Monday, December 29, 2008

Metal Monday

Every Monday participants pick a "Metal" song, and expound on it. Maybe post a vid for it, or some lyrics, or an opinion about it.

Then you simply fill in the box below with the "Direct Link" back to the page where your submission is posted, and there you have it!

Linking is for participants ONLY, all others will be deleted. You can feel free to grab the code, and post it yourself as well.

So here is ours:


"Peace Sells"

(Don't get your panties in a wad, just because I sorely dislike the artist, doesn't mean I can't give credit to where credit is due when the music is good.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

LRAG-BEG - L# 12 & EMT C# 12

Lesson 12: "Basic Blues"

This time we are working with only two strings, and we are making the rhythm rather uneven. A very interesting lesson this one is, getting away from simply memorizing, and doing more of something that has a little more meat to it. But I would surmise that like any infant, one must start out with milk before one can move on to solid foods.

How ironic, that I would lean towards "Surf Blues", just to have this lesson pop up as next in line. Yet more motivation to be added with this one. And it is evident why the finger exercise was at the lesson before this, as that practice should start to pay off with the beginning of this lesson.

Practice has been going ok, it slowed down a bit over the holidays, so I am going to take more time on this lesson than usual, so I can catch back up on some of the practice I slowed down on before doing a video of the progress with this particular lesson. Besides, not looking at my hands will make this lesson all the harder. Might indeed be a while before the next video.

Chapter 12: "The Circle of Fifths (and fourths)"

I love this little circle! And I am going to have me one of them, (Somewhat like the one discussed) in the first week in January. Here it is here if you have never heard of it, or seen it.

The circle shows keys' relationships to one another, the closer two keys are on the circle, the more notes they have in common, the more closely related they are musically, and the more likely they are to be found close together in a musical phrase or piece. The circle also shows chord relationships.

This chapter was rather short, and had only the blank circle to fill in from past lessons. It was mostly about how to use the circle, and what it can do for you as a musician.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Here is hoping that you and yours have a joyous holiday season...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Practice day

Going to be moving on to lesson 12 tomorrow, and will be picking back up on Edly's Music Theory as well. Waiting on HOS until after 12/25.

Saw Doctor today, and he is putting off any judgment until after the holidays, so that is not so bad huh?

Practice is going fine, not much to say today, been a rough day overall. A pipe blew in the floorboard heater, so most of the day was spent without the oil furnace running, (had space heaters though), and cleaning up the big water mess in my bedroom after the repairs were finally made.

Ergo, not much to say today, just been a long and rough day. A shorty today, and no picture to post either, so we all get a break. :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Practice day & coastal melancholy

Indeed getting back to Lesson 11, and still working on practicing the others without looking. Not about to try lesson 11 without looking! LOL

My 5 year old daughter, (too smart for her own good, and mine) suggested that since I like Surf Music & the Blues, that I should combine them both, and make that my music.

Hmmmm.... Strangely enough, I spent all day Sunday tossing that around in my head, and as a result, I began writing songs for that particular thought pattern. Very scary indeed, because I know that when that happens, I have stumbled across something, and sadly enough, I am now in love with the idea.

Sadly enough you say? Yes. The "Surf Blues"? Oh god, if you only knew what I was hearing in my head all day, and how easy it was to apply lyrics to it.

I had such high hopes for reviving some old roots, but I have been quite stale in writing for that, for some time. Yet the very thought of this new idea introduced by someone who should still be worried about Barbies and Disney, has spawned a flood of lyrics, and sounds in my head that I am going to have to somehow figure out on the guitar.

The drum track is easily thrown together in my mind, and the bass is guessable, but how in the heck do I translate/transpose the sounds in my head into the strings on the guitar..?

In the past, I simply coughed up the beat, the lyrics, and the sounds I heard, and then Steve, and Greg (Long gone now, coke got the best of him) could find them easily. I am actually contemplating calling Steven, and making the noises over the phone, and having him tell me what they are! LOL.... Problem with that is that he doesn't do blues very much, nor surf music, so he might think I have finally lost what little of my mind I have left! :-)

I am too old for this, why is this crap resurfacing in my head? This was just supposed to be a "Learn guitar, and sit on the couch fiddling with it until I die." Not rehash two decade old feelings... Bah!

My wife joking said to just write them, and then peddle them. Bulls**t on that! So some other clown can hustle all the credit off of it, and simply stick my name on an album cover somewhere? (Album cover? Isn't it called a CD insert or something like that now?)

This isn't what was in my plans, I need to squelch this thought process, and get back to my "pity party", and shrivel up and die in some empty corner of some room, in a town without a name, somewhere in rural Northern New England. Bah!

My #4 finger sure does have a hard time getting down to that 4th fret for lesson 11. Yet another "F Chord" appears in my life is it? LOL

This stupid blues thing has now got me getting edgy over getting "Blues Guitar (Riffs, Rhythms, & Secrets)" just to keep me moving forward with this madness that I regret even listening to her for. I know it won't do me any good where I am at now, but I know the stupid thing will just end up inspiring me, and answering questions I should not be asking, if I know what is good for me.

The calluses on the fingers are coming along swimmingly, and it indeed does make a huge difference having them there, most welcome they are to have now. :-)

Been keeping a close eye on the humidifier in the guitar case, with the crashing snow storm temps, and the fluctuating house heater war going on. Checking the guitar daily to make sure it stays in tune, especially after I played it for a while in the beginning, and Sarge could even tell from a cheap digital video that the beast was clankingly out of sorts.

Tomorrow is doctor day, he is going to be livid that both of the feet are a mess. We were doing so well until I screwed up and busted the right one, and somehow let an infection in on the left one. Hopefully I can just stall around, jerk around, and put off any and everything until well into the middle of January. We shall soon see...

Metal Monday

Every Monday participants pick a "Metal" song, and expound on it. Maybe post a vid for it, or some lyrics, or an opinion about it.

Then you simply fill in the box below with the "Direct Link" back to the page where your submission is posted, and there you have it!

Linking is for participants ONLY, all others will be deleted. You can feel free to grab the code, and post it yourself as well.

So here is ours:


"Something To Believe In"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jingle Bell Rose

Our 5 year old daughter "Scarlett Rose" at here school play/recital yesterday...

There is only 326 people in our village, so everyone's play's/recital's were on the same night in the gym. She is obviously the one in the purple shirt and blue jeans, who is waving to Mommy at the end. :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Practice day & The latest round the ways...

So basically I have been doing little with Lesson 11 the last few days because of the personal issues, so today I am moving the primary focus back to Lesson 11 as much as possible, but still keep the rest of my routine working without having to look. :-)

Still holding off on HOS, & EMT for now. A full plate is the last thing I need for the next few days, so I am just going to stick to what I have got going already. Maybe after hearing what the doctor has to say, I can decide further on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

A nice storm came in last night, so I thought a few pics for my So. Cal friends that are lurking about would be nice...

Here it was yesterday afternoon before the storm arrived:
Here it was at around 12:30 AM as the snow was still coming in:
And here it was this morning when we got up and outside:
Picked up an extra foot or so, not bad...

And to think...
I was listening to whining last night over the phone
because they are freezing down in San Diego at 64 degrees.
Sissies. LOL

Friday, December 19, 2008

A video update on them no eyes...

Here is that video I promised earlier in the week. We are giving this a shot without having to sit and stare at the old hands. And a personal update, to save me the typing...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

(Review) John McCarthy "Drive"

(My music reviews are a lot more critical then my other reviews, so don't judge until you have read it all.)

