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Guitar wankery as high art?
January 6, 2007 10:32 PM   Subscribe

We've discussed guitar wankery here before, but this fellow (Polish virtuoso Adam Fulara) is the first I've seen who actually uses the techniques of tapping to enable the guitarist to perform classical pieces that have previously been unplayable (video: Bach BWV 784). Not good enough? He can also do it on two guitars simultaneously (video: Joplin, Maple Leaf Rag). Watch as his head nearly explodes from the sheer levels of concentration necessary (video: Bach BWV 848). More from his website.
posted by Civil_Disobedient (85 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The facial expressions are amazing. The technique seems inconsistent in that some notes seem to be more silent than they should be, but still it is an amazing feat.
posted by bhouston at 10:37 PM on January 6, 2007


worst case of guitar face ever!
posted by dydecker at 10:39 PM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I always like these kinds of things, but the truth of the matter is, hammering an instrument designed to be plucked just doesn't sound all that fantastic. I mean, it's really impressive, but it would be just as impressive if he used twin guitars as a drumsticks to play Neil Peart's solo from Exit Stage Left. It probably wouldn't sound as good, just like these pieces, while very impressive don't sound as good as they would played on the instruments they were written for.
posted by jonson at 10:46 PM on January 6, 2007


Fun stuff and certainly makes it look easy. Now if he could just get rid of the "O" face while he spanks it...
posted by hal9k at 10:46 PM on January 6, 2007


Would a guy like this use tons of compression to get those notes to ring? I have played guitar for half my (short) life, but can't wrap my head around tapping.
posted by tmcw at 10:46 PM on January 6, 2007


exactly what jonson said ^
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:58 PM on January 6, 2007


AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!! Another guitar wankery post? Again??!!

AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!! MWAAAAAGGGHHHH!!!


Okay, I feel a little better now. I'm gonna just go and listen to the water slowly dripping out of my faucet. Drop by drop. Each drop an ever-so-slight variation in tone. Every drop a multidimensional universe of exquisite sound.

Y'all carry on.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:06 PM on January 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


This guy should take up the piano.
posted by Flunkie at 11:09 PM on January 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I always like these kinds of things, but the truth of the matter is, hammering an instrument designed to be plucked just doesn't sound all that fantastic.

Fat hu-mon fingers on the fretboard, yes.

I have a friend who does or did this sort of hammered-dulcimer-guitar thing. He used an acoustic w/ pickups where he made his own bridge or nut to prop the strings up high, and then the guitar laid flat on a stand which rested on a small amp. He'd just use chopsticks or pens and pencils and stuff to hammer the strings, and tilts of the bridge or different bridges allowed different tunings.

It was pretty awesome stuff with the mild feedback from the amp with the acoustic guitar and pickup. Some of my favorite guitar noises of all time.
posted by loquacious at 11:12 PM on January 6, 2007


Flapjax, did you even listen to it? It's one thing to play endless arpeggios, quite another to perform a Bach sonata without having to transpose or otherwise castrate it for the benefit of playing it on an instrument for which it was not intended.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:13 PM on January 6, 2007


Yo, C_D, I'm just taking the piss, man! Just having some fun! I'm will go and listen to it, but that faucet... that faucet, it's... it's... it just keeps pulling me back into its sonic web of wonderment...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:21 PM on January 6, 2007


Hey loq, that friend wouldn't happen to be Fred Frith, would he? He's done a lot of what you're talking about.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:23 PM on January 6, 2007


Nah, flapjax, his name was John, but he might have gotten the idea from Frith or something.
posted by loquacious at 11:26 PM on January 6, 2007


Meh. His rhythm is a little ragged in that last link. Keep practicing.
Just kidding. I think I like the tone the guitar makes on that one better than I do when it's played on piano.
posted by ctmf at 11:31 PM on January 6, 2007


Okay, he's good. But he's no Neil Peart.
posted by hal9k at 11:36 PM on January 6, 2007


Son, If you keep making that face, it'll get stuck that way.
posted by blasdelf at 11:53 PM on January 6, 2007


I don't care what anybody says.

