Tuesday, 21 October 2008

...and done

Well a few days ago I found several hours and finally got a version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love captured on video that I didn't hate.  It is hard to play perfectly in one hit.  I can play it without dropping a beat fairly reliably now, but to get every note crisp and clean - pretty much never.

So I did some choppy choppy hacky hacky editing to punch out 3 obvious mistakes...you probably won't notice ;)

Done!  Now back to Jealous Guy; you'll be pleased to know that I have worked it all out, just need to clean up the tab and practise!

Friday, 10 October 2008

This >''< close...

Well I managed to find a spare hour last night and set up to record my next video for youtube, Naudo style "Crazy Little Thing Called Love".  I've been playing it on and off for over 6 months, it is really hard to play but I thought I could fudge through it.  I was wrong ;)

After take 13, even if I was to splice bits together from good parts of other takes, I still wouldn't have been happy.  I'd also formed a blister on my left hand in an unusual spot due to the unusual fingering required to play it.  In the past I would have pushed on and got something in the end, this time I thought "Nope, there is no hurry, I'll try again another time."

Did I mention it is hard?  It is fast and there is a lot of right hand moving between string simultaneous multi finger and thumb picking.  The left hand requires a fair bit of dexterity, but that doesn't really represent a problem.  It is just the right hand, like all Naudo's stuff, that makes it extremely difficult.  On at least 80% of the takes I had a brain fart and lost the rhythm.  Not acceptable for a video.  The other 20% were just played sub-par.

It is the right hand that makes fingerstyle so tricky, especially Naudo/Tommy Emmanuel/Michael Chapdelaine fingerstyle.  After about 3 years of playing that sort of piece, I'm getting close, but some of the right hand techniques still don't come naturally and I have to forceably push them into my brain.

So good news and bad news everyone; good news is you didn't get a sub-par rendition of the piece, and bad news you didn't get anything at all ;)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Sloppy Techniques

I had an interesting comment posted on one of my vids the other day, basically the guy said he was finding chord changes hard when doing "proper" chord fingering, for example a 3 fingered A in the open position, whereas I was barring an A with my first finger.  He wondered if doing that sort of thing would form bad habits.

Well, I can add to that - I find myself thumbing baselines on the 6th string, sometimes putting a pinky down on the soundboard as an anchor, I even have been known to sit with the guitar on my *right* leg!

But seriously, I did have classical lessons early on and technique was really rammed down my throat.  Maybe it was the late 70's/early 80's, but for years technique seemed very important.  Wrist position, thumb on the middle back of the neck, etc. 

Over time, when I stopped having any lessons, I got sloppy with my technique, like plonking the guitar on your right leg (you just don't look cool playing guitar in the classical position - teenager era).  However some things were taboo, for instance, I would never consider putting out a pinky anchor!

In the more recent years, after seeing some amazing guitarists using "dreadful" techniques, I was forced to re-evaluate my stance.  Now it is a case of "if it makes it easy for you, and it is comfortable, then do it."

Lets look at "easy":
  * it should be easy to perform quickly and accurately;
  * there should be no short term/long term discomfort or pain in performing the technique.

Generally, since mankind has been playing guitar-like instruments for hundreds of years, the established techniques taught should be best.  Let's face it though, firstly, what is "generally" the best technique might not be the best for you.  Secondly, innovation is what drives development.  Would Jimi Hendrix have come up with such stuff if he was playing the guitar the right way up?  Would Elizabeth Cotton have created "Freight Train" if the guitar wasn't strung upside-down - i.e. playing the bassline with her fingers and the treble with her thumb?

Okay, they are extreme cases, but the point is there:  Typically, perform the generally accepted techniques, but if you are getting better results with "bad habits" and it's not hurting you, then why not.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

What's happening September 2008

I've got Naudo's Crazy Little Thing Called Love more or less complete, well, good enough to make a video and post it.  It's just a matter of finding the time and currently the missus and I are revisiting some Star Trek episodes, which is taking up all my available spare time.  Yeah I know, very nerdy but we do love our Star Trek.  We should have processed the last ones we have queued in about 2 weeks.

I did however scrounge together about 2 hours last week and worked out the verse for Jealous Guy.  It's relatively straight forward you will be pleased to know.  It should only be about 5-10 hours to get it tabbed up.  It's nice to play, feels good.  Nothing too tricky so far, no tough chord work just yet.

Meanwhile, on youtube I've been slipping down the ratings board; I'm currently sitting at about number 25 most subscribed in Australia.  I swap between 25 and 26 with another guitarist, a young-ish girl.  It's pretty hard to compete with pretty young things especially the ones that play the guitar and sing with lovely voices ;)  The only ammo I've got is that people like my tabs, that's what keeps me on the scoreboard at all.  There are plenty of better guitarists out there than me!

I have been watching Delta Goodrem catch up to me, and I reckon I've got about 2 months before she overtakes.  It will be a sad day, I've enjoyed being ranked higher than Delta ;)  Kylie Minogue was once below me...but she overtook pretty fast.  Delta joined up about the same time as me, so it's been a fair fight.  Kylie was a much newer member, but she's a pop princess so no suprises there.

There was one time, about when the Australian scoreboard first started up, that I was in the top 20 - okay, I was 19th.  I should have taken a screendump :)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Jealous Guy

A while back I ripped all of Naudos songs to mp3 and a CD of them has been playing in my car non stop for nearly a year now.  Rather than just listen, I analyse what he is up to, and what I could do with the song if I had a try.  I decided about 6 months ago that I should get a few "easy keepers" into my repetoir; songs like "Baby can I hold you" and "Losing my religion" are easy to learn and remember, but most importantly they sound great.

For the past week I've had "Jealous Guy" on repeat.  Which means about 3 plays between my house and the train station.  The song suits what I've currently been working with - very deliberate strum, simple bassline and a high note melody on top.  I particularly love the bridge he put in there as well.  He is the king of improvising a solo in a well known song that obeys the laws and theme of the tune.

So anyway, sometime soon I'm going to start tabbing out Jealous Guy.  I'm pretty busy with work and the family at the moment, so don't expect it soon. I haven't played the guitar for about 5 days in a row at the moment, I'm getting withdrawal pain! ;)