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This post marks the first day of my 14th year of blogging here on WordPress.  A great deal of this post is a repetition of last year’s post…  (And, yes, it’s a long one…)
With almost no change from last year…  The number of countries who’ve visited this site continues to (slowly) grow and the number which haven’t continues to decrease.  North Korea and Cuba are still among them (the latter…)  I’m also still missing a belt across the middle of Africa (but it’s no longer coast-to-coast) and a few spots in Asia.  (Slowly, slowly…  Resistance is futile.)
On reviewing my content over the past year, I’m mostly back to one post a day.  They are almost entirely just quotes with occasional political opinions, infrequent film reviews and rarely book reviews.  I haven’t added near as many posts about learning guitar or music as I thought I would.  I’m not terribly sure why.
My blog is continuing to be part of my “normal” retired life (since 2017).  I routinely receive about 20 to 60 emails (per day) from the roughly 300 blogs I follow.  I say “roughly” because I don’t check how many I follow.  I just looked, and I (still) have fewer than 2,000 followers myself.  Every year there is a trade-off:  you pick up a few steady followers and a few drop off.  Those who actually post about leaving (their own sites) say they are simply moving on to other things.  Most, don’t bother and just stop posting.  A few come back after some period of time.  Many do not.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve stopped blogging.  Some just move to a hosted service to try to monetize their thoughts and don’t provide me a way to follow them.  Or maybe they did and I simply missed the link…
I do have bone to pick with some (many?) of the posts I receive.  Three bones, actually…  First, I receive a large number of posts which don’t contain “Like” options.  This means I have to click to your site and log into WordPress to give you a like.  Most of the time, I will not do this.  I’m just lazy and if you don’t want the feed back, I’m happy to not provide it.  The second is an email with a title and five or six words from your post and then a “read more”.  Again, sorry – PROBABLY 95% of the time, I no longer click through to your site.  If you don’t give me at least a paragraph to hook me, you’ve lost me for that post.  It’s different if you are running a visual / photo site, but not by much.  If you give me one (or two) image(s) per post – fine.  If you regularly have 10 – 15 – 20 images in a single post, I might view one post a week.  And, lastly, in general I only view one post a day from a single source and it’s kind of random…  Sometimes it’s the first.  Sometimes it’s the last.  Sometimes it’s just whatever…
At any rate, I easily spend an hour per day reviewing the posts I get (via email subscription) and sometimes that is simply overwhelming.  It’s not always the average blogger’s fault.  If you post something interesting, I (still) will go off and investigate it further:  authors, artists, locations, books, movies, science / math / history topics – they will all lead me off down the rabbit hole.  And that hole can be DEEP!   There are a few (a handful) of sites which I know are visual and I more frequently click through to the actual site, because I’m interested in the bits which are not offered in the smaller / limited / text based emails I tend to receive.  I apologize if my failure to click-thru affects your view stats negatively…
So, besides this blog, what am I up to?  My health has been mixed.  I’m still morbidly obese and none of my “lifestyle” changes (diets) have stuck.  The problem I have is I’ve had some changes in my meds so I’m not sure if they are affecting me or if I’m just getting older and less motivated – or a combination.  As always, one has to balance the good of the med versus the adverse (potential) effects.  The two which seem the best (for me) are the juicing / blending and the “40hr water fast twice a week”.  The former for losing and the latter for maintaining.  If I can get my meds stable, I’ll probably go on an alternating schedule of these two for a prolonged period.
In January 2021, I purchased my first guitar and I’ve been practicing most every day since. (I miss about one day every other month.)  I “know” my basic (C, A, G, E, D, F, Am, Em, Dm) open / “cowboy” chords and major / minor scales – single string and in first position.  Strumming, finger-picking (Travis style) and chord changes are coming slowly (slower), but they are getting better now that I’m practicing them more consistently.  I now own three acoustic guitars and five electrics, and I have another acoustic on loan from my brother.  I had them on a monthly rotation calendar, but shifted to three weeks at the start of the year (2022).  I’m planning to move to a weekly rotation.  I’m looking into picking up a few (three) more inexpensive guitars and I’ve dropped the idea of basses (for at least a while).  There is no time pressure.  It’s all about my ability to save (here and there) until I can justify a purchase.  [Wife:  How many guitars do you NEED?  Me:  …One more.]  At the moment, the plan is one more strat (type), one more tele (type) and a round-back acoustic.  I didn’t really even think about round-backs before.  I thought they were only over-sized guitars for Mariachi style music, but I’ve learned otherwise.  Anyway, they “tend” to be plastic / fiberglass backs, and I’m interested in what that sounds like.  I have a distinct memory of strumming an “Ovation” (round-back) guitar MANY years ago, but I don’t remember anything about it (sound or feel).  We’ll see…  I am also going to start looking into amps and pedals for the electrics.
The few things I’ve learned (mainly about myself) have truly been amazing (to me).  I do seem to have a smidgen of musical ability (although it’s still buried under layers of doubt).  I’m (still) finding the ability to concentrate on practice to be as relaxing as zoning out in computer programming used to be (in my youth).  Sixty to ninety minutes can easily seem like five or ten minutes.  There is also the complete exhaustion which results from prolonged concentration – however “relaxing” it may feel at the time.  In a strange way, it feels good to be mentally tired at the end of a practice session.
But, am I getting any better at playing?  An objective opinion would be:  Yes!  Am I any “good”?  An objective opinion would be:  No!  Does it matter a whit?  No.  Why not?  Because, like blogging, I’m doing it for the enjoyment of doing it and not for the expectation (mine or anyone else’s) of being any good at playing guitar.  Again, like blogging, as long as it’s fun and interesting and fulfilling, I’ll just keep doing it…  My not so secret goal remains to write a song (lyrics and music) for my wife.  (LoL)
I posted a while back about my guitar goals for the remainder of 2022, but I can easily see them (the goals) extending into 2023.  If I have ANY disappointments over guitars it’s that developing my luthier skills has definitely fallen by the wayside.  I’m happy being able to change strings, round fret ends and play with action and intonation, but it turns out, if you buy inexpensive instruments, the decent quality luthier tools and better quality parts are almost as (or more) expensive as (than) a new instrument.
So, it’s guitar playing and blogging to keep me occupied (and mostly out of trouble).  LoL!!
Other than that, we got one of our bathrooms remodeled back in February 2022 and we’re hoping to get our other one done in early fall.  All things in their time (LoL – and with available funds!)
Once again…  “Excelsior!!
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On This Day In:
2021 Happy 12th Anniversary Of Blogging
We ARE…
2020 Happy 11th Anniversary Of Blogging
2019 Happy 10th Anniversary — Thoughts On My First Decade Of Blogging
2018 Happy 9th Anniversary — Three Thoughts
Day 2 – Notes On Progress
2017 Happy 8th Anniversary
2016 Happy 7th Anniversary
2015 Happy 6th Anniversary
2014 Happy 5th Anniversary
2013 I Resemble That Remark!
2012 Happy 3rd Anniversary
2011 Is America Safe Tonight?
2009 Hello world! (See how it all began…)

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The following is my “goal” for learning / playing guitar for the remainder of this year (2022).  (It will be quite a stretch-goal for me.  LoL!)

