Learning Right Hand Fingerstyle Techniques in Standard Tuning

You can study and learn a song on a classical guitar in standard tuning that can help you with right hand technique with DADGAD fingerstyle Guitar. I will try and explain a bit… 

I have been taking a short break from my DADGAD fingerstyle guitar playing and working on the new Hymns for DADGAD guitar so try and get some new right hand techniques learned from Standard tuning.  I will share just a short review of my journey with this and how it might help you also with your DADGAD fingerstyle playing. 

First of all why even bother with this approach and short change in your playing routine?  For me, the primary reason I took a short break from DADGAD tuning to learn a standard tuning song was I really was getting a bit burned out and just need a spark of creativity and a break from daily DADGAD work. It is interesting because I have a really nice Collings OM1A deep body guitar that is only for DADGAD which I am so thankful for. The cost was something like $4800 new or something like that. Well, interestingly I am taking a break from that beautiful guitar and playing a $99 classical guitar that I purchased 35 years ago. It is just a really nice break , and new sound, a new source of creative flow to even use a very inexpensive different guitar! 

What I did was get on You Tube and found a wonderful video showing how to play an Earl Klugh song called Love Theme From Spartacus words and music by Alex Norte and transcription by Francois Leduc. Francois has done a wonderful job of transcribing Earl’s song note by note such a find on You Tube, I cant tell you how great this is. The intent is for you to play this song as one person with one guitar which uses the Chet Atkins approach. I am not there in my playing ability yet to do this, so I am learning how to play the lead and then the rhythm as two separate takes and then putting them together with ProTools. Still many lessons are being learned by even doing this! 

What I have learned from this exercise is that you can learn a-lot about the Fingerstyle guitar approach by looking at how another guitarist approaches the song even with a classical guitar and even in standard tuning. Earl’s playing is beyond great. He uses slides, slurs and hammer on and offs with such elegance and ease. This alone is a great way to learn some right and left hand techniques.  Earl also does play both parts at the same time in the time honored Chet Atkins guitar approach.  He is very good and playing the melody louder or accented which takes some practice. This also is a great technique to transfer over to your DADGAD fingerstyle playing which I also plan to do. 

As far as song arrangement it has been interesting to review Earl’s chord choice in the Jazz world.  Then how Earl adds the melody , sometimes first before the Chords, this is just an amazing technique that I could write many blogs on. Just a great way to approach the guitar as Chet did so well. 

In going back to my DADGAD Hymn arrangements I am challenged now to play the melody louder then the chords surrounding the melody.  Also how the melody is even arranged with the Chords will be looked at in future arrangements in DADGAD  just based on this great info learn from Earl. 

So there you have it, a short but sweet blog that basically is just saying – take a break from your DADGAD once in a while and study a standard tuning song in another music style like Jazz and it will spark both your creativity but also the ability to learn some new right and left hand fingerstyle techniques that will translate perfectly into your DADGAD playing. It will make you want to pick up your guitar more and play and have fun more and not feel so much in a rut. I have found also that my wife is very thankful to not hear DADGAD for awhile all time time and hear something new and fresh being practiced! 

Happy DADGAD and Standard tuning playing!

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