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Introduction To The Martin Taylor Guitar Academy
This "introduction" block sets the stage for what is to follow. Put down your guitar, and enjoy learning about Martin's background, influences, and philosophy about music and the guitar. If you are anxious to get going, you can skip ahead to the "Underlying Concepts" block or even "Learn By Playing Tunes" block. Just be sure to get back and watch these important videos!
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Underlying Concepts
The "Underlying Concepts" block starts very basic and progressively lays down the foundation for Martin's approach to fingerstyle guitar. Even if you are already an advanced guitarist, Martin asks that you go through all of these lessons. This block ends with Martin teaching two versions of the jazz classic "Satin Doll."
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Developing Technique & Musicianship
Here we switch almost entirely to music, musicianship, and advanced techniques for making music on the guitar. To get started right, Martin teaches a simple but soulful version of his own composition "True." Martin uses this tune as reference point throughout the curriculum. More techniques flow from Martin's presentation of jazz blues, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", and "My Romance."
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Learn By Playing Tunes
Watch, listen, play. It's all here: A progressive collection of tunes that represent every skill and technique Martin employs in his fingerstyle guitar playing. For many of these tunes, Martin provides a very detailed analysis of all of the techniques employed. All of the tunes are presented with alternate camera angles (you can see exactly what Martin sees using the "topview" camera angle), and slow-motion versions. Many of the tunes have downloadable notation PDF files, though Martin prefers you to use you eyes and ears rather than the notation which can become a "crutch" and inhibit progress.
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Auxiliary Lessons
This is the place where material will be placed that relates to specific topics not covered in the core curriculum, such as accompanying a singer, gear, etc.
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Guided Arrangements
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30 Day Challenge
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+Music
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Video Exchange Archive
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: Left Hand Expressive Technique

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[MUSIC]
Well I've
already spoken in depth about right hand
technique and
the importance of the right hand technique
in this style of guitar playing.
And how much, so much of the expression
comes from the right hand.
But I need to, to tell you something
about, about the left hand.
Now generally a lot of expressive
techniques that we use, I've found that
generally speaking rock guitar players are
far better at this than jazz guitarists.
A lot of jazz guitarists cut and play the
notes, but they don't go quite so
much for bravo and sliding around, and,
and things.
But these are things that are really,
really good, very important to do.
You know, to, to practice, a vibrato.
[MUSIC]
Playing the notes straight.
[SOUND] And then bringing a vibrato in.
[MUSIC]
And then we can have bends.
You know, now with, with, with the guitar
with,
with the jazz guitar, we tend to use
heavier strings.
Like an acoustic guitarist.
So.
And we usually have a, a wound third, so
it, it's not really easy to bend those.
But I, I, I bend strings.
Usually, I'll do a downward bend.
[SOUND]
And you can put, put a vi,
vibrato on that.
[SOUND] It's quite effective.
You can also do like a hammer.
[MUSIC]
That's always a good ef, effect,
because you're only hitting the the string
once.
And with this kind of multiple right,
playing that I'm doing with the right
hand, some that, that can be very
effective when you're playing other
notes with other on other strings to do
like a hammer.
And then you can do a hammer on with
vibrato at the end of it.
Now that's very familiar to all rock
guitar players, but
we do this too, do this too.
And then you can have a pull which is the
other way.
That's a hammer, hammer on.
[MUSIC]
And I pull and pull it back.
[MUSIC]
And
you can do a pull with a vibrato as well.
[MUSIC]
You can do a slide.
[MUSIC]
That's keeping,
that's keeping your finger on the string,
there's.
[MUSIC]
I'm just doing it in, in between,
you know, a tone, just, just to, just to
show you.
You can do it anywhere and in any kind of
interval, but I'm just showing it so
you can have a slide.
[MUSIC]
Bit of vibrato on the end.
[MUSIC]
You can combine the two.
[MUSIC]
You can do a slide,
another slide where you do you use more
than one finger.
By, quite, look at this, this kind of
thing where you use three.
You can do a.
[SOUND] Bit of vibrato on the end.
[SOUND] That can be very effective.
When we're trying to play a melody and
trying to get that melody sing.
You remember, I'm telling you about this,
you know, of getting that,
that top line singing.
And, with the right hand really bringing
that, that out with,
with volume and texture.
But also with the left hand we can really
help it sing
as well by bringing some of these left
hand techniques in as well.
So having little slides.
[MUSIC]
With vibrato.
[MUSIC]
So,
we, we can combine those together, and.
[MUSIC]
It seems like a lot to remember,
because you're already, I've already shown
you a lot of things to remember for
the right hand and now I'm showing you
this for the, for the left hand.
But if you just sit round and you play and
experiment with that.
[MUSIC]
After a while it really will just
become very instinctive for you to play
these when you'll feel the time is right
to put in a little a little hammer with a
vibrato on the end.
[MUSIC]
A little bend.
[MUSIC]
You can do it a little trill.
[MUSIC]
Isn't that good, trills.
[MUSIC]
These are as you can,
it sounds all kind of rock guitar this
because.
[MUSIC]
These are techniques rock guitarists use
a lot cuz it's more of a left hand
technique than, than this.
[MUSIC]
Flamenco guitarists as well.
I have use a lot of these kinds of things,
so
they'll put things like this in as well.
So try some of these.
Well, so, when you're, you're thinking
about the, the, the right hand technique
of bringing the melody out, bring in some
of these sometimes.
Some, sometimes you know just don't play.
[MUSIC]
See,
you can do a slide sometimes in that part
of the finger, too.
Doesn't need to be.
[MUSIC]
So, there's a little slide.
[MUSIC]
You can do a.
[MUSIC]
You gotta incorporate some of
these left hand techniques with the right
hand techniques.
[MUSIC]
And also with the left hand,
now there's some schools of guitar
playing, that say I probably shouldn't
endorse this at all, but I use my thumb on
the left hand sometimes.
And I know that isn't really correct, but
there are times when I will use my thumb.
I worked for many, many years, I used to
work sometimes with, with Barney Kessel,
great jazz guitarist, legendary man, and
he used his thumb a lot.
And I just figured if, if Barney Kessel
does it, then it's okay.
So I, there are times when I might play a
chord.
[SOUND] And I need, I haven't got a, a
fin, a fin, I,
I've run out of fingers for that.
[MUSIC]
So I'll slip my thumb over the top.
[MUSIC]
So I do use that technique.
[MUSIC]
I had a very good friend of mine,
who's a very good teacher back home in
Scotland and
whenever he came to see me play, I used to
be very self conscious.
I mustn't my thumb because he really
didn't like it because he was also
a classical guitar player, but I just
think, well, if it works, it works.
And if I'm looking for, if I run out of
fingers to play a note and
my thumb will do it.
I use my nose if I could, you know.
You gotta find a way.
[MUSIC]
So don't rule that out, you know,
about using your thumb.
If people say, oh, no, you shouldn't do
that.
[MUSIC]
If it's there, if it feels right,
then fine.
Do it.
So that's just a few left hand techniques
for you to incorporate with, with, the
right hand.
Vibrato.
Hammers.
Pulls.
Slides.
Slides with a different finger.
Some thumb techniques as well, you can,
and.
[SOUND] You can put them all together.
So, that's just a few more techniques for
you to add to your tool kit.
And your armory of things that you can use
in your journey,
along your journey of making music.
[MUSIC]
[SOUND]