Have you ever heard some music being played and it sounded like there were two or more guitarist playing? You could distinctly hear rhythm, melody, and a thumping bass line, all in one? You find yourself tapping your toe to the music and it just grabs you? And when you look, there is only one person playing one guitar and you think think, what?
That is fingerstyle guitar. Many people associate the style with Chet Atkins, and he certainly was a great master and innovator of the style. But there are so many other players of the style as well. Tommy Emmanuel, Alex de Grassi, Merle Travis, Jerry Reed, Paco de Lucia, and Laurence Juber are just a few of the well known players of the style. And the style runs the gamut of musical categories, from classical guitar to modern new age to flamenco. There are many ways of playing fingerstyle as well, fingerpicking, travis picking, new age fingerstyle, slack-key guitar, classical, and flamenco are just some. And you will find fingerstyle guitarists playing jazz, classical, country, rock, and nearly every type of music out there.
This July, in Nashville, Indiana, the third annual Indiana FIngerstyle Guitar Competition will present the best of the fingerstyle guitarist. They will be competing for an O C Bear handbuilt guitar as a grand prize and only one of them will walk away as the winner. Last year’s contest featured many amazing players and Kade Puckett walked away with the grand prize. The year before, Jack Wilson amazed the audience and the judges and also walked away with the grand prize.
This year, the event takes place over three nights. On Friday Night, there will be a tent party at Nashville’s own Pine Room Tavern. It will feature an open mic and many of the competitors will be playing along with Cari Ray and the Loaners. Saturday will bring the competition itself in the Brown County Playhouse and the evening concert will feature the top three players along with great fingerstylests, Brian Henke, Mark Sganga, Jack Wilson, and Michael Kelsey. It will be a memorial night. Sunday will feature guitar workshops with classes for beginners to advanced players. Instructors for the workshops include Tom Rasely, Lance Allen, Jimmy Deheno, Jack Wilson, and Mark Sganga. It is a chance to learn from the masters and improve your skills so that you possibly can compete for the coveted OC Bear guitar too!