Guitar Test

1.) How much do you practice  —  # of Day (6) / week (52);  # of Hours (1)
2.) How well do you know the fretboard
3.) Knowledge of major & minor scale for natural notes
4.) Knowledge of major & minor chords  —  open & barred
5.) Perform three:  Maj7, Min7 & Dom7 chords
6.) Playing & modifying a chord progression
7.) Perform three different Arpeggios  —  anywhere on the fretboard
8.) Build A Major scale (at least 3)  —  demonstrate a knowledge of scale formulas (along 1 string)
9.) Name the tones of four major key signatures
10.) Name & explain three time signatures  —  count, beat, stresses & accents
11.) Explain note duration  —  whole, half, 1/4th, 1/8th, & 1/16th
Of course the object of “learning” these things is not the inherent value of knowledge.  It is the ability to put the knowledge into use why playing the guitar.  Some of the items on the list are things I already “know”.  They are just (still) not yet under my fingertips.  That will come with time and practice…  Inshalla
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On This Day In:
2021 Waiting For The Sting
Right From The Start
2020 Reward Truth In November
2019 Prepare For The 2020 Election
2018 Why #45 Is Uncivil And Sinking
Ole! … Ole, Ole, Ole
Is This Still The United States Of America?
2017 Go Where?
2016 Returning To The Same Box
2015 The Hunter’s Music
2014 Dedication
2013 Unhappy Alternatives
2012 Implications
2011 Never Let Us Down

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The reason so many guitarists fail to reach their potential is error filled repetition, aka not knowing exactly how to do each movement!
    —     Aaron Shearer
Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
     —    Rita Mae Brown
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On This Day In:
2021 I Ask For Two Minutes…
Always
2020 At Least A Lot More Gray
2019 Walking The Lonely Path
2018 The Ultimate Trial
2017 Vain Expectations
2016 Or Of One Thought
2015 What’s In Your Future?
2014 Light In Darkness
2013 How ‘Bout Just Obeying The Law?
2012 Or Maybe Not
2011 My Interval Is Too Short!

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Talent is a pursued interest.  Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.
    —     Bob Ross
[Maybe Bob is right, but it sure would be nice if this effortless guitar playing came faster…   Good thing I’m one of those OCD folks who actually enjoys practicing without seeing much improvement.  LoL.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 B U
Blueprint Blue
2019 I Struggle With One At A Time
2018 An Infectious Political Cancer
Site Update / Poems Page Evolution
2017 Our Thirst
2016 History Favors The Victor
2015 This We’ll Leave Them
2014 Sounds Like Faux News To Me
2013 Reasons
2012 American Libertarianism
2011 The Goal

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Try to play easy pieces well;  it is better than to play difficult ones in a mediocre style.
    —     Robert Schumann
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On This Day In:
2021 I’m An Optimist
Talent Is A Ticket To Ride
2020 Works For Me
Rivers Versus Waterfalls
2019 Better To Do
News: Drunken Party Girl Saves Seoul
2018 Keep Moving
2017 Fighting Good
2016 Size Matters
2015 Maybe The Best Thing
2014 Ready To Be Fried?
2013 A Real Lover
2012 Winning Wars
2011 A Different Lesson

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Out of the depths of the mysterious box,
Flowed the marvelous symphony,
Of all the virgin voices of the forests of America
    —     Agustín Barrios Mangoré
From his poem:  “Profession of Faith
[Happy Birthday, Mom!  Love, Kevin    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Maybe Faith Is Based On Hope
I Want To See You Smile
2020 Thank You (To Those Who Serve)
Hanging In There
2019 Her Job, Too
2018 Just Another Song I Like
Earlier Still
2017 Ten To Go
2016 Unstable Emergence
2015 88
2014 Some One-Liners Are Too Easy
2013 Greatness
2012 Memories Of Arlington
2011 Wake Up

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I’ve been learning how to play guitar for a little over thirteen months and this morning when I began practicing I realized I’ve already “forgotten” more about guitar than I know (remember)…
Because playing a musical instrument is so much about muscle memory, practically none of the information I’ve read / watched has been retained in a usable format.  I’m reminded of what we used to say in the Army:  “You don’t know it until you can teach it and you can’t teach it until you can do it.
I’ve “learned” about so many music / guitar concepts without practicing them – until they are “under my fingertips” – that I am constantly experiencing “oh, that’s what that was talking about” moments.
Lately, I’ve been trying to tune the guitar by ear.  I’m actually starting to get close.  Of course, all of my guitars are already close to being “in-tune” (from frequent use), so I guess my next step will be to fully un-tune (de-tune?) one of them and see how close I can “really” get from scratch (on my own).
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On This Day In:
2021 And My Sister Is Taxing
What Did The Wise Men Say?
2020 One Phrase
2019 Why #LyingDonald Can’t Trust Any Honorable Person
2018 An Old Style Conservative
2017 John Q.
2016 In Trembling Hope Repose
2015 Let There Be Light
2014 Unless
2013 Divergent Roads To Similarity?
2012 In The Process
2011 What Do You Emphasize?

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When we see someone online play a piece note-perfect, we are seeing the fruit of more time than we would ever suspect.
Professional players have often spent hundreds of practice hours on a 3-minute piece of music.  And even more time working on basic skills and abilities.
When we see and hear them, it appears simple.  It looks easy.  So we again assume incorrectly.  We chalk it up to talent or luck.
But the reality is that high-level playing is possible for anyone (physical limitations aside).  It’s all matter of minutes and hours.
Luckily, time will pass whether we practice or not.  In three years, we will either have three more years of practice behind us, or we won’t.
We don’t need more time in the day.  There’s no race or competition.  No one cares how well we play.  Guitar is a personal challenge and pursuit.  Others may support and encourage, but they don’t care whether we practice each day or not.
The trick to putting in more time on something is to enjoy the practice.  And this is born of creating small, achievable challenges, and meeting them.  Over and over.  We find something slightly difficult then we work on it.
We get feelings of satisfaction from winning the challenge.  And our skills expand bit by bit, day after day.
We can (and should) still care about short-term results.  We need the motivation that comes from success.
But we can also keep the long-term in mind.  We can accept that pieces may take months or years to play well.  Our speed and agility may take months and years to improve to where we want them.
Like life itself, our music is made of small moments, lived well.  And the more we focus on process and quality, the smoother and more quickly we enjoy the fruits.
From a website I follow:  https://www.classicalguitarshed.com/
The specific post / page is:  https://www.classicalguitarshed.com/tq-raymond-joseph-teller-magic-time/
[Please visit the original site if you have a few moments…    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Two Happy
Every Time I Look Around
Boxing (Day: 3) – Double-End Target Setup
2019 Stand Up, Hook Up, Shuffle To The Door…
2018 Ridiculous Idea
2017 Waddle On!
A Severe Challenge — When The President Is A Liar
2016 The Best Of Circumstances
2015 Reverberating Silence
2014 Wrong Again?
2013 Improper Faith
2012 One More Rung
2011 Sunday Morning Earlies (Hugging trees and smiling…)
Hurry
Updates On Life
2010 It’s Gettin’ Deep In Here

