Solitaire

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Solitaire

Postby keener » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:08 pm

I love the song Solitaire, by the incredible composer Neil Sedaka. This is my attempt at recording it. I hope I got the gist of it right, as I am doing it completely from memory. The tuning is 6th in D, 3rd in F#, 1st in D, with no alteration on the others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eEFcMeo740

Since I smoke like a factory when I pick, I think this is it for a while. I enjoyed it, but all things in moderation, as many sources of wisdom say.
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Re: Solitaire

Postby Billy Anderson » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:48 pm

Said a "wannabe" to a picker named Bruce
I can't find any reasonable excuse
To keep trying to play in that great Keener way
Guess I'll stop with a chair and a noose!

Surely God got the two of us mixed up somehow. I was supposed to be the guitarist and you were supposed to be the one :mrgreen: with envy. Oh well, just another drop of rain in the monsoon of my life! KOPAP. Billy
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Re: Solitaire

Postby Roger Pratt » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:01 pm

GREAT job and really pretty tune Bruce!!
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Re: Solitaire

Postby keener » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:53 pm

Billy and Roger, thank you. I appreciate your comments and friendship.

Billy, thanks for the chuckle. You know, many scientists say there are a countless number of universes, including ones in which our lives are totally different (and ones in which we don't even exist). So, in some universe, I am your Roman slave, dutifully listening to you play the lute. Cool, huh?

Later
Bruce
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Re: Solitaire

Postby smokymtguitar09 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:16 pm

Bruce,
That's nice and easy ..... easy to watch and listen. You are mastering the alternate tuning methods with apparent ease. I've been watching your right hand method and you apparently use thumb, index (I) and middle (M) and never the ring finger...would that be correct? You get a nice tone, are you recording direct or through an amp, and do you monitor the speakers or just the acoustics of the guitar alone?
Ronnie Evans
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Re: Solitaire

Postby keener » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:07 pm

Hi Ronnie, thank you for the nice feedback.

I actually use my ring finger (a) pretty often, maybe even too often See my comments on this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=564&p=3227#p3227

In the tune Solitaire, I do use the M finger more than I might have traditionally done, because I am working on technique a bit. But, the A finger is in there a good bit ... for example, several instances of me getting the first string with it and the third string with my I finger, several instances of me getting the first string with A and the second with M. (The low quality of the YouTube videos makes it really difficult to tell which fingers are operative at times, especially with me keeping my fingers so close together.)

A more typical case of how I generally play is the tune Bouncer, in which I use the A finger a fair amount. I read many, many years ago that the A finger is the weaker of the playing fingers (I've never tried to use my pinky, although I understand that Lenny Breau sometimes used his), so I set about to make it a habit to use it as much as Practical, so that it would "be there" when I really needed it.

Last week, though, I took the time to watch several YouTubes of Chet, and, while he used his A finger some, he used his M finger a lot more, using it in places where I would have used the A. Figuring that it would pay for me to follow the master a bit more closely, I've been working on involving my A finger a bit less, while trying to keep it enough in the picture to "not lose it when I need it." (I do this while humbly remembering that Merle got so much sound with just the thumb and index finger. Ditto on Doc Watson.)

As to the recording, I use an old Sun amp, with a cheap logitech mic which goes into a USB port on my Mac. I don't really monitor any aspect of it, except that I have experimented to try and find the right volume. I come pretty close to using the amp settings that Paul recommends, I believe in his FAQ, although I tend to add a bit more treble to some tunes.

I'd like to see some discussion on use of fingering from some of the guys who teach the Chet and Merle and Jerry techniques, but I get the impression that what you should ultimately do is more a matter of personal taste, and what feels right, than a "pure science."

Thanks again, Ronnie. I like discussing this kind of stuff. I wish I knew enough to be good at discussing it.

Bruce
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Re: Solitaire

Postby smokymtguitar09 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:31 pm

That's a good description of how you play and why. I have also been studying this in same regard of how Chet got those big fat notes so consistently. I also use my ring (a) finger on most of my melody lines and usually the (a) and middle (m) together to get harmony notes which works great on nylon string guitar but sometimes causes me problems when recording. Your explanation will be a great help in modifying my own approach and hopefully it will give me the desired results. Doc Watson played my Gallagher guitar back stage and I watched him up close as he played with his thumb and index (i) using thumb pick and finger pick and that was all. He got sounds out of my guitar that I cannot get, understandably. He plays with a lot of strength even at age 87.
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Re: Solitaire

Postby keener » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:42 pm

One can't totally ignore technique, that's for sure, but Chet said it best when he said "play the music," which is what I really strived to do with Solitaire.

And apparently it makes a difference, because I just got a comment on Facebook from The Pete Huttlinger, who wrote: "Beautiful playing Bruce!" Man, that made my day!!!
Last edited by keener on Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Solitaire

Postby Billy Anderson » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:26 pm

Listen, Bruce, you're freaking me out with that 'whole nother universe' stuff. In fact the posts that followed about your use of m and a is spooky because about 2 hours ago, I was playing and kept noticing that my speed (never had ability) is getting slower. I put my thinking cap on (looks like an orange cone you see on the highway) and decided it must have something to do with my decision about 3 months ago to learn to use the a and pinky fingers after 50 years of playing with p, i and m. I had a fairly easy time (for me) of learning to use the a finger but a harder time with the pinky. It seems to have thrown my whole hand and pickng method into that universe you mentioned. It has changed my muting spot, the way I hold the guitar and my whole enjoyment of playing. I have small fingers and my guitar is a Super Chet which has a bridge that would span the Mississippi during flood season. But I will keep at it even though it is a lost cause. My new unwanted picking style seems more suited to a nylon string guitar and I'm finding I like the sound of just the thumb and fingers without a thumbpick. I may just get me a cheapo classical and see if I may be playing the wrong style guitar. Wish I had figured out some of this guitar mumbo jumbo before I had one foot in the grave and the other on a patch of ice. Take care, and KOPAP. Billy
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Re: Solitaire

Postby keener » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:51 pm

You use your pinky? I truly should bow down and worship you (even in this universe).

If my CG were the guitar I used regularly, instead of the Godin, I'd mostly use thumb, i, and m. I can use A on the CG, and do, but I make much more use of the m finger on the CG. Part of it is because the neck is smaller (thinner) than the Godin. Part of it is that I played the CG so much growing up, and in my earlier years I didn't use the A finger all that much, except for Reed rhythm licks, and I generally just got those on a classical.

I know what you mean about one foot in the grave and the other on a patch of ice.
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