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Walter Strauss – Ishi

Walter Strauss has the most unique style. With strong compositional skills at his command, Walter makes use of techniques he has developed based on West-African music. Walter has thoroughly absorbed the feel of this music and informed it with his own feel for modern fingerstyle.
Playing on an Oneida Guitar also gives Walter a special sound. With the song he played for my camera, the sublime ‘Ishi’, Walter overcomes the ‘seen-it-all-before’ attitude, and amazes with powerful rhythms and intricate picking, with no need for flashy pyro-technics.

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Garrin Benfield – Unbound

I’ve known San Francisco based singer-songwriter Garrin Benfield for some time. In the mid ‘oughties’ (this century has turned out sucky for decade names so far,) we were booked on the same bill at a local SF acoustic music showcase night. At the end of the evening, Garrin and I jumped onstage for an impromptu [...]

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Shaun Cromwell-The Rise and the Fall of It All

One of the guitarists I was lucky enough to meet at the Folk Alliance Region West (FAR-West) conference is Shaun Cromwell. I’ve posted the clip of Shaun playing his very cool song “The Rise and the Fall of It All” to my YouTube page.

Shaun was a featured performer at the FAR-West conference, and his show proved to be one of the most enjoyable for someone like me, who loves good songwriting combined with great fingerpicking.

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Duck Baker–Thumbs of Fury

Since I often talk about right hand technique on this Blog, you might think ‘Thumbs of Fury’ refers to the right hand thumb.* Yes, the fingerpicker’s Jedi force surely resides in the right hand thumb, but in the case of long-time fingerstyle master Duck Baker, there’s a lot going on with the left hand thumb. [...]

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Duck Baker-Modern Fingerstyle for the Ages

I’m pretty much obsessed with guitar technique, especially fingerstyle, so I was excited to get a chance to hear the legendary Duck Baker perform and catch one of his teaching workshops. Duck Baker jumped on the instrumental guitar circuit in the early 1970s, at a time when the glow was still warm on the 1960s [...]

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Intonation on Fingerstyle Guitar – The “Schoenberg Set-up” Part One

One of the things I learned after years of frustration is: if you want correct intonation on an acoustic, you need a tech who knows acoustics. And if you want correct intonation for fingerstyle, you need a tech who gets fingerstyle. A tech who only plays electric guitar or acoustic rock probably won’t get what you need, or know how to deliver it. Enter the Schoenberg set-up.

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