Daily Frets

Notes, comments and observations on learning, teaching and playing guitar.

Too Long Gone

Dec 2, 2011

Well, I'm back.  No, I never actually left TG, but I had some money issues for a while.  But my money situation has stabilized and I have re-signed back in as a Target member.  Now, I wonder do I get my Founders badge back?  LOL

Suprising Studies

May 18, 2010

I never thought I'd have to study anatomy as a guitar player.  Just goes to show you that all that stuff they wanted us to learn in school really is actually useful in regular life.  Amazing huh?

If you look at my upload video on barre chords, you will see what I'm talking about.  Be warned, it contains graphic images of body parts under the skin.


I actually posted this so Neil could see my hand position and tell me what I'm doing wrong.  But after Bob mentioned that he was having the same pains I was, I decided to dig into the subject a bit and find out why.  Well, now we have a quite thorough breakdown of the hand and how the thumb works in relation to barre chords.  It's a bit gruesome, but very imformative.  I think you will be glad to have this info.

Let me know what you think or if you have a suggestion for a different topic.

Mixology 202

May 9, 2010

Whew! Its been a while since I posted anything about this project.  That's because it's been a massive whirlwind here at my place.  I picked up a new part time job (as a Guitar Teacher no less! LOL) and once I was ready for the Bass track, David's machine went south on us.

Well David has his machine fixed and he sent me the Bass track.  It was worth the wait.  It mixed in perfectly on the base track and I've already alerted the next two Mark, and Craig, that we are ready for them to cut their tracks again over the now corrected version.

I know its been a while, but hearing how good this is working out has really fired me up about it.  I'm very excited now because I just know its going to be great!  I hope you all get as excited as I am over this.

Oh boy. Now what?

May 5, 2010

I had my interview today.  I was hired.  LOL  I was told that there will be a meet and greet for me in a couple of weeks and I need to have 2 or 3 songs ready to play for the gathering.

Can anyone suggest something fairly simple (like a -3) that I can learn fairly quickly but sounds good and mildly complicated?  I was thinking of Hallelujah as one, but I'm not sure what the other two should be.


My Favorite Song

May 4, 2010

  What is my favorite song to play?  That might have been a difficult question depending on how you define 'song'. LOL

  I love to play songs and the better I can play them, the better I like it, but I have an exercise I do that I just love more than anything.  I can play this bit for hours on end mixing different keys, strums, feels, styles... I just blend them all together as I play and if I miss, or hit a sour note, I try and find someway to make it fit by changing what I am playing.  It's not really an Etude, but its along those lines.  It's more of an improv, but using stuff I already know well to create something new and different.

  I'm going to video at least one of these little 'On the fly' tunes and share it with everyone and get your reactions.  I just have so much fun with it that I feel like I'm being selfish by not sharing! LOL

  I hope it touches you in some way like it does me.  Oh and the best part? I can't mess it up because it writes itself as I go!

  Watch for it on the Student channel in a couple of days.

Pro Player?

May 1, 2010

  Praise God.  LOL

  This morning I had a voicemail on my phone.  A woman who runs a music school heard some good things about me and called me to schedule an interview.  I was a bit surprised.  I spoke with her for a bit and we scheduled a time for me to go in for an interview.  Normally when an interview gets scheduled, they ask you a few short questions to see if you even qualify for the position.  This call was normal in that respect but ... well let me just play it back for you.


Me: Hello.

Woman: Hi Andy.  I run a music school here locally and I have a position open for a guitar instructor.  One of your students that you teach in the church very highly recommended you and I'd like to schedule an interview.

Me: Oh, that's very nice.  What are your requirements for the position?

Woman: Well we are looking for someone with a Bachelors in music theory and at least 10 years of teaching experience.  You also need to play the Uke.

Me: Hmmm... Ok.  I can see you are looking for a highly qualified teacher.  I'm sorry, but I do not meet any of your qualifications.

Woman: Really? Well, how long have you been playing? 

Me: I used to play a lot when I was younger, but I stopped for a number of years and just started back again in the last couple of years.

Woman: Oh. Well we have a special curriculum written for us by the Professor of Music at Hawaii University.

Me: That's very impressive. 

Woman: Yes.  How long have you been teaching? 

Me: I've been teaching a basic beginners course for about 2 1/2 years now.   I only have class once a week, and I've not taught anything above beginner level.

Woman: Oh I see.  How many students do you have in your class?

Me: It varies from week to week depending on who shows up.  It ranges from 1 or 2 to 20 or so.

Woman: Wow! That is a huge class!  What ages do you teach?

Me: My youngest is 10 my oldest is 87.

Woman: That is quite an age spread!  Well, why don't you come in for an interview anyway?

Me: Sure.  When is a good time?


So now I have an interview for a job that I already know I don't qualify for.  Life is weird.  LOL

.....It's another.

  While I'm waiting on David to get me the new Bass track, I've been practicing some Praise and Worship songs.

  I've got some ready to film, but now my computer has developed problems.  My sound ports are very loose all of a sudden and I'm only getting one channel intermittently.  

  The computer is very old and has exceeded its planned lifespan by at least double.  So, instead of some new cables and other goodies, I have to allocate my funds to a new computer.  Anyone have any suggestions for inexpensive ones?

  My wife and I watched Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges last night.  Aside from all the swearing, it was a good movie.  You don't have to be foul to have a good script.  but on with it...

  During the movie, Blake gets talked into writing songs again.  So we see various shots of him in the movie working on a song.  It just sort of comes to him, but he still has to work at it to get the feeling he wants from it.  Fair enough.

