Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Hi. I’m new to Celtic Music (been playing 40+ years though). I am having a hard time trying to figure out why the guitar is relegated as a rhythm instrument and with very little emphasis on its melodic capability. As a fingerstyle and clasical guitarist I find that there are many tunes that are very very suitable to the guitar (O’Carolan comes readily to mind as well as Walsh)
Maybe it is just the sentiment here in the St Louis area…comments?

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Irish music is generally played in unison with other players. The guitar is going to get lost playing melody in that, especially during a session.

So while I love the sound of guitar playing melody, it only really works in recordings, amplified performances, or very small and quiet social playing situations. I have a tenor guitar that I love playing. And in the right acoustics, it can be fun in a session. But 95% of the sessions I play in are way too loud.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Pete, can you hear a flute player in your session?

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

The relegation is really only in noisy pub sessions.

There are plenty of plectrum and fingerstyle guitarists out there playing melody. You’ll hear them on recordings, in performances, and small sessions in quiet places.

Look out for people like Tony MacManus, Steve Cooney and of course Richard Thompson has recorded many traditional tunes

Posted by .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

I play a number of tunes on the guitar, both with a pick and finger picking. great fun but lost in most sessions. Though I do remember a great guitar session in Milltown many years ago, 3 backers playing tunes in the kitchen! Anyhow, we play the backing because most of the other instruments in the session cant! apart from the box players and pipers. Thats one reason the guitar is such a great instrument; versatility.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Fretted string instruments are not capable of the many articulations developed for the flute, pipes, whistle and fiddle.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

A good spanish guitar played with a manouche pick pack near the bridge is as loud as most fiddles and can compete with most instruments. I play tunes on spanish guitar in many sessions and I think any one I play with will tell you it can be heard quite clearly. There is a technique and principle to everything. Understanding the principles of percussive sound
and milking the higher frequencies are the key. I don’t believe that the same is possible on any steel string guitar except for
Selmer style and some resonators.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

If you think that volume is the only problem, play a bloody banjo

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Banjo is a completely different can of worms altogether. And as far as articulation goes , I would rather develop articulation related to the type of instrument that is normally played in tune, such as a box or a banjo, or the types of nuance that naturally occur on a guitar in single dropped tuning. Who cares if it doesn’t sound like a flute or a fiddle. Although I like the sound
of both instruments.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

yes … it’s generally quite in most acoustic settings

but that said the tone on a good instrument is hard to beat and on a class instrument there is none better

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

There are various reasons why you don’t hear so many guitars playing melody, like…

It’s a hard instrument to master for playing these tunes with good articulation and appropriate ornaments.

Some people feel that the available ornaments/articulations are not appropriate.

Even if you do master it, there are more than a few folks who feel that the guitar just doesn’t blend well with the more established instruments. People like what they like, or not.

Too many guitarists have tried to get by with chops imported from other genres instead of living with the music and paying their dues before joining the session or band.

Loudness can be a problem. And the voice of a guitar can easily get lost in the mid-range muddiness of an ensemble.

Still, when it works, it’s pretty cool.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Random Notes, you ask the question of whether I can hear flutes in my sessions, and the answer is yes… but keep in mind that even if a flute and a guitar might put out a similar volume, the *players* need to be able to hear themselves play as well. That’s why I don’t play tenor guitar in session very often. Other people may be able to hear me, but if I can’t hear myself, because the instrument is projecting directly outward, then it’s a moot point.

Heck, a boisterous enough crowd of punters will sometimes make it difficult for me to hear the (bloody) banjo, for that matter…

And I tend to agree with llig about the plucked string instruments not being able to articulate the music *in the same way that the pipes or fiddle might*, but they *do* have their own little unique twiddly bits, which I really like. Nothing quite like John Carty and Alec Finn both playing tenor guitars together. Magic! :-D

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Bryan, I don’t know whether you’ve heard it but a good example
of the possibilities of playing tunes on guitar would be Seamus
Egan playing Mason’s Apron / My Love is in America on that old
album which name escapes me at the moment. After you listen to that you will realise that all of these people who say you can’t ornament on a guitar are full of………… Ah yes the name of the album is "when Juniper Sleeps" and its probably the greatest bit of tune playing ever executed on a guitar ( Nylon String by the way). Yes and I know, Seamus is primarily a banjo player and Flautist, but it just goes to show what is possible when someone remains open and finds a way to make it work.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Thanks for getting back Pete. I just have a natural (or unnatural) gut reaction. When players can’t hear I always think the 1st thing missing will be the flutes. I don’t play guitar but I know what you mean. They do project straight out & away.

