mudcat.org: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking

bankley 01 Oct 09 - 11:09 AM
Mark Clark 30 Sep 09 - 01:41 PM
Stringsinger 29 Sep 09 - 02:46 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 09 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 18 Aug 04 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 18 Aug 04 - 11:46 AM
GUEST 18 Aug 04 - 08:25 AM
Mark Clark 18 Aug 04 - 02:08 AM
GUEST 18 Aug 04 - 12:23 AM
GUEST 17 Aug 04 - 07:55 PM
Mark Clark 17 Aug 04 - 06:26 PM
Mark Clark 17 Aug 04 - 06:23 PM
GUEST 25 May 04 - 12:38 AM
GUEST 23 May 04 - 04:59 PM
Mark Clark 22 May 04 - 01:35 PM
M.Ted 13 Dec 03 - 06:20 PM
FJGI 13 Dec 03 - 06:50 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 03 - 08:33 PM
Mark Clark 12 Dec 03 - 07:00 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 03 - 06:22 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 03 - 05:44 PM
Mark Clark 11 Dec 03 - 03:22 PM
M.Ted 09 Dec 03 - 02:45 PM
Midchuck 09 Dec 03 - 01:59 PM
Mary in Kentucky 09 Dec 03 - 01:46 PM
Mark Clark 09 Dec 03 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 09 Dec 03 - 11:06 AM
M.Ted 08 Dec 03 - 08:36 PM
Amos 08 Dec 03 - 08:06 PM
Peter T. 08 Dec 03 - 05:16 PM
M.Ted 08 Dec 03 - 02:30 PM
Mark Clark 08 Dec 03 - 02:27 PM
Art Thieme 08 Dec 03 - 01:02 PM
Art Thieme 08 Dec 03 - 12:56 PM
M.Ted 08 Dec 03 - 03:12 AM
GUEST 08 Dec 03 - 01:21 AM
Mark Clark 07 Dec 03 - 09:32 PM
Peter T. 07 Dec 03 - 11:31 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 03 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 06 Dec 03 - 06:29 PM
Mark Clark 06 Dec 03 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,equalrice 06 Dec 03 - 05:56 PM
M.Ted 06 Dec 03 - 05:04 PM
Mark Clark 06 Dec 03 - 03:23 AM
Mark Clark 06 Dec 03 - 02:52 AM
GUEST,Biskit 06 Dec 03 - 02:39 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 03 - 12:39 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 05 Dec 03 - 11:35 PM
Mark Clark 05 Dec 03 - 11:23 PM
Steve-o 05 Dec 03 - 07:46 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: bankley
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 11:09 AM

I hope Mudcatter, Jayto comments on this... he used to hang out a lot at Mose Rager's place when he was just starting out... he told me that Mose' daughter, Friz, lent him her daddy's guitar just this past week-end for the Merle Travis Fest in KY... what a treat... anyhow he has some old tapes made at the Rager house and we cleaned one up and put it on CD... 17 minutes, charming snapshot of the man at home, talking, playing and singing...
bless all those thumb pickers... they sure opened up the instrument to a lot of possibilities.... R.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 01:41 PM

It's sure nice to see this thread pop up again. These were the discussions that I always liked most. Well, these and Art's recollections. Well, those plus Rick's thoughts... and Frank's and M.Ted's and... OK a whole bunch of folks.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Sep 09 - 02:46 PM

There is a possible antecedent. The fingerstyle players from Africa. Zaire in particular.

Early ragtime pieces seem to have been a staple of Piedmont style blues.

Frank


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 09 - 02:27 PM

Interesting thread.


Mted wrote:

"Most of the playing styles seem to have fairly shallow roots--not to say they aren't great styles, but they seem to be more favored by revivalists than reflective of the past, and tend to lead back to
early recordings of the above mentioned folks, --old recordings, with the exception of a few blues artists, don't show much guitar, and there isn't much to document how folks used all those instruments that Sears & Roebuck shipped out to the hinterlands--

Blues guitar playing seems to mostly have been modified from old banjo and piano styles, and there doesn't seem to much outside of blues guitar going on--"


I remember reading that the guitar didn't become a regular featured instrument in rural/southern/mountain white areas until like the 1920. I read that many of these whites areas were still playing banjo and fiddle and reported that they first saw guitars when black workers were carrying them around. I believe the Carter Family and Sam Mcgee both confirmed that the guitar was rare in white communities in their neck of the woods.


