Alec Finn’s playing style
How does he do that?
How does he do that?
Please specifiy — then the "merry mob" of scholars here who have for many years (likely longer than Mr. Finn has actually been living) analyzed his style and technique can respond, comment, editorialize, agree, disagree, contradict, criticise, threaten, abuse, judge, deny, declaim, reassess, re-reassess, regroup, further insult and alienate, and come to few useful conclusions save the obvious about his playing.
Oh, and have fun doing it, too.
With Frankie Gavin.
He would have made an excellent bodhran player.an absolutely bulletproof sense of rhythm without any of the hangups of difficult fretting, bowing or other contortions that melody players have to bear.
And he does notes too. Formidable.
He does it by being Alec Finn.
I bet he couldn’t be Sugarfoot Jack, so take heart..
I had the pleasure of watching Alec with Kevin MacLeod, Dagger Gordon, Luke Plumb and others in a plucktacular plinkfest at Celtic Connections last year, and I can confirm that he plays Alec Finn style very well indeed
HE WAS CRAP!!! CRAP, I TELLYE!!!
Dead right ! that bloody Bazouki sounds like a threshing machine !
He is a genius, and will also be teaching at the Catskills Irish Arts Week 🙂 both bouzouki and mandolin.
Actually he will be teaching bouzouki only in the Catskills this summer as Frankie McCormick will take up the mandolin class. I think the website will be updated to reflect that change along with a few other adjustments this week.
"I bet he couldn’t be Sugarfoot Jack, so take heart"
He might not be so upset about that…
What I really meant was does anyone have any insight into his technique (both left and right hand) that I could use to enhance my own, er, unique style.
I won’t be able to make the Catskills. It’s thousands of miles away and I’m brassic.
Well, he normally plays a three-course bouzouki instead of a four-course that so many others play.
He plays a mixture of chords, melody and complementary (counterpoint wouldn’t always be the right description) single note runs, and he uses his own judgement and taste of what to play when. His own judgement and taste turns out to be pretty good, and his ability matches it
Oh, and he has forged a good , pretty much telepathic, understanding with certain musicians through years of playing with them.
So that’s all you have to do.
How does he get his hair to curl like that?
Curls it with whiskey I think. He is as nice as he is talented. Very pleasant man. I mentioned to him that is right hand (really big set of mits!!) hardly moves, very short strums. He said ‘ya there’s not very much going on there’. Very humble. One of my favourite musicians. Jackie Daly talked him into to doing the Catskills thing. DAD tuning I think.
On this subject, I would like to ask something about the DAD tuning. I have considered DADA tuning (kind of an equivalent 4 course tuning) but found that the capo needed to be used to bring about the best effect for tunes in keys other than D or G (and some related modes.) Sure, you can play in other obscure keys without a capo but the closed fingering does not give you the same effect as capoing up in open tuning would. I’m curious as to whether you consider using the capo a cheap trick or shortcut. Personally, I feel it must be used to get the most out of the tuning, even if it means just playing several different fret numbers up the scale.
Oh, and I think Alec Finn is marvelous! Mick Connelly does a good job in a similar style to Alec’s too.
I remember discussing this before.
Try doin a search.
One technique he uses alot, is dragging the pick upwards across the strings.
(ie from the bottom up)
Tuning a 4-course to GDAD gives you all the same possibilities of the 3-course in DAD. It’s just hard to resist the temptation of using the G-string.
‘Course analysis is for the birds, and I’m one of them.
Rhythmically, he hits the big downbeats (1 & 3 foot-taps) most of the time. Once this is set up, he alternates with the 2 & 4, then makes sure he gets a few ‘and-four-ands’ and other connecting bits so that the whole rhythm rolls right along.
Another obvious, in that it’s one of the basic ways of choosing chords - his harmonies largely reflect the harmonies instrinsic in the tunes, subtly changing as the tune changes.
He plays a lot of slower counter melodies which supports the tune’s harmonies; hammering-on mostly, not so many pull-offs.
Anecdote: DeDannann was in Jappann, did an unprecedented live pub session, the news traveled like wildfire. For me, because it was 28 years ago at the Mariposa Folk Fest in Toronto that Alec’s free playing around 8 fiddlers’ single concentrated melody line, that dropped the blinders from my eyes got me interested in playing this music, I wanted to pay homage and brought a CD for them to sign (not something I normally do, BTW.. <gr>) .
The session of mostly themselves, was incredibly good of course, and I was pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. They started with the Yellow Tinker, went through it about eight times through at a leisurely pace, checking their sync with each as they went, and it built up almost imperceptibly.
Afterwards I approached Alec (as I had in back then in Toronto) and paid my homage when I asked for his autograph, and hHe obliged & thanked me for the nice compliment..
At which point Mr.Gavin (to whom of course I’m also eternally indebted) looked over and said, "Hey,aren’t I supposed to sign that?"….I think I may have blushed that *tiny* little bit.
Here is a quick transcription of Alec’s playing on "The Teetotallers" (De Danann "Star Spangled Molly")
Page 1 : https://www.facebook.com/IrishGuitarAndBouzouki/photos/pcb.2111959718824730/2111961312157904/?type=3&theater
Page 2 : https://www.facebook.com/IrishGuitarAndBouzouki/photos/pcb.2111959718824730/2111961425491226/?type=3&theater
And page 3 : https://www.facebook.com/IrishGuitarAndBouzouki/photos/pcb.2111959718824730/2112049632149072/?type=3&theater
Thank you Mister Finn
Lovely transcriptions, Jean!