So I figure, this guy is the one teaching me guitar, but can this clown actually play? "Those who can't do, teach" seems to be a pretty popular saying, so why not put old blondie to the test aye?
I have heard his playing on the instructional DVD, and it seemed "ok", but how much can you really get into the music when you are panning through the DVD contents huh?

All in all, there were 4 selling points led me to make the initial purchase of this CD:

  1. You get a sample of each track at the website.
  2. The CD is autographed. (UPDATE 01-01-09: Mine came, and was not autographed! Burned!)
  3. You get to download the entire CD whilst waiting for the product to arrive.
  4. It was only $10.99
  • The samples were awful short, could have used an extra ten seconds more, but still a sample none the less. Don't be so cheap next time on the samples pal, if folks are going to buy, they are going to buy no matter what. Don't get caught up in the Metallica/RIAA snivel about "If they hear our music without buying it, they won't buy it!" crapola, that is just plain BS, and anyone with half a brain, and money in their pockets knows it is. And even if they get to hear more, is that going to cause them to listen to it in the sample pop-up player instead of buying it? No. And don't give us the "bandwidth burn" excuse, because the added 10 seconds or so will never really show. And if "Well, that's the industry standard" timing for samples, then stop following the tired old standards, and try leading the industry! You can tell I was a bit bent at the short samples huh? LOL
  • How can you beat an autographed CD? And how many artists even care enough to take the time to sign them? Nice "value added" to the product. Good show!
  • Now here is a nice perk. You get to download it right after the purchase, and start blazin it within minutes of paying for it! Again, how can you beat that? With a stick? I don't think so. This was a huge selling point for me, along with the price.
  • $10.99 Now this was the chief attraction, for two reasons...
  1. It is cheaper then the usual CD that we have to buy, so DUH! If you can get something cheaper, then why aren't you!
  2. At this price, you know that the label is not some greedy scum label that abuses it artists, and rips them off for every penny they can bleed off of them. For this reason, and this reason alone, I would have bought this 10 times over! If I can spend my money ANYWHERE BUT Sony, Warner, MCA, blah blah, then I am on it a poor parent battling over a "Huggies diaper coupon", at an Ebay auction! And believe me, if you are a "poverty parent" like me, with infants, toddlers, and the like, you know how valuable those coupons really are! LOL
So on to the music...

The guitar playing is classic. That is the only word needed to describe the talent. If you don't know what I mean by that word, then try listening to something other than rap and hip-hop. Drop back to 1950-1985, and start listening to Rock, Blues, & Jazz in that time frame, and then you will get an idea of the type of legendary sounds these folks are making.

The CD consists of 10 tracks:
  1. The Arrival
  2. Away
  3. Drive
  4. Johnny Blues
  5. Sunshine Girl
  6. Power Rush
  7. The Trance
  8. Melody's Moving
  9. Never Coming Back
  10. Freedom
The following are my impressions for what they are worth...

Alot of 70's and 80's style rock that feels kinda Zepplin-esque at times, and at other times, chimes in with a bit of an Aerosmith flavor.
Track 1 is a good example of that.

Track 2 sounds to me like a "Funky Sammy Hagar" on an acid trip.

The title track, (3) is quite the blusey Motley Crue.

Track 4 is my favorite. Maybe because I have heard it countless times on the DVD menu in the background, but also because it has that "Chillin with the bong, some scotch, and some blues" sound.

Track 5 has a familiar 80's glam ring to it, something I would expect at the Rainbow down on the strip on a Friday night. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Where I come from, that is a good thing.

Track 6 is mix of Chicago, Kansas, and Styx that was written by Rob Halford & Johnny Ramone. Dunno why, but that is the way it comes off. Strange that is the only way I can describe it...

Track 7 sounds like B.B. King and Jerry Garcia sitting in a holding cell down at the county, awaiting arraignment on a bogus traffic warrant. (Dont'cha just love these descriptions so far?)

Track 8 I cannot make up my mind on until I figure out where I have heard 01:35 - 02:00 before. It is probably something right in front of my nose that I can't put my finger on. Same with 03:10 - 03:43 Dissapointing though, is the background feeling of "Enter Sandman" at 04:20. Ya lost me there. (Though that might be cool for many others out there...)

Track 9 is the same scenerio as track 7, except this time B.B. got popped with SRV instead of Jerry. Will King ever learn to deal with those tickets before they turn to "Failure to appear's"? LOL

Track 10 is back to the Aerosmith/Led thing... Interesting how the disc opens and closes the same way huh?

My overall impression of this CD?

"Head out to the living room, dim the lights, put a lava lamp on each side of the ol' Hi-Fi, slide the disc in, plop down on the couch, prop your back up against the arm, stretch your legs out, roll a couple of numbers, tilt your head back and take a big draw off of that bone wedged between your lips, and spend about an hour playing some smooth air guitar..."

My rating on this, (with 1 star being Disco, and 5 stars being Old School Legendary) is 3 stars. (UPDATE 01-01-09: Was 4 stars until the non-autograph clip, so it only gets 3 now for not living up to promises.)

But never fear Johnny, only a dozen artists qualify for 5, and less than 100 qualify for 4, so you are in good company! And like I said in the beginning, I tend to be more critical of music then I do other product reviews, but what artist in his or her right mind is interested in some "yesman" review, where nothing is accomplished but the acquisition of a brown stain on the reviewers nose? If there is something wrong, or something that could be done better, wouldn't the artist be chomping at the bit to find out, so they can repair or make changes in the future, as opposed to just letting it slide by without ever knowing?

Ya know, any monkey can throw together some music and call it rock/metal. But it takes someone with talent to infuse their creation with something outside of the pre-defined lines, like blues or jazz. And our boy John does just that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Practice day & A road trip...

Still sick, but still practicing.

The "closing my eyes" thing while practicing is working out much better then I thought it would! I am even doing the same thing with the earlier "picking exercise" on the dvd, and was surprised to learn that I can actually find the strings with my right hand without looking, who woulda thunk it?

Took a road trip this morning out to the Christmas Tree Farm in Swiftwater, NH to get our Christmas tree, so here is a picture of it:

It is the one right up in front of the picture obviously!

Gonna buy John McCarthy's "Drive" tomorrow,
give it the listen, and review it tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Practice day

Kids been sick with round two of the flu, my left foot is infected, and I have been able to do some practicing, and some child rearing, but hopefully will be back on track asap.

Gotta love laying in bed all night burning up! LOL

Never fear, I will have a video this week for us to laugh at! :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Metal Monday

Every Monday participants pick a "Metal" song, and expound on it. Maybe post a vid for it, or some lyrics, or an opinion about it.

Then you simply fill in the box below with the "Direct Link" back to the page where your submission is posted, and there you have it!

Linking is for participants ONLY, all others will be deleted. You can feel free to grab the code, and post it yourself as well.

So here is ours:

Bullet Boys

"Smooth Up In Ya"

"The Next Van Halen"? I never thought so, but them, and a bindle of blow, got me hooked up with two big haired beauties at Irvine Meadows. LOL Good enough for me...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Full Plate...

I am going to be setting "Hands Of Steel" & "Edly's Music Theory" aside next week, and just concentrate on Lesson 11, and my practice. I have implemented the suggestion that Sarge gave about playing with my eyes closed, and since that is going so well, and because the "Finger Flexing" exercise is having a slow start, because I am having trouble getting my fourth finger on the fourth fret right, whilst keeping my first finger on the first fret. It will just be easier this upcoming week to focus alone on the lesson, and the practice.

