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Summary, Episode 18:
Jim Nichols has an unusual approach to the guitar – he uses a thumb pick and fingers to play everything from Chet Atkins style to modern jazz.
He served as master instructor for the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshops, Stanford Jazz Workshops and held clinics on both jazz and Atkins style for the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society national convention in Nashville.
In addition to an acoustic duo CD with Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, and a duo CD with fingerstyle guitarist Richard Smith, Jim and his wife Morning, have 5 CDs to their credit.
Jim’s solo CD, “Jazz and Country” was chosen by Guitar Player Magazine as a “pick of the year” for ’96 and in 2001, he was featured in Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine and Acoustic Guitar Magazine.
In this episode, Jim and I talk about how he started playing guitar, his inspirations, and his approach to blending Chet Atkins fingerstyle and jazz guitar.
(Time stamps are for audio version of the podcast.)
- 2:08 Welcome Jim!
- 3:47 Jim talks about record companies & touring.
- 4:40 How Jim began playing music & uke.
- 6:08 Jim gets his first guitar.
- 6:54 Jim discovers Duane Eddys version of “Trambone” by Chet Atkins.
- 7:45 Flatpicks never again! Jim discovers the thumb pick and learns Chet stuff.
- 14:17 Jim discusses how Wes & Buddy Montgomery were not music readers.
- 19:41 How Jim got the jazz influence – his parents.
- 23:08 The benefits of learning from Chet’s recordings.
- 23:36 Another influence – Howard Roberts.
- 25:48 Jim’s approach to technique & using the thumbpick.
- 26:41 Jim talks about his guitar collection.
- 29:03 Music track from the “Jazz & Country” Album – “Freightliner Blues”
- 32:23 Gear chat – his versatile guitars that can cover several styles.
- 35:41 Traveling with guitars; Jim’s take & tips for flying.
- 38:17 All about Jim’s duo record with Tommy Emmanuel – “Chet Lag” (a.k.a. “Happy Hour”)
- 43:35 Jim’s Kirk Sand Guitar – a birthday present from his wife, vocalist Morning Nichols.
- 45:22 “Jazz & Country” his solo CD as a reaction to being a sideman and a dedication to Chet Atkins.
- 52:53 Current projects, gigs, guitar camps.
- 57:53 Jim’s best advice to musicians – listen attentively.
- 1:04:45 Jim reminds us about CAAS in Nashville in July (Chet Atkins Appreciation Society)
- Visit Jim and Morning Nichols’s web site at https://www.jimandmorningnichols.com
- Jim & Morning on Facebook
I was amused to hear that Jim’s first exposure to guitar as a child was endless listening to half-speed Chet Atkins records. Chet grew up in rural eastern Kentucky and the legend (probably not true, but a fun story) is that his family couldn’t afford lessons or even records, and that Chet learned from listening to the Grand Ole Opry on WSM radio and that he never knew that there were multiple guitars playing at the same time. So he taught himself to play all the parts himself, and fingerstyle guitar was born. That’s the story anyway, and it sounds like as a kid Jim took it to the next stage by channeling Chet.
Hey Adam, on my PC at least, this podcast (especially your mic) is coming through as very bassy. I cranked my treble way up and it was way easier to listen to.