If you could master the technique of any guitarist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Fellow tonebuddies!

Imagine for a moment, closing your eyes, strumming that first note, and when you open them, you have the impeccable technique of one of the world's most iconic guitarists. A thrilling thought, isn't it?

This week, let's ponder on this very dream: If you could master the technique of any guitarist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

馃幎 Would you dive into the soulful touch of Segovia, the infinite color palette of Julian Bream? 馃幎 Perhaps the perfect tremolo of David Russel? 馃幎 Or would you choose to resonate with  Paco de Luc铆a's flamenco mastery?

Share with the community:

馃幎 What draws you to this particular guitarist's technique? 馃幎 Are there specific videos or performances that encapsulate their prowess for you? 馃幎 How do you think adopting their technique would influence your own musical journey?

Remember, it's not just about skill, but the emotion, the legacy, and the story behind each string maestro that makes them unforgettable.

Can't wait to hear whose guitar genius you'd like to embody for a day!

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  • Without question, Paco de Lucia. His masterful technique and his musical genius allowed him to play flamenco and classical equally superbly, and the way he envisioned music inspired awe. His interpretations of the music of Manuel de Falla, his recording of Rodrigo's Aranjuez, and his journeys into fusion flamenco jazz were phenomenal and set the stage for all who followed. I met him briefly at the home of Ren茅 Heredia in Denver in the late 1970's. He left an impression on me that has not faded to this day.

    Like 1
    • Jack Watson Paco, giant among the greats, ole!

      Like
    • David Krupka
    • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
    • David_Krupka
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    It's perhaps worth recalling that in literature and folklore alike, these Faustian bargains never work out as expected ... in any event, I'm not sure I would want anyone else's 'technique'. What, after all, would be the point? To take the concert world by storm? To amaze friends and family? To become a social media star? Sorry, not interested. The truth is, I don't mind being an amateur musician. I take a certain pleasure in playing rather modest repertoire in what I hope is my own fashion. No doubt any number of professional guitarists (not to mention fellow dilettantes) could do the same far better than I. That's not something I lose any sleep over ...

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      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      David Krupka It worked out for Robert Johnson pretty well. If not for the 'bargain' (as folklore would have it) he might have lived longer but he probably would not be remembered.

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      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jack Stewart It worked out for fans of Robert Johnson! (I'm one.) The man himself might have had a different opinion ...

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    • David Krupka
    • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
    • David_Krupka
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    To offer a less cranky response, I would be very interested to know what the 'technique' of well-known guitarists of the past was actually like. How would historical figures like Sor and Giuliani compare in purely technical terms with today's best performers? Would we be amazed or disappointed if we could hear them play? (I like to think the former, but rather suspect the latter.)

    Like 1
      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      David Krupka we would hear a much different tone- no nails! Which I prefer!

      Like 1
  • I'd like to have David Krupka 's technique. 馃檪

    In all seriousness, I am with David on this. I once wrote in a post that I'd like to be able to play something like John Williams. Derek replied telling me that he already knows a guy who plays pretty well, by the name of Eric Phillips. A lot of wisdom there, from both Derek and David.

    Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips I'd be happy to trade ... 

      Like 1
    • David Krupka I would definitely do it if it comes with your musical knowledge as well!

      Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips You might still find yourself on the losing side of that exchange ...

      Like 1
  • I think you guys are missing the point. Technique is only part of the overall equation it won't turn you into player x just because you have their technique. Interpretation is something aside from technique. I have talked with some very high level players who say they aren't playing a particular piece quite the way they would like it because their technique is not up to producing what they hear in their head, so they are working at their technique. The so called playing of angels, The place where the player, the instrument and the music all seem to meld into one almost indistinguishable from the other without any barriers. The best example I think I ever saw of this was Stephane Grappelli, he was there, there was a violin and there was the most sublime music in the air and it was nearly magic. The "technique" wasn't apparent he just held the instrument and moved with it almost like a dance and music happened. The sound was Grappelli not his technique. Another player with that level of technique would have sounded like themselves not like Grappelli. Now I did see John Pizzarelli about a week ago and although he's not a classical player he was in that league of playing with the angels. Paco also played with that level of technique. His interpretation of Concierto de Aranjuez is fantastic in it's difference from all the others. Is this interpretation because his technique is so infused with all things flamenco? It's interesting to listen to Pepe Romero play this piece. Pepe has a fair command of flamenco, I would not say  in the same league as Paco and vice versa Pepe is a better classical "technician". What you get in the two performances are a mix of technique and interpretation. I don't think either of these great musicians could play the others interpretation of that piece partly because they have a different thing going on in their head but they also have a different thing going on in their hands. 

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    • Robert St Cyr I saw Stephane Grappelli playing with Dave Grissman at the Almaden winery in California numerous times. Yes indeed-pure magic! The last time I saw him he sat while he played instead of standing due to age catching up with him, but still pure magic!