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The Circle Of Fifths For Guitarists” (2017©)   —   book review
This review is for the first guitar book (non-song book category) which I have finished reading.  Hopefully, there will be many more in the future…
The book is written by:  Joseph Alexander and is part of a series of learning about music / guitar titled:  “Fundamental Changes“.  There is an associated website at:  www.fundamental-changes.com.  It also has associated Facebook and Instagram blah-blah-blah…
Background:
In January of this year (2021), I decided to teach myself to play guitar.  I’ve now purchased multiple guitars (acoustic and electric) and about a dozen books on learning music and learning how to play various genres of guitar.  I am trying to “find” my voice on both hardware and in music.  I am doing this (journey / vision-quest) “mostly” through YouTube, Wikipedia, Google and my local second hand bookstore.  I am averaging about one hour a day of hands-on practice and another couple of hours exploring genres, music theory, musicians / bands / songs, and hardware reviews.  Although I have (probably) over 300 hours of hands-on practice, I still consider myself to be a near complete-beginner guitarist.  I have watched multiple hours worth of videos on “The Circle of Fifths” and given this book is only a little over sixty pages of material, I’ve spent far more time watching videos than I actually spent reading this book.
Review:
Having said this, the questions remain:  is THIS a good book about the topic and would I recommend it to others?  The answer to both is:  “YES“.
First (good):  this is not a particularly easy topic to cover / explain.  I may feel this way simply because I’m such a beginner, but I’ve asked a few people who’ve “played” guitar in the past and they (mostly) said:  “Just learn some chords and play songs. Nobody is interested in theory.”  The problem is: I AM!!  Not only am I interested in guitar (as a physical instrument), I am also interested in it as a means of musical expression.  I seek to “Grok” guitar.  This means I have to learn the how’s and why’s of just about everything “guitar”.  Hence, my interest in the topic:  “The Circle of Fifths” (TCoF).
Alexander has written a very easy to read explanation of TCoF and I feel this book significantly increased the depth and breadth of my understanding of this music tool.  Obviously TCoF is a tool for all musicians and not limited to just use by guitarists.  Having said this, the author appropriately makes the effort to explain things from / for a guitarist’s point of view.  He defines words / terms when he first uses them, so ensuring the budding guitarist knows what he is talking about.  Alexander also takes the time to briefly explain some things beyond the scope of the book and cautions readers when a side topic is going to get deep.  Basically, he explains fundamental concepts clearly and then builds on the foundation to round out the reader’s understanding.
As mentioned earlier, there is an associated website with audio files which can be played to increase understanding by ear training and not simply expecting the reader to “understand” a point by reading about it.  This is a book about practical application of theory to music (sound).
Second (bad):  If that’s the good, what’s wrong?  Well, my copy came to me with every third page glued together.  Not consecutive pages, but facing pages and every other set:  two pages open, two pages glued, etc.  The glued spot was pretty uniform at about two inches in from the center / binding.  Most were only spots.  A few were lengths (a quarter inch to two inches) running from binding margin to the center of text.  A couple were the full height of the page as well as being over an inch in width.  Most could be pulled free.  Three of the sets completely shredded the opposite page – which meant you couldn’t read the back of that page either, even though it wasn’t glued.  Fortunately, the worst pages were at the extreme front and end of the book.  When contacted, the response was:  the books are printed and delivered by Amazon;  take it back to them and they’ll arrange to give you another.  If this was a hardbound book or more expensive, I would have done this.  Weighing the cost versus my time, I just decided to live with what I have.  And, after all, the book was still readable.  Although annoying in multiple locations, I could figure out the missing words from surrounding context.
Third (bad):  The book had a handful (less than five) of editing errors where either a word was dropped or an incorrect word was used.  Only one was so bad (impactful) that I had to go back and re-read adjoining text to ensure I knew what the author was saying instead of what it looked like he was saying.  I would add, I personally would NEVER buy this type of book in kindle format without having seen the complete book on whatever hardware version I owned.  There is too much valuable information easily accessible by laying out two pages and seeing them next to each other in a readable size / format.  In fairness, I am a “book” person, not an “ebook” person.  Of course, with kindle I wouldn’t have had the glue issue.
Final recommendation:  strong recommendation.  If you are interested in learning a bit about music theory, how chords and keys are built and how chords work together to create music, this is an excellent beginner’s resource.  Is it going to “vastly” improve MY music skills.  Not in the immediate future.  I’m not that good, yet.  But I’ll get there some day and I believe reading this book will have helped me get there sooner than if I’d not read it.  I will look for this author and series in my local used book stores where I can open and check the pages before I buy the book.
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On This Day In:
2020 Doctor’s Orders
Make That Seven Orders…
2019 Innocent
2018 Ripost
2017 Just Asking…
2016 And 4
How Tall Do You Stand?
2015 More Prejudice
2014 Say What?
2013 Daring Errors
2012 Are You Comfortable?
I Just Have To
In Flux
2011 True New
2010 A Job Well Started Is A Job Half Done
I See With My One Good Eye

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We don’t learn theory ‘just because.  We learn it to get closer to understanding the music we love.  Theory explains music, but theory is not music.
    —     Joseph Alexander
From his book:  “The Circle Of Fifths For Guitarists
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On This Day In:
2020 Profit From Ongoing Disintegration
I’m A Dreamer
2019 Even When We Have A Criminal / Dangerous / Incompetent President
2018 But It Keeps Trying
Blue Wave, But Not Blue Tsunami
2017 The Promise At Risk
2016 Or As Will Come In Time
2015 It Is Another Beautiful Day At The Red Pony Bar And Continual Soiree…
2014 Days And Years
2013 Currency And Transport
2012 Something Which Did Not Exist Before
2011 True Magic

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I have been learning to play guitar since January of this year.  Although I’ve always liked music and songs, I’ve never given much thought to what music is.  I mean, I’ve always considered it as “sound” (in a physics sense), but learning to “play” music (make sounds) as turned into a deep and enriching exercise in itself.  Last night, I read someone’s definition of “music” as a combination of three things: rhythm, melody and harmony.  I thought this was interesting, so, today I went on Google and Wikipedia to see what they had to say about it…
There seems to be a (little / minor) disagreement about what “makes” music.  Most of what I read agrees with the three parts above, but I also found other sources which added a fourth:  dynamics.
This is my simplistic understanding of each:
1)  Rhythm:  the beat and speed of the sound(s);
2)  Melody:  the grouping of the sounds (typically making it – the “music” – distinctively memorable) into start, order and ending;
3)  Harmony:  the mixing of sounds for effect (happy / sad, blending / discordant); and,
4)  Dynamics:  how loud or quietly / soft or hard something sounds.
I’m sure any readers who are “real” musicians will find my explanation / understanding of these elements of music simplistic, and I’m okay with that.  LoL!  I think it’s amusing (amazing) I’ve enjoyed music my whole life, but never thought about ANY of this.  And, to be honest, I have large blind spots about most things under “arts and culture”.  I know I don’t know about them, but I have no idea how much I don’t know about them.  It’s fun starting to learn!
C’est la vie…
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On This Day In:
2020 I Am Shocked! Shocked I Say!
But You Gotta Have Faith
But Only Half
2019 …And Bullet-Proof Suits
The Bottom Line (Is No Surprise To Me)
2018 What Do You Hear?
2017 I’ve Got A Pocket Protector
Word Up!
2016 Better Value
2015 Any Port In A Storm
2014 Babies (II)
2013 Why The Young Stay In College Longer These Days
2012 Perceptions Of Worth
2011 Flavor
2010 Giants Win 1-0 !!

