Archive for the ‘Guitar’ Category

Neglect

May 28, 2008

I feel terrible.  I’ve been a neglectful person for weeks now.  Somewhere in the middle of April I lost touch with her and now I don’t know if she’ll ever forgive me.  I walk past her everyday.  In fact, multiple times a day.  There she is, staring at me, leaning against my wall.  Beckoning.  In the past, I couldn’t resist her curves.  No way would I walk on by without a simple caress or touch.  Now?  Now it as if she is some cheap dime store hooker.  I barely blink when I see her staring at me.  She’s hurt, I know it.  I know to the deepest part of my soul.

I hear her on the radio.  She’s crying.  She’s upset.  Why oh why has he left me alone for so long?

This wasn’t intentional.  No way.  I have had a life long love affair with you.  I couldn’t see this coming myself.  We have been through so much together.  How could I do this to you?  You helped me through some of my darkest periods of life.  You were the wise counsel when things got hard.  I will never forget that.  You gave me so much enjoyment.  I have many memories of you, my dear.

I can’t just throw this away, can I?  The entire relationship just ended because of my lack of interest?  What kind of person am I?  Heartless.  Will she ever forgive me?  While life passes by, will we meet again in unity?  The memories flood my banks.  I love her, though I have despised her.  I miss her, though I pretend her very existence is false.

Well, after some thought.  After much thought, I have reached a decision.  I can no longer be alone like this.  I can no longer neglect the one I love.  For weeks now I have ignored her.  This ends today.  I will carry you in my arms.  I will touch you, my love.  You were my first love.

We will make more memories again, my friend.

We will make more music.

My guitar.

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Guitar Strings are Breaking

January 29, 2008

I have gone through over 3 packs of strings the last couple of weeks.  I don’t know what has changed but suddenly my acoustic is more prone to breaking strings, and I am growing frustrated.

My technique hasn’t changed all that much, except that I play more rythym then lead lately.  Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on the strings.  I don’t know.  This isn’t cheap though.

Nothing sucks like getting in a groove and then having to change a string midway through an awesome song.  I can’t afford a setup fee right now, so I’m going to be left figuring this one through trial and error.  I even tried a heavier gauge, but that didn’t help.

Itching to Play Guitar Today

January 16, 2008

For some reason at work today, I have been itching to play guitar.  I haven’t played since Sunday, so a three day drought has me wanting more.

Sometimes a quick break is the best cure to this little hobby of mine.  I hope I have a chance tonight after work.  We’ll see.  Lately I’ve been so tired after work, that I usually lay on the couch until the food is on the dinner table.  The guitar is calling me tonight.  I have had pretty consistent practice sessions the last few weeks, and my hands need to feel the guitar.  Strange, but I think the guitar is finally becoming an extension of my body.

For The Love of Breed (Breedlove)

January 14, 2008

I played with my first Breedlove last Saturday.  I needed some more strings, so I packed up the kid, and the wife and I journeyed out to Guitar Center on Route. 22 (This is a haven area, because literally across the street from Guitar Center is a Sam Ash).  I walked in their acoustic section (the first room, with the cheap $500.00 guitars) and played some Martins and Takamines. 

I then ventured into the next room.  The expensive guitars.  The guitars that I can’t afford.  My wife said, “Oh, you should try this one.”  It was a Breedlove.  $2300, used.  I played that thing for the longest I’ve played a strange guitar in a guitar shop.  It plays so smooth, and sounds so nice, that it was instant love.

Sadly, I had to leave it behind.  Suddenly my D-03 feels like a redheaded stepkid.  I didn’t even put the new strings on the Larivee after playing the more superior Breedlove.  I don’t have $2300 to put into such a beautiful piece of art.

I wanted to show my wife my next birthday gift: 

Toneworks Pandora

They were out of stock. Actually, they were confused, and thought I meant the Line 6 Pocket Pod. Nope. I have the Line 6 Toneport UX2. I enjoy it, but it requires a computer wherever you go. The Pocket Pod is mobile, but I know that Korg has a great reputation.

Tedious While Necessary

August 28, 2007

After years of playing the guitar, I have decided to devote some of my practice time with exercises. I have a book I dusted off, the Guitar Grimoire of Scales and Exercises (I think that is the title, after all, I just dusted this off). I’m going from the very beginning of page 1 and slowly going through the multitude of exercises and scale patterns. After playing the same scale with the suggested picking pattern over and over, I’m wondering if I’ll be considered a legitimate shredder.

