Thursday 7 October 2010

What's happening October 2010

Things are chugging away slowly on the guitar front, it's been school holidays here in Oz and the family and I managed to get away for a week, nice!  I was hoping during the week my left pinky would get better...a vain hope because it has been giving me problems for a few months now.

Basically when I was transcribing/practising Naudo's "Something", which has a few left pinky stretches, I overdid it and pulled a ligament/tendon/muscle.  About three months ago.  At first it mildly hurt when I played, so I pushed through, but then after a few months it was still there.  I knew I needed to rest it, but I wasn't going to stop playing guitar for weeks!

I did the same to my thumb last year.  I think it was around 3-4 months where it didn't feel right, but it is fine now.  I don't know how many of you out there have had the same affliction, but I'm quite annoyed, and in fact mildly concerned about it.  You think when you play the guitar you'll be able to play like that, and better, forever!  I follow an older chap Ed on youtube, great fingerstyler, but suffers from arthritis and you can see in his playing.  The skills are all there but the arthritis is crippling his playing.  Take note - we should all enjoy it, cherish it, use it, while we have it.  I guess that can be said about many things.

Meantime, "Something" is transcribed/re-arranged.  I know I put a snippet on a while back, the hard part has been the solo.  I first tried to do the original Harrison solo, but it just wouldn't fit.  So I turned to what Naudo did as a solo - it's only about 6 bars - and transcribed that.  When I say "transcribe" in terms of Naudo, that almost means "re-arrange".  It's not possible for me to work out every minute detail of his playing it's just too complex, so I grab the major concepts put them into my style and tab it out.

You know what?  Pure genius.  The guy, well, he is a genius.  I can't stop playing those six bars - it's just so beautiful, emotional - I have to play it over and over again, even though I've pretty much nailed it.  It's hard to explain, but I'm sure everybody understands when you get some bit of a song stuck in your head and have to play it/listen to it over and over like it was some drug addiction.  And it doesn't have to be anything new, it might be a song you've heard many times but you've only just now really _got_ it, and you can't get enough.

I'll probably churn out a youtube vid of it this month, I think you'll all appreciate the song and the tab.  Naudo is best! :)

I don't have anything else I'm working on at the moment...Dark Side of the Moon is on hold at the moment (I get bursts of passion for it). One thing I've toyed with over the past coupla years is some Rolling Stones covers; in fact I can mostly play two Stones arrangements.  The problem is that they really need singing - they are really repetitive melodically and, sorry, _boring_ as fingerstyle.  The answer I've decided is a three song medley - don't play too much of any one song, but expand three into a ~4 minute medley.

Alternatively I have an AC/DC song that I noodled together something that will work about 6 months ago.  "Songs you wouldn't expect to hear on fingerstyle."  I'll keep you posted! :)


  1. yes *please* post the video and tab to Something, I'm sure it's amazing! do you happen to have a link to Naudo's version? my Google-fu failed me.

    also I want to say thanks for sharing your tabs with everyone. I recently got back to guitar after a 10 years of not playing, and a large part of it is because of the awesomeness of your tabs and videos. my ear is pretty mediocre, but I always find that tabs (or even sheet music I pay for) to always be off. even if it's just a bit, it drives me crazy cause it doesn't sound right and I dunno how to fix it.

    your tabs are obviously spot on, and I love the arrangements. so I've been playing your stuff like crazy and falling back in love with guitar. totally get what you're saying about getting addicted to a little riff stuck in your head and playing it over and over again like an addict. last week for me it was part of Canon in D, this week it's the intro to Here Comes the Sun.

    and Naudo man, he's crack. never heard of him before your blog but have spent hours watching him play on youtube. amazing. and so fun to watch, he's just so comfortable playing and having fun, that you're tempted to think, hey, how hard could that be? :)

    anyway man. cheers. much appreciate everything you're sharing around here!

