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"Can't do it on steel strings?"   You are logged in as Guest
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britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

"Can't do it on steel strings?&... 

One thing that really riles me are those idiots I sometimes run into in folk clubs, etc. who like to comment: " That flamenco stuff is pretty fancy, but I'll bet you can't do it on steel strings!" or conversely:" XYZ is such a GREAT guitarist, he can play anything a flamenco guitarist can play; but he can do it on steel strings!!!". etc. etc. etc. With the implication that 'steel' is somehow more macho than 'nylon'. . .

I feel like answering something like: " Would you ask a good figure-skater if they could 'do it on roller skates' "? or some similar analogy. But I never had a really appropriate answer.

Has anybody else experienced this kind of 'macho/competitive' (steel vs nylon) comment, and what might be an appropriate answer?

(In case anyone thinks I'm a 'steel-string hater'; I have a 1965 vintage Martin D35 - I'm the original owner- and a very nice vintage 2000 Taylor 12 string. Both of which I enjoy playing traditional folk music).




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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 13:15:12
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

You bother with that kind of "****"?

The majority of population in the world will say for sure that Britney Spears is a better singer/musician than any flamenco artist because she sells more records so she must be great, right?

What a heck, people even say that the most important thing in music are the lyrics..

Forget about opinions and do your own thing, you'll be happier :)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 14:01:09
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3358
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

I have never faced such ignorance regarding nylon vs. steel, but if I did I would probably reply along the lines of:

A. Flamenco played on steel simply does not have the dry, short sustain, and percussive sound that flesh and nails on nylon and cypress has.

B. Nevertheless, be my guest, grow your nails, and enjoy shredding them on your steel strings when you play driving rasgueados.

Cheers,

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 14:01:56
 
mottallica

Posts: 177
Joined: Mar. 25 2012
From: Israel

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

B. Nevertheless, be my guest, grow your nails, and enjoy shredding them on your steel strings when you play driving rasgueados.


and then add - suck on that
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 14:44:42
 
Morante

 

Posts: 1934
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

When my great friend José Millán (cantaor) died, I stored away my flamenco guitar and went to Madrid to buy a Martin. Played 4, all poor (at 4000 euros). No doubt all the good ones are in USA. Ended up with an Alhambra steel string, (800 euros) much better than any of the Martins.

Took it to the taller to show to Rafael and Román Vicenti came to visit. I played him some blues. He liked the guitar but said, dismissively, you can´t play flamenco on that. He was right: I played him some soleá and we all laughed.

As for people who don´t want to understand: it´s not worth arguing.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 15:28:11
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

quote:

" That flamenco stuff is pretty fancy, but I'll bet you can't do it on steel strings!

and they dont see ' horses for courses?/' somethings are built for one thing and some for others , doesnt make it better just different,......you meet strange people . . if your in a folk club let them know flamenco in folk music , but in a different country .....or maybe say .......
'Yes Like Neil Armstrong went to the moon but I bet he couldnt do it in a Formula One racing car .!!'

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 16:15:49
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to El Kiko

How about a Bulerias on a 5 string banjo? Cool.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 16:29:11
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13502
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

quote:

ORIGINAL: britguy

One thing that really riles me are those idiots I sometimes run into in folk clubs, etc. who like to comment: " That flamenco stuff is pretty fancy, but I'll bet you can't do it on steel strings!" or conversely:" XYZ is such a GREAT guitarist, he can play anything a flamenco guitarist can play; but he can do it on steel strings!!!". etc. etc. etc. With the implication that 'steel' is somehow more macho than 'nylon'. . .

I feel like answering something like: " Would you ask a good figure-skater if they could 'do it on roller skates' "? or some similar analogy. But I never had a really appropriate answer.

Has anybody else experienced this kind of 'macho/competitive' (steel vs nylon) comment, and what might be an appropriate answer?

(In case anyone thinks I'm a 'steel-string hater'; I have a 1965 vintage Martin D35 - I'm the original owner- and a very nice vintage 2000 Taylor 12 string. Both of which I enjoy playing traditional folk music).





Just show them this and tell them they are idiots.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 16:40:27
 
silddx

Posts: 129
Joined: May 8 2012
From: London

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to Ricardo

Hahah, I was going to post that too, I love that :) Never played an electric before either. Such a shame it's so out of sync.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 16:49:14
 
GuitarVlog

Posts: 441
Joined: Mar. 19 2009
From: San Francisco Bay Area

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

quote:

ORIGINAL: britguy
"That flamenco stuff is pretty fancy, but I'll bet you can't do it on steel strings!"

