Author Archives: Vinoo Matthew

Avatar photo

About Vinoo Matthew

Vinoo has been playing music for longer than anyone ought to, and has played rock, jazz, blues, fusion and music that no one listens to. He plays/has played bass with the Rex Rozario Quintet, Aftermath, River, Gerard Machado Network, Ministry of Blues, Cantonment Jazz Terminus, Chronic Blues Band, Bangalore Jazz & Abstract Music Club, etc. ad nauseum. He also plays lead guitar with the underground group, the Sarjapur Blues Band, proving Frank Zappa’s statement: "All bass players are failed lead guitarists."

September 20, 2013

Edison’s Legacy

By - on 20/09/2013 at 12:03 am


Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. Its sound quality was poor and each recording lasted only one play, (the Gramophone and the Record were actually invented by Berliner in 1887) but it set into motion a change that completely altered the way musicians and listeners interacted with each other. Until then, music was produced only when musicians played and music was heard only when audiences listened to musicians play. But not anymore. People could now listen to music whenever they wished, and musicians had vastly greater opportunities to be heard; even when they weren’t playing. But it also changed the relationship between musician and audience dramatically – almost irretrievably – since the live performance ceased to be the…

May 1, 2013

The Tyranny of Technique and the Magic of Silence

By - on 01/05/2013 at 6:09 am


Playing a guitar essentially involves fretting a string with one hand while striking it with the other. As a right-handed player (I was born left-handed but that is another story), it is my left hand that determines the notes, and therefore the melody, while my right produces the sound. Techniques are add-ons, alternative ways of playing a set of notes. Instead of merely fretting and striking each note, you do something different with either hand, or both. Till a few decades ago, descriptions of technique were centred on sliding, hammer-ons/pull-offs, bends/reverse bends, harmonics, etc. All of these were left hand techniques. Right hand methods were relatively fewer and simpler, consisting mainly of variants of alternate picking….


Photo Credits: Chethan Ram “With what attentive courtesy he bent Over his instrument; Not as a lordly conqueror who could Command both wire and wood, But as a man with a loved woman might, Inquiring with delight What slight essential things she had to say Before they started, he and she, to play.” The Guitarist Tunes Up’ by Frances Conford (1886-1960) I’ve always loved this poem. Today though, it reminds me of some of the changes that have happened over the years. When I started playing the guitar in Calcutta in the 60s, I knew of just one seller of the instrument in the city, a shop called Reynolds (I don’t know if they’re related…