This is totally sweet.
posted by Alex404 at 12:55 AM on January 7, 2007


Yes, but can he play Liszt's La Campanella?
posted by Justinian at 1:01 AM on January 7, 2007


Cool!

But Ed Grimley has let his hair really grow out, I must say! He's going mental, but then again, maybe he's not.
posted by The Deej at 1:03 AM on January 7, 2007


Killer guitar face! A+++
posted by papakwanz at 1:05 AM on January 7, 2007


It's a good thing talented musicians don't have to practice AND listen to all the dumb things people say.

I'm beginning to understand Glenn Gould and Bobby Fischer better every day.
posted by Twang at 1:13 AM on January 7, 2007


The head "nearly explodes" link was the only one I watched and I truly thought it would. Sounds great but it leaves me feeling kind of like...why? He's great but it's all about how he can transpose a 'tricky' piece to guitar, rather than he's a great musician, no?
Also, the sound of his spitty-tight-mouth-breathing mouth was louder than his hammer-on-ing guitar.
posted by chococat at 1:18 AM on January 7, 2007


I hope... I hope he keeps this up for the next 30 years or so.

Because then he could win the world gurning competition.
posted by empyrean at 1:41 AM on January 7, 2007


His version of "Maple Leaf Rag" doesn't sound quite right. Apart from the spelling, I mean.
posted by obvious at 2:03 AM on January 7, 2007


That was just fantastic stuff. You can criticize the worth of it if you want, but you gotta admit that takes some devotion to your craft to pull off.
posted by nightchrome at 2:18 AM on January 7, 2007


I enjoying watching these guitar wankers on YouTube. I even enjoying listening to their wankery. But I just don't like hearing it.
posted by mullacc at 2:39 AM on January 7, 2007


My mother once told me that one of her old boyfriends was taught how to play guitar by Andrés Segovia, and could play some stunning pieces. She said that when he (the ex-boyfriend) played, he'd pull all these funny faces because of the concentration he put into playing.
Segovia transcribed classical music for the guitar (JS Bach, Mozart), and according to the world he impressed in 1929, what was "traditional" classical could be played on the guitar to an impressive effect. Whether he'd be for or against the finger-picking style is debateable, but it's still an interesting take on a relatively new style of classical.
Fulara is really clever and talented, and I was smiling as he was playing because of the complexity and effort it must've taken to learn and remember those. It reminds me (somewhat) of the Toy Dolls and their version of Toccata in Dm - fun and different.
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:55 AM on January 7, 2007


funny, i thought i'd changed the second "impressive" to a different adjective. hmph.
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:59 AM on January 7, 2007


One of my favorite pieces of all time is 'The Maple Leaf Rag,' so it's the one I clicked, and that 2-handed performance is nothing short of amazing. I have no idea why people are bitching.

It's stunning. There just isn't a substantive guitar tradition for that technique, so who will inspire or show or teach you to do that is a mystery. It's a hell of a lot easier to find chords on a non-moving, horizontal, linear instrument than a guitar, and then getting your right hand to do the same as the left, mirrored, and from the top, that's impressive. It looks something like courtroom stenography.
posted by toma at 4:36 AM on January 7, 2007


What's the crap at the top of the necks on his double guitar?
posted by knave at 5:15 AM on January 7, 2007


The sound quality in those YouTube videos is so gronky that I thought he was miming over a midi file.
posted by scruss at 5:21 AM on January 7, 2007


What is most amazing to me is that he uses a clean guitar sound. This technique is easiest with the bridge pickup, grungy distortion and lots of compression. He is as far from that tone as possible, which makes what he is doing even more impressive... except for the face.

I would like to see him with a decent midi setup, which would allow him to use the guitar as a controller but get different instrument sounds. String quartet pieces?

What's the crap at the top of the necks on his double guitar?

Looks like he duct taped the neck together, but it probably is to mute the open strings. I use a hair scrunchy, which looks slightly less annoying. (I learned that trick from watching Jennifer Batten.)
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:41 AM on January 7, 2007


you gotta give the guy huge props for his technical proficiency. but frankly, the bach, as music, sounds terrible.
posted by facetious at 5:52 AM on January 7, 2007


Reminds me of Stanley Jordan.
posted by Balisong at 6:00 AM on January 7, 2007


The crap, my guess, is paper, or something like it, used to dampen secondary notes. A guitar is just a bunch of free-standing strings. If you press one down and pluck on the right side (as usual, as a right-handed player, looking down), you'll hear that intended note. But you could pluck on the other side and get a wildly different note.

