Monday, July 31, 2006

Woodcraft Magazine

I'm never going to build a guitar, but for some reason I often check out the woodworking magazines to see if any of them have articles on guitar building. Well, I've never seen an article yet; but now I see that Woodcraft's Sept. issue has a nice cover (and I assume articles!) on guitar building.

Gonna have to make a trip to Barnes & Noble and see if they have it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

ABBC: #4 Don't Get Too Cocky

Well, I thought I was pretty hot-stuff because I can do B7's and Bm's no trouble. And I can, pretty much. The problem is the time it takes to get there. And if you're a second slower getting there than going between other chords, then it really shows up.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day Tripper Riff

I messed up the Day Tripper riff when I put it in the original booklet. This is the corrected riff:

ABBC: #3

The process by which we chose songs may have been flawed. I asked people to nominate songs, then I went through the list and picked the songs that had multiple nominations. Then to fill out the list I went through and picked out what seemed to be easy - but also interesting - songs.

I have The Beatles Complete Chord Songbook and used that as the primary basis for the booklet of ten songs I put together (though I "adjusted" a couple of songs based on other transcriptions I have.)

I stopped in to the local guitar store yesterday and they had an easy Beatles for guitar book that had about 100 songs in it. I went looking through and the first three songs I remembered from our list weren't in the book. However Eight Days A Week was; though in a different key.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Beginnners Beatles Circle: #2

Here's the final song list with the key of each song (well, actually the first chord of the verse of each song; I'm hopeless at actually figuring out keys.)

Eight Days a Week D - if you ignore the intro, the only thing that might give you trouble is the Bm.

I'm Only Sleeping Em - to be accurate the guitar should be tuned down, but we aren't going to do that. A Bm, B7 and F chords may give some pause.

You've Got To Hide Your Love Away G - there's simpler transcriptions, and more accurate ones. Make sure you have the simpler one.

Norwegian Wood D - the chords are surprisingly simple on this one; it's making it sound right that's the hard part (or making it sound like what you remember from the record).

Eleanor Rigby Em - there's little hope of making this sound like a string quartet without finger picking it, so don't even try. Instead, just play the simple chords in this and make for a more acoustic guitar version.

I Saw Her Standing There E7 - this one's just fun to sing, though there is a B chord in there (or B7 depending upon the transcription)

Day Tripper E7 - the Olga transcription of this one isn't too bad; others can be down right hairy.

I Don't Want To Spoil The Party G - the problem with this one is that the verses have a bunch of difficult chords, and they come at you fast. The chorus has the simple chords; but they come even faster. So play it much slower than the original.

I Feel Fine G7 - except for a Bm chord, this one should give you no trouble

I've Just Seen a Face A - A F#m chord is actually pretty easy. Not up to it? Just play the bottom three strings and fake it.

No Reply C - A nice song; not easy for the beginner though.

Help A - the nice thing about starting on a Bm, is that you have all the time in the world to get your fingers in the right place for that first chord. And the next three chords are so simple!

Girl Em - you'll need a capo to carry this one off, and wow! Bm and B7; but it's so pretty it's worth those wretched chords!

Cry Baby Cry Em - nice little progression in the verse that's fun to do; though watch out for that C7

Some of these songs have a hairy chord or two in them, but they are mostly fun and easy to play.

Here's some practice tips:

1) Play very slow and steady. Don't play at tempo and then have to pause for the more difficult chord changes. It's much better to play at a consistent speed.

2) If a chords new and giving you problems, create an exercise involving cycling between it and the chords you have to go to it from.

3) Don't try and learn too many new things at once.

4) If you're not good at barre chords, consider doing a cheat fingering; i.e. just finger and play the bottom four strings of the chord. When played that way, an F chord is not much harder than a C chord.

5) Bm. Master that chord and you shouldn't have much trouble!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Beginners Beatles Circle

Not being a particularly great player, having a rather limited repetoire, and generally being intimidated by playing with others, I thought it might be worthwhile organizing a beginners circle for MartinFest. Last year someone suggested something similar, and that we all learn some Beatles songs. But it was very casual and in the end about four of us got together and played Eight Days A Week through a few times and that was it.

So this year I am trying to organize something a little more formal. With that in mind I invited people to submit song suggestions on the forum, and narrowed it down to a list of about 14 songs. I've been putting together a booklet of transcriptions to circulate amongst those that are coming (I ended up doing it in Illustrator and InDesign which took a little more work than I intended!

The Road To MartinFest

MartinFest - a gathering of forum members from the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum - is coming up in a couple of weeks. If you're in to acoustic guitars - especially Martin guitars - then it's a fun weekend. This will be the third that I have attended, having gone in 2003 and 2005.

There's kind of two parts to the event' over the weekend we gather at a park near the Martin Factory and play and compare notes(!) Then on Monday we gather at the factory, Martin gives us a tour, Chris Martin talks to us, and then it's back to the park for more playing.

Here's a little feeling for what it's like:

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Roland Micro-BR

Boss has announced this recorder/effects box/drum machine, the Micro-BR which comes in a tiny little box and looks pretty cool. But the only thing is; I couldn't find a price for it, so no idea how much it is but I'm guessing a few hundred dollars...

Friday, July 07, 2006

UMGF Weekly Summary #8 Jul 3

This week opens with a summary of what I’ve learned about shipping guitars: if it’s irreplaceable, don’t ship it. But if you have to ship it, well there’s some good advice here. Then we’re on to wood grading issues, odd model questions, pick guard issues and how to use a Shubb Capo.

There are some great case recommendations, inexpensive recording software reviews, and the Problems with Mics discussion really turns into a discussion of recording a noisy environment.

For those interested in performing, Choosing a Song List offers some interesting insights, while the Gigging Setup discussion offers lots of options – too many perhaps? - for what equipment to use when playing live.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Richard Thompson is amazing, and I just love this song: