Master Class(7)

October 1, 2004

Discovering DADGAD - Laurence Juber Reveals the Secrets of this Enchanted Open Tuning
By Andy Ellis

“I use DADGAD for about 50 percent of my music,” says fingerstyle wizard Laurence Juber as he coaxes his Martin into the exotic altered tuning. “It opens up dimensions on the guitar that aren't accessible in standard tuning. Because it leads me in intriguing compositional and arranging directions, DADGAD has become the centerpiece of my concerts and recordings. I think of DADGAD as my ‘other' standard tuning.”

The pioneering Davey Graham is hailed as the father of DADGAD. A key figure in the early-'60s British folk music scene, the fingerpicker was known for injecting jazz, blues, and North African sounds into traditional Celtic music. Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Martin Carthy, Jimmy Page, Pierre Bensusan, Michael Hedges, and Martin Simpson are among the many guitarists who seized on Graham's innovative tuning scheme and incorporated it into their own work.

In this lesson, Juber—one of the world's foremost DADGAD authorities—makes the potent tuning so accessible that in a matter of minutes, you'll be drawing mysterious runs and shimmering harmonies from your electric or acoustic 6-string

preview    download mp3 Beginner

Reader's Challenge: Killer Closers
By Jude Gold

Every train needs a caboose, every joke a punch line, and every sentence a period. Similarly, as Eric Iverson of Jackson Heights, New York, points out, every song needs the perfect closing chord. Because that final harmony will be the last thing listeners hear of your song, why not make it a memorable one? Using the example below, you can test-drive seven of Iverson's favorite closers, any one of which makes an intriguing epilogue in A minor. Some are easier to fret than others, but, with perseverance and patience, you'll soon own them all.

preview    download mp3 Intermediate

Blues Guru - Robben Ford: That Cool Four-Against-Three Sound
As told to Jude Gold

The blues often has a triplet—some would say shuffle—feel that we typically write out as 12/8 or 6/8 meter, which indicates three pulses per downbeat. But many musicians, from bebop horn players to blues guitarists, like to occasionally put four pulses in the space of those three—that is, play straight sixteenth-notes over the underlying triple feel. Here's [some examples] that just popped into my head that demonstrates exactly what I'm talking about...

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Hot Guitarist Alert: Paul Runfola
By Jude Gold

With a singing overdrive, a touch of delay, and a smooth, even attack, Paul Runfola wowed a massive crowd with this mesmerizing lick during his silver-medal performance at this year's North American Rock Guitar Competition (held at the Buffalo Niagara Guitar Festival). “It's the head I wrote for a song in E major called ‘Reel Life,'” reveals Runfola, who performs the tune regularly with Celtic prog-rock posse Kilbrannan. “The riff uses a lot of open first and second strings, as well as a good amount of hammer-ons and pull-offs. There are actually several ways to finger this melody. I'm not even sure that I play it the same way every night.”

preview    download mp3 Advanced

Metal Guru - Rusty Cooley: Soulful Sweeping
As told to Jude Gold

I love playing two-string sweeps ultra fast. No, it's not because I'm trying to show off or be the sickest shredder in town, but rather because when this type of sweeping is performed as shown below—that is, looped repeatedly at an insanely fast tempo while passing through beautiful shifting harmonies—it begins to have a hypnotic effect on the listener. It becomes musical. Technique gives way to emotion, and it moves people.

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Woodshed: Grooving Over Jazz Changes
by Pino Marrone

For those growing up on a blues-scale diet of rock and blues, the natural inclination for improvising is to play modally. However, in jazz—or in any music with shifting harmony—the modal approach alone brings vagueness to solos. Listen closely to any great improviser and how their every note refers to the song's harmonic structure. But harmony is only half the battle. Phrases also have to groove, or they'll sound dead. In jazz, we don't just improvise melodies that suit the changes, we improvise rhythmic structures that suit the groove. Our goal is to become both harmonically and rhythmically eloquent.

preview    download mp3  

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