Because hammering isn't plucking--you're not choosing which note to accent--both notes will be audible. Slide and lap steel players have to solve the same problem because laying a piece of metal on top of an un-pinched vibrating string allows the other note to pop up. They typically dampen by using trailing fingers--the index for slide, the pinkie for lap steel, if you're right-handed.

Oh, and it also kills all the notes that would come up from open strings vibrating as your hands move about the neck. It's essentially a dead guitar until you press a string down on to the fretbord.
posted by toma at 6:06 AM on January 7, 2007


That's amazing sounding and playing./ What an incredible talent. peace.

Those criticizing his facial expression or for playing the pieces on an instrument 'for which it was not intended'... I hope you aren't teachers or coaches, you're too rigid and hide bound. You are the folks who stifle creativity and wonder.

One Listens to music not watches it.

Are you going to tell Jeff Healy 'you don't play a guitar that way'¿ ]2nd image down[. If a woman is making similar facial expressions ]scroll down—Maria[ are you going to criticize that too¿

How would a pedal steel guitar come to creation then. Or anything new. The group of people who coordinated their skills to fly to the moon...would you also say 'it can't be done¿' Prolly.

It IS about the creativity. Doesn't appear to me you have an iota of creativity although you may very well 'play' guitar. Hmph.
Release the bull.

posted by alicesshoe at 6:07 AM on January 7, 2007


Stairway To Heaven, Stanley Jordan tapps it out.
posted by Balisong at 6:19 AM on January 7, 2007


It's good to see that Arseface is still out there making music.

Other than that - Impressive, musical tapping. I didn't throw up in my mouth once.
posted by bunnytricks at 6:38 AM on January 7, 2007


/sound of Jack White not caring
posted by bardic at 6:42 AM on January 7, 2007


bach and joplin are not wankery
posted by pyramid termite at 6:56 AM on January 7, 2007


bach and joplin are not wankery

P.D.Q. and Janis?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:00 AM on January 7, 2007


I always like these kinds of things, but the truth of the matter is, hammering an instrument designed to be plucked just doesn't sound all that fantastic.

I mostly agree with that. This guy is incredibly talented/skilled, but to my ears, this piece would sound more moving and rich if played on an acoustic piano. As technically impressive as this is, and he certainly plays it with a lot of feel, the music and tone just don't move me.

I wouldn't go so far as to say something prescriptivist like "the guitar wasn't intended to be played in such and such a manner", as that's foolish and would apply to all of the great innovators of the past 50 years (Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Bill Frisell, Greg Ginn, etc.), but what this guy is doing doesn't sound as great to me as the piece would sound on another instrument.
posted by psmealey at 7:16 AM on January 7, 2007


I encountered this video since the last thread, was going to post it there, but it works here, too.
posted by The Straightener at 7:18 AM on January 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


more silent than they should be

silence, like pregnancy, is not a matter of degree.
posted by quonsar at 7:21 AM on January 7, 2007


Toma:

No, Secondary notes are not a problem on an electric guitar. The pickups don't, er, pick them up.

He's using the paper to avoid open notes ringing out when he lifts his fingers, I'm pretty sure.
posted by Zero Gravitas at 7:34 AM on January 7, 2007


Hey, just out of curiosity, how many of you would call what this guy does musical talent and how many of you would say it's performing skills?
posted by micayetoca at 8:54 AM on January 7, 2007


There just isn't a substantive guitar tradition for that technique, so who will inspire or show or teach you to do that is a mystery.

I don't think it's terribly mysterious, guitarists have been trying to figure out ways to reconfigure classical piano pieces for a while now and most pieces do require reconfiguration for obvious reasons. I think the evolution of two handed playing to this level required first the innovation of someone like Stanley Jordan who put both hands fully on the neck like a piano keyboard, but after that epiphany (that an electric guitar can be rigged to pick up notes played in this fashion -- and Jordan's and I imagine this guy's guitars are rigged with pickups specially made to accomodate this style), I think it was only a matter of time before someone decided to take a classical piano piece with two sets of running notes and play them on the neck of the guitar very much like they would be played on a piano.