Guest wrote:

"It could be argued and debated from now 'til doomsday whether the Kentucky thumbpicking style has more in common with jazz or folk. Or both. Or neither one. Or a conglomeration of many styles. Just like in psychology when researchers debate whether such and such behavior is due to biological or environmental causes. Usually the answer everyone somewhat agrees on is, "a combination of the two."

An interesting quote by Chet on the difference between himself and Merle:

Chet Atkins, liner notes to 1996 reissue of the album Walkin' the Strings:

Though Chet Atkins was the most prominent guitarist to be inspired by Merle Travis, the two players' styles were significantly different. As Atkins explained,

"While I play alternate bass strings which sounds more like a stride piano style, Merle played two bass strings simultaneously on the one and three beats, producing a more exciting solo rhythm, in my opinion. It was somewhat reminiscent of the great old black players


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 11:54 AM

Have just skipped through this thread admittedly quite quickly but don't seem to have noticed a mention of Eddie Pennington who is still playing this material. I Had the pleasure of hearing him at a festival three years back and then spending about two or three hours with him at a private party where he played non stop. I bought one of his cd's then and recently picked up the new one on Smithsonian Folkways.
If you are into this style of playing I would reccomend that you give him a listen. Eddie is from Kentucky and knew some of the people mentioned in the article.

Be warned though you might want to throw away your guitar after this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 11:46 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 08:25 AM

...Yeah, he told me that he had specified what he wanted on that guitar. I don't remember all that he told me but one of the things he said was that he had wanted an open headstock, for what reason I don't know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 02:08 AM

Oops! My error. I just went back and checked photographs I took at the Thumbpicking Contest and Steve is definately not playing a Taylor. It look as though he is indeed playing a special Gallagher of some sort. It looks like a round-shouldered, single-cutaway, fourteen-fret dreadnought with a slotted peghead. I'ts probably the same one he's pictured holding on his CD. Based on the Gallagher site, it doesn't seem to be a standard model.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 12:23 AM

forward slash, back slash...so confusing, who can keep them straight...thanks little mudcat elf for fixing my post....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 07:55 PM

Rector was playing a Taylor? Last time I heard him play and talked with him, he was playing a custom made guitar out of Tennessee by a man whose name escapes me now...seems like it started with a "G." ...I just did a google search...Gallagher guitars...(In case the html didn't work, it's www.gallagherguitar.com) ...anyway...

I guess he got tired of it. He said the bass strings were too boomy. I was going to suggest mixing-and-matching string gauges, but...wasn't thinking too fast on my feet. Pat Kirtley or somebody must've talked him into a Taylor. I think Pat is a spokesperson or one of those guys travels around and conducts workshops as part of a promotional thing for Taylor guitars.

(again, http://www.win.net/~mainstring/welcome.html for Pat Kirtley info)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 06:26 PM

Oops, that post was supposed to go in another thread. Sorry.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 06:23 PM

Yes, Mountain View is a great spot for music. I was down there this past spring for the Thumbpicking Contest and had a great time.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 04 - 12:38 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 04 - 04:59 PM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 22 May 04 - 01:35 PM

I thought it was time to refresh this wonderful thread again and to mention in passing that I've now heard Steve Rector, the guitarist GUEST referred to above, play and he is indeed a wonderful player. Steve Rector was among the performers at last weekend's Tribute to Merle Travis: National Thumbpicking Guitar Contest at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas.

Steve referred to the Taylor flattop cutaway he was playing as a “poverty box.” He has found no way to make a living playing Travis (Kentucky Thumbpicking) style acoustic music and spends most of his time playing a Telecaster behind a country band.

Sad to say, he's probably right. There were only three or four hundred people in the audience Friday night for the concert. Considering the concert featured some of the best thumbpickers working today, I expected to see a much larger crowd.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 06:20 PM

On the issue of misimpressions--it seems to me that a lot of confusion come from what the old players themselves said, partricularly as to what they learned and when-- musicians are not, for the most part, scholars, and the tend toward the "good story" rather than the factual story--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: FJGI
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 06:50 AM

Hi,

Great article !
Regards from Spain


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 08:33 PM

In an e-mail from her, Dr. Brady responded that unfortunately she was too busy with professorial duties to contribute to the discussion right now, but she did alert me to the fact that Eddie Pennington will have a new CD coming out in April of next year on Folkways. She also said the CD will have some "really great liner notes by Joe Wilson of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. I will be saying a few words, too, but I don't have a lot to add
to Wilson -- he corrects a lot of misimpressions and gives a fine
overview of the style."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 07:00 PM

