Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Music’

In my continuing efforts to learn more about playing guitar and making music, towards the end of last year, I began trying some  “finger-picking” styles.  Before that I was either using a “plectrum” (guitar pick) or just casually strumming with my thumb / index finger.  There is an obvious tonal difference between the two: using a pick tends to be louder and with individual notes better defined;  no pick (to me) sounds “fuller” but softer (muffled isn’t the right word to describe the sound, but it’s all I can think of).
Finger-picking is used the most extensively (exclusively) in Classical and Spanish style guitar playing and frequently in Country (“Travis Style”) and Jazz.  As these styles are all far beyond my basic skill set, I have (to date) paid little heed of the physical requirements of this / these style:  Fingernails.
As I began exploring these styles (yes, my reach exceeds my grasp), I kept stumbling on advice for how to maintain appropriate nails – length and shape.  And, in turn, I’ve tried growing my nails out…

PIMA“: P = pulgar (thumb); I = indice (index finger); M = medio (middle finger); A = anular (ring finger)

Traditional “Classical” style uses the thumb (“P”) and three fingers (“I”, “M”, “A”).  The “pinky” is unused.  Traditional “Travis” style uses only thumb and index finger, but most guitarists nowadays use at least two fingers (and usually three).

1 – 2 mm past your finger / nail join point

The traditional “strike-zone / sweet-spot” for finger-picking is the point where the nail and finger join.  This allows the guitarist to both deaden a moving string (using the finger pad) and get the most precise release point for the string (the edge of the finger nail).
Of course there are a variety of individual factors which determine how long and what shape your nails need to be, including: the shape of your fingers, the width of your nails, the shape of your nails, the distance from the join point (finger and nail) to the top of your individual fingers and the angle of “attack” you use to pluck each string.

Poorly shaped, but approaching the correct length

Bottom line?  Too much, too soon.  Yes, I can feel the difference when playing, and yes, I can hear the difference, but this is a LOT of hassle.  I have a LONG history of OCD with my fingernails.  I don’t bite them, but I keep them VERY short and just going a few weeks to grow them out this far is driving me crazy!  LoL!!
So, no, I won’t be keeping my right hand nails long…  And, so, my dreams of becoming the next Andrés Segovia / Merle Travis must fall by the wayside…  (Just kidding.  I have NEVER dreamed that!)  Now, where are my clippers?
.
On This Day In:
2022 Do People Know What You Stand For?
2021 The Republican Party Can Survive Trumpism (If It Wants To)
Don’t You Ever Ask Them Why
2020 Art Work
One Person (Republican) Can Make A Majority
2019 Hopefully, Closer To Noon
Can You See The Bottom?
2018 Stock Market Sets Another Record Under #DumbDonald
#LyingDonald: About That Special Prosecutor Testimony
2017 We Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
2016 But You Have To Learn It Feels Good
2015 Never Stop
2014 Caution
2013 Treat Her Like A Lady
2012 Build New Worlds
2011 I Grok Elegance
Standing Relish

Read Full Post »