Mason’s Apron / My Love is in America ~
"When Juniper Sleeps"
Seamus Egan
http://www.thesession.org/tunes/74
March 12th 2002 by bsykes62
trk. 3

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Again, the polarisation of what is lead and what is rhythm is extremely annoying. Like there is no rhythm in the tune? The division belies the poster’s 40+years of not playing this music.

Countless times have I seen otherwise splendid musicians bring there preconceptions to this music and, at best, flounder, at worst, ruin it. Liken it to an English professor who is also an accomplished public speaker, wittisist,and actor sitting down to dinner with a family in rural china.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Can you honestly say that all of these musicians from different
backgrounds have, without exception, spoilt your session for you Llig?
Did you major in generalisation at university?

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

If you read through the above answers you will see that all those successfully playing the guitar as a lead instrument for ITM are doing it in a carefully controlled acoustic environment, and none of these illustrations comes from the hurly-burly of a large and noisy session.
That’s the answer; the guitar is simply not loud enough as a solo-line instrument for the session scene. Whenever I hear some superb musician doing a beautiful version of some trad tune ( like Richard Thompson, for instance ) I tend to think that he couldn’t do that in a session and be heard. More’s the pity, but it’s the truth.
That’s why I no longer take a guitar to my local sessions, only a re-vamped ‘zouk. Plus, there’s often one there already, and one’s enough.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Where did I say "all"?

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Ok, "countless times" then, the effect was a sweeping statement, which I find "extremely annoying". However’ its
not the end of the world. Carry on. It was rude of me to interrupt.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

toms, you may like to note that I have never said that the guitar cannot sound really good playing Irish music.

And yes, I can’t count the amount I’ve times I’ve witnessed musicians with plenty of ability in other genres who are utterly incapable of playing diddley music. But neither can I count the times when I’ve witnessed musicians with plenty of ability in other genres who are more than capable of doing a grand job with diddley music.

However, I’ve never, without exception, heard anyone unfamiliar to the music make a decent job of it. Familiarity is the only prerequisite.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Pete. I don’t agree entirely. As I stated above. There are certain
styles of guitar , picks and techniques that will cut through in a session playing the actuial tune. As we all know (hopefully) certain guitars. most of them light in construction, such as
flamenco, Spanish and Gypsy guitars are designed .as in
the case of flamenco guitars , to cut through the racket of dancers feet, chacons, singing and other guitars. Django Reinhardt after giving up the banjo started his carreer playing unamplified with an accordion player to a club full of dancers.
It can be done.To me , its just most guitarists in sessions are
playing dreadnoughts or OM’s , and even though they can sound great for strumming or solo work, they’re not the right type of instrument to project melodies. If you really want to be
heard in a session , go out a spend a few grand on a really
good spanish or flamenco guitar , get a Wegan pick and
pick from an elevated wrist utilising the weight of the hand and the arm. I’ve said all this before anyway. Any Manouche player will tell you the same thing.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

I’ve never heard that. I’d be interested to. And didn’t Django Reinhardt use tree trunks instead of strings?

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

You’ve never heard which part Llig?

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

I’ve never heard a really good spanish or flamenco guitar with a Wegan pick (what ever that is) picked from an elevated wrist utilising the weight of the hand and the arm playing diddley tunes in a session

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Llig . Oh!