As far as who taught him to play this way, I would imagine he's self-taught as far as playing the guitar like this but I bet he's had some formal piano training, as well. I mean, most guitar players can't use both hands to that level of proficiency, but all skilled pianists can.

The thing about this video that makes me almost kind of sad is that as a guitar player I have an idea of how much time and effort went into developing this technique that I think will only amount to a youtube curiousity, ultimately. There is no demand for this in the classical music world, especially considering the fact that this technique will not work on an acoustic instrument.

In fact, the place for guitar players in the classical community is so small, the number of pieces that require it or can be reconfigured for it so few that it's kind of an odd man out. As a kid who was thinking about pursuing music school, I was told by a realist music school teacher to avoid taking the classical guitar route because the professional possibilities were so few.
posted by The Straightener at 9:05 AM on January 7, 2007


Loved the Scott Joplin piece. Kind of makes me proud to be human to see someone doing something so cool!
posted by mokey at 9:13 AM on January 7, 2007


ZG:

Adam is muting the lower notes on the "treble neck" so they do not sound. He appears to be using the right hand to do the righthand piano part of MLR and the left hand/second neck to do the bass/left hand notes and chords. Therefore he can't mute the bass strings and low notes on the second neck.

It is possible to hack through MLR on a single guitar, but many left hand piano chord effects are impossible. The thumb can give one the moving bass line of ragtime, but only one note at a time. The tapping approach--on a separate neck--allows the bass chords of the piano part to be played.

IMHO, Adam does a remarkable job, all things considered. It is damnably difficult to play like he does. To put his prodigious technique to work and produce a more-than-creditable version of piano ragtime shows real musical talent. As well as a shitload of practice time. . .
posted by rdone at 9:18 AM on January 7, 2007


What about this. (YouTube link) Tapping, strumming, and percussion on the guitar, but it doesn't feel to wanky to me, just kind of pleasant. Reminds me of Michael Hedges.
posted by Area Control at 9:18 AM on January 7, 2007


hammering an instrument designed to be plucked just doesn't sound all that fantastic

Now that's just plain silly. If we only did what we were 'meant' to do in art, well... the art world would be pretty boring. The whole issue of 'wankery' has always struck me as pretty harsh - the guy is trying something crazy, succeeding wildly at it, and gets accused of being a wanker. As some have pointed out, this isn't some pointless trick - it's an attempt to play these pieces in a different way. I, for one, love it.
posted by ORthey at 9:20 AM on January 7, 2007


Excuse me, I have described his hands reversed--he's doing the bass with the left and the treble with the right. And he has a bit of muting on the bass neck.

Sorry for any inconvenience. . . .on second viewing, the performance of "Mapple Leaf" is even mpre amazing.
posted by rdone at 9:27 AM on January 7, 2007


The whole issue of 'wankery' has always struck me as pretty harsh

i've never felt so because there are too many musicians using that technique and other techniques just to show off how fast and tricky they can play ... on the other hand, adam's got a legitimate reason for playing the way he does ... he's trying to play pieces that probably cannot be played on guitar by any other means ... he's letting the music dictate the technique instead of the other way around, so he can't be accused of wankery
posted by pyramid termite at 9:38 AM on January 7, 2007


how many of you would call what this guy does musical talent and how many of you would say it's performing skills?

The problem with your question, as I see it, is that when discussing music the terms "talent" and "skill" are practically synonymous. For example, I think most folks would say that this guitarist is talented and skillful, and they'd use those terms interchangeably. But I think I know what you're getting at, and if I may suggest a different term, I'd ask, does this player display musicality? Is there that essentially indefineable quality of soul in his performance? Or is he mostly displaying a purely technical motor skill honed to an impressive degree? For me personally, I'd say this guy has enormous skill but little to no soul. No musicality. No juice. This stuff just doesn't move me. If it moves others, fine. Whatever floats your boat. But this guy to me is like a typist or something. And I don't give a flying fandango how difficult what he's doing is. As dydecker pointed out in the piano thread also underway, this isn't athletics we're talking about here, it's music. This guy just doesn't give me music like I need it: with heart and soul.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:43 AM on January 7, 2007


Tapping is non-conventional in terms of what guitar playing is for most...and most players, myself included, tend to pass on what seems to be a gimmick, like playing a saw...but, as the man said, "it's your trip, so be my guest."

