experiment with where
you place your hand (move it a little toward
the soundhole, or right over the saddle) and
how hard you press down. This kind of thumpy
sound is fundamental to rock and blues or any
42 AcousticGuitar.com

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

D sus4

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

3
0

3 3
3 3
2

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

2
2
0

D sus4

3
0

3
3
2

Em

2
2
0

C sus2

2
2
0

3
0

2
2
0

E m7

3 3
3 3
2

A5

2
2
0

G5

3
3
2

E5

3 3
3 3
0

A5

2
2
0

Ex. 12b

Ex. 14

3 3
3 3
0
2

D sus4

E5

C sus2

Ex. 12a

Ex. 13

3 3
3 3
2

Picking-Hand Technique
11. Use accents. Lets shift our attention to the
picking hand, which gets all these nice chords
moving. One key to strong rhythm is using accents. In a good groove, not all beats are created equalsome should be emphasized and
others not.
Rock accompaniment is often built on
continuous eighth notes, all played with downstrokes of the pick. Try Example 12a, a straightout-of-the-garage pattern with E5 and A5, and
first play every chord with equal volume. Now
notice the accent marks (>), and play the example again, hitting those chords harder with
the pick and laying off the others. With these
accents, instead of straight one-and two-and
three-and four-and, weve got the classic pattern one-and two-and three-and four-and,
which is often counted one two three, one two
three, one two. Example 12b shows another
variation, with the accents as follows: oneand two-and three-and four-and (or one two,
one two three, one two three). Both of these
examples include accents on offbeats, which
really propels the music forward.

E m7

2 0
0

3
2

3
2

3
2

0
0

2
0

2 0
0

0
0
0
2

2
0

0
0
0
2
0

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

style where you want a more percussive feel


particularly in the bass.
13. Explore fingerstyle. Theres a lot you can do
with a pick, but theres a whole bunch of additional possibilities you can only play fingerstyle.
As a one-person band, you will dramatically expand your range if you develop both fingerstyle
and flatpick technique.
The biggest advantage of fingerstyle, of
course, is having three or four points of contact with the strings instead of one. This
means you can develop multiple independent
lines and pick strings simultaneously that are
not adjacent to each other. As a quick illustration, check out Example 13, in which the chord
changes from Example 11 are given a fingerstyle treatment. Play the down-stemmed notes
with your thumb and the up-stemmed notes
with your other fingers. These fingerstyle arpeggios create a very different feel than the ringing
strums of the previous example.

Good accompaniment tells


a story, just as the lyrics
and melody do.
14. Try pick and fingers. If youre hesitant to
lose the power of the pick, consider the hybrid
pick-and-fingers technique, in which you hold
the pick as usual between your thumb and index finger while also plucking upper strings with
your middle and possibly ring fingers. With this
technique, the pick covers the bottom three
strings (as the thumb would in regular fingerpicking) and the fingers grab the top three.
Check it out in Example 14. First get the steady
bass patternthe down-stemmed notesgoing with the pick, and once thats solid, use
your middle finger to add the up-stemmed
notes. Yup, it sounds like fingerpicking, but
then you also have the pick ready for strumming the Em chords in the last measure. Its a
versatile way to play.
15. Add string percussion. The acoustic guitar is
a naturally percussive instrument. The strings
serve quite nicely in the role of snare drum if
theyre muted and given a good thwackeither
with the pick or your fingers. Example 15a is
an Em groove that combines a bass line with
percussion. Play this one with a pick, and on
the backbeats (beats two and four), mute the
strings with your fretting hand and hit them with
the pick hard enough to create a percussive
slap. In measure 4, play the eighth note that
follows the slap with an upstroke of the pick,
October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

AcousticGuitar.com 43

21 Tips for Better Accompaniment


Ex. 15a

#4
& 4

Em


x
x

Ex. 15b

#4G
& 4

Ex. 16

#
& 44

x
x

0
0

0
0



3
0
0

x
0

x
x

x
x

0
0

Serve the Song


16. Create contrast between sections. Beyond
the choices of chord voicings and picking style,
good accompaniment takes into account the
bigger picture of the song. One of your jobs as
the one-person band is to differentiate the sectionsso the chorus doesnt blend too much
into the verse, for example, and the bridge
brings a refreshing change. These kinds of contrasts are built into well-written songs, and the
accompaniment should reinforce them.
You can use many of the tools in these
tips to differentiate sections of songs. Use reduced, muted chords on the verse, then change
to big, open voicings for the chorus, for example. Switch from strumming on the verses to a
bass-driven pattern on the bridge. Add string

2 2

1 2

0
0

3
0

and then use alternating down-up picking for


the rest of the measure.
Example 15b shows a fingerstyle version of
the backbeat slap. This is a pattern I use for
the Grateful Deads Uncle Johns Band. Slap
your thumb against the bass string where you
see an X in the notation, but not too hardit
doesnt take much to make the string strike the
frets for a good percussive sound. This pattern
is much closer to the rhythmic feel of the original band recording than you could get by simply
strumming a G chord.

44 AcousticGuitar.com

0
0

3
0
0

3
0
0

0
3



3
0
0

3
0

percussion for the climactic section. And so


on. One nearly foolproof accompaniment trick,
I find, is to get very quiet for the beginning of
the last verse and then cut loose for the closing chorus.
17. Play the melody. When youre working out
an accompaniment part, look for places where
you can play snippets of the melody on the guitar. This is generally easier to do fingerstyle but
can be done with a pick too. It can be a cool
effect to play the melody on the guitar along
with your voice, or you could play the melody
during the intro or instrumental section. Listen
to Elizabeth Cotten and Mississippi John Hurt
to hear how they constantly doubled or echoed
the melody of their songs with the guitar.
Once youve figured out the chord positions
youre going to use in a song, spend some time
finding the vocal melody notes in the same
zone on the guitar. Play the melody by itself,
as single notes, and then consider if there are
places where you can smoothly integrate bits
of the melody along with the chords. Example
16 comes from my arrangement of the Grateful
Deads Ripple. In measure 2, play a few notes
of the verse melody while you sing the opening
line (If my words did glow . . .). This provides
a nice pause from the strumming to kick off the
verse.

18. Create riffs based on the melody. The songs


melody is also your best place to look for guitar riffs to add to your accompaniment. Good
melodies usually have some kind of figure that
stands outa melodic hook, an interval jump,
or a signature rhythm that recurs throughout the
song. Figure out how to play this melodic hook
on the guitar, and try using some version or part
of it as a riff. Riffs like these can become a highlight of the whole song, helping to connect the
guitar with the vocal in a deeper way.
19. Dont compete with the vocal. Though it
can be great to play or echo the vocal melody
on guitar, be sure that youre always supporting and not overshadowing your singing. Dont
play anything that interferes with the vocal or
makes it hard to understand the words. If you
find cool riffs to add, save them for the spaces
between vocal lines, between verses, or between the chorus and next verse. That way, all
the elements have their own space, and the
audiences attention isnt divided.
20. Let the most important lines shine. If the
song has certain lines that are particularly important to the storyline or meaning, you can
highlight them with your accompaniment. You
might simply drop the guitar out for a few bars,
leaving the vocal by itselfa surefire way to get
the audience to listen closely. Often, getting
quieter is a better way to grab peoples attention than getting louder. Thin your guitar part
down to just a bass line or percussive slap to
highlight a key moment in the song. Contrast
is everything.
21. Reflect the story. Finally, remember that
good accompaniment tells a story, just as the
lyrics and melody do. Think about the mood,
plot, and message of the song and how you
can support and enhance them with the guitar.
If the song begins with an unsettled feeling and
eventually finds a sense of peace by the end,
let your accompaniment reflect that change.
If the song is a carpe diem celebration right
from the top, your guitar work should have that
sense of joy and energy.
In a great band, all the members lock in
together and work toward a common purpose,
which is, ultimately, to serve the song. As an
accompanist, thats what you should do too,
on a smaller scale, making sure that your
chord voicings, picking style, and dynamics all
work together to serve the song. The singer
and the audience will appreciate when you do
it well.
ag

JEFFREY PEPPER RODGERS (jeffreypepperrodgers.com)


is author of the Homespun DVD Learn Seven More
Grateful Dead Classics for Acoustic Guitar and the
Acoustic Guitar Guide Songwriting Basics for Guitarists.
ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

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PATTY
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After digging into gospel and touring with Robert Plant's


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digital archive.

ix years elapsed between the release of Patty


Griffins last album of original songs, Children
Running Through, and the appearance of her
new American Kid, issued in May by New West Records. Its not as if the New Englandbred singersongwriter disappeared in the interim. She did
several Three Girls and Their Buddy tours with
Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, and Buddy Miller,
and in 2010, she released Downtown Church, a
Grammy-winning collection of gospel performances
produced by Miller. Later that same year, Griffin
toured as a member of Robert Plants Band of Joy
and contributed her backing vocals to the recording
of the same name.
But its as a solo artista composer of intimate
TO PLAY
4 SONGS
songs
of love, loneliness, life changes, and occasional social criticismthat Griffin has garnered a
devoted following through such albums as Living
with Ghosts (her 1996 debut), Flaming Red, 1000
LESSONS
Kisses,
and Impossible Dream, as well as her AmeriFolk Song
Accompaniment
cana
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ArtistDemystified
of the Year in 2007. So, the arrival of Ameri-

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ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

F O R E V E R Y P L AY E R I N A N Y S T Y L E

Patty
Griffin
Honors Her Father on American Kid

21 WAYS
October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

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ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

