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Interview/Masterclass : Mike Dawes

8 Mar

A short interview and percussive guitar lesson from Mike Dawes and Justin Sandercoe of
Very useful for people starting out with this style!


Interview: Trace Bundy – Part 2

25 Feb

Continuing from Part 1, Trace talks about the feel of his newest album,
his gear, his obsession with capos, and his favourite fingerstyle artists.

There was a four-year gap between your last two releases. Could you comment on that?
It was way too long for sure, between albums. But I was just touring so much, and having so much fun playing shows, that I never had time to put together a new album and record. After ‘Adapt’, I just toured everywhere for like three years, and then finally I thought “Aw man, I  guess I should probably record a new album now“, so I recorded Missile Bell. And then I just kept touring and touring for another four years, and then I was like ,”Okay, I really really need to put out a new album now”, and so I put out Elephant King. Now I’m starting to realise it’s not a good time between releases – it’s just too long. So now I’m trying to commit to releasing an album at least every two years, or maybe even a year and a half.

How do you feel your playing has evolved between the album you released in 2004, Adapt, and your recent release in 2012, Elephant King?

I think one thing I’ve really started working on since Adapt, is trying to make sure there’s a really strong melody in every song. When you’re experimenting with fun, two-handed tapping techniques and stuff like that, it’s pretty easy to just go crazy with the techniques and lose the melody. I see that a lot with young guitarists who’re starting out with this style. They might be doing some cool techniques to watch on the guitar, but when you sit and listen to it, maybe it won’t sound quite as good.
What I wanted to do with Missile Bell, and then with Elephant King was to really use those techniques to create melodies that you can listen to and they get stuck in your head. And actually in Missile Bell, I also tried to add some effects and layers and devices like reverse looping, and a lot of the songs sort of run into each other on the album. So one song would end, and then there’d be some harmonic or drone playing and then the next song would pick up with that same drone or harmonic, in the same key.

When you’re experimenting with fun, two-handed tapping techniques and stuff like that, it’s pretty easy to just go crazy with the techniques and lose the melody.


Interview: Trace Bundy – Part 1

25 Feb

For anyone who’s been a longtime listener of the progressive fingerstyle genre, Trace Bundy needs no introduction. He’s been dubbed the ‘Acoustic Ninja’ because of his technical virtuosity, and is known for having a very engaging and energetic live show. I first encountered solo acoustic fingerstyle guitar through Trace Bundy’s music and have been an obsessive fan for five years.

Lancia E. Smith comes closest to describing how I feel about Trace’s approach to the acoustic guitar: “Almost anyone who knows me personally knows that I have loved Trace Bundy’s mesmerizing acoustic  finger-style, heavy percussive guitar work since the first time I heard him play 8 years ago. There are strong elements that sound like echoes of Leo Kottke and Phil Keaggy, whom I have appreciated for decades, and yet there is an intensely contemporary and fresh approach in Trace’s technique that makes it stylistically unique. “
With that, here’s the interview:

Could you tell us a little about your guitar life before you became a serious musician?
 I started when I was about ten years old, when my brother and I bought a cheap acoustic guitar for ten dollars. It was a pretty terrible guitar *laughs*. So we started playing and my brother was really into heavy metal, and he made me play all these heavy metal songs on the acoustic guitar. The first song I learnt was by Metallica.

Were you into heavy metal too?
Not really, no. I like some of the milder stuff, but my brother’s into really heavy metal. But he’s my older brother and whatever he said, I had to do. *laughs*
But then I moved away from heavy metal after a while, and started playing a lot of acoustic stuff,  a lot of old stuff like The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel.  Basically songs where I learnt how to use my fingers, instead of a pick. And I found that every time I learnt a new song, I also learnt a new skill, or a new technique or chord progression.
So I kept learning all these songs and then I started figuring out music theory  – like why two chords sound good together where maybe two other chords won’t sound good together. I just kept learning all these “rules” of music on my own and I never took any formal lessons or anything. Once I’d started learning all those rules, I was able to take all my skills on the guitar, all the techniques I knew, and all the theory I’d learnt and started writing my own songs.
So my earliest songs, they were just sortof okay. They were just these basic songs.



Trance – Dhruv Visvanath

17 Feb

Here’s Trance, one of my favourite tunes from Indian guitarist Dhruv Visvanath!

Interwiew with Dylan Ryche

16 Feb

A fairly recent player in the Canadian fingerstyle scene, Dylan made his debut in 2011 with his simply-titled album, “Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar”. Dylan rose to prominence in 2012 when he won the 2012 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition(He also placed second in the same competition in 2010).
Here’s our interview with him conducted by our newest contributor, Gereon Leug:

Hi Dylan. Thanks a lot for taking the time. First of all, congratulations on winning the Fingerstyle Championship. How are things?
Thank you very much. Things are going really well. I certainly enjoy that festival. I’ve met a lot of great people and musicians there that have since become my friends and it is a great honour to have my name alongside some really amazing players that have won that competition in the past.

Don Ross, Andy Mckee, Craig D’Andrea, Ewan Dobson, Trevor Gordon Hall, Gareth Pearson… the list of great players who placed in Canada is long. Did you prepare differently? Were you very nervous or was it “just another gig”? Were you happy with your own performance?

Those are some great names for sure. I felt a lot more prepared and not too nervous having been through it all before when I placed 2nd in 2010. I can always find something I wished I’d improved upon in a performance, but overall I was fairly happy with it, especially since it was the first time I’d played two of the tunes live.
My approach was to focus on what I could control which was to just convey my music to the audience as best I could.


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