Today I want to share a technique that I’ve been obsessed with lately.
And along the way I’ll show you why Fretboard Anatomy has less TAB than any other guitar site on the whole intertubes.
Melodic Style & Campanella
In the early 60s, Bill Keith developed the melodic style of banjo playing.
More recently, classical ukulele-ist John King revived a long-forgotten technique used on instruments with re-entrant tuning: campanella.
Both styles refer to the same thing:
Playing a melody with no two successive notes on the same string.
Why would you want to do that?
Because it sounds awesome.
When you reach for the next melody note on a new string, the previous note overlaps for a moment, creating a harp-like sound.
Check It Out
Here’s John King taking a spirited romp on a John Phillips Sousa march. Check out the dazzling picking starting at 0:48
Here’s a guy playing melodic-style banjo on Blackberry Blossom. (Skip ahead to :38)
And here’s me, playing a couple licks back-to-back in both the standard linear fashion and melodic style.
Pretty cool, eh?
Here’s The Rub
If I write this out for you using standard notation, I’m either leaving out the string information, or I’m burdening the notation with so much extra information that it’s borderline illegible.
This is one of those situations where the TAB is actually superior to the notation.
But lest you think that I’m actually advocating for TAB, TAB’s superiority here is only for the person doing the reading.
In other words:
When conveying something in the melodic style, TAB is easier.
When creating something in the melodic style, note knowledge is essential.
It takes a solid understanding of note names on the fretboard to begin exploring the possibilities of this style.
Actually, getting the note-centric mindset internalized is essential for most of the things you need in order to become a Guitar Badass.
TAB-centric thinking is convenient for learning licks, tricks, & exercises.
But it’s lousy for understanding how to create great music.
And that’s why you won’t find much TAB on this site.
I don’t want to feed you for a day.