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Ramiro ! Exactly !!! What a great clip. Thats what I’m talking about., and he’s not even digging in. The picking technichue
by its inventor. Thanks for putting that one up.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

This sounds interesting. The only Spanish guitar I’ve heard in ITM is Jim Murray’s. He plays mostly accompaniment. Do you play a flamenco guitar Chuneboi Slim? What is a Manuche pick pack? Can you really sound as loud as a fiddle? Wow. I want one one those!

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Does not Steve Cooney play a Spanish guitar?

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Yes

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Yeah Joel… I’ve heard chuneboi belt out a tune on his guitar and the amount of sound is amazing. He’s a mighty fine tune player as well.

His pick kinda looks like a large peppermint. :o)

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

(1) Steve Cooney plays a Spanish Guitar.
(2) I don’t have a flamenco guitar but I would love one. I have a very good Spanish guitar though.
(3) A " Manouche " ( manouche being the French noun for "Gypsy" ) is a very thick style of pick that differs from most other picks in that it has a kind of aerodynamic edge on both sides so it kind pops the string as it glides into it.
(4) I am not boasting but I think with the gear I’ve got I could be
competitive volume wise with most of the fiddle players I play with, except possibly Rand. But he plays Viola.
(5) Joel. Google "Wegen" picks . They’re in Belgium I think. They will post. some people take a while to get used to them
but I loved them straight away. They are expensive and as a result I have had the same pick for 6 years. They don’t wear at all.I use the "Fatone" which is 5mm thick.
(6) Joel . I’ve been to your site and you are a very classy guitar player. I’m not that good but I’m loud.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

I don’t know why you would want to play melody with the guitar at a sesssion. Its so much easier just "winging it" with the bodhran player

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

No, Django used telegraph cables as strings. His GUITAR was made from treetrunks.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Llig’s comments certainly are not flames. Nor are they irrelevant. I think llig makes his usual highly pertinent & interesting points. It is important to be aware of the limitations of whatever instrument you play.

I don’t always agree with llig’s conclusions, but his opinions are always honestly expressed and refreshing to read. Hardly "flames".

I happen to think there is a place for plucked strings in ITM (I’m a banjo player myself), but I wouldn’t kid myself that the banjo it at the core of traditional music. I think Michael’s point is a valid one, but I don’t see it as the be all and end all.

On the other hand whilst it is absolutely true that "neither can the flute, pipes, emulate the guitar", it appears to me that any implied extrapolation that this somehow makes guitar the equal to those instruments in this genre would be badly misplaced.

Guitar, banjo etc approaches to ITM are fine as far as they go, but within the context of this music form the inability of flute to copy exactly what a guitarist may play doesn’t matter a button (accordeon).

- Chris

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

i.e. just how important the inability of a plucked string to articulate as a flute or fiddle may be is a matter of personal judgement.

but the inability of a flute etc to articulate as a plucked string is an irrelevance (IMHO & in the context of ITM)

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Is that intended to be a question or statement? My answer is ‘yes’.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Hi Bryan,
As you’ve no doubt gathered from a lot of the comments, there are many guitarists who do play melody in ITM, but the guitar is relatively quiet in a session environment (though I am very intrigued by chuneboi’s suggestions! must look into them), and also there are many people in sessions who like good backing (there are many people that prefer just melody, and others who like both!) by a reasonably competent player who understands the subtleties of ITM, so that is IMHO the main reason for your observation.

Having said all that, it might be worth bearing in mind the following :
The guitar is a very popular instrument worldwide, but a lot of people who "play the guitar" only ever learned a few chords so that they could accompany their singing (or someone else’s singing). I think this is especially true for non-professional guitarists. By the way, a lot of them are VERY good at it - perhaps to the stage where rhythm playing is sufficient for them.
When these people start taking an interest in ITM, maybe they say "well, I don’t know the whistle or the fiddle, but I could bring down my guitar & join in the craic!".

In other words, maybe a lot of guitarists who come down to a session only know how to play rhythm!!!