Not ditching them, just taking a week to learn to get my eyes off of my hands, and the current lesson. I need to pay a lot of attention to playing with my eyes closed, so I can get past having to depend on looking at my hands when changing chords.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

LRAG-BEG - L# 11 & EMT C# 11

Edly's Music Theory Chapter 11: Minor Scales And Keys.

Every major chord, scale, or key has a relative minor chord, scale, or key. Relative major and minor keys share the same key signature, and are often neighbors in different sections of the same song. A major chords relative minor is the minor chord built on the note of a major sixth higher than the major chords root.

The Natural Minor Scale: The relative minor key, like the relative minor chord, begins and ends on the sixth note of a major scale. To find the minor key, find the sixth degree of the major scale, start there, and play the notes of the major scale all the way until you hit the sixth degree one octave higher.

The Melodic & Harmonic Minor Scales are also discussed, with various charts, examples, and small work areas for finding the minor.

Five pages overall, and plenty of info and work stuffed into them!

Lesson 11 in Learning Rock Acoustic Guitar is "Finger Flexing". And we get to start using the tablature learned in Lesson 10.

Using alternate picking, we are going to play each measure 4 times on all six strings. *whew*. I don't want to go into much detail as usual, because that would defeat the purpose of purchasing the DVD. But let me tell you, that exercise, combined with the picking exercise will make for a great practice routine in the future.

Friday, December 12, 2008

LRAG-BEG - L# 10

Lesson 10 : Reading Tablature

This was quite the short lesson on the DVD, and it has an example page in the booklet. There is really not much that the instructor can do for you in this lesson, but explain the tab, and what and where everything is. In essence, it is up to the student to sit down and get it down, hence the reason it was in and out! LOL

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Freaking F Finally! & EMT C# 10

Practice is going quite well indeed. I have moved from practicing, to playing the majority of what I am doing now. And it does make this whole journey much more satisfying, when I can see and feel the progress for myself.

After an extensive war with the "F" Chord, I have emerged victorious! So I thought a video was in order to celebrate, and discuss its place early on in the method.

Edly's Music Theory Chapter 10

"iim, iiim, vim, and vii┬║ Chords... Intro to Chord Substitution"

This is a short chapter that discusses the remaining four diatonic chords.

Each of these chords shares two of its three notes with at least one of the diatonic major chords. So since they have notes in common, they can be somewhat interchangeable. The more notes shared by the chord, the more consonant the sound.

And I just learned that new word up there. LOL Which means "pleasant, resolved, and stable". Its opposite is Dissonant, which means "tense, unresolved, and unstable." But the author made sure to remind us that the descriptions are only relative, and what may be ones man's junk, may be another man's treasure. :-)

There were a few examples of substitutions given, and the most used example was "Oh Susannah". A couple of daitonic progressions were shown, with the most discussed being one that that shows up in "doo-wop" songs of the 50's. The roles of the chords themselves will be discussed in Chapter 14, hense the reason this chapter was short.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

LRAG-BEG - L# 9 & and a video update.

We are doing Strumming Pattern #2, with my version of it. I have heard enough folks say to play around with what you are doing, so I have been doing that lately, instead of trying to grow up to be another John McCarthy! LOL

You Tube was going through maintainence through the night, so it took a while before I could upload it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Practice day

No Edly's today, and no Hands of Steel...

I spent the entire day practicing the new strumming pattern. I have been feeling so good about my progress lately with it, that I wanted to simply just get it down. Mostly switching from one chord to the other, and then mixing them up a bit, instead of the same old order.

I am going to do an update video tomorrow, and I thought it would be a good idea to make sure I am ready before. I know I will flub it here and there, but now I have gotten to expect little "blow-its" every now and then, and I even welcome them! I have gotten feedback from places other than the weblog that have had folks tell me they like to see me "learning", as opposed to the same "showing off", they see so much of. They were all in agreement that seeing people fail in the midst of learning, gives it actual sincerity, and piques their curiosity as to "How is he doing lately?" Which is actually what I was shooting for here, kind of a "Hey, I watched that old man for years, I knew him back we he opened that box with Taylor Rose in it the day it arrived!"

I did notice that interest did fall off of the weblog here, and on our You Tube channel after I posted the video response to brandyismyname, over the Thrash vs. Glam Metal rivalry in the 80's.

I discussed it with a few folks on my other login at You Tube, and the consensus was "If the truth stings that bad, especially when supported by historical fact, then let those posers go blow."

I had to agree with them, if blogspot went offline tomorrow, and my weblog never got back on the net, I would still be practicing the guitar, still using the Rock House Method to learn it, and still studying Edly's to learn Musical Theory. So let those that oppose blow it out their nose.

Its kinda sad, and quite hypocritical that the thrash crowd can spout "Gay L.A. Metal" 24/7/365, but the first time a Crue, Poison, or some other hair fan speaks up, they cry and stomp off pouting. Heaven forbid that Eddie Trunk might actually like something other than Metallica's black album...

I stated early on that this weblog was not going to be all about practicing, and that every once in a while I would post some thoughts, pictures, vids, and the like. So there is a thought, and here is a pic!

Three little patriotic roses...

And a blast from the past...
(I used to be so in love with Martha...)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Practice day, EMT C#9 & HOS R1/S1


So my wife and I watched "Hands Of Steel" all the way through. (Which we do with every DVD before I start.) And besides the "He's got that stoner surfer look that's so hot" a few times... LOL, It appears that I am going to be at Routine One/Section One (Picking Exercise) for quite some time. Lemme tell ya, if you DON'T become a better guitarist after using that DVD, then there is something wrong with YOU, not the DVD. As for me, I will be content with the picking exercise for a while.

Edly's Music Theory, Chapter 9: "I, IV, V and the Twelve Bar Blues" was quite the read! And rather interesting at that.

The first, fourth and fifth degrees of the scales (tonic, subdominant, and dominant, respectively) holds quite an important relationship in Western music. Quite a bit of music can be reduced to these three chords. The simpler the song, the more likely it is that the chords will boil down to just these three.

The book used three children's songs as examples...

  • The Farmer in the Dell
  • Old MacDonald
  • Oh Susannah
And when you see the examples themselves, it is absolutley true, and here I never knew that. LOL...

I learned what "bar lines" are, and how they show the beginning and end of a measure, and "double" bar lines with double dots telling you to repeat what is ever inside of them.

The three examples they gave were rather common "one-four-five progressions", but one of the most important ones is the "twelve bar blues".

It appears that this is one of the most important song forms in quite a bit of different styles of music, and by understanding it, and its variations, you will understand hundreds or thousands of songs. The I, IV, and IV chords form the backbone of the blues, and any music based on the blues.

It discussed the use of "call and response", which consists of three lines of four bars each. Each line consists of a usual two bar statement, followed by an implicit, or explicit response.

An example being:

| Oh, my baby left me, | cold and alone! | (cold and alone!) |-----|
| yes, She up and left me, | so cold and and alone! | (cold and alone!) |-----|
| Goin' to the depot, | catch the next train home! | (go home, go home! |-----||

Two variations were discussed with examples of each as well.

Practice is going quite well, and I think I just might be able to record a video of where I am at with the new strumming pattern on Wednesday. I might take an extra day to better be able to switch inbetween chords, or I may just go with what I have, I am sure we will find out in the next couple of days which way I go.

