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 :)



  1. It's just so hard to say advanced... I think I chose beginner because there is just so much more to learn and skills to master. Intermediate is a bit less daunting but still more than I'm capable of atm.

    Glad to see you posting a Whats new, those are usually my favorites. Make time for that gigging. Put most simply, it's something you will never regret doing, but you may regret not doing.

    Five days??? :) It happens. I went a couple months recently.. 1st time in many years that that's happened. Piano took over for a while. If not for Chelsae the streak would still be adding up, I fear.

    Keep up the good work.... know what would get me sucked back into guitar? A little DSotM mwahaha


  2. You'll be pleased to know RG that I start back at my gig this very night :) It's a crazy stormy day in Perth, so we will see what happens - I normally like to play out in the alfresco, but I have played inside once. Too much concrete, too small an area.

    I still haven't started on anything new...I'm trying to avoid it, I've just got too much on. Once I start something new, it is very hard to resist not putting time and effort into it - time and effort I currently don't have! I like my day job, but I wish it would just back off for a while :)


  3. Great! How did it go? You would rather be playing outside rather than inside?
    lol, not me! However a good, "dry" day here in Louisiana has only 95% or so humidity. It's only slightly miserable on the best days. We do get a couple weeks of spring/fall at some point but it's gone so quickly its hard to notice.

    I wish you would just win the lottery or some such prize so you could quit your day job and focus on what's really important...... your BLOG ;) jk


  4. In summer the humidity doesn't get very high, the days can get very hot, it is not unusual to have a week or two where the temperature doesn't drop below 30degC, getting out to 35-40degC maximums during the day. We've got a Mediterranean climate - hot dry summers, not very wet winters.

    Next year I am going to find myself away from home working in remote locations for weeks at a time. Not good for the family, or my sanity, but as a small consolation I will take my laptop, a guitar and some recording gear. I figure all I will do while I'm up there is work, eat, sleep, play and arrange songs on the guitar :) Probably starting around July next year, so don't get too excited!