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Artist of the Month for July 2003: Art Edelstein

Art Edelstein

Age: 58

East Calais, Vermont

Hometown (if different from current town):
Brooklyn, NY

At what age did you start playing guitar, and what made you decide to start?
I was 15, it was the era of the Beatnics and Folk Music a la Kingston Trio and I caught the bug. Went to Greenwich Village every Sunday during my Junior and Senior years in HS, saw street singers such as Richie Havens, Bob Dylan.

First guitar:
A junky nylon string of no name, next a Gibson J-45.

Early Influences:
Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, Kingston Trio

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?

I had friends who were learning Travis picking - we  were all part of the "beatnic" group at my high school. I jammed on Sundays in Greenwich Village and took a few lessons from a teacher who wanted me to learn the Bossa Nova!

First gig:
As a senior in HS, played 12 string (Guild) behind 3 girl singers doing Peter Paul & Mary at a Brooklyn coffeehouse. Probably this was 1960. Playing guitar was a good way to meet girls back then.

Acoustic Guitars you own:
Currently own a Morgan "Sarah", a Taylor GAMC, Goodall RCJC, Baby Taylor, Sigma D-28 copy, a Foley bouzouki and a Gibson A-3 mandolin

Favorite Guitar:
The Goodall RCJC is by far the best guitar I've ever owned or have played. I purchased this guitar in March '03, 4 years old but dead mint condition.

Your Style, and how you developed it:
I primarily play Celtic music in altered tunings fingerstyle. I use DADGAD, DGDGBC, DGDGCD tunings. I do some American Folk music and my own songs in standard tuning.

Practice Regimen:
About an hour a day or more if possible. I work on new tunes, and technique. Currently honing right hand triplets, trying out guitar frailing a la Steve Baughman.

Favorite Artist(s): I have many favorites. I operate a Celtic fingerstyle guitar web page (www.arthuredelstein.com/) and have become friends with many really superb musicians. Favorites include in no special order: Steve Baughman, David Surette, El McMeen, Tony McManus, Martin Simpson, Ian Melrose and several others.

What general suggestions would you give to someone who wants to start playing guitar?
From my experience, if you've never played start with a teacher as good technique is essential and should be learned before bad habits take over. I'd suggest listening as much as possible and going to concerts and getting front row seats to watch the guitarist. Also, practice, practice. For alternate tunings there are a fair number of books available (see my web site) but I'd say attend one of the guitar workshops offered at Elkins W. VA or elsewhere as it takes time to get the "feel" of new tunings.

I perform locally in Vermont at restaurants, small clubs, and have appeared at the Champlain Valley Folk Festival. I have two CDs out, "The Water is Wide," all instrumental Celtic, playing guitar, bouzouki and mandolin, "Vermont Roads" singer songwriter CD, and have written a book on the Irish harper Turlough Carolan(1670-1738) called "Fair Melodies Turlough Carolan; An Irish Harper". That book includes a CD of Carolan music with me on guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, and Tim Newcomb on violin, mandolin, viola and nyckleharpe.
Check out Art'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