Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's a guitar. I want it.

This guitar was built by a guy from Hungary from Warmoth parts. Obviously, he's a Tele picker and Van Halen fan. Considering Frankenstein, I'd have put some black in the painting. I also would've given it Esquire wiring with the hottest bridge pickup I could find. And a Bigsby, because even if they suck, you need some sort of whammy bar if you're going to pretend to play Eddie's axe.

But, beyond the Floyd Rose, Frankenstein is such a throwback to the Esquire way of doing things. The third position on the switch is the way Eddie wired it: pickup to volume to endpin, with no playing around with tone. Everything you got, direct to the amp.

This guitar is more to my liking. It's reminiscent of the Ibanez Floral JEM, but it's more itself. And it's within delta of what I want to do to my Tele, should I ever get a #2 axe which would allow me to experiment with my #1.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Laughin' about everyone hanging out

This was years ago. I flew to Arizona for work, and my friend Patrick picked me up. We proceeded to a music store to jam on their equipment, as we had nothing better to do. We were jammin' blues, and somone is one row of amps over, playing some note-perfect Rush. It's like Alex Lifeson himself was playing "YYZ". Actually, I don't think it was "YYZ", but we'll pretend it was so we can go onto the next step.

Which is us, awestruck at this guy's playing, inviting him to play with us.

We played "Bog-Standard Blues Shuffle in A".

He fell off.

It befuddled me then. It befuddles me now.

If there's anything fundamental to rock, it's the 12-bar blues. If you're going to play rock with someone else, eventually you're going to have to find common ground, and the common ground for musicians has been the 12-bar for at least 80 years.

Ergo, this fantastic player never had the luxury of playing with anyone else.

There are things you can do to be better that are solitary pursuits, to be sure, and there are plenty of fine guitarists who are entirely solo players. But beyond that, to really get better, you have to play with someone. Because it's then you learn, sometimes painfully, by knowing where you fall off.

About Me

I'm a music geek.

I mean it. A complete obsessing collecting music geek.

I'm a guitarist, a mandolin player, a limited harp blower, an occasional steel player, and a fiddle owner. I listen to and collect everything from old blues and ragtime to recent thrash and techno. I used to have original wax for the first hip-hop record, "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. I have listened to Metal Machine Music and Trout Mask Replica from front to back. And I will do so again.

My problem is, I don't really have a direction.

I'm interested in flatpicking fiddle tunes like Doc Watson and Clarence White.

I'm interested in knocking out four-to-the-bar like Freddie Green.

I'm interested in playing blues mandolin like Yank Rachell.

I'm interested in plugging and rocking out. I'm even somewhat interested in hitting the higher edge of technique, like Mattias IA Eklundh and Michael Lee Firkins.

I'm interested in blowing my face off like Magic Dick on "Whammer Jammer". And I'm interested in having a cool blues name like Magic Dick.

I'm interested in being Richard Thompson, guitarist and occasional harmony singer, to some great Sandy Denny.

I've always been like that. I was too influenced by Last Waltz, where you saw every Band member switch off on instruments (except for Robbie) and most of 'em take on singing, as well as going from deep blues and rockabilly to jazz-influenced pop. I thought that I'd make a band called The Ringers and that we'd be able to cover a range from Metallica's thrash to the tabla-and-acoustic-guitar of Oregon. And I can do that, if all I want to do is sit in my den with my instruments and play with myself.

So, right now, I need to find someone to play with, and with that, some direction. So, this blog will be me talking about the musics I think are cool, the instruments I still desperately want, and in general, my attempt to find at least a semi-regular gig with other musicians.

In short, it's me finding direction.