Download A Pictorial History of Jazz: People and Places from New by Orrin Keepnews, Bill Grauer PDF

By Orrin Keepnews, Bill Grauer

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Extra info for A Pictorial History of Jazz: People and Places from New Orleans to Modern Jazz

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Once you’re looking all natural and like you were born to play the guitar, you need to actually strike the strings to make sound. Guitarists have three ways to coax sound from the strings: ߜ Use a pick: The most popular way to play electric blues is with a pick — a stiff piece of plastic or nylon that you hold tightly between your righthand thumb and index finger (head to the next section for a look). For pounding out driving rhythms and digging in for aggressive single-note riffs and leads, picks are the tool choice — they attack the strings with power, authority, and accuracy.

If you’ve never played with a pick, try following the suggestions in this section. Hold the pick in your right hand between the index finger and thumb, as shown in Figure 3-4. The point of the pick sticks out perpendicularly from your thumbnail, and only the top third of the pick shows. Figure 3-4: The correct way to hold a pick. Don’t grip the pick too hard when playing lead, but don’t let the string push it loose from your fingers either. Play the notes lightly at first to get the hang of playing notes with a pick.

So the first step in playing the blues is to understand how acoustic guitars work, and why they’re so perfect for playing the blues. The right hand makes the sound, and the left hand guides it In blues guitar, as in other forms of guitar playing, the hands perform different functions — unlike, say, the piano or saxophone where the hands work the same way. In guitar playing, the left-hand fingers press down the strings at different frets, which creates different sounding pitches — the note names like A, C, F#, B%, and so on.

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