Top 10 Jazz Standards for Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar March 2, Some musicians who play acoustic fingerstyle guitar sound like there is definitely more than one guitar playing. Many jazz standards can be arranged for fingerstyle guitar and this style of guitar playing lends itself well to the genre. Here they are in no particular order. What is this Thing Called Love by Cole Porter Some versions of this song will take you to places bright and dark, doing this standard great justice where other musicians have used the song at very fast tempos. The original composition was at a slower and in my opinion better tempo for this great song.

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The late guitar giant Lenny Breau was known for incorporating the intricate sounds of Bill Evans-style piano jazz, flamenco, country, and classical music both Western and Indian into a fingerstyle technique that became a sound all his own. Breau astounded other players with his mastery of hyper-efficient techniques to create deep and expansive listening experiences.

In so many words, Chet Atkins, his longtime mentor and a surrogate father figure, referred to Breau as a comet just passing through our atmosphere. After mastering the harp-harmonic technique developed by Atkins, Breau took it to previously unimagined levels. He used sheets of cascading harmonics to create complex harmonies and melodies, and seamlessly wove their shimmering sounds into his arrangements and compositions.

Breau was born to a musical family and grew up listening to country music and learning about Chet Atkins and other fingerpickers. He typically played a nylon-string guitar, steel-string electric guitar, and eventually a 7-string Kirk Sand electric guitar.

This high A string opened new possibilities for chord voicings and melodic phrases, and he took advantage of it. Breau also used a capo on occasion. In the video below you can see Breau play some improv around a Bach piece with a capo at the 2nd fret.

In terms of right-hand technique, Breau played with a thumbpick and nails, and used a light touch. When plucking fingerstyle patterns, he anchored his pinky on the guitar for stability, but when he took solos, he usually raised his pinky off the body. Breau was born with a deformed pinky that was bent in such a way that it was almost parallel with his other fingers, and this allowed him to pluck artificial harmonics with his pinky, rather than relying only on his thumb to pluck and index finger to touch the octave node.

He also used this crooked digit to pluck cascading harmonic rolls. The rest of us should be able to play these rolls just fine using the ring finger. Change It Up! Try to minimize string squeaks when you shift fingerings. Click here for Ex. Sitting or standing straight as you do this exercise will give you a better chance of executing it without tangling up your fingers too much. This allowed him to do more with less physical energy. Lenny used shell chords, which in this case are two-note chords composed only of the 3 and the b7 of a dominant chord shape.

Notice that all these shapes are within a few frets of each other. Here, the b7 is the lowest note in each shell chord. Playing a full chord progression with the 3 and the b7 can take as little as two strings and four frets.

Notice how for D7, the b7 C is now the highest note. Each time you shift chords, pay attention to the role the notes are playing. Is the 3 or b7 the lowest note? Or highest? It goes back and forth.


Lenny Breau - Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar



Top 10 Jazz Standards for Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar



How Did Lenny Breau Do That?


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