PATTY
GRIFFIN
After digging into gospel and touring with Robert Plant's
Band of Joy, the singer-songwriter honors her
father with American Kid.
By Derk Richardson Photos by Darren Carroll

ix years elapsed between the release of Patty


Griffins last album of original songs, Children
Running Through, and the appearance of her
new American Kid, issued in May by New West Records. Its not as if the New Englandbred singersongwriter disappeared in the interim. She did
several Three Girls and Their Buddy tours with
Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, and Buddy Miller,
and in 2010, she released Downtown Church, a
Grammy-winning collection of gospel performances
produced by Miller. Later that same year, Griffin
toured as a member of Robert Plants Band of Joy
and contributed her backing vocals to the recording
of the same name.
But its as a solo artista composer of intimate
songs of love, loneliness, life changes, and occasional social criticismthat Griffin has garnered a
devoted following through such albums as Living
with Ghosts (her 1996 debut), Flaming Red, 1000
Kisses, and Impossible Dream, as well as her Americana Music Association awards for Best Album and
Artist of the Year in 2007. So, the arrival of Ameri-

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

AcousticGuitar.com 47

PATTY GRIFFIN
can Kid, her seventh studio album, does mark
something of a return.
In terms of sound, American Kid is one
of Griffins most consistent recordings since
Living with Ghosts; its an acoustic folk effort
that depends heavily on the delicate interplay of guitarshers and those of longtime
collaborators Craig Ross (who co-produced
with Griffin and also played bass, organ,
piano, and omnichord) and Doug Lancio
(who doubled on mandolin), plus Luther
Dickinson. Cody Dickinson, Luthers brother
and partner in the North Mississippi Allstars,
played drums, and Robert Plant sang on two
of the 12 tracks. Through it all, Griffins distinctive voicea slightly raspy, bluesy alto
delivers poetic narratives that, in one way or

another, connect to her late father, Lawrence


Joseph Griffin, to whom she dedicated the
record.
The 49-year-old Griffin talked with Acoustic Guitar by phone from the home she shares
with Plant in Austin, Texas, where she has
lived for 15 years (after launching her career
in Boston and doing a short stint in Nashville). In the conversation, punctuated frequently by her uproarious laughter, Griffin
addressed the genesis of American Kid, the
evolution and limits of her guitar playing,
her relatively recent immersion in gospel and
classic country (American Kid includes a cover of Lefty Frizells Mom and Dads Waltz),
and the roots of her songwriting in her love
of singing.

Your father is a central character on


American Kid. When were you struck by
the idea of honoring your father with this
album?
GRIFFIN When I was looking at the whole
pile of songs, it seemed to be a lot about him.
Ive definitely been influenced by my father,
just as a person, in a very big way, and it
seemed like the right thing to do. It was all
pointing towards him. I didnt set out to do
that, but it did turn out to be in large part
about him.
Was the entire album written when this
realization arrived?
GRIFFIN I wasnt really even halfway
through when I realized, this is probably

WHAT SHE PLAYS

GIBSON J-200 JUNIOR

ACOUSTIC GUITARS: Patty Griffins stage


guitars include a 1992 Gibson J-200 Junior,
a 1965 Gibson J-50, and a CFox Frisco model,
all outfitted with Fishman Matrix undersaddle
pickups. She also has a prototype for an
upcoming Patty Griffin Signature Model. She
travels everywhere with a Collings Baby that
she calls my sweetheart. Its beautiful. I
havent put a pickup into it, but it could totally
be a stage guitar.
Griffin also has a little antique Martin
from the 1930s that Buddy Miller made me

48 AcousticGuitar.com

CFOX FRISCO

buy at Matt Umanovs. Dont ask me what it


is. I love Gibsons because I have a decent
right hand, but the Band of Joy time got me a
little better on my left hand, so I felt I could
maybe graduate into a Martin. Its a beautiful
little guitar, and its on some of Downtown
Church.
AMPLIFICATION: According to Roy Taylor,
Griffins stage manager, for solo shows, her
guitars go through Universal Audio Solo/610
tube preamp/DIs. When she plays with the

LG-2 PATTY GRIFFIN SIGNATURE


MODEL PROTOTYPE

band I run each guitar separately with a tuner


on each line and a Countryman DI, he says.
With each [guitar] in a different tuning its
better to have separate channels of EQ at the
desk. I also have a mic, either a Shure Beta
57A when there is a band or a Shure KSM 27
for solo shows, to get some ambience on
some songs (No Bad News in particular).
ACCESSORIES: DAddario medium-gauge
phosphor-bronze strings. Gray Dunlop medium
nylon picks. Kyser capo.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

going to be about my dad. It didnt stop me


from writing other things that had nothing to
do with him. But I do think that even that
song about the soldier [Not a Bad Man], I
could tie it into my dad. This record does connect from top to bottom somehow.
Were you consciously trying to shed light on
certain aspects of your fathers personality
and your relationship with him?
GRIFFIN My dad was a feisty bugger. He
was really cocky and pretty tough. A little
guy, but a tough guy. If you met him, he was
very quiet and sweet and actually pretty shy,
but theres this whole side to him that did not
suffer fools, even for a second. People who
didnt know him very well didnt necessarily
know that about him. Even a lot of people
who knew him probably didnt know that
side of himexcept maybe some of the kids
he taught in school who are now grown up.
Thats what I really like about what came out
about my dad on this record. Certain songs
were inspired by that part of his personality.
Its fun to have those to sing right now.
Was he a New Englander?
GRIFFIN He was Boston Irish. His parents
came from county Kerry in western Ireland,

and he was born there. Its a magical place.


Did the song Not a Bad Man relate to
something in your dads life?
GRIFFIN No, it just came out of me. I was
thinking about something Id heard about a
young man who had come back from Iraq
and was struggling with his mental health,
for lack of a better term, and it just tore me
up. So I just wrote a song about it, and that
was what came out of my mouth firstIm
not a bad man. And I just went with that.
The album title comes from the rest of that
line in the first verse: But Im not a bad
man, Im just an American kid.
GRIFFIN Somebody suggested it to me,
actuallysomebody whod heard all the
songs. The more I thought about it, the more
I thought it would be appropriate for the record. I like anything that is difficult to put a
final definition over. Black is black, white is
white, and red is red, but American Kid is a
million different things to a million different
people.
So if that song does not address your dad
specifically, which songs do?
GRIFFIN Irish Boy is one of his stories that

Im telling in my own way. Its about getting


back from World War IIa little snapshot of
his life that he shared with me. Please Dont
Let Me Die in Florida is verbatim from him.
He buried his brother down there, and it just
freaked him out. I lived in Florida, and I loved
it there, but it is a strange thing to live somewhere thats a little bit of a holding place, to
be so removed from the culture when you go
there for your last days. Who am I to judge? I
dont know. But that was my fathers impressiondont let that happen to me.
Those are the specific stories that have to
do with my dad. In everything else, though, I
think hes threaded in, some way or another.
These songs have some little bursts of light
and levity, as in Get Ready Marie. But
overall, the album has a melancholy tone,
a wistfulness.
GRIFFIN Writing this record was heavier
than writing a lot of things that Ive done in
the last few years. Theres a lot more weight
on it for me. I really wanted to be more up
front in trying to write about the wars that
weve been involved in. I did write about
those on other records, but I think I wrote
about them more as protests. I wanted to
write from a more emotional angle, more

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October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

AcousticGuitar.com 49

PATTY GRIFFIN
Writing songs is always on my mind and in my mind,
thinking about what they can be and how they feel. Its like
a drug.
from a heart place, and so theres a lot of
heavy stuff. Hey, Im getting old, and it gets
heavy as you do.
American Kid is very rich with acoustic guitars. How has your playing changed over
the years?
GRIFFIN Buddy Miller once paid me this
great compliment, although at the time he
confounded me. We did this whole tour together, Three Girls and Their Buddy, and at
one point he said, Patty, Ive really learned so
much about guitar playing from you. I said,
Really? and he said, Yes. I just really didnt
know how playing the guitar so wrong could
be so right [laughs]. I said, What do you
mean? He said, For instance, you play all
six strings all the time. And I said, Youre
not supposed to do that?
He kind of messed me up with that, because now I feel like I have to watch how

many strings I play. But I do sometimes go


straight into bashing it. I like to bash my guitar. I like to beat it upand Gibsons can take
it. Gibsons are meant to really be incredible
rhythm guitars. They have great bass sounds
and rich low voices.
So you dont do very much fingerpicking?
GRIFFIN Ive tried, but Im not going to be
a fingerstylist. It isnt gonna happen. No. But
I think my left hand has improved, so there
is a little more separation. I can play a little
prettier than I used to.
Your last album, Downtown Church, was a
gospel record, with only two of your original songs. What was behind your decision
to make it?
GRIFFIN I was asked to. I was asked to
sing with Mavis Staples on a track for a benefit album [Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music

Celebration]. I almost didnt do it, because,


honestly, I dont feel worthy of singing with a
voice with that much mastery in it. But then
I decided to do it, because I thought, Ill get
to meet Mavis. And if I dont do it, somebody
else will, and Ill be jealous. So I have to do
this. Meeting Mavis and [her sister] Yvonne
was really such a thrill. You know how youre
afraid to meet people you admire like that?
Well, she is above and beyond what you hope
to not hope for so you wont be disappointed.
Do you know what I mean? She is just pure
joy and so full of song, so full of music.
So after I did that, the record company behind that project asked me if Id ever consider
doing a gospel record. At the time, I was really
fighting my inner musical snob, and I thought,
I should do this, because a part of me is really
afraid of this. Im not a Jesus person through
and through. I grew up Catholic, but Im not
anything through and through, and some gospel music has really influenced me. So I felt
like if I want tolerance in the world, I should
become more tolerant. Some people around
me were like, Why are you doing that? because so much of the terminology has almost
been confiscated by the right wing. But gospel
songs are built for your heart to be unleashed.
Thats whats really beautiful about them. So

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if you just let go and start there, then youve


got this amazing pile of stuff to sing and play.
Thats what I did, and Im so happy I did
that project. I really learned a lot. It is a rudimentary study of gospel music. There are
aficionados out there who must roll their eyes
at my selection of songs, but I really enjoyed
singing what I did, and I learned so much
from getting to sing those songs. I had a blast
doing the tour.
When you were growing up, what inspired
you to write your first songs?
GRIFFIN I just really liked singing. I think
that is the first thing that got me. And I still
feel that way when I sit down to write. The
best place to start from is what I feel like singing right now. Thats how I work.
What were you hearing on the radio that
made you want to sing?
GRIFFIN When I was four or five years old,
Motown ruled the airwavesSmokey Robinson and Diana Ross and all that really great
stuff. Those were probably the first singers
that I heard on the radio and made me want
me to sing with them. My mother comes from
singers, people who sang around the house
or sang while they were working on jobs, and
she sang around our houseto the towels
and the sheets that she was washing. She had
a lot of kids and a lot of work to do, so I was
always hearing her sing. She sang to comfort
herself, and honestly, it was one of the more
beautiful voices that Ive ever heard. She really did have an incredible voice. I grew up
believing that everybody grew up that way.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
GRIFFIN The first one I wrote, I think, was
with my mother, and it was called Miss
Brown the Happy Clown. She says we wrote
it together. I dont remember it very well, but
she was impressed.

took jobs and took guitar lessons and tried


to figure out how to do this by myself. So I
did kind of go to school, just not in the way
people were hoping.

