Sunday, November 22, 2009

That was the Week That Was

There's a few different stories here, and they are wildly disconnected. Fair warning.

My musical week starts with "Behind The Nut Love".

It's a John 5 song, one where he bends above the nut to get a pedal steel sound. It's that kind of bending that inspired the B-Bender. Good stuff, despite the name. Anyway, the B string pops right next to the tuner. Folks, when that happens, you start thinking that there's enough to restring it and keep going, but really, there's not, and if you spend more than 10 minutes trying, like I did, you're just being a fool. Especially at 1am when your alarm is set for 6am.

Anyway, I had a choice. I could go for the EB Super Slinkys I have in my bag. I've said that the next set I go to is going to be, at least, Regular Slinkys. I don't have Regular Slinkys. I do have a set of Dean Markely strings that I got from Nick Catanese's roadie at Gearfest. And they're bridge cables, I gotta say. Low E is .060. I once had a set of GHS White Bronze mediums, which are acoustic guitar strings, and the low was .056. My baritone, with EB Not Even Slinkys, has a .056 as the low string, and that's tuned down three half-steps! But don't you know it, I love 'em. I've gotten into flatpicking, like Tony Rice and Clarence White stuff, and you just can't bash on light strings like that. Not that it works well amplified, but still.

That was Monday night. Tuesday was practice. Needless to say, I was a bit worried. Even when I give a stretch, I like to let new strings sit a day before I play out with 'em, because a string will stretch out and it's good to not have it happen when you're actually playing. Practice went well. Maybe I should be worried because when the leader has notes, they're never for me. Or, I can just be comfortable with the thought that every thing I play is the right note, even if what I play on the first pass and on the second pass have little to do with each other.

Tab time:
E -3-3-3-2-2-3-3-2-2-3-3-2-2-3-3-3--
B -3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3--
G ----------------------------------
D ----------------------------------
A ----------------------------------
E ----------------------------------
E -3-3-3-2---3-3-2---3-3-2---3-3-3--
B -3-3-3-3---3-3-3---3-3-3---3-3-3--
G ----------------------------------
D ----------------------------------
A ----------------------------------
E ----------------------------------

Both are essentially the same. A double-stop implying movement between G and D, in this place played in a fairly standard three-chord progression in G. The first, I believe, is what is on the album. The second, holding the F# and D notes instead of G and D, I think that just sounds cooler. What do you guys think? Maybe I should make another YouTube vid to make that point.

I brought my #1 with the heavy strings to play on Wednesday. I've started to prefer taking my #2, my baritone, but I didn't. There's not too much for me to say about it, except we're a bit bored with the arrangements. Which, in a way, why I got into playing the baritone. Years ago, there was an all-gear, no-tab guitar magazine named Guitar Shop, where they went on in one episode about how little it would take to turn your Fender-scale Tele into a baritone, and I wanted a #2 guitar so I could do that for over a decade. Now I have it. I tend to use it as an instrument where I almost have no open strings, which means I have to rethink, figure how to make the needed scales in other positions. And I can always drop down to D, which is nice. Being able to do some vibrato on what would normally be the low E? That's nice. But you know, I don't really use it like a baritone, really hitting the low notes. It's a guitar, but it plays just slightly different.

On Sundays, it's drums, keys, piano, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar (me) drums, sax, vox, vox, vox. On Wednesdays, it's drums, keys, guitar, guitar, bass. I heard once that, with a three-piece band, you want to play big chords. All six strings and such. I'm always with larger bands with sufficient harmonic support, so I find myself playing smaller chords, three notes across the D G and B strings.
E -------------------
B ----5----7----5----
G ----6----7----4----
D ----7----7----6----
A -------------------
E -------------------

These are A, D and E. Through the magic of relative minors, that's F# minor, B minor and C# minor. They say there's seven chords, but if you're not the only one responsible for harmony, you can really say there are four. I'm skipping past the diminished, which like gaslights and steam trains, just are not used much anymore.

And finally, I played this morning. And I actually got some complements for some hot playing, plust the sound man likes guitar and brings me up enough. There have been times, more than a few times, where the guitar was supposed to play the lead-in, but the sound guy hates guitar and had him down, so that nobody heard the lead-in. But not today.

Well, not totally finally. I play through a AX1500G multieffects unit, and my crunch and my clean tones were in totally different banks, so I can't play clean and just switch over to a raunchy tone for a break. Well, they were. I moved them over before crashing for an afternoon nap. We'll see how that goes on Wednesday.

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