If there is one basic piece of advice I try to convey to all my students and is worthwhile for ALL guitarists, it is this: think ahead. Over the decades I’ve taught this has been the basic take-away point that when all is said and done, determines whether or not someone will succeed on the guitar. A player who can think ahead and be ready for chord changes will be able to keep a steady beat. Someone who cannot do this, will not.
I know that may sound harsh. As I’ve said here many times, part of my job is to be a cheerleader and please know that I am, all the time. But the fact is we all process information at different rates. Some people must deal with analytical problems in a singular fashion. You know – the ones who “can’t see the forest for the trees.” This does not mean a person who goes through life like this is less intelligent than one who sees the big picture – far from it. I’ve had some students over the years who were brilliant thinkers. Here in Falmouth where I live and teach we are home to some very impressive scientific institutions such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Marine Biological Laboratory. I’ve had students who work at those places who have a half-dozen letters behind their names but they struggled with playing the guitar because in some strange way they over-thought each element of playing. The idea of just “going for it” was just not in their nature.
All I’m saying is this: In the beginning anyway, don’t get into enjoying the wonderful sound of that chord you’re playing because before you know it, it’ll be time to change to a new one!
There was an interesting article in the Boston Globe a couple Sundays ago in the Arts section about the dearth of harmony in much of today’s music (except some country stuff). This is a subject I have pretty strong feelings about and I wrote to the writer of the story via email to make my point: without melody, there can be no harmony. Apparently he and his editor thought my opinion had some merit because my letter was published in last Sunday’s Globe. Check it out if you’re so inclined. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts!
Had a “bargain basement” sale of guitars last week and sold five in a couple days, three Martins and two Taylors. It was a break-even situation for me but I’d been sitting on them for a while and wanted to bring in some new pieces. My prices were good, which proves that there are plenty of buyers out there who are willing to jump at a fairly priced premium guitar. You’d think the clowns who put up good guitars on EBay or Craigslist would get this, but alas they do not. Whatever.
One last thing. If you live in the Northeast, don’t be surprised if your guitar’s action changes as we go into warmer weather. It may get too high or too low but don’t worry, this it totally normal as the wood adjusts to changing temperatures and humidity. A tweak of the truss rod will usually bring things back to where they should be.
Peace & good music,