At what point did you realize you could


write songs that you could sing to people
other than your mother?
GRIFFIN Early on, I just wanted to be a singer, and it seemed like fun to try. I was learning to play guitar, and at the point where my
fingers were still really hurting, I remember
writing some songs, really silly little songs,
based on hearing a Police song or a Rickie Lee
Jones song, definitely pulling something out
of somebody elses world directly. I just did
that for a long time.

How have the places youve lived influenced


your songwriting?
GRIFFIN I think with this record in particular, the Southern influence is right there and
strong. Ive been around it for so long now.
Its been 16 years since I moved south, and
15 years that Ive lived in Austin, so its finally
crept in. But I will say that the imageswhat I
write aboutseem to come out of where I was
born more than other places. So far. Well see.
A lot of it comes from being from the North,
where its coldespecially on this record,
where my father is featured prominently. I
think the Northeast is in there.

Did it take moving to Boston to turn music


into a career?
GRIFFIN I told everyone I was going to go to
school, so I wouldnt scare the crap out of my
parents, and then I just waited on tables and
October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Maybe those geographic shifts have something to do with your stylistic diversity. The
new album seems to have several songwriting styles.

GRIFFIN And here I really thought Id narrowed it down for this record. Im not kidding.
I thought, this is a folk record. This is through
and through a folk record. Nobody can tell me
now that is this is not one thing. But everybody says that same thingall over the map.

Not necessarily in terms of sound and sensibility. I was thinking more in terms of
song structure. Gonna Miss You When
Youre Gone sounds almost like a ballad
standard that could have been sung by Jim
Reeves or Billie Holidaymore so than
the bouncy Irish dancehall waltz Get Up
Marie. It just seems that youve absorbed
and adapted a tremendous range of music.
GRIFFIN It must be because theres so much
good stuff out there, and Ive been blown
away by so many songs over the years. When
you hear a great song, it just raises the bar
a little higher. I dug into some country music when I was writing this record. Old-time
country musicTom T. Hall, Lefty Frizzell.
I listened to a lot of Kris Kristoffersons stuff
AcousticGuitar.com 51

PATTY GRIFFIN

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because, really, his melodic structure is pretty


unbeatable. He sort of defined an era. Nobody
writes those melodies anymore. Nobody takes
that kind of care and knows how to do that
and comes close. I know a lot of that is just
Kris. But it really is something to strive for and
think abouthow beautiful it is. Its also really
poignant that he didnt have a voice, actually,
that could carry the melodies that he was writing. That is incredible. Thats moving in itself.
You hear his voice singing these melodies that
are out of the heavensthey really are as mysterious as they can get. Who the hell comes up
with ideas for a melody like that?
So I was inspired by those things and kept
plugging away there. And also, some of the
music was written, Im sure, by way of being
around these great musicians in the Band
of JoyRobert [Plant] and Buddy [Miller]
and Byron [House] and Marco [Giovino] and
Darrell [Scott]. I was surrounded by really
high-caliber people for a couple of years, and
Im sure that had an influence on how I played
and felt things.
You sing Ohio with Robert, and theres
something about the shape and texture of
the song that sounds like it could have been
on Roberts duet album with Alison Krauss,
Raising Sand, or Band of Joy, or even Led
Zeppelin III.
GRIFFIN I created the song, and he nailed
down the arrangement, so it definitely has
Robert all over it. He has influenced me, Im
sure. You cant hang out with musicians who
are great and powerful that way without that
happening. Its gonna rub off.

Pictured: Nylon OM-C


C Mo
Model
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del
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As you mentioned, youre dealing with a lot


of heavy content on American Kid. Keeping
that from becoming an emotional spew
requires disciplined sense of craft. How do
you develop that?
GRIFFIN You have to practice, practice,
practice. Songwriting is a moving target.
Sometimes its time to do this, and sometimes its time to do that. You can stagnate
in one place and repeat yourself. So there
is definitely discipline involved. Part of it is
being open to what the next thing is. Writing songs is always on my mind and in my
mind, thinking about what they can be and
how they feel. Its like a drug. I really love doing it. But sometimes youve just got to put it
down, too, put songwriting aside for a while.
Youve got to leave it alone. Thats harder for
me. That makes me nervous, because Im a
hard worker. But I do think youve got to let it
go sometimes and come back fresh.
ag
DERK RICHARDSON, a former managing editor of
Acoustic Guitar, is a senior editor at AFAR magazine
(afar.com).
52 AcousticGuitar.com

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

Go Wherever You Wanna Go


Words and music by Patty Griffin
Patty Griffin leads off her newest release, American Kid, with the beautifully haunting Go Wherever You Wanna Go, a song she wrote for
her father, Lawrence Joseph Griffin, who passed away in 2009. I had a
really good dream about him one night, and I woke up and wrote this
song, she told an audience during a live performance in 2012. He was
nuts, but I loved him. On the album track, a chorus of guitars (played
by co-producer Craig Ross and the North Mississippi Allstars Luther
Dickinson on slide guitar) join Griffins rhythm guitar, along with Doug
Lancios mandolin and light percussion from Cody Dickinson.
Griffin tunes her guitar to open G and plays with a capo on the
first fret. The song is based around three open-position chords in this
tuning: G, Cadd9/G, and D5. Since these three chords are either completely open (G) or fretted with only two fingers (Cadd9/G and D5),
the most complicated part of the song is the intro, which is duplicated
in the instrumental sections. Griffin plays this melodic part with a pick,
starting with a melody that moves up the neck to the high B at the
ninth fret, but quickly moves down to open-position melodies based

around the Cadd9/G and D5 positions at


the nut. Since she fills out the rhythm with
strums, plucking several strings at a time, it
can be hard to see which notes are the melody notes in the transcription. The key is that
her guitar part follows the vocal melody, so
if you have trouble picking out this part, listen to the vocal first. Once you have a better
sense of the melody line, you can focus your
pick on these melody notes, letting it naturally hit other strings in the chord shapes while
filling in the rhythm, just as Griffin does. After
you play the fourth verse, follow the D.S. sign
to play the intro and head back to the D.S.S. to
play it again (the final instrumental is twice
as long as the others) before heading to the
final verse.
ANDREW DuBROCK

Open-G Tuning: D G D G B D, Capo I

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2013 ALMO MUSIC CORP. AND ONE BIG LOVE MUSIC. ALL RIGHTS CONTROLLED AND ADMINISTERED BY ALMO MUSIC CORP.
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AcousticGuitar.com 53

PATTY GRIFFIN
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and wait

sounds

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the

suns

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down

You can go wherever you wanna go


Cadd9/G

Go wherever you wanna go

54 AcousticGuitar.com

your ma -

xx0 13 0

x0 0 0 00

02010

Tell

D5

x0 0 0 00

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for train

x0 2 0 1 0

x0 2 0 1 0

ma youre com - in back

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wan - na go

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Fly up to the moon and say hello, now


D5

You can go wherever you wanna go

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

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Cadd9/G

You dont ever have to go to war no more


Cadd9/G

D5

You never have to go to war no more


Cadd9/G

G
D5

Instrumental

You dont ever have to go to war no more


5.

You can go wherever you wanna go

You can get up on some sunny day and run


Cadd9/G

You can go wherever you wanna go


Cadd9/G

Instrumental

Cadd9/G

Cadd9/G

Cadd9/G

Put a penny on the track and wait for train sounds


G

Heartaches and yesterdays dont weigh a ton now


D5

Go to where the times wound all the way down

Run a hundred miles just for fun, now

Cadd9/G

Tell your mama youre comin back before the suns down

You can get up on some sunny day and run

D5

Cadd9/G

You can go wherever you wanna go


G

4.

You dont ever have to pay the bills no more

Wear them boots or swim that icy shore, now

3.

Working like a dog aint what youre for, now

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AcousticGuitar.com 55

CHONA KASINGER

Michael Gurian
56 AcousticGuitar.com

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

From his days as a luthier in the 1960s


and 70s to running a successful parts
factory, Michael Gurian has had a long
and influential life in the guitar trade.
BY ORVILLE JOHNSON

believe in sharing, says Michael Gurian,


summarizing his lengthy career in the guitar business. As a guitar maker, factory
owner, wood supplier, parts maker, and mentor
to an extensive list of todays finest luthiers,
hes spent a lifetime sharing his knowledge and
building a community. Although he was an influential luthier in the 1960s and 70s, with a
client list that included Paul Simon, Bob Dylan,
and John Sebastian, these days he spends
his time in Seattle, Washington, supervising
a small factory that combines old-world handicraft with new-world laser and CNC machinery to produce beautiful shell work, binding,
purfling, decorative strips, bridge pins (over a
million and a half per year), fret files, and many
other guitar parts and tools, servicing all the
major manufacturers.
Gurian Instruments is located on a barge
tethered in a marina at the end of a working
marine dock in Seattles Ballard neighborhood.
The 115-foot-long, 40-foot-wide barge supports
a three-story building that houses the factory
and workplace for ten employees. The third
floor holds a sunny atrium and a small apartment where Gurian lives during his workweek
and occasionally hosts a house concert or
meeting of a local lutherie guild. His bright blue
macaw, Duke, comments loudly on any activity.
As a child, Gurian spent summers on his
familys boat and developed a love for the water. After more than 50 years in the guitar business, with shops and factories in New York City,
New Hampshire, and downtown Seattle, hes
created a facility that combines his love for the

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

AcousticGuitar.com 57

Michael Gurian

water with his prodigious skills and a familial


atmosphere among his employees, making the
USS Gurian an awfully nice place to spend his
days.

