PLECTRUM GUITAR – AND HOW IT
The finger-style guitarist plucks the guitar strings with his fingernails. This enables him to pick out perfect four-string chords or perhaps a bass sting and higher string simultaneously but this cannot be achieved with the plectrum guitar as a plectrum plays one note at a time or glides over several strings in one action to form chords.
No greater exponent of this style has ever lived than
Eddie Lang who unfortunately died in 1933 at 30. He played with
the great stars of the day including Bix Beiderbecke, Paul Whiteman
Orchestra, and his lifetime partner, violinist Joe Venuti. Bing
Crosby insisted on engaging Eddie to provide beautiful and spectacular
accompaniment to his vocals. At these sessions, a certain style
came to light. The frills and flourishes with chords and single-string
notes, the runs and superb rhythm combined with immaculate tone,
shows through on all his recordings.
Fortunately, several tuition
books specifically on the plectrum guitar have been written. The
Emile Grimshaw and Nick Lucas, now long out of print, are highly
recommended. Failing this, A Tune a DayFor
Guitar Book 1 and 2 by C. Paul Herfurth and Mel Bay’s
Plectrum Guitar tutor books 1 and 2
will fit the bill.