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  1. #1

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    ...not me, but Andres Segovia, master of classical guitar. Not so off-topic, as I was looking through Matt Warnock's site when I read his article about classical right-hand picking in relation to jazz guitar.
    I could get into that, as I long ago did Segovia's right-hand exercises, and managed to amaze myself, if no-one else!
    (If anyone wants to know about these, just ask. Hard to find them free on the net so far, but I suppose books are available).
    Anyway, from interviews with the late Andres:

    In his last major interview.......... interviewer Hugh Downs asks Segovia: "You do a lot of work, you practice, you perform, you travel. You're 94. You still teach. Do you ever feel like saying, 'This is enough, I want to rest'?" Segovia, whose career endured more than 70 years and who still had been giving 25 concerts a year, replied: "You know what I think? If I am tired now, I don't mind, because I have eternity to rest."

    In another recent interview, he said, "I've had three wives and three guitars. I still play the guitars."

    Wonderful !



  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I have a bunch of Segovias music..theories methods and transcriptions....

    Wonderful music....wonderful person....

    He once said to chet atkins "If I knew you played electric guitar I would not have granted you a lesson"...

    Time spent playing your guitar is time well spent..Pierre

  4. #3

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    There are many who feel that Julian Bream is/was a much better guitarist than Segovia. I heard he was a very "difficult" man.

    Sailor

  5. #4

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    Possibly, but surely anyone who achieves such stature in their field deserves our repect, regardless of our personal opinions about their level of talent.

  6. #5

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    Segovia hated the electric guitar and thought it was an abomination. My feeling is no matter how great he was, he was still just a bit too opinionated to me, even though he could get away with it. I would have said the electric guitar is fine. It's just that some stuff played on it is an abomination.

  7. #6

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    I remember hearing of Segovia being called, (in an interview?) the greatest, at 82, and he replied "I'm STILL learning!" (!)

    don't know much classical r-hand stuff or artists, but recall really liking sound of Juan Serrano

    thanks wordsmith, oughta jot down seeking out segovias' rhand exercises; as far as jazz, I read ted greene liked the sound of no fingernails, playing with flesh of tips (lightly plucking to voice chords, not 'picking' a la dobro) (also tone pot down to 30-40% of full)
    Last edited by beejazd; 01-22-2009 at 03:09 AM.

  8. #7

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    Look no further...exercises as below. There may be more, but these did what it said on the tin! I seem to remember Segovia saying he felt these exercises were the most effective a player could do, even if they did no others.


    I remember reading also that Segovia appreciated the different effects of the nail and the flesh, and used both in combination.
    As I recall, the main thing about the right-hand excercises was the fact that you pick groups of four notes with three fingers, leaving the pinky in bed for a snooze.
    So a sequence would be imai maim aima imai...and so on. Also in the other direction.
    The benefit comes from having to accent the first note of each group of four with a different finger each time....Imai Maim Aima Imai etc
    I started on the top string with rest strokes down to the second, no left hand. Then work on the top two strings, then all three, all the time using rest strokes down to the string below. The rest stroke thing is important...like a 'walking upstairs' or 'downstairs', kind of action. Once mastered, this produces a powerful string damping action, and you always feel exactly where your fingers are!.Once you get going with the right, bring in the left hand, and watch it all slow down again !! Not for long.
    Simple, slow 1234 4321, then, with the left, then more interesting variations.......1324....4231. Obviously try to get musical as soon as you can. Also each of the three right-hand fingers on a string each. At some point, bring in the thumb to do 'thumby' things!
    I remember thinking....'why am I doing this?' ......when I gave these exercises a go....the rest strokes felt strange and clumsy for a while. But, suddenly, one day.............
    Eventually, your three right-hand fingers can roll around in both directions in co-ordination with anything the left hand chooses to do, and you can accent any note at will, at any volume. Result....has to be felt to be believed, if you've never done it. A lot like lovemaking, ha ha!
    I am going to do it again (the exercises!!!) very soon... did them about 25 years ago and became indcredibly accurate. Wasn't very musically aware then though... just picked rhythmically.

