Duck Baker, Stefan
Grossman & John Renbourn,
Celtic Melodies
for Fingerpicking Guitar

(Mel Bay, 2002)

What fingerpicking guitar player out there would not pay a few dollars for a lesson with a master of the guitar?

For less than $25 you can have master classes with three of the greats of folk guitar playing and repeat them as often as you like. Duck Baker, Stefan Grossman and John Renbourn collaborate to present Celtic Melodies for Fingerpicking Guitar, a recent instructional book from Mel Bay.

Celtic Melodies explains the tab system and provides the notation for six tunes, but the gold nuggets are in the three CDs included with the publication. Each CD features one of the guitar experts, and each of them will guide you through two tunes.

The depth of instruction in this collaboration impressed me. For instance, Duck Baker guides you through "Planxty Irwin," but he first starts with the basics and covers tuning the guitar in readiness to play. Then, over 14 short lessons, he teaches each section of "Planxty Irwin," playing each part slowly to assist you as you go. He then offers variations on the tune.

That teaching pattern is repeated with five other tunes over the course of three CDs. Besides "Planxty Irwin," the lessons cover "Hewlett," "Logan Water," "Captain Mangan," "Mist Covered Mountains of Home" and "The Orphan."

The beauty of learning these fabulous tunes in this manner is that you choose the pace and you can return to any part of the lesson that requires more practice. Celtic Melodies is an excellent investment for any budding "folkie" and is well worth seeking out.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 26 October 2002