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Post new topic My final post. Was the Alkire lessons thread.
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Author Topic:  My final post. Was the Alkire lessons thread.
Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 8 Jul 2020 3:30 pm    
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Bill Hatcher

 

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Post  Posted 8 Jul 2020 4:13 pm    
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there is a school of learning for virtually every instrument. that looks like how he approached his system. if you learn all that, you will be fundamentally on par with any other instrumentalist. you can sit down with any other schooled instrumentalist and play a piece of music together. and by yourself, you can look at any piece of music and play it or arrange it for your guitar. thats what a school of learning does....trumpet players do this, piano, violin, flute, sax, on and on. im not talking about improv, just the fundamentals of music that is taught to virtually every instrument in use today.

but.....the majority of steel guitar players are not motivated to study that kind of music system. they are not dedicated to learn music as you would in an organized system that teaches the fundamentals of music. a few C6 hank williams licks and maybe some island tunes and some chainsaw sounding blues licks....thats about what the lap steel is looking like these days. thats ok, but what you are looking at in the alkarie study gives you a great foundation to engage in any kind of music you want to pursue.
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Mike Neer


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NJ
Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 4:40 am    
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That’s cool and it dates itself to a time where the steel steel (non-pedal) was a real possibility for young students to grow into well-rounded musicians. Of course, times changed and ultimately the instrument was relegated to just niche or traditional use, which is a bummer.

I approach the instrument with this kind of detail and dedication because I want it to be the instrument that I can play all of my ideas on, whether they are steel friendly or not. The only way to do this is complete immersion into all of the boring technical stuff, which any serious musician on any other instrument must undertake.

You’re right that this type of system is not available anywhere for lap steel, so there is the extra step of assimilating all of the musical information onto the instrument/tuning yourself. If you play multiple tunings, you have to repeat certain parts of the process to gain fluency.

Cool stuff! It’s a personal journey for everyone who picks up the instrument.
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 5:32 am    
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Bill Hatcher

 

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Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 5:48 am    
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Bill McCloskey wrote:
You are right there Mike. It is interesting to read Bob Schaefer's letters on his history of playing the eharp. Back when he was playing, you could make a living playing lap steel....


back when he was playing, you could make a living playing just about any instrument....
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Dom Franco


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Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 6:32 am    
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The main problem with this or any other steel guitar "music course" is that there are too many different tunings, and 6, 8, 10 or 12 string variants of each tuning.

Quote:
assimilating all of the musical information onto the instrument/tuning yourself. If you play multiple tunings, you have to repeat certain parts of the process to gain fluency.


Most all other musical instruments have a standardized tuning (fingering) keyboard layout etc.

Imagine learning to play the violin with the strings tuned to a 6th chord... (it might be fun) but your fingering for scales and melodies would be all messed up, and that would not be fun.

The closest thing to a standard non-pedal steel guitar tuning is probably C6th 6 string Lo to hi C E G A C E.
and there seems to be more written tabs and instructional material for C6th than any other tuning.

But what about the rest of us that invent our own tunings?
we are out in our own universe and we have to be our own teacher while being the student.

I am not complaining, I love it! But it is more like work than fun.
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Bill Hatcher

 

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Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 7:52 am    
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Dom Franco wrote:



But what about the rest of us that invent our own tunings?
we are out in our own universe and we have to be our own teacher while being the student.

I am not complaining, I love it! But it is more like work than fun.


it would not matter what your tuning was. the concept of music fundamentals do not change when a tuning does. you can take any music study....lets just take the C major scale. no matter what your tuning is, the C major scale is there...somewhere. you look at C and then you find where C is on your guitar. then anytime you look at music or someone calls a tune in the key of C or whatever, and you see a C, you know where it is...now extrapolate out to all the other notes. learning music is just as fun and a thousand times more important than "fun".
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Dom Franco


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Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 9:15 am    
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Bill;
Yes music is music... But the mechanical aspects of locating that "C" scale and deciding which string/fret combination makes the most sense in context of the song tempo and style, is the WORK.

A piano or keyboard has only one "Middle C" my tuning has several places to play that same pitch on different strings. (although there will be different tonal characteristics)

For example:
1. The player could decide to play the scale by sliding to all the notes on one string (Which may sound beautiful in some cases)
2. Sometimes it makes more sense to use open strings and stay on the lowest fret positions.
3. The melody may call for some glissando and some plucked notes in reference to the way the song is often sung.

This is the WORK. Because I am a bit of a perfectionist and I am not content with "good enough"

A Music Course or specific method could not prescribe the actual techniques needed to achieve the best results on every steel guitar tuning. Some sheet music does however offer limited instruction on how to play certain songs on piano or guitar.

There is no substitution for practice, and that being done on your own instrument, no matter the tuning, number of strings (re-entrant or otherwise) I call that WORK... to me it is worth it and it is a life-long commitment. FUN is not the goal for me when practicing, but when I perform for an audience that's the time for fun.
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Joel Meginsky

 

From:
Springfield,MA,USA
Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 9:34 am     Thoughts on Lap Steel
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I agree that a knowledge of scales and arpeggios is very helpful in getting around any instrument with ease. Knowing lots of tunes gives you the material to work with. Creating your own style is a matter of assimilation and risk taking. There are many players who are ok with having some “licks and tricks.” When something new and significant hits the scene, I’m sure it’ll be both a surprise and a natural evolution of what had been done before. Knowledge is not a deterrent to creativity.
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 10:49 am    
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Bill Hatcher

 

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Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 1:56 pm    
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Bill McCloskey wrote:
. But this Alkire method is in a league of its own


after you go through this method, you can go through virtually any other study methods for almost any other instruments or even studies that are not geared up for a particular instrument, but for music.

you could go to the slonimsky book of patterns and melodic phrases. there was a time when jazzers used to go through the klosse' clarinet book to learn to read better in the upper registers. the entire music world is open to you when you understand just the basic fundamentals. what you do with it is your choice.

may i highly recommend that you also begin a study of chords and chord substitutions. learn both the written out voicings and also the way that chords are notated in a rhythm chart where just the changes are with symbols ala...C-7b5#11, A13, B11..etc.
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Joel Meginsky

 

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Springfield,MA,USA
Post  Posted 9 Jul 2020 3:14 pm     Thoughts on steel
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Also, textbooks on Sightsinging and ear training have hundreds of melodies to sing and practice on steel. The ability to look at musical notation and hear it internally is an invaluable skill.

