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Author Topic: Tuition videos that don't exist  (Read 2650 times)

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Offline Norfolk Slim

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Tuition videos that don't exist
« on: March 11, 2010, 03:07:47 PM »
On the way home from work tonight I was listening to some Patton in the car and it ocurred to me that it was odd, given that most of the big names have a dedicated dvd/video by someone, that no one has done Patton yet.

Most of the big names have had the tuition dvd treatment- Johnson: Ainslie, Mctell: Hawkins, Blind Lemon: Ari, Blake: Woody Man, Broonzy: Woody Mann, John Hurt: John Miller etc etc

Some of the less obvious names have been done too (John's Robert Wilkins and Furry Lewis come instantly to mind).

But no Patton (unless someone can tell me otherwise).  And, come to think of it, no Booker White or Son House either.  The latter is perhaps understandable as most of his stuff was pretty simple in terms of notes (though not in terms of getting the whole effect...) but no Booker or Patton is perhaps surprising.

I wondered if (1) anyone had any thoughts as to why those two haven't been done and (2) whether there are any other "big names" who haven't had the dvd treatment yet?

Offline Slack

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 04:15:59 PM »
While there is no instructional DVD dedicated wholly to Charlie Patton - there are a number of artist/teachers who cover him in some respect.  If you do a search on 'Charlie Patton' on the homespun site you get 11 DVDs:


Offline uncle bud

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 05:52:39 PM »
Patton's hard. Not hard like Blake or Lonnie Johnson or Rev. Gary Davis. It's a much more physical, elemental sort of package, IMO. I don't think the instructional material exists because there is almost no one who can pull Patton off with sufficient authority. I think some of what he was doing on the guitar is still very much a matter of debate as well. Then there is the fact that there's a chunk of Patton material that is almost certainly played lap style. And I think that while existing material dealing with Patton can give you good ideas (Stefan Grossman covers some as well as I recall), it is more likely to teach you how to play the way Instructor X arranges Patton.

Stefan G. keeps talking about doing a Patton DVD with somebody.

Edited to add: It seems to me what would really be more interesting for dealing with Patton would be several instructors over several DVDs getting as close as they can to whatever Patton material they're drawn to.

Alvin Youngblood Hart is both the most likely and most unlikely candidate that comes to my mind.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 06:01:26 PM by uncle bud »

Offline unezrider

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 12:16:56 AM »
hello friend,
i remember posting on stefan's website about a patton lesson. many others have, too. he said he'd love to, the only problem was finding someone who could do patton correctly. i know wax does a pretty good patton, if i may say so  :)
i would love to see some on booker white, son house, sam collins, blind willie johnson & fred mcdowell as well. i find it much more rewarding sitting down & tackling a bunch of songs from one person, instead of learning a song from one person. one song doesn't teach 'style' as much for me.
& if anyone is aware of some good instruction on the playing of junior barnard, i'd love to see that too. (i have ray benson's homespun tape)
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Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 04:36:59 AM »
I too was thinking Wax for the yet-to-be-made Patton tuition DVD! He's covered a wide range of the material very credibly and would do a good job of explaining it. And as  a former thespian he wouldn't be camera-shy either! How about it Wax?

Offline eagle rockin daddy

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 09:38:15 AM »
Martin Grosswendt is pretty good, and so is our own O'Muck....

Mike
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 11:30:20 AM by eagle rockin daddy »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 11:05:19 AM »
Hi all,
If there is a presumption that in order to be able to do an instructional video on a player, you need to be able to play what the player played in what will be recognized as a reasonable facsimile, then I would say the prospects of instructional DVDs on the music of Blind Willie Johnson and Sam Collins are very dim indeed.  I have never heard anyone come within miles of Blind Willie Johnson's slide-playing sound, in terms of either the right or left hand, and this despite the fact that there are (surprisingly) a fair number of covers of "Dark Was the Night" recorded out there. 
Sam Collins is, if anything, even more problematic.  I don't know too many players who would want to teach how to play slide on an instrument in which the open strings were out of tune in a very specific way, but which played in tune when barred at the fifth fret.  For that matter, I don't know how you make an instrument that will do that.  I suspect that Sam Collins' tuning may have been an accommodation to a faulty instrument.
I'd encourage anyone interested in playing the music of these or other players who have not had instructional DVDs done on them to figure the music out yourself, or pay someone to do it for you if you don't want to or feel you can not do it.  With slide especially, no video should be needed to figure out the left hand.  You know the tuning--tune to the recording and figure it out.  There are no chords, or if there are, as in Sam Collins' slide-playing, they are barred.  Everything you need to figure the music out is in your instrument, your ears and your hands.  Go for it!
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 11:22:28 AM »
There are bits and pieces as mentioned above, Woody Mann did one in Roots of Robert Johnson book/cd and I think Stefan has done a couple.  Charley's genius (speaking just of guitar here) to me is primarily rythmic.  High Water Everywhere is simply a tour-de-force, a masterpiece in this regard.  If someone could teach that with all the snapping, box beating, variations, etc., now that would be something.

