“Just give me a few moments to warm up”—that’s a phrase many pro players might say before picking up a guitar to play a demanding solo piece. It’s not a phrase I’ve ever heard Tommy Emmanuel say. The Aussie steel-string super-picker seems born ready to play even the most challenging guitar tune.
Need proof? Watch the exclusive video I shot of Emmanuel performing “Tall Fiddler” (below) backstage during his interview for Episode 53 of Guitar Player's No Guitar Is Safe podcast (hosted by yours truly). I swear, I could barely get the camera turned on in time—he was that ready to kick the song into gear.
And, as you’ll see at 01:24, this song is no slow stroll in the park. (Strap on your sonic seat belts for sixteenth-note strumming at 170bpm!)
“I just go, go, go, from the moment I wake up,” says Emmanuel on the podcast. In addition to sharing how he recorded his excellent new concert album, Live! At the Ryman, how he’s able to maintain a 300-shows-per-year touring schedule, and what it means to be a Chet Atkins-annointed “CGP” (“Certified Guitar Player”), Emmanuel also performs other pieces on the episode.
And, being a guitarist myself, one of my favorite parts of the show is Tommy’s generous and detailed Travis picking lesson—so thorough, I now know one of the key differences between Merle Travis- and Chet Atkins-style thumb-picking (as you will, too, when you hear the interview).
After seeing Tommy play, a lot of people joke, “That’s it—I’m selling all my acoustic guitars. It’s over.” But I suspect that deep down they feel exactly as I do whenever I see Tommy Emmanuel play—and that is inspired only to play more acoustic guitar than ever. I hope this episode of No Guitar Is Safe makes you feel that way as well.
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