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Thread: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

  1. #1
    Registered User WillFly's Avatar
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    Default The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    I've put together a video showing some of the basic techniques that you can use to enhance a lead melody on tenor guitar. It includes things like, vibrato, ornamentation, portamento, phrasing and dynamics. The demo bits use Roger Tallroth's "Johsefin's Dopvals" ("Josephine's Waltz") as examples.

    Experienced players will know all this, but it's offered for the comparative beginner.

    Cheers,

    Will


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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    You are a great teacher Will.

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    Registered User WillFly's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    Thank you sir!

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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    Cheers Will, that sounds exactly what I need right now, I have worked through the beginners book and am looking for what next.
    - Jeremy

    Wot no catchphrase?

  6. #5
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    Good stuff. I think playing more expressively and musically, (as opposed to merely faster or more intricately), is something important to getting "better" at the instrument.

    A few ideas I have though of:

    In addition to the five techniques one might add a few double stop harmony notes here and there. Not a full "chord melody" but just a harmony note here and there to add to the drama of the tune. Not so much as to make it jarring when you go back to a single note.

    To add mandolin to the mix, you can add tremolo. And combining the speed of the tremolo with the changes in dynamics can really make the tune tug at your heart.

    The main thing is that all this stuff can be practiced. Not just with the specific tune in mind but in general, when doing scales or even on single extended notes. In addition to practicing scales and arpeggios and chords and strumming (and tremolo for mandolins), one can work on all five or more expressiveness enhancing techniques.


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  8. #6
    Registered User WillFly's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    Harmony (double stopping) certainly can be good. I used it - unusually for me - in my recent video "Mairi's Wedding", using the 2nd string as a drone in the 2nd and 4th iterations of the tune. Just to make some contrast between the 'undroned' 1st and 3rd choruses!

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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    Can I ask why you use a capo rather than playing the melody as it lies? Is it due to the style of music or for some other reason? I noticed it more in Mairie's Wedding, where I tried to play from the dots but my brain gave up trying to do that with capo so I used the tab; it did have the benefit that I can now play it on the mandolin in D with the same fingering.
    - Jeremy

    Wot no catchphrase?

  10. #8
    Registered User WillFly's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    I use a capo a lot, depending on the piece that I'm playing because of wanting to keep the same fingering patterns between the tenor guitar and the mandolin. I play the mandolin quite a bit and sometimes I need to switch between those instruments at different times and different gigs.

    So, for pieces in C, F and Bb - which are mainly the keys I use for jazz, 30s and 40s stuff, etc - I play without a capo. For "folkie" stuff, the popular keys tend to be D, G and A - and I sometimes have to play those tunes on the mandolin or on the tenor guitar with other musicians. So I have no control over the key. I use fingering patterns a lot. The capo on the 2nd fret allows me to use the same fingering patterns on the tenor guitar as on the mandolin - but with the capo on the 2nd fret and one string down on the fretboard.

    Sheer laziness! Well... not really. I have a fairly large repertoire, and I just don't have the time to learn a piece in a constant key on two separate instruments with two separate fingering patterns. So the capo is a convenient short cut.

    The other reason for using a capo is a bit like using a capo on a guitar when you want to play in a certain key to accompany the voice, but also want to preserve a particular chord voicing. There are some voicings for some tunes/keys on the tenor that allow for a better phrasing - Josefin's Waltz is a case in point. The fingering for this (in D) sounds nicer to me in C voicing.

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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    Makes perfect sense, thanks.
    - Jeremy

    Wot no catchphrase?

  12. #10

    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    Thanks Will! We all to often are so busy hitting the right notes in time, that we forget to add expression.
    I just recorded "High Noon" for a German ukulele forum(Theme of the month: movie songs) and I added some slides, grace notes and bends to the notes to make the melody more expressive:

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  14. #11
    Registered User WillFly's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Expressive Tenor Guitar

    That was great! I was looking forward to the "B" theme as well...

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