Fahey, Konitz, Brevity & TasteSep 28, 2020
So the plan was simple. I was going to show up live yesterday, spend a little time talking about finding chords up the neck, take a few questions about the membership, then exit stage left, escorted by the angels of Brevity and Taste.
And all went well, for a while. I had made a new Dominant Dozen handout of twelve essential D7 voicings, and we applied that to "Trouble in Mind" in the the key of A. Next, we got into a few questions about the membership, some of them creative, some of them logistical. But then, as more questions kept rolling into the chat, I found myself getting further and further afield. Skimming through the playback after, I see we touched, to some extent or another, on:
Improvising on the form of John Hurt's "Richland Women Blues"
The four chords separating Blind Boy Fuller and "Indiana"
Advice from Lee Konitz on how to be hip
Sneaking I-VI-II-V's into the blues
How to practice pulloff technique
And this is by no means a complete and inclusive list. No wonder by the time I closed things down, Brevity and Taste were already long gone, no doubt three drinks into the after party down the block.
Since this was more of a Q&A session than some previous streams, I made sure to follow the chat more carefully than usual. But I kept getting distracted – first by how far-flung the audience was (Iran! Portugal! Round Rock, Texas!), next by all the cross-talk and high-fives going on as existing members greeted each other like long-lost friends, and finally, by the discovery that people who hadn't even made much of a ruckus in the forum were now chiming in to say how much they had learned in the past six or twelve months of The Fingerstyle Five. Things like:
"David has helped me make my fingerstyle so much better. Thank you, sir." – Charlie T.
"Just stay with it month by month, you'll be amazed what you learn. This is the place." – George V.
"I"ve learned soooo much from David... not just great technique, things like syncopation, which I didn't even know what that was, but blues history, style and why they played the way they do..." – Jim L.
"I've been a Fiver for a year. Really excited for every new month. Great lessons and materials but the Livestreams are pure gold. Seems overwhelming but David makes it understandable." – Piker99
These are guitarists like you, folks who just signed up to learn some tunes, some licks and maybe get a little perspective on how to play a bit better. I've found myself talking a lot more this time around about how learning is a long ramp, and how knowing what and how to practice is ultimately about having a practice – an ongoing pursuit of sitting down with your guitar and moving just a few pebbles from one pile to another. How over time, small, repetitive but thoughtful actions not only make for deeper, more solid skills but also for a more grounded, confident state of mind around music and your relationship to it. The Fingerstyle Five, with its weekly assignments and monthly, cyclical nature is my effort to make a path like that available to you, a means of playing the long game while learning more about this music we all love so much.