Saturday, October 27, 2007

Raul Midon

One of the problems with being old and having a young 'un is my inability to stay up long enough to watch late night television. A bout of insomnia the other night had me watching Leno, and he had on Raul Midon.

It is rare that someone comes along with an entirely new way to play guitar. Eddie Van Halen did it. Stanley Jordan did it. Michael Hedges did it. Jeff Healey sort of did it, but he was more just playing blues guitar in an unconventional manner, like the way Jimi Hendrix played his guitar upside down and backwards. Although Jimi did break plenty of new ground, too.

If you watch this clip, which I'm sure will be removed by the New York copyright police in a day or two, listen to all the harmonics he's playing. (For the non-musicians, harmonics are "false" notes that sound above the fundamental. They are the really high, ringing notes that ring out above the percussive slapping. On a stringed instrument, you can carefully coax the harmonics out with dinner and a movie.) He is getting a sound on guitar that I have never heard the likes of before.


At 7:47 PM , Blogger lcreekmo said...

OK, first, thanks for posting this. It is fascinating. You didn't even mention where he gets trumpet sounds from, apparently, just the way he holds his lips and blows. I'm not even going to try that.

But back to the guitar. How the HECK does he do that? And don't you think he's holding it kind of high?

A person who has gone so far as to buy a guitar and think about it, but not actually learned to play it yet.

At 8:23 PM , Blogger Nashville Knucklehead said...

To make a regular note, you press the string behind a fret, making the string shorter. The length of the string corresponds to the note you want. To make a harmonic sound, the easiest way is to barely touch the string at the right spot (not pressing it to the fret) and the harmonic will sound.

The easiest is the octave. If you have a guitar, barely touch a string right over the 12th fret (the one with the two dots) and pluck the string as normal with your right hand. The harmonic octave will sound.

The intro to Roundabout by Yes is probably the most recognizable guitar harmonic example.

To figure out where all the harmonics are is one thing. Getting them out is another, because they get harder to get out as you move about the neck.

This guy just bitch-slaps them into submission.

At 9:00 PM , Blogger Nashville Knucklehead said...

Better yet, just have Raul explain it.

At 10:04 PM , Blogger Lee said...

Damn, you were right about the YouTube police.


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