Thanks, GUEST. I sure hope she decides to add something. I know I'd be interested and I'm guessing everyone else here would like to read what she has to say as well.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 06:22 PM

...I have e-mailed Dr. Brady and I made her aware of this discussion in the hopes that she will find time to grace us with her presence and provide her own perspective.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 05:44 PM

Dr. Brady has been researching the evolution of the "Muhlenberg sound" for some time now. There was word from guitarist Steve Rector (a lesser known but talented thumbpicker who lives in the area - often sharing a stage with the likes of Eddie Pennington, who is widely regarded as the guitarist alive today who plays most like the original "Travis style") that she was to have been working on a book ....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 03:22 PM

Western Kentucky University hosts the Kentucky FolkWeb site that includes an article on “That Muhlenberg Sound” by Erika Brady of Western Kentucky University. The article talks a little more about Kennedy Jones and his first use of the thumb pick.

I was just rewatching my copy of the Vestapol video Legends of Country Guitar which begins with Mose Rager playing I Am A Pilgrim and talking about how they learned to play the thumbpicking style. Rager says:

“Colored fellers way back yonder played that thumb pick just as far as I can remember.”
He then goes on to say that he first “got onto” the style from a man named Levi Forrester from Depoy, KY. (The liner notes say Levi Foster but I've played that sentance over and over and I believe Rager is saying Forrester.) Rager says of Forrester, “…he didn't have no thumb pick but he played the thumb lick.” He doesn't mention Kennedy Jones at all.

The liner notes to the Vestapol video do mention Kennedy Jones and say that Rager first met Jones in 1925 and by that time Jones was using a thumb pick, the first one Rager had ever seen.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 02:45 PM

I have dug out the Rich Kienzle book that comes with the Bear Family Boxed set(which shows that Merle did much more than fingerpick),which seems to have been written much later than this--in it, he says that Kennedy Jones learned the picking style from his mother, Alice Jones, who was a multi-instrumentalist, and also taught music, and not from Arnold Shultz, as is often thought--he also quotes Merle as saying that as a boy, he'd learned a lot from 78's, particulary one of Nick Lucas(who guitar solo version of "Tiptoe thru the Tulips" introduced the guitar to the popular music audience)--

On thing that bothers me about Kienzle--he talks about "syncopated bass" in both this article and the book, and in Travis picking, the bass plays square on-the-beat eighth notes, while the melody or lead line is the thing that is syncopated--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Midchuck
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 01:59 PM

Not mentioning Maybelle is logical, since she was really a precursor of modern flatpicking than of fingerpicking, even though she played with fingers and a thumbpick.

Some variation of the Carter lick - pick a bass note on one, rest (or hammer on) on two, downstroke on the trebles on three, lighter upstroke on trebles on four - is used for most country and bluegrass accompaniment with a flatpick.

Peter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 01:46 PM

And don't forget Bardstown's own Pat Kirtley. http://www.win.net/~mainstring/welcome.html

There is some info about Kentucky guitar following the link on the homepage.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:45 PM

M.Ted, What you say makes a lot of sense. (As seems so often the case.) I've read that historical cowboys didn't play guitars, at least not on the big drives, because they aren't easily portable on horseback and don't weather well. Their lifestyle and mode of travel meant a lot of unaccompanied singing, harmonica, jews harp, and perhaps the odd mandolin or fiddle with the corners smoothed off.

Likewise early blues were played on fiddles, partly because of sheer availablilty and partly because the instrument isn't limited to the European scale.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 11:06 AM

THis is a great article-- includes ideas I agree with and disagree with. His central figure is Merle Travis and as an hourglass-- "These were Travis' sources. This is Travis. These are the people he has influenced" it's great. Where I disagree is on emphasis. Just for an example, Roy Harvey is mentioned, but Maybelle and Riley aren't. Cannonball Blues, anybody? (yes, she learned it from Leslie Riddle; where did he get his ideas?) and Riley's Fuzzy Rag. . . I also don't think that EC Ball's style is that different from early Merle Travis. As M. Ted says, there was lots of great guitar playing. . .and there were MANY "traditional guitar styles". . . and I think Maybelle invented lots of them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 08:36 PM

Again, I am not saying that there was not great guitar playing--I am saying that it was created from diverse elements into new styles--really innovation, not tradition, in order to satisfy the performing and recording needs of relatively recent times. There seems to be no traditional guitar style to accompany the traditional cowboys songs, no traditional appalachian guitar style, etc--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Amos
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 08:06 PM

What indeed?

