Swarathma’s Blog


In the Company of Giants: Varun on his Guitar Workshop Experience | Part I
March 4, 2010, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Experiences | Tags: , , , , ,

This blog entry has been due for a long time now, but it is never too late to write about one of your best experiences ever! I’ve always believed in learning from different people, because it creates a thirst to learn more. It also leads to new goals as possibilities open up that you didn’t know of before. Some months ago, I got the opportunity to attend one of the biggest workshops that happened in Bangalore: three great guitar players from three corners of the world came together to give the city a unique workshop experience.

All ears at the Don Ross session. Spot the guitar player of note seated to the right of Varun.

Don Ross from Canada, Masa Sumide from Japan and Sandor Szabo from Hungary came down to Bangalore for two days of concerts followed by a workshop and am I glad I was there! It was the first guitar workshop I was attending in my life. I didn’t have a clue as to what to expect, or even whether it would be of any help to me at all. Little did I know what a fabulous experience it would be! To make things easier there was a bus to pick us up and a lovely breakfast at the venue. Due credit goes to Konark Reddy for putting this together and for taking each detail into account!

The first thing that struck me when the session started at 7.30am was that all three of them seemed so cool and approachable. Soon after that we were divided into different groups and we were on! Most people ignore what an acoustic guitar can do without any effects or processing, we like to stick to electric guitars, the scream and the wail of effects and the rush of a rock n’ roll gig. But this workshop was to be about how all of us begin playing with – the humble acoustic guitar.

Don Ross (courtesy Wikipedia)

My first session was with Don Ross. A two-time winner of the US National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, he plays a style that has influences of blues, jazz and folk, not to mention classical. But his session began quite unexpectedly; he asked us to re-tune our guitars differently (not your EBGDAE). I was wincing as I did it, hoping that my strings would not snap as I didn’t have an extra set with me. Luckily they held. Good for me. We started working on a few interesting exercises and patterns that showed how we could use different fingers to be able to play different things at the same time, keeping a constant bass and laying down a nice melody on it. At first it appeared very tough to catch up but slowly I was able to manage. I could other guitar players hitting against their fret board trying to get the percussive character to their playing, I tried too but somehow I was unable to get it. Before we knew it our session with Don was over. I wish I could have spend the entire day with him learning what he was trying to teach us but there were more sessions lined up.

Coming up: Masa Sumide  and the percussive guitar madness

Text: Varun, Edited by Jishnu

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1 Comment so far
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Dude! Sounds really cool… Waiting for the rest of the story!

Comment by Narendra Lath




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