January 1, 2005

Essential Exercises for Fingerstyle Guitar

By Peter Huttlinger

Essential Exercises

Let’s face it—your favorite guitar virtuoso may utterly astound audiences every time he steps on stage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he can explain how he does it. Stick him in front of a video camera, and you may be dismayed to find he freezes up and has less to say than a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming Peterbilt. In fact, in more tragic episodes in instructional video history, famous guitarists have shown up at their shoots looking sweaty, desperate, and—even worse—totally hung over. Confronted with the daunting task of pontificating on their playing approaches under the harsh, bright lights of a videography studio, they may squirm like ants beneath a magnifying glass, wearing a clammy facial expression that says, “Just shoot me now.”

The other extreme, though, is a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed host like steel-string extraordinaire Peter Huttlinger. Sure, as a performer, he slays audiences with his mind-blowing solo arrangements and devastating chops. But he’s also exactly the kind of guitar hero you want on your instructional shelf, because when it’s time talk technique, he downshifts into teacher mode with effortless aplomb. On Essential Exercises for Fingerstyle Guitar, Hutt generously and articulately shares his knowledge with all the patience, clarity, and encouragement you could ever hope for from a guitar sensei. No, this DVD won’t decode for you his wildly advanced two- and three-part guitar arranging approaches. It does, however, provide dozens of simple and effective calisthenics that are suitable for players of all skill levels. Practice a handful of them regularly for a measly 20 minutes a day, and you’re almost guaranteed to become a lethal and dynamic fingerpicker. The path to greatness starts here. Homespun. —Jude Goldg

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