Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

Alec Finn is teaching the bouzouki class at Augusta Heritage Festival this summer (and also I think at East Durham). I’m trying to decide between his class or Angelina Carberry’s banjo class.

I have a (relatively) new octave mandolin that I tune GDae. I’d like to get a lot better playing it, particularly playing tunes. I’m told Alec plays a greek bouzouki. Does anyone know if his zouk is strung with 4 courses? Or 3 or 6? Does anyone know how he tunes it? Does anyone know if he teaches playing melodies on ‘zouk or just accompaniment?

Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

Three courses, Dad.

You’re lucky to have a choice like that!

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Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

So it is a 6 string zouk? Do you know how it is tuned?

Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

There’s a fellow in Santa Cruz, CA we’ve been using recently who has a Greek bouzouki and plays in this style and it’s some of the best accompaniment we’ve ever had — I love it! His name is George Grasso, and if you send me an email I’ll send you some contact info for him.

Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

Wow! I’d love a chance to take a workshop or two from Alec Finn. The man’s amazing! Whatever you decide, it sounds like you’ll have a great time!

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Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

>> Do you know how it is tuned?

grego did answer that, it’s tuned DAD (or Dad)

I don’t have direct experience with Alec’s classes, but from what I’ve heard, he is not an outgoing teacher, you have to be prepared to ask him questions, and you have to be willing to accept "I dunno, I just do it" kind of answers on occasion. A lot of what he does comes naturally, and he doesn’t necessarily think about the techniques, or have the ability to slow down what he’s doing to show you…

Also no direct experience with Angelina’s tuition, but have heard good things.

But if it were me, I’d take Alec’s class!

Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

D’OH! I thought "Dad" was some colloquilism, like, "It’s all cool, Dad". (I don’t know how to do one of those little embassased happy faces here)

Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

Clone yourself and go to both workshops - Angelina C’s tuition rocks!

Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

Let’s see: who would I rather be when I grow up - Angelina or Alec?

Fraught with difficulties, that one.

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Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

You’re on a 4 course octave mandolin tuned GDae, you could tune the ‘e’ down to ‘d’ and pretend there’s no ‘G’ string. Having the courses Dad, try backing tunes with a combination of hammer-ons and pull-offs, arpeggios & picking patterns with the occasional strum. If you enjoy it, go take the class! I think Alec Finn is an amazing musician and would jump at the chance. I’m pretty sure he uses a slidey capo, and for the most part will capo the Bouzouki to the key the tune is in. As for playing the melody in that tuning, you’ll end up shifting positions often. Or putting the capo to the key of the tune and playing as if it were in ‘d’. I can’t remember an instance where Alec Finn plays a set of tunes on his bouzouki, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

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Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

Fantastic opportunity - go to Alec Finn’s and watch the master at work, come back here and write a big long post telling those of us that can’t get there how he does it.

You will be able to use the tuition on your OM - if you are serious about backing ITM you might want to consider retuning to GDAD. Incorporate the Finn style into your own playing and use that G-sting (oo-er) for bass runs and double stops and you’re off and running.

He does play melody - check out the Ceird an cheoil bouzouki documentary on the TG4 site to see him playing melody. He also made an album called Blue Shamrock which features his playing.

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Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

I have been to "classes" with Alec Finn in Taos, New Mexico although I’m from Suffolk, UK.

He does play lead melody - and very well - he is just more well known as a backing musician.
He has a good CD called "Polbain to Oranmore" with Kevin McCleod someone I know reasonably well - he was with Alec at Taos.

Alec almost exclusively plays a high-end Greek made six-string Bouzouki tuned DAD.
He DID have a six string made for him by my mate Steve Owsley Smith who lived at Taos - standard flatback design - but I think he went off it - played the bowl-backed type too long.

He is an instinctive player and places great emphasis on "knowing The Tunes" - which he greatly does - unfortunately he is not so good at telling you how he does it - indeed he does just say often "I Just do it"!.
Watching him play doesn’t always help either - I have done it dozens of times both on film and sitting right in front of him! and I always end up saying "How the feck does he get that sound/rythm out - his hand is hardly moving"!

If he has another experienced player with him then sometimes he is able to articulate what Alec is playing.

Personally I was greatly impressed/honoured when Alec and Kevin backed me when I sang a song in a session!!! (and I have the photo to prove it!!!)

He is one of the greats, a really nice guy to talk and play with and he has no pretensions - whats your problem? Do it!

Re: Anyone had lessons/workshop with Alec Finn?

As an aside - Andy Irvine is a tutor at this years Zoukfest at Santa Fe, New Mexico - so there’s more dilemmas for you!

http://www.zoukfest.com/

I first met Alec Finn at Zoukfest at Taos when he was accompanying Frankie Gavin at a series of concerts.
He was subsequently peresuaded to come back with Kevin McCleod as tutors/performers.