Filed Under (Acoustic Lessons) by Jason on August-23-2009

A lot of people have told us how much they enjoyed watching Rodrigo y Gabriela play Stairway to Heaven, so we thought we’d share a lesson from one half of the duo, Gabriela Quintero, on right hand playing. Before getting into the exercises, Gabriela emphasizes the importance of a proper warm-up routine and correct technique (it’s all in the wrist!). Then she takes us through three patterns: the basic up-down; the triplet; and working in the hit.

All too often rock guitarists see the fretboard as the only landscape for real musical growth. People like Gabriela, Tony Rice, and fingerpickers like Tommy Emmanuel (to be featured soon), different as they all are, show us how much you can add to your playing by focusing some time and energy into your right hand.

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[…] As promised, here’s the great fingerpicker Tommy Emmanuel energetically performing an acoustic version of two classic Beatles tunes. Although there can be no consensus “best guitarist in the world” (not until a three-handed virtuoso comes along, anyway), any conversation has to include this Aussie picker. Born in a remote mining town in the Outback, young Tommy’s life was changed forever the first time he heard Chet Atkins. “I got butterflies, and my heart was thumping, and I wanted to tear my teeth out,” he recalls. He knew instinctively what even the greatest flatpickers would undoubtedly acknowledge: if you want to “[do] it all at once” – play the bass and melody notes simultaneously, and fast – you’ve just got to use your fingers. […]

[…] oP’s music is good stuff, and he makes a lot of it. Two things I’ve noticed watching him play that the rest of us can learn from: 1) he uses a capo to great effect, giving him more vocal flexibility and allowing him to get real funky with open-string pull-offs and the like; and 2) his right hand is quick and accurate, giving the chordy parts of his tunes enough drive to keep his audience engaged. And as you know, we at The AV will crusade for better right-handed playing till Rodrigo y Gabriela come home. […]

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