Michael Raven English Folk Guitar Book 2

  • £13.45

All the recordings on the companion CD to this book were made in the acoustically dead lounge of my cottage in Ashley in early 2006. The guitar was my custom made Lowden, a large bodied steel-strung instrument with a lively sound. The microphone was an Audio Technics AT4030 (cardioid condenser), and was placed about 2 feet to the front of the guitar at an angle of 45%. The recorder was a Tascam DAP1, a portable DAT machine. Absolutely no effects were used - no reverberation, no compression, no equalisation nothing at all, and every track was recorded with the identical set up. The only exceptions are Polly Gale's Tarantella, Trecynon Polka and The Woods of Zamora, which were taken from previously published CDs and were recorded on my Ramirez classical guitar. All the Lowden recordings were made whilst I suffered an affliction that continues as I write. The nerve that controls my little and ring fingers of my left hand was affected by my diabetes causing numbness, extreme tiredness and weakness. Like Django Rheinhardt I had to devise alternative fingerings and adapt the music a little in some places. I practised dementedly and am quite content with the result. The major adjustment I made was to lower the strings by two tones to lessen the tension and make them less difficult to hold down. This, of course, is a common practice in folk circles. Nic Jones and Martin Simpson, amongst many other players, have been doing this for years. I then placed a capo at the 4th fret to restore concert pitch. This was primarily for the benefit of non-folk players who are bemused and confused by the numerous tunings and pitch levels used by some folk guitarists. The set-up I settled on also has the great advantage that the capo can be moved down as well as up to allow for the singing ranges of different voices.
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Most of the guitar arrangements in this book are based on playing the tune, using various styles and techniques. The great advantage of this is that the tune is not forced into inappropriate rhythms or harmonic patterns. To use them as accompaniments a useful device is to learn the solo arrangement and then to simplify it by omitting some notes, even whole bars, or playing just the bass line in some places. This is the essence of the style developed by Martin Carthy as he expounds it at workshops, and is to be heard on much of his recorded work.

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