Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby Doug Working » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:04 pm

Anyone here have any left hand stretches that Chet so easily executed, but you just can't nail 'em?

I would give my eye tooth to nail those stretches. If only my fingers were even a quarter of an inch longer, it'd be a piece of cake, but the Good Lord just didn't see fit. Of course, it was all a piece of cake for Chet.

Couple that really get me are the first chords in"Cascade." Man, that's one killer stretch!

Another one is in Chet's arrangement of "Emily", from "Chet Atkins Goes To The Movies." One super stretch in there, if you play it as Chet did.

Also, the middle arpeggio section of "The Early Dawn" is one that I've been struggling with for years. That one almost HURTS! Almost? Heck no. It DOES hurt.

There are a few more. But those are the ones that first come to mind.

How about you guys? Any dream stretches that you just wish you could nail?

Doug
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby rhirvine » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:31 pm

I'll bet that most of the NBA players would have little or no trouble reaching any of Chet's stretches :D
but I sure have trouble, and yet when I finally got a chance to be where Lenny Breau ( in Los Angeles area) was playing I was amazed that his hands were even smaller than mine (he's the only great guitarist that I got to shake hands with). But he could reach some notes above a barre that amazed me. He did mostly barre chords and I didn't see him doing any "choke chords". He preferred a wider neck for his style.

Rich Irvine
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby DagerRande » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:33 am

Doug, I don't know if you've been around when Ray Cummins has talked about "The Cascade Stretch" but it is commonly known and referred to as the primary example of the type of stretches you are talking about.
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby Doug Working » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:32 pm

No doubt. That is like the mother of all stretches.

The real bear about it is, well, either you have it or you don't, as far as finger length. I've studied and played classical, and I've worked my way through a ton of etudes by the masters, like Sor, Carcassi, and Terrega, and many, many of these have some killer stretches built into them. Even after years, many of them I just can't do. So it's been said there are "stretching exercises", to help your finger span increase, but don't you believe it. They have done me little good over the years. Either you have it, or you don't. YOU CAN'T MAKE YOUR FINGERS LONGER!!

I know Chet had a fabulous span. And that was natural. It was heaven ordained; Genetic; a gift from above. And that was with no strain or effort. So he was able to spend his practice time on other techniques. Leaves me in the dirt. I understand his grip was truly a gorilla grip.

I've tried all kind of contraptions to improve my left hand grip strength over the years. Even this monster contraption used by Marshall artists called the tiger claw.

It's kind of analogous to basketball. (since you guys mentioned it.) if you are seven feet tall by genetics, you've got a head start on shorter guys. You'd still need to practice and work hard at it. No free meal tickets here on third rock, but you are already way ahead of the shorter guy who has to work harder just to catch up with your natural born talent.

But it's that stretching thing that beats me. So what do ya' do? Myself, if I can't nail the stretch, I try to find an alternate way of fingering to get around it. Sometimes that's possible, sometimes it's not. So I gotta live with it. The good LORD just didn't see fit to give my fingers that extra quarter to half inch more length that would truly make all the difference.

Just a liiiiiiiiiiiitle biiiiiiiiit mooooooooooooore!!
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby ceciltguitar » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:34 pm

The 4 consecutive "super licks" neatly sandwiched in the middle of Chet's otherwise smooth, easy-listening arrangement of "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" from the 1967 album "It's A Guitar World". The stretches are (barely) doable, but pulling them off consecutively at lightning speed with perfect accuracy and the buoyant, ebullient musicality that Chet infuses them with is well-nigh impossible.
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby Doug Working » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:43 pm

I know the part you are talking about. That always blew me away! Chet executes them so BEAUTIFULLY!! Sounds amazing. One of my all time favorite Chet albums. I can hear each song in my head phrase by phrase without even putting on the disk. (Yeah, I wore it out, as I did a few there of my Chet records. But especially that one.)

The super lick is out of my league. Hey, I know when I'm "licked." (Ok, ok, pun intended! I'm not going to even try it. Not even one, let alone four in a row.

I believe I have an old issue of "Guitar Player" magazine in which Chet explains the super lick technique in an interview. I'll dig through my magazines and see. Just for the heck of it.

Doug
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby DagerRande » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:09 pm

"Cast Your Fate to the Wind" was my first exposure to the Superlick. I was quite surprised when I finally saw Chet play them. He used his thumb-pick in a sweeping motion. Since then I've seen Richard Smith do the same multiple times. I used to think the notes were individually picked with the fingers. It's more a coordination with the right hand pick sweeping and the left hand hammer-ons and pull-offs. I've tried them and it's difficult not to hit a few dead notes along the way.
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby Doug Working » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:24 pm

That's why he was Mr Guitar, and we are, well, who we are!

I can think of actually quite a few Chet tunes where he seems to weave that Superlick in seamlessly at PRECISELY THE RIGHT SPOT. He was UNCANNY about knowing where to use it. When he uses it, it doesn't seem contrived, or like a wrong piece of the jigsaw puzzle that just doesn't fit. It's always perfect for the exact spot he places it in, and seems to fill a need, musical-wise, for the tune's sake, that nothing else would work. In Chet's hands Supelick is a magical embellishment.

There are a few tunes where Chet ended with the Superlick! Can you recall them? How about "Foggy Miuntain Top?" I think that ends with three Superlicks in a row. I don't have to listen to the record. It's in my head, and if I close my eyes, my inner ear can "hear it." I think there are probably a couple more where he ended it with the Superlick, but I'll have to think about it.

Chet was great at finding a unique way to OPEN each tune, then he would invariably CLOSE memorably, and he sandwiched a lot of great stuff in between.

I once read about how it got named the Superlick, as Chet told it, but t escapes my memory. Does anybody recall how the name came about?

Doug
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby Pickin Palmer » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:43 pm

7 - 3 - 0, 7 -3- 0, 7 - 3 - 0.... Anybody know what I'm "typing" about?? CAN'T DO IT - NEVER COULD - NEVER WILL!!
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Re: Any Chet Left Hand Stretches You Just Can't Nail?

Postby Pickin Palmer » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:46 pm

Terry Efaw has fingers the length of my legs - and, he runs that damned thing all the way up - and, all the way back down (several times)- while looking at me like he's petting a dog... ARG!!
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