Folk guitar technique

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by fenderbender4, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    I was wondering if anyone knew of good sources of learning folk techniques and songs. More specifically the kind of stuff Bob Dylan learned and does, like that rolling bass line in "Song to Woody". Some fingerpicking would definitely help too.

    Thanks.
     
  2. bobmc

    bobmc Supporting Member

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    fenderbender4

    When I first heard "Bring It All Back Home" it was about 20 years after it came out and in the middle of the New Wave era. I quickly realized I ignored folk guitar and went right to widdly widdly. Anyway, while not specifically BD related, the old Stefan Grossman stuff can be helpful in making the cowboy chords interesting which is real easy to overlook. Same with any fiddle tune collection; the tunes should be slower than bluegrass, and you'll find that if you're NOT supporting the melody you are probably playing too much. Less is more.
     
  3. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    A Mighty Wind....
    Ever been to Hibbing, MN? I played there in 1976. That is one lonesome town on the way to nowhere.
     
  4. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    Could you recommend some fiddle tunes/artists? The folk ones I kind of know of are Woody Guthrie, Weavers, Kingston Trio, Clancy brothers. Then of course the delta blues guys and Hank Williams.
     
  5. GA20T

    GA20T Member

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  6. Poppa Stoppa

    Poppa Stoppa Member

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    The first thing I learned when I picked up guitar in '69 or thereabouts was a fingerpicking pattern from an Oak Publications book called Folk Guitar or something like that. It involves a rocking bass using the thumb and picking with the other three fingers. You have to learn it & get it so it's automatic and you don't have to think about it - it's incredibly useful but there's a lot of people who aren't even aware of it. I'll try and tab it out when I next get to my PC.
     
  7. itkindaworks

    itkindaworks Member

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    That's how I cut my teeth on acoustic. By learning Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Woody, Ramblin' Jack songs.

    I don't have much advice other than to find some songs you like and learn them end to end, things suddenly make sense once you do that. You'll start to hear how big of an impact those guys had in other music (vastly different in some cases).


    I'm glad to hear someone ask about this type of music. Rock on!

    P.S.
    This guys site is awesome.

    http://dylanchords.info/01_bobdylan/song_to_woody.htm
     
  8. EL 34 X2

    EL 34 X2 Member

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    There was another Oak Publication I found in the '70s called something like "Abe and Malika's Accompaniment Patterns." It was full of TABed 2 bar patterns to use behind a singer, and an acetate record with examples of all the patterns. It was a good resource.

    But I think it went out of print long ago. I wish it was still available, with a CD. Oak Publications put out some great stuff early in the game.
     
  9. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    Simon and Garfunkle tabs?
     
  10. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    There is a Tony Rice book out of him playing some old stuff like Salt Creek and
    Windy And Warm etc. No words or explanations just the TAB and notation
    Hand written as well, very nice tunes and practice.
    Pretty easy to read, nothing hard. Just meant to be fast
    http://www.cvls.com/products/Rice.html
     
  11. mleggett

    mleggett Member

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  12. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    Wow this stuff is all great so far. It's kind of weird. As a teenager I never got into Dylan. I knew some of his songs were big and that he was one of the pillars of modern music, but wasn't into it. Then I gave him another listen and can't get enough. Bringing It All Back Home is probably my "desert island" Dylan album. I find so far that the guitar parts aren't necessarily *that* difficult (so far, although the Tony Rice suggestion will probably be ridiculous), it's just figuring out the pattern that's going on/getting the hands used to new ways of attacking the strings.
     
  13. Poppa Stoppa

    Poppa Stoppa Member

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    Here’s the basic folk picking pattern from the Oak Publications book I mentioned. It’s probably something that most people know really well, but will be a revelation to those who don’t.

    Finger an open ‘A’ chord.

    --0
    --2
    --2
    --2
    --0
    --0

    Then get your thumb going on the A and D strings, dead on the beat ‘1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4’, the notes being A-E-A-E (root-five-root-five). This is the rocking bass & it keeps going, right in time, and sets the rhythm.