JP, thanks for a faskinatin' article!!


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 05:16 PM

Never let it be said that I contradicted M.Ted without trepidation, but (as I hinted at with my mention of Darby and Tarlton, whose records are full of guitar), there was lots going on -- Tarlton's slide (and Hawaiian slide in the wings) for a start. And what of Riley Puckett?

yours,

Peter T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 02:30 PM

Most of the playing styles seem to have fairly shallow roots--not to say they aren't great styles, but they seem to be more favored by revivalists than reflective of the past, and tend to lead back to
early recordings of the above mentioned folks, --old recordings, with the exception of a few blues artists, don't show much guitar, and there isn't much to document how folks used all those instruments that Sears & Roebuck shipped out to the hinterlands--

Blues guitar playing seems to mostly have been modified from old banjo and piano styles, and there doesn't seem to much outside of blues guitar going on--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 02:27 PM

I still remember being a kid of 20 and meeting Ray Tate for the first time at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Ray asked what I played and I said—parroting the current folkie kid vocabulary—I played Travis style. So Ray asked to hear something and I probably played some Elizabeth Cotten tune and Ray just looked at me in wonder, explained that I wasn't playing Travis style at all and proceeded to give me a demonstration of real Travis picking. The OTSFM was still in Old Town then, at the top of a long dark narrow flight of stairs on North Ave. I was lucky he didn't just throw me down the stairs. <g>

Justa Picker had a previous thread called Travis Picking - Misconceptions in which he tried to lay out the things that make Travis Picking (Kentucky Thumbpicking) different from other fingerpicking styles and why the others can't appropriately be called Travis Picking.

Except for Arnold Schulz, who no one living today remembers, there really is no direct line of antecedents leading to Rager-Everly-Travis-Atkins style picking. The Piedmont and Delta styles can be traced back but the Kentucky Thumbpicking style seem to be much like bluegrass music in that it just sprang forth fully formed.

M.Ted, I tend to think of Piedmont and Delta styles as folk styles but of course they aren't the only folk styles. I suppose an academic might classify flemenco as a folk style.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 01:02 PM

Libba Cotton also. Many of the so-called "songsters" of the Piedmont territory. About 75 or more of the old country blues legends
too

Art


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 12:56 PM

A folk syle might be Estil Ball, Mississippi John Hurt, ----possibly even what I did (although trad-folk-revival would be a better designation for moi.)

Gamble Rogers belongs on the list of great Travis-style pickers.

Art Thieme


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 03:12 AM

I would be curious to know what a "traditional" or "folk" style of guitar playing would be--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 01:21 AM

It could be argued and debated from now 'til doomsday whether the Kentucky thumbpicking style has more in common with jazz or folk. Or both. Or neither one. Or a conglomeration of many styles. Just like in psychology when researchers debate whether such and such behavior is due to biological or environmental causes. Usually the answer everyone somewhat agrees on is, "a combination of the two."

The article Picker posted at the outset pretty much nails it. What makes the style unique is the thumb keeping constant accompaniment on the bass strings while the fingers pluck the melody. As that style evolved, I think it got more sophisticated as jazzy influences crept in with the addition of more complicated chords - adding 6ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, and sharping and flatting all these intervals, etc. These embellishments, of course, came from the players themselves as they incorporated the music that influenced them into their own efforts. Some sort of recombinant process may be at play in the realm of creativity.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 09:32 PM

An interesting thing about the development of Kentucky Thumbpicking is that none of the early players seemed to think of themselves as folk or traditional musicians. I've read that Merle Travis was very resistant when asked to write some songs that sounded traditional or folk. Among the songs he reluctantly turned out were Dark As A Dungeon and Sixteen Tons. He never really liked those songs—although he later claimed to “just love” Sixteen Tons after Tennessee Ernie Ford made him a bundle of money with it.

And of course Chet Atkins used to regularly win top honors in the Playboy Jazz Poll.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 11:31 AM

Chet Atkin's Autobiography (Country Gentleman) is very good for the first two thirds, and then fades away.

yours,

Peter T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 10:34 PM

...geez, well so much for the Christmas gift idea. Chet Atkins' autobiography is evidently a collector's item, now that he's passed. The book is out of print and copies for sale by private individuals range anywhere from $75 to upwards of $200 +. Merle's boxed set is $129.00, but Walkin' The Strings is closer to the average price for a CD, and if the audio snippets are any indication, there's some fine acoustic thumbpicking on there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 06:29 PM

Thanks for the article.