  2. Hey Bill, glad to hear I've helped out getting you back into guitar! I'm pleased you find my tabs to be the right sound; I fear that I get fundamental things wrong quite often. Probably because I might be playing something that I'm sure I've worked out correctly but then I suddenly notice that I was playing a wrong note hear and there - and then wonder how many other wrong notes I haven't detected yet in already published pieces! (I play a few things differently in Here Comes the Sun in the video compared to the tab - use the tab, it has been corrected, I don't upload new videos once they are recorded.)

    Lately my tabs haven't been as accurate to what I'm playing as they used to be - it's because what I play has exceeded my ability to tab it out :) I find myself flicking and strumming little chord fragments all over the place, and I try to put them in but it takes a long time to get the timing right - and even then, if people don't realise it's just a little flick and play it "normally" it would sound kinda strange.

    So I've taken the approach that I tab out the fundamental of the song - the melody, bass notes and any mid fills that I really want to promote. Anything else is up to you to ad lib. My theory goes something like "the people who will be playing lots of extra fills and adding lib will play it their own way - I don't need to show how I do it - the guys starting out who need these tabs just need the core information, as they progress they will make it their own" I further back that up with the very advanced players won't need the tab at all, they will just listen and work it out by ear. But then, those guys would be too busy doing their own stuff to bother with what I do! :)

    Keep up the good work, and yep, "Something" is just about ready to record. I just need to line up a quiet night when the missus is out and the kids are asleep so I can have a few hours to myself. It doesn't happen very often, but I think I might get a chance this Friday.

    Naudo is my guitar hero, he is the reason why I'm so into the guitar again. I took a copy of all his videos before he was shut down. Here is Something by Naudo, note that it is in the original youtube FLV (flash video) format, hopefully your browser should be able to play it. Otherwise, download a flash video player and see how you go.

    Good to hear from you Bill!

  3. Hello JAW!

    I thought big stretches are only dangerous for beginners, and once the muscles of left hand reach the streched state, it lasts "forever", until you regularly play. You are obviously NOT a beginner, maybe it depends on the length of the fingers, age, genetics, I guess.
    By the way, do you play any warming-up thing before practising? Using a capo can shorten stretches, if the song allows it.

    I'm in the same state with Troubleclef's Something, and I'm also in love with the solo :) I sit down, start to play and just can't stop until it's end.

    I haven't heard about Naudo until you wrote about him and rearranged his stuff. He has a very delicate style, all his arrangements are so coherent and have a nice, smooth flow, listening him just rests the soul. And you definitely grab this certain flow rearranging him! Not to speak of his amazing repertoire - I guess he doesn't have to play a song twice in one night (or week :D).
    Is it possible to make his videos available on your site?

    I hope your hand will recover soon. Take care!


  4. Nah, I've never warm up, and I only use a capo if I think the song needs it. Basically serves myself right :) At the time I knew I was doing it - I was playing the same big stretch over and over again, and it was starting to hurt, but I kept playing anyway. Three months later still not right.

    I've made some changes though, I've stopped using my pinky in situations where I'm causing it stress (I like to do a barre chord A formation with only my pinky - bit hard on it just now - so I've gone back to doing it olde school 2-3-4.) I've also changed my typing posture - wrists up - I found I was causing unecessary stress on my pinky with that too.

    So hopefully it will come good soon, and that I've learnt my lesson! Thanks for the well wishes.

    How are you going with transcribing Troubleclef's version - just getting it by ear or relentlessly writing it down like me? His one is tricky stuff, I'd love to see how you went.

    I can't go on enough about Naudo, so I won't start :) I actually had a guy last week download my entire Naudo collection, it's about 2.5Gb, and over my modest 3.5Mbps link to the web it takes a long time, and would use up too much quota if more than a few people took it. I've got a spot I could probably put 500meg of them online - you got any suggestions where I could all of them in a centralised place? Most of them have been reposted by others on youtube...I'm not sure I'd feel right about posting them all on youtube...but sticking them in a downloadable place doesn't feel so bad...Hmmm...dunno.


