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Here we go...

riversaxriversax Oxfordshire, UK✭✭ Gitane DG255, Gretsch Jim Dandy
edited October 2007 in Unaccompanied Django Posts: 11
Hi all,
Thanks Michael - my copy arrived today - excellent service :D .

And now... I'd better get down to some serious practice. I have a feeling this book could keep me busy for <i>many</i> years to come.

Any recommendations as to tracks to start with? The beginner's ones I guess!!

Per ardua ad astra and all that!

Regards

Roger
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Comments

  • pdaiglepdaigle Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 233
    If you look in the Table of Contents (on page "v") the pieces have associated levels of difficulty. Start with the "beginner" pieces.

    I personally started with J'attendrai and Echoes of Spain.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,146
    Echoes of Spain is a good one to start with...the Etudes in the back are also good places to start.

    Have fun!

    -Michael
  • manoucheguitarsmanoucheguitars New MexicoNew
    Posts: 199
    I purchased this book a few years ago and I keep going back to it. Like all of Michael's books it's really amazing work and a testament to his remarkable talent as a writer and musician. I started with the Intro to Nuages then the solo Nuages.. I found that the easiest place to start then moved on to J'attentrai and most recently Echoes of Spain, which I personally had little interest in until lately, and now have grown to really like playing it. Tears would also be a great place to start, I play it with a pick and not fingerstyle, and I also have a great Tears solo version (Chet Atkins) in tab that has been transposed into Am which I find much easier to play and a little more fun to improvise over.

    Robert
  • Bill McNeillBill McNeill Seattle, Washington, USANew
    Posts: 70
    I started with "Improvisation #2", which is a little unusual, but I got Unaccompanied at the same time I was beginning to learn the rest stroke so I needed a fingerstyle piece to play. Even now that I've got the pickwork down better, I find that playing this or any of the solo pieces fingerstyle gives you useful insight on the technique.
  • riversaxriversax Oxfordshire, UK✭✭ Gitane DG255, Gretsch Jim Dandy
    Posts: 11
    Hi Everyone,
    thanks for the replies and tips. I've had a go at etude #1 which is (sort of) coming on...
    I'm giving all the tunes a good listening as the only one I really know is Improvisation #2, which might be a bit ambitious... :)

    Do you think it is worth practicing the pieces in both styles?

    Regards
    Roger
  • manoucheguitarsmanoucheguitars New MexicoNew
    Posts: 199
    Another suggestion that may help is to practice these using just (like Django) two fingers as much as possible. A really good two finger exercise is to play "Sweet Chorus", found the book by Dave Gelly and Rod Fogg. This piece is teriffic to practice using two fingers. And it's a nice one to add to your play list.

    Robertr
  • pdaiglepdaigle Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 233
    Another suggestion that may help is to practice these using just (like Django) two fingers as much as possible.

    Robertr

    I disagree.

    While practicing or trying to figure out how Django would finger something with only two fingers may be interesting and fun from a curiosity stand point, I believe that using all your fingers is the best approach.

    Some of the topGJ players (I've read quotes from Bireli and Angelo Debarre) mention in tutorials that using and strengthening the pinky is key to their techniques.

    The fingerings proposed by Michael in the book are pretty optimal for most people especially when tackling intricate pieces like Improvisation #1. I would stick with Michael's fingerings or find your own based on efficiency and comfort of playing but using all 4 fingers.
  • jmcgannjmcgann Boston MA USANew
    Posts: 134
    On the other hand, a guy like Stephane Wrembel can't be all wrong when he urges you to try to figure out the fingerings Django would have used. This does not apply to Angelo or Bireli; this is working with the actual Django recordings.

    Here's why I think it's a good idea:

    1) It leads you to some interesting views about the tuning of the instrument that will help inform your 4 fingered technique.

    2) Many of the lines actually lie more comfortably with two fingers IMHO. Not all, but many.

    3) You are going to obsess about the other fingers anyway. This doesn't mean you HAVE to play EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME this way- I look at it as an avenue of research, again, to lead me to ways of looking at the guitar that the standard position approaches don't.

    4) Even Angelo and Bireli have been know to play some lines with two fingers- and certainly their vocabularies as players have been influenced directly by this approach- at least from what I've seen on video.
    www.johnmcgann.com

    I've never heard Django play a note without commitment.
  • pdaiglepdaigle Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 233
    jmcgann wrote:
    On the other hand, a guy like Stephane Wrembel can't be all wrong when he urges you to try to figure out the fingerings Django would have used. This does not apply to Angelo or Bireli; this is working with the actual Django recordings.

    I agree with this in the general context of learning from Django recordings. However, this topic is specific to the Unaccompanied Django book which contains songs that were not written by Django (including Etude #1 which is one the pieces that Riversax is currently working on) and I don't think that playing things with two fingers is good advice for someone starting to learn the material.
    jmcgann wrote:
    2) Many of the lines actually lie more comfortably with two fingers IMHO. Not all, but many.

    I agree with that and Michael Horrowitz reflects this in his choice of fingerings: just look at measures 46 and 47 of Improvisation #1. Again, this is why I recommend sticking with Michael's proposed fingerings which take these things into account.
    jmcgann wrote:
    3) You are going to obsess about the other fingers anyway. This doesn't mean you HAVE to play EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME this way- I look at it as an avenue of research, again, to lead me to ways of looking at the guitar that the standard position approaches don't.

    4) Even Angelo and Bireli have been know to play some lines with two fingers- and certainly their vocabularies as players have been influenced directly by this approach- at least from what I've seen on video.

    Again I agree with you. I have done it myself and I play some signature Django lines with two fingers also.

    However, I feel that it is better for someone just learning the material from the Unaccompanied Django book to rely on Michael's expertise and proposed fingerings.

    We have to be careful about recommending to new comers to play with two fingers; suggesting that they try it out and figure out their own fingerings is a better approach. But for a new comer to be able to rely on someone with Michael's experience is invaluable.

    While the right hand technique is very well defined in GJ, left hand fingerings are left for the player to decide based on personal factors like comfort and efficiency and by learning from more experienced players. Michael is an experienced player and his transcriptions are very thorough.

    Again, I am not trying to start a controversy here: in the context of learning the Unaccompanied Django material, I feel that relying on Michael's proposed fingerings is the way to go. Once experience builds up you can start figuring out what works best for you.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,159
    the important thing is to find a fingering that is most efficient...

    efficient as in technical ease, and also a fingering pattern that helps smoothen the transition to the next part... in a non-improv context that could mean going from one chord to another... in the context of an improv, that would mean using a fingering that makes it easy to follow through with other ideas....
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