Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Me Like 4/4

Second song is in waltz time, and it's kinda like
  • one
  • two -la-la-la
  • three
And for several starts, I failed to get that. Instead I did:
  • one
  • two
  • three - la- NO!
Or:
  • one
  • two
  • three - la - la - laaAAARRRGGG!
I don't feel bad. Well, I do, but not too bad. In his Masters of the Telecaster video, Arlen Roth included footage of Danny Gatton in the studio (I think doing "Tequila") and there was a bit where Danny tried over and over again but couldn't quite play what he wanted to. Eventually, they did this on Conan O'Brien:


I am not Danny Gatton. But this song is in Eb and I've played it once before, it's in waltz time not 4/4, while "Tequila" is (I'm fairly sure) in a more guitar-friendly key and I am fairly sure that Danny played that song regularly since it was new, and if he had problems in the studio but nailed it when it counted, what more can I ask?

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Technical Fix would've Helped

On the reference tape for one of the songs we did Sunday, there's a melodic bit that starts sounding very mandolin, and in practice I brought my mandolin to play the bit, and switch to guitar.

To pull this off, I need to

  • Play the part on mandolin
  • Hit the volume pedal
  • Unplug the mandolin
  • Put the mandolin down
  • Plug in the guitar
  • Switch from the clean channel to the dirt channel
  • Hit the volume pedal again
  • Play the part on guitar
The timing is such that the verse is over and it's time for me to play again that quickly. There is not much time after I hit the volume pedal for me to get into the mindset of guitar.

I handled it reasonably well in practice on Tuesday.

I flubbed it badly in soundcheck/warmup on Sunday.

I did it poorly during first service.

I did it better but still not well during second service.

If I owned an AB box, I could've streamlined it to:
  • Play the part on mandolin
  • Hit the volume pedal
  • Put down the mandolin
  • Stomp the AB switch
  • Switch from the clean channel to the dirt channel
  • Hit the volume pedal again
  • Play the part on guitar
But I don't have one. I think I'll put one on my Christmas list.

But the lesson is, if you have a tricky part or transition, practice it. The more you practice it, the more it gets in your hand and not in your mind. It is helpful to be able to think through things on the fly, but use that to handle it when the unexpected happens, not get through the expected.