"Absolutely. You'll definitely never be able to play it with your <insert name of steel-string guitar brand here>. Too bad for you."


You'll occasionally (or depending on where you hang out, frequently) run into musicians who like to talk about the superiority of their instrument, their playing style, or their musical genre. It happens between musical instruments (banjo sucks, accordion sucks), between instrument types (nylon guitars suck, steel resonators suck), instrument brands (Taylors suck, Gibsons suck), and instrument models (C40s suck, D-18s suck).

This may just be from the need for validation. After all, some of these musicians have dedicated much of their lives to their chosen instrument. Of course, validation can still be acquired without having to put down other instruments, music forms, and artists; but some people suck at being persons anyway.




We choose our music and we must choose the best instruments that we can get to bring that music to life. As Rico_Kiko said, "horses for courses".

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 17:06:38
 
Dave K

Posts: 155
Joined: Mar. 29 2006
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

On the other hand, Willie can do without steel...





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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 19:07:10
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to Dave K

The important argument is not about nylon vs steel..

I must say that golpeadores are for wimps
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 19:14:19
 
Dave K

Posts: 155
Joined: Mar. 29 2006
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to Sr. Martins

I think Willie would agree!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 19:28:42
 
NormanKliman

Posts: 1143
Joined: Sep. 1 2007
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

quote:

...but I'll bet you can't do it on steel strings!


No, and I couldn't play it on a toy guitar, either. Too damn small.

quote:

...he can play anything a flamenco guitarist can play...


Well, why doesn't he?

End of conversation. You're welcome.

Nobody who knows anything about the instrument would dismiss flamenco guitar like that, so why rise to their challenge? But if you don't want to just laugh them off, you could also mention the names of great players from other styles who admire flamenco guitar.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 20:54:19
 
Shawn Brock

 

Posts: 271
Joined: Sep. 19 2011
From: Louisville KY

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

I guess I just never took the time to argue with such folks. Hanging out with people who are good musicians should take care of the problem... Good musicians see the validity in all instruments and styles of playing...

I grew up playing bluegrass, had 6 flat picking championships under my belt before I turned 18. Then I realized how musically immature it was to live my life around these contests.

When I moved on to Nashville and became mostly an electric player, I would run into bluegrassers that would say much the same thing. "You can burn that electric up, but I bet you can't do that on a Martin." I never bothered responding to those kinds of comments, because I already knew what I had done on acoustic, and I can still do as good or better today.

I have played damn near every kind of music and every kind of guitar, and I can tell you hands down that flamenco is the hardest style of guitar I have ever played. Just tell those folks that you bet they can't play the guitar with 9 fingers, and that should settle it... I think most any player who's good at playing any finger style guitar could pick up a pick and have no problems. However I don't think that just any guitarist who plays with a pick can learn to play with their fingers...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 22:23:12
 
n85ae

 

Posts: 865
Joined: Sep. 7 2006
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

This is the point when Todd should post, being as he's the best of both worlds ...

Jeff
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 22:31:32
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

Ive played classical guitar with a pick for 15 years. Along the way I got into electric guitar but dont play it that much, its useful to record or to play late at night..

My left hand is very good but my right hand fingers couldnt do any fingerstyle stuff at all.. but I have to say that all my pals who always played fingerstyle are equally crap when it comes to playing with a pick, its not as easy as "grab the pick between two fingers and go"
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2012 22:43:44
 
shaun

Posts: 176
Joined: May 11 2012
From: Edmonton, Canada

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

Six strings, same tuning... they're really not that different. Why wouldn't you be able to? I could understand why you wouldn't want to (as mentioned by other members) but the ability to do it would not be inhibited by the string material. That just sounds like macho jealousy.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 0:09:07
 
RTC

Posts: 667
Joined: Aug. 20 2008
From: DFW Area, Texas

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to Dave K

Dave:

I open several Shiner Bock Beers (made in Cuero Texas) and played a bunch of Willie's stuff on my play list.

I have a buzz, and will certainly have a headache in the morning, but its all good right now.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 2:25:00
 
marduk

Posts: 593
Joined: Feb. 3 2010
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:


Just show them this and tell them they are idiots.



the last thing I expected to hear when I clicked that, was the joe satriani tune at the start
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 11:32:20
 
britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to Dave K

quote:

On the other hand, Willie can do without steel...


I seem to recall reading that the great Chet Atkins also gravitated to the nylon classical guitar in his later years. I think the quote said he thought it had more potential for expression, or something like that. . .

