Acoustic Guitar Lasers

i09 recently referenced a study using lasers to see how acoustic instruments amplify sound. Fascinating.

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More Slide Hints

I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been noticing slide guitar more and more.

Not only have I been noticing it, but I’ve been wanting to play it (well, actually just learn it since I can’t really play it).

So check out this video from Guitarkadia about Mark Nilsen.

Makes me want to build a lapsteel!

And check out the three tips of how to play slide guitar in standard tuning from Muzicosphere.

Exes

I must admit that I had some great blog entry ideas earlier today. But instead of acting on them right away I went into the kitchen and cut up an apple for my daughter and I to share.

It’s nap time here and everyone else is asleep in the house. I may play unplugged, but I’d really like to play fully amplified and with full  effects. Alas, that shall not be.

However, life is good. Life is grand. I have a family I care for and they care for me. I have safety and health. Two very fragile things.

I just finished reading the Exes by Pagan Kennedy. It was a very quick read. It is:

a hip and hilarious tour of today’s rock ‘n’ roll world. The Exes, an up-and-coming indie band, is made up of people who used to be lovers. Progressing from jam sessions in a basement to second-rate clubs to a cross-country tour that requires them to share seedy hotel rooms – with their exes – the four band members reveal their quirks, their problems, and their fantasies in alternating narratives.

That’s according to the paragraph on the back of the book. And it is a pretty good description of the book considering how cheesy the paragraph sounds now that I read it back to myself. I really liked how the musical evolution of the band was described, but what I most liked about the book was how you saw these events from four different points of view. Too often we as the audience see the front -man or front-woman of the band, maybe the lead guitarist, as the only version of the band. Especially in the press. But each member is an individual. Each person is a part of the band. It is not just one person, even if it looks that way (I’m talking to you, Weezer). This book nicely describes each band member as a “real” person.

For anyone who’s read my blog you’ll know I’ve only been in a few bands, if they even qualify as that. My law school band was just a way to have fun and blow off steam. The Breakfast Club never got past one and a half songs. The latest efforts with a family friend haven’t materialized into a practice for over two months. Perhaps this is the normal band process.  Perhaps this is how it always works. Perhaps I’m more like the characters in this book than I know.

The book also describes the conflicts and alternate views between the members in the band and it didn’t sound too foreign. Maybe its just the whole “exes” aspect of the band, but a band sounds like any other long term relationship between people. It is never perfect. It is constantly changing. It is always work to keep it functioning. The unfortunate thing about it is that people are imperfect and immature and don’t communicate.  I don’t need to read a fictional book to remind myself of that. That is what life is all about. So I love reading about characters that are developed and interesting, but I get even more frustrated with these same characters’ stupid decisions and miscommunications.

So check the book out if you get a chance, but you can also just live life with other people and get the same story. Just try talking more and try understanding those around you rather than getting so focused on yourself.

That’s what I’m trying to do.

p.s. Just ignore all my past blog entries…

Calming down

I am not excited, but I am playing to calm down anyway. Perhaps the word is frustrated rather than excited. I don’t want to calm down through the slow process of attempting to fall asleep. So I turn to the guitar. What do you use to relax?

Mediocrity on a Budget

I don’t know about you, but I live on a budget. I’ve mentioned in past posts on this blog and my comments on other blogs about this topic.  My wife made the very interesting comment that too many people try to put together a lot of mediocre equipment in hopes of making it good. Would we be better served with a few key purchases rather than a bunch of bargain hunting, unplanned purchases?  Can we as guitarists find our individual tone if we only buy a few pieces of equipment? Should we be required to master a piece of equipment before moving on or adding something else? How do you decide?

New Songs to Learn

I spent a good chunk of my evening trying to figure out a list of songs. One of the teenage girl classes from church will be having a weeknight activity at our house where my wife and I will teach them one song on guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums. They’ll take turns singing. The goal is that they will be able to play it as a band by the end of the night.

