TALK­BACK

Post Gui­tar Tech­niques, Fu­ture Pub­lish­ing, Ivo Peters Road, Bath, BA2 3QS. Email neville.marten@fu­turenet.com us­ing the header ‘Talk­back’.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Your com­ments and com­mu­ni­ca­tions...

BACK TO THE FU­TU­RAMA

On a re­cent visit to Corn­wall, I took the op­por­tu­nity to visit Guy McKen­zie (www.the gui­tar­col­lec­tion.org.uk) and his fan­tas­tic gui­tar col­lec­tion. I par­tic­u­larly like one of his gui­tars; it’s called a Fu­tu­rama Coron­ado Au­to­matic. My mother died in 1962 and in 1963 when I was 15 my fa­ther de­cided to buy me this gui­tar; I sup­pose to cheer me up. At the time it was unique and still looks so cool, so I am now on a mis­sion to ob­tain this model again – I fool­ishly sold it for gui­tar lessons (well I was only 18). If there is any­body out there who could help me track one down I would be over the moon to own one again, as it’s a tan­gi­ble con­nec­tion to my past.

Ge­orge Sta­p­ley

That’s a ro­man­tic story, Ge­orge. Per­haps our hawk-eyed read­ers will be able to help – I don’t know of any Coron­ado Au­to­mat­ics that are avail­able out there. But I too got my first ‘de­cent’ gui­tar back (or one like it); a Hofner Club 40 that my first gui­tar-play­ing mate had; he lent it to me for months and I sort of came to treat it as my own! Good luck in track­ing yours down – it will in­deed be a lovely re­minder of old times and ab­sent ‘friends’.

THE FE­MALE OF THE SPECIES

First of all I would like to con­grat­u­late you and your team on pro­duc­ing such a won­der­ful pub­li­ca­tion – but there is a glar­ing omis­sion that I can no longer keep si­lent about! Where are all the fe­male gui­tar play­ers? Look­ing back at your past three is­sues (#255-#257), there is a grand to­tal of one fe­male gui­tarist in­cluded (Emily Rem­ler, #256). I have a feel­ing that this may ac­tu­ally be more than your av­er­age!

This is just not good enough. Surely there must be nu­mer­ous fe­male gui­tarists out there that de­serve a bit of col­umn space. I am not go­ing to list names, sim­ply be­cause I do not know that many. But there have been count­less male gui­tarists that I have not been aware of un­til I read about them in your mag­a­zine and fol­lowed up by lis­ten­ing to them. So I be­lieve it is in­cum­bent on you to make more of an ef­fort to show­case fe­male gui­tar tal­ent that is out there and pro­vide them with greater ex­po­sure so that some of your read­ers, like my­self, may take the time to give them a lis­ten. Af­ter all you have the won­der­ful Brid­get Mer­mikides on your team: there must be more of them out there!

Ali

GT Pro­duc­tion Ed­i­tor Katie Ni­cholls replies: Thanks for your let­ter, Ali – this is a topic that’s well worth ex­plor­ing! Un­doubt­edly, the ma­jor­ity of play­ers that fea­ture in GT are male (although we have had some won­der­ful fe­male play­ers re­cently: Eva Cas­sidy and Joni Mitchell and, as you men­tion, Emily Rem­ler). I think the lack of fe­male play­ers is re­flec­tive of a wider, so­ci­etal prob­lem whereby girls aren’t en­cour­aged at a young age to be­come gui­tarists, drum­mers or bass play­ers but rather stick with be­ing the vo­cal­ist. I wrote a fea­ture on this is­sue for the Mu­si­cians’ Union and it’s cer­tainly an is­sue that needs to be ad­dressed by schools and teach­ers. To some ex­tent, GT is re­flect­ing what is a big­ger is­sue. It’s just a real shame that we don’t have more fe­male gui­tarists to fea­ture!