Spending time with an chordal instrument such as piano or guitar will also be beneficial.

One of the goals of training is to be able to hear something in your head or on a recording and visualize it on your instrument. Studying other instruments give you extra “mind maps” to relate to, as well as new ideas to apply to any instrument.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 6:22 am    
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These Alkire pages are truly impressive. I recall the late Bruce Clarke telling me that in his opinion, the lack of standardization and often, lack of fundamental music theory knowledge by players was really holding the instrument back.

Personally, one of the things that draws me to steel guitar is precisely this lack of standardization in tunings and approach as well as the wide variety of instrument styles and general wacky creativity of the genre. It seems like such a wide open road compared to standard guitar with so many ways to approach pleasing sounds that are unique to a microtonal instrument. It also imposes some heavy limitations at times so an appreciation for the reductive, rather than additive, seems essential. Good luck with your studies, Bill, there's a couple of lifetimes worth of work there!
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 6:32 am    
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Andy Volk


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Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 7:35 am    
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Hmmm. I don't buy the "It's an entirely new instrument" branding attempt. In my view, it's an attempt to expand the possibilities of the Hawaiian steel guitar. Calling an improved mousetrap "an entirely new method of rodent incarceration" doesn't make it "not a mousetrap."

If playing from any sheet music, in any genre is the end goal, this is a comprehensive method for getting there. I also believe that if one accepts and embraces the inherent limitations of the 6 or 8-string steel, any music in any genre is open to you - but not in 3 or 4-part harmony. Smile
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 7:56 am    
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Andy Volk


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Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 8:02 am    
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A violin and a viola are different but related instruments. An E-Harp and a Rickenbacher frypan are not different instruments. But this is only one person's opinion and that, my friend, is why they have horse races.
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Dom Franco


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Beaverton, OR, 97007
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 8:08 am    
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If it's played with a bar it's a steel guitar
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 8:24 am    
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 8:24 am    
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The lessons and exercises in the OP look very similar to the content in the Ted Greene method books for 6 string, which I have studied with varying degrees of diligence over the past 30 years. I tried the George Van Eps method too, but it was not very well produced. I agree with Bill H; there are probably masterwork method books for every instrument that will prepare the player mentally and physically for any kind of music. This Alkire work looks like one of them.

I have not been too crazy about any pedal steel method books I have encountered so far, but as has been implied here in this thread, if you have followed a true masterwork method for one instrument, the concepts can be transferred to another. I have begun applying my Ted Greene resources and background to psg and it has certainly opened up some possibilities for the instrument that I have not found elsewhere in 3 1/2 years of hacking away.

Looks like you found a good one, Bill M. Good luck!
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 8:42 am    
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The only thing I can say is that after hearing Mr. Alkire’s playing, it is very Hawaiian sounding and not easily distinguishable from what a player can do on an altered C6 tuning such as C6/A7. But there are subtle differences, especially in the chord voicings and stepwise passages. He is no doubt the finest practitioner of the tuning. This is based on cursory listening, I haven’t transcribed any of it.

I don’t doubt that someone with more advanced harmonic sensibilities could achieve more on the instrument, though his technique was very clean with a lovely tone. He frequently used a different tone for his solos, which is kind of cool.
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 8:59 am    
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Nic Neufeld


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Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 12:04 pm    
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I too would be interested in hearing his playing. My experience listening to eharp recordings has left me a bit cold (de gustibus non est disputandum and all that) mainly because of how, like the name says, "harp-like" it is...discrete pitches, bits of air between notes, less of the singing, connected quality you get with Hawaiian players (one of the great advantages of the steel guitar). It reminds me more of C diatonic (which JB could still make sing, though) or the pedal steel tunings where people play more across, vs up and down, the strings. More opportunity for complex chords with a straight bar definitely, but like everything, there's tradeoffs. Some of the recordings I've heard remind me a bit of Basil Henriques A7 copedent for Fender 1000...a bit more options there for jazz chords.

I guess on the "new instrument" thing, I'd say, it is played differently, has its own methodologies and tunings. So is the violin in Western classical, Indian carnatic, and bluegrass and country music as the fiddle. There's nothing too unique about the instrument design itself...you could string up a Clinesmith 10 string and play eharp, or you could (and people have) string up an eharp to play western swing or Hawaiian. I grant you the approach is quite a bit different, of course. Sort of like the different gharanas or schools of sitar in Hindustani classical. Maihar vs Imdadkhani have subtle differences in their stringing and even construction, and the playing styles are definitely distinct, but ultimately, they are both sitar.
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Fred Treece


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Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 1:06 pm    
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Well structured method courses lead a student toward mastery of an instrument, not necessarily a particular style of music. If Eddie Alkire’s music sounds Hawaiian when he plays, well that must be what he likes. If I followed his method on Eharp, I would still gravitate more toward country or rock or jazz because that’s what I like. The point is, I would have a thorough understanding of the instrument’s capability and the technique and theoretical knowledge to play anything I want on it.
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 10 Jul 2020 1:20 pm    
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