Building Classicals
Gurian was born in 1943 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He had a fondness for art and
sculpture and attended Long Island University
as an art major. His interest in guitar building
surfaced during his high-school years. My interest started with an old junker guitar I found
in the garbage, he says. I fooled around with
it and put it back together. I didnt even play
then. I gave it to a friend who said it sounded
pretty good. About the end of high school, I
started playing guitar. I had a Goya classical
and was playing folk music.
There were few books or publications on
guitar building available in the late 1950s, so
Gurian had to do his own research and rely on
trial and error to begin learning the trade.
While attending university, Gurian began
playing classical guitar and teaching at the Guitar Workshop in Roslyn, New York. Run by Kent
Sidon, the Guitar Workshop was one of the first
accredited guitar schools in the States. Gurians fondness for woodworking, sculpture, de58 AcousticGuitar.com

sign, music, teaching, and the guitar led him to


lutherie. I had to decide, should I get involved
in music only, art only, or music and art? he
says. The perfect transition was guitar making. I love working with my hands and doing creative work, so that was a great means for me to
go forward. I wound up taking over a shop from
Lucien Barnes, who had apprenticed with Jose
Rubio. I was building guitars and doing some
repair work. I needed to develop a clientele, so

The atmosphere at the


Gurian shop is laid-back and
friendly. Plenty of work takes
place . . . but no one seems
rushed or stressed.
I got involved with the Classical Guitar Society
of New York. I started building for all the students at Juilliard, etc. At the beginning of my
career, I was building all classical guitars and
lutes.

In New York City, Gurian met such talented


luthiers as Manuel Velazquez, David Rubio, and
Gene Clark and exchanged ideas with them.
The oud player Chick Ganimian became a friend
and introduced Gurian to the world of MiddleEastern music. Suddenly, Gurian became the
go-to guy for bouzouki, oud, and dumbek repair.
At his shop on 66 Carmine St., Gurian sharpened his skills, building 175 classical guitars,
75 lutes, and several ouds over the course of
about four years. He also got involved in the art
community, doing projects at the 10 Downtown
gallery in SoHo with Robert Rauschenberg and
other top artists and photographers. The creative energy swirling through Greenwich Village
inspired him. The group in the West Village
was amazing, he says. The 60s was an age
of discovery and positive thinking to the future.
Im thankful to have been a small part of that.
The label inside Gurians guitars reflected
his creativity and sense of humor: Gurian
Guitars, Earth, Third Planet from the Sun. The
musicians in the burgeoning folk and folk-rock
scenes took notice of Gurians talents and convinced him to begin making steel-string guitars.
Musicians like Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and
Richie Havens were interested in Gurians work,
but it was John Sebastian of the Lovin SpoonACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

ORVILLE JOHNSON; CHONA KASINGERBOTTOM RIGHT

ful who pushed Gurian the hardest in that direction, inspiring the creation of Gurians Size 1, a
small parlor-size guitar.

Growing a Factory
As the demand for his guitars grew, Gurian
moved his shop to a 3,500-square-foot space
at 100 Grand Street in the SoHo neighborhood.
He began mentoring apprentices and taking on
employees, creating the first community of artisans that would set the pattern for the rest of
his career. After a few years on Grand Street,
Gurians business grew so fast that more space
was needed, and he decided that New York City
was no longer the best place for him. In 1971,
Gurian bought the Garden State Mowing Co. in
Hinsdale, New Hampshire, a 35,000-squarefoot facility, and set it up to build guitars with
a group of about 75 employees. During this
period, he also started a mail-order company
to supply guitar companies and makers with
parts, fret files, and other specialized tools. He
also purchased acreage in West Swanzey, New
Hampshire, to build a sawmill and start an instrument tonewood business. Gurian was creating the template that would be used by future
guitar makers like Bob Taylor and Bill Collings,
building high-quality production guitars and
October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

integrating new technologies with traditional


handcrafting and old-world skills.
All of Gurians businesses were humming
along when tragedy struck in 1979. The Hinsdale factory burned to the ground after a boiler
explosion, destroying not only the building but
all the guitars, tools, and machinery; years of
memorabilia; and thousands of photographs.
Gurian was reluctant at first to rebuild. What
moved me to rebuild the company was seeing
my employees rummaging through the ashes,
trying to salvage whatever they could, he says.
I saw the recession coming, but my wife said,
Weve got to help these people. Gurian rebuilt the factory on land near the sawmill, in
West Swanzey, and was up and running in six
months.

Gurians Guitars: 4 Principles


Gurians guitar designs were based on four principles: sound, ease of playing, comfort, and repairability. He insists that his guitars were built
around musicians needs. We never did a lot
of shell work on fingerboards, he says. If you
use a guitar a lot, someday youll need the fretboard to be planed or a neck reset. Too much
ornamentation gets in the way of that. A guitar
needs to be easily repairable.

Gurian developed a glueless neck joint that


was held together by tapered ebony pins that
could easily be pulled to release the neck. I
did the mortise-and-tenon joint so you could
remove a neck with very little effort, he says.
With a simple tool you could pop a neck. Nowadays they use the bolt-on method. I developed
the double truss rod, using opposing tensions
to adjust the neck relief. Its become more sophisticated as the years have gone by.
His knowledge and love for classical guitar
design carried over into his steel-strings. Gurian
reflected tradition with his wood edge bindings, ebony fingerboards, and ivory saddles,
but instead of the squared-off look of a Martin
or a Guild, he went for curves and roundness.
Though his body sizes corresponded roughly to
the prevailing styles, Gurian made some adjustments to suit his ideas about sound. I developed the Size 3 guitar. It was mid-size, like a
000, a very responsive guitar with an unusual
shape, he says. People were at odds with it at
the time because, mostly, music people are traditionalists. I changed the body shapes to play
around with air volume. I modified the bracing
to use some elements of the X-brace together
with classical-style fan bracing and used a rosewood plate under the bridge to add strength.
AcousticGuitar.com 59

Mentoring and
Community Building

loft, but he required more space to add additional machinery. However, the late-90s dotcom boom in Seattle drove commercial rents
sky high and Gurian had a hard time finding an
affordable space. After what he thought were
amicable negotiations with his landlord to take
over another floor in the building he was in, he
was handed an eviction notice. Id gone though
two earthquakes in the time Id been here,
watching the machines dancing across the
floor, he says. After that, with the crazy rents
going up and the eviction notice, I thought, Ill
buy a barge!

Michael Gurian is a key figure


in the development of the
modern acoustic guitar, not only
for the design and creation of
his own legendary guitars, but
in his core beliefs of sharing
knowledge, passing it on through
mentorship, and building a
community of dedicated artisans
committed to the music and
the tools musicians need to
make it. Several of his former
employees have gone on to
become respected guitar makers
and designers themselves. Some
have contributed books and
teaching materials that continue
making lutherie skills more
accessible, and many are working
at the guitar companies for which
Gurian supplies parts and tools.
In this trade, Im friends
with people Ive known for 50
years, Gurian says. I still work
with every major company and
I have friends at every one of
them. The people whove stuck
with it are solid with each other.
We do everything without written
contracts and legal jargon. With
us, its just a handshake.

The rounded shapes made for a little more comfort. The Size 3 was the instrument of favor in
many recording studios around the world. We
sold hundreds of them to studios.
In addition to the Size 3, known for its sparkling brilliance and clarity, Gurians line of guitars included the Size 2, the smallest and least
expensive of the group; the Jumbo, the largest
body with bass response more akin to a dreadnought; three classical models; a flamenco guitar; and the Cutaway, an early acoustic-electric
fitted with FRAP electronics, an FET preamp,
and a bridge-mounted volume control. Toward
the end of his time in New Hampshire, Gurian
designed a 12-string prototype that never went
into production. All models were offered with
choices of mahogany or East Indian rosewood
and two- or three-piece backs. He made some
Brazilian rosewood guitars, but it wasnt a standard choice.