Today’s post is just an update on my “learning” guitar progress…  Two years and counting…
I’m continuing to practice most every day for at least an hour.  There have been quite a few more days in the last six weeks when it’s only been 30-45 minutes, but that’s life.  Most of those times, I’ve been playing until fatigue / sleepiness and stopping when I start nodding out.  LoL!  I do most of my practicing between 11:30pm and 1am.  I can sit out in the front room and not disturb anyone (our bedrooms are on the other side of the house).
I’m still alternating between my various guitars.  I’m now up to 11, split mostly in favor of electric (7 to 4).  I’ve had them in a rotation schedule of a couple of acoustics laying in the living room and bedroom (for quick access) and then the rest in a monthly rota, but I’ve recently shifted to a three week rota as I don’t feel like I’m actually touching each enough with now having so many.  The perils of G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome)…   If you’ve been counting, or reviewing my “Learning Guitar” page, you’ll see I don’t have all of my guitars accounted for (only eight reviews).  My original intent was to do initial impression reviews and then subsequent updates as and when I “modded” them.  “Life” and my procrastinating nature have more or less shot that plan down.  It’s too late to do the initial impressions and I haven’t done very many mods, but I still plan to do reviews at some point.
I am still planning to get two more guitars to round out my collection – a full size nylon-string classical / acoustic and a single neck-humbucker telecaster style electric.  After that, any additional purchases (quality upgrade) will necessitate a charitable donation to make room for the new toy.)  The “Happy Wife” policy…
As far as “playing” goes, I’ve already forgotten more than I’ve learned.  I’ve been skimming the odd book and watching a lot of guitar videos, but while they “teach” you a lot – it’s really more a case of “informing” you about motivation, techniques and concepts.  The more I’m practicing, the more I’m realizing that if “it” (a given action) isn’t under your finger tips as muscle memory, you really haven’t learned it…  And all of that muscle memory takes time and (more) practice – not more awareness / understanding.
Fortunately, for me (and not so fortunate for my family), my OCD allows me to be fairly content with just practicing things (scales, chords, spider walks, children’s songs) over and over and over again.  I enjoy the repetitive action(s) and I feel like I’m finally starting to hear the notes.  I mentioned in a prior post that I am “kind of” able to hear myself hum an “F#” and then tune the guitar from there.  I’m continuing to get better at this.  I’m also a little better at using a A400 tuning fork to tune the guitar.  This is as opposed to using an electric tuner as a default tuner.  I still (also) use the electric tuners, but I’m gaining confidence in my ear for relative pitch.  Starting out, if ANYONE had said I’d be able to do this AT ALL, I’d have told them they were crazy and it’ll NEVER happen.  LoL.  The old dog is learning new tricks!
Most of the relatives feel I’m going about this “learning guitar” all wrong and that I should be learning songs.  While I appreciate their viewpoint, I don’t find learning “songs” to be that interesting.  I have two “songs” memorized (finger-style): “Taps” and “God Save the Queen“.  I also have a couple more close to memory: “Ode to Joy” and “Drummer Boy”.  On “Ode“…, no, not the full version – get serious…  But enough so you can tell what the song is.  Random people I discuss “learning guitar” with generally say: “As long as you’re having fun, who cares what you’re playing.”  But I have a feeling they’re thinking, “TWO YEARS(!!!), and that’s all he can play?”  (LoL)
So, I still haven’t settled on a single guitar I want to specialize with.  I still haven’t decided if I want to concentrate on finger-style or plectrum-style.  I still have very poor (almost none) rhythm – which makes leaning to strum problematic.  I’m still SLOW at changing chords – even the few I know.  And, I still haven’t decided what kind of music (rock, country, jazz, classical, blues, Spanish, folk, pop) I want to play.  Slowly, slowly.
And, finally, other hardware…  I’ve added a second “amp” and a “looper pedal” to my collection of kit.  The second amp is a portable, super-mini (3 watt) battery operated job.  It sounds slightly better than my original amp, but I don’t know enough about either to have the faintest idea of why – or if I should care.  The looper allows me to record a few seconds of playing chord changes and then play it back in a loop to play lead over.  The problem (of course) is my chord transitions are soooo bad, there is little point in trying to record / loop them – particularly when there are already hundreds of good background loops available on YouTube.  Oh, well, another toy to play with…  Slowly, slowly.
.
On This Day In:
2022 A Murmuring Note
2021 Satisfied If Not Fulfilled
You Don’t Know
Urban Ballroom
2020 R.I.P. Kobe
2019 Looks A Lot Like #45
2018 Trying To Stay Young
2017 Seems Reasonable To Me
2016 We Can Get Through This Together (In Time)
2015 How Long Is A Piece Of String?
2014 Heathen, n.
2013 Wisdom’s Folly
2012 When The Student Is Ready
Disconnected Leadership
2011 The Complex Richness Of Life

Read Full Post »

Music is an addiction.
    –     Miles Davis
.
On This Day In:
2021 Are You A Loner?
I Got Work
2020 I Wish Republicans Valued Democracy As Much As They Say They Value Freedom
It Sure Does
2019 Something Very Different
2018 For Most Of Us
2017 Stories We Need On Life’s Edge
2016 Heart Trouble
2015 From The Inside Out
2014 Alone And Free
2013 Superstition Is Your Way
2012 Escape Hatches
2011 Sing Like No One Is Listening

Read Full Post »

A composer’s job involves the decoration of fragments of time.  Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.  Living composers are entitle to proper compensation for the use of their works.  (Dead guys don’t collect — one reason their music is chosen for performance.)
    —    Frank Zappa
From his book:  “The Real Frank Zappa Book
.
On This Day In:
2021 Why We Protect The First Amendment
When A Voice Can Make You Cry
The March Continues…
2020 #45: And State Prison Waits When You Leave Office
I Keep Getting Up
Difficult To Relax
2019 Looking For A Republican With A Profile In Courage
2018 Hammers, Bells And Songs
2017 My Friends
2016 In Need Of Some Work
2015 Elections Have Consequences
2014 An Ear Of Happy Accidents
2013 Powerful Substitute
2012 Heroes Restored
2011 As You Should