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This post marks the first day of my 13th year of blogging here on WordPress.  The number of countries who’ve visited this site continues to grow and the number which haven’t continues to decrease.  North Korea and Cuba are still among them (the latter…)  I’m also still missing a belt across the middle of Africa and a few spots in Asia.  (Slowly, slowly…  Resistance is futile.)
On reviewing my content over the past year, I have done mostly two posts a day.  One is a thought, review or quote;  one has been a music video.  My intent was to offer up to any who stumbled onto my blog a chance to sample some of the music which affected my life.  In the process, I’ve rediscovered a tremendous number of songs which came and went (in my life) and a core of songs and performers who have helped make me – me.  Not, physically, like food or drink or air, but spiritually…  Now that the year is completed, I doubt I’ll be continuing with the videos every day, but I will include them periodically (sporadically?).
My blog has continued to be an increasing part of my “normal” retired life.  I routinely receive about 20 to 60 emails (per day) from the roughly 300 blogs I follow.  I say “roughly” because I don’t check how many I follow.  I just looked, and I have fewer than 2,000 followers myself.  Every year there is a trade-off:  you pick up a few steady followers and a few drop off.  Those who actually post about leaving (their own sites) say they are simply moving on to other things.  Most, don’t bother and just stop posting.  A few come back after some period of time.  Many do not.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve stopped blogging.  Some just move to a hosted service to try to monetize their thoughts and don’t provide me a way to follow them.  Or maybe they did and I simply missed the link…
At any rate, I am still posting thoughts, quotes, movie reviews, book reviews, and favorite music videos.  I easily spend an hour per day reviewing the posts I get (via email subscription) and sometimes that is simply overwhelming.  It’s not always the average blogger’s fault.  If you post something interesting, I (still) will go off and investigate it further: authors, artists, locations, books, movies, science / math / history topics – they will all lead me off down the rabbit hole.  And that hole can be DEEP!  I don’t know why, but this year, less frequently, I’m choosing to delete fewer (unopened mail / posts).  I apologize to you if you are one of those authors.  I will admit to only viewing actual posts sent to me (most of the time).  I seem to get a lot of “read more” posts / emails.  I’m not sure why this is.  I guess it’s a WordPress feature I don’t use or don’t know about.  There are a few (a handful) of sites which I know are visual and I more frequently click through to the actual site, because I’m interested in the bits which are not offered in the smaller / limited / text based emails I tend to receive.  I apologize if that affects your view stats negatively…
So, besides this blog, what am I up to?  My health has been mixed.  Last year, I was back in the hospital for “jump start”.  I have AFib and every now and then I get my heart zapped (“reverted”) to a normal rhythm.  We’ve also had this whole COVID lock down, which has put a damper on things.
In January, I purchased my first guitar and I’ve been practicing most every day since.  I “know” some basic chords and scales.  I’m still having a dickens of a time with strumming and chord changes, but I’m told that will come with time.  I now own two acoustic guitars and one electric (a Stratocaster style), and I have another acoustic on loan from my brother.  I have the four on a rotation calendar, but the first is still my favorite.  I’m looking into picking up a few more inexpensive guitars and two basses.  There is no time pressure.  It’s all about my ability to save (here and there) until I can justify a purchase.  [Wife:  How many guitars do you NEED?  Me:  …One more.]
The few things I’ve learned have truly been amazing (to me).  I do seem to have a smidgen of musical ability (although it’s still buried under layers of doubt).  I’m finding the ability to concentrate on practice to be as relaxing as zoning out in computer programming used to be (in my youth).  Sixty to ninety minutes can easily seem like five or ten minutes.  There is also the complete exhaustion which results from prolonged concentration – however “relaxing” it may feel at the time.  In a strange way, it feels good to be mentally tired at the end of a practice session.
But, am I getting any better at playing?  An objective opinion would be:  Yes!  Am I any “good”?  An objective opinion would be:  No!  Does it matter a whit?  No.  Why not?  Because, like blogging, I’m doing it for the enjoyment of doing it and not for the expectation (mine or anyone else’s) of being any good at playing guitar.  Again, like blogging, as long as it’s fun and interesting and fulfilling, I’ll just keep doing it…  My not so secret goal remains to write a song (lyrics and music) for my wife.  (LoL)
My personal goals for last year (to learn some assembly language programming and to have a play with chat-bots) never really got off the ground.   I spent a few weeks looking into them and playing with some free software, but the former has been passed by history so resources are limited and the latter is beyond my means as a retired person on a limited income.  In any case, I have usually been at my best when given a customer with a problem, not when I have to make up my own problems (and then create their solutions).
So, it’s guitar and blogging to keep me occupied (and mostly out of trouble).  LoL!!
Once again…  “Excelsior!!
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On This Day In:
2020 Happy 11th Anniversary Of Blogging
2019 Happy 10th Anniversary — Thoughts On My First Decade Of Blogging
2018 Happy 9th Anniversary — Three Thoughts
Day 2 – Notes On Progress
2017 Happy 8th Anniversary
2016 Happy 7th Anniversary
2015 Happy 6th Anniversary
2014 Happy 5th Anniversary
2013 I Resemble That Remark!
2012 Happy 3rd Anniversary
2011 Is America Safe Tonight?
2009 Hello world! (See how it all began…)