Metal Monday

Every Monday participants pick a "Metal" song, and expound on it. Maybe post a vid for it, or some lyrics, or an opinion about it.

Then you simply fill in the box below with the "Direct Link" back to the page where your submission is posted, and there you have it!

Linking is for participants ONLY, all others will be deleted. You can feel free to grab the code, and post it yourself as well.

So here is ours:

The Father Of Heavy Metal...

Dick Dale

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Practice day & EMT C#9

Practice is going good enough now, that I am going to start Hands Of Steel" tomorrow, so I will have another aspect to add to my routine. The strumming pattern itself is still the stickler, but I do have the new chords down. Hopefully I will have it somewhat down enough to do an update video by Wednesday methinks.

Edly's Music Theory Chapter 9: "I, IV, V and the Twelve Bar Blues"

Like a couple of the others, this one needs to be read, and re-read before I can discuss it. So tomorrows post should be pretty long with all the stuff to talk about...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Practice day & EMT C#8

Another day of practice is going well. The strumming pattern is the only thing that is taking its toll. I have the newest chords down, put the pattern is quite the challenge, even when using learned chords from back in the beginning lessons.

Edly's Music Theory Lesson 8: Chromatic Intervals.

They are intervals including those not found in the major scale. They gave an example in a chart showing the Chromatic intervals from an octave down, to a unison, the example was built on C.

The Chromatic Alteration Of Intervals...

  1. when the top note of a major interval is lowered, the interval becomes a minor interval.
  2. When the top note of a minor interval is lowered, the interval becomes a diminished interval.
  3. When the top note of a perfect interval is lowered, the interval becomes a diminished interval.
  4. When the top note of a perfect interval is raised, the interval becomes an augmented interval.
  5. When the top note of a major interval is raised, the interval becomes an augmented interval.
The chapter was actually very short (2 pages) it was mostly something to get you started before going in depth in later chapters as was the example of less common enharmonic spellings of intervals.

Friday, December 5, 2008

EMT C#7, practice & a new family member joins in!

Practice is going just fine, the old fingers are starting to callus nicely. :-) Again, since Sarge deciphered my problem, the practice has just been outstanding, and I just can't get enough! Speaking of practice, you should check this post out by Sarge on that very subject: 13 Tips To Get A Better Practice Routine I bookmarked it, and let me tell you, this advice that Sarge gives is just pure gold. If you are struggling with your practice, or are looking to review it, and see what can be done better, I highly suggest you read this.

The wife asked me yesterday about playing the keyboards. It has been something she has always wanted to learn, and seeing as I was learning the guitar, and she has been getting inspired by my progress, and she likes the format of the RHM products, we decided to get her the lessons:

The Keyboard I am getting for her is:
She is really excited about getting started, and I am just overjoyed for her, this will be great for her, and I am going to be right beside her to support her along the way...

Besides that good news, she is also going to be posting here to chart her progress on the Keyboards, and we are going to film videos of her practice sessions as well, in the hopes of inspiring others to take up the keyboard! So now we have two journey's to watch over soon.

And if that weren't enough... My 5 year old has been barking daily about playing the drums! So I finally gave in, and told her that early next year, I will get her:
And let her start banging away! She insists on having a video like Daddy, and now that Mommy is getting her own DVD's, and a "piano", she wants more than ever to play the drums. So how can I resist? One more journey to follow here, one more set of videos to post on her progress. I tell ya, with 3 total, this blog is going to get pretty busy indeed!

I think it will be good to let RHM set her up with the basics, and give her something to watch. I can always guide her along with the DVD, and lead her in the right direction. Then when we reach the end of the lessons, I can pick up from there, and teach her whatever needs to be absorbed to get her on her own. (minus the R&R lifestyle that I am better at then the instrument! LOL)

My family getting really excited about learning instruments of their own has just flooded me with motivation. My desire not only to strive on with the guitar, but to be there for my wife and children as they reach out for their dreams has just made this journey all the more worth it.

I have to give out yet another big Thank You to John McCarthy for his excellent teaching skills, and to Sarge for his "remote teaching & support". Going with The Rock House Method was a decision that changed not only my life, but the lives of family as well. You two are men of exceeding character, and it is an honor to learn under both of you.

*There is a growing thought in the back of my mind that I might gently guide my 3 yr. old towards an interest in the Bass. There could be something in the wind for a family whose members comprise an entire band! But what to do with my 2yr. old, and the 4 mo. old? Rhythm guitar? Vocals? Fiddle? A wind instrument?

Edly's Music Theory Chapter 7 was on "Chord Inversion".

I have been dealing with chords in the "root position" (The lowest note in the chord) But now we are transposing (moving) the lowest note up an octave, and by changing the order, it is inverted.
  • Chord progressions sound better with root position chords mixed with inverted chords.
  • Inversion makes the chord easier to reach.
  • A chord-tone is simply a note in a chord.
There were several charts and examples that dealt with inversion, determining the root and chord type for unknown chords, chord-tone doubling, and using inverted chords for smoother voice-leading.

Yet another chapter I will re-read like the rest before moving on.

And speaking of Guitar, Keyboards, and Drums being a family affair...

(Review) The Only Chord Book You Will Ever Need

I usually write the review, but in this instance, since it is a book, I thought it would be nice for folks to take a look at it, so they can get a better idea of what they are purchasing...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Practice day & EMT C#6

Practice has been going much better since Sarge had me turn the routine around. I seem to focus a lot more on the current lesson when I start with it, rather than end with it. And I am also starting to enjoy practicing the prior lessons more now that I am ending with them, it gives me more focus on starting to play when I have gotten the more complicated stuff out of the way.

Edly's Music Theory Chapter#6: Diatonic Harmony

Anything occurring in the major scale-that is, without changing any notes, or adding any notes from outside the scale-is diatonic. Basically harmonizing a major scale with itself...

The majority of the lesson consisted of diagrams and charts, as well as worksheets.

Diatonic Triads were also part of the lesson. Chords consisting only of notes from the major scale; one chord built on each note of the scale.

I am going to re-read this again, and go over the worksheets as well. The lesson stress that these two subjects play an important role in other lessons in the future, so a few re-reads won't kill me.

Hands Of Steel & The Only Chord Book You Will Ever Need arrived today, so I will be starting HOS soon, and after taking a good look at the chord book, will be reviewing soon as well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

EMT C#5 & Practice day

Edly's Chapter 5 was on Chords: Triads

Finally something I am having hands on experience with whilst reading about! LOL So I have learned a few things the last day and a half...

  • I know what a Chord is, and what it is made up of.
  • A Triad is a 3 note chord.
  • I see where "intervals" are applied now.
  • I know what arpeggiating a chord is.
  • Chords are derived from scales.
  • You can build chords by stacking intervals.
Chord names are separated into two parts, the chord root, and the chord suffix.
  • The root tells you what note the chord is built upon.
  • The suffix tells you the chord type.
There are many types of chords...
  • Major
  • Minor
  • Seventh
  • Major Ninth
  • Minor Eleventh Flat Five
Just to name a few of them. If a chord has NO suffix, then it is a Major triad, so unless something else is specified, then it is a Major. So taking the first, third, and fifth note of a scale, and stack them up, you get a Major triad. You can also count the half steps between the notes to see if it is a major. There should be four half steps from the root to the third, and three half steps from the third to the fifth note.

