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#1 2008-09-02 04:38:01

doctony
Junior Member
Registered: 2008-08-15
Posts: 12

Best of both [acoustic] worlds -- fingering 'and' strumming mix

Interesting few days and music a la mode and another case where my classical piano playing passion took second fiddle [no pun intended] to the guitar. Anyway, the song [available on Chordie] is vintage but still a grabber, "Flashdance ... What A Feeling" [sic] and a quick attribution: 1983-- Lyrics by Keith Forsey and Irene Cara, music by Giorgio Moroder] and featured more than once in the 80's flick, "Flashdance" . Good tune to get the best of both acoustic worlds, fingering 'and' strumming plus a rather rapid change of tempo so it's a good chance to do a little bit of everything. Cajoling my wife to sing the tune [or at least hum the thing] while I play it is another matter!

What's that? Yeah, I still get "Barre-itus", so to speak, so when the frequent B minor barre chord shows up in the tune, I do the alternative B minor [individually, 4 notes, X,X, F#,B,D,F#]  . The F# minor is no problem since it's a partial barre at best and those I can do decently and sans the 'pause' thing but the full 6 string barre, well, rather than do the old pause-city routine  or, worse still, have the barre chord show up with at least 2 strings DOA and I don't mean 'X' notation stuff either, I simply do the available, shall we say, 'work-around'  same chord alternatives! It's not that I've given up the ship on barre chords but let's just say I'm still working on it. Hey -- a player at the get together let me try his guitar as he tried mine [I had on hand my 12 string Fender and the "Little Martin" LXME] and the other player was using the Takamine EF261SAN acoustic-electric which I really liked -- low action too and it comes standard with XL strings to boot ranging from [** in inches vs mm] .009 to .047!  Very nice sound! [Sidebar: Here's one for you -- just for the exercise, go to your search engine and type in the words "how to pronounce "TAKAMINE" .." and you'll see no fewer than 10, that's 10 'different' pronunciations at multiple websites! I finally found one guitar forum where one poster says, and I'm quoting now, "This may help ... I'm of Japanese extraction but still speak Japanese and the way I pronounce it is [phonetically] "TAH-KAH-MEE-NEH" with no emphasis on any particular phonetic syllable [...] and I'm only saying this because when I recently heard "Take-a-meany" and "tock-a-mine", hey, something had to be done!" [sic].  A smiley was then added to the comment by the writer of that post. 

So, and getting back to "Flashdance... What A Feeling", if you want both fingering [extended intro and song lead-in as repeated -- A-E-Bmin-F#min-D-A-G-E] and strumming and a night/day difference in tune tempo, but good practice for same, give it a try! Another one that works well on the acoustic and fingering/strumming mix [although it's generally done 'arpeggio' style on the electric]  is "Van Diemen's Land" by the "Edge" in U2. Also a vintage tune but a keeper! Speaking of vintage tunes and U2, that "Rattle and Hum" DVD with U2 I'd equate most positively with the 2004 Eagles 'Oz Land' tour DVD. Great stuff!


Doc Tony

PS -- Just to clarify a couple of matters -- First, Chordie has the song listed as "What A Feeling"  [Irene Cara] -- second, both the intro and then the lead-in are the same chords when it begins, with the 'A' chord, "First, when there's nothing, but a slow glowing dream ..." , you should get -7- beats, if you will, out of each chord plucked down/up with the fingers and then SLOWLY but 'fluidly' move to the other chords with 7 beats each  and the progression [given above] is a neat sounding one. The intro, you alone, then the singer [or yourself] with the same chords again because the chord progression repeats itself. Of note, most renditions of the song will actually notate "begin to strum here" and the tempo really gets into high gear. The 7 chord lead-in tho' and plucking them each 7 times is pleasant to the ear, at least IMO. The chorus part must also be fluid so new players should practice the chord switches until they become automatic. BTW, on the Takamine EF261SAN, not cheap, but it's, and again IMO and so stated, just as great sounding as many a comparable Martin, Seagull or Taylor acoustics I've heard.  Runs about 1K and change [most quoted price, new, at various US guitar commercial entities is $1,049.00 ==WITH== the hardshell case included.  -- Doc Tony