There are probaly othere, too. . .

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 12:34:10
 
shaun

Posts: 176
Joined: May 11 2012
From: Edmonton, Canada

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

A lot of the folkies I know have been switching to nylon. They say, "Nothing sounds as good as nylon."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 13:29:43
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to shaun

To me nylon sounds more human, more throaty when compared to steel.

Nylon has more intimacy on the ways that you can explore subtle textures, steel sounds more "plucky plucky" with shimmery brilliance all over the place.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 13:41:49
 
bthartman

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar. 7 2012
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

Like others here, I probably wouldn't even bother responding to such ignorance.

I started playing when I was 13 and a friend of mine and I each bought some cheap electric guitar from Woolworth's (I think it was around $30) back in the late 60's. I played in rock bands throughout high school, eventually graduating to a great Gibson SG (and the disagreements between Gibson vs Fender owners is almost religious). When I went to college I started playing a steel string acoustic I had picked up, since playing electric late at night wasn't really appreciated by all the other kids in the dorm. At first I played what I would on the electric, but then I started learning material that was really written for acoustic, both flatpicking and fingerpicking. I soon appreciated that although they had the same basic structure, they really had their own personalities.

It was never a question of which was better, but which works better with a particular piece of music. I've given up both electric and steel string now (I tend to break and rip my nails on a steel string, plus I've got enough challenge just trying to learn flamenco), but I still enjoy people that can get the sound they want out of those instruments.

Play what you want, on the instrument that seems best for you. If that means playing classical on a steel string, or jazz on a nylon string go for it. If someone doesn't get it, just smile politely and move on.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 16:37:53
 
ralexander

Posts: 797
Joined: Jun. 1 2010
From: Halifax, Nova Scotia

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

As a longtime steel string player and amateur flamenco player, I quickly realized when I got my first flamenco that 95% of my SS repertoire sounded pretty bad on a flamenco. Flamenco on a steel string is just wrong! I suppose you can play any style on any instrument you like as long as you don't mind if it potentially sounds like ****
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 18:05:55
 
Dave K

Posts: 155
Joined: Mar. 29 2006
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to RTC



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 23:18:26

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

quote:

One thing that really riles me are those idiots I sometimes run into in folk clubs, etc. who like to comment: " That flamenco stuff is pretty fancy, but I'll bet you can't do it on steel strings!"


That's just it. They're idiots. Its like arguing with a 3 year old.

There's no point, because they just dont know any better.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2012 23:37:03
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to ToddK

Exactly....its usually around this point in that kind of conversation that you have to point out that Spain isnt actually in South America
I just tend to smile and shrug a lot now instead of have someone tell me what REAL flamenco is.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2012 11:29:50
 
Adam

Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec. 6 2006
From: Hamilton, ON

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

Wasn't there a story about how Paco got really drunk in some club, decided to play his set on an electric guitar, and killed it but then ended up with torn and bloody fingertips?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2012 18:15:26
 
odinz

Posts: 407
Joined: May 26 2010
From: Sarpsborg,Norway

RE: "Can't do it on steel strin... (in reply to britguy

Other guitarists of other styles than flamenco has only showed me respect, even so much respect that I feel uncomfortable because I do not feel I deserve it.

It seems to be more the people who have no clue about guitars, or atleast at a deeper level.

I have heard it before and they wanted me to demonstrate even, it was some metalhead guy who was really cocky and felt so sure that his metal idols were so incredible even in comparison to the likes of Gerardo or Paco.

I listened to his examples of music wich were all in E-minor except one in A-minor, so I just tried to emulate what the guitarist played at first wich was just some scales, then a "solo" wich was just basicly a couple of notes that where tremolo picked.

It is not to say that the metal guitarists are worse than flamenco, but I felt awfully bored as well, I even used to play metal myself and still do, but it is just so easy to guess what comes next and stuff...
And maybe many steel string players are good, I think there are many who are good, but in flamenco you also have alot of right hand technique wich is also hard.
But any time of the day I can pick up a pick and start to play alot of things without really needing to worry about how each finger moves to make sure not to lose the rythm or fluidness of music.

Anyway, he walked away disappointed because I could easily play the music that he was so proud over because of the "amazing skills" of the player.

My own feeling is that if you listen to music solely because of technuiqe and think it is badass how fast someone can play you are doing it wrong.

Music is a language, it is poetry and it is a way to communicate things that words alone can not.

Playing fast scales is nothing more than practice IMO.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2012 19:13:40
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