  5. Hi Jaw,

    Well I'm not gonna start about Naudo either, you know how much a fan I am as well. I still feel bad about the fact that his videos have to be scattered around many different fan channels, following his own channel cancelation. This certainly doesn't help to get the recognition he deserves. Also the quality of the sound is often very poor, I'm sure man people may be put off by that (it seems worst now than when the videos were on his channel). Once in a while I still pick a video just to enjoy, I can even discover some that I haven't heard before, like the other day, "Sounds of Silence", it's a beautiful song because of the vocal harmonies, but quite monotonous on fingerstyle, however it's interesting to see him using many of his tricks between each musical phrase, just to spice it up a bit.

    About the pinky, maybe it's a sign that you're entering a different league, the serious players, and that from then on you need the tedious, boring routine that is warming up, and not overdoing it, I don't know I never had this kind of problems, and I would really need a good reason to warm up, like being forced to.

  6. I just tried this pinky-barre A, never fingered it this way. It needed a great pressure to avoid buzzing, I think it can overstrain the pinky.
    I finger the A with 123, wich is not how it teached, but I'm used to it.
    Troubleclef's Something: I watched it many times, repeating song fragments, listening carefully, watching his hands, playing it, writing down.
    I tried to record it some days ago, made some takes, but it's so easy to mess up, surely needs some more practicing. I'm not satisfied with the piezzo sound either. But I will record it somehow soon, I'd like to know what you think about it.

    Naudo's stuff: I'm surprised with the size of your collection, I don't know where to upload it. Maybe a less known video sharing site would be the solution?

  7. Euw, that sounds awful, warming up! :) Perhaps I should always start with a few easy songs and build up from there, and don't play finger stressful stuff too much in one hit.

    I don't know about being a serious player though Roman, I could never take myself seriously as a player. I'm too busy having fun with it to be serious!

    Lefty - I don't know if I've ever used 123 for A!? I use 234 if I'm playing the top E, or bar with 1 if I don't care about E or am putting pinky on 5th ie 002225. I wouldn't do a pinky bar on open A, too limiting, but the moment you go to Bb I'll pinky bar it. Funny, because that's not really the issue I'm having - I do a pinky bar with the last knuckle bent on itself, the middle knucle is up really high - all the muscle use is forced back to the hand/first joint. It's the going out sideways, like 002225, that has done me some ligament/tendon/somesortof damage.

    I've made an open G chord as 320033 (ie pinky bar the top two) for a long time now, in fact I don't really like the sound of a 320003 G anymore, it just sounds kinda wrong. Yep, too many years of pinky barring!

    What you've been doing with Troubleclefs version is basically what I've been doing with Naudo's stuff. Hence the tabs always exist when I'm done, that's where I "write" things down. Sometimes I go all techo and slow down the video and audio and loop it so I can keep up and keep trying. I find I don't have to do that so much these days. Practise makes perfect.

    Piezo sound, yep. That's why when I "built" this current guitar it firstly had to have a two way pickup, and I stuck with a B-Band pickup which isn't piezo. I'm still not totally satisfied with the sound, but I don't think I'll ever be. It's nice enough.

    For Naudo fans - here is a list of my collection pick out some that you'd like to hear and I'll put them somewhere for us all to get; I've only got limited space on my server though, probably 100-200Megs would be fine.

  8. Hi there,

    Argh, I didn't notice your new video until today, because YT doesn't send me a notification mail when a new vid is added to a subscribed channel. Or am I too lame to set it up correctly?

    So it is finally out :) Very well done, the solo is cool. Congratulations!