Segovia was quoted as saying the electric guitar wasn't a musical instrument.
posted by aiq at 9:46 AM on January 7, 2007


This guy just doesn't give me music like I need it: with heart and soul.

is bach really the kind of music that lends itself to a soulful interpretation? ... perhaps his pieces for violin or cello ... but i think you're asking for something that wasn't the intent of the composer to begin with
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 AM on January 7, 2007


...the truth of the matter is, hammering an instrument designed to be plucked just doesn't sound all that fantastic.

Yet that's exactly how the piano evolved.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:53 AM on January 7, 2007


i think you're asking for something that wasn't the intent of the composer to begin with

That may well be: I certainly don't know what Bach's intent in this regard was. I guess it goes without saying that generations after Bach, we 21st century folk who've heard such an enormous variety of music (the result of musico-cultural exchange and blend that Bach could scarcely have imagined) have an entirely different concept of "soul" (or whatever you wanna call it) than the composers and listeners of Bach's time. So, all I can say is still, this guitarist doesn't play this stuff in a way that moves me. I still think that's essentially his fault, not Bach's. And I have been more "moved" (hate to keep using the same terms, but it's late and I'm soon for bed) by other performances of Bach and other baroque music.

I'll be the first to admit, though, that given the choice of never again hearing Bach or never again hearing Skip James, then old Johann Sebastian would be history. I'm not a classical music fanatic, by a long shot.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:12 AM on January 7, 2007


I really enjoyed this post. This guy obviously is talented, skilled, whatever you want to call it.

However, I would like to punch him in his stupid lip-pursing face.
posted by aliasless at 10:13 AM on January 7, 2007


his stupid lip-pursing face.

Hey, that's just a Polish thing.

*ducks*
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:18 AM on January 7, 2007


No doubt this guy is very talented, and has put a lot of work into his playing. It's fun to look at as a curosity, but I'd rather listen to the relatively slow but melodic playing of David Gilmour. One of Gilmour's strengths is knowing when not to play. The pauses in his compositions speak as loudly as the playing.

I don't know that I really ever think of anyone else's chosen skill as wankery. Unless it literally is wankery. That's how all forms of art get expanded: do what looks or sounds good to you, and you will find others who agree.
posted by The Deej at 10:28 AM on January 7, 2007


I listen to Bach every day, and I didn't care for his interpretations, with one exception. I enjoyed his rendition of Variation 8 from the Goldberg Variations. It's kind of funky, and he seems to be enjoying himself more. It's short, but it's the only thing he's posted that I'd want to listen to again.
posted by benign at 10:43 AM on January 7, 2007


I'm impressed by this type of thing, but the tone is rarely very good. Erik Mongraine and Stanley Jordan are usually pretty good, but I even get tired of them after two songs. A tapped note usually just sounds like a synth bleep, which is exactly the opposite of what I'd like to hear out of a guitar. It's good to throw into a composition, but I don't really enjoy it as the main thrust of a song.
/two cents
posted by es_de_bah at 11:33 AM on January 7, 2007


as someone who spent a very short time lightly studying classical guitar, i can say with certainty that there's more to playing this type of music on a guitar than simply playing it on an instrument for which it wasn't intended. I can see that viewpoint, but it's just not that simple. For centuries, people have devoted themselves to the guitar merely because they loved it for whatever reason occurred to them. It's after you devote yourself to it that you find that there's this whole realm of music which simply, albeit understandably, ignored the instrument. You love your instrument, you love the music, you want to put them together. To say you should just learn the piano dismisses the legacy of such giants as Andres Segovia, Julian Breem and John Williams a little too much for my taste. What this gent has done is an act of love and devotion and talent, and I salute him for it.