DIG­I­TAL DILEMMA

I’ve been a player for over 40 years, but re­cently I had the most de­press­ing ac­ci­dent and cut off the first fin­ger of my fret­ting hand. It has been sewn back on but the mid­dle knuckle is fused so the fin­ger is ‘set’ straight. Now all I can use it for is the soft pad at the root of the fin­ger to fret first and some­times sec­ond strings for some­thing like a first po­si­tion Bm chord (I also cut through the ten­dons in the ring fin­ger but this has been re­paired and, though stiff, I can use it).

I am slowly teach­ing my­self to play again, us­ing the re­main­ing three fin­gers, and thanks to my style which was mainly fin­ger­pick­ing and rag­time (ish) my pinky is used to do­ing some­thing so it’s not a com­plete new be­gin­ning. How­ever, here is my prob­lem: I’m strug­gling to find good sound­ing re­place­ments for chords that are now im­pos­si­ble for me to fret, like a sim­ple C or F chord. I can’t play barre chords shapes any more (un­less I mute the low strings be­cause I can’t reach to fret them, so I end up play­ing par­tial chords or open ma­jor 7ths and the like, which are great sound­ing chords when you want a ma­jor 7th, but aw­ful when you don’t. I am be­gin­ning to de­velop a new style which is al­most chord­less, but some­times you just want to ‘bash-out’ an old song and it’s very frus­trat­ing. Can you or the read­ers of­fer any ad­vice on maybe long for­got­ten chord shapes or any other tips? Maybe a fea­ture of sim­ple three-fin­gered al­ter­na­tives that might be use­ful to any player. And please don’t any­one sug­gest I take up the banjo!

PS. I have kept a diary of the re­cov­ery and story of my re­learn­ing so far, so if any read­ers suf­fer a sim­i­lar fate and would like sup­port or ad­vice I’m happy for you to give them my con­tact de­tails!

Dave Hard­man

What a ter­ri­ble story, Dave. Three things spring to mind: open tun­ings, slide gui­tar, and ‘thumb over the top’ play­ing. Look at Derek Trucks and Sonny Lan­dreth; both play slide al­most ex­clu­sively, so per­haps a slight mu­si­cal ca­reer change is a pos­si­bil­ity. And check out the awe­some Joey Lan­dreth (no re­la­tion) who plays reg­u­lar gui­tar and slide in­ter­change­ably, so wears a tube on his fin­ger al­most all the time – of ne­ces­sity lim­it­ing the num­ber of fin­gers avail­able. He plays sim­ply, but amaz­ingly!

Many open tun­ings rely on hav­ing open strings ring­ing into chords, and of­ten use two or three-fin­ger shapes. So that’s an­other thought – although it doesn’t ad­dress your ‘bash­ing out a tune’ ques­tion. And many play­ers – from Hen­drix to Pat Metheny to Richie Havens – use the thumb-over tech­nique to play bass strings, thus ‘sort of’ re­plac­ing the first fin­ger on things like barre chords.

In a way your play­ing prob­lem is a bit like when we for­tu­nate all-fin­ger play­ers put a barre down and then try to play reg­u­lar chords –C, G and D are all tricky – on top. So it looks like that’s your ba­sic op­tion; sim­ply to re­con­fig­ure those shapes. As weird co­in­ci­dence would have it, in the next is­sue we are run­ning a fea­ture on ‘avoid­ing the first fin­ger’. It’s in Char­lie’s Wood­shed ar­ti­cle and so is more to do with lead than rhythm, but it is sure to of­fer some­thing. I do hope some read­ers can come up with ideas that might help. In the mean­time we all wish you all the very best!

I BE­LIEVE IT IS IN­CUM­BENT On YOU TO MAKE MORE OF An EF­FORT TO SHOW­CASE FE­MALE GUI­TAR TAL­ENT

Joey Lan­dreth: wears a slide

Ge­orge Sta­p­ley: on the hunt for his old gui­tar

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