Lowering the top note of a major interval by a half step makes it a minor interval. There are also three other triads:
  1. Diminished - Everything except the root of the chord is lowered.
  2. Augmented - The fifth is raised
  3. Suspended
Sounds of chords can be described somewhat:
  • Major sounds happy, heroic, or strong.
  • Minor sounds sad, lonesome, or haunting.
  • Diminished sound suspenseful and haunting.
  • Augmented are dreamy, strange, and eerie.
  • Suspended just plain leaves you hanging.
Practice is going much better now that I have turned the routine around 180 degrees. Luckily Sarge easily figured out what was wrong, and adapting was quite simple. Using strumming pattern two on chords I already know helps out quite a bit with lesson 9.

The humidifier arrived today as well, that is a relief to finally have that here, and able to use. I certainly don't want that new guitar in a shambles before I actually get a chance to learn it! Still waiting on the two other products from RHM, I expect them here by Saturday at the latest.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Practice day

So I turned the whole practice around, seeing as Sarge cleared things up for me. Now I start out with the current lesson, and then work my way back through the DVD from there.

Been a busy day all around, so I will expound more tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Metal Monday

Metal Monday

Every Monday participants pick a "Metal" song, and expound on it. Maybe post a vid for it, or some lyrics, or an opinion about it.

Then you simply fill in the box below with the "Direct Link" back to the page where your submission is posted, and there you have it!

Linking is for participants ONLY, all others will be deleted. You can feel free to grab the code, and post it yourself as well.

So here is ours:

L.A. Guns at the Key Club, (where Gazzarri's used to be...) *sigh*

"Ballad Of Jayne"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to the beginning...

No EMT today, no lessons where I am currently at. I stalled out, and went back to the strumming pattern with the E - A - D Major Open Chords.

While practicing I noticed something, no don't think I am just some old man that is losing his grip on reality, because I have seen what is happening once before. Maybe it is just me, maybe others might have had this happen to them, who knows, but it is back, and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Practice day

Still working on strumming pattern #2. Been spending much more time reviewing past lessons then I have been working on the actual current lesson. Been quite an uneventful day, had a lot of things to do around the house "Post-Thanksgiving", so this is going to be quite the short post indeed. Sunday will be better methinks, seeing as I never got around to the EMT lesson either. :-(

Friday, November 28, 2008

Practice day, EMT C#4 & another purchase.

Still working on strumming pattern #2 (Lesson 9) Currently getting the G Chord down, then move on to the D, and save learning and practicing the Csus for last.

Sent out an order today for three items...

I obviously won't see them until late next week, but at least they are on the way!

The humidifier is a gimmie, and if I would have known I needed it, I would have gotten it in the beginning, but it is coming now, so better late than never I suppose.

The chord book I was supposed to buy last month, but forgot about it twice, third time is a charm as they say, it is another Rock House product, so I know it will be exactly what I need!

I know I said Hands of Steel might not apply to me as I am learning on an acoustic, but methinks that it is the hands and fingers that are the focus, and not the instrument, so whatever use it has, I WILL make it work for my guitar. And yet again, another Rock House product, so I know it will be needed!

Just for the record, this blog may look like a suck-up for RHM at times, but it certainly is not! (I actually buy many other things for this guitar journey that RHM does not sell! LOL) If for one minute, I thought that either of these, or anything I have purchased from them was not of any value, I would not spend my money on it. I investigate each and every product before I make the purchase. I go to American Musical, Musicians Friend, zZounds, Amazon, and few other places, and read the reviews on anything before I go with it. Just like I did with my Taylor Rose, the future Fender Twin Reverb, Edly's Music Theory, and an electric guitar in August 2009. Even the Kyser came highly recommended. (Though many said to lose the rubber O-Ring on it once it arrives, and I will take their advice, and remove it before using it.)

Because there is no music store anywhere near me, I MUST RELY on the opinions of others, go look for yourself... So far, I have found no one anywhere that is saying ANYTHING negative about RHM! The products I own by them are doing exactly what they say they do, and with continued positive reviews from others about future purchases from them, I just can't see a reason why not to continue with their product line. (We should all know by now, that if something isn't broken, don't fix it!) And if the day ever comes that I dislike something from them, I can assure you that I will not hesitate to give a logical, and factual explanation why I found it not to work for me. And since it is working, I want others to know, in the hopes that it might save them the time, effort, and money having to look around, and experiment with buying different things.

Edly's Chapter 4 is on "Diatonic Intervals".
  • Two notes form an interval
  • The interval is the inclusive distance between two pitches.
  • Diatonic is the notes of the Major or Minor scale, as opposed to the Chromatic.
  • There are many reasons why to learn them:
  1. Chord Building
  2. Composition
  3. Improvisation
  4. Understanding Keys
  5. Remembering Keys
This was a very short, two page chapter that will be touched upon later. But it was again very meaty when it came down to counting the half steps (seconds, thirds) in which a chart was used to illustrate.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A shout out to the McNickle Family!

Here is a Thanksgiving shoutout to our favorite Council member over at Tarmon Gaidon.

If you like Robert Jordan's "Wheel Of Time" series, and you like MUD's, or have yet to play on a MUD, you should go give it a try!

If you don't have a MUD client, you can GO HERE to play...

If you have a MUD Client, you can connect to:

Port: 5000

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey day has been quite busy so far, the kids are getting ready to sit down and watch a movie as the food is still in the works, hopefully I can talk them into "Gone With The Wind". It is one of our favorites, and we haven't seen it in quite a while, so quite overdue it is!

Today is quite the practice day indeed. I have been, and am going through my practice routine over and over again. Going to use the holiday "extra time" to pound away on it.

I have decided on the amp I am going to buy, no more investigation is needed, I have gathered all the relevant data, and there really isn't a need for for re-hashing the search for one much more.

Fender '65 Twin Reverb Combo Amplifier Done deal.

If you are one of the probably few that has never heard the amp in action, Fender has some demo clips you can see and hear:

Granted, it probably isn't the most popular tone, but it is mine.

Before I go, i'll leave you with that tone of mine... (Or at least the one I will be searching for one day!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

LRAG-BEG - L# 9 & EMT C# 3 cont.

Been working on lesson 9 of course. Slow going. Been focusing more on practicing the prior lessons then I have the newest. I am thinking I need to make sure the road behind me is as well traveled as possible before running forward to quickly... The new strumming pattern is more the challenge then learning the new chord (Csus). So I am practicing the pattern with each chord individually before moving on to the next one. That is, after I learn the new chord!

In Edly's C#3... "Major Keys & Key Signatures"

I learned:

  • What a "Key" is.
  • A Scale vs. a Key.
  • Why should we learn Keys.
  • Who needs to know.
  • Patterns
  • What are "Key Signatures".
  • Determining the (Major) Key, from a Key Signature.
And some phrases to remember the order of added sharps and flats in keys, for example...

Sharps: Fat Cats Give Dogs An Endless Battle (F,C,G,D,A,E,B)
Flats: By Eight, All Dates Get Cold Feet (B,E,A,D,G,C,F)

There was a worksheet & a chart to go over as well.

