Guitar arrangements are a dime in a dozen. In this text, we present five fingerstyle arrangements that are worthwhile – at least, if you ask our official artists.
If you want to learn to play the guitar, you will need a lot of patience. Playing the guitar can sometimes be very frustrating; technique exercises do not work the way you would like them to. Of course, it is an incredible satisfaction once you have learnt a certain guitar arrangement in the end. But up until this point, there is a lot of work to do.
It is often helpful to have idols to look up to. Sometimes you hear a stunning guitar arrangement which motivates you to run through technical guitar exercises in order to become as good as your idols. We have been at this year’s (2017) Musikmesse in Frankfurt (Germany), and took the occasion to ask some of our artists for the most inspiring fingerstyle arrangements they know. Here are five fingerstyle arrangements you should know.
Michael Hedges – Aerial Boundaries
Without a doubt, Michael Hedges is one of the pioneers of modern fingerstyle. Not many acoustic guitarists have managed to exert a similar influence on a whole generation of young musicians. Hedges is one of the inventors of the percussive guitar style. For Baton Rouge artist Casper Esmann, Michael Hedge’s piece “Aerial Boundaries” was the initial arrangement that inspired him to start playing fingerstyle. “I cannot really say what I like so much about it. For me, ‘Aerial Boundaries’ is simply a very moving piece.”
Thommy Emmanuel – The Man with the Green Thumb
If you ask young guitarists for their sources of inspiration, in nine out of ten cases you will be told that Tommy Emmanuel is essentially responsible for their own guitar playing. When we asked our artists about their top fingerstylers, Tommy was almost without exception in the first place. “The Man with the Green Thumb”, as ode to Chet Atkins, can thus be considered the common denominator of inspiration sources of our official artists.
Mike Dawes – Somebody that I used to know
It all starts very simply. With a bass-run which contains two notes: from D to C to D to C, etc. This short melodic motif is a sound brand regarding the sound of Gotye. The same happened with the original piece of Luiz Bonfá, from whom Gotye at that time borrowed the sample. Mike Dawes’ arrangement shows in a wonderful way how manifold fingerstyle can be. This arrangement brings together everything that combines fingerstyle: playing lead, melodic and rhythmic sections on one hand. And if you have seen Baton Rouge artist Julia Lange playing, you can hear a lot of Mike Dawes’ musical influence.
Maneli Jamal – Zim Blues (Cole Clark Session)
Andrew Foy is, with almost half a million subscribers, one of the most successful fingerstylers on YouTube. And it all started at the age of nine years with a video of Andrew playing the theme song of Pink Panther on his guitar. Andrew Foy is an expert when it comes to arranging chart songs for fingerstyle guitar. The inspiration came from guitarists such as the Korean Kim Junsu, one of the pioneers of YouTube fingerstyle. But modern nomads like Maneli Jamal have also always been motivating for Andrew Foy.
Adam Rafferty – Superstition
“You have to look for something to keep up the motivation”, says Baton Rouge artist Markus Stelzer. For him, shooting YouTube videos and being part of the community is a very important thing. And of course, it also means to get new material and important tips from YouTube videos. For Markus Stelzer, Adam Rafferty is one of the most distinctive fingerstylers. For many years, Rafferty has opened his audience to YouTube. With his incredibly funky style, Adam Rafferty is one of the pioneers of fingerstyle. One of his most successful arrangements is in fact Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”. An absolute must know!