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Guy Van Duser

”I'm kind of the oddball. I'm here because a lot of people are curious about this technique, fingerstyle. I show them how to take melodies on the guitar—solo line melodies—and play those melodies while playing the chords at the same time. You're trying to get two layers going. You're using mostly your thumb just to play the lower notes of the chord while the fingers pick out the melody notes on the upper strings. The fingerpickers do that in such a way that the thumb is alternating back and forth on the string, being the rhythm as well. So I'm not just playing the chord under the note, I'm recreating a beat: boom-chick, boom-chick, boom-chick.”

“I teach guitar arranging for songwriters and the Chet Atkins advanced skills lab. I have the historical examples that I consider important, and say right out at the first class, 'This is the evolution of fingerstyle,' and I'll play them a dozen examples that we're going to work from for the rest of the semester and I'm sort of taking the temperature of the class to see which ones their ears perk up on. You can develop these right-hand techniques with a fairly wide selection of music.”

“[Chet Atkins and I] became friends because I could do something he couldn't do, which was this whole stride guitar idea and he got really into it. And you can watch his playing begin to change. The closest he could come to accommodating it was instead of just hearing the thumb hit one note all the time for the four beats, you can—in his later recordings—hear his thumb coming forward and having his fingers joining it in the middle strings to play an entire chord, which is part of what I was doing, my little contribution to the history.”

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