A Change of Coasts
Gurian kept the West Swanzey factory open for
a few years, but he had to shutter it due to the
60 AcousticGuitar.com

early-1980s economic recession and personal


health problems resulting from an injury at a
company softball game. He kept the tonewood
and mail-order businesses going, consolidating
under the name Gurian Instruments in 1982.
With the factory closed, he did some architectural and film work for the next few years, but
eventually realized that he needed to get back
to his true callingguitars.
Gurian had made many trips to Seattle and
the Pacific Northwest on wood-buying expeditions, and in 1992 he moved to Seattle and
set up shop in Pioneer Square, a historic neighborhood located in the heart of downtown next
to the waterfront. One thing I liked about Pioneer Square was to be able to walk over to the
pier, have lunch down by the water, and go to
the aquarium, he says. It was here that Gurian
acquired his first laser, added CNC machines,
and began doing custom design work for his
customers, who include most major guitar
manufacturers.
Business was good, and he considered expanding his shop from the 3,500-square-foot

Gurian acquired a World War IIera barge, designed a building to sit on it, and had his shop
up and running in four months. Even before the
windows were installed and the power hooked
up, with the use of long extension cords from
the marina, he and his employees were hard at
work making products for the business. Gurian
estimates that they lost only four days of production in the move from Pioneer Square. With
his shop address now a marina slip, moving,
which the company has done a couple of times
since the initial construction, has become a lot
less stressful. The tools stay bolted down, he
says. We dont even have to take things off the
shelves. You disconnect the water and power,
get towed to the new slip, hook up, and youre
good to go. The last time we moved we were
down for only one day.
The atmosphere at the Gurian shop is laidback and friendly. Plenty of work takes place,
from the spinning of the bridge-pin fabricator to
the laser cutting of pearl logos and inlays, the
saws slicing decorative strips, and machines
popping out autoharp chord buttons, but no
one seems rushed or stressed. Gurian walks
around, giving advice, chatting with employees
about their family vacations, and joking in his
soft-edged New York accent. Hes proud of his
workers and their diverse skills. This is the
only business in the whole world that does all
the things we do, he says. There are places
that do the separate things, but no one does
it all. We do. We have the capabilities of the
shell work, some of the best youll ever see,
the bindings, purflings, wooden strips. We can
make carbon-fiber guitar necks, you name it.
We supply all the factories with these items.
Im pretty happy with what we do. The people
in the shop are great people. Theyve been
with me for years. Theyre wonderful and I care
about them.
ag

Contributing editor ORVILLE JOHNSON is a Seattlebased singer, guitarist, arranger, teacher, writer, and
author of the Acoustic Guitar Guide: Acoustic Blues
Basics. He has recorded several albums and instructional DVDs (orvillejohnson.com).
ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

ORVILLE JOHNSON

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SHOPTALK

Traugott Guitars
California guitar maker offers ultra high-end steel-strings.
By Teja Gerken

Below: Jeff
Traugott in his
shop. Right: a
Model R with
a long, 27-inch
scale.

Can you describe the sound youre aiming for in your instruments?
TRAUGOTT Im aiming for a loud, open, full, well-balanced sound with
strong bass, midrange, and high end. What I really like is when I get the
fat open bass with the bright crystalline highs and a cutting midrange. I
feel that this allows the musician to play in a variety of styles with one
instrument. Im a huge fan of midrange, and I confess to loving it more
than other guitar makers. There is a fatness to a great midrange that is
very satisfying in every position on the fingerboard. I dont want to sacrifice bass or high end for midrange but I do not make guitars that leave
the midrange wanting.
Is there any particular instrument (vintage or contemporary) youve modeled
your sound on?
TRAUGOTT Ive always loved prewar Martin
OMs as well as old Gibson L-00s, but I
didnt really pattern my guitars on any one
guitar or brand in particular.The narrowwaisted guitar came to me in an organic
way. The design spoke to me and after
many years Im learning how to coax the
best sound from my design.

How much does your tonal goal change


according to what your customer is looking for?
TRAUGOTT Not too much really, as the customers come to me to get my sound so
its more about helping them choose the
correct model for the kind of music they
play. I make a number of different sizes
and within that range there is usually a

62 AcousticGuitar.com

sound to satisfy their needs. Its taken me


a long time to get my sound and Im thankful musicians find it compelling.

What part of your design contributes most


to your tonal ideal?
TRAUGOTT The narrow-waisted shapes of
my guitars and the materials are important but the combination of design and
construction is how I achieve my tone. The
kinds of wood I use and the thicknesses
are critical, also the placement and voic-

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

SHOP PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF TRAUGOTT

See video at
AcousticGuitar.com

CALIFORNIAS JEFF TRAUGOTT is one of the superstars of the contemporary luthier world. After getting his start working for the Santa Cruz
Guitar Co. for five years, Traugott has been active as a solo builder
since 1991. And solo builder is a fitting description, as Traugott has
resisted the call to increase the size of his production by adding employees, even though his log of back-orders has been several years long
for over a decade, a fact that is even more impressive once you learn
that his starting price is $26,500. Although Traugott has created some
stunningly fancy instruments, his trademark tends to be a clean, almost
austere, design that uses very simple appointments and no fingerboard
inlays or name on the headstock, while putting the emphasis on topshelf materials and his craftsmanship, for which perfect is the only fitting description. Traugott offers four body sizes that range from a 00 to
a jumbo, and he varies most other details and dimension according to
customer request. His clients include Alex de Grassi, John Mayer, Adam
Miller, Raul Midn, and Charlie Hunter, for whom Traugott has even built
an electric seven-string adaptation of his design.

A Model 00 built for John Mayer.

getting to hear my guitars come alive under


the inspiration of the player. Sometimes Ill
just sit in the shop playing my favorite chord
and get lost in the experience. Im easily
entertained!

getting the chance to make another guitar


for Marks daughter before she could even
hold it. Ive loved it when some great players forgot to say no and let me play some
tunes with them. One great experience was
playing All of Me in George Gruhns music
store showroom with a great guitarist who

Whats your favorite combination of tonewoods?


TRAUGOTT Most guitars I make are constructed of German spruce tops, Brazilian
rosewood back and sides, mahogany necks,
and ebony fingerboard, bridge, and bindings.

ing of the bracing dictate the kind of sound


Im looking for. I also feel that the neck,
fingerboard, and bridge materials contribute
greatly to the sound.For example, changing
the fingerboard and bridge from ebony to
Brazilian rosewood adds a slight warmth to
the sound that can be just what a customer
is seeking.
Do you think your instruments are best suited for a particular kind of player or style?
TRAUGOTT No, I feel my guitars are very
versatile. I have jazz players, classical musicians, as well as fingerstylists and singersongwriters. My goal is to get musicians to
try my guitars and find their music through
my instruments. Im not sure its necessary
to label the instrument or the musical style.
The reason guitar players have so many different guitars is so they can find the correct
tool to express themselves in any given situation. A great musical instrument will inspire
the musician to explore new directions and
find their voice.
Is there a particular instrument style you
consider to be your specialty?
TRAUGOTT All my guitars are narrowwaisted, and most are made with German
spruce tops and Brazilian rosewood back
and sides.I love the culture of simplicity,
letting the woods speak for themselves and
making sure my designs are current yet
timeless. Im hoping my customers will be
as excited about one of my guitars in 25
years as they are today.
What do you like most about that kind of
instrument?
TRAUGOTT I like that Im not distracted by
the guitar but rather drawn to the pursuit
of music, which is my ultimate goal.I love

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Are there any unique design or structural


elements youve developed?
TRAUGOTT Not knowing everything thats
come before or is current, Im not sure I
can answer this question accurately. That
being said, Ive added a back brace that I
have never seen before and my bridge-plate
design is different from the norm. I use
the traditional transverse bracing on the
back but Ive let in a longitudinal brace that
has added front-to-back rigidity as well as
contributing positively to my low-end voice.
My bridge-plate design combines maple and
Brazilian rosewood with nontraditional grain
orientation.The maple is about 1.8-mm.
thick and is glued to the top with grain running parallel to the top, while the Brazilian
rosewood is .5-mm thick and the grain runs
perpendicular to the top grain orientation.
Is there a favorite interaction youve had
with someone playing one of your instruments?
TRAUGOTT One of the most rewarding experiences Ive had was delivering guitars to
two best friends, Eric and Mark, and then

Traugotts distinctively
long headstock.

A custom acoustic-electric seven-string built for


Charlie Hunter.

was kind enough to overlook my failings as


a player.We gathered a crowd and it was a
blast. I got out of there before anyone found
out I hadnt memorized any other songs!I
must say, the fact that my nephew Brady
Cohan has become a professional guitar
player brings me so much pride and joy. He
is currently in the house band of American
Idol, and watching him play my guitars on live
television is really incredible.
Describe the guitar you provided for our
video.
TRAUGOTT It is a Model R noncutaway, made
of Brazilian rosewood and German spruce.
What is different about this guitar is that it
has a longer scale neckinstead of my standard 25.375 inches it is 27 inches.I made
it to play in standard tuning and it joins the
body at the 15th instead of the 14th fret. It
has a rich, warm, powerful sound and has my
standard Traugott design.
ag

TRAUGOTT GUITARS
2553 B Mission St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 426-2313
traugottguitars.com

AcousticGuitar.com 63

PLAYLIST

The Civil Wars


The Civil Wars

Excellence
Since 1970.

(612)338-1079
www.hoffmanguitars.com

After the November 2012


breakup of their relationship due to irreconcilable differences, Joy
Williams and John Paul White saved plenty
of drama for their return to the studio two
months later. Even more than Barton Hollow
(2011), which won a Grammy for best folk
album, The Civil Wars is powered by torment
and driven by despair, wringing suffering out
of every note and every bar of silence. That
the album works so well is a small miracle,
whether White and Williams are turning Etta
Jamess Tell Mama into a dirge or singing
songs of their own. The key is the interplay
of cracking voices, the painful beauty of the
melodies, and the quiet, echoing loneliness
of Charlie Peacocks production, isolating
the tiniest gestures to create a world of hurt.
White and Williams cling tightly to this wire,
harmonizing on lines like I never meant
to get us in this deep or Dont say that its
over or I want to leave you / I want to lose
us, and though its hard to imagine that
they can keep going, they do, aching in all
the right places. (Columbia)
KENNY BERKOWITZ

