Jesse James & GGBR / Blog

No Picks

I used to (not literally) smash guitars with frenetic violence while playing with Tragic Black. Loud, brash, stuttering, screaming and chopping away at the strings.

In Redemption it was all about the big, crashing, powerful chords filling up the sonic space like granite foundations and capping those off with soaring, carefully articulated leads.

And in my acoustic moments the resonant space inside the guitar inspired me to percussively slap the body as the pick worked its way through the strings and the guitar became both the melodic and the percussive instrument.

Since the birth of my baby, Wolfgang, those loud, pick-weilding moments of guitar pounding have all but ceased. Can't wake the little guy! Sure, I could plug into a processor and slap on the headphones, but that's not how I like to ramble. And now that Wolfie is self-mobile, I have to be really careful not to leave picks lying around all over the house (as I was quite fond of doing). This has led me to experiment, and fall in love, with the subtle nuances of fingerpicking, both on my steel string acoustic and electrics, and my nylon string guitars. The results have been lovely moments of quiet sonic exploration and a newfound appreciation for the art of playing naked (so to speak). I've always messed around with the technique but have never done much with it. Now I find myself slowly meandering through all of my old favorite songs, plucking out the chordal structures, melodies and embellishments with four fingers rather than that stiff bit of nylon (pick). I love the results! It doesn't hurt that my dining room is the perfect ambient space for my private performances, having a high ceiling, a very open minimalist aesthetic, and wood floor. It sounds lovely.

Hopefully I'll be recording some bits and pieces soon.