    After I saw it, I braced myself up and recorded the song, though the circumstances weren't so good: I have my nail broken on my index finger, and had patience only for 3 takes. But I decided to upload it, because I have no feedback about my playing, so tell me what you think about it! It obviously can't be compared to Troubleclef's, but I'm trying my best :)

  9. Ha, you're just like me, need to precede your videos with a multitude of disclaimers...if we were being honest with ourselves we'd call them excuses...and therefore we shouldn't say anything. "But I have to disclaim, this is not the best I've every done, I can do better" - yeah yeah, I know what you are thinking :)

    Why are all we guitarists such perfectionists? I just partly answered that a moment ago - because once we played part (a) fantastic, another time we played part (b) fantastic, another time part (c), therefore, we "have it in us to play the whole thing fantastic", there is no excuse why we'd ever fall short of that. Right? :)

    We all need to learn forgiveness, if not at least to forgive ourselves.

    Look yeah sure I heard some slips in there but I've come to the conclusion that you need some slips in your videos or you've got nowhere left to improve! :)

    Really, that was great. Keep going, you're onto it. I can see you know what you are doing, there is no hiding it. It was a great play, sure, didn't have the smoothness of Troubleclef but (like everything) I have an opinion on that too. Troubleclef is smooth because he plays in his own style, that he has been playing for probably twenty years or more, it is second nature to him, and he arranged that song in his style. You're emulating him. In twenty years you'll be smooth as silk in that style too - but wait - in twenty years you will have developed your own style, a hybrid of everyone you admire and a bit of your own stuff because it feels right and you like it.

    Look I'm raving on, brain dumping (I should probably edit half of this out) but my (now up to 17!) mates I reckon are kinda understanding what I'm trying to say.

    So again welcome to the boat, the same boat as me, the copying from a hero and never feeling like you will ever get it the way they get it. I've got one leg out of that boat however, I'm leaving - I don't copy so much as re-adapt slightly to my own style.

    However however even though my own "natural" style is smoother than any emulated style, because it's me, something I'm comfortable with; I feel that my style is contrived, repetitive and just plain boring - so I resist it. I've got a snap arrangement I've just about finished and it was really easy for me to do but it was so "boring" I've gone and complicated it up out of my style. Hmm, that sounds like I'm starting a blog entry...not to mention I think I'm not the only one I'm boring at the moment...

    (...but before I finish, hint nudge prod Roman, take a leaf out of L3fty's book and impulse video post :))


  10. Thank you for the kind words!

    I intended to re-upload the vid, but next day I changed my mind and decided not to. That was me and my mistakes, I see it as a snapshot :)

    Now I'm thinking about something: It hasn't passed a year since I had a sudden idea to learn Blackbird and I dusted my old steelstring guitar, wich was put aside ten years ago. Then I find your version of California Dreaming on YT, and decided to play the guitar again. Now this fellow compliments my playing - I wouldn't thought it then :) So thanks again!

  11. Yes I've watched Lefty's video, it's alright I guess...
    I'm joking, I really like it. Well done! :-D

    Jaw, about stuff that you find boring because it becomes too much your own style, too easy and familiar, I know exactly what you mean, in fact I think that in any creative activity, trying to be NOT bored is a strong drive that pushes us to discover new things (and to use other people's tricks that soon become our own), then eventually become boring again, an endless cycle, but that's alright.
    I'm sure Naudo himself gets bored with his playing...

  12. There's probably a name for it, "the boring cycle" or, being glass half full for a change, "the excitement cycle". Hey no video has surfaced GL; no pressure or anything, but post :)

    L3fty - yep, I never actually shelved the guitar but there were very quiet periods that went on for years. The excitement cycle in effect. When the excitement cycle hits a roadblock, when we've "mastered" (got bored of) something and can't see what's next, we stop doing anything. Luckily we bump into inspiration from time to time - once a guitarist always a guitarist, just depends how long it is between drinks as to how far it goes.

