I once calculated that we average about 40 hours per week on transportation and getting into and out of hotels. This includes a lot of hours on airplanes, in airports, in cars, etc. A lot of the time it is too noisy for comfortable conversation. I used to use every minute to work zealously on the computer, maintaining financial records and programming our databases. As time went on and this required less time, I slept, read novels or thought about the meaning of life. I still sleep. For the meaning of life, see The Secrets Of The Universe.
But recently I've made a commitment to sacrifice some of the novel reading time in order to document guitar playing in general, my guitar style, our engineering approaches and whatever else it turns out I'm qualified to discuss. Particularly with my guitar style, I realize that it is unusual, largely undocumented and very difficult to figure out from listening or even watching because of its complexity and all the textural details. I've had a lot of trouble figuring my own playing out after the fact myself, such as for the Hot Licks video, so I sympathize. A lot of people have generously helped me along the way, so it only makes sense to pass it along.
My goal is to use our web site to demystify my style as completely as possible for anyone who is interested. If it helps you to play better sooner or to find your own voice, I'm happy. If you surpass me or go in a direction I haven't explored and I find out about it, I'm even happier because it gives me more incentive to get better myself. (This has happened several times to me.) Thus the overall state of the art advances.
I take requests! Let me know what you'd most like to know. I'll weigh this against what I'd most like to tell and how long it would take.
A common request is for transcriptions of my playing. I will try to offer a clearinghouse for information on published transcriptions, rating them for accuracy. If you know of any I don't have listed, please let me know. I will try to secure permission to republish them in full here. Additionally I'll do my own transcriptions, time permitting.
If you are interested in offering your own transcriptions for me to edit and include on this site, please contact me. Generally I will only engage in this process when your transcription is already pretty accurate and I know that you are willing to go through the back-and-forth, detailed process of editing and including fingerings where valuable. What do you get out of it? Absolutely nothing, just like me, except inclusion of your name and email address (if you want), and the debatably satisfying experience of having your hard work scrutinized and systematically hacked up by me.
Another common request is for MIDI files of our songs available on the Internet. I know nothing about this and will probably never spend any time on it. But if you know of any, let me know and I'll list them here.
If you discover any errors in information here, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know.
I promised to reveal them, and here they are!
Tuck & Patti's Vocal and Guitar Sound
More details than you want to know about our complete recorded and live vocal
and guitar signal paths, from mouth/fingers to speaker. Detailed breakdown
of a Tuck & Patti soundcheck. [Updated 10/8/07.]
Normal Guitar Tuck-like Tone
How to use a guitar and amp to move in the direction of the Tuck tone. Includes guitar wiring, buffer preamps, using 1/3 octave and parametric EQs and learning frequencies.
Pick & Fingerstyle Technique
In which Tuck attempts to comprehensively dissect every conceivable aspect of hitting a string, with and without a pick, in order to reveal all the secrets of killer right hand technique. Personal picking history and anecdotes spice up some otherwise very detailed, technical analysis. Eventually I hope to offer illustrations, but it is beyond my ability right now. [Updated 8/24/99.]
Questions about picking
When did I become an expert on using a pick? I probably don't spend more than 10-20 hours a year using a pick. But I wrote the article above, which received a lot of response and generated some questions. Here are my answers to some of them. [Updated 2/26/01.]
Staccato: Learning From Animals
One of the most important and seldom mentioned left-hand principles. What Binky, Gray Kitty and George Benson have in common.
You Take My Breath Away: Tuck's Voicings (GIF file for screen viewing.) Includes both the chord voicings I used on the album and alternate voicings I use live, as well as chord chart. Click here for PDF file if you want to print it with higher resolution. [You'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file. Click here to download it for free.]
"A Private Lesson With The Amazing TUCK ANDRESS" (PDF 2.4 MB)
From Guitar Player, April 1988: A long article where I broke down the one-man rhythm section approach in detail, with written examples. GP's first feature article in history with an unrecorded guitarist. Scanned from old magazine; sorry for the less than perfect quality and big file size.
"The Reckless Precision Of Tuck Andress" (PDF 1.8 MB)
From Guitar Player, February 1991: All about the Reckless Precision album. Includes a scrupulously accurate transcription (I did it) of "Sweet P." Scanned from old magazine; sorry for the less than perfect quality and big file size.
"Tuck Andress: His Guitar and Orchestra"
From Guitar Extra! Fall, 1991.
Article (5.1 PDF) | Transcription (8.1 PDF)
I discuss how the arrangements I play get developed, touching along the way
on improvisation vs. arranging, how to learn from gigging experiences,
philosophy of teaching, learning by ear and all about the Hymns, Carols and Songs About Snow album, especially "Dysfunctional Harmony." Includes a
very detailed transcription of "Over the Rainbow/If I Only Had A Brain." I
remember being proud of this one. Scanned; sorry for the big file size.
"Aural Report" (PDF 948 KB)
From Fingerstyle Guitar, November/December 1995: Interview, plus an embarrassing photo (Patti was not at the photo session and had nothing to do with the shirt choice or hair style). I'm putting it here because it contained my scrupulously accurate transcription of "Man In The Mirror." Scanned from old magazine; sorry for the less than perfect quality.
Questions and answers
Various people have emailed me questions about music, guitar, equipment and life. Usually I only read and wish I had the time or authority to answer, but sometimes I answer anyway; here are some of those questions and answers. [Updated 2/25/01.]