Now For Something Different

Welcome to this months edition of Fingerstyle Monthly. This month we'll look at fingerstyle guitar in non-traditional roles.

What does that mean? It means fingerstyle guitar used to play music that wasn't written for guitar.

We're all familiar with a couple of ways that this is done. One way is ragtime. Most, if not all, of the writers of the "classic" rags were pianists. Scott Joplin is a well known example.

The 1920's saw ragtime music heavily influence blues guitarist. Players like Blind Blake, Reverand Gary Davis and Blind Boy Fuller played "rags" on the guitar. But it wasn't until the 1960's that guitarists like David Laibman, Eric Shoenberg and Dave Van Ronk began arranging rags by composers like Joplin for guitar.

Take a look at this clip of Arlo Gutherie playing Van Ronks arrangement of The St. Louis Tickle.

The difference between this approach and the rags of players like Blind Blake are obvious.

Adapting the guitar to new musics can also be found in the diverse musics of Africa, Europe, Asia and more. One adaptation that strikes close to home for me, is the music of David Doucet.

David is the guitarist in the Grammy Award winning Cajun band BeauSoleil. The guitar functions mainly as a rhythm instrument in that context.

Doucet has arranged some of the traditonal Cajun music for solo guitar. I find the results to be pretty impressive. Here's a clip to show you what I mean.

I guess it just goes to show that, with a little imagination, fingerstyle guitar can be adapted to any music.

Custom Guitar Arrangements

I'm now doing custom fingerstyle guitar arrangements. If there's a song that you've been dying to learn but can't find the music for, let me know. Nearly any song can be arranged for fingerstyle guitar.

The arrangement will be done using TablEdit and payment processed using e-junkie/PayPal.

I hope that you've enjoyed this issue of Fingerstyle Monthly. Please feel free to share it with any friends that might be interested.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.

See you next month!

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