Also, Llig makes the point that the guitar & other fretted instruments are fundamentally different from the "traditional" instruments of pipes, fiddles, flutes & whistles. I see he’s posted another thread to discuss this aspect, so I won’t comment much on it here, but I will point out that:

yes, those instruments were the traditional ones. But how much of that is due to the fact that the other instruments weren’t around at the time the music was initially developed (amongst the Irish natives whose music we’re talking about)???
Also IMHO, the fiddle’s articulation is quite different from the wind instruments, as are the fretted & button instruments again.
And if we’re talking of traditional instruments, surely the harp has different articulation yet again.

Anyway, Bryan, by all means try & play the melody on guitar. I do it, myself. I like the sound of the music on the guitar (& so do many others - hence the popularity of some of the guitarists mentioned above).
But, if nothing else, it helps me get a better understanding of the music, which is very different from contemperary music, but only in subtle ways!
And I think that helps me be a much better "backer".
But, be warned that you may find your guitar is drowned out in a noisy session.
Still, once people notice you making a fair stab at it, the boxes, banjos etc, may stop their playing, to listen to you (because as you’ve noticed, it is fairly rare…)… :)

Good luck,
Ronan

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Most guitar holders (including so-called Trad ones) don’t do tunes because most of them started off learning chords and a bit of blues lead single string noodling/ improvization and despite dressing up their playing with other tricks and things (like fills in 6ths and finger picking), never progressed any further.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Why do so few guitar players have (& play) a tinwhistle?
Just to suss out a few things. I’m not saying everyone should bring a whistle to session. But a whistle can be handy when a tune comes up in your head. Maybe it can help one think up the chords as you play the tune.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Quite a few do, Random. But another great driver toward guitars and such is that you can practise them quietly in the home. Try playing whistle or accordion or pipes (!) without waking the baby or while the SO is watching Coronation St.

You can also, as a fiddler who recently took up banjo informed me, play fretted instruments while lying on the couch watching telly

Posted by .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

No baby here. I forget how easy it is for me to play whistle without disturbing anyone. Good point Bren. & I’m glad to hear more guitarists have a tin whistle than I thought.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

I think Krick may have a point. After the guitarist learns a few chords and a couple blues licks, he usually has so many girls chasing after him he never has an opportunity to learn any tunes proper.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

patrick toms, The poster is new to Irish diddley music. He’s new to the articulation. My posts are not irrelevant.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

It isn’t relegated. Look at Celtic Guitar Talk (although the majority of those players are fingerstyle.) As a lot of players here have pointed out, it’s difficult to compete volume-wise playing the tunes in a large sessions.

Not impossible, though and not so difficult in a small session.

Posted by .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

"a Wegan pick (what ever that is)"

Presumably one made neither of tortoiseshell nor casein.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Michel Wegen is a model maker in the Netherlands who, as a sideline, makes a wide variety of very specialized plectra for fretted string instrument players.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

It’s only when you see Django with those two fingers that you realise. What a man, a pure genius.

Having watched that again, I have decided to advise all newcomers to get into Jazz instead of the fiddly dee crap.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Django had bass
And a couple of backers,
he was king of guitar
but a bit of a knacker

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

As a guitarist the ornaments available to the pipes or fiddle have very little relevance to my playing, why would/should they? I have little or no interest in copying another instrument, why would I?
I mean, it goes with out saying that each instrument has its own repertoire of ornaments and articulations etc .
There seems to be a lot of hype about these ornaments and stuff, To me they are minor things, that I use and enjoy but dont fixate on. What makes Irish music IMO is the melody’s, the tunes. I mean none of these ‘top tier instruments ’ can do what the guitar can do, so what? Its a different instrument. Anyhow I think its pretentious to place the fiddle up there with the pipes anyhow, the fiddle can not for a moment reproduce 1/10th of -what the pipes are capable of, and vice versa.
The whole top tier instrument thing is a complete load of crap, It nothing more than a ’ my instrument is bigger/ better than yours argument. Pure ego babble .

