New Lines in the Old-Line State

March 15, 2006

This is why we run this column—so guitarists like Mike Pursley of Greensboro, Maryland, can remind GP readers that clichés are meant to be annihilated. For instance, there is a whole generation of players out there who avoid two-handed hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides,

perceiving these approaches to be “too ’80s,” “too metal,” or “too dorky.” But with the relaxed and tasteful riff below—a lazy, jazzy shuffle in which the strumming hand alternately taps notes and strikes chords (with an upward sweep of the tapping finger)—Pursely reminds us there is an infinite range of guitar textures available to the adventurous and open-minded guitarist.

“This is an exercise in using tapping without sounding like a machine,” says Pursley of his submission, a soothing 12/8 phrase more evocative of Michael Hedges and Alex DeGrassi than Night Ranger, Van Halen, Stanley Jordan, or other such tap titans. “Use the same finger to tap and then brush up on the double-stops and chords. Keep your

tapping/strumming hand precise and loose, and your left hand slippery during the slides. Any tone that’s not too heavily distorted is fine.”

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