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Idyllwild by Monoprice 3/4 Classical Guitar with Gig Bag, Natural   —   guitar review
[DISCLAIMER:  This product is being reviewed without compensation of any sort by the manufacturer.  I purchased the guitar with my own personal funds.  Also, nothing I say should be taken as anything but my personal opinion / observation, as I have VERY little knowledge of music or musical instruments.    —    KMAB]
Background:  Back at the end of May, I posted I would be reviewing my guitars and I’ve done the first two.  Here’s the latest…  Most of this was covered in my earlier post (More Changes…) about this guitar.  To summarize, I restrung and played with my daughter’s fiance’s guitar (a boyhood gift from his grandfather), and I fell in love with the feel of it.  So, I looked around to see how much they cost and if I could get one to play around with.  It turns out there is a company (Monoprice) which owns / distributes for another company (Idyllwild) which the Monoprice website says “makes” the guitar.  The product page is titled:  “Idyllwild by Monoprice 3/4 Classical Guitar with Gig Bag, Natural“. I have no idea what the “Natural” refers to.  Anyway, what I loved about the guitar I restrung was how it felt.  The box of the guitar literally vibrated against my chest with a deep resonance which had (for me) and emotional appeal.  Basically, it sounded deep and full and this carried through the feel even more so than the sound in my ear.  I saw the guitar was relatively inexpensive – even vis-a-vis other 3/4 guitars online, so I decided I would get one (eventually).  As I was prepping my wife for my buying another guitar, the guitar went on sale.  The original price was $64 with free standard shipping.  The sale price was just under $45, but when I went to buy it, the site said I was eligible for an additional discount which brought my full price (including taxes and free shipping) to $42 and change!  I ordered the guitar and received it the following day.  (Note:  the base price on the site is now $65.)
Start of review:
So, this (3/4 size “classical”) is the third guitar I’ve bought this year.  It arrived within 24 hours of ordering, so that was an initial very good impression!  The box had a 6 – 8 inch slice in it, so that was a negative, but did not necessarily have anything to do with the manufacturer / seller, so it’s merely a comment on delivery status.  (Note:  the previous line was copied directly from a prior guitar review.  This is the third guitar I’ve bought this year and ALL three have come in damaged boxes – two sliced with the cardboard partially crumpled back.  Fortunately, none of the instruments have been damaged at all.  I think the various delivery services really need to look at their processes and / or the instrument sellers need to double-box their products.  Then again, maybe it’s just another strong argument for buying from a local store.)
Per their site, this is what I received for $42 and change – all-in (including tax and shipping).
Features –
• Body Shape:  Classical (no cut-away), but 3/4 size
• Top Wood:  some kind of laminate
• Back / Sides:  some kind of laminate. I am not a wood expert, so take this opinion with a grain of salt…  Looking through the sound hole, the “wood” seems to be some kind of rough balsa.  It may even be some kind of thin, compressed particle board “wood” with an exterior veneer glued on and laquered over.
• Neck:  no idea
• Fretboard:  no idea
• Bridge:  no idea, but the saddle appears to be plastic (like the nut)
• Pickguard:  none
• Gig Bag:  Included. This bag is actually ok considering the total price.  It is more than a dust cover in thickness (no padding at all), and it seems tough, (but not waterproof).  The zippers look medium weight and works smoothly.  There is also a zippered pouch on the front of the bag.  The bag is sufficient for most carrying about, but it is baggy and offers only the slightest of protection.  It does not have a sturdy handle or padded shoulder straps, but the straps are adjustable.  At least it doesn’t stink (smell bad) like my Glarry gig-bag did.
Not mentioned on the site:
• they give you an Allen wrench to adjust the truss rod which runs through the guitar’s neck.  I have have only begun to try to adjust the neck.  The neck is visibly straight; not bowed one way or the other, but it appears to be mounted at an angle which causes the action to be very high at the top frets.  The top frets are 10 – 12, where the neck joins the body.  I believe this is why the nut can be tuned and open chords sound good, but the top frets are all uniformly sharp.  Pressing down so far is stretching the string and making it (the note) sharp.  (Note:  it is my understanding that most “classical” style guitars do not come with a truss rod.  Also, you cannot put steel strings on a guitar meant for nylon strings.  They lack the physical support to hold steel strings and you will most probably either severely bend or outright snap the neck off the guitar body when you try to tune it.)  I will update this review after I’ve played with the truss rod to see if that helps in lowering the action on the high frets.
Specifications –
• Strings:  6 – nylon
• Electronics:  N/A
• Tuners:  typical “brassy” looking (three to a side, linked) classical tuners, but they look and “feel” flimsy.  Interestingly, the knobs on the ends of tuners do not “feel” flimsy.  They also do not have dead spots (when you turn and nothing happens, then suddenly the gears seem to grab).
• Neck Shape:  I’m not sure how to describe it.  This is the underside. The top is flat; almost to the point of being concave.
• Scale:  3/4 length
• Nut / Saddle:  Plastic (Most minor tuning adjustments make the strings “ping” at the nut.  This means I need to “lube / graphite” the nut a little when I get around to changing the strings.)
• Nut Width:  not stated
• Bracing:  not stated
• Finish:  very well polished.  The “wood” looks cheap, almost plastic toy-ish on the surface, but it feels good under arm and to the hand.
Dimensions –
• Not provided and I haven’t bothered to check them with a ruler / tape measure.
Main Review –
First:  this guitar was received within 23 hrs of my placing the order!!  I’m not sure how this was even possible…