The fact is that different people like different instruments. Around here the concertina is popular, as is the box and fiddle, we don’t have enough pipers, possibly because they are so bloody hard to master!
So to summarise, yes llig, the guitar cant reproduce these articulations from the fiddle, and vice versa….. and? so what’

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

I know a very good guitarist, who teachs, plays classical guitar for himself, and stand-up bass in a bluegrass and old-timey band to boot. He brought his steel-strung along to one of my sessions for the first time this week, and sat there bamboozled. And this guy is a musician.
The sort of people, mentioned a few posts above, who have learnt to strum a few chords to accompany their singing, are in an even worse position when they turn up at a session, for they have even less knowledge, let alone experience, than my friend.
It makes more sense to start from scratch on a melody instrument, that will be audible in the hurly-burly of a session, then play a guitar badly in it.
PS I’d just like to say a few words in praise of Dontheactor, who played his piano-accordion with taste and discretion at the session.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

THE GUITAR IS A MELODY INSTRUMENT.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

It’s not ego babble at all, quite the reverse. It’s about respect for the music as it was/is created.

But I’ll tell you what is disrespect: Someone with a self confessed liking for the music, someone who wants to play it, but reckons that the way the fiddle and pipes sound is a minor thing, something of little relevance.

And I might quibble about your one tenth of the shared articulations between the pipes and fiddle, I’d say it’s higher, but what’s important is that when the pipes and fiddle are played well together, it’s the shared articulations that both concentrate on.

And I’d like to mention one of my favourite guitar players, Tony MacManus, who’s on record (in both senses of the saying) as having the utmost respect and showing great relevance in his playing to the sound of the fiddle and pipes.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Yes slim, I like that. The guitar is indeed a melody instrument. (remembering, of course, that melodies have rhythm).

I’ve just been listening to Narciso Yepes just to remind what a splendid instrument it really is

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Flipin heck pipewatcher, thanks a bunch for that. Fecking great. And I I do hope it Ionannas hears some "relevance" in it.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

you’re welcome llig. that one nearly knocked my socks off too

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Yeah, it really is a splendid embodiment of the symbiosis of the contemporaneous articulation of such different machines. Brilliant

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Llig . I’ll have to listen to more Yepes. I’ve always been an Alirio Diaz man myself.
My apologies for shouting in type before but I find it ludicrous that all these people proclaim that the guitar is too quiet to play
melodies in sessions when I spend all of my spare time playing melodies in sessions. SLIM.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Nice clip pipewatcher. Love Tommy Reck’s pipe while he pipes. Don’t try that at home, kids.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Haha… Gotta love Tommy with the pipe hanging out of his mouth.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Arrgh! You scurvy dog! That clip nearly knocked me straight off the gangplank!

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Yeah, great. I love the way they feck about with the tunes. ~ something you should always tell people not to do.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Slim, there are sessions, and there are sessions. In many sessions the fiddle is too quite, many sessions, let alone a guitar! Pipers, box players, banjos, leave some instruments unheard.


"someone who wants to play it, but reckons that the way the fiddle and pipes sound is a minor thing, something of little relevance."

Llig, if you mean me, then you have twisted my meaning , or misunderstood. The idiosyncratic ornaments of any particular instrument are IMO of complete irrelevance to the tradition. What matters are the tunes. Whether a banjo or concertina player can roll or not, is of such insignificance as to barely worth mentioning. Let alone this heirarchy that depends on these differences.
These articulations/ornaments are only relevant to the particular instrument. As a fiddler i dont bemoan the fact I can not accompany myself as a Piper or guitarist can, as a guitarist I dont feel inferiour to fiddlers because I cant roll, I have numerous other techniques to utilise.

(your probably right about the amount of shared articulation :-))

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Some guitars, in the right hands, can be heard well enough playing melody in a session, but that’s more the exception than the rule. Most guitars in the hands of most players are hard to hear in a session. The original question was about why the guitar doesn’t appear more often as a melody instrument. This is part of the answer. Other parts of the answer have also been covered above.

Personally, I don’t think elitist bias against the instrument is a major factor. My experience has been that, if you can play the tunes tastefully and make yourself heard, you will most likely be accepted and appreciated.