    I found it difficult at first (??), but like everything else.......
    Last edited by wordsmith; 01-23-2009 at 01:38 PM. Reason: addition of info

  9. #8

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    I love hearing masters talking about their field, especially when they have strong opinions. Segovia, I believe, would have had a difficult time in our give-a-gold-star-to-every-student culture. Today's attitude is to deconstruct the masters so that they are meaningless. Now, we have to chastise the "patriarchal hegemony" and diligently argue about the possiblities of an Eskimo Shakespeare.

  10. #9

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    Stackabones, your paragraph is just about the best thing I've read for as long as I can remember. British media culture has for a long time been to knock anyone who is successful, which is obscene. And western respect for elders is waning fast.
    Where will it all end up?

    Good that we have music!

  11. #10

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    hi wordsmith,

    I wondered about the terminus "Segovia scales"...
    Can you deliver a short description of that "right hand exercises"?

  12. #11

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    Segovia scales are just Major and minor scales w/left hand fingerings described.

    Basically a two octave scale up and down with one position shift. Probably on-line somewhere and available at all music stores.

    Sailor

  13. #12

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    ..........and Hubert54's question.......that was the shortest way I could explain his right hand exercises. It was intended to be a guide in itself, and something to wet the appetite of anyone who might want to delve deeper into the subject. Lots of jazz dudes seem to enjoy the classical guitar aspect of playing jazz......I recommend at least a trial period playing classical....it is a very 'earthy' instrument, with which one can quickly feel at one.

    (I've run the end of the last sentence through my head, and conclude that it is good English).

    And remember: Nuffin' don't not never get done if you don't do nuffin'!

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by hot ford coupe
    Segovia hated the electric guitar and thought it was an abomination. My feeling is no matter how great he was, he was still just a bit too opinionated to me, even though he could get away with it. I would have said the electric guitar is fine. It's just that some stuff played on it is an abomination.
    Wow, did he say that?
    I would have said/asked 'why?', and then sat back as I luxuriated in empathy with a master. because I feel like that also.
    I was talking to another member here about it really recently. I said how I didn't like the sound of electric guitars, and how many online teachers at youtube seem to hold an electric guitar.

    A teacher--who is apparently a very experienced guitarist, and outspoken, and emphasizes very strongly the importanct of technique, even criticizing a very important famous guitarist for yet bad technique--will then give lessons with the grossest of electric guitar sounds
    However, I have heard some of his works and he can make the electric guitar seem to talk, as did Hendrix.
    I of course admit, i LOVE Hendrix on electric guitar. And some Jazz guitarists and Brazilian guitarists really make electric sound cool.

    But I adore unplugged
    Last edited by elixzer; 04-24-2009 at 04:16 AM. Reason: extra

  15. #14

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    may i ask why unplugged?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by fast1
    may i ask why unplugged?
    It is hard to explain but will try. There is something about electric which gives what i am calling a solid-unrelenting sound. Of course this is most notable with the rock bands, and as we see their music becomes louder and louder, and can ruin hearing---as many of the top rock stars have lost hearing.

    So in that respect, the music form has been destructive.

    I ask your question too, because I also want to go deeper into what I mean. The other day I impulsively Googles ' unplugged guitar versus electric guitar' hoping I might find some articles which go deep into this. That hopefully would include quotes from Sergovia, and other Masters who feel like he did about electric guitar. But didn't find anything.

    I know the folk crowd really felt Bob Dylan betrayed them when he went on to use electric guitar, and I have seen a documentary where he first does a concert in England, with his new band of electric guitars, and gets booed by the audience.
    Now that is looked at as quaint. As though they are trying to hold on to some past thats dead and gone. But I am not so sure.

    There is a quality lost I feel, from natural sound to electrified sound.

    For a kick off, all the paraphanalia. The heavy equipment needed so as to play an electric guitar. The power needed (not sure how much).
    There is something really wonderful--to me--that an unplugged guitar leaning against the wall can when played with feeling produce enchanting and powerful music----------without all the messing about needed for electric output

    I am not saying 'ban electric guitars'. We would never have had a Jimi Hendrix, and I dig BB King, and as I said some jazz guitarists and Brazillian guitarists know how to senstively and powerfully play electricity.

    But my feelings are more open to unplugged.

    I remember once I heard Nirvana was playing unplugged----and Kurt Cobaine's performance was the most moving I have ever seen. And that unplugged performance is the one that remains with me!

