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Artist of the Month for September 2003: Chuck Durfor

Chuck Durfor

Age: No way - suffice it to say I've played guitar for over 30 years!!

Rockville, MD (a suburb of Washington, DC)

At what age did you start playing guitar, and what made you decide to start?
Classically trained in trumpet and tuba, music's initial draw was skipping third grade classes. At 16 I stole my sister's guitar and immediately saw that unlike tuba, an entire orchestra, are within the single instrument. In guitar there was also a freedom to play music by ear, not by sheet music.

First guitar:
A wonderful Goya 12-string Hummingbird copy. Where is it now?

Early Influences:
Like many, guitar began with the folk music of Dylan, PP&M, and S&G. Even today songs from that era will creep into a performance. As folk music's simplicity gave way to more sophisticated folk/jazz compositions and electric experiementation, I picked up an electric guitar and joined a Charlottesville, VA rock n' roll band, Max A/C. Time moved forward, the circle became complete, and the acoustic guitar recaptured my heart. However, now the more accomplished guitarists such as Rev. Gary Davis, Jorma Kaukonen, Bert Jansch, Davy Graham and John Renbourn provided direction and guidance.

Tell us about your early playing days. What motivated you? Did you have friends that played?
I find that one of the best ways to learn is to jam with people that are way better than you. Did you do a lot of jamming when you first started?

Playing and sharing music with others is the best way to learn and improve your skills. The best of times.

First gig:
I'm not certain I can remember, for which there is probably a good reason. Currently I perform solo (http://hometown.aol.com/cdurfor) and in a trio called Lola Granola (http://hometown.aol.com/lolagrnl). The later is composed of an incredible female singer (Whitney Pearsall), a fretless bass (Ed Kernan) and a feckless-guitar (myself). Check out the web site for live MP3s.

Acoustic Guitars you own:
  • 1967 - Gibson B-12
  • 1993 - Gibson - J-100 xtra ("Only a Gibson is Good Enough")
  • 1995 - Gibson - Advanced Jumbo

Favorite Guitar:
1995 Gibson Advanced Jumbo

Your Style, and how you developed it:
I'm a fingerstyle guitarist who initially copied the style of my influences. My original compositions drew upon these influences plus the marriage of first-fret chord structures moved up and down the neck in a manner to the way an electric guitarist slides E and A chords. The resulting "broken chords" offer both the ambiguity of open tunings the strong resolution to major and minor chords.

Practice Regimen:
Aye, there's the rub. Practice is divided between composition of new music, keeping up the old tunes and learning an occasional cover tune. Needless to say there's never enough time for everything so playing out 1-3 times per week often substitutes for rigorous practice.

Favorite Artist(s):So many, so many - see the list above.

What general suggestions would you give to someone who wants to either start playing guitar, or start playing fingerstyle guitar - having come in from another genre?
Have fun! Choose songs you love, for those are the ones you will spend the weeks/months required to perfect. Don't be troubled if the song sounds different then the CD, for just like your own compositions, playing music is a wonderful way to learn more about what's inside you.
Check out Chuck's website
If you are a guitarist with a cd out and would like to be featured here please contact me.

AOTM Archives:

August 2008 - Danny Combs
March 2006 - Bryan Clark
Februry 2006 - Darin Leong
January 2006 - Andy McKee
December 2005 - Don Alder
November 2005 - Doug Young
October 2005 - Nancy Conescu
August - September 2005 - Warren Greig
July 2005 - Ian Melrose
June 2005 - Roger Lasley
May 2005 - Jim Tozier
April 2005 - Jessica Papkoff
March 2005 - Todd Habekost
February 2005 - Michael Hewett
January 2005 - Steve Barney
December 2004 - Tony McManus
November 2004 - Chris Newman
October 2004 - Kevin Kastning
September 2004 - Rick Duke
August 2004 - El McMeen
June-July 2004 - Charles David Alexander
May 2004 - Tony Capri
April 2004 - Shane Simpson
March 2004 - Bill Cooley
February 2004 - Greg Meckes
January 2004 - Gary Leek
December 2003 - Ernie Hawkins
November 2003 - Keith Knight
October 2003 - Jaquie Gipson
September 2003 - Chuck Durfor
August 2003 - Cathy Horner
July 2003 - Art Edelstein
June 2003 - Muriel Anderson
May 2003 - Clarelynn Rose
March-April 2003 - Steve Wildey
February 2003 - Rick Ruskin
January 2003 - Kerry Kling
December 2002 - Tim O'Brien
November 2002 - Howard Emerson
October 2002 - Dennis Roger Reed
September 2002 - Larry Pattis
August 2002 - Paul Asbell