Paul Kucharski (koo-har-ski) has been playing guitar for a little more than an eternity and has been performing in the Wisconsin area since the 70's as an acoustic soloist.
He first started playing guitar at the age of 10, were he played electric guitar, took all the usual lessons and learned to read music, but gave that up after a couple years. "I was bored stiff with electric guitar and if I had to play "Louie-Louie" or "Wipe Out" one more time I thought I was going to crack up". He took up guitar again in earnest in 1970 at the age of 19 while in the Navy and living in Hawaii. It was there that he discovered the music of John Fahey and Leo Kottke and discovered there was whole other world out there besides electric guitar. He was off and running playing 5-6 hours per day.... he says that except for Scuba Diving there wasn't much he wanted to do except sit on the porch of the beach house and play. "I bought every fingerstyle book I could get my hands on...all three of them". It turned out those early lessons which taught him to read music allowed him to now teach himself. By the time he left the Navy in the early 70's he had a repertoire of fingerstyle tunes he could use to start performing.
While completing college he ran a Coffeehouse at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, booking folk acts from around the country, opening for many of them as well. When he graduated, he came to the decision point of either working as an Engineer or strike out as a full-time professional musician. "Being a solo fingerstyle guitarist in the 80's was a death wish. I quickly realized that starvation was bad for my health and that Engineering offered survival" It proved to be a wise choice since he says he's quite well fed these days. Now Paul has a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering and even managed to get his name added to a bunch of patents over the years. In real life he works in the field of Industrial Automation (factory control systems).
Back around 1996 Paul noticed that Fingerstyle Guitar web sites were practically non-existent or were seriously profit oriented and contained little useful information. So he decided to dedicate a web site to this particular type of guitar playing. It started as a very modest effort to share some of his compositions and arrangements as well as to create some tutorial and book review information that might be of use to those exploring this very broad and challenging style.
But today it has grown beyond his wildest expectations into a highly regarded, multi-faceted guitar site. In particular, the TAB and MIDI pages have grown to include compositions and arrangements from some exceptionally talented composers/arrangers from all over the world.
"The success of this site is in no small way due to the significant contribution of their work and their decision to share it with the world. I am forever grateful to them for this. By far one of the most rewarding aspects of having created this site was that I was able to connect with other outstanding musicians from around the world who shared a love for this style, and together we were able to create a truly remarkable body of work for fingerstyle players to learn from".
"What I love about Fingerstyle guitar is that it crosses so many of the typical music categories. It covers Blues, Jazz, Country, Folk, and even Easy Listening categories. So for me it's more a way of playing the guitar than it is a type of guitar music. What I love about it is that I can play some down and dirty Delta blues tune one minute and turn around and play some great country tune the next. I think Fingerstyle guitar opens doors to all kinds of musical possibilities".
"I hope everyone enjoys what we have to offer here. All the fine artists who have contributed to this site, as well as myself, hope they can use what's here to make them better guitar players and hope they develop the same love for the style as we all have".
"I also strongly encourage everyone to contact the other musicians who have contributed to this site and to express their gratitude".
Teacher of acoustic fingerstyle guitar
Martin 00028VS-1935. One of Martin's vintage reproductions with a fantastic looking sunburst top reminiscent of how Martin made them in 1935. V-style 12-fret neck with a Sitka top and Indian Rosewood back and sides.
Del Langejans RGC Cutaway with an Englemann top and Indian Rosewood back and sides. It's perfectly balanced and has a gorgeous tone. This guitar sustains for an eternity and sounds even better in open tunings. The built-in B-Band A4 gives it a great plugged-in sound.
Another highly prized guitar is a Deluxe model-K Froggy Bottom guitar. If you aren't familiar with Froggy Bottom, these are all hand-made by Michael Millard and have exceptional tone and styling. This particular model is a mini-jumbo (a.k.a. grand auditorium) and has an Adirondack top and Walnut back & sides. Because of the Adirondack, this guitar has incredible dynamic range and a very clear well-rounded tone. It's a real joy to play.
Another addition is an acoustic 7-string made by Jeff Robertson. The sound of this guitar is quite amazing; very loud and a beautiful complex tone. For fingerstyle music, one way to take advantage of the extra string is to play this guitar in alternate tunings such as C-DADGAD, C-DGDGBD, C-DGDGAD, and G-DGDGAD and arrange/write tunes that benefit from the extra string.
Both the Froggy Bottom and Robertson have a K&K Pure Western soundboard transducer combined with a Rare Earth Blender brought out to a stereo jack. The K&K pickups are some of the most natural sounding pickups on the market today and the Rare Earth Blender offer additional tonal options when blended with the K&K.
The instrument with by far the warmest acoustic sound of any he owns is a 1992 Martin CHD-35. This standard dreadnought model has a solid cedar top with solid Indian rosewood back and sides. It has a warm rich sound with a deep bass and strong mid-range. Martin stopped making Cedar top guitars around 1994, so it's also unique in that you can't get them any more.
For playing blues and slide, Paul prefers to play resonators. Paul plays resonators made in Australia by Don Morrison (DonMo Resonators). One is a nickel-plated brass Baritone Tricone (27" scale) and the other is a great sounding sunburst wood-bodied single-cone.
Also in the stable is a gorgeous Paul Beard square neck resonator. This one is his all mahogany R-model and, like all of them, has a Quarterman cone and that incredible spider bridge dobro tone characteristic of Jerry Douglas and Mike Aldridge. Great for jammin' to Bluegrass music.
This is the late great Maggie (formally named Maggie Mayhem) on the right and Tucker (formally named Run 'till you Tucker) on the left. Both are pure bred Golden Retrievers from different breeders. Maggie was 10 years old when she passed and Tucker is the newest member of the family at 8 months in this picture.
"Dogs are giant hair machines. So if you're thinking about getting one... or two, my advice is to make sure it color coordinates with the furniture and the carpet ...oh ya... and the car seats... and your clothes.... and your kids clothes. But other than that...go for it, they're great."
Our newest addition is a Golden we named "It's a Chelsea Morning". Here she is as a puppy going to war with a door stop. She's around 4 years old now.
Advice from the late Dixon: "Stop to smell the flowers"