    How do you feel about this?
    Last edited by elixzer; 04-24-2009 at 04:50 AM.

  17. #16

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    Clasical guitarists (and even some audiences) despised the electric guitar when it first came out which I find brilliant since irony is fun.

    That aside if you look at the electric guitar the same as an acoustic than it will sound like a bad acoustic guitar and the reverse is true too. They are different instruments. As far as feeling lost that is the sillyest thing I have ever heard.

    When I drink whiskey I drink Highland Park because one day my dad gave me a Highland Park and said it was one of the finest whiskeys ever. To me highland park is special, to someone else maybe annother.

    Likewise many people like an instrument for reasons that are similar. Unfortunatly they never seem to embrace the fact that their opinion was just formed by their life rather than it being a universal truth.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor
    There are many who feel that Julian Bream is/was a much better guitarist than Segovia. I heard he was a very "difficult" man.

    Sailor
    Sailor,
    It's kind of beside the point. Segovia was the player who single-handedly changed the world's perception of the guitar from it's humble folk image, to a serious classical instrument. He did this through playing
    pieces like the Bach Chaconne, in D minor, [his dropped "d" transcription of the piece written for violin]. He was self-taught and uneducated, kind of a red-neck perhaps in his opinions. I was lucky enough to have seen him play live afew times, he was great.] Bream is amazing, a bit more modern perhaps,
    [Segovia played a lot of rest strokes on a Ramirez with high action,]
    players today tend to play more free strokes, lower action, etc.
    Anyhow, there probably woudn't be a Bream if there wasn't a Segovia.
    BTW, he demanded respect when he performed. He'd warn the audience if it was noisy, and after a warning or two would leave the stage if they didn't pipe down. That's prettty cool, IMHO

    Cheers,
    Barry

  19. #18

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    I agree with all the above. However, the guy could be mean and somewhat abusive. Not acceptable, no matter who you are. There was a video of Segovia tearing down Michael Chapdelaine over minutia during a Master's Class in front of God and country. The guy went another direction afterward, so for him, this encounter was certainly career changing, but not necessarily in a positive way. Michael speaks about it now more philosophically from what I have read.

    I have a number of Segovia discs, along with Bream, Williams, Parkening, etc, and greatly admire his contribution. However, such behavior is at times overlooked if one is percieved as great. I do believe it tarnishes his legacy a bit.

  20. #19

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    I don't really know how I feel about him:

    I love his work ethic.
    I love his modesty and some of the responses he makes when people call him a master.
    I just heard that he was the one who standardised the tuning of the guitar way back when (have no idea if its true or not), but I read that EADGBE was not even close to being what most people tuned to in the early 1900s.

    On the other hand I absolutely despise his closed-mindedness with respect to:

    refusing to be amplified
    blanket rejection of any guitar style other than classical (I have an absolutely horrible quote about jazz guitarists from a Guitar Player Interview in the 70's that makes my face go red with anger every time I read it....something like jazz guitarists are only playing half their instruments, like they're cutting off the part after the neck...implying that their right-hands are useless). GRRRRR.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek
    I agree with all the above. However, the guy could be mean and somewhat abusive. Not acceptable, no matter who you are. There was a video of Segovia tearing down Michael Chapdelaine over minutia during a Master's Class in front of God and country. The guy went another direction afterward, so for him, this encounter was certainly career changing, but not necessarily in a positive way. Michael speaks about it now more philosophically from what I have read.

    I have a number of Segovia discs, along with Bream, Williams, Parkening, etc, and greatly admire his contribution. However, such behavior is at times overlooked if one is percieved as great. I do believe it tarnishes his legacy a bit.
    Maybe so. I'm not defending his behavior. [He was dismissive of Django, which says a lot about his ego and intelligence.] He was pretty boorish to say the least. Case in point; my Classical guitar teacher at Temple U. was the late great Peter Segal. Peter was fluent in Spanish and he published a collection of Segovia's letters to and from Pnce, [I believe the book is in print]. Peter mentioned to me that Segovia said a lot of ingorant things, [he was quite free with his anti-semetic remarks.] Unfortunately, I have found that in some cases you really almost don't want to know too much about some players, you'll be diasaponted. Just because someone achives greatness in music or sports, etc. it doesn't give them the excuse to be an a--hole.
    Everybody deserves respect.
    Cheers,
    Barr