Tommy Emmanuel
and Martin Taylor
The Colonel
and the Governor
Acoustic guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, known
for his eclectic fingerstyle prowess, and jazz
guitar icon Martin Taylor might seem to
have little in common stylistically, but dont
let that fool you. With The Colonel and the
Governor, they astonish on 14 outstanding
guitar duets of jazz classics and original
compositions. The virtuosity level is off the
chartsfrom rumbling arpeggios to showers of harmonics to dazzling fretworkbut
the technical feats are tossed off without
fanfare. What comes across most strongly is
the intensity of the musical connection, the
fun these two are having, and a spirit that
remains carefree. And whatever the style
from the calypso-sounding Down at Cocomos to the Django Reinhardtinfluenced
Bernies Tune to the intricate contrasting
lines of Lullaby of Birdland to the gorgeous, soulful Secret Lovethe guitarists
64 AcousticGuitar.com

achieve an integrated vision for each piece


while retaining two distinct voices. They
switch off between rhythm and melody, glide
effortlessly between structured and free jazz,
and toss in imaginative improvising, often
within the same piece (I Wont Last a Day
Without You). The album lands on the side
of swing more than bluesy jazz, and of slow
and smooth rather than angular and offbeat,
but no matter your preferences, this album
cannot fail to thrill and inspire. (Mesa/
Bluemoon)
CELINE KEATING

Treetop Flyers
The Mountain Moves
Meeting four years ago on
the periphery of the London
folk scene, Treetop Flyers beautifully capture
the sound of Southern California country rock, showing a clear debt to Buffalo
Springfield; Crosby, Stills, and Nash; and
all the acts that followed. Theyve got a
knack for writing pop hooks with a country
feel, which makes songs like Things Will
Change and Houses Are Burning instantly
unforgettable. Mountain Moves plays perfectly to the quintets strengths: the emotional intensity of Reid Morrisons tenor, the
sunny smoothness of the high harmonies,
the tightness of the rhythm section, and the
punch of three guitars playing at once, driving the songs forward with an unstoppable
momentum. At times, Morrison (vocals/guitar), Sam Beer (guitar/vocals), and Laurie
Sherman (guitar) round out their countryrock with echoes of doo-wop (Postcards),
Memphis soul (Making Time), folk
fingerpicking (Haunted House), classic
rock (Storm Will Pass), and 70s pop-rock
(Picture Show), widening their palette
without breaking the mood, and even reminding us of their love for British folk (Is
It Worth It). Put them all together, and the
results are dynamic, full of style and spirit,
and impossible to resist. (Partisan)
K.B.

The New Kentucky


Colonels
Live in Holland 1973
Forty years after his tragic
death at the hands of a drunk driver,
Clarence White still influences flatpickers
with his amazing sense of timing, phrasing, and breathtaking fluidity. Given the
limited amount of official recording he did
with his bluegrass band, the Kentucky Colonels, any newfound recording of his playing
is cause for celebration. On that basis alone,
Live in Holland 1973 would be a treasure
worth intense study. This recently discovered
ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

tape, however, rises far above its historic


importance to make a brilliant musical statement. Beautifully recorded, the album showcases White, his brothers Eric on bass and
Roland on mandolin, and banjoist/vocalist
Herb Pedersen at the very height of their
powers on a live set of 16 bluegrass classics. Recorded just months before his death,
Clarences playing here is the best its ever
been. Mature and confident, he shows the
direction his lead and rhythm playing might
have taken had he survived. Pedersens great
harmony and lead vocals lend a special element to the band that other New Kentucky
Colonels recordings with banjoist Alan
Munde lack. And Rolands mandolin playing
here places him among the most underrated
players ever on that instrument. Packed with
brilliant playing, such as Clarences stunning
solo on Mocking Banjo; poignant vocals;
and an elegant, sophisticated ensemble
sound, Live in Holland 1973 isnt just for
Clarence White fans, its a must-have for any
bluegrass and acoustic-guitar fan. (Roland
White Music)
DAVID MCCARTY

KT Tunstall
Invisible Empire //
Crescent Moon
KT Tunstalls fourth studio
release finds the Scottish singer-songwriter
in a decidedly mellow mooda long way
from the rock swagger of her hits Black
Horse and the Cherry Tree and Hold On
or the electro beats of Tiger Suit from 2010.
By contrast, this album opens on Invisible
Empire with a lilting melody over soft fingerstyle guitar, and Tunstall barely raises the
volume or tempo on the remaining tracks.
Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon (the dual
title reflects an LP-style organization of A
and B sides) integrates atmospheric sounds
like Mellotron, pedal steel, strings, euphonium, and reverb-heavy electric guitar to
support Tunstalls guitar and voice. Standout
songs like the waltz Made of Glass and
the twangy Feel It All are reminders of
Tunstalls gift for writing fresh-yet-familiar
chord progressions and melodies, while a
few tracks, such as the orchestral piano ballad Crescent Moon, sound pleasant but
fail to make much of an impression. The
wildcard here is No Better Shoulder, which
repeats the lines Theres no better shoulder
/ Theres no finer place / One word of warning / Youll never be replaced as the band
builds into a Wilco-esque climax with squalling feedback. This is an album made more
for headphone listening than for pop radio,
with shades of emotion and sound that
deepen with each spin. (Blue Note)

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October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

AcousticGuitar.com 65

WEEKLY WORKOUT

Ascending and
Descending Slurs
These hammer-on and pull-off exercises will strengthen your
hand and increase your finger independence.
By Scott Nygaard

WHEN I WAS FIRST GETTING SERIOUS about playing the


guitar, I occasionally found that there were days when
my left hand would start hurting an hour or so into a
gig. As a young self-taught guitarist, I hadnt give much
thought to the concept of warming up my hands before
playing or even developing technique separate from
the music I was learning. At a guitar camp where I was
teaching, I asked the resident classical guitar expert,
Thomas Patterson, currently head of the classical guitar
program at the University of Arizona, about this, and he
suggested some slur exercises that would warm up each
finger equally (and also improve my hammer-on and
pull-off technique in the process). These exercises not only proved to be just what
my left hand needed as a 20-minute (or so) warm-up before a gig, they pointed out
weaknesses in my fretting-hand technique and gave me ways to strengthen my hand.
The slur workouts well look out in this lesson are derived from the exercises
Patterson gave me, some of which appear in similar form in Scott Tennants Pumping
Nylon and Isaias Savios Guitar Technique and Velocity Exercises. So, if youve been
wanting to work on your hammer-ons and pull-offs, or strengthen your fretting hand
in general, or if you are looking for a good warm-up, read on.

This weeks workout is the core of the slur exercise. In these first examples well play
slurs with each combination of fretting-hand fingers, starting in Example 1 with ascending slurs (hammer-ons) played with the index and middle fingers at the first fret
and working our way from the bottom string to the top string and back down. The
next exercises use indexring (Example 2), indexlittle (Example 3), middlering
(Example 4), middlelittle (Example 5), and ringlittle (Example 6). Youll notice
that in Examples 26, to save space, Ive only written out the first half of each exercise, but you should complete the exercise by moving from the top string back to the
bottom for each combination of fingers.
As you might imagine, you can do these exercises for descending slurs (pull-offs)
as well. Example 7 is the pull-off version of Example 1, and you could also play
pull-off versions of Examples 26. As written (and/or with the additional pull-off
exercises), this is a great slur workout, but if you want to turn it into a full-fledged
2030-minute warm-up routine, then play each exercise starting not only in first position, but with your index finger stationed at the second, third, fourth, and fifth frets.
If these exercises are new to you, dont overdo itits important to make sure
you dont hurt your hand. Take each example slowly (these could just as easily have
been written with quarter or half notes instead of eighth notes) and concentrate on
producing clear tones. Work on speed only when you can produce clear notes with
each finger. If the exercises initially feel too difficult at the first fret, you can also try
playing them just at the fifth or third frets, where the string tension will be lower.
Remember to pick only the first of each pair of notes, and hammer (or pull-off)
forcefully to produce the second of each pair. As you pick the first note of each ham66 AcousticGuitar.com

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

EMILY FISHER

Week One

See video of the musical examples at AcousticGuitar.com

Week One
Ascending Slurs
Ex. 1

& 44
B

#
1

# # n # b n
b

b n b n
b n b n
1

1 2

# *

43

Ex. 2

1 3

1 3

1 3

1 3

1 3

2
1 3
* Continue, starting exercise on frets 2, 3, 4, and 5

Ex. 5
b Ex. 4

#
# # # #

&
b

b b

# #
b b
#
# #

Ex. 3

1 4

1 4

1 4

2 3

2 3

2 3

2 3

2 3

2 3

Descending Slurs
Ex. 7

#
b b

b b
&
#
b

#
b
b

Ex. 6

2 1

2 1

2 1

2 1

Week Two
Ex. 8

& 43
B
&

b n b b n # n #
b

# n # b n b

# n #

44

b b
# n #
2

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

# # # #
b

b n #
# # b n #

Ex. 10

Ex. 9

B
4
& 4

b b b b n
2

# n # # n #
2

AcousticGuitar.com 67

WEEKLY WORKOUT

mer-on, try to keep the finger that is getting


ready to play the subsequent slur just above
the string, and then quickly hammer down
onto the string. Dont rear back and throw
your finger at the string. This is a waste of
motion and will quickly tire your hand. For
the pull-offs, remember to pull, or snap, your
finger down across the string to produce the
slurdont just lift your finger off the string.

Week Two
Week Ones workout is enough of a slur regimen to keep many guitarists busy for the rest
of their lives, but once youre comfortable
with the basic exercises, you can start mixing
up the slurs a bit to add some variety to these
drills. In this weeks workout, well combine a
few slurs on each string before moving to the
next string. We start with a comprehensive
index-finger ascending slur workout: index
middle, indexring, and indexlittle on each
string (Example 8). Then in Example 9 we
combine indexring and middlelittle, and in
Example 10 we finish this weeks workout
with a middlering, indexlittle finger exercise. As with the first weeks workouts, try
these same exercises with pull-offs instead of
hammer-ons, and repeat them moving up the
fingerboard at frets two, three, four, and five.

Week Three
This weeks workout continues mixing up the
slurs. Example 11 is a sort of combination of
Examples 1 and 8. As in Example 8, were putting the index finger to work, with indexmiddle, indexring, and indexlittle finger slurs,
but this time moving across the fingerboard,
changing strings for each slur. Example 12 is
a vigorous pull-off exercise and really works
the little finger. Again, play these exercises in
first position and then move them up the fingerboard for more repetition.

