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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



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August 7, 2012 | Paul Glasse 8 to 5

One of our favorite Mandolin Cafe interviews was from 2009 with legendary Austin-based mandolinist, Paul Glasse. Arguably the only contemporary who can claim time blessed with hands-on experience with the previous generation's triumvirate greats in jazz mandolin, Tiny Moore, Johnny Gimble, and Jethro Burns he's been able to carry their torch and assist in cultivating a new crop of players, as any who have attended his workshops will attest.

Here's an excerpt from one of the questions in regards to his approach to 8-string verses the electric 5-string:

"There's quite a bit that's different between the two instruments, the settings that I play them in and what I've come to believe they both require. Truthfully, at this point, I approach many of these issues intuitively, which serves me well. A few thoughts... Prior to moving to a 5-string electric I'd had most of a year of gigging experience playing on a 1957 Fender electric mandolin, generously loaned to me by fiddler mentor Evan Stover. Through that experience I'd begun to deal with some of the issues: single strings versus double courses, bending notes, picking with a lighter attack, getting away from the bluegrass "motorboat" right hand picking, playing frequently in closed positions, the ups and downs of having more sustain. When I finally moved to a 5-string electric I went through the same issues many of us do. At first I thought of the bottom strings "in another key"--that is "I can move all my G-position stuff down to the bottom four strings and now it's C stuff." While that approach can get you started, you've really got to get past that and see all five strings as a complete thing--an extension of the fingerboard you knew before. At this point, even if I'm just playing the bottom strings, seeing all five strings there helps me conceptualize where I am. Oddly, mandola or 4-string mandola tuning (like Johnny Gimble uses) confuses me more than the 5-string."

Read more: The Paul Glasse Interview

ReverNation website: Paul Glasse

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Posted by Ted at August 7, 2012 5:46 AM


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