That’s right, we’ll teach a bunch of teenage girls who don’t know how to play any instruments how to play one song as a rock band in an hour and a half. They were tasked with picking songs and I said I would whittle them down to something I could figure out how to teach.  So the two finalists are:

I’m leaning toward the Beatles, but it may be a bit more complicated to teach than the Harry and the Potters. Both songs really only have three chord progressions that you use over and over. Yet, the Harry and the Potters three chord progressions are really just two chords each. I think it will depend on whether the girls have more musical talent than I do…

Talents

At church today we had a lesson on talents.  Here’s what you’re supposed to do to develop God given talents:

  1. Discover
  2. Spend time
  3. Have faith
  4. Learn
  5. Practice
  6. Share

Per usual, I not only apply these religious teachings to life, but to guitar (and, as Karl might add, what’s the difference really? Life is guitar…oh, and delay). In fact, we talked about musical talents as an example. Someone mentioned my guitar playing and I mentioned that it isn’t a talent when you aren’t any good. That got a laugh.

But it does fit nicely into how I/people need to develop my/their guitar playing. First is to discover that you love it. Done. Second is to spend time. I think this blog proves I spend time thinking about it (perhaps not practicing), so done. Third is faith. This one was hard for me to understand at first, but a friend said something about how this refers to the ability to keep going even when you feel like you aren’t getting any better. To have faith that you will get better. Well, I’ve got the “feel like you aren’t getting any better” part down! 🙂 And I’ll keep going. So done. Fourth is to learn. I have learned songs and parts of many songs, but I haven’t really taken it to the next step in step five with practice. I don’t know how many times I have read on blogs and in guitar magazines that great guitar players (and all those better than me) practice till it becomes second nature. So I won’t list it as done, but I will list it as started. And finally sharing is something I have written about on this blog before. I will play in front of people some day. Perhaps I’ll start with one song and build from there, but I need that as a goal.

And best of all, I played the guitar tonight because I could and I felt relaxed after a nice lesson at church that made sense. I hope any and all readers out there had a good Sunday as well…even if their hair was so awesome it was distracting. Yes, I’m talking to you, Angry Baker. I’m talking to you!

Time Flies

Wow. It’s amazing how time flies. It’s been a week since my last post (gosh, this is starting to sound like a confession), but really I’ve just been living life. After the kind words in a comment on one of my last entries (which was echoed by my wife this week), I have decided to not beat myself up on this blog about not practicing enough and not playing the guitar more. Well, that’s what most of my blog ideas were about this week, so I didn’t post any.

But this blog entry isn’t about beating myself up. It’s about time and priorities. I’ve been insanely busy at home and at work with projects, friends, and family. Yet none of this is really bad. And the time has flown.

On Wednesday of this week my wife and I got a babysitter for the kids and had a pleasant date night (we were home by 8:30 so the babysitter could  get home before 9:00…it was a school night after all). We ended up going to the library and digging through their music. I found the latest Weezer album, which I haven’t listened to, not to mention purchased. We then drove around town talking and listening to the music we had checked out from the library.  We got:

  • Jimmy Rogers “Blue Bird”
  • Blues Guitar Women compilation
  • The Beatles “Love”
  • The Greenhornes “Sewed Soles” (my wife thought I would like this and she was right!)
  • The Weeds AKA The Lollipop Shoppe
  • The Sadies “Tremendous Efforts”
  • William Elliott Whitmore “Animals in the Dark”
  • The Bees “Free the Bees”
  • Yo La Tengo “I am not afraid of you I will beat you’re a$$”
  • Weezer “Hurley”
  • Kings of Leon “Only by the Night”

On my way to work today I finally finished listening to the Weezer album. I must admit, River’s voice lessons have really changed his singing style and some of the songs felt like they could have been written by/for Avril Lavigne, but the last track pretty much sums up the general feeling I’ve had lately. Not that I’ve done any of the things described in the lyrics, but time flies.  However, it flies when you’re busy, not just having fun. And that is what time will continue to do because I don’t see things getting less busy. My hope is that I will be busy doing things I want to do.  Whether that’s playing guitar or on a date with my wife, it doesn’t really matter.