If I could only sing like Charley...
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Eric

Offline Alexei McDonald

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 01:18:24 PM »
I'd like an instruction video dealing with the St Louis guitarists and one on guitar/piano duets.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 04:19:13 PM »
Hi Alexei,
I particularly like your idea of a St. Louis video and hope to do one some time before too long.  I am planning on doing Atlanta guitarists and Jackson guitarists videos later this spring or in the early summer, along the lines of the Texas and Memphis Blues DVDs that came out last fall.  I'm really glad that Stefan is open to these anthology videos, because it makes it possible to teach tunes by great players who didn't record enough to get an entire DVD to themselves.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 04:43:41 PM »
I second the motion on St. Louie guitarists; its a unique and interesting style.  John, glad to hear you're doing some more videos.
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Eric

Offline waxwing

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2010, 06:57:34 PM »
i know wax does a pretty good patton, if i may say so  :)
I too was thinking Wax for the yet-to-be-made Patton tuition DVD! He's covered a wide range of the material very credibly and would do a good job of explaining it. And as  a former thespian he wouldn't be camera-shy either! How about it Wax?

Thanks much for the kind words unez and Scratch. They are very much appreciated. I really think of all the Patton videos on my youtube site as works in progress. The way I hear and play them has changed a lot since that concert. Still a ways to go.

As to whether we will see a Charley Patton instructional video, I think that until someone demonstrates that they have a pretty workable idea of how Charley used his right hand, and I'm referring to the top tapping on the beat that he does on Down the Dirt Road, Pony Blues, Green River and many others, as mentioned by Son House in later interviews, I think it would be premature of someone like Stefan G. to produce something.

Also, as Andrew mentioned, it's pretty tough to get the gestalt of Patton, particularly in the vocal, and I don't think an instructional video would go over so well if the player couldn't perform the work with some verisimilitude. I would look to Steve James as someone who has the energy and the chutzpa, but I don't know if he has the inclination.

That said, I have been working on a way of getting the top tapping and keeping the phrasing pretty close on most of the songs I have covered. Certainly not perfect yet, the tap sound is inconsistent, and some sections I just can't maintain may still need a slightly different approach, but I think it's getting there. I've attached an mp3, just where I'm at today with it. Still very much WIP. I still have to think about the guitar way too much when I'm singing.

It would take a tremendous amount of work to get to the point where I could produce a DVD. Not only do I need to work back through all the material (6 songs maybe?) and tighten up much of the left hand, too, but getting video time, creating tab, etc. There's just a ton, musically and technically, to be done, not to mention an outlay of funds I currently don't have. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) I am hoping to be in grad school next fall. Perhaps inspired a bit by you, Alan, altho' I didn't think of it till now, I hope to get an MSW and do social work in hospice. I'm already taking a few classes to get in the swing of being a student (at 58) and doing some volunteering as well. There will be little time in the next few years to produce even the musical aspects of such a project. My fledgling "career" will pretty much be on hold as well.

But it seems lots of folks are at least copping the left hand from my videos. Insight shows a lot more views than viewers on most of the Patton material. Maybe some are even copping some of the right hand work and getting ideas. I actually feel held back by my 58 year old hands. Obviously much of the material is on the edge of my capability to play it. Maybe someone younger can get the idea and do it justice.

Thanks again for the kudos.

BTW, better to use email if you want to get my attention. It's on my profile.

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
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Offline sustaireblues

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2010, 07:24:47 PM »
Wax, I just want to say that I'm one of those that's watching your videos closely and I'm blown away! I'm an over the hill, frustrated picker myself and sure appreciate having access to all this to help me get a couple of moves closer to what has always been out of my reach!  :D

There's sure never been a better time to learn from the best than now.

Thanks,
Joe

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2010, 01:55:47 AM »
I have no particular desire to learn to play that stuff, Wax, and probably wouldn't be capable anyway. However, I do enjoy watching and listening to your performances, and I'm sure a lot of other Weenies feel the same way. Thanks for entertaining us!
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So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline waxwing

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2010, 06:50:09 PM »
Thanks much.

Glad to help you out, Joe, that was the idea in posting.

It's good to hear that last, Michael. Sounds like you lads had a good weekend. Hope to make it back to one someday.