Salute, I say!
posted by shmegegge at 12:05 PM on January 7, 2007


A tapped note usually just sounds like a synth bleep,

Exactly my issue. This guy is very, very talented, but if I had a cd of this after impressing people by telling them how it was played, it would go in the bin. It's like listening to a really, really boring version of the clockwork orange soundtrack.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:18 PM on January 7, 2007


He should at least have the good sense to wear a white mask and put a KFC bucket on his head.
posted by sleevener at 12:27 PM on January 7, 2007


I'd say this guy has enormous skill but little to no soul.

I don't like the word "soul" in this context, but I agree with what you're saying. A musician who spends most of his time playing in his bedroom sounds different than a musician who spends most of his time playing in bands, or even a musician who spends most of his time playing in public (cafés, subway stops, whatever). His sense of time is altered in a way that creates a definite artifact in his playing. You can hear the way Fulara is pushing against the pulse.

is bach really the kind of music that lends itself to a soulful interpretation?

Notwithstanding my objection to the word: Yes. Compare Fulara to Ito Ema, and you'll hear the distinction. He just has no sense of time. There's a difference between playing fast versus trying to rush the pulse. He's doing the latter. If you've ever played in an orchestra pit, accompanying a singer, then you know what I'm talking about; and my guess is, that's probably a good analogy for what it's like to play in Fulara's trio.

Having said all that: It's a cool technique, and I dig what he's doing. Innovation doesn't have to be perfect. Sometimes the second guy to do something is the one who really does it right, and everybody (including the first guy) instantly says, "Now that's how it should be done!" Doesn't diminish the accomplishment of the first guy, though. Kudos to Fulara for pushing the envelope. What he's doing takes guts and vision.
posted by cribcage at 12:42 PM on January 7, 2007


A musician who spends most of his time playing in his bedroom sounds different than a musician who spends most of his time playing in bands, or even a musician who spends most of his time playing in public

Just because these videos aren't from live concerts doesn't mean he doesn't play live. In fact, had you read his bio, he has a jazz band that he plays with. One of the songs he links to has an interesting rendition of Autumn Leaves played at a club. There's another video of him touring with a Polish rock band.

There are so many things that are amazing about this guy that I really didn't know where to start when posting this, so I started from what I assumed would be the viewpoint of most of the unwashed masses, which is, "Oh joy, more wankery." I only discovered Adam after sifting through hundreds of classical guitar videos on YouTube (some good, most bad).

The things I find most impressive are, first, that when he's playing a single-neck guitar, he has actually arranged the pieces to utilize both hands simultaneously. Plenty of guitar pieces use a rolling bass line that take up the bottom two strings with a lead part played over the top, but that's not what he's doing. It's absolutely astonishing that he has arranged the pieces so that both halves of the counterpoint can be played simultaneously.

When you just have the bass on one half and the melody on the other, you don't have to worry about "stepping" over yourself. Yet what he's doing is playing nearly all 6 strings with both hands. Instead of two halves of the fretboard, you've got three or four (one hand wrapping the other, or both hands interspersed). Most classical guitar arrangements end up cutting off parts of the counterpoints because you run into a situation where you've only got one hand and you can't reach two places that you need to be. The technique he uses allows him to essentially play the entire piece (both hands, if you will) without culling. It's never been done before.

The other astonishing thing, perhaps even more remarkable than the previous point, is that he plays jazz like this. Now, it's one thing to be able to play two parts of a fugue on one guitar at the same time. The level of study and analysis to arrange it must have been incredible. It's another thing to be able to actually wrap your brain around two guitars simultaneously. The sheer quantity of practice involved must have been stupefying.

But this guy takes it a step further: it's not simply rote motor memorization. He can actually improvise this playing style. That requires an extra level of understanding that is just unheard of. He's invented an improvement to a playing style, then mastered it to crazy-stupid levels, then gone off and learned how to actually improvise it on the fly.