****

UPDATE PS#2 -- I probably rate a D- for 'clarity' and threw everything off with my comment of "plucking them each 7 times is pleasant to the ear"  -- let me try that again and this piece of the post was mostly geared to new players since I note that besides long-term seasoned guitarists, the forum also has its share of brand new guitar players -- anyway, what I meant by the '7 times' was the plucking of each individual string contained in the chord  in that tune progression [** it helps if you ever saw or have the "Flashdance" DVD and the flick begins with a synthesizer simply doing the A chord in full arpeggio mode] and that's what I meant, 'arpeggio' playing via the fingers on each 'individual' string of the chord doing the chord string by string with the fingers and then after working the fingers down the individual notes of the chord,  simply coming back up on the same chord!

For new players, two prospects open up -- you learn acoustic fingering [versus the pick over-reliance in acoustic playing] AND an appreciation via the 'ear' how important it is to watch for those chord 'X' notations! All too often, I'll see brand new players stumming or randomly trying to pluck ALL of the strings and disregarding the 'X' string ["do not play"] notations in the chord books with the resulting dissonance then getting lost in the shuffle with the zeal of actually playing a tune without pauses!

With fingering, the thumb becomes the bass note 'hammer' so to speak but the new player quickly realizes that while there are options on the E chord which has no 'X' stuff and fully 'open' , the, as a quick example, normal 'D' chord only requires the 4 string D-D-F#-A with the X-X  on those 'missing' bass notes but if plucked  in the 'What A Feeling" tune would have the 'ear' rebelling forthwith! This, of course, does not apply to so-called alternate D chord applications. I find that brand new players tend to sometimes strum or try to finger-pluck 'all' the strings but just as quickly learn via the ear that there are very valid reasons for 'X' don't play or string 'mute' notations! The 'What a Feeling' extended intro and verse continuation with the same chords before the strum begins can be rather nice on the ear especially if done fluidly since it's not a tune that lends itself to any 'positional' pauses ... not to mention the rapid and then sustained fast tempo increase.

Doc Tony


Hey, you know by now my love of "flicks" [movies], so, does this line from a music oriented flick ring a nostalgic bell with you?  "Does he want to be a musician ... or an airline pilot!" [pauses] "Mr. Martelli, are you finished setting up your ... equipment?"  [** "FAME" [1980]  -- 'Mr. Shorofsky' [Albert Hague] to 'Bruno Martelli' [Lee Curreri] ]. And the follow-up line as bellowed: "MR. MARTELLI! [3X repeated as Martelli launches the multiple synths into a Beethoven piece] --"THANK YOU! ONE instrument at a time will be quite sufficient!"

;-)

Last edited by doctony (2008-09-05 00:47:24)

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#2 2008-09-03 23:53:30

greenkorn86
Junior Member
From: cleveland, OH
Registered: 2008-08-29
Posts: 2

Re: Best of both [acoustic] worlds -- fingering 'and' strumming mix

as for the barre-chord issues...it may depend what guitar your playing.  I could never do an F, or any other barre chords for that matter.  Problem was i was playing on a very old beat up classical with horrible action.  when i bought a new acoustic all the sudden it was easy.  I came to realize, after several other more experienced guitarists played my old one, that it was the guitar and not me


Life is a sleazy stranger, and this is his favorite bar

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#3 2008-09-04 00:19:21

Doug_Smith
Moderator
From: Western Oregon,US
Registered: 2008-07-22
Posts: 1158

Re: Best of both [acoustic] worlds -- fingering 'and' strumming mix

Hello Greenkorn86, nice to hear from Cleveland, and welcome to Chordie!

  It is true that a poorly set-up guitar can have a equally bad effect on one's ability to barre.  But you have to admit that all the physical conditioning you received by those months trying to barre that beast, gave you the strength to barre almost anything with ease!

  Guitar chords (barre and open) are all about position, practice, and conditioning.  Get all of those factors right and you can save yourself a lot of pain and frustration down the road.... ask anyone who's had Tendonitis.

