2 of my favs......

what's up guys?

just wanting to share 2 of my favorite guitar song vids with you fine fellas.

as a newb to the guitar, and playing music in general, i'd really like to know more about the technical side of these 2 songs......i know i really like how they sound!!

so could you tell me what jumps out at some of you who've been playing any form of music/instrument for a while.




I'm checking on my phone so haven't listened to those tracks yet, but I did sneak a peek.... Tony Rice is a legend in the acoustic "trad" world. Whether bluegrass is "really" trad is a theoretical argument... but the man is a beast.

Fretkillr came up a while back on here. Don't know who it is, just a youtube cult figure maybe, excellent player.

thanks Ali........i'm really interested in what experienced music people see/hear when they listen to guys on that level.

cant wait to read some responses!

Here's this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eB8aMZ6Kx0 , "I Am A Pilgrim", Tony Rice and Wyatt Rice

Not sure what to say about it, it is very simple (a bunch of arpeggiation around G, C, D)... and it's supremely well executed. Nice little slides and bends, melodic runs against very strongly stated chords.... "simple is not easy".

And the second one, the Fretkiller video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo-xhvmFHU4 , has "Embedding disabled by request" so I can't post it.

And a different mood, more rhythmic drive, but I don't have much to say different from the prior beyond that. Really well played, nice chord/melody stuff, fairly simple music. "Jam in D" tells you what's going on, musically. Dude does very nice 'hybrid" picking ( pick and fingers). I like this one more, maybe just because it's more aggressive and he's showing off a bit more in this particular instance.

Both of these have really killer instruments, tone is gorgeous. They pick cleanly and have a round attack on the strings, so they're good at getting that tone out, too.

Hopefully someone with more musical knowledge, familiarity with the genre and better ears will be along to tell you something more helpful!

Ali pretty much nails it, I can't really add anything to that.

What I can add is my experience playing with a pick and fingers and how it relates to this of music.

I've played strict alternate picking (up down up down up down...no changes EVER) for over 25 years. I've also played sweeping arpeggios for the same amount of time (all down or up strokes successively). The past 10 years or so I've done hybrid picking quite a bit (playing with a pick and using my middle, ring and pinky to pick strings and chords). Just withing the past few months I've started experimenting with Economy Picking (basically combining Alternate, Sweep and Hybrid picking together). Economy picking is the fastest you can pick, but you can lose some definition in notes (like comparing Steve Morse's arpeggios to Frank Gambale's).

Anyway, with flatpicking like in the videos you mentioned, this is even ANOTHER of picking. It is kind of a like economy picking with adding strumming multiple strings (or also fingerpicking the strings) at the same time. There is also something really recent I've been working on which is Crosspicking, which is kind of like sweep picking but a bit different. I can play some Tommy Emmanuel songs (Mombasa, I've Always Thought of You) which to me is perfect hybrid of all of those things, but that's the extent of my abilities on the acoustic guitar. Here's Tommy playing "I've Always Thought of You":

Not sure if anything I typed helped, if you have specific questions, I'll try to answer. Good luck broseph.

that's exactly the stuff i was looking for guys.....fantastic insight for a newb like me!!

jman - could you explain what a "sweeping arpeggio" is please?

for both of you - as a newb, do you think the best/a good starting point for picking is up/down or one of the other methods jman described?

thanks guys!

VU for you both.

ali - i owe you an extra VU......i think i accidently VD'd you last night hitting the VD option instead of VU.

Too funny, surfing -- thanks. Hopefully I won't need some erythromycin, like last time I got VD'd. rimshot

I'll let jman talk about the road to picking; I'm just not competent with a pick -- I'm a right hand fingers guy. It's not that I don't have opinions about how to go about it... I just don't respect my own opinions in this case.

This is a basic explanation of sweeping arpeggios (since you asked, I'm not suggesting you learn it right now):

My advice is since you are starting out is probably pick one thing and work with it. If you like the acoustic you posted, then work at holding the pick and also using your middle, ring and pinky to pick strings as well, this is called hybrid picking. It allows you to flatpick individual notes, strum chords with the pick, as well as doing fingerpicking techniques (best of all worlds). Here's a video on hybrid picking:

As far as flatpicking (just using the pick) I would suggest starting out with alternate picking. It is the best foundation to start picking with. Even if you go onto other things later (sweep, economy picking, etc) it is best I think to at least start with alternate picking. If you're only playing on one string you have to alternate pick it anyway even if you are using economy or sweep picking. Anyway, here's an introduction to alternate picking:

jman - thanks so much!
the vids are killer......you went above and beyond!