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    • Debbie
    • Debbie
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I would like to wake up with the technical ability of my teacher Virginia Luque. She has extraordinary command of her hands and exquisite tone. Not only that, when she plays she doesn鈥檛 just play the music, she embodies it. This is extremely rare and I鈥檇 love to possess that ability. However, in the end, we are who we are. We possess our own strengths and weaknesses, and we all have our own unique voice on the instrument. I think our greatest challenge as players is to have the confidence to be who we are, and to express ourselves on our instrument like no one else. 

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    • Bart Versteeg
    • Civil law notary with a passion for music
    • Bart_Versteeg
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    What a difficult question! And at the same time easy, because there are so many guitarists better then I am. 
    I grew up with the music of Bream and Williams, I admire Paco de Lucia for his speed and raw flamenco feeling, David Russel for his tone.

    all masters in their field. 
    Yet I would choose for the technique /style of Irina Kulikova. Great technique with lots of feeling, the right amount of rubato, and a great tone.

    Like 1
    • Bart Versteeg Right on Bart, Irina is in my short list.

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  • I have to say for me, no one has influenced my playing more then Marco Tamayo. The ease in which he plays such complicated passages so beautiful is astounding to me. I have struggled with tension in my playing all my life. To the point where I no longer play most of my old pieces. I'm retired now, and I have embarked on relearning how to play, with the sole intention of playing without tension. This of course requires re-wiring my brain, changing the way I practice and most importantly stop the mindless repetitions. This is such a pit, that once your in, it's very hard to extract yourself.   Practicing is now an art in itself, scientists and academics around the world.  It's amazing the advances that have been made in how the brain can so easily be fooled into doing the wrong thing vs. the right thing so quickly after just a few mindless repetitions of the wrong thing.   The quality of players today at such a young age is a product of the advances made in practicing.     

    Like 1
    • don
    • don.2
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    So hard to choose man. From my limited exposure, I will pick

    1. Xuefei Yang - for her imagination and execution on what a guitar can sound like. The sounds and melody she extracted from her guitar in her Sketches of China album is simply astounding.

    2. David Russell - for his immaculate articulation, every note is clearly sound and given appropriate attention. 

    3. Laura Snowden - for her ability to imbibe emotions into every piece she plays. 

     

    with their powers combine. 

    Like 2
  • Without a doubt Abel Carlecaro.  Here he is playing Scarlatti.

    https://youtu.be/sNIjhpbgUzI?si=dWUPBMR3wY3xAD_U

    Like 1
      • Peter
      • Peter.11
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Dale Needles Thanks for the Carlevaro mention!  I am surprised at how many advanced players I have met who  never heard of him.  He certainly made his technique work for his interpretations, (which is the point) such as the Scarlatti you referenced; he had a way of bringing out strong emotional qualities in most everything he played.

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    • Peter Thanks, Peter.  I agree that Maestro Carlevaro had masterful technique which he used to bring out strong emotional qualities.  His School of Guitar was innovative and expanded greatly how we think about guitar technique.  His left-hand technique, using the technique of "fijacion" was so clean, playing without any string noise.  His right-hand technique explored multiple ways of striking the strings, giving the player the ability to expand the use of timbre.  I was fortunate to have studied with Carlevaro in Montevideo during the early 1980s and am a big advocate of his School of Guitar as well as his masterful compositions.  BYW, it would be great to have you join the Carlevaro Discussion Forum on Tonebase.  

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  • Manuel Barrueco's, and most recently, Vera Danilina's. 

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  • Taking the title literally (purely technique) I鈥檇 be hard pressed to choose between John Williams and Manuel Barrueco, I鈥檝e seen both live and their technique was pretty much flawless. Ideally I鈥檇 have the technique of John Williams and the musicality of Julian Bream. When they played together the 鈥榳hole鈥 was greater than the sum of the parts. They seemed to being out the best in each other whilst giving in a little to each others idiosyncrasies. 

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    • Stephen
    • Stephen.3
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    My choice is not considered a Classical Guitarist, but he is classically trained. He is renowned in the Jazz world, and that is Ralph Towner.  Not only is he a brilliant, innovative guitarist, but also a superb composer.  My second choice would be Andrew York, another wonderful composer, whose sense of harmony, as is Towner, is just superb.

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  • Andres Segovia or John Williams for technique, Julian Bream for musical esthetics. I once sat front row center in Ann Arbor for a Bream-Williams duo concert. Williams breezed through everything effortlessly while Breams struggled in anguish at every passage, thrashing his hand all over the place. But when you listen to them alone, Segovia had the worst sense of tempo (unless playing with an orchestra), Williams music is slightly sterile and Bream is the one that makes you jump out of your seat and say "Wow-where can I get the score for that!"

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    • Jose
    • Jose.1
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    In the consideration of one of the greatest guitarists of our time, John Williams; the greatest of all times was perhaps Agust铆n Barrios; so why not "go for the fence"?  I have seen many classical guitarists through the internet but very few in person.  One I have seen in person is Pablo Sa铆nz Villegas, and I was really impressed by the energy he brings to the scenario.  Sort of what these gents are describing in Julian Bream.  And then, there are so many young excellent guitarist that having the talent of any of them would a dream.  Regards, Jos茅

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