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  #1  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:20 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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The Great Ongoing Guitar Thread

Face it, there's been a lot of guitar threads over the last month or so. Some of us are pro-quality players, some of us (like me) are just starting out again for the third time. And some of us just like to sit around and bullshit.

There's been a lot of good information in the threads, but eventually they sink to the bottom and vanish. So... let's just keep this one alive.

My latest news: A: Hal Leonard's book just wasn't working for me. But I found one that is. Comes with a DVD, and it really teaches you what you need to know.
Learning Electric Guitar, Patrick McCormick and Greg Douglass.
http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Elect...4979647&sr=8-1
Apparently discontinued, I picked it up at a local store, I'm really liking it.
Engaging, tells you what you need to know, gets you started using your whole hand right away. I'm going to pick Bob back up after I finish this, for some better traditional learning, but I want some results to show.

B: There is a thing called a String Winder for when you need to restring and not just tune the guitar. I should get one of those.
http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Waves-S...4979780&sr=8-1
This one has a cutter.

C: there are very small amps for playing in your apartment and not for your neighbors.
http://www.amazon.com/Danelectro-Hon...ZP6JRP9P9ACXSM
Dunno how good they are. There's this one and a mini-Marshall I'm looking at.
Anyone have an opinion?

Annd D: I learned that strings have multiple gauges, some heavier than others. They tend to be measured by the high E, so the normal one is .9, but there is .10, .11, and so on.

This causes confusion when you want a B-string and go armed knowing it was a .11... and the music store employee doesn't know guitars worth a damn either.


How you guys doin?
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:56 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
How you guys doin?
Are you coming on to me? I'm not hearing a 'no'.[/Zoidberg]

I think I've got that same Hal Leonard book, and I really like it. (It presents things very succinctly, which might be tough for someone starting completely from scratch. I played another instrument in the past, so all the musical notations were already familiar.) I'm almost 1/3 of the way through it. I've been focusing on the melody and neglecting the chords, so I'm pushing myself to remedy that.

I've got that string winder, too, but the first attempt at restringing was still only mostly successful.

I've looked ahead at the barre chords a little bit. Even with all the time in the world, I can barely get my hand to form some of those shapes. I may have to change my playing position a bit, but I don't think I've been at it long enough to have any unbreakable bad habits yet.
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  #3  
Old 01-31-2010, 06:00 PM
MwNNrules MwNNrules is offline
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I approve of the idea.
I was unaware of the number of guitar threads there were when I made my thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=550053). My apologies to all who thought my idea (pick one guitarist to represent a decade) was convuluted. I'll post my selections here if I make a new version of my list, but I won't try to turn this thread into a new version of my own.
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  #4  
Old 01-31-2010, 06:27 PM
Saganist Saganist is offline
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I will contribute a recommendation for my favorite youtube guitar lesson channel: discoverguitaronline (also known as dgorocks). The lessons are completely no-nonsense play a phrase or solo at real speed and then in super slow-mo and are surprisingly effective. Also, the guy who records the videos and started a full site is super good and as humble as possible. I asked a question in the comment section of one video and he replied within a matter of hours.

I've promised myself I will subscribe to his full site when I actually have some time to really dedicate to practice.
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  #5  
Old 01-31-2010, 06:49 PM
Runs With Scissors Runs With Scissors is offline
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One thing I'll say, and this is obviously my opinion and different things will work for different people, but there is no substitute for a great guitar teacher. Anyone of any level can benefit from a great teacher, but especially the newbie guitar player.

A great teacher will be all about technique and doing things correctly. I didn't even "play" guitar for my first month of lessons. (The understanding was that I would in the meantime.) My teacher simply analyzed how I played and made sure I was practicing correctly. I had tried learning on my own for two months prior, and one of the first things he did was have me do a couple chords a completely different way. At the time I was pissed because it had taken a long time to learn the chords, but once I re-learned them, and then had a practical example of why he wanted me to form them a certain way, I understood why. Had I continued with my bad habits (and I had a LOT of bad habits), I would not have progressed as fast or as far on guitar.

A DVD can't analyze your technique.

Now, having said that, DVDs and Youtube are AWESOME! Especially Youtube. Wanna know how to play that lick? Someone has a vid on how to do it. But my point is to get the fundamentals and proper playing technique down FIRST. If a DVD can help you do that...excellent.

A great book on how to practice anything is The Talent Code. (I have no connection whatsoever to this book...it's just the way I was taught to practice. There's nothing new in this book...I was taught this stuff a long time before this book came out.)
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  #6  
Old 01-31-2010, 09:06 PM
Clothahump Clothahump is offline
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I had to stop playing 12 string when I came down with arthritis. 6 string at times was almost impossible. But new advances in RA medications have enabled me to play again, and SWMBO surprised me with a 12 string for Christmas.

I'm relearning how to play 12, and rediscovering what a challenge it is and how much fun it is.
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  #7  
Old 01-31-2010, 10:57 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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Repeating from the other thread:

Eddie Ate Dynamite. Good Bye Eddie.
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  #8  
Old 01-31-2010, 11:00 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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So, I'm now somewhat disgusted with the Starcaster's machine heads and how the frets gouge my hand, and thinking of wandering over to Sam Ash to look at their selection. What should I be asking when I look at a used Strat? I do want to stick with strats. Or a new cheapy one. Not looking to dump more than two fifty for this.
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2010, 08:15 AM
kevlaw kevlaw is offline
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For the people who are just starting out and struggling with chord shapes, I am about a year ahead of you. Here's my story. Maybe you'll take some encouragement from it.

I remember first picking up the guitar and having a list of songs in my head "one day, I'll be able to play that" I told myself. I remember coming down with a huge, frustrating bump when making music on a guitar turned out to be MUCH harder than I expected. "How come the only song I can play is Ode to Joy!!??" "How can I ever change from a G to a C while still strumming??" "How come all my chords buzz??". I refused to believe that barre chords were even possible.

I seemed to be stuck in that phase for an interminably long time and I lost hope that I would ever be able to play well. Then one day, I sat down with a pile of song books and found that I could play most of them. Not well...just strumming away....but well enough that my wife would recognise what I was playing.

Just like that - Can't play ...then suddenly...Can play .

Sure, I couldn't play well (still can't), but suddenly my guitar is tremendous fun and I look forward to practicing at every opportunity. It's like being able to play crept up on me without me noticing. My wife would say that I am obsessed. For the first time since I started I can imagine that, one day, I will be good at playing guitar and I'll be able to play all those songs I want to play.
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2010, 08:22 AM
kevlaw kevlaw is offline
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Here's a quick tip that has helped me break out of beginner mode and into Intermediate. Record yourself.

I had a handful of songs that I thought I could play well but when I