The Rock House Blog: 20 Songs Every Beginner Guitarist Should Know

The Rock House Blog: 20 Songs Every Beginner Guitarist Should Know

Now here is a link I just had to pass along! As a beginner guitarist myself, this list got bookmarked, and will be used as time goes by! RHM is always Spot On when it comes to staying in touch with the guitar learning process...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

LRAG-BEG - L# 9 & EMT C# 3

Lesson 9 Strumming Pattern #2

We are keeping the G & the D, but adding a new chord this time, the Csus (suspended). I am good with G&D, so now all that is left is to learn the Csus, and then begin the process of practicing the new strumming pattern. This one has some up's in it this time, as opposed to the last one that was all down strums.

Chapter 3 in Edly's (music theory) is on "Major Keys and Key Signatures" I read it a couple of times today, but like last time, I think I am going to wait until tomorrow before talking on it, this chapter has 2 more pages than I am used to, (hahaha) so I would rather wait until I know better about what it is I am talking about, before I come here with it.

And for all those frustrated guitarists with their "perfectionism", here is something that might cheer you up, and let you know that your not alone!

Our latest update...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Practice day & EMT C#2 conclusion

About got lesson 8 wrapped up, and will move on to lesson 9 tomorrow.

Seeing as I have been having a hard time going back and forth between right and left leg in the sitting position, I am going to do my practicing while standing for as long as I can, ad see how that pans out. Been working on the song, and I have got the intro pretty well down. (Not much to it except for a bunch of "G's" going down, and a few up's. But it's at least a start!)

Chapter 2 of Edly's is "The Major Scale", as I said yesterday, and I learned:

  • The C - D - E flat major Scales
  • Constructing major Scales
  • Flats & Sharps never mix in a Major Scale
  • About Double Sharps & Double Flats
There were a few workpages having to do with constructing scales, and making transpositions from one Major Scale. A few other subjects were touched on lightly, only to prepare for more detailed information about them in later chapters.

Metal Monday

Today we are kicking off our own meme...

Metal Monday

Every Monday participants pick a "Metal" song, and expound on it. Maybe post a vid for it, or some lyrics, or an opinion about it.

Then you simply fill in the box below with the "Direct Link" back to the page where your submission is posted, and there you have it!

Linking is for participants ONLY, all others will be deleted. You can feel free to grab the code, and post it yourself as well.

So here is ours:


"Daddy says she's too young, but she's old enough for me..."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

EMT C#2 & Practice day

Chapter 2 of Edly's is "The Major Scale".

I read it and re-read it today, but I think I am going to read & re-read it again tomorrow, and comment on it tomorrow. There are a few things in there that need some absorption overnight, and then a worksheet to do in the morning, so I will do that, then talk on it.

Practice is going well with the C, G, & F now that I am no longer focused on the problem of the action. Concentrating on getting the fingering right will be just fine. In time I will adapt, so no need to beat myself to death over a circumstance that I cannot control at this point.

Been working on our website this weekend, adding a few things here and there, trying not to gett he sidebar too loaded down to where it loads too slow. I suppose I will be piddling with it every now and then, and if I make a noticeable enough change, I will pipe in about it here.

Been spending a little time here and there drumming up some traffic through a few sources, nothing in particular, but a few hits trickle in here and there.

Seeing as today is another short day on writing, I thought I would include some media at the end here, so here is Scarlett Rose showing off her current artwork...

And since I left a scathing Metallica comment on the net today, here is a little hair metal for ya Lars...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Everything bad comes in 3's & EMT C#1

Something just didn't seem to jive. Why the F of all chords? I had it exactly the way John showed it, I changed legs, I did everything under the sun, then I gave up, and plain old stuck my thumb on the two strings (1st & 2nd strings/1st fret) just to be pissy, to prove that they were going to submit. And ya know what? They still didn't hit! Then it hit me...

I went back to the WIRED DVD and re-watched the "Set Up" part. And their was the answer!

PROBLEM #1: The Action is too high.

When the guitar arrived, I didn't even know that it had to be "Set Up". I never learned that until just yesterday. My guitar was never set up on arrival, and now that I went and checked, I can see the culprit.

"But why are all the other chords goin so great then Ol' Top?"

Actually, I thought of that too! So when I go back to strum the E & C, I verified what I already knew. I have to "vise grip" that first fret to get the chord to hit. I have always assumed that the problem was "me", hence the reason why I asked about a "finger exerciser" at the RHM forums. I just assumed that I was a six foot three, 225 pound weakling. Ya right, like that pans out logically!

So it looks like that WIRED DVD turned out to be a godsend after all... LOL

PROBLEM #2: The nearest Luthier is 2 hours away.

I live in the sticks. There are 325 people in our village, and the nearest real civilization is 30+ minutes away, and even that is quite less than "real". No music store, no nada.

PROBLEM #3: We own no vehicle.

The engine blew on our truck last year, and seeing as we really have no where to go, we never really got the ambition up to buy another. Besides, since then, we have had another baby, and many auto models will no longer carry us all, hence we just passed on buying another. Well, that and we are poor! LOL (That is why AMS came in handy, because you can make payments.) My credit also stinks because I am disabled, and cannot work, so financing a vehicle is out, especially in these tough credit times.

The Solution: Live with it.

Somehow I am going to have to become one of those folks that likes the action high, and or wait until the nut finally wears down enough to lower it I suppose? LOL

So practice trudges on, and I will just have to keep moving forward in the lessons until the day comes that I am used to the action being that high. I will focus on the C & G, and work with the F, and then move on.

Oh, BTW. If you have my DVD, on page 8 you will find that the chord chart for the G Chord is wrong, it is a misprint. It should be "2nd finger, 6th string, 3rd fret" But the chord chart displays it as "1st finger, 6th string, 3rd fret" A human impossibility. I took an ink pen, and wrote over the two numbers at the bottom, and I will report it to RHM today. I imagine they have already heard about it, and more than likely have made the typo change, and I just got an old stock that has yet to be sold off, but it couldn't hurt to report it anyways. :-)

I read, re-read, and read, and re-read yet again, Chapter #1 of Edly's Music Theory. The Discussion was on "The Musical Alphabets, Natural & Chromatic"

John McCarthy's suggestion to get into some music theory is an excellent one! I am only on chapter 1, but already I can see my "Taylor Rose" in a whole different light! It's as if I am starting to know why she is what she is, and what makes her so special.

So what do I know now?

  1. I know what Pitch & an Octave is.
  2. The what's and why's of half & whole steps.
  3. There is 7 letters in the alphabet, with no beginning or end.
  4. There is sharps and flats between them. Except for E/F & B/C.
  5. Every "natural note" is separated by a whole step.
  6. B/C & E/F are separated by only a half step.
There is a nice little visual of a fret board that shows the notes on it, where you can see the E/F & B/C being a fret away from each other, and how chords have those notes in them. And a quick little opening talk on scales. Many other things there as well, but that is just a few of the things I got from it.

Although chapter 1 is only 4 pages long, there is much information packed into it, and the info there is mighty meaty. Granted there is much white space, visuals, cartoons, and the like, but what info is there does fill your plate quickly. The book is turning out to be an excellent read here in the beginning, and it is not intimidating at all. The author is staying as far away from being overwhelming as possible. An excellent choice for an overview of Music Theory.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I found my first song!

And here is the best part... (Besides it being one of my wife's favorite songs)

It is all Major Open Chords that I already know! E - A - D - C - G

No freaking F! Bwahahaha!!!

"Every Little Thing"
Carlene Carter
Little Love Letters

Actually I love the song to death, and know the lyrics quite well, and being huge Carter-Cash fans here at home, this will do just fine. :-)

Practice day & EMT Notation Quick Guide and Prelude

Well, I got a little bit of practice in last night, but had other things to catch up on due to my committing the entire day to the WIRED DVD from RHM.

