Chris, I now understand exactly what you're saying in your "clarification," about learning something new and important by working on that last 10% of a song. I wouldn't have understood it even a week ago. It's hard for me to think about how many years of playing I put in without that understanding. Definitely the most valuable lesson I've ever had.
Chris, I’m stunned. I asked you a question that was kind of like a Zen koan – it had no real objective answer. Yet, like a true Zen master, you spoke and revealed to me MY TRUTH.
1) My being a ninety-percenter is indicative of a certain kind of laziness and lack of discipline.
2) Working on that last ten percent might not teach me anything new – but it will make me a better player.
3) No matter how many new songs I learn, it will never erase that nagging feeling of inadequacy I have because of being a ninety-percenter.
Realizing all this is going to make a big difference for me. You are really kind to answer our questions and videos the way you do, and it’s much appreciated.
I have a general question that probably has no real answer, but if anyone could add something helpful, it would be you.
I'm probably what would be considered an advanced intermediate player. I have a repertoire of maybe 25 songs, many of which I learned from you right here. I'm what I call a "90-percenter." That is, I learn a new song and practice it until it's fairly good, but never reliable enough that I can play it all the way through without some screw-ups (and not necessarily in the same places). I suppose, though I don't know for sure, that if I continued to practice each song hundreds (or thousands) more times, they would get more reliable. But I don't play for anyone, so I lack the motivation to put in that tedious work. Then when I'm tempted to learn a new song, I think "No, you should be spending your time getting better at the songs that you already know." But I do occasionally overcome that thinking, and then add a new song to my 90% repertoire. And so on. I have a feeling that this sort of dilemma is not uncommon among us "serious" amateurs.
Any words of wisdom?
This was a good question and something i certainly can relate to!
Dan, thanks for that link - that's an excellent piece on Tony, and as for the Gold Rush clip - "and then some" is right.
If you'd care to, email me at email@example.com. I'd like to compare notes with you on your approach to this song.
As I've been working on this Tony Rice arrangement, for some reason just yesterday I started thinking about how lousy it would feel not to have Tony in this world any longer. Little did I know that that was already the reality. Tony is the only celebrity whose death could make me feel the way I do today. I'm glad that there's not another.
That will be terrific, Chris. Thank you!. The bad news is, now I have to get to work on the A part!
Hi Chris, are you planning on following up with another lesson on the second part of the "Last Thing on My Mind" intro (which you play at the end
of the "How Tony Did It: lesson) , which I follows the chorus ("Are you going away, with no words of farewell," etc.). I don't
want to spend the time working on the first part if there won't be a lesson on the second part.
Hey Denny, this is the complete intro, which is the same as how Tony plays the solos on the A parts. I wasn't planning on teaching the B part (which Tony only plays once during the long solo in the middle of the song) but since you're asking, sure! I'll make that the next lesson in the series.
On this single-string version with the drone, is it almost all downstrokes or are you getting some upstrokes in there
on the fill-in notes? It's hard to tell on the video. And if there are upstrokes, are you getting the drone note too?
Yes, it is almost all downstrokes, but I do play upstrokes when the syncopation calls for it. For instance, at 0:08 and 0:09 when I'm playing that quick high note (F#) I'm using an upstroke. And yes, I'm striking through the 3rd string into the 4th string on those upstrokes to get the drone.
First I just want to thank you for sharing your musical heart with us here. Sounds corny, I know, but I can't think of a more honest way of putting it.
I don't have the up-and-down pick speed to keep pace with some of these fiddle tunes. But I can get a reasonable facsimile by "cheating" with hammer-ons and pull-offs. But I always feel kind of guilty doing this, thinking that I'm taking the easy way out instead of putting in whatever time would be necessary to develop the necessary speed (if that were even possible at this point in life). What's your opinion on this? I can't tell from your videos if you ever do this sort ot thing, and of course you'd never need to.
Hi Denny, and thanks for the kind words!
Not only can you use slurs like hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides, but it is encouraged! A well placed slur has the dual advantage of 1) giving your right hand a break and 2) providing accents for the music. If you play nothing but a steady stream of up/down picked 16th notes, the sound can get a little monotonous or monochromatic. By incorporating a slur in a thoughtful place you can actually created a sense of microdynamics in your playing, which can just make the music sound more interesting or exciting. I do it all the time, and so does every other flatpicker. So you’re in good company!
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