Listening to Alex De Grassi play guitar is a beautiful musical experience. His fingerstyle arrangements are some of the best I’ve ever heard. The kind of ear candy that takes you to a dreamy place where your soul is filled with wonder and awe…
The excerpt from Turning: Turning Back is built on a sort of tremolo on A. However, unlike a classical tremolo, the repetition of that A note is played not on one string, but across three strings. This is made possible by the whole tone interval between the third and fourth strings of the DADEAD tuning. And whereas most classical tremolos are used to play a melody, here the “cross-string” tremolo is used to create a rhythmic and textural ‘bed”‘ over which a melody and variations can be played. For that reason, I think of it more as a drumming pattern.” ~ Alex De Grassi ~ (Fingerstyle Guitar vol.1,pg.28)
I believe the first time I heard Alex play was back in 1993 after Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine sent me a free complimentary tape that corresponded with the tab in Vol.1 of their debut issue. The tape was titled: Windham Hill Guitar Sampler and featured artists that were also in the magazine. Really excellent stuff! I still have my original copy and tape. Who knows, the set might be considered a collectable item by now. =)
It wasn’t long before I bought Slow Circle, Alex De Grassi’s first album. Wow… At times it seemed like two guitarist’s were playing together rather than just one solo artist. I was totally blown away. Then one day, to my utter delight and surprise, I heard he was going to be giving a concert near my home town. I was so excited when my friend and I found seats in the third row!
Edward Gerhard and Eric Tingstad, two other fingerstyle recording artists featured on the Windham Hill Guitar Sampler, opened the concert. They were so good. I remember wondering if Alex De Grassi would be able to top their performance. When Alex came on stage I even felt a little nervous for him. He had a tough act to follow. But all concern quickly vanished the minute he touched the strings. My eyes watched in amazement as his fingers moved up and down the fretboard with such speed and skill. Rich, colorful tones of a master guitarist filled the room with ecstasy. It was pure sonic heaven.
After that I bought the Windham Hill Guitar Sampler book which includes 18 Transcriptions from the Modern Masters Of Acoustic Guitar. My knowledge, skill and repertoire grew. I even found inspiration for composing my own altered tuning instrumentals.
If that weren’t enough, in 2009 I was able to take part in an Alex De Grassi Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop. It was held at the Laurel Mill Lodge in the mountains of California. What a treat that was! In addition to the private cabin, great food, miniature golf, plus group and one on one guitar instruction, we all enjoyed a private concert from the master of ceremonies himself!
Alex De Grassi Fingerstyle Guitar Workshops:
Guitar Workshops provide a great opportunity for personal growth as a musician. Some benefits include being able to interact with other guitar players and share your original compositions. You’ll also be able to get advice from a professional guitar master and learn what you can do to improve your playing technique. Such insights cannot be learned by simply watching a video, listening to a CD or reading a lesson book.
Develop your passion for fingerstyle guitar…
- When: July 12-17, 2016
- Where: Albion Retreat and Learning Center – Albion, CA
- Who: Intermediate/Advanced guitarists, Plus Singing Guitar Players
Tuition Free Scholarships Are Available for Qualifying Students!
- Those who qualify for a free scholarship will be required to send in an mp3 or CD of their playing ability.
- All the details regarding class format, directions, sleeping arrangements, food, etc. are sent via email after you’ve registered.
Learn More: http://www.degrassi.com/workshops/
Below are some photos from the guitar workshop I attended at Laurel Mill Lodge in 2009. I hope you get the chance to attend one too someday.
Keep growing and enjoy the journey!