  Also to  Doctony, being a piano player may be giving you some trouble with the barre.  It just came to me from nowhere, proper keyboard position is usually with the fingers curled down towards the keys in a relaxed posture?  Could make it really hard to get that finger to lay flat on the fretboard after many years of playing.  I know that transitions from open chords to barres and back sometimes are difficult for me, as my index finger doesn't want to "unlock" from the straight attitude. Getting worse as I get older too!  Longer and more complex warm-ups seem to help a lot.

  Take Care; Doug


"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

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#4 2008-09-04 18:14:41

doctony
Junior Member
Registered: 2008-08-15
Posts: 12

Re: Best of both [acoustic] worlds -- fingering 'and' strumming mix

Hello, Doug! The whole issue of guitar barre chords can be fascinating because if one looks around the internet, countless posts and articles have been written about it because, IMO anyway, it is one of the areas where 'getting' good barre chords can become both a challenge ... and a frustration! I've seen articles that comment solely on finding the proper position [with each individual being physiologically different in their index finger as the article writer's premise] of one's index finger to 'form' the barre and the 'varying' results therein. The idea being that it's not 'only' a matter of applying sufficient pressure for the barre but so too 'where' the index finger of that particular player and his/her index finger  is positioned and 'then' come issues of guitar necks and certainly the strings one is using.

Interesting too -- and note that I'm hardly any authority on this [save as an often frustrated barre player who admittedly tends to do the open chord work-arounds when a 'full' barre is required!] -- anyway -- and simply quoting articles I've read from those who 'do' know and the guitar is their primary instrument, there are comments made that to some folks, especially new players, string 'differences' becomes a literal revelation! In effect, a new player may hear from another, "I'm using Extra Light  .010 - .047 80/20 bronze strings ... what are you using?" and the new player may have no idea what is being commented on!

Indeed, just as an experiment and with classical 'piano' students , I asked, "Do you play the guitar?" and if the response was no, my next question was this and I suppose I did the 'experiment' because, on another issue, the 'assumption' made at some beginning guitarist websites that the reader already knows the nitty-gritty mechanics of the guitar but that may not be true at all: "Look at this guitar, what would you think would be the FIRST string if you were reading a website that talked about 'tuning' the FIRST string?" and every single one of them pointed to the what they called "the fat string" as their supposed 'logical' interpretation of what constitutes the 'first string' or "string #1" on a guitar. Or I asked, 'what do you interpret as the LOW E versus HIGH E string on a guitar, and only 'one' of five knew it had to do with string 'pitch' versus 'physical location' with the others believing the "low E" was the string "closest to the floor" [!] and the "high E" closest to the ceiling [!] ! Then too, I read at a certain "beginning guitar" website and the webmaster comments in a particular thread, "I can't see using such "ridiculously elementary comments" [sic]  as the "fat string" or "thin string", they should already know that!" And to 'that', I say, says who! What's so wrong with presenting the stuff, as they used to say in my Army days, "by the numbers" ! Hey, how many times do folks seek information on 'whatever' subject and they find a website where in fact the folks know what they're talking about but after the 3rd or 4th sentence, the reader gets lost because the stuff quickly gets too technical for what is, to the author at least, considered "ridiculously elementary" -- sure, it's always 'ridiculously elementary' when one already 'knows' it, yes? I've actually seen some forums [not here] where a poster pipes up, "These are "newbie" questions and should be addressed to "new player" sections ... " as if to suggest such types were, what, 'born' playing guitar when in fact 'whatever' is played by anyone is essentially based on the input and experiences of others -- reading or visual variety!   


Doc Tony


Watch now, a detractor somewhere in Omaha: "Zzzzzz Zzzzzzz Zzzzzz!"

;-)

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#5 2008-09-09 04:43:17

Doug_Smith
Moderator
From: Western Oregon,US
Registered: 2008-07-22
Posts: 1158

Re: Best of both [acoustic] worlds -- fingering 'and' strumming mix

Hi Doctony,

  Your experiment with your students is interesting, but the results you get in the way of answers is not surprising to me.  I learned to play piano long before I started with strings.  It all reflects to the more "logical" ascending order of notes and tones.... that is usually the way every other instrument on the planet is taught!
  It is just "odd" that some "dipswitch" nailed a harp to a gourd and decided that because it was upside down the strings had to be referenced in decending sequence.
   I suppose it would make more sense if we read our sheet music from right to left!


  Take Care;  Doug


"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

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