    Next rest your three picking fingers on the G-B-E strings, one on each. First finger on the G string, second on the B string, ring finger on the top E.

    Now play high notes on the ‘and’ of 1-2-and-3-and-4. On the first ‘and’ you play the G string, 2nd fret (A note), on the second ‘and’ you play B string, 2nd fret (C#).

    Finally, play the high open E string together with the thumb on the first beat of each bar.

    The tab for two bars looks like this:

    --0-------------------------0-----------------------Ring finger
    -----------------2-------------------------2--------Second finger
    -----------2-------------------------2--------------First finger
    -------2-------------2-----------2-------------2----thumb
    --0-----------0-------------0-----------0-----------thumb

    Just remember to keep the thumb rhythm steady. Play the pattern until you can play it without thinking, at any speed. It drives you crazy until you get it, then suddenly it clicks.

    The pattern is adaptable to any chord - just make sure you play the root note on beats 1 & 3 with the thumb. The other bass note can be a third, fifth, seventh or octave above. For a four-note chord like open D or the basic C7 shape (movable up the neck), just miss out the first high note on beat 1. Once you get it down you can play the high notes in different places, but the principle remains of playing them either at the same time as the thumb or on the off-beat, the 'and', in between.

    It works great with folk, blues and rockabilly. For example, once you know this, Scotty Moore’s playing makes sense and ‘Mystery Train’ is a doddle.

    Hope this is appropriate to what the OP was asking!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  14. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

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    Doc Watson is ground zero for this type of playing
     
  15. JonR

    JonR Member

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    "Freewheelin'" is probably the classic album for Dylan's early guitar style. He really tries almost everything there: mostly flatpicking, but more varied than his Guthrie-style debut, and two nice fingerstyle tracks (Girl from the North Country, Don't Think Twice), a handful of alternative tunings, and use of a capo on all tracks except one.

    A great site for Dylan chords and tabs is this:
    http://dylanchords.info/alphabetical_list_of_songs.htm
    - you don't get much more comprehensive than that!
    [EDIT: oh I see someone already posted that...]

    My favourite album of his is Blood on the Tracks (all in open tuning), but I'd also recommend Blonde on Blonde, Desire, Street Legal, Highway 61 Revisited.
    Bringing It All Back Home was of course his transition album, half acoustic, half electric - one of my favourites too, he could really do no wrong in the mid-60s, produced an amazing set of albums within just 3 years.

    For influences on Dylan (and that tradition of acoustic playing) I'd echo the above recommendations. As well as Woody, Dylan was influenced by Dave Van Ronk, the Clancy Brothers, and a few lesser-known contemporaries, but mainly by that huge folk/country/blues heritage represented by the Smithsonian/Folkways anthology: Carter Family, Jimmie Rogers, Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, Gary Davis, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Dock Boggs, and later figures such as Hank Williams and Doc Watson, etc etc.

    For 60s-style fingerpicking - a kind of cleaned-up, more introverted version of Travis Picking which became standard in the 60s clubs - a little known influential figure was Jackson C Frank:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgY4GnLGsLQ
    He influenced Paul Simon, as well as the guy Neil Young called the "Hendrix of the acoustic guitar", Bert Jansch:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkX7Q2J7k48
    - who went on to influence Jimmy Page and Donovan, who taught the style to the Beatles.
    Paul Simon's debut album has some nice examples of the style too:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q60YKfPKdjQ
     
  16. masskid

    masskid Member

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    Study Mississippi John Hurt for finger picking. Come out with magical control over your picking hand. :)
     
  17. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the info. I really love finding the influences of artists I like and being able to sort of take a bird's eye view of the progression in the music over the years.
     
  18. Poppa Stoppa

    Poppa Stoppa Member

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    Did ya nail that pattern I laid out on the previous page yet?
     
  19. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    Haha, well I can always be better, but I've gotten the hang of it. Probably not able to do it at 200BPM, but hopefully will get there. I appreciate it immensely though.

    As to the other post, big fan of Mississippi John Hurt. "Nobody's Business" creeps me out...in a good way though.
     

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