Second:  it arrived in a damaged box which appeared both sliced and crumbled.  Fortunately, the guitar was undamaged.  In addition to the case, the neck had a thin paper cover over the strings and a 1-inch silica packet to help with humidity.  Unfortunately, the packet had fallen into the sound hole and gave the guitar a rattle-ly / sound when you moved / strummed it.  I shook it and heard “something” rattle around inside and initially thought I had received a broken instrument.  It took a little playing with (shaking, holding upside-down, turning side to side,) before the packet came out of the hole.
Third:  my first visual and hold – the finish is beautiful and the guitar does not “feel” cheap (or inexpensive).  Obviously, it has a shorter neck, which after playing for a while, seems more comfortable than a longer (normal length) neck.  The fret ends do not extend past the neck edges (good), but they are not rounded, so they feel a little bit sharp.  The fret board surface seems almost ash grey-ish.  I believe it is supposed to be black.  I think this means it is just overly dry.  I will add some lemon oil to it when I get around the rounding the fret ends.  The neck is good for relief (not bowed up or down) and is not warped.  As mentioned above, the string action is high at the high frets which (I think) affects the intonation.  The good news is all six strings seem to be equally affected, so when I figure out the solution, one fix should help all six strings.
Fourth:  the strings are new and untrimmed, i.e. FAR too long.  They were wrapped around the tuning pegs 5 or 6 turns and still had 4 to 6 inches just sticking out from the head piece.  The recommendation on YouTube is to never wind a string more than three times or they will tend to interfere with each other or have a greater tendency to stretch.  I unwound them a bit to clip a bit off the excessive ends (and then stretched them as I tuned them).  It took several days for the nylon strings to stabilize and they required frequent tuning.  Once stable, they no longer require daily tuning (but I do it by habit).  The third string (G) still requires almost daily re-tuning.  This seems to be a guitar thing, though, as my electric guitar has the same problem string (G).  An additional note on tuning this guitar.  My ear is still not able to accurately determine if a guitar is tuned.  I can now tell if it doesn’t sound right, but not what is wrong.  Tuning forks do NOT help with this.  The nylon string does not give a sympathetic vibration the way my steel string electric and steel string acoustic do.  I can tap the tuning fork and hold it against the guitar, but that doesn’t help me.  Placing the tuning fork on the specific fret (matching the fork) doesn’t work either.  There are only two options:  have someone else tune it or use an electronic tuner.  Fortunately, I have an electronic tuner.
Fifth:  There at two areas on the back of the guitar that came with scratches of several inches length.  The most visible one appears to have happened after finishing (perhaps during shipping).  It looks like it was scraped by chalk or some kind of plaster of Paris.  The lower on the body “marks” are under the finishing and look like heavy pencil or marker lines under the coating.  This one (a marked / damaged guitar) appears to have slipped through the company’s quality control.  Neither affect the sound in the least.  The upper scratch is clearly visible.  The lower is MUCH longer / bigger, but practically invisible in normal light.  I was playing the guitar outside in direct sunlight when I first saw it.  Again, neither affect the sound quality of the instrument.
Sixth:  the “gig-bag” is a functional dustcover / carry-all.  It will NOT protect the guitar from any but the most trivial bumps.  Having said that, it is FAR better than one of the “gig-bags” I got for “free” with a more expensive guitar.  It has a handle and un-padded shoulder straps.  The straps are not long enough for someone my size to use, but I suppose they would be fine for a child or slender teenager.
Seventh:  Because of the high action across all the strings on the high end frets, I would not recommend this as an ONLY guitar for a beginner.  The notes begin to go sharp after the third fret and it is noticeable (to my untrained ear) by the 7th fret.  My brother-in-law is a music teacher with a much better “ear” and he says it’s bad after the 5th fret.  He agrees with me that it is fine for practicing open chords and scales at the bottom of the neck (nearest the nut).
Finally:  What I discovered was the nylon strings were extremely forgiving for longer (over one hour) practice sessions.  The flat neck seems to have more room for my chubby fingers to practice scales and chords, but more difficult to practice / play barred chords.  I have shown (and played) this to / for friends and family and have received several (three) unsolicited comments about how beautiful this guitar is.  It is!  It sounds as good as it looks!  And it looks better in your hands than it does on the screen images (which look rather flat to my eye).  The guitar has a beautiful color and a high luster / polished finish.
Recommendation:  I would highly recommend this guitar to any one thinking of beginning guitar lessons or with a child who would like to learn guitar.  Because of the high action / tuning issue mentioned above, you / they will certainly outgrow this within a year (or as soon as you try to learn barre chords or scales in higher fret positions), but you’ll keep it handy and pick it up frequently because if it gets a little banged up, it can be easily (and inexpensively) replaced.  I bought this specifically to keep laying around, for quick pickup to practice chords and scales. It will certainly exceed those simple requirements.  Caution:  unlike my inexpensive electric guitar, you should NOT purchase this thinking you will be able to use it for a “mod” (modification) platform.  Other than changing the strings and (maybe) polishing fret ends, there is almost nothing you can do to make this a “better” instrument.  Just bite the bullet and shell out for a more expensive second guitar when you get past what this has to offer.  Then, keep this one for when you go to the beach or camping.  Please remember if you pay full retail price, it is STILL only a $65 guitar.
Because my impressions / opinions of the guitar may change over time, updates to my reviews will appear on the specific guitar review page and not in a daily blog post…
.
On This Day In:
2020 Still Learning
2019 Almost Hallmark
Beyond All Reason
2018 Daydreams And Wanna-Be’s
Or Work For #45
2017 Summer Pale
2016 Ain’t It Funny
2015 At Both Ends
2014 Whiner(s)
2013 Just Passing Through
2012 Dog-gone Heaven
2011 Occasional, Sad Results