Read Full Post »

The joy of playing classical guitar extends beyond the prize (the perfect performance).  It’s the daily journey and how we travel it.  That’s where we find the gold.  That’s where we discover the humanity, in both the music and in ourselves.
    —    Allen Mathews
Allen Mathews is a professional musician and classical guitar instructor who maintains a site located at:  https://classicalguitarshed.com/
Every Tuesday, Allen posts a quote (which may or may not be specifically about music).   He then goes on to tie the quote to a “teaching moment”.  Allen’s “Quote page” is located at:  https://classicalguitarshed.com/tuesday-quotes/
[Disclaimer:  Although I have viewed many of Allen’s videos and subscribed to his emails for over a year, I have not personally purchased any of his packages of instruction as I am merely dabbling in “classical” guitar to see what it’s about.  I have no other association with Allen or his site and have not requested permission to re-post this quote.  If he requests it, I will remove or substantially edit this quote.    —    kmab]
.
On This Day In:
2021 Likely To Be Subtle
My Temp’s Pretty High
Scratching A Persistent Itch
2020 A Word Of Assurance They Are Not Alone
Is #45 Still Crying?
2019 It’s Obvious
2018 Passed Too Swiftly
2017 On Our Wall (Part 1)
2016 Or The Ripples From A Good Life
2015 Titles And Reputations
2014 Unfolding
2013 Again
2012 Needs
Damned
2011 Potter & Prejudice
Blink, Blink

Read Full Post »

Man, sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.
    —    Miles Davis
.
On This Day In:
2021 Press On
Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This
2020 AMA
Still Shiny
2019 Things That Go Bump In The Night
Hoping I’m Careful
2018 I Must Be Truly Wise
2017 My Sensei
2016 The Worst Sin
2015 Rules Of Thumb
2014 A Prayer
Orange October (IX) – Giants Lose Game 2 In Bullpen Collapse
2013 Complacent Reality
2012 Two-minute Sex
Just Staring, Why?
2011 A World Of Difference

Read Full Post »

Where fatigue begins, technique ends.
    —     Walter Gieseking
.
On This Day In:
2021 Givin’ It All Away
Memories Will Remind You
2020 Does Blogging Count?
Just Like You
2019 None Absolutely Certain
Destroying The Republic
2018 Maps For Those Difficult Times
2017 A True American Hero
Or Desserts
2016 What #AmnestyDon Is Really Afraid Of
2015 What Are You Doing?
2014 The Ideal Man
2013 Daring Ripples
2012 Evermore
2011 Unpredictable Opportunity
2010 Giants Fall In Game 2 (1 to 6) – Leave PA With 1-1 Split !!

Read Full Post »

The Ulitimate Rule ought to be:  “If it sounds GOOD to YOU, it’s bitchen;  and if sounds BAD to YOU, it’s shitty.”  The more varied your musical experience, the easier it is to define for yourself what you like and what you don’t like.  American radio listeners, raised on a diet of ____ (fill in the blank), have experienced a musical universe so small they cannot begin to know what they like.
    —     Frank Zappa
From his book:  “The Real Frank Zappa Book
.
On This Day In:
2021 A Model Democrat
Listen Mister
2020 The Main Thing: Vote!
No Other Reason
2019 A Big “IF”
2018 Committed To Thinking
2017 More Pictures From My (Family) Retirement Party
A Fondness For Sins
2016 Are You Waiting?
2015 The Future Myth
2014 Hands
2013 Because You Have Lived
2012 47%
2011 Conservative Values: Low And Lax
2010 A Non-Zero Sum Game
What If “c” Isn’t A Constant?
2009 Pictures from UCLA trip…

Read Full Post »

It’s easy to play any musical instrument:  all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.
    —     Johnannes Sebastian Bach
.
On This Day In:
2021 Already In That State
Reflections In The Waves
2020 Register And Vote
Feel It In Your Feet
2019 Always Surprises
2018 You’ve Got To Stand For Something
Day 24: Hand Touching Hand
2017 The Tide Will Turn
2016 Dreamers
2015 Three Roars
2014 Be R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T
2013 Lacking
2012 So Small A Thing
2011 Is Your Time Valuable?