No problem, if you have any questions feel free to post them, glad I can help.

here's a question about learning a song:

take the Tony Rice song posted (I am a pilgrim). There is a lot of timing that makes that song sound the way it does.

In learning the song, do you guys think its better to learn to play the notes just straight, more or less making it sound like a scale.....
is better to learn the notes of a measure or 2 and try to get the timing/phrasing with it?

I don't know that I really remember having that particular decision.... but here goes an attempt to answer:

Not "like a scale" for sure, because generally when you're learning scales you have to play them perfectly evenly. Eight notes or whatever, even. (There are exceptions, later you practice note grouping with scales, maybe, so do divide the beats differently; or jazz guys have to work with triplets a lot).

On the other hand, you cant play within the rhythm until you at least figure out what it is you're trying to play, where your fingers are supposed to go.

So work it out as slowly as you need to in order to get to the spot on the fretboard you want to get to. But keep in mind when all is said and done, the rhythm is going to be more important than the right notes, so you don't want to practice something so much ("like a scale") that you have to spend time un-learning it.

I don't know if you should work on it a measure or two at a time either, unless you just can't get the notes for that measure or two yet.

(None of this is very helpful, perhaps.... but I think you'll find you'll get fingerings faster than you're thinking right now. And if you don't, it's ok to go slow and not impose too much rhythmic structure until you find you can reach the notes at least somewhat. If you're not able to do that, then you might just need to work on your G, C, and D chords, and arpeggiating them evenly, away from "I Am A Pilgrim". Then get to the music later; THEN you just play slow... you get fast by practicing slow, and getting the rhythmic relationships and the notes right, both).

thanks ali - a friend and longtime player has been teaching me. he took lessons a while back from josh pickett (name dropping, lol). he's really got me progressing fairly quickly and i'm pretty diligent about practicing....i'm a good student, put it that way.

anyway - i am able to learn the song albeit at a slower rate than say my teacher could.......the finger placements are not too hard for me - its initially learning the finger placements and remembering the order once i do that make it slow.

so it sounds like learning a chunk of it (a few measures at a time) while simultaneously nailing the rhythm for the pieces I've already learned might be a decent approach......

That sounds right... unless your memorization works better in longer sequences. You definitely will find some "chunks" easier than others, so obviously the harder ones take more focus. So long as you don't lose the transitions into and out of them, you can focus on as small a piece as you need to in order to "get it".

jman and I were talking about how we always tried things that were "too hard" and just ploughed through at times, too.... you can get better that way, too, but it's less systematic.

I"m less confident that I really know anything like a "best" approach the more I type, though -- honestly ;-(


i'd like to hear how you experienced musicians go about learning a new piece.
how long does it take you? how much time per day do you spend on it?
has it gotten faster - generally speaking - as you've improved?

Now I really am lost as to what to say... I think you get "faster" with more experience, but for me -- I played classical guitar pretty seriously, so the pieces got longer and harder, and I didn't notice I was faster "per piece". But really the time it took to learn/memorize was never an issue for me. I also didn't work a few measures at a time... I'd get the whole thing to a "run through" level and then go back and work on mistakes, or tougher transitions or stretches.

Are you reading music? I don't necessarily have a theory about what that does, but I bet learning by reading notes is a very different process from learning by ear or fingerings or even tab.

Finally for me some of the practice time was definitely in my head, away from the instrument. Both just thinking about the notes on a page and thinking about the fingerings and mechanics (especially). It's astounding what a difference that can make, and I never really made time for the latter. It was more like, while waiting in line, or when the tv show was boring me, etc.

Also, being an older dude, I didn't really have all this youtube stuff when learning to play. That has to change things. Apart from instructionals, even Just being able to see large portions of Tony Rice's fingerings is a very recent phenomenon.

There's gotta be some more input from some of the other guys who play; you just have to hang out a bit longer for folks to catch up with the forum -- we're not the most active bunch these days!

I never really learn too many pieces, so I can't really comment on learning stuff. I did learn those 2 Tommy Emmanuel songs and could play them (probably forget parts now though) but one thing that is probably good is finding something simple and very easy and at least get that song down. Then throw yourself a bone and try to play something way out of your league for fun. Both are interesting learning experiences. I've never had a guitar teacher, so I've just kind of fumbled along on my own...with mixed results.

Ali's advice sounds great to me, nothing more I can add to that.

Second the alternate picking.

The picking hand is just as important as the fretting hand.

Maddening how many players will only develop one.