Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dan Crary

I've met Dan Crary, and on more than one occasion too.  No, he in no way in a million years would ever recall the name of Wesman Todd Shaw, and nor should he.

I doubt that I ever gave him my name - I was pleased to be talking to the man in the first place, and more than a bit intimidated.

You see, to me, Dan Crary is a bit of legend.  He's one of the founding fathers of flatpicking the acoustic guitar.  What is flatpicking?  It's simple, it's just playing Celtic oriented tunes that originated on either the mandolin or the fiddle....the violin, but with a pick, and on a steel string acoustic guitar.

Where did I meet Dan Crary?

Well, the best place to meet Dan is to one of his students, he's a professor of communications at UCLA; but that's not where I met Professor and Musician Dan Crary - I met him, multiple times, in different years - at the Walnut Valley Festival, in Winfield, Kansas.

The Walnut Valley Festival is Americas biggest traditional music festival, and it's held the third week of September, and every single Winfield, Kansas.  I've been three times, and I've talked to Dan at two different WVFs.

Let's give Dan a Listen, shall we?  We shall.

Don't know the year of this - but it's definitely a performance at a Bluegrass or Folk, or Traditional music festival - and it's possible that yours truly saw this very performance with his own two eyes, and even got to field some questions afterwards, as Professor Crary, and friends will often take questions after their performances at such ...personal venues and gatherings of like minded, non traditional types as one finds, enjoys, and loves at music festivals not ....the least bit corrupted by the satanic entity of mainstream American mass media.

I know that you can't really tell, but trust me on this - Dan Crary is at least six foot six, and possibly several inches taller than that.  I've no idea how tall he is - it doesn't matter, but if you happen to ever meet the guy, and you happen to be like me, about five foot nine inches - the size of the guy is shocking, as you'd just not expected that he'd be that tall.

If you're an electric guitarist, then you possibly have no idea how difficult it is to play so well on a steel string acoustic guitar.  Typically, the pick hand wrist of an electric guitarist isn't nearly strong enough to provide the volume necessary to the least bit appreciated for someone wishing to hear FLATPICKING.

But I've digressed....

Dan Crary is a natural instructor, and probably is so for everything he knows and is willing to teach.  He's provided column after column of guitar instruction for various and sundry publications and monthly guitar magazines entire life as an amateur guitarist, or acoustic guitar music fan.

At this time I have no Youtube videos of myself to show anyone - I don't have the equipment for such - but I can tell you that without ever having tried to arrive at this....I have the exact same right hand picking technique as does Dan Crary - and it's "the wrong way to do things."


Doesn't that imply that there is a "right way to do things?"

Yeah, me saying that my own technique is wrong implies that there is a right way, and also implies that I'm so daft as to presume that Dan Crary's technique is faulty.

What am I talking about?

He and I anchor our right palm, lightly, on the bridge of the guitar - nobody will ever advise someone learning to play the guitar to do that, and I wouldn't myself ....guess I already included myself with words such as "nobody."  Ironic.

In the above video you can see more legends of flatpicking than are typically seen in one setting.  I've also met Steve Kaufman one more than one compassion, but that's another story altogether.  The video above isn't perfect, the sound is rather flawed - and it's ironic to me that Tony Rice, and Doc Watson both seemed to have been slighted so far as the quality of sound was concerned here.

Dan Crary mostly plays Taylor guitars, and has had Bob Taylor build him a few to his personal, I've not met Bob Taylor....but I've sat and listened to him talk while I was in the audience...quite a few times.

Here's a link to Dan Crary's own website, and some about his Taylor guitar:

If you'd like to hear Dan Crary, master of communications talk a bit, then here you go!  The man has a HUGE booming voice...he damn near needs no amplification at all.


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