one note samba

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Re: one note samba

Postby Doug Working » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:06 pm

With Chet, I think part of the nice tone on those runs may be due to thickness and or strength of the nail on the index finger.

I remember Chet once saying he had weak nails and that especially steel strings were hard on them. Tore them up. I'm sure later in his career, he used artificial nails of some sort. Close ups of his right hand sometimes they appear very white.
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Re: one note samba

Postby rkk2786 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:41 pm

Guys Chet's success wasn't about his fingernails, or the color of socks he wore, his success was about practicing and being creative and being driven. The color of his fingernails doesn't mean a thing, if you want to be a better guitarist, lock yourself in a room for eight hours a day and play, practices and try to be creative.

All the great players do their own thing.

Best regards,
Micah
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Re: one note samba

Postby Doug Working » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:41 pm

When I said they were "white", I was saying they were probably the artificial nails.

I was simply saying that the strength, thickness or quality of the nails directly affects the tone that they produce. Weak, brittle nails will probably not produce a beautiful tone. The tone from artificial nails will most likely vary, depending on the quality. I think each guitarist has to experiment and do good ol' trial and error to get the results they desire. Probably the best option (and it's not really an option.) is the genetic route; to be born with great nails. But last I heard, not many of us have any say-so in that.

But as for practicing 8 hours a day? I have been known to do that habitually. But I'm not a millionth as good as Mr Guitar.

I guess we all just got to keep trying, though. Does not pay to quit or give up, as with anything worthwhile in life.
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Re: one note samba

Postby rhirvine » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:33 am

Doug, I know what your meant by your previous comments. I'm sorry that some others didn't. I idolized Chet Atkins as I'm sure you did but in my late teens I realized that he had done his own music very well and I tried and tried to come up with my own style but couldn't. By the time I was 22 or 23 I felt that I had nothing new to offer guitar or western music and I turned my attentions to another career entirely. I still looked at the TV guides for Chet Atkins performances for many years until he passed away but I realized that my guitar playing was just an amateur hobby. I still use my thumb picking ability at church when it's called for and I still practice almost daily for 1/2 hours instead of hours and hours. I hope you take this in a positive way. P.S. my nails have always been frail too.
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Re: one note samba

Postby Doug Working » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:39 pm

No prob!

:)
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Re: one note samba

Postby DagerRande » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:07 pm

Rich, your description of your "musical journey" is depressing to me. I don't think I could have ever allowed myself to be sidetracked or go off in a different direction. What I've done to "identify myself" is to incorporate a lot of jazz harmony and what I call "transition chords", which lead to other ones. The purists don't like this but there are many who are open minded and like the creativity. Of course it helps to know the originals so that my arrangements make sense. I don't think I can ever be content with a plateau. I will try to improve as long as I live. Unfortunately, this can lead to stress and depression when falling short of what I imagine. I do love the journey though!
Rande Dager

We are all capable of doing more than we think we can!
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Re: one note samba

Postby rhirvine » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:38 pm

Sorry to depress you Rande. My thoughts about my earlier years are a retrospective look at it. I stopped wanting to play exactly like Chet and come up with something original. I couldn't. I tried to learn to improvise single note stuff and couldn't so I became less serious about guitar probably by the time I was 23-24. I'm glad that you came up with a chordal way to be original in your music. I like your playing. I don't really like my own stuff. I have played through most of my adult years with church music in mind. I've never regretted backing off on the guitar. It was the right thing for me to do.
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Re: one note samba

Postby rkk2786 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:24 pm

You know, no one has an issue with understanding our hero, his finger nails, guitars, pickups etc.! Just when we spend so much time trying to understand why Chet did what he did, seriously, he did what he did because it worked for him! He did things his own way because it worked for him! Lenny did it his way just like TE, RS, SW, JR and others. We would all be better guitarist just learning the tunes and putting our own twist on things instead of worrying about trivial things. Everyone worries way to much about copying the great ones and how they did it! My point is learn the tunes correctly and do your own thing. That's what all the great players do!

I'm not attacking anyone, just saying you cant replicate what Chet did and no one ever will! He was his own man and did it his way! I see great CA players who have different techniques that are great players and I respect them!

Best regards,
Micah
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Re: one note samba

Postby BillB » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:01 am

Micah,

You make a great point! I played guitar for several years before I tried to play Chet's style. I could play fingerstyle, but I didn't use a thumbpick. However, I finally figured out that it would be to my advantage to use one. After Chet passed, I thought it was time, and I cut my thumbnail as short as possible, put a thumbpick on, and forced myself to adjust to using it. That was one of the best thing that I ever did. But I don't have Chet's mind or his hands, and I have to work with what I have.

I've learned a lot from listening and watching Chet and your dad (and others) play, and I've tried my best to apply that to things that I play. I know a few of the Chet songs, but I can't play them like he did. I know a few licks, but I'll never learn them all. I'm pretty sure that I'll never learn to play the "Superlick", as cool as it is. But I can still learn more about playing guitar with the skills that I have. I'm lucky to have good fingernails. But Tommy Emmanuel doesn't have good nails, and I'll never play like he does, with or without nails.

These days, most of my playing is in a contemporary praise and worship band. I do a lot of fingerpicking, and I can play good rhythm with a thumbpick (thanks to encouragement from your dad). I didn't realize it, but it's what I've been trained to do. Not to sound like Chet Atkins, but to be a good enough guitar to fill in where needed. Sometimes I'm playing solo guitar for communion or as an intro to a modern worship song, and sometimes I'm doing my best to play a steady rhythm.

Chet's already done it, and I can't top that, but I'm fortunate enough to incorporate the style into what I am able to do.

My two cents,

Bill Bailey
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Re: one note samba

Postby Doug Working » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:06 pm

I'm kind of in the same boat. Playing in church in a contemporary praise and worship group. I'm the one guitarist in the group, and I just love to fingerpick, naturally, but OFTEN, they will say Doug, can you just play rythym on that one? The ol' thumb pick comes in real handy for that, as it is essentially just a flat pick wrapped around my thumb. Best of both worlds, lol.

I first tried a flat pick when I was new to guitar, before I understood that Chet used a thumb pick on all those records. Then it was time to imitate my hero.

Now when I took a few classical lessons, they despised the thumb pick, and I was forced to ditch it. They insisted on using the thumb nail, but my problem is that due to a physical problem, I have NEVER been able to grow out the thumbnail. Never. I have tried and tried, but it just breaks off before it gets sufficiently long.

So then, since I am starting a new guitar channel on Y'tube, I suppose that classical guitarists will despise me, criticize me and thumbs down all my videos, but that's just the way it is. I've "gotta be me."

Besides, I LIKE my Chet thumb pick. Even though I can't compare to him, that ol' thumb pick is my one unique connection to my hero.

Chet was once asked what he thought about all these up and coming players. Lots of them are PRETTY GOOD. Chet replied that what he did was simply reach into his pants pocket, where he kept a bunch of thumbpicks, and when he felt them with his hand, he felt secure, knowing that these other players were who they were, but he was happy knowing that he was who he was. Just Chet, that is.

And the world will always be a better place because of that.
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