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Glarry GST Electric Guitar   —   guitar review
[Disclaimer:  I have not received as a promotion any guitar or music related product, nor am I mentioning anything in this post to secure compensation / income for myself or the manufacturers of the products mentioned.  I am only posting about these items because I personally purchased them and am excited to be learning about music and playing guitar.    —    KMAB]
Way back on 19 March 2021, I posted I had purchased and received my second guitar.  (Going Into The Deep End)  I also mentioned in a 25 May 2021 post (More Changes) that I would be getting around to reviewing that guitar.  Well, yesterday I did the review for my first guitar (Reviewing Austen), so here’s the review of my second:  a Glarry GST Electric Guitar (Green)…
Background:  Since deciding to learn how to play guitar, I’ve been watching hours and hours of YouTube videos on guitar reviews and beginning guitar lessons / topics.  There seems to be a lot of discussion about what type of guitar someone should start out learning on (acoustic versus electric) and then what type of model beyond that.  Knowing next to nothing about guitars (okay, knowing absolutely nothing about guitars), I struggled to decide what type to purchase first.
Being retired, I have a significant price point versus life time (mine) limitation.  I didn’t want to spend four or five months (or years) saving up for a “real” brand name guitar.  I wanted to get my hands on a playable instrument as quickly as possible in order to channel my enthusiasm.  As mentioned yesterday, I settled on a “new-name” guitar brand “Orangewood” and one of their least expensive models (“Austen“), which was reviewed very well against several of the bigger names bottom end / starter guitars.  It turned out I thoroughly enjoyed my first guitar and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
At roughly the same time, I got a $100 Amazon credit which I could apply to the purchase price (a hair under $120 with tax and free delivery), so my net “investment” was only $20 for a new guitar and a starter (20 watt) amplifier. Without the amp, the guitar runs for just under $90.  I also received an Allen wrench, a pick, a strap and a “gig-bag.”
Start of review:
Delivery:  on ordering, the site says it can take up to two weeks for delivery.  I received the guitar in a little over 50 hours.  I could not make up my mind which color I wanted (blue or sunburst), so I settled on green – because it was Saint Patrick’s Day.  On delivery, the box was punctured and partially peeled back.  Fortunately, there was no damage to either the guitar or to the amp.  So far, so good…
What you get:
(Specifications)
Guitar Brand:  Glarry
Orientation:  Right handed
Guitar Color:  Green
Guitar Amplifier Power:  20W
Number of frets:  22
Nut width:  1.656 in.
Scale length:  25.5″
Number of strings:  6
Pick-up Style:  Single-Single-Single
Guitar Bridge System:  Tremolo
Controls:  5-switch, 1 x Volume, 1 x Tone
Body Material:  Basswood
Neck Material:  Maple
Fingerboard Material:  Maple
Tuning Peg Material:  Metal
Nut Material:  Plastic
Bridge Material:  Metal
String Winder Peg Tool:  Enclosed Machine Head
Guitar Dimensions:  (39.17 x 12.99 x 2.36)”(L x W x H)
Weight: 13.89lbs
(Package Includes)
1 x Guitar
1 x AMP
1 x Guitar Bag
1 x Strap
1 x Plectrum
1 x Tremolo Bar
1 x Connecting Wire
1 x Spanner Tool
First impression:  right out of the box, the guitar has a beautiful, dark, rich green body.  It is thin (particularly after playing a dreadnought acoustic for a month) and feels light and almost toy-like.  The neck is a nice off-setting clear (not white) maple wood.  I run my left hand up and down the neck.   Mostly smooth, but there are a couple of patches which could do with some minor sanding / smoothing.  The edges of the fret board are TERRIBLE!  The metal fret are visibly past the edge of the neck and they are sharp(!) on the side and not rounded on the top.  I make a mental note to self:  DO NOT run your hand up and down this neck quickly or you WILL cut yourself.  Fortunately, many of the YouTube reviews of inexpensive (“cheap”) guitars have this problem, so I’ve been warned in advance.
I KNOW I will have to sand the frets down and round the tops, but that will be for a later day.  YouTube also cautions to wait an “appropriate” period to let your guitar adjust to its new home.  In the end, after about a week, some of the frets barely stick out.  They all still need to be rounded, but they won’t need any extensive sanding down.
Visual checklist:
• neck – straight, flat and not visibly warped or bent;
• nut – minor plastic shavings at the string channels, but otherwise, it looks fine (not that I’d really know what “something wrong” would look like)
• strings – strum…  not in tune, but string ends are not excessively long or wrapped around the tuning pegs
• body – again, beautiful color and shiny finish
• controls – the switch is responsive without being resistant, the volume and tone both turn smoothly.  I am able to hear the differences between the pickups on the switch (after it’s plugged in and the amp is turned on)
• tuning pegs – three seem to have “gaps” in action before turning them kicks in (both directions)
• tremolo bar – in package, not attached for shipping.  I screwed it on.  It flexes, but doesn’t seem to “do” much.  I take it back off.
• strap – feels like some cheap plastic woven material with fake leather ends.  It also isn’t really long enough for my large (obese) frame.  It’s also kind of narrow and biting on my neck / shoulder area.  But it works until I can get something better.
• pick (“plectrum”) – no name plastic.  A missed marketing opportunity by Glarry.
• action and intonation – the strings “look” high, but they don’t feel bad on my fingertips.  Too excited to really check intonation – and I can’t do it until I’ve tuned it.
• “gig-bag” – this is CHEAP plastic dust cover.  And, it stinks! I took it outside for a couple of hours of airing out, before using it to store the guitar.  I left both (the guitar stored in the bag) in the front room of my house, so I wouldn’t have to smell the bag for the first few days.
Strum…  the strings are all loose and there is no hope this is in tune “out of the box”.  I am not confident enough to use my A-440 tuning fork, so I attach my Snark tuner and tune the guitar.  Nothing significant to report – except as mentioned, several of the pegs have loose areas when turning.  After the initial tuning, I check the harmonics at the twelfth fret.  All six strings sound good to go!  I’m a happy camper…
I plug in the amplifier and plug the cable into it and into the guitar.  Both connections seem solid enough.  I turn on the amp and increase the volume on both the guitar and the amp.  All the knobs on the amp and the guitar seem to work.  They kind of change the sound, but I really don’t know what I’m doing or what they should sound like, so I set everything but the volume back to “0”.  The volume is MORE than enough for me to play in my bedroom.  I’m still a happy camper…
Strum…  I play for a few minutes – chords and scales.  The neck is thinner so it seems it will be more difficult to play / strum chords.  Ouch!!  The thin strings are much thinner than the strings on my acoustic even though both guitars are “steel-string”.  Anyway, everything has more or less checked out and I’ve spent ten minutes “playing” guitar, so I decide to pack it in for the evening.
And then I hit my first “issue”.  The end piece where the cable goes into the guitar is loose.  It turns when I try to remove the cable.  It turns again when I re-insert the cable.  I try to tighten the part by hand.  No joy.  Okay, something else to “fix”.  (That makes three:  frets, tuners and input plug.)
So…  despite the tuners “slipping”, the strings don’t go out of tune overnight.  Well, they do, but it’s slight and not an issue.  The next day, I break out my tools.  A quick twist of the screwdriver and the tuners are fine.  No more gaps.  A quick twist of my socket wrench and the input plug is secure (and it has remained stable for several weeks now).  And, as mentioned above, the neck wood is acclimated after a week and the frets are no visibly sticking out.  They DO stick out “to the touch” and the tops are not rounded, so both fret issues remain outstanding.  I will correct at some future point.
What’s happened since then?
Well, I went out and bought replacement strings.  I haven’t installed them yet.  I haven’t rounded or finished the frets.  I replaced the strap on my acoustic with a much nicer leather / padded strap, so the Glarry has inherited the original “Austen” strap.  It’s much more comfortable; so, it’s a win-win.  I bought another gig-bag for the Glarry.  It was $25, with tax and shipping.  It’s padded (but not much – maybe 8 – 10 mm).  And, it doesn’t stink.  The original bag and strap are resting comfortably on a shelf in a storage room.  (I really need to stop hoarding.)  I have watched some videos on using the A-440 tuning fork and now can use either the Snark or the fork on both guitars.  I ordered a second fork to keep with the Glarry, but I wasn’t paying attention and ordered an “E” instead of an “A”.  No big deal.  I just use the “open” “E” string instead of the “open” “A” string and the “E” frets instead of the “A” frets on the other strings.  Interestingly (probably only to me), but I can’t hear the tuning fork on the “high-E” string.  I can feel it change in vibration (at the harmonic fret points) between my fingertip and thumb, but I can’t hear it.  I’m fine with the other five strings.  I can only assume my mis-spent youth firing howitzers in defense of our country has affected my hearing in my old age.
And of course I’ve established a loose rotation schedule to ensure I continue to get comfortable with both the acoustic and the electric.  I will do a separate post about things (differences) I’ve noticed at some point…
Final Recommendation:  Are you kidding me?  Not counting the replacement bits I’ve purchased, I’m out of pocket $20 for a brand new electric guitar and amp.  Yes!  I’d do it again.  Also, despite the fairly minor issues, this seems to me to very good value for money.  If you price a body and neck, you will be hard pressed to find both (of any quality) for less than $100.  IF I happened to have the Amazon credit prior to the purchase of my acoustic, I’m not sure this would not have been my first choice.  I believe if I spend another $200 on better bits – electronics, pickups and tuners – I’d have an instrument which sounds nearly as good as any $400 -$500 guitar.  Plus I’d have the hands on experience of “mod-ing” a guitar.  To anyone reading this:  please don’t think you will EVER get that much back if you try to resell it.  I’m just saying it would play and sound near as good as any at twice the price.
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On This Day In:
2020 Role Reversal
Time To Defend The Constitution (Part I)
Time To Defend The Constitution (Part II)
2019 Right Or Wrong
2018 Open Doors
2017 When It Deserves It
2016 Expiation For Rest
2015 You’ll Get Through It
2014 A Special Kind Of Fall
2013 Very Rewarding
2012 MIB3 – The Team Is Closer Than Ever
Yet
2011 Little By Little