  When I was a kid, I used to play and make songs up on the fly.  Never wrote anything down.  but back then things just came to me.  A line in the movie brought it all back to me.  During an interview, Blake is asked where all his songs came from.  He answers, "Life unfortunately."  All the things I used to do as a kid writing songs came flooding back to me and I felt the muse again after all these many decades.

  So, I started writing down the lyrics as they came to me.   I had the chorus first and I sang it in my head to see what it could sound like.  I put chords to it and then moved on to the verses. 

  After about an hour, I had a song written out and most of the chord structure to go with it.  Today, I spent an hour fixing some bad spots and changing a few words to prevent people from being insulted by it  My wife as usual, was a huge help with that.

  So now I have a new song that I wrote.  What do I do with it?  Well, I guess I'll have to copyright it first, then I can share it with the world, and especially with TG.  It's a simple little song.  Nothing fancy, but it has a message and it comes from my life.  Two vital parts of any good piece of music.

  As soon as I can get it copyrighted, look for me to post it here.  I'll be wanting feedback on it.  And I'm really looking forward to Neil adding his take.  Why copyright? Well, I've seen too many things that could have made me quite a bit of money slide right on into other hands because I never chased a patent or copyright.  No, I doubt this will be a hit with anyone except me and God, but hey... who knows?

  I could not have done this if I had not been a Target member for the last year.  Well, maybe I could have, but it would have been much more difficult and taken a great deal longer than a couple of hours.  Neil's lessons have given a base of knowledge to work from that has allowed me to move into areas of music I had not ever given serious consideration to.  I have to say thanks.  Not just to Neil, but to all the crew at TG, and even the other students.  We all learn so much from each other.  Its like going to a study party everytime I login to the site. 

  There is a common joke among clergy where when someone does something worthy of a slap, we joke about 'Laying on of hands'.  Last Saturday (April 17th) I had occasion to really desire the chance to lay hands on someone.

  The night before, my wife and I were on the way to a potluck dinner at the church when our car began having seizures.  We were not able to make it up a hill and so we were forced to leave it in the parking lot of the public library.  We rode to church with a friend.

  After dinner, I was dropped off at the car.  I worked on it for about 30 minutes and was not able to get it started.  I had narrowed down the problem to a couple of possibilities and I was going to return in the morning to fix it and drive it home.  (We only live about 2 block from the library). 

  Saturday morning, I awoke and went to the car.  As I got closer, I noticed the back window looked remarkably clean and clear.  Too clear I thought.  It looked like it was rolled down all the way.  by the time I got next to the car, I saw the broken glass.  I started to take pictures of the damage and inventory the contents.

  "They" stole some of my tools, broke windows, punched out the ignition, ripped the door panels up, tore wiring out of the dash and did pretty much anything they could to destroy the car.  Well, they did a good job.  We had to junk it.  It was beyond repair.

  The moment I realized what had happened, I started to get angry and have a strong desire to lay hands on the culprit(s).  but then I stopped and started to laugh.  If I get upset and freak out, they win.  I'm not giving them the satisfaction of that.  So I collected myself and started my inventory.

  Now, I'm behind in my work and scrambling to get it done.  I'm riding the bus everywhere I have to go and they only allow me so much baggage, so I can't even carry much in the way of spare parts for repairs with me.  That makes lots of extra trips.

  So, if you live in Hawaii (Oahu) and have an extra mini van or small SUV that is gathering dust, let me know.  LOL  And in the meantime, being late on my regular work has caused me to spend less time on the Mixing for the TG project.

  I'm really enjoying the mixing, but next time, I'll just play my guitar and maybe sing...  LMBO !!

Mixology 201

Apr 19, 2010

  Whew! I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to write a drum track.  It was not really that hard, it was more time consuming than anything, and since I have almost no time to spare, it was quite a challenge to get it done in a reasonable amount of time.  I still have some changes to add to it, but the basic track is done and David 'Catman' can put his Bass track down over it.

  I hope that this blog is helping others to more organize their projects to help make them better.  That is the whole purpose behind it after all.  So don't be shy.  Ask any questions you have here in the blog where they will be answered so everyone can benefit from the answers.

  So the next steps are:

1.  David lays down his Bass track.

2. Then I blend the Bass and Drum tracks together with a reference guitar track.  After that,

3. Who ever is doing the rhythm tracks records their tracks.  One of them is standard and one with alternate voicings.  I have the sheet music with the rhythm patterns on it, so which ever of you will be doing these two parts, please contact me now so I can get you the goods.

4. After those are mixed together with the Bass and Drums, we will have the Arpeggio and Lead parts recorded.  Again, I have the music, please contact me for your music.  These two players need as much time as they can get since these are fairly complex parts.  Lots of fingerstyle stuff.  So, please PM me your email and the part you are playing so I can get you your music.

5. Once I have all the music tracks in the can, I'll give Chris the mixed track and start looking for all the vocals to come in. 

  On the vocals, we can do this a couple of different ways, but I think the best is going to be if we have two lead singers trading parts (Like Elton and George did) and some background voices.  that's more up to Chris since this really is his project.  I've only hijacked the mixing portion of it. LOL

  Ok, All the music and vocals are done, then its time to make the video.  I have some ideas that should be fairly simple to do, especially since I'll be using AVS which has a lot of cool effects built in.

  Depending on how well this comes out, I may be opening a studio here in Hawaii. LOL (Just kidding!)

  So if you need your music, please PM me your email address and part as soon as possible, so I can send you your sheets.


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