This is one the most impressive things I have seen in a long time! The economy of motion is just incredible and he makes it look so easy… if only it was!
I largely had gotten away from virtuoso electric guitar from about 2010 until I found out about CtC circa 2019. I’ve been introduced to so many terrifying players through the forum though. Andre is up there pretty high.
Nice one! His playing is awesome! I must check out more of his stuff
The craziest part of that has to be the muting in the picking hand to play those super tight like that.
Look up the steel guitar concepts of pick and palm blocking for what I’m getting at.
I’m not sure if he’s doing much to mute with his picking hand. Not saying he isn’t either, I’m just not certain. It’s a foreign concept in classical playing (my area of familiarity) but he’s not really using a classical setup. I’ll have to defer to you on the pedal steel guys, I don’t know anything about them, but I’m always amazed by how clean they play and how they can shred without even having fingers for fretting.
Back to Andre, I see a fret wrap on the first fret and I’m sure that’s some nice cheap insurance. My classical chops are super rusty, I just tried playing this. I can’t slow that video down so I’m probably not even doing it his way, but it’s challenging. The speed is the issue for me. It seems to be pretty separated without me thinking about the muting much, but I think it’s because during the descending portion the fretting hand can mute, and during the ascending part, the picking hand fingers mute as they get planted to play the next notes. I’ll see if I can get a video together later. Pretty fun actually, I’ve never in my life tried playing electric lead with fingers.
Rich Graham (another one of the most terrifying players I didn’t know about pre CtC) ought to put out a video of himself doing it this way, since he’s already shown himself sweeping it and crosspicking it. As a trained classical player, I’m sure this is in his wheelhouse (as would be some sywbrid)
What’s left after being able to sweep, crosspick and fingerstyle/swibrid this? Tapping I guess lol. I’m sure Rick could swing that as well.
Me too. As big of a positive impression that he’s made on me, I’ve listened to very little of his music. I’ve seen a few originals, which were very cool compositions, and also probably the mot frightening cover of “Another Day” I’ve ever heard:
I think PSG overall is the hardest instrument on earth to become competent at let alone to master. The theremin is the only true contender due to complete lack of tactical feedback and lack of instruction from masters of the instrument.
The difficulty with PSG arises from a few things.
It’s fretless, so the tactical feedback is limited and fretting must be precise for proper intonation. This allows very vocal like vibrato (if you thought good guitarists were identifiable by their vibrato, PSG is a lot like singing in that regard its a fingerprint of each player)
The multitasking, this instrument is basically a test in the ability to do something completely different with each limb. Volume Pedal with one foot and knee levers with the same leg. Pedals and levers with the other leg. Finger picking with the picking hand and all the muting required.
PSG basically has the most sustain of any plucked stringed instrument only high gain guitar is comparable. One of the things learning PSG really helped with was the hyper awareness of muting and the need to precisely control when strings die out. It’s similar to the first time you plug into a high gain amp that is set to fire breathing dragon levels and you have to completely relearn how you play to tame the beast. It’s to me what makes guys like Yngwie absolutely terrifying compared to the legions of bedroom imitators that never play at those volume levels.
dynamics. PSG is aside from the human voice the most expressive and dynamically controlable instrument. This is mainly due to the volume pedal and there is a tendency amongst novices to ride the volume pedal and everything sounds like Van Halen’s Cathedral. Ideally the VP smooths the attack of each note and contributes to that smooth ethereal sound that PSG in known for. The other primary trick of pedal steel is using the volume pedal to combat the inherent limited sustain of ringing strings, as a note fades you swell into it to offset. It’s a similar mentality to doing climbing trills on a guitar with a floyd and dropping the floyd as you climb so the note never really changes pitch. But instead of being a sometimes flashy trick its a core playing technique.
Paul Franklin is likely the most heard pedal steel player in history. I can’t even imagine how many 1000s of sessions he has played on. He’s one of those musicians that everyone’s heard but most listeners would never know his name.
Here’s a “slow-downable” version of the OP video in case anyone’s interested in seeing what he’s doing.
I can immediately see I’m fingering the diminished arpeggios differently, therefore also a slightly different picking.
damn his technique is crazy good. he makes it look so easy, really incredible to watch.
I’m not at his speed yet but I’ve made this my new pet project. His technique is definitely top notch, and yes, he makes it look easy. But like all these awesome players…that’s the secret. He’s making it easy. If you’re comfortable with fingerstyle (I’m rusty, but decades of classical playing mean I’m ‘comfortable’), there are a lot things about this tune that fall under the fingers nicely.
Nothing to write home about but here’s some initial practice on working this out. One of my biggest challenges is remembering what the next pattern will be since it modulates so much lol. I think I have the technique mostly down (still needs refinement of course). BTW I’m starting pretty slow just so it’s clear about the ordering of the fingering in the picking hand. After a short (failed lol) run I show it closer to the target tempo, just the arpeggios by themselves, not so much a ‘performance’. Now with that disclaimer aside…
It changes slightly throughout, but there are 2 main patterns. The rolling major or minor arpeggio pattern are shown in the first measure, then the pattern where we have the moving diminished shape is the second measure. There are of course some outliers, but that gets us through the majority.
I should mention, this is not the exact way Andre is doing it. He fingers the diminished shapes across 4 strings which I just can’t comfortably do. It requires putting 2 frets apart between ring/pinky. Any stretching between my ring and pinky on the fret hand is just a no go, so I’ve chosen what works for me.
Also, there’s a cool thing he does on some of the diminished shapes that deviates from the original where he introduces some triplets. As I get better at this I’ll post some more examples, if people are interested. I mentioned in another thread that my wife is not interested lol! She heard me playing this the other day and said “I feel sorry for you.” I asked why and she said “It just doesn’t sound good”. Perhaps she’s right. It’s fun to play though, and I’ve got headphones, so all good.
I’ve never in my life tried playing leads fingerstyle. How quickly I’ve gotten this close to the target speed makes me think I’m on the right track though. It’s kind of exciting. I just mess with it a little every day, and every day I feel like good progress occurs. Maybe I should stop trying to plectrum everything
Sounds really good so far, the sound of your nails is quite pick-like.
The whole sequence makes quite a good exercise for this fingerstyle technique too.
Thanks! I barely have nails at the moment actually. But you’re correct I am using the little bit that’s there. That’s one of the most challenging things about classical - getting the contact point at just right spot or the tone becomes pretty poor. Plus the nail care routine is a drag. They have to be buffed and shaped just right. This electric distorted stuff seems more forgiving in that as long as we get some degree of positive contact with the string, all is well. I haven’t done really any nail care either, just clipped them off and let them grow back for a couple days. I’m curious about nail involvement with Andre now…pretty sure he’s got nails. At least I can definitely see a long thumb nail.
I just can’t believe I’ve never thought to try fingerstyle distorted electric. I started playing fingerstyle when I was 14 or 15 then went all in with classical at 17, though during the next decade I was still really interested rock and metal and played tons of electric with a pick. I’m days away from turning 41 now lol! Why I never tried mixing those 2 worlds I can’t imagine
Absolutely! Things work out really smoothly. Almost like single escape playing where you get the speed for free.