Tuesday 8 September 2009

What's happening September 2009

Another quiet month on the guitar front, I'm leading a hectic life at the moment aside from family and work we have just bought a new house and a now frantically preparing our existing house to sell.  It's amazing how much stuff you can accrue over 15 years, and how easy it is to "let things go" on house maintenance. The sad thing is - and it's a common occurence - after painting and repairing and fixing, our existing house hasn't looked this good in years! ;)

A good mate of mine convinced me to write up my solar guitar amp story, which took a while but was a good thing to do.  I had so much to say about it that I'm sure I've missed bits; and I waffled on for so long that it probably started to become disjointed, at least now it's documented and maybe I'll revisit it again one day to tweak it up.

What I found during my waffle was that I had made a lot of concepts up from a sound engineering design point of view.  And I wondered why I had to make stuff up; why I wasn't just levering of other peoples good work.  Perhaps I wasn't looking in the right places for information, or perhaps the average guitarist who wants his guitar amplified doesn't think about sound reproduction physics, that he just plays on different setups until he finds something he likes, and buys it.  I'm sure there are some people out there who are well versed in sound amplification, I just haven't heard from them yet.

In a way I'm the same as the guitarist looking for a sound they like; except that I have been designing amplification to try to achieve the sound I like.  The first step is to firstly hear the sound you like so you know what you are aiming for - but to then try to translate that into reality, well, that's hard.  Anyway, I won't waffle here as well - go read my article here: http://jaw.ii.net/projects/solaramp.html

On actually playing the guitar - the other night I stole an hour from my family and hid in the shed playing.  Normally I play the pieces I know to keep them fresh, and change them a bit, but this time I tried something different, to play the whole of Dark Side of the Moon from start to finish.  I have played all the songs on there in one form or another over the years, some I have fingerstyled already, others I'm halfway through.  I enjoyed it, and actually did quite well.  Still a long way to go, but part of that long way is keeping enthusiasm.

Why DSotM?  Probably because I am a pink floyd fan from way back, athough I don't listen to them anymore - a long story other pink floyd fans will not want to hear - but importantly because it is a concept album, melody/riff themes are linked and reproduced, every song is recognisable to the public, it is the longest charted album of all time, and every song is fingerstylable.

As I played through I found myself thinking about different ways to play the stuff I already know - different as in technically more complex (and challenging) but more true to the album.  I'm not so much trying to improvise a fingerstyle version DSotM, I want it to be a faithful, accurate translation.  Of course in doing so there is a lot of creativity required so it is still all me, but as a fan I know when I want to hear something I get more enjoyment in hearing how the subtleties of piece are captured and translated in fingerstyle rather than how the arranger added his own improvisations.

Maybe it's just me.

For now however it's back to preparing the house.  My DSotM arrangements have been going for years, and will be for many more, the enthusiasm is still there and the mental process continues, but it's not the right time just now for full imersion.


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