Thursday 8 November 2012

I'm Still Here November Update

Hey I ran a poll recently (if anyone has a burning question they'd like to see polled, let me know) "Where do you place yourself in your guitar journey?" From 195 votes we had:

6  ( 3%) Expert
18 ( 9%) Just Started
22 (11%) Advanced
61 (31%) Beginner
88 (45%) Intermediate

Only 3% call themselves an expert; I'm going to put that down to (a) "Aww shucks, I'm no expert!" and (b) Experts don't need help from the internet.  Look I don't even want to call myself an expert, there is so much about guitar and music theory I don't know, but if you are talking cover arrangements in fingerstyle, OK, I will begrudgingly call myself an expert.

"Just started and Beginner" was purposely broken into two to provide an escape hatch - "Just started" is a real beginner, but some people who have been playing for 10 years might still be "Aww shucks, I'm just a beginner" so they need the "Beginner" option.

"Intermediate" at nearly half is to be expected.  I would consider most guitarists who have mastered the basics, and have access, would search the internet for ideas and inspiration.  My humble site here hopefully offers ideas and inspiration, so welcome! :)

"Advanced" was also offered as an escape hatch for "Expert", I would have thought there would be more.  I was thinking there would be say 25% in the Advanced/Expert class, 25% in the Just Started/Beginner class and 50% in the Intermediate class.  However it's not like this poll is a true cross section of the community, it is roughly a cross section of solo acoustic fingerstyle. At best.  I imagine a similar poll on a learners site would have the results skewed quite differently.

Anyway, polls are fun.  I'm not sure how much to read into this one.  Must be time for another!

Meanwhile, I recorded another Billy Joel cover and posted it on youtube, you can see it here:  I liked this one because the bass line challenged me a little bit - root notes on beats 1, 2&, 3 and different (but in chord) note on beat 4.  Chuck the simple melody on top and finger flick some chord fragment fills in where you can.  Because of the reasonably busy bass line I didn't find much room for flicked chord fragments.  As you know I like my arrangements less regimented - the fragments add a dimension of "feel" unlike pure alternate bass style picking which is clever but, erm, clinical?  Mathematical?  I was forced down that line somewhat in this song which to be honest is often a good thing - too much flicked chord fragments "muddies" a song, the distinctions are lost, the melody is not clear and the arrangement approaches strumming.

There is a fine line between "Clinical but clear and distinct" and "Muddy but warm with feel".  And a balance to be found.  You can't go clinical for 20 bars, then go muddy for the next twenty...well okay you can, but only when it is balanced.  I think I got a reasonable balance with this arrangement - I was strict on the bass line in places, but loosened off when I needed to.  I'm still learning! :)

I haven't decided what arrangement to focus on next.  I've got a few unfinished to get back to sometime, I've also got a few songs to re-learn.  Gigging is going to be back on in the next few weeks (not that I have time for it, but you must make time!) and I like to have a solid two hours of material, with maybe only a few that I play with trepidation in the fear of botching it...when some nights I'll have a crack at it when I'm feeling good, some nights I'll leave it alone.

However as of today, I haven't picked up the guitar in five days!  It is terrible!  And even then five days ago I only played for an hour!  I've been working 50-55 hours a week, and I'm laying some flooring at home and other renovation work.  Yes; it doesn't sound much like a guitarist...working big hours at a day job doing engineering, and in the evenings DIY home improvements.  I think that is the reality for most of us hobbyists.  Sometimes life gets in the way...priority can't be the guitar.  But it is always there, waiting for when life isn't quite so demanding :)