Wax
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 06:51:46 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2016, 05:53:20 PM »
Hi all,
This is an interesting topic, I think, that Simon started a number of years ago, and it has been years since it has been posted to, and in that intervening period, my whole notion as to tuition videos that would be really helpful but which don't already exist has changed drastically.  In the past, it would have centered on musicians whose music had not been featured in instructional videos; now I think my notion of such videos would center much more on skills that are not taught anywhere on video lessons.  For example:
   * How to learn from someone, in person, who does not provide TAB or any other form of written notation, and who may not think of a musical piece in terms of the chords that comprise it, or its form (12-bar blues, 8-bar blues, etc.)  I think such a video would have been of tremendous value over the years for first-time attendees at events like Port Townsend, Blues Week, and Augusta Blues Week.  So many times, I saw people attending the first class of a player from within the tradition, and being utterly lost.  And with someone like Robert Belfour, if you didn't first get in tune with him at the pitch he was tuned to, on a given day, you could be gasping for air for an entire class period.  Perhaps with the ranks of primary source performers so diminished, people will encounter and learn from such players much less than they did in the past, and that's a terrible shame, but it still is a pity how many people appear to be lost when trying to learn from someone by watching, listening, imitating and repeating what they've been shown.  I think a video teaching how to learn a song from a musician sitting right across from you would be an invaluable resource, if it were put together well.  It occurs to me, too, that such a video could involve teaching how to learn from performance footage, like youtube videos, for example, too.
   * How to Learn a Piece from a Recording  The best way for this to be done would be for the instructor to be hit cold with songs in the studio that he/she did not know he/she would have to learn on camera, with only a recording of a song as a starting point.  I think it would be exciting to watch, but would also be hugely helpful in terms of giving insight into the process of learning by ear from recordings--what you listen for and establish first, how you deal with problem passages, etc.
   * How to Learn a Song you've never heard before in a jamming situation with no-one calling chords, and be playing along and contributing, quickly  Once again, the would-be jammer should not know the songs in advance.  The issue is what to look for and notice, from the moment the song starts.  If you're paying attention to the right things, (and we're talking about blues, here), you should be pretty close by the end of the first time through the form, and by the second, you should have it.

Does anyone else have ideas of tuition videos that don't exist that might really get at skill-building that a lot of players need?  I'd be interested in folks' thoughts on the matter.

All best,
Johnm     
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 07:08:24 PM by Johnm »

Offline Adam Franklin

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2016, 12:16:17 PM »
I have never heard anyone come within miles of Blind Willie Johnson's slide-playing sound, in terms of either the right or left hand, and this despite the fact that there are (surprisingly) a fair number of covers of "Dark Was the Night" recorded out there. 
All best,
Johnm

All the covers of Dark.. I hear are covers of Ry Cooder's version (aside from Corey Harris'), great version but nothing to do with the hymn that Dark.. is based on.

A.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2016, 10:13:29 PM »
Vocal mimesis as a guide for structuring a purposeful guitar accompaniment in order to construct a believable vocal/ guitar relationship. Mostly these are songs. The sound of a performers voice , the phrasing, the accents, all contribute to the whole piece of music. No attempt at reproducing a guitar part without a concomitant effort to reproduce the vocal piece can produce great results imho. I think the discomfort on the part of many white players to imitate Black singers, or not treating the vocal as one half of an ur text, is self defeating, guitar centric, and a bit silly. Bach should SOUND like Bach as the best scholarship indicates he heard it, and Blues should sound like Blues. Just my opinion.
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2016, 12:06:22 AM »
You make a good point, Phil.  Vocals are most often treated in instructional videos (if they are treated at all), as some sort of musical afterthought that will just start to happen at some point.  And that ain't necessarily so.  Why this should be so, I can't say--giving up in advance?  In any event, the great majority of blues are songs, not instrumentals, and require some singing.  Including that instruction in a tuition video makes great sense.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harriet

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2016, 06:21:55 AM »
Completely agree with including vocal, and I think the teacher should demonstrate - they often do and then breakdown that version as they have adapted to their vocal style so the student can get a clear idea of what one musician has done with the musical piece to keep with the melody and perhaps rhythm and spirit of the source as an example.

Some of us learning the music do not have the accent or naturally draw out the words of the original.  IMHO I think this would help students develop their version with the intention of walking beside, not underneath.

IMHO, I think this starts with a  presenting a singing version from the get go on the lesson,and breaking down the singing version both vocal and guitar parts at the same time.  It does require a credible performance presentation or solution on the part of the instructor.I also believe that this will change the way some students view the study of the music and that the goal of the lesson should be stated throughout to keep the student on course as to why this approach - I see this being done in videos sometimes but its not been clear to me as to why.

Offline joe paul

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2016, 12:41:17 PM »
I think many of John Miller's lessons and Ari Eisinger's have sung verses in the "demonstration" for each song, and in both cases it's much appreciated. 
Thinking about where the vocal lies has become important in the way I learn a song, yes, and I'm curious to hear of other tutors who broach the question of how the songs are sung.
The "musicianship" aspect is the most helpful in the long run, I agree. That said, if someone wants to do a tuition video on Snooks Eaglin's playing or on more Bo Carter, or .... or just songs that the tutors really like and they want to share that enthusiasm, it'd be great just for the pleasure of watching and learning.

Gordon

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