Style & Craft smallThis Style and Craft course is based on Howard’s original Style and Craft Guitar Manual. While the book has been out of print for several years, the program is available through RMI, exclusively. We will walk you step by step through the curriculum, ensuring total comprehension and technical support. Private and Group lessons are available, both on Skype and at RMI.

The Style and Craft course is part of the HR Scholarship program. Inquire directly, regarding eligibility.

Here is the original foreword and introduction by Howard…

 

 

 

Foreword

If:

you’re interested in developing a personal, recognizable style on the guitar, and if you’re interested in technique and the way it can nourish this stylistic growth…

you’ve ever felt that you’d like to practice, but you don’t really get to because you don’t know exactly what to work on; or if you have practiced at these times but ended up feeling that the practice hours were spent in ill-defined noodling…

you know what it is to watch in dismay as a musical phrase that is supposed to be full of character vigor and personality falls lifelessly out of the sound hole…

you’ve ever felt an urgent need to impose some kind of order on that swarming chaotic mass of things you (a) know, (b) know, sort of, (c) might know, (d) might not know, (e) don’t know but want to, (f) know but don’t want to, etc., etc….

you’ve ever felt that you have something to say musically through your guitar – but it just refuses to come out of the instrument…

you’ve every felt the need to overcome a tendency to play the same old thing in the same way…

you’ve wondered if the tail is wagging the dog – if the guitar is playing…

THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN FOR YOU.

 

Introduction

Every guitarist that you think of who has a recognizable style has a trademark (or a small collection of them) that provide his/her playing with a special, unique character. This trademark will very likely be one of the basic technical moves treated in this book. For instance, when you think of chords, Freddie Green, or George Van Eps might come to mind; in the case of scales, perhaps John Mclaughlin, Larry Coryell, or Al Dimeola. The list goes on: arpeggios, Barney Kessell; intervals, Wes Montgomery (octaves); the sound of fourths – a general trend in recent years common to many player; hammer –ons or pull-offs, any flamenco player or Van Halen; legato, Johnny Smith; staccato, Jeff Beck glissando, Jimi Hendrix and Les Paul; bends, everyone from Clapton to country; vibrato B.B. King; dynamics, Segovia; right-hand techniques, everyone – Chet Atkins, Julian Bream, Joe Pass. Each major style, moreover – Jazz, Rock, Country, Fusion, Classical, etc., is characterized by an emphasis on sub-group of these basic moves; thus a mastery of all of them greatly facilitates the stylistic breadth essential to the accomplished guitarist.

Of course we could go on describing each of these great player’s styles as long as we could continue the list of players. Each of them does much more than just the move mentioned, but their mastery of these individual stylistic components contributes a great deal to their uniqueness. And any one of these basic moves, used masterfully, can make anyone’s playing come alive. Think of difference, for instance, that the addition of dynamic contrast alone can make. But how do these basic moves work?

Just as there are basic motor moves in tennis or typing, there are basic, moves in guitar playing. Once these are under control, they become automatic, and combinations and variations of them come with relative ease, providing the technical training for the moves is completed, and the execution is predictably flawless, Here – where problems of execution no longer rudely interrupt the musical flow – the player is able to keep his eye on the ball, to keep the focus on the sound and the music and not the guitar itself.

The way to use this book is to work through the fundamental expressive techniques – the basic moves – and technically secure them so that they are available on reflex. Without them, there are not enough stylistic channels for a musical personality to emerge. With them, individual style as unique as a fingerprint is an inevitable result.

Each one of these moves can be added to the player’s style step by step. Acquired by grafting them onto the technique one by one and gradually assimilating them to the technique-reservoir, there is absolutely no mystery, no confusion, and no time wasted. And although there is no mystery, there is some magic, which will start to occur at the level of the synthesis of moves. It is here that the unique imprint is formed that will be in the end as unmistakable as that of any of the players mentioned above.