So far my practice routine (In order) currently consists of:

  • Practicing ALL Chords learned in prior lessons.
  • Practicing ALL Strumming patterns learned in prior lessons.
  • Practicing ALL Exercises learned in prior lessons.
  • Practicing lesson currently working on.
  • Reviewing key material in past Music Theory reading.
  • Continued reading in the new area of the Music Theory book I have yet to do.
By the time I get near the end of the DVD, I should be spending the entire practicing time reviewing the entire DVD! But that is what has always worked for me, like a child, tireless repetition beats it quite well into me. LOL

Soon, I am going to begin implementing the "Hands of Steel" exercises in the "Bonus Features" area of my beginner DVD. The RHM catalog area for acoustic guitar doesn't list it as a recommended product for the acoustic guitar, so I am going to assume that the free exercises included in the DVD are applicable to the acoustic guitar at a beginner level, or they wouldn't have wasted the time, energy, and money to put them in there huh?

They consist of three exercises:
  1. Picking Exercise
  2. One Hand Rolls
  3. Finger Frenzy
I am planning on starting them at Lesson 14, which is half way though the DVD.

C & G Major Open Chords are still doing good in practice today, and I am making inch by inch headway with the F Major Open Chord. It still has some fight left in it, but then again, so do I!

I started the Edly's Music Theory for Practical People today, and went through the Prelude and the Quick Guide to Notation. I know some folks like to skip through those little pre-instruction suggestions, notes, and comments by the writer, but I have found that most of the time, it tends to be the cornerstone of what the writer is trying to accomplish, and in this instance (like others) in did come in quite handy to get in the author's mindset before beginning. Tomorrow I start Chapter 1, so we can see what I have to say then.

And whats up with Rock House? They never answered my friend request over at YouTube I sent a while back? Granted, my vids aren't Dick Dale quality (Maybe in about 25 some years when I reach his age, I might be half as good as him!) but I am gettin there! LOL

Thursday, November 20, 2008

(Review) WIRED: Guitar Care + Repair DVD

I received the two items I ordered today...

  1. "Rock House Wired: Guitar Care + Repair" (DVD)
  2. "Edly's Music Theory for Practical People". (Paperback)
I am going to review the Rock House product today, seeing as I watched the DVD today. Other products purchased in the past won't be reviewed until I am through with them obviously! LOL

I will start the "Music Theory" book tomorrow, since today I concentrated on watching this DVD 3 times. Just to make sure I had what it needed to tell me down! :-)

I will go over an outline first, then add my comments after you get the initial rundown.

When you look through "bonus features" area, (which I always do first.) you will see a short overview from John McCarthy on Basic Maintenance, which covers the following areas:

Guitar Care

  • Changing Your Strings
  • String Care
  • Effects of Humidity
  • Travel & Storage
There is also a section there for Bass Care
  • Changing Your Strings
  • Minor Adjustments
  • Truss Rod
  • Travel & Storage
But that did not apply to me, but I am sure it will for many others who play that particular instrument.

The main content of the DVD discusses these areas after an introduction:
  • Parts of the Guitar
Guitar Setup
  • Guitar Set-Up (Why & When)
  • Cleaning & Polishing
  • Cleaning the Electronics
  • Neck Adjustment/Truss Rod (Intro & Electric Truss Rod)
  • Neck Adjustment
  • Truss Rod (Acoustic)
  • The Nut
  • String Gauge/Adjusting the Nut
  • Action
  • Intonation
  • Pickup Height
Specific Overview
  • Tremelo
Diagnosing Problems
  • Humidity
  • Fret Repair & Replacement
  • Bowed Neck
  • Braces, Body Buzz & Bindings
Common Acoustic Problem
  • The Bridge/Lifting
Upgrade Overview
  • Upgrading Parts
Repair & Upgrade Parts
  • Input Jack
  • Changing Pickups
  • Pots
  • Upgrading a Switch
The DVD is hosted by Joe Palombo with the instruction coming from Guitar Luthier Ken Nash from Guitar Mechanic, in New London, Ct.

If you are a beginner like myself, someone who has little to no experience with a guitar, then this DVD IS A MUST HAVE! I can honestly say that the info I received on this DVD not only answered many questions that I had yet to ask, but filled in a lot of gaps in areas that I was going to inquire about later on. Again, if you are at "ground zero" like myself, you can't live without this, you will not regret it.

Most of the information provided here applies to the electric guitar, which is ok for me, because even though I started with an acoustic, I will be moving to an electric one day, so it is good to have all this info UP FRONT before my purchase. And this is going to make my decision as to which electric to buy, a much better informed one as well.

Ken makes it clear that many of the things that need to be done repair wise when needing to be done to an acoustic, should be done by a Luthier, and I agree with him wholeheartedly after seeing this DVD. Many of the things discussed require special tools, and special training when needing to be done to an acoustic. But for the electric owner, the tips and instruction provided here will save much time and money when you see that they can be done by you.

So what did I learn?
  1. I now know what "Action" is.
  2. I now know what "Intonation" is.
  3. I need to do more cleaning & polishing then I am doing now.
  4. I now know how important neck adjustment is.
  5. Changing the gauge of strings requires a very important change in the nut.
  6. I now see how that Tremelo really works.
  7. I need to be very diligent about keeping an eye on the changes in the guitar as time marches on. Many repairs are inevitable over time, and require you to keep a look out for them as the part begin to wear.
  8. Each part of the guitar plays a very important role in the whole.
  9. Repairs and upgrades can make a big difference, and there is no reason why you can't do some of them yourself, which will get you a little more personally bonded to the instrument over time, when you personally get to know every nook and cranny yourself.
  10. If you are unsure about doing any of the repairs, you will always be better off taking the instrument to a Luthier.
  11. Be sure to always consult the guitar manufacturer for any specs, recommendations, suggestions, and instructions that they might offer, that they have found works well with their particular product. This DVD is great, and is indeed a must have, but never keep the guitar maker, or part makers opinion out of the loop, because no one know their product, better than they do!
And... As with ALL Rock House DVD's, you get a free membership to their lesson support area at the website, with has more additional information, lessons, backing tracks, and every possible resource up the wazoo!

I haven't gotten much practice in today, because of the amount of time I spent with the DVD throughout the day, but I will be getting some in tonight! That F major Open Chord is calling my name, but like Judas says... "If you think I'll let it go your mad, you got another thing coming!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Practice day & F that!

I must admit, this lesson is a bit more challenging.

I have got the C Major Open Chord, though I still need to work on the 3rd finger, 3rd fret pressing down harder. And the G is going a tad bit slower. The addition of the pinky finger, like the C needs to be pressed harder. But...

That blasted F Major Open Chord is under the delusion that it has me beat. But I have sad news for it sports fans, it does not know the strength of my resolve!

I know I have the fingering right, and I do keep the first finger tilted to the left when barring the 1st & 2nd strings, first fret. But something always seems to go dead, half dead, buzz, clink, clank, clunk, you name it! And then one out of every 4 times I get it right.

And seeing as I am not taking a "Perfectionist" view of my playing, I myself have nothing to lose! And time is on my side! So I will have it, I will just need to wear it down until it surrenders... LOL

Music Mondays

There is a contest over at Music Mondays where you guess the the song and the artist, and I have the answer:

Artist: John Lennon
Song: Starting Over

They give you the lyrics, and you figure it out from there.

