Monday 13 December 2010

What's happening December 2010

I'm thinking it might be time to scrap What's Happening. They end up being too long as I cover too many topics at once - what I need to do is post smaller entries and more often :)

So to wind up the theme, here's my attempted _brief_ last "What's Happening":

Left hand pinky is ever-so-slightly recovering. I do some stretches on it prior to playing...about a minute's worth, and it does help. But then, like I did a few days ago, kinda caught it one something in normal day to day life and stretched it out sideways and "undid" all the good work I had done. Hurts again now :( I think it is just going to be a long time in the recovery...really, I should stop playing the guitar for a few months, but that ain't going to happen :)

I've moved job/office and I'm now in what I'd consider "the heart" of Perth’s cafe/pub live music scene. I knocked up some "JAW - Solo Instrumental Acoustic Guitar" business cards, laminated and all, and did a walk around a few weeks back. Managed to hand out about 6 cards within a 200m radius. Did a follow up on two of them and there is definitely interest - and already quite a number of acoustic acts playing at some, with room for more - but nothing has come of yet. Might be a bit hectic this close to Christmas.

I walked past a guy busking in the street a few weeks back, noticed he was playing Ulli's "Mad World". Had to stop and have a chat. Chatted to him for about 10 mins; including how to get a gig around here. He reckoned he could make more money and prefers busking, but he said the key to getting a gig is to hound and hound and hound them until they give you a gig. Which was good advice - I'm onto it :) Kim Wainwright; I've emailed with him and he has an internet presence but no videos. Was good to see another fingerstyle player on the street - he plays in bands and all that usually guitary stuff, but really loves his fingerstyle covers. (I gave him $10 for taking up a chunk of his busking time :))

My latest arrangement "Take me back" by Noiseworks is finished, but following on from the left pinky issue I've discovered that some songs cause more pinky issues than others. That is one of them. "Something" is definitely another, in fact that's the culprit why I damaged my hand in the first place. So I avoid playing them at the moment, but it will be out soon enough.

In the meantime, I couldn't let Super Mario go. I re-arranged it based heavily on Thierry Gomez's version, with some of the "stylisedness" from Iggy Presnakov, and a different (but more accurate I believe) take on the melody by another guy who I should find out who it was so I can give him credit. Funny how when I get something stuck in my head I can't let it go. It's that persistence I think every fingerstyle player must have, of they would have given up long ago! It's a little tricky to play, but I'm getting there - here, have a quick recording full of mistakes and unintentional pauses, but enough for you to get the idea. Look for it on youtube in the next month or so :)



  1. The mario theme sounds great... I hope you will release the tab :)!

  2. btw I hope you get some gigs... just remember to start off with Losing My Religion and it will go fine... hahah ;)

  3. Ha, don't worry Nil, I (almost always) release the tab :)

    Have I mentioned starting off with Losing My Religion before? I must have...and yes, that is a good warm up song for me - loosens me up both in the fingers and in the mind :)

  4. Losing My Religion may be good to start off, if they don't leave the place or fall asleep! Just kidding, it's nothing to do with your version, it is just naturally very monotonous when played fingerstyle (even the original song is, in my opinion).

    Super Mario is a good choice, people can have a strong connection with it. If I was going for a video game (from the past) which music I really like (and funny too, in the spirit of Super Mario), it would be Bubble Bobble. In fact I've just decided right now that I'm going to learn it. I'll let you know how it goes, and still planning to start posting videos next month.

    It is inspiring what you say about finding gigs, even if you are still in the initial stage, it is definitely possible, like for many things if you want it badly, you'll get it. Something to keep in my mind (I don't have the necessary motivation right now, but someday I will).

  5. Ha ha, you are right, Losing my Religion was described by one of my drummer mates, while yawning, as "the song that never ends" :) But, it's a good warm up; the basic premise is quite catchy it's just that it doesn't vary from that basic premise very much, making it, as you say, monotonous. My target audience however aren't generally listening actively, so no problem! :)

    Ah, good call on Bubble Bobble. Many years I retrofitted an old arcade machine with a PC running emulated games, including Bubble Bobble. My kids still love playing that game, so I am *very* familiar with the tune. It would be quite a good one for fingerstyle; you'd be hard pressed not to do it alternating bass style, in fact, probably as simple as octave separation bassline. Interesting. I look forward to your arrangement - I'd offer to record the music off my arcade machine but I'm sure if you typed Bubble Bobble into youtube you'd get it many times over.

