Friday 7 October 2011

There is no end...

What I find time and time again is regardless of the direction you go playing the guitar, there is no end.  You can take it as far as you like, there will always be something more.  You'd think after 30+ years I would have exhausted _something_, but no, it's no the case.  And once you have the guitar in your blood, it's there for life.  You might be in a 10 year hiatus, but the guitar will entice you back sometime.

I was on holidays with the family for the whole of last week and I didn't play any guitar.  When I came back, that evening I picked her up and played her, and she has the sweetest sound, so rich and warm, and my fingers just knew what to do and it felt and sounded like the best guitar playing I've ever done.  Just one week away.  You can never reach the end of realising how beautiful the guitar can sound.

This week I was mixing up the melody in my latest song, for a bit of interest.  You don't want to play the verse exactly the same every time, especially when it is sung different in verses, and I found an 1/8th note lag in verse 2 forced my brain to have to completely re-evaluate what was going on.  I could "feel" I needed to program a quite different process in my brain to be able to slip that one note back.  Here is the two almost identical melodies, there is one G missing on beat 2& (which actually provides a mental cue) but it is the Bb set back from beat 3 to beat 3& that makes the difference:

|---------------|------------| |----------------|------------|
|---------------|------------| |----------------|------------|
|----0-0-2-3--2-|------------| |----0---2---3-2-|------------|
|--------3-0----|------------| |--------3-0-----|------------|
|-------------1h|==3---3--1-3| |--------------1h|==3---3--1-3|
|-3--3----------|------------| |-3--3-----------|------------|

You can never reach the end of finding stuff that is challenging to push into your brain.

The last two nights I've had an opportunity to play the guitar a bit, and both nights I've run through Dark Side of the Moon.  You'll be pleased to know Ryan and Marc :)  Since it is a good twenty minutes of continuous playing, you're probably not surprised to hear that I experiment all over the place with subtle differences in melody, techniques and sound.  You'd think that the longer I'd played a piece the more consistent it would get.  I think that is true initially, but once you are playing a piece in autopilot that is when you can start introducing differences.  Naudo is a classic example, I've seen different recordings of something like "Losing my Religion" and "Another Brick in the Wall" and each one is quite different - maybe in another key!  You can never "finish" a song.

The list of never ending goes on - perhaps it is because our approach changes over time; if we were to do only one thing perhaps we would reach the ultimate end.  But I doubt it :)


  1. Nice :) I'll be happy even if it takes years. I know it will be worth the wait.

  2. Hi JAW

    Recently I have come across three techniques that I have never seen before, these are:

    1. Vibrato (swell?) on open strings...
    Last strum of this clip:

    2. Bending an open string...
    2:50 of this clip:

    3. Putting a capo on while strumming...
    Which I couldn't find the clip for...
    but it sounded pretty cool

    These are techniques I have never thought of, and I am sure that I will find many more. Not to mention the refinement of techniques that I already use (and there is lots of room for improvement). I will always learn more and I think anyone that says they have fully mastered something are fooling themselves.

    I am glad to hear the enthusiasim for DSotM is still there :)