So I figured it out!

Go take a look!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Practice day

Still working on the C, F, & G chords.

C is going quite nicely as expected, and G has it moments, but F is being quite the pain indeed.

I have been switching the guitar back and forth from right to left leg, bending here, tilting there, and am just about ready to hang upside down from the rafters in the hopes of not hitting other strings. LOL

At times I do get it right, so obviously I will need to spend more time on this lesson than usual, no biggie, I have nothing better to do at times. Will just need to focus on my wrist.

Short day for writing, so here is a pic that the wife took of Scarlett Rose...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lets try again. AND in tune this time!

Sarge happened to mention in the comments of the last post that the guitar sounded a bit out of tune, so I broke out that downloadable tuner from RHM, and gave it a tune-up. So this time, lets see what it sounds like a little bit slower, and in tune.

Lessons 6&7

LRAG-BEG - L# 8 & an update on practice

Lesson 8 More Major Open Chords C - F - G

I can tell ya up front that F & G are going to be my favorites in this one. I thought that D was bad. LOL I'll be fiddling with this one for a while before moving on. I do indeed have the E - A - D down, so any fear I might have had in the beginning has now dissipated seeing as I have proven to myself that chords can be learned if you take the time to learn them.

Seeing as I spent so much time on this last deal, I thought I would make a vid for folks to see what I had been spending my time on for so long, and after doing it, it might appear that I got nowhere with it, but I assure you, that is not the case.

I am really glad I had a chance to read Sarge's post on "Perfectionism", because these past couple of days were a perfect example of that for me. I went into this looking to impress myself and others, and then came out of it fitting his post to a tee. I am really glad this one shows me having trouble, because that is what is really happening, and I imagine that others are going through the same things. Wanting to be perfect, but fumbling on it. That's ok, maybe folks seeing me fumbling on it will help assure them that their fumbling is ok, and that is what practice is designed for, to get better by keeping up the practicing.

I have a new feeling since doing this latest vid, it's the feeling of being comfortable with my shortcomings, because I know they can be practiced, and overcame, just gotta be patient...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Practice day & 4 Fenders

Still on the usual, except now I am mixing the strumming in with the picking exercise as I do each chord: Strum E x8, 4-1-3-1-2-1, Strum A x8, 4-1-3-1-2-1, Strum D x8, 4-1-3-1-2-1, then backwards, and so on. You get the picture if you have seen the DVD.

Looked at 3 guitars and 1 amp today:

Seeing as I was on the subject of "Surf Music" as of late, I thought it would be nice to keep poking around the guitars whilst I was on that side of town, and the amp was suggested by a few people in reference to its usefulness in songwriting...

So seeing as we have a quiet day on the blog, we can post a recent picture of the baby! (Georgia Rose)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Unless your Steve, you might find this boring...

My "friend" I have talked about here before, I never mentioned his name. And obviously from the title, it is Steven. I told him last night I was going to hunt something down for him, seeing as he tends to be quite lazy in many areas, and quite forgetful as well.

So here it is Bro! You can cackle over this with the clowns, the next time your burning a bone, and chowing on Juanita's Taco Shop down at Moonlight Beach... (Encinitas, Ca.)

BTW... I finally got the reason behind the amp suggestion! It's the REVERB! Duh...

Practice day & more Window Shopping

Still faithfully on L#6&7, but instead of doing L#7 in just D (As shown on the DVD), I have been doing it in A & E as well. And switching back and forth between the picking exercise & strumming rhythm too. I get a lot more time in that way, instead of just focusing on each lesson to practice. And it makes it lot more interesting! After reading the post at the RHM blog about practicing songs, I thought why not move some of the practicing around to make it a little different every now and then?

I told a friend of mine last night that, the more I have been playing this acoustic, the less of a hurry I seem to be in to get an electric. He is a guitarist from my old days, and he was overjoyed to hear that. LOL

He started on an electric, and never picked up the acoustic, he said he has the "want", but not the "need", no real regret, just a secret longing to "unplug". He is the sentimental type, feels that he is "betraying" his electrics by wanting to get away from them, but at the same time knows that the thought is just plain silly. I imagine it would be a piece of cake for him to buy one and play it, I mean it is still six strings, still a guitar, how much (if any) different could it really be? Where is the learning curve? I imagine I will find out myself when the time comes. :-)

He is not much of a "help" with this journey of mine. He wants me to "go it alone", and not depend on him as some sort of guide. His primary reason is that "You are not me, find your own tone." It is kinda disappointing, I was expecting him to hold my hand through this, but he insists that I will never be happy becoming his clone. I suppose he is right, and we do have a few different tastes in music, so it would be a bit disappointing to pass by them whilst following him.

But he has popped off with a little quip now and then that keeps me moving in the right direction, or answers a question, or motivates me, so that is a good thing. He is a parent as well, so when he lectures me in the context of letting children be themselves and not a mirror image of you, I get stuck with no rebuttal.

He did suggest that since I already owned a Taylor, that the least I could do was to show some bias towards their electrics, so I did spend quite a bit of time reading up at the website, and poke around some other places looking for customer comments and testimonials, and it appears that there is quite a few folks out there that have many nice things to say. So maybe I might have to throw a bit of bias their way, seeing as I am overjoyed with their product that I currently own?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Practice day & Window Shopping

Still on L#6 & 7 of course... Getting there quite slowly, but quite surely.

I started hunting around today on some of the suggestions for the electric guitar & amp that I will be getting in the Summer of 2009.

As I stated on the RHM Blog this morning... Charvel & Jackson are on the top of my list before all others, so there is no real need to investigate them until the time comes that I have gathered up everything else, and then begin the weeding out process. Whoever survives the weeding out process will have to go up against those two, to see what I end up with.

Today, and for the next few days, I will be looking over a guitar and amp that quite a few suggested after talking to them about what I might be looking for if I was going to go for a sound or genre that might be my second pick, or maybe something I always wanted to do, but was too afraid to admit to. So my current investigation involves:

These were suggested to me because of my love for Country & Surf music. Why? I have no idea, but that is what the majority went with overall, (And adamantly about the Surf music I might add.) so now it comes down to looking for reviews of the products, and customer testimonials. Les Paul & Marshall are next. (They were the "Jack of all Trade's" pick.)

I have no music store anywhere near me, so... Like the Taylor, the only thing I can do is go with the majority of positive feedback, and hope that all those that touted, were right after all.

The Taylor turned out to be a good choice, I do like it, and those that touted it were indeed right, so I am hoping they will all be right when the time comes to narrow it down to an electric. The only difference with this purchase, is that Charvel & Jackson will get a running start on all of the rest because of the exposure I had to them with my exploits in the 80's, so I will go into this biased. LOL

Oddly enough though, some (not all) of the old friends I talk to here and there, have a bitterness over Charvel & Jackson's association with Fender, but assured me that it was nothing about the product, just a personal beef. (They just wanted to get on the record with it, so as not to look like a Presidential election, where mud starts slinging, and folks dig up old bad blood. Silly indeed, but I do miss Southern California sometimes.) And besides, I lived in Ontario & Pomona, California for a while in the 80's, so other "local" considerations get thrown into my bias. :-)

All of the info I am researching now was collected before I came to RHM, so going there to ask folks in the forums will be my "last stop", and the beginning of my weeding out process.

No email yet on the Rock House Wired DVD & Edly Music Theory book being shipped yet, so I expect it won't be until Monday that they get on their way to me.

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