    There's a great fingerstyle blackbird going around, unfortunately I learnt it about 15 years ago without a melody line, so I can play quite a nice blackbird but what I should really do is re-learn it with a melody line. Excitement cycle period I'm guessing is about 20 years for that :)


  13. Indeed. The ebb and flow of your commitment to the guitar is, i think, rather universal. I had put it down and played maybe 100 hours from '03 - through late '09. I think it was because I was in a rut and didn't think I was making progress. I was playing the same rather simple songs over and over and just got bored. Then, through chance, I ran into JAW, who gifted me with my 1st taste of fingerstyle. Let me tell you, it was like a floodgate opened and I was picking up the guitar for the 1st time. Suddenly I felt as though I HAD to learn this. It seemed to be why I picked up the guitar in the 1st place.
    Progress and novelty are the key. Without the feeling of some progress it is nearly impossible to drum up the motivation to continue putting the hours in. Without some novelty, something new, boredom makes for your door like a bullet. But, after you learn a song, what progress is there to make? It seems almost all of the fun was in the challenge. Ever think to yourself, after you have spent hours and hours on a piece and got it all down "This is too easy. Anyone could do this." (Don't get me wrong, this stuff is complex and wonderfully difficult, but after you learn it it is easy in a way) Suddenly its almost as though it was no accomplishment at all to learn this simple thing. (though others would probably stare and wonder how you do it). Keeping that feeling from lasting is very important. Moving on or changing becomes very important. I began Kelly Valleau's Fur Elise a month ago and already see it happening now that I'm through the meat of the song. How did I ever see this as difficult I wonder. All it ever took was persistence.

    "The artist finds a greater pleasure in painting than in having a completed picture" --Seneca

    This could not have been stated better, and thousands of years later it is still true. I learned this well after playing canon for 2 months. after I had almost every note where I wanted it and a clean sound I got tired of it. Discovering our own "style" and implementing it into the pieces we learn keeps it fresh and helps keep me motivated. These are just little things at 1st, as we evolve into our own style, then larger and more difficult changes are incorporated as we become more deliberate and proficient in our abilities. I'm not that good at this yet but I see PROGRESS! :) .
    This will keep me going today. Perhaps tomorrow as well. And with the help and advice from people like JAW, Hopefully for years to come.

    I remember I once told JAW "All I want to do is learn Goodbye blue sky and Breathe and I will be happy. HA! Its like money. Its never enough.

    Ryan G.

  14. Good thoughts there Ryan; I'm ticking a lot of boxes. Progress and novelty - tick. "This is too easy" - tick; but I'm careful with that one, no-one likes a smart-arse :) Getting tired of songs - tick. Progress - tick. I'm not sure about the pleasure in painting over the completed picture though, but I know what you are saying. The creation/painting part is addictive, but often aggravating and annoying. Persistence is the key. The moment the creation shows form there is satisfaction in the completed or near-completed works. I find my absolute favourite part of fingerstyle arranging is when you can play a song from start to finish; perhaps a bit shaky, but nearly there. I'll play it over and over and over until it really gels in, I'll just love hearing it, how it feels to play it, the fact that the really hard work is over and I can just enjoy it. Of course after a hundred plays the novelty is gone - but that's alright, I'm already onto the next.

    ...but then to find two hours of quiet when I can just play everything I know, back to back...on my list I'll see a few where I'll sigh but force myself to play it...and whaddaya know, I enjoyed that one again after all. It makes sense; I enjoyed it once, why wouldn't I still have that joy for it?

    A big tick for "It's never enough" :) I wonder if I'll grow tired of it all eventually, like we've all had up and down phases in our guitar lives. I'm not feeling it, but it's a rare, rare event when I get the time to play until I've had enough (I can play for about 3 hours until I've had enough). I'd say that helps - there's always a thirst for it.

    As always, glad to help out. I'm careful about not talking up fingerstyle guitar excessively; there are plenty of styles of guitar, just because I'm totally focussed and engrossed on one style doesn't mean all the others have no value. (Those other style players will come around to my way of thinking one day :))