the official website for guitarist Jason Martin

Learning to play other styles of music

Today I have a pretty full plate of material to work through. Whether it be writing songs, reading music, composing music, teaching bass, or transposing ukulele (all of which I have set up for the next few hours), I think that it’s important for a musician to learn how to be fluent in other styles of music other than the one specific one that he or she is interested in.

For example, when I first picked up the guitar and for many years after all I wanted to do was play as fast as possible. Primarily metal, but ya know, I dug the blues too. Anyway, what that does is put you into a box as to what actually comes out when you start to come up with your own material. Everything sounds like what you’ve been playing and you find that you keep doing the same thing over and over. That’s great if you’re AC/DC, but not if you’re trying to create something new and exciting.

Today I wanted to share one of my takes through John 5’s Flamenco Banjo Rolls. It’s an exercise that I found in a Guitar Player magazine and one of the points of advice was to start slow and just build up your tempo a few notches every day. I know I’m not a YouTube sensation by any means, but this video seems to get the most attention. It’s in Am and uses a walking bass figure while maintaining the same finger rolling position throughout. The bass starts off (A B C D E F E D) while the index and middle finger fret an A minor chord and use a “forward roll” to accomplish the next sequence of notes on the 2nd fret G and 1st fret B. After going through the motion twice you move into a G major position keeping the same roll and then moving back a whole step same motions through F major before returning to the original Am position but the remaining bass walks from A to E to F back to E and repeats through that one more time.

I don’t think this piece is perfect. But it still gives a general observation on how even a metal guitar player can play fast outside of the genre.