  22. #21

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    Since I was quoted at the start of this thread's rebirth, and since I expressed an opinion about electric guitars in another thread, I need to get something straight. Let's not get too high on the horse here. I never said I didn't like the electric guitar and that unplugged was the only way to go. What I alluded to was the fact that I didn't like what a lot of players were doing with it. Personally, I like to play acoustic archtops with floating pickups. That's what I like to do. Unless I'm just playing at home in a closed room, I stick a floating pickup on everything I play. That's the seasoning in my recipe that gives me the best sound I can get and my audiences continually tell me they love the sound of the guitar. I can still get similar tones out of my ES 355 and my Les Paul Custom before I sold it. I've gotten nice, mellow, sweet and emotion filled passages out of a Fender Strat and a Tele when I had the controls adjusted just right for what I was playing. Listen to Johnny Smith, Billy Bauer, Ed Bickert, Joe Pass, George Van Eps and all the other guitarists famous for chord melody playing. They all play mostly electrics. Ed Bickert plays a Tele and Joe Pass sounded great on a Jaguar. (Or was it a Jazzmaster ?) I've heard musicians play strictly acoustic guitars and sounded horrible. I wouldn't blame the electric guitar for anything. A guitar is a guitar until you put a player behind it. A good friend of mine once confessed to me when he saw me bring one of my guitars to work that he absolutely hated the guitar in general. When I asked him why, he said all the guitarists that he heard would pick up the guitar and scrub the strings with a pick making a "jinga jinga jinga" sound. Then I plugged in my guitar which was a 63 Byrdland with PAFs and played Darn That Dream. the next thing I knew, he went out, got a guitar, brought it to me and said "show me how to play like that". Like I said, don't blame the type of the guitar, blame the guy behind it for playing what you don't like.

    As far as how I feel about Segovia, I recognize what he did for the guitar and I recognize his talent. As far as the rest of that crap especially those anti semitic remarks, I don't care how good he was or how famous he got, he had no right to be abusive, crude and nasty. He was an elitist and felt everyone should feel like he does and that's a bunch of junk. I'm finally done now. Everybody grab your guitars and pluck your G strings.

  23. #22

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    ....I started this one because I thought the following quote was good:

    "I've had three wives and three guitars. I still play the guitars."

    I must confess, apart from studying his right-hand technique from a 'third party' book, I knew very little about the man. I have been surprised and enlightened to find out more. I referred to him as 'the maestro' because he appeared to be one, to me.
    It just goes to show how much more there always is to know about something!
    This forum continues to be exceedingly educational.

  24. #23

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    Hey Wordsmith. That was a very good quote and I liked it. Also, referring to Segovia as "the Maestro" is the correct terminology as well. He definitely is a guitar icon and has a distinct place in music history. These are undisputed facts. My problem is how he relates to other people, especially other guitarists. Humility is not a word in his vocabulary. You can still be the greatest at something and treat others with respect and courtesy. It doesn't make you superior to others, just a better guitarist and it definitely doesn't give you the right to indiscriminately trash people. The rest of my rant was only me defending the electric guitar.

  25. #24

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    In sum, I admire the musician and performer. Sorry, I am not thereby obliged to admire or even inclined to respect the man's repulsive attitudes and beliefs.

    Should people be more well-rounded than a talented, but hateful, ignoramus like Segovia? I certainly hope so!! It was that sort of narrow-minded conservatism and social irresponsibility among people of "high culture" that led to the gas-chambers and extermination camps of Nazi Germany.

  26. #25

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    ....of classical guitar as my chosen instrument, posted elsewhere here yesterday. I hereby pledge to be a nice, friendly, jolly classical guitar player, on whom one can always rely to be civil, courteous and caring.
    I have always seen the playing of music as something which nurtures the positive aspects of being human. I can't imagine I would ever put anyone else down. Even if a player is quite terrible to listen to, he or she is at least making an effort creatively, and should be admired if only for that.
    Last edited by wordsmith; 04-30-2009 at 03:18 PM. Reason: speling corection