It's like the Wright brothers, upon seeing a hot-air balloon, deciding to build an airplane, then, getting bored with that, inventing a jet turbine to make it more exciting. In ten years time.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:46 PM on January 7, 2007


(wow that's a bad analogy)
posted by foot at 4:42 PM on January 7, 2007


Guys have been playing guitar like this for years. Definitely a neat trick, though.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:13 PM on January 7, 2007


I believe it's often referred to as "piano tapping."
posted by ludwig_van at 5:16 PM on January 7, 2007


Great post! This guy rocks. As I understand it, Bach was considered quite the wanker himself, in his day, what with the nontraditional tuning he used, and the outrageous dissonances. I bet he made funny faces, too....
posted by RussHy at 6:05 PM on January 7, 2007


From what I've read, Bach also had a hybrid keyboard/lute custom built so he wouldn't have to simplify his more difficult keyboard works for lute orchestration.

If MIDI were available to Bach he'd still be alive today.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:50 PM on January 7, 2007


If MIDI were available to Bach he'd still be alive today

Huh? You saying he's dead? I guess next you're gonna tell me Elvis is too.

Seriously, though, what exactly does that mean? MIDI? Like, you mean there'd be more MIDI files of his music "alive" on people's hard drives or something? What are you talking about?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:59 PM on January 7, 2007


I'm saying that he'd see a Korg Triton and refuse to die.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:03 PM on January 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Stanly Jordan is amazing. So many of these "guitar wankers" certainly sound technically impressive, but often their solos don't sound like music. Just a lot of short notes.
posted by delmoi at 7:04 PM on January 7, 2007


It's been said here and on MeFi before, but Stanley Jordan is the master of this technique. The crap at the top of this guys neck is basically to dampen string noise. All the usual suspects have used it, Satriani in particular does it quite well ("Day at the Beach" is one of my favorites).

And the question is not what Bach would have done had he been alive today. The question is what would Beethoven have done with the whammy bar and it's associated horse whinnies and dive bomb effects.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:15 PM on January 7, 2007


(wow that's a bad analogy)

Who cares what you think, when you clearly work so little at it?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:32 PM on January 7, 2007


One of Gilmour's strengths is knowing when not to play.

Better yet, I can stay at home and listen to Gilmour not playing for free!
posted by tomble at 8:58 PM on January 7, 2007


Late to the party. Just wow. That is all.
posted by Doohickie at 9:03 PM on January 7, 2007


He's playing the guitar the way a pianist plays the piano - it doesn't take any great mental acrobatics... that is, unless you've never thought in more than a single voice before.

Anyone can do this themselves on two cellos, two violins, a cello and a violin, etc. Just lay them down flat and strike the strings hard with the fingertips. Helps if they have piano experience, though. :)
posted by stewiethegreat at 9:43 PM on January 7, 2007


In fact, had you read his bio, he has a jazz band that he plays with.

And had you read my comment, you'd have noted that I wrote: "my guess is, that's probably a good analogy for what it's like to play in Fulara's trio."
posted by cribcage at 11:34 PM on January 7, 2007


He's playing the guitar the way a pianist plays the piano - it doesn't take any great mental acrobatics... that is, unless you've never thought in more than a single voice before.

Not exactly. If you watch his playing of BWV 784 very carefully, you'll notice that he has to switch the counterpoint to his other hand twice (@20 seconds and @35 seconds). While there are certainly some pianists who can cross hands like this, (Victor Borgia comes to mind), it's not "regular" piano playing.

Anyone can do this themselves on two cellos, two violins, a cello and a violin, etc. Just lay them down flat and strike the strings hard with the fingertips. Helps if they have piano experience, though.

You're not just striking the additional instrument like a drum. You still have to make chords or follow the proper notes. I don't know if piano training would help very much, but it did note in his biography that he started on accordion, which somehow makes a lot more sense to me.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:45 AM on January 8, 2007


One of Gilmour's strengths is knowing when not to play.
posted by The Deej
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Better yet, I can stay at home and listen to Gilmour not playing for free!
posted by tomble


LOL! So you can enjoy Gimour's version of 4'33" any time you want! Awesome!
posted by The Deej at 5:32 AM on January 8, 2007


One of Gilmour's strengths is knowing when not to play.
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Better yet, I can stay at home and listen to Gilmour not playing for free!
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LOL! So you can enjoy Gimour's version of 4'33" any time you want!

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Not necessarily. Another one of Gilmour's strengths is knowing when not to play 4'33"...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:21 AM on January 8, 2007


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