Mudcat Café message #2231517 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107594   Message #2231517
Posted By: PoppaGator
08-Jan-08 - 05:54 PM
Thread Name: Horizontal guitar, Joni Mitchell
Subject: RE: Horizontal guitar, Joni Mitchell
Disclaimer: I've never seen footage of Joni singing and playing that song, and I've always assumed, by the sound, that she was playing dulcimer, not guitar ~ an instrument that has fewer than six strings and that is customarily played lap-style. I'll stand corrected, however, assuming that you've seen guitar tablature and tried it out, as you tell us.

All the lap-style guitar playing that I've ever observed has involved slide technique, exclusively. This approach is certainly common for Hawaiian-style slide guitar, but is not limited to that genre.

Many dobro players use a very similar technique, but they stand rather than sit, and the guitar is strapped around their neck and shoulders in a manner similar to the "normal" arrangement, but with the top of the guitar (i.e., the soundhole) facing up rather than out.

I would think that fretting the strings tight to the fingerboard, as opposed to touching them with a glass or metal slide, would be much more difficult when trying to press down from above than when squeezing the neck in your fist (so to speak). I would imagine you could get decent pressure if seated with the guitar on your lap, but that things would be exceedingly difficult when standing with the guitar flipped up in dobro position. I'm pretty sure that the dobro approach involves playng with the slide only, no handheld fretting.

Playing certain blues styles while holding the guitar in the more usual position allows the player to mix fretted notes with slide sounds.