Week Four
The first exercise in Week Four combines hammer-ons and pull-offs in a trill (Example 13),
first with indexmiddle on the low E string, followed by indexring on the fifth string, index
little on the fourth string, etc. And we end our
slur workouts with a few exercises that use different combinations of fingers in a sort of crabwalk across the fingerboard. These exercises
are great for working on finger independence.
Example 14 alternates indexmiddle and ring
little finger slurs on opposite sides of the fingerboard, then each slur moves toward the other
side. In other words, you start with the index
middle slur on the low E string, and the ring
little finger slur on the high E string, then move

indexmiddle to the fifth string and ringlittle


to the second string, followed by indexmiddle
on the fourth string and ringlittle down on the
third string. They keep going, passing in the
middle, and finishing with indexmiddle on the
high E string and ringlittle on the low E string.
The last two exercises follow this crabwalking
pattern, first with indexring and middlelittle
slurs (Example 15) and finally with indexlittle and middlering slurs (Example 16).

Ease into It
As mentioned earlier, these can be intense
workouts for your hand if youve never done
anything like them before. By using all combinations of fingers you really work all the
muscles in your handsome of which may not
be used to this kind of heavy lifting. So take
it slowly and really monitor how your hand
is feeling. Theres a difference between hurt
from hard work and the kind of pain that leads
to injury, and its important to recognize and
avoid the latter. While these are good warm-up
exercises, its probably best not to launch into
them cold until they become easy for you. Play
through some simple music youre comfortable
with before trying them, and only do as many
as are comfortable; then try to increase your
stamina with each practice session.
ag

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ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

See video of the musical examples at AcousticGuitar.com

Week Three
Ex. 11

4
& 4
B

# b
1

Ex. 12

5
& 4
B

# #

b n
b b
1

b b n
b b

b b n b
b b n b b n b
4

b b n b b n

&

B
Week Four
Ex. 13

& 44
B

b b #

3
3
b

3
3
b
3

Ex. 14

& 44

#
1

#
3

b n

4 1

4 1

2 1

2 1

1 3 1 3 1 3

#
#
b n b n b n #
#
#

#
3

4
1

1
3

1 4 1 4 1 4

Ex. 15

# #
2

2
1

# #
4

Ex. 16

#
b
b

& b
n #
b b
n
b
#
b

1 3

2 4 1 3

1 3

1 3
2 4

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

2 3

2 3
1

1 4

2 3 1 4

1 4

1 4
2 3

2 3

2 3

AcousticGuitar.com 69

SONGBOOK

same way, but notice the general pattern that


emerges in the verse: he picks four consecutive
notes from low to high, comes back down for
three more, and then plucks a higher note to
complete the pattern.
At the chorus, Townshend begins strumming, and he creates fills between vocal
phrases in several ways. One is by playing
chord embellishments or quick chord changes
between lineslike the C/G chord in measures
2324 or the thick Aadd4(9)/E chord in measure 27. But you can also see why Townshends
considered a rhythm guitar master by how he
varies and manipulates the rhythm to create
fills. For instance, look at how he adds extra
emphasis to the fill in measure 27 by playing a
down-up down-down strum pattern to highlight the syncopated phrasing. And check out
how he uses a quick 16th-note triplet strum to
highlight chord changes at the end of the chorus and after the bridge. ANDREW DuBROCK

Behind Blue Eyes


Words and music by Pete Townshend

WITH THE SUCCESS OF TOMMY, Pete Townshend of the Who had initially
envisioned Behind Blue Eyes as part of a follow-up rock opera titled
Lifehouse. Unfortunately, the concept of Lifehouse became too overwhelming, Townshend suffered a bit of a nervous breakdown, and the
group ended up releasing many of the songs earmarked for Lifehouse as
Whos Next in 1971. Townsend later revisited the Lifehouse concept (in
box-set editions and radio shows), but the songs themselves on Whos
Next were so strong that they didnt need an operatic theme to establish
the record as one of the bands best.
Townshend plays Behind Blue Eyes with a pick, showcasing his
rhythmic ability by seamlessly melding several contrasting sections
togetherhis arpeggiated chord shapes behind the verses and his percussively strummed chords in the chorus and bridge. In the intro and
verse, Townshend doesnt always arpeggiate these chords exactly the

Intro

E sus4

Verse

Em

0
2

0
2

to be the bad

be - hind

70 AcousticGuitar.com

man

2
0

To be the sad

2
2

2
2

2
0

man

No

one

0
0

C sus2

Em

D sus4

blue eyes

A sus2

10

1. No one knows what its like


2. See additional lyrics.

knows what its like

to be

0
3

0
3

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

1971 FABULOUS MUSIC LTD., RENEWED 1999. PUBLISHED BY FABULOUS MUSIC LTD. ADMINISTERED IN THE USA AND CANADA
BY SPIRIT ONE MUSIC (BMI) O/B/O SPIRIT SERVICES HOLDINGS, S..R.L., SUOLUBAF MUSIC AND ABKCO MUSIC INC. INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT SECURED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED BY PERMISSION.

15

D sus4

hat

C sus2

ed

to be

23

fat

A sus2

ed

to tel - ling on

0
0
2
2
0

ly lies

Chorus

20

But

my

seems

0
1
0
2
3

2
3
2
0

2 2

26

dreams

A add49/E

2
3
2
0

3
0
0
0
2
3

0
0

0
0
1
2

0 0

0
0
2
0
4 4

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

2
3
2
0

0
0
1
2
2
0

D sus4

2
3
2
0 0
0

3
1
0
2

0
0
1
2
2
0 0 0

2
3
2
0 0

3
1
0
2

3
0
0
0
x 2
3 3

3
0 0
0 2
0 0
2
3

on - ly lone

2
3
2
0

ly

0
1
0
2
3

A sus2

3
1
0
2
3

urs

con - science

3
0
0
0
2
3

2
3
4
4
2

2 x
0 x

3
0
0
0
2

Bm

thats nev

3
3
2
0 0
0

as my

I have ho

My love is ven - geance

C /G

they arent as emp - ty

to be

32

er

0 0

free

0
0
2
2
0

0
0
2
2
0 0 0

0 0

0
0
2
2
0

0
0
2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
0 0 0 0

0
0
2
2
0

0
0
2
2
0

AcousticGuitar.com 71

SONGBOOK

E5

Bm

E5

Bm

37

(continue simile)

0
0
2
2
0

0
0
2 2
2 2 2
0 0

0 0
0 0
2 2 2 2
2
2
0

2 2
0 0

0
0
2
2

2
2
0

2
3
4
4
2

2 2
2 2
0 0

2
3
4
4
2

2
2
2
0

x
x
x
x

2
2
2
0

2
2
0

2
3
4
4
2

2 2
2 2
0 0

2
3
4
4
2

2
2
2
0

x
x
x
x

2
2 2
2
0

Bridge

E5

Bm

011 xxx

43

x 1 342 1

E5

x0 111 x

Bm

011 xxx

When my fist clench - es crack it o - pen


(See additional lyrics on repeat.)

x0 111 x

Be - fore I

Bm

x x0 132

x 1 342 1

use

it and lose

x 1 342 1

x 1 342 1

my cool

E5

x0 111 x

Bm

x x0 132

2 1 00 3 4

When I smile

Bm

011 xxx

x 1 342 1

x0 111 x

48

tell

E5

me some bad

Bm

news

be - fore I

laugh

and act like

fool

B /A

play three times

53

2
2
0

2
3
4
4
2

2 2
2 2
0 0

2
3
4
4
2

2 2
2 2
0 0

2
2
0

4
4
4
2

4
4
4
2

Em

59

3
3
0
0
2
3

2
2
2
0

knows what its like

72 AcousticGuitar.com

2
3
2
0

3 4 4 4
2 4 4 4
0 4 4 4
2 2 2

0
3

4
4
4
2

D sus4

to be the bad

0
2

2
3
2
0

3.No one

4
4
4
2

4
4
4
2

man

To be the

3
2

2
2

3
ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

C sus2

63

A sus2

sad

man

be - hind

blue

0
0
2
2
0

eyes

Intro
Esus4
Em

1.

Dsus4

Repeat Chorus

No one knows what its like to be the bad man


Csus2

E5

Asus2

Bm

E5

Bm

To be the sad man behind blue eyes


Em

Dsus4

Bridge

E5

No one know what its like to be hated


Csus2

Bm

When my fist clenches, crack it open

Asus2

E5

To be fated to telling only lies

Bm

Before I use it, lose my cool


Bm

Chorus
C

But my dreams, they arent as empty


C

As my conscience seems to be
Bm

C/G

Aadd4(9)/E

Bm

E5

Bm

Before I laugh and act like a fool

E5

Bm

E5

And if I swallow anything evil

I have hours only lonely


D Dsus4 D

When I smile, please tell me some bad news

Bm

Put your finger down my throat

Asus2

My love is vengeance thats never free

Bm

And if I shiver, please give me a blanket


Em

2.

Dsus4

Bm

Csus2

Asus2

Like I do, and I blame you


Em

Dsus4

No one bites back as hard on their anger


Csus2

Asus2

None of my pain and woe can show through

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

E5

Bm

E5

Bm

B/A

Dsus4

Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what its like to feel these feelings

Em

3.

