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The Amazing Wim Den Herder

Our upcoming interview with the Dutch talent traverses ground that's both artistic and scientific

By June 27, 2019 News

We’ve been speaking with the amazing Wim Den Herder for what feels like forever, to figure out a time for him to get out here to NYC. We were finally able to connect the dots a couple weeks ago. If you haven’t heard Wim play, his style is an utterly unique mix of jazz, funk, and prog punctuated by unexpected dynamic changes and instantly addictive melodies. And he delivers it all on a single acoustic guitar, like a space-age Tommy Emmanuel.

His tune “Wimpicking” is a great example of all these elements in full force. It was in fact specifically composed to have as many as three interlocking parts that sound like multiple players jamming at once. In the interview, we talked about the sequencer-assisted way he composes these lines to get the interlocking exactly the way he wants it. Once he has it down on paper (or well, the screen), then he learns the parts on guitar.

We also talked a lot about motor learning and improvisation, where Wim’s interests align really well with ours here at Cracking the Code. Here’s a great clip of discussing using the guitar’s idiosyncratic tuning to inspire different vocabulary in different parts of the neck:

As you can see in the Magnet shots, Wim is quite handy with economy picking. But this was the first time he had seen his technique this close. He was surprised that the pickslanting component of his form was this obvious. He had no idea he was doing this — he just worked these out by feel, until, as he described it, his descending lines felt like “falling down stairs”. When he saw how much upward pickslanting played a part in this feeling of sliding, it was the missing piece of the puzzle.

We don’t really need more evidence that even very analytical players still operate at a level of feel when it comes to learning instrument technique. But it’s still always particularly compelling when players like Wim and Martin Miller, who actually understand the mechanics we talk about in our features, are surprised to see themselves doing precisely the same things.

We have a growing back log of interviews to edit but we’ll getting back on track with these now that we’ve got the core instructional makeover underway in the Pickslanting Primer. Stay tuned!

Top Comments

  1. Troy says:

    If you’re not following our Instagram account, then you may not have seen these two awesome clips of Wim that we posted this week and last week. And if you’re not following our Instagram account, then why not? Man, you’re missing out.

    Here’s a clip from Wim’s booty-shaking tune “Wimpicking”, with his signature interlocking bass and lead parts played on a single guitar. It’s great, and it’s a great example of his compositional style:

    And here’s a closeup of Wim’s two-way pickslanting economy picking form as we talk about used different positions to generate ideas of improvisation:

    Great conversation with a guy whose interests in motor learning and practice, improvisation, and instrument technique are totally up our alley. It was great to finally meet him.

  2. Because why would we want/need to stray from Troy Grady.com???
    Thanks for posting these, I would not have seen them otherwise… other than this forum (and YT) I tend not to darken the door of other social media outlets!

  3. Troy says:

    The real reason Instagram is a good outlet to have is that really short clips and excerpts of things don’t do well on YouTube. In fact, the audience there tends to get a little annoyed when you post things like that.

    By contrast, Instagram exists precisely for that. It just wants to know what’s going on with you in small doses. It’s perfect for the little things we find while editing: behind the scenes stuff, technical explainers, and so on.

  4. Thanks for replying, totally get that the YT audience are a fickle and petty bunch at the best of times. I hope you get the reaction and traction you are looking for. :blush:

  5. Troy says:

    Honestly our YT audience is great. We originally assumed it was the bathroom wall of the internet, but pretty much as soon as we started putting stuff up there back in 2014 or whenever, we were surprised at how receptive and positive the comments were. They just have a different thing they’re looking for, longer view type stuff that they can put on in the background or watch on a lunch break.

    Instagram is for waiting in line at the checkout and you just need to scroll past something to stop the boredom. I get it, I do.

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