Read Full Post »

A person with a feel for rhythm can walk into a factory and hear the machine noise as a composition.  If we expand that concept to include light, behavior, weather factors, moon phases, anything (whether it’s a rhythm that can be heard or a rhythm that is perceived, i.e., a color change over time — or a season), it can be consumed as music.
If it can be conceived as music, it can be executed as music, and presented to an audience in such a way that they will perceive it as music
When someone writes a piece of music, what he or she puts on the paper is roughly the equivalent of a recipe — in the sense that the recipe is not the food, only instructions for the preparation of the food.  Unless you are very weird, you don’t eat the recipe.
If I write something on a piece of paper, I can’t actually ‘hear’ it.  I can conjure up visions of what the symbols on the page mean, and imagine a piece of music as it might sound in performance, but that sensation is nontransferable;  it can’t be shared or transmitted.
It doesn’t become a ‘musical experience’ in normal terms until ‘the recipe’ has been converted into wiggling air molecules.
Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance space is sculpted into something.  This ‘molecule-sculpture-over-time’ is then ‘looked at’ by the ears of the listeners — or a microphone.
SOUND is ‘ear-decoded data.’ Things which MAKE SOUND are things which are capable of creating perturbations. This perturbations modify (or sculpt) the raw material (the ‘static air’ in the room — the way it was ‘at rest’ before the musicians started fu**ing around with it).  If you purposefully generate atmospheric perturbations (‘air shapes’), you are composing.
    —     Frank Zappa
From his book:  “The Real Frank Zappa Book
.
On This Day In:
2021 An Afternoon Nap
How Should I feel?
2020 Magical Voices In My Head
I Still Need Educating
2019 And I’m Not Letting Go
2018 The Continuing Failure Of Speaker Paul Ryan
Day 3: Approaching The Half Way Point
2017 Orange Comb-Overs Unite!
2016 Speaking Of Which
2015 Complexity Has A Strict Architecture
2014 Just Support
2013 Wandering Free
2012 Contribute = Paying Taxes
2011 How Will You Be Judged?

Read Full Post »

Because music, like color, or a cloud, is neither intelligent nor unintelligent – it just is.  The chord, the simplest building block for even the tritest, silliest chart song, is a beautiful, perfect, mysterious thing, and when an ill-read, uneducated, uncultured, emotionally illiterate boor puts a couple of them together, he has every chance of creating something wonderful and powerful.  All I ask of music is that it sounds good.
    —     Nick Hornby
.
On This Day In:
2021 Would You Know How?
Understand The Way I Feel
2020 Learn To Forgive Yourself
Violating Guidelines
2019 I Walk Faster (Too)
2018 Modern Day Behaviour
2017 On Misogynist Tweets From #DumbDonald
2016 Cowboy Boots & Missing Teeth
Or Electricity
2015 Oh, To Be Vulnerable
2014 Neglected Horror
2013 The Price Of Illusions
2012 Once Again
2011 And The “Market” Isn’t Always Right

Read Full Post »

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
.
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

Read Full Post »

I want to know three things when I go on stage:  [1] that my equipment is working, [2] that the band members absolutely know the material, so I don’t have to worry about them, and [3] that the rhythm section can hear what I’m playing and that it has some ‘concept’ of it so it can help build the improvisation.
If those conditions are met, if the acoustics are reasonable, and if I’m satisfied with my amp sound…, then all I want to do is go on autopilot, wiggle my fingers and listen to what comes out.
During the 1984 tour, I would usually play eight solos per night (five nights a week, times six months), and out of that there might have been twenty solos that were musically worth-while enough to put on a record.  The rest of it was garbage.  It’s not that I wasn’t trying to play something;  most of it just didn’t come off.
If you’re working this way, the chances of doing it ‘right’ every time are not good — but I’ll take the chance.  I don’t feel I have anything to apologize for, or any exalted reputation to uphold.
    —     Frank Zappa
From his book:  “The Real Frank Zappa Book
.
On This Day In:
2021 A Bit Like Politics
How About Tonight?
2020 Independent Isolation
2019 This Pilgrim Has Had A (Mostly) Happy Road
2018 And Men, Too
2017 Damned If You Do
2016 A Storm Over The Horizon
2015 What About Today?
2014 Idiot, n.
2013 Temporary Reality
2012 The Great Objective
2011 Read A Book

Read Full Post »

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
.
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!

Read Full Post »

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]
.
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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: