I first met Matt Palmer at the Koblenz festival in 2005 and I observed a steady flow of guitarists approaching him asking for a demonstration of his astounding technique. Apart from his innate musicality and facility on the guitar, it was Palmer’s exceptional deployment of ami fingerings that beguiled other guitarists. Not only was it fast, but it sounded full, fluid, and most importantly, musical. The new method by Palmer entitled ” The Virtuoso Guitarist: Volume 1 A New Approach to Scales” essentially answers the burning questions that arise when we see dazzling displays of virtuosity such as this:
As Palmer points out in his introduction, the method is intended to supplement an already well-established technique and is therefore a method aimed at the intermediate to advanced player. Essentially, the method conveys the study and application of ami fingerings which enable velocity and agility displayed in Palmer’s formidable technique. However, the ability to execute ami passages is more complex than right hand technique alone, it requires a solid understanding of appropriate fingering, string crossing, and left hand technique.
What I admire most about the method is its clear and thorough delivery of the topic at hand. The 82 pages discuss the technique in a structured and comprehensive manner. Not only is the technique dissected and discussed on micro levels but it is also put into practice with appropriate repertoire excerpts presented to display the application of ami in action. It is clear from the way in which Palmer writes, that he has not only spent many years developing his own facility but also teaching it to others. Palmer addresses problems that will inevitable arise from practical applications of the method and his step-by-step approach to building up the technique points to a writer who has put a lot of thought and time into this method. The presentation of the publication is of a high quality, and is laid out in a style reminiscent of the ever ubiquitous Pumping Nylon.
While the method has a narrow focus, I believe it is indispensable for any advanced guitarist or teacher to include in their library. It presents a consolidation of ami technique, that while not revolutionary, has been distilled and delivered in an easy to understand and elegant manner.
Kudos to Matt for raising the bar!