Saturday, January 05, 2008

Guitarzan, Give Him a Hand

So, feeling the need to feel inept about myself once again, I broke down and bought a copy of the sheet music/tab for Michael Chapdelaine's arrangement of "California Dreamin'."

It is going to be something of a stretch -- not because it is especially hard, but because it uses fingering I'm not used to, with both hands. (In classical playing, generally the right hand thumb plays the bass strings, i.e. the upper three, and each of the trebles has its own dedicated finger -- ring plays the bottom-most, middle the second, and forefinger the third. In some of the new sheet music passages, these have to be shifted, so I have to add the mostly-useless pinkie, and shift the other fingers up, in order to play two bass notes at the same time.

Left hand changes are up and down the neck, from one to twelve, too, though that at least makes it classical-guitar neutral, even though he plays it on a steel string. (Classicals have twelve frets to the body; a lot of acoustic steel strings have fourteen, and some have scalloped bodies next to the fretboard to more easily access the highest frets, as you see on a Fender Strat.)

Plus there's a nasty hinge-barre that is supposed to leave two second-fret strings open while the other four are pressed down, and I can't pull it off, no way, no how.

I know, more information than you wanted.

But Chapdelaine is, like El McMeen, a wonderful player. It's not just the technical ability, of which he has loads, but the expressiveness. I saw a classical guitar competition once and the guy who placed second was technically better than the guy who won, but the winner was into the music in a way that pulled me in with him. That sense of musicality outweighs the odd clam or buzz.

Anyway, to see Chapdelaine (once considered a notorious and disrepectful student of the MaestroAndres Segovia, though it turns out that designation was misplaced) do a terrific job on the Beatle song, "Come Together," check out the YouTube vid link.

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