Good to see some fine country music historical overview here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 06:24 PM

I too am a big fan of Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family but I think Kinnzle and Justa are talking about the origins of a specific style variously known as Thumbpicking, Kentucky Thumbpicking, Travis Style, Choke Style (a new term to me) and possibly other names. Justa has recorded in this style and has even composed his Mudcat Rag in this style especially dedicated to this Web site and its members. You can hear that tune on the Mudcat Orchid CD.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST,equalrice
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 05:56 PM

Just skimming through, but didn't notice Maybelle Carter mentioned. I know she picked the melodies mostly with her thumb, but seeing that her playing is featured on some of the first country sides (i927), her influence can't be discounted. Along with the Delmores, she was one of the first recorded fingerpickers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 05:04 PM

Rich Kienzle wrote the book that accompanies the Merle Travis boxed set, and it provides even more information on evolution of the style. Even still, this piece has a lot of great info--I didn't realize that Joe Maphis originated the flat pick and fingers style, which was used by a lot of the pickers around where I grew up--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 03:23 AM

Poking around, I came upon a great discussion of Travis picking at the Web site of the Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club Message Board. Like Mudcat, the old discussions are still around and seem to contain a lot of good information.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 02:52 AM

I don't think the article is recent. Justa evidently copied the article from this page at the Roy & Marianne Lanham web site. The Lanham page contains identical formatting and the same paragraph flow errors as in Justa's posting.

Roy Lanham, mentioned in the article as a colleague of Merle's at station WLW in Cincinatti, is a world-famous guitarist in his own right including his work with The Sons of the Pioneers.

The Lanham site contains another great article by Rich Kienzle that appeared in Guitar Player Magazine in March of 1987. That article begins:
HILLBILLY JAZZ

Merle Travis once said, "I get out a couple of Roy Lanham albums and play them. Then I listen to some of my recorded efforts and come up with this sort of remark: 'Dadblame, buddy, that's awful!'"

Travis, the father of the fingerpicking style that bears his name, always minimized his own vast talents, but his comment on Lanham's abilities is no exaggeration. Lanham, who has served the Sons Of The Pioneers for 25 years, is only the second guitarist in the group's entire 52-year history. What many western music fans don't realize, however, is that Lanham is also a jazz guitarist of impeccable taste…
It's great to be reminded of wonderful musicians like Lanham, Atkins, Travis, Rager and Everly. The ability and contribution of these musicians goes far beyond what most of us will ever appreciate. This music came straight out of aural tradition and needs to be preserved along with other great music. And if my own ear is any judge, Justa is doing his part to see that it's remembered.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST,Biskit
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 02:39 AM

WoW Justa Picker! that was a great post! Thanks!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 12:39 AM

..very interesting article. However, I subscribe to Guitar Player magazine and seem to have missed this artice. Is it recent?

This article has given me some ideas for Christmas gifts. My dad listens almost exclusively to "Travis style" thumbpicking, and Merle's anthology or Chet's biography would be an excellent gift for any thumbpicker aficionado. Thanks, dude.

P.S. A word of warning to travelers passing through Muhlenberg County, Kentucky: If you get pulled over for a traffic violation and you have a flat pick in your pocket, the fine is doubled. Carry a thumbpick, though, and you may just get off with a warning. ;-) Happy Trails.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 11:35 PM

Interesting article. Don't suppose having read it will make me play like Merle, huh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 11:23 PM

Ike Everly was a featured performer at the University of Chicago Folk Festival one year. He was truly amazing. He also participated in the free workshops that festival holds in Ida Noyes Hall on Saturday and Sunday. It was really a treat.

There was a PBS television special documenting the Everly Brothers career and their reunion concert at Royal Albert Hall. I taped the original broadcast but I see it's still available as a DVD. The program includes a very short clip of Ike in a performance and, a visit with an aging Mose Rager. As I recall, Mose plays ‘Back Water Blues’ in the Kentucky Thumb Pick style he's known for.

There are other videos of Travis and Atkins, some with clips of Rager and Everly, at Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop and probably other places too. Perhaps Camsco can supply them as well.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Evolution of Country Fingerpicking
From: Steve-o
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 07:46 PM

Guess I'm number 10 of your readers. It's a very interesting article, with lots of stuff I certainly didn't know. For example, I've often heard that Ike Everly was an important early fingerpicker, but never heard a record with him playing. I still love to play in this style- it just seems to give so much fullness and variation to guitar music. Thanks a lot, JP. OK, no more readers allowed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 26 September 6:03 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.