I think a Django-style guitar would blend nicely in an ITM session – better than the guitars favored in bluegrass.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Fecking around with the tunes - Something I always tell people not to do, until they can do it well and get away with it, then I give them the knowing wink and tell them to make sure they tell everyone else not to do it.

Oh, and need it be said not to feck with them so badly that you mess up the beautiful meshing of a session?

Yeah, actually, probably, yes.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Anyone have a name for the final reel in the youtube link with Paddy Keenan I posted above?

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled thread.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

nice post, pipewatcher! :)
Do you reckon he kept the pipe in his mouth to say to any bagpipers in the audience "see, I can play this, AND smoke at the same time - bet you can’t do that!"? ;)

It’s amazing how after only a few years of the smoking ban, it seems so weird to see footage of people smoking (or about to smoke their pipe, after finishing playing their other pipes!)

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Sorry, this is what I wrote:

I’ll tell you what is disrespect: Someone with a self confessed liking for the music, someone who wants to play it, but reckons that the way the fiddle and pipes sound is a minor thing, something of little relevance.

I’ll rephrase it:

I’ll tell you what is disrespect: Someone with a self confessed liking for the music, someone who wants to play it, but reckons that the way the fiddle and pipes sound is of complete irrelevance to the tradition, it is of such insignificance as to be barely worth mentioning.


But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a quote from Tony McManus: "Listen to other players- and not just guitarists. Allow yourself to be influenced. If you are arranging a fiddle tune be aware of how a fiddle player ornaments things.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

ronan- funny- i often tell people (half) jokingly that i gave up highland pipes so that i could take up smoking!
silver spear- i know that last tune that clip as "The Ravelled Hank of Yarn"

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

The fact that some particular ornaments/articulations are not available to a particular instrument is of the utmost irrelevance,
otherwise instruments such as the bazouki, fiddle, concertina ,etc etc etc would not be encompassed within the tradition. and sorry llig, but they are.
I find your comments on concertina , banjo etc sad, divisive and just plain irrrelevant. The tradition is not , thank god, controlled by the likes of you.

As far as Tony and the guitar, well, its true he plays well, but for me it doesnt ‘hit the button’. It is too supeficial, over ornamented, It reminds me of city Jazz, I dont know why , but thats my view, and of course a greater exposure to his playing might well change my opinion.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

The tradition is not , though no thanks to the likes of you, controlled by anyone.

As I’ve said before, if anyone finds my comments divisive, then that’s them creating the division, not me. I’m not judgmental and I certainly would not describe an enormous part of the music as just plain irrelevant.

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Touchè ;-)
But IMO you miss my point, that as a guitarist the articulations/ornaments I need to employ are idiosyncratic to the guitar. Grafting fiddle ornaments on to the guitar? How artificial is that? IMO Its just flash and no substance!

I certainly agree that listening to and learning from other instruments is the way. without a doubt. As a guitarist playing ITM I dont listen to other guitarists , I listen to fiddlers and pipers, concertina and box. flute and whistle. . But I express myself differently on fiddle and guitar. Same tunes, very different settings. As a guitarist I am much more harplike in my approach while still keeping a strong rhythm within the tune , slower settings to allow more space . etc etc
So I am strongly influenced by the other instruments but I try to utilise the natural characteristics of the guitar to express myself through the music.

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

Llig: I was listening to Narciso Yepes some 40 years ago now; my interest in the guitar goes a long way to explain why I know feck all about this music (my head & heart were in a different place).

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

What impresses me most about the guitar, is that despite its relative lack of available articulations, t has the most incredible range of timbre

Posted .

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

The range of articulation and ornaments available to a guitarist depend to a great extent on the capabilities of the player. The instrument itself has plenty of articulation/ornaments available, every bit as much as the fiddle, just different. I would point out that throughout I confine my comments to the spanish guitar, I have little experience of steel string guitars.

Reading back over tonys comment I would agree whole heartedly with it
.”Listen to other players- and not just guitarists. Allow yourself to be influenced. If you are arranging a fiddle tune be aware of how a fiddle player ornaments things.’

Re: Guitar Lead Instrument or Rhythm?

good

Posted .