April 15th, 2012, 04:00 PM
I don't know if this is a commonly asked question, or even something anyone here might know, but I would like to learn African guitar styles.
And I don't really know where to begin!
Part of the problem is genre. There are so many types. I know that I like Malian blues, but would like to explore other regions as well.
Can anyone recommend a good book, or maybe point me in the direction of helpful Youtube lessons?
April 15th, 2012, 04:20 PM
This book is EXCELLENT!
And yes, it's complicated to 'start' because there are as many different/regional styles of African guitar as there are American guitar styles. For me it was long slow process. I got into Fela first and then I found myself in an African ensemble with drummers from Ghana - which is pretty different than the Nigerian music. They made me play a shaker on quarter notes for several songs. I've had no deeper study of rhythm before or since.
Besides the Ghanaian, Nigerian and Malian guitarists the Madagascar guitar players are pretty cool too. It's deep. Enjoy the journey!
April 15th, 2012, 05:56 PM
I tried to follow King Sunny Ade but he uses a bunch of secret tunings, and 4-6 other guitarist at the same time. Will look into the book though.
April 15th, 2012, 06:49 PM
Not too secret ... http://www.google.com/search?q=sunny+ade+guitar+tunings&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
And also not too complicated. The biggest 'main' difference with many of the Africans is that they'll replace their D string with a skinny, un-wound job and tune it an octave higher.
Many players also use open D, G and E same as we do.
April 16th, 2012, 03:22 AM
Here's another great resource: http://www.banningeyre.com/
He also does some radio show music journalism of world music on NPR.
April 16th, 2012, 10:52 AM
Check this link, it might give you some patterns, excersises etc.
April 16th, 2012, 11:43 AM
Thanks guys, I really appreciate your input!
April 19th, 2012, 10:43 PM
Personally i think you cannot learn african rhythm for a dvd. Most times those dvd's are made by people who are not african at all. I have been to Africa & Jamaica several times to learn rhythm, joined up with some bands/people and really learned the rhythm/riddim. To my believe going there is the only way to really learn it, its the same with for instance Blues, you can learn blues from a book but just pay one visit to Mississippi and you KNOW the blues
April 20th, 2012, 11:03 AM
Try Banning Eyres book from the "Guitar Atlas" series. I think it's called "Africa: You're passport to a new world of music" or something. It's a book and cd and covers a lot of styles.
You might also want to try his book "In Griot Time" about his travels to Mali to study guitar with Djelimady Tounkara. There's a decent compilation cd to accompany the book too.
April 20th, 2012, 12:51 PM
To my believe going there is the only way to really learn it, its the same with for instance Blues, you can learn blues from a book but just pay one visit to Mississippi and you KNOW the blues
Tell that to t bone walker or Mike Bloomfield.
April 20th, 2012, 02:04 PM
Yeah, as much as I'd like to, I can't really afford a trip to Africa at the moment.
So a book/DVD will have to suffice
April 20th, 2012, 02:08 PM
Just listen and learn like the masters themselves, things like blues and African guitar should not be murdered and put into a cookie cutter book with cheesy cd. So shoot me, I once watched a Robben Ford blues DVD halfway and almost cried at the lameness.
And to bend your mind a little, listen to
Basseyou Kouyate - Segu blue
The most kickass non guitar (ngoni) album you can find.
April 20th, 2012, 02:14 PM
Check out a band called Fools Gold, they fuse African rhythms with a more modern style, they supported the Chillis on their tour at the end of last year. Bit of a surprise when they started playing but they put on a great show for sure.
April 20th, 2012, 03:11 PM
Another book worth checking out is:
West African Rhythms for Drumset (http://www.amazon.com/African-Rhythms-Drumset-Royal-Hartigan/dp/0897247329)
A drum book but plenty of ideas on rhythms and some great recordings of cultural ensembles.
Whilst I wouldn't discourage anyone from visiting Africa, there is plenty of work you can do with books, cd's and dvd's. Also, many fine African musicians living outside of Africa from whom you can learn stuff and with who you can play music.
April 12th, 2013, 08:09 PM
Try Derek Gripper's african guitar page (http://www.derekgripper.com/african-guitar/). He has solo kora tunes in tablature by Toumani Diabate as well as some by Ali Farka Toure.