No one knows what its like to be the bad man


Csus2

Asus2

To be the sad man behind blue eyes

AcousticGuitar.com 73

SONGBOOK

the accompanying chords providing an open,


modal flavor similar to the shape-note version.
D A D G A D tuning was perfect for this because
of all of the open fifths that fall naturally within
the three primary chords found in the key of D
minor. I was able to play all of those chords in
D A D G A D without using thirds. The only
hint of the minor key comes from the melody
and the chords in the B section that clearly
imply the relative major key of F. The B chord
that starts the B section (measures 20 and 47)
is one of my favorites in D A D G A D. By fingering the root and fifth on the fifth and fourth
strings while letting the higher strings ring, you
end up with a Bmaj7add6, a beautiful chord
that provides some relief from all the open fifth
harmonies up to that point. With the addition
of some alternating bass lines and a few bluesy
licks, I was able to give Wayfaring Stranger
the flavor I was looking for. AL PETTEWAY

Wayfaring Stranger
Traditional, arranged by Al Petteway

WHILE THUMBING THROUGH an old shape-note hymnal in search of traditional melodies that I might arrange, I was surprised to see Wayfaring
Stranger. I was familiar with the melody after hearing dozens of
recordings of the song by bluegrass and country artists, but I wasnt
aware that it was an old spiritual that could be traced back to the 18th
century and beyond. The lyrics have a particular hopeful sadness that
the melody captures perfectly. To me, the song has all of the elements
of what we think of as blues, and I included it on my recording Its
Only the Blues, a collection of traditional and original blues tunes
inspired by the music of the Appalachian mountains and Mississippi
Delta and influenced by guitarists Doc Watson, Etta Baker, Robert
Johnson, and Big Bill Broonzy. I arranged Wayfaring Stranger in such
a way that the original melody would be retained for the most part, with

Tuning: D A D G A D
Capo II

0
0

02

0 2

0
0
2
0

0 02
0

0
0

0
2

3 2 0

0
3

02

0
1/4

0
0

2
0
2
2 2

2
2
0

2
0

2
0
2
2

2
0

3 3

16

0
0

0
0
2
0

3 2

74 AcousticGuitar.com

3 2 0

1/4

1/4

1.
1/4

0 2

1/4

1/4

1/4

To Coda

11

1/4

0
3

0
2

02

02

0
0

2.

0
0

0
0
2

0
2

0
0
0

0
0
0
1

0
1

0
1

0
1

3
3

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

2012 AL PETTEWAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED BY PERMISSION.


22

0
0
0

0
3

0
1

0
0 2

0 0 2
0

0
0

2
0
2
2

3 2 0

02

1/4

1/4

28

20

0
0
0

1/4

1/4

33
1/4

3 0

0
0
2
0

0 3

0
0
2
0

0
0
2
0

0
0
2
0

0
0
2
0

3 5

7
5

7
0

7
5

5
3

3
2

1/4

0
0

3
0

1.

5
3

39

7
5

5
5

3
5

3
5

55 7

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SONGBOOK

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ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

Fingerstyle
Jazz Guitar
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12 lessons

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ESSENTIALS

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Brands include:
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78 AcousticGuitar.com

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

M A R K E T P L AC E

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ACCESSORIES

GUITAR BUILDING AND REPAIR SCHOOL


Comprehensive courses in acoustic, electric
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BULK GUITAR
STRING SETS
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SHOPS

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Magazine Online

October 2013 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

HOW TO FIND THE


RIGHT STRINGS
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AcousticGuitar.com 79

M A R K E T P L AC E
INSTRUCTION
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ADVERTISER INDEX
Acoustic Guitar Books,
store.AcousticGuitar.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

Grimes Guitars, grimesguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

Nova Strings, novastrings.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

Guitars in the Classroom,

Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts,

guitarsintheclassroom.org . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

omniconcerts.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Harry Musselwhite, martintheguitar.com . . . . . . . . . . 66

Original Guitar Chair, originalguitarchair.com . . . . . . . 55

AcousticGuitar.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45, 65

Hill Guitar Company, hillguitar.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

Paul Reed Smith Guitars, prsguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . 6

Acoustic Guitar U, AcousticGuitarU.com . . . . . . . . . . . 81

Hoffman Guitars, hoffmanguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

Phoenix Guitar Company, phoenixguitarco.com . . . . . 52

Acoustic Vibes Music, acousticvibesmusic.com . . . . . 32

Homespun, homespun.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Alvarez Guitars, alvarezguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Huss & Dalton Guitar Company,

Acoustic Guitar Guides,


store.AcousticGuitar.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

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Radial Engineering, radialeng.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


RainSong Graphite Guitars, rainsong.com . . . . . . . . 32

hussanddalton.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

RS Muth Guitars, rsmuthguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Juilliard School of Music, juilliard.edu . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Saga Musical Instruments, sagamusic.com . . . . . . . . 5

Juststrings.com, juststrings.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52, 68

Shubb Capos, shubb.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Steven Kaufman Enterprises, Inc., flatpik.com . . . . . 68

SKB Cases, skbcases.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Breezy Ridge Instruments, Ltd., jpstrings.com . . . . . 68

Korg USA Inc., korg.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Spindrift Guitars, spindriftguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Chord Buddy, chordbuddy.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

Line 6, line6.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

Sweetwater Sound, sweetwater.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Collings Guitars, collingsguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Luthier Music Corp., luthiermusic.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Takamine, takamine.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Creative Tunings, spidercapo.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Luthiers Mercantile, lmii.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

The Podium, thepodium.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

DAddario & Company, daddariobowed.com . . . . . . . 21

Mandolin Bros., Ltd., mandoweb.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Walden Guitars

G7th, Ltd., g7th.com. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

C.F. Martin & Co., Inc., martinguitar.com . . . . . . . 41, 84

Gibson Montana, gibson.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Miranda Guitars, miranda-tech.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Godin Guitars, godinguitars.com. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

The Music Emporium, themusicemporium.com . . . . . 27

L.R. Baggs, lrbaggs.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17


Bourgeois Guitars, pantheonguitars.com . . . . . . . . . . 33
Bowerman Guitars, bowermanguitars.com . . . . . . . . . 50
Bread & Roses, breadandroses.org . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

80 AcousticGuitar.com

waldenguitars.com. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Washburn Guitars, washburn.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37


Woodstock Invitiational,
woodstockinvitational.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

ACOUSTIC GUITAR October 2013

DISCOVER WHATS NEW AT

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RHYTHM AND STRUMMING


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THE ACOUSTIC
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THE ACOUSTIC
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GREAT ACOUSTICS

Circa 1965
Goya T-18 Goliath

FOR GUITAR BUFFS who grew up in the folk


era of the 1960s, the name Goya will likely
conjure images of Julie Andrews serenading
the hills of Austria in The Sound of Music.
The guitar that Andrews was seen with in
the film was the Goya G-10, which became
a staple of the early-60s coffeehouse
scene.
Goya guitars, in their initial run from
1954 to 1974, were built in Gothenburg,
Sweden, by the Levin Guitar Co., which was
well known in Europe for its quality instruments. While most European-made guitars
were intended for the continent only, as a
less expensive alternative to US imports,
Levin was owned by an American distribution company that first began exporting
Levins as El Goyas, to give the guitars
a vaguely Spanish aura and increase
brand appeal.
The T-18 Goliath model was
designed specifically to compete with
Martin and Guild dreadnoughts, and
while the 18 in the name may make
one think that the instrument would
have mahogany back and sides, like Martins style-18 guitars, this models
back and sides are made from some very attractive flame maple, and the top
is European spruce, which, unlike the current market, was not priced at a
premium. The square fingerboard inlays are European in style, reminiscent
of the work of another Swedish manufacturer known for its squared-off
styling: Volvo. Most interesting is the herringbone rosette, appearing 20
years after Martin dropped herringbone trim from its style-28 guitars
and ten years before Martin reintroduced it on the HD-28. The tone
of this guitar is loud, with a crisp, dry fundamental response that is
uncharacteristic of maple. It sounds best when heavily strummed
la the Everly Brothers.
This particular example of the model is one of the earliest
known, and it was certainly built before the Goya name was sold
in 1968 to Avnet, a distributor that also purchased the Guild
Guitar Co. in 1966. The Goya name changed hands a few more
times through the early 70s, eventually being owned by Martin
Guitars, which distributed Swedish-made Goyas until the last ones
were built in 1981.
ag
DEREK SEE is a guitarist and instrument historian who works at Gryphon Stringed
Instruments in Palo Alto, California.

Acoustic Guitar (ISSN 1049-9261) is published monthly by Stringletter, Inc., 501 Canal Blvd., Suite J, Richmond, CA 94804. Periodical postage paid at Richmond, CA 94804 and additional
mailing offices. Printed in USA. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Pitney Bowes International Mail Services, P.O. Box 32229, Hartford,
CT 06150-2229. Postmaster: Please make changes online at AcousticGuitar.com or send to Acoustic Guitar, Stringletter Publishing, PO Box 3500, Big Sandy, TX 75755.

82 AcousticGuitar.com

ACOUSTIC GUITAR

October 2013

GRANT GROBERG/GRYPHON STRINGED INSTRUMENTS.

By Derek See

PAUL RICHARDS, CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO


www.cgtrio.com

STAGESOURCE L2t

800-watt, Compact, 2-Way All-in-One PA

Onboard 5-input digital mixer

We have played through hundreds, perhaps thousands of


different monitor systems, says Richards. StageSource
speakers provide the most natural amplified acoustic guitar
tone that Ive heard. The quality of the sound is so good,
it is truly inspiring and helps me perform better.

Two high-quality mic preamps

Acoustic guitar players are switching to StageSource


because it sounds better than any other speaker.

PAUL SWITCHED. WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Acoustic guitar body resonance modeling


12-band feedback suppression
3-band EQ with sweepable mids
Pristine chorus and reverb digital effects

LINE6.COM/STAGESOURCE-SWITCH

STAGE. YOUR REVOLUTION.


2013 Line 6, Inc. Line 6 and StageSource are trademarks of Line 6, Inc. All rights reserved. David Newkirk Photography #18601

Hunter Hayes
Martin player, 2 years

For the love of music is Hunter Hayes mantra thats inscribed on the pick guard of
his Martin 00 Koa Custom. Learn how his love of watching country artists perform live
influenced Hunters sound at www.martinguitar.com/hunter.
Available Everywhere