One sure fire way to improve your playing or bring new life to your repertoire is to focus more on dynamics. Most often, we think about volume when speaking of dynamics – softer passages within a song versus a louder climax or even softer songs versus louder ones. I also like to think about other aspects such as:
– How you play a chord or phrase – with flowing tones or sharp staccato?
– Where on the fretboard you want to play a phrase – low on the neck, high on the neck, do you want to use open strings or harmonics?
– The balance in EQ between bass and treble, particularly with fingerstyle guitar
Of course there are many more concepts that fall under or are tangential to dynamics. Jimmy Page often talked about dynamics in terms of “light and shade,” which is a great metaphor to apply to your sonic palette on the guitar. And really, for such a compact instrument, the guitar has a very wide range of sounds. Thinking about all of the sounds you can pull from your guitar will give your performances more impact and make you a better player.
This video is meant to explore some of the different EQ and effects settings on the Fishman Loudbox Artist. This is meant to serve as a sound demo for what the Loudbox sounds like with a steel string guitar (a Rosewood/Spruce Taylor with the ES1 system). I close miked the amp to get a truer representation of the echo / reverb effects, but you get an even more open sound when you hear it from across the room. (Also note, close-miking results in a slightly more bass heavy sound due to the proximity effect. I rolled off some of the lows slightly to compensate some.) Overall, the EQ and effects on this amp are well tuned to acoustic guitar, and the overall feature set is practical and useful.
Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, Gotoh 510 tuners, strings are Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) into a Fishman Loudbox Artist amp miked with a Sennheiser e906 dynamic microphone.
While a lot of people use more common open tunings like Open D and Open G, this C6 tuning (C-A-C-G-C-E) is most often associated with Jimmy Page. Page used the tuning on the Led Zeppelin songs “Friends” (Led Zeppelin III), “Bron-Yr-Aur” (Physical Graffiti), and “Poor Tom” (Coda). It sounds great on acoustic guitar, providing you with lots of drones in the key of C. (The tuning may not easily work on electric, depending on your set-up.) I find the tuning tends to work well where you’re mostly on the I chord and vi chord, with a little IV and V chords thrown in. While I’m sure someone somewhere will figure out Giant Steps in the tuning, I try to play to the tuning’s natural strengths and focus on chords that are easy to play and make use of the open strings. I hope you enjoy using this tuning. You may also want to check out my covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” and Page / Zeppelin’s “Bron-Yr-Aur,” links below.
Bron-Yr-Aur is probably my favorite Led Zeppelin acoustic song. Written about a tranquil cottage in the Welsh countryside, the song is meditative and bucolic; it always puts me in a different place whenever I hear it or play it. This is a relatively straight forward read on the song… The original version is a bit shorter, but I usually take a few extra passes through. Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.