    I've got a mate here at work who is constantly hassling me about getting a gig; more out of torment than out of friendship :) It's helping push me along; left to my own devices, like most of us I suspect, laziness and fear holds me back.

    Speaking of hassling, YOUTUBE VIDEOS! One at a time, you don't need to organise several and post them all at once (in fact, it's best not to post several at once. Span multiple videos at a rate of one per two or three days. Yeah, even when you first start out.)

  6. I know that I for one will miss Whats Happening. :)

    I'm sure you will find plenty of gigs once people hear you play a bit.

    Mario sounds great. my niece heard it halfway through and made me start it over once she realized what it was.
    She told me I had to learn it :)

    Hope your finger gets better soon buddy.

  7. What's happening will just turn into single topic blogs. It will make it easier for commenting...the advantage of my current what's happening is that I can throw out a bunch of things and anything interesting for someone will draw a comment. The bad thing is it's too long, too many things overwhelm a casual reader, doesn't search well (someone searching for a topic will get a mass of blurb with the topic hidden in there somewhere) and, well, nobody other than you, R and (now up to) my 18 mates cares ;)

    I've already got three topics noted down to be blogged about when I get a chance. It still amazes me that I actually have stuff left to talk about! (You weren't wondering why they call me JAW, were you? :))

    Gig - yeah, I'll get one. At the moment I want it on _my_ terms, but I might not get it. Where _my_ terms means a lunchtime gig, and I don't really care how much I get paid for it, anything other than free. Free is a disservice to professional musicians everywhere. $20 for an hours work would also be a disservice, but I just want to play a regular gig to keep my set rotating and fresh and get the audience experience up. On the streets of Perth busking I have now confirmed with a second fingerstyle player you can make upwards of $40/hr. One venue that I could play at is a fixed rate of $75/hr, for an evening gig. Evenings is family time, not good for me. Lunchtime at work will be best for me at this point in life.

    So comes down to being fussy and maybe not getting a gig, or...

    Finger - I think I mentioned I did something similar to my left thumb a year or two ago. Six months before I noticed that it wasn't hurting anymore. I suspect finger is going to be the same. Nurse it along, don't go too hard, it will get better, and lesson learnt. Yet again. Look after yourself everybody - if it is starting to hurt, don't play through, stop!

    Thanks RG,

  8. Yes you have to ask for some payment. Around here lunchtime is a no-go. Its all dinners and late nights.

    Hope your finger gets well. Ive been having some issues with the larger knuckle on my left index finger. Not bad though.

    Your probably right about the blog, I know I enjoy reading it but perhaps the casual reader does not enjoy such a lengthy insight.

    Enjoy the holidays everyone!

  9. You could still keep the "What's happening..." but then force yourself not to develop any of the topics, just use it as an update, and anything that is worth developing you make it an article.
    Bubble Bobble, I've got it on an Atari ST emulator (16 bit computer popular in Europe in the late 80's early 90's), that's the version of the music I prefer (because that's the one I've known in the past), there are little variations according to the version but mostly it is the same.

  10. Hey JAW - Mario sounds great. Your iphone recordings always sound much more natural to me than through the pickup - but I guess there's no real option if you want to play outdoors or at the pub!
    Bubble Bobble was my favorite game when I was a kid too, I had the DOS version. Used to spend hours playing against my neighbor. I am not sure the music was so great coming through PC speaker.

  11. Hey Ol - ah, quick clarification, I go USB cable direct to PC when I can, and that was the case for that Mario recording. I still use the iphone from time to time if I'm not near my laptop; it's a balance between the "convenience" of iphone portability versus the "convenience" of waveform visualisation, cropping and EQ adjustments on PC.

    Yep, Bubble Bobble was one of those addictive games, like Mario, that we all played a lot and thus the tune is stuck in our heads, forever! :)