Playing songs is fine and dandy, but learning to actually play the guitar with proficiency is more important. I have some technique due in large part to my 1 year of guitar lessons. Seeing more experienced (and better) players with their bad habits has been a real eye opener for me. It is so common to see over playing. Some common mistakes my humble experience has given notice to:

1. Elbow Hinge: A player uses his elbow to strum the guitar, without any wrist action whatsoever. The average guitar neck is maybe 4 to 6 inches (guess) wide. Using the elbow to do the work of the wrist is tiring and can hamper the guitar player’s ability.

2. Down Stroke Picking Pattern: While this can be necessary, some are actually limited to only down strokes when picking a tune. I have made it a point to practice various picking patterns (see above), and the most basic which should be used is alternate picking.

3. Great Sound, Lousy Chops: I’ve been to plenty of shows where the guitar’s performance was based solely on the amount of foot pedals and distortion in use. Great sound is an acquired talent, but if the chops are lacking, I quickly become bored. The person took time to work hard so that he could buy the best gear. Perhaps some of that time and money would be best used to actually learn how to play the guitar.

4. 1st Position G Chord: Some have the habit of playing this most simple of chords with their ring, middle, and pinky finger. Try using the middle finger in place of the ring, the index in place of the middle, and the ring in place of the pinky. Then you can use the pinky to add sus’, etc.

5. Intonation: If your intonation is off, take it to shop and have your guitar set up. Please, you sound terrible when you reach beyond the 12th fret.

6. Old strings. Now that is just being lazy. And make sure you tune them properly, if not, they’ll never stay in tune.

That is all for now. I won’t pretend to be even a good guitar player, but mastering some of the basics will take you pretty far.

Learning the Ins and Outs of the Electric Guitar

August 23, 2007

I’ve been playing the guitar for about 10 years now and I have never cared to take notice into what makes the guitar a guitar.  As long as I had a cable in between my amp and guitar and cranked everything, I was happy.  Sad, I know, but it is the truth.  Until recently.

Now I’m starting to understand what those two pickup thingys are.  I’m actually going to replace my humbucker with a real  Duncan, I just haven’t decided on the model yet.  I haven’t been too satisfied with the sound my guitar is outputting, and according to some wiser friends, a cheap and effective way of resolving that is to trash the stock pickup for a better one.

I have a Schecter Diamond Elite 006.  This was a surprise Christmas gift from my better half.  Along with my 30 watt Marshall Amp, I was in business that year.  About a year later, I added to my collection by purchasing my D-03 acoustic guitar.

Anyway, I am finally becoming fascinated with how the electric guitar works.  As a mostly acoustic player, the versatility of the electric guitar is really appealing.

Basics of Guitar

August 14, 2007

I’m going to attempt to place some lessons for beginners of the guitar on this site.  While I still consider myself pretty new, I do have 10 years of experience, and some head knowledge.  Also, I find that teaching others usually establishes those lessons to the teachers.

Not that I have many users here, but this can be totally interactive.  Since this will require drawings and pictures, the first lesson will probably be posted later this week.  Keep looking…

CAGED Guitar Method

July 31, 2007

I’ve been playing guitar for about 10 years now. I get the opportunity to play at church from time-to-time, mostly acoustic. (Love my D-03). About 2 years ago I started taking lessons with a fantastic player. This lasted about a year (up until my daughter was born). We were going through the CAGED guitar methodology. Using the basic chords of C, A, G, E, and D (and related minors, 7ths, etc) as a map, you could theoretically play the entire guitar up and down the fretboard (scales and chords). Basically, the CAGED System simplifies the guitar into a recognizable pattern. Fascinating, and quite logical. After 8 years of stumbling blindly through, this has opened up a new world (of which I am still discovering).

I would love to start up guitar lessons again, and may do so again. I am sure that CAGED is just the tip of the iceberg. While with Tom Finger (my guitar teacher), I also learned some basic theory principals. The difference between a minor and major (3rd and flatted 3rd), the circle of 5ths, and so on. I was a trumpet player for about 10 years, and switched to guitar my final year of playing the trumpet. While on the trumpet, I learned how to read music, what scales were, and much of the common musical terms (forte, crescendo, etc.). I was a pretty decent trumpet player, but I also became a slacker teenager. Hence, my decision to quit the trumpet. Maybe I’ll come back to it someday.

Any of you musicians have any suggestions for this somewhat newbie? Are there other training principals I should be made aware of regarding the 6 string? I am at a plateau right now and want to climb the next mountain, so to speak.