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Orangewood:  Austen  —  guitar review
[DISCLAIMER:  This product is being reviewed without compensation of any sort by the manufacturer.  I purchased the guitar with my own personal funds.  Also, nothing I say should be taken as anything but my personal opinion / observation, as I have VERY little knowledge of music or musical instruments.  —  KMAB]
Background:  I have owned numerous musical instruments in my lifetime including two acoustic guitars.  I never learned to play any of the instruments (including the two guitars) and have remained fairly certain / convinced I lack musical ability / rhythm / ear.  My latest effort was about five years ago and involved the purchase of a recorder.  I only ever learned one song:  “Taps“;  never learned to read sheet music; and, despite practicing the song practically every day for almost two years, only played it “well” (to my ear anyway) once.  I have no recollection of what happened to any of my earlier instruments.  I don’t remember selling any instrument, so I probably gave them to the first person who expressed any interest in them.  (Or they got lost in the sands of time…)
In December of 2020, I decided I wanted to write three songs for my wife:  a love song, a sad song and a funny song.  In order to have a chance to be able to sing the songs I need to play something other than the recorder.  Somehow, I settled on a guitar or a piano (keyboard).  I’m still not sure why, but after a week of watching video reviews and reading articles about various guitars, I decided an acoustic guitar.  This was mainly because, I didn’t want too expensive an initial investment outlay and because I thought learning about electric guitars (tone, volume, amplifiers, etc.) would just add an extra layer of complexity which would confuse my simple brain.  There was also the very real possibility I would lose interest in a few days / weeks, and I’d have another in a long line of “forgotten” hobbies.
Start of review:
So, this (Orangewood Austen) was the first guitar I purchased this year.  WAAAYYY back in January.  It was ordered online and the expected delivery was one to two weeks.  It arrived after a week and a day, so that was an initial good impression.  The box had a 6 – 8 inch slice in it, so that was a negative, but did not necessarily have anything to do with the manufacturer / seller, so it’s merely a comment on delivery status.
I should mention that because I knew I would be utterly unable to tune the guitar myself, I purchased an “A” tuning fork and a “Snark” electrical tuner in advance of the guitar purchase / receipt.  The tuning fork because I wanted to be able to train my ear and the Snark because I wanted its ease of use.  (I will be doing reviews of these items separately.)
Per their site (https://orangewoodguitars.com), this is what I got for $218 all-in (including tax and shipping).  (Note: the base price on the site is now $225.)
Features
• Body Shape:  Dreadnought  (I have BIG stubby fingers, so I thought having a large guitar would be better initially.)
• Top Wood:  Solid Spruce  (The YouTube reviewers all say “solid” spruce produces the best sound.)
• Back / Sides:  Layered Mahogany (“Layered” means it’s a laminate.)
• Neck:  Mahogany
• Fretboard:  Rosewood (sonokeling) (“sonokeling” is a type of rosewood from Indonesia.)
• Bridge:  Rosewood (sonokeling)
• Pickguard:  Included (Optional) (“Optional” means you put it on yourself if you want it.  If you do, you void the 30 return policy.  I have not installed mine and am not sure I will.)
• Gig Bag:  Included (This bag is actually quite nice.  It’s at least 10mm thick and the exterior seems tough, but not waterproof.  The zippers look and feel sturdy.  There is also a large zippered pouch on the front of the bag with “Orangewood” embroidered on it.  (It’s kind of a classy touch.)  The bag is sufficient for most carrying about.  It has a sturdy handle and padded / adjustable shoulder straps, but I would not use this for checked-in airline travel.)
Not mentioned on the site:
• they give you a single orange – green plaid medium grade (weight?) pic.
• they give you an Allen wrench to adjust the truss rod which runs through the guitar’s neck.  I have not felt the need to try to adjust the neck.  It’s straight;  not bowed one way or the other.
• the guitar comes with two strap bolts, but no strap.  I ended up buying one fairly soon, which I then upgraded.
Specifications
• Strings:  Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium Light  (When I bought my strap, I picked up a set of replacement strings.  Almost all the YouTube reviewers say when you buy and “inexpensive” / “cheap” guitar, replace your strings immediately.  I have not felt the need to do this, but I have the set for when I need it.)
• Electronics:  N/A
• Tuners:  Chrome Die-Cast
• Neck Shape: C
• Scale:  25.5″
• Nut / Saddle:  Bone (Occasionally, when making minor tuning adjustments, the strings will “ping”.  This means I need to “lube / graphite” the nut a little when I get around to changing the strings.)
• Nut Width:  44mm
• Bracing:  Scalloped X
• Finish:  Natural Satin  (I think the guitar “feels” natural without the “plastic” / lacquered feel of my later guitars.  I have two more, now.)
Dimensions
• Overall Length:  40 9/16″
• Body Length:  19 13/16″
• Body Depth:  4 11/16″
• Upper Bout:  11 3/8″
• Middle Bout:  10 1/2″
• Lower Bout: 15 1/4″
First reaction:  The guitar is beautiful!
Strum…  Sounds okay to me.  (Remember, at this time I have no idea what “in key” or “in tune” means.)  The guitar is BIG, but surprising light.  To my mind it feels like balsa wood.  Recall I owned two guitars back in my late teens / early twenties, which is probably the last time I held one, and this guitar feels lighter than my memories.  It feels awkward against my stomach and under my right arm.  I put both of these down to my personal obesity and not to the fault of the guitar.  I recall this (size of a dreadnought) is something multiple reviewers commented / cautioned on for newbies and their first guitar.  Being honest, I fear the guitar may be too delicate for me, so I handle it with care the first couple of weeks.
Strum…  Run my left hand up and down the neck.  Absolutely no, sharp fret ends sticking out and they all feel well rounded / smooth.  The fretboard doesn’t look dry and in need of oiling.  The neck appears straight and neither twisted or bowed and feels smooth.  There are no scratches anywhere on the body or neck.  The finish / polish appears smooth to the eye and to the touch.  I look in the sound hole to verify the top is solid and not veneer or laminate.  It looks to be solid.  I am going through a mental checklist developed from watching YouTube videos.  I “really” don’t know what I’m doing…
Strum…  Okay, attach the Snark and let’s see if the guitar is shipped in tune.  No.  At least not all of the strings, but the Snark helps me resolve that.  In a couple of minutes, it’s in tune and I’m strumming away.  I don’t know any chords to play, or notes, or where they are, so I am literally starting my adventure from scratch.
Strum…  After about five minutes, my finger tips are starting to hurt so I decide to pack it in for the first day…
Two final points:  Action and Intonation.  Action is the height of the strings above the frets.  I’m still not 100% sure what intonation is but it appears to be how well a guitar carries its notes up an down the neck on the same string.  If the “action” is too high, it is hard to press the string down at some locations.  This leads to you pressing harder and being painful – particularly for beginners – on your fingertips.  If the “action” is to low, you will get “buzzing” on multiple frets.  Problems with intonation turn up as incorrect notes as you move up and down the fretboard (neck).
I don’t really know enough about either topic to go into much depth as a reviewer.  I started off playing multiple (usually three) five(5) minute sessions a day for the first two weeks, and I stopped when my fingertips began to hurt.  The first week, I was very strict on the five minute time limit.  The second and third weeks was five (maybe ten) minutes.  After that another few weeks of thirty (30) minutes, but only once a day.  Now, I do mainly one session of an hour, but sometimes longer and sometimes (a couple of times) an hour multiple times in a day.  I stop when I tire, when I start to lose concentration, or when my fingers hurt.  Eventually, I will need (want) to buy a ruler (string gauge) to judge string height, but I seem to be okay for now.
I really can’t comment about intonation except to say the Snark likes the notes up and down the neck and the harmonics work at the 12th, 9th and 7th frets, so I think it (the intonation) must be pretty spot on.  If I learn more, I’ll revisit this…
So, there you have it.  My first impression and hardware review.  From here on, I watch A LOT more videos on looking at new kit, chords, scales, etc., but all of that will come later.  For the first day, I’m dead chuffed with my new toy!
It’s interesting how not knowing if ANY thing is terrible, bad, good or great really effects your attitude about an object.  Because I had no idea what to expect, the fact the guitar arrived early, and looks and sounds great, means I’m very happy with my “relatively” inexpensive first guitar.
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On This Day In:
2020 A Better Synthesis
2019 It’s Only Funny If You’re Old Enough To Know What “Film” Was
2018 Bourne Wicked Blonde
First Things First
2017 This Explains A Lot
2016 Me Too
2015 A Proper Price
2014 Well Hard
2013 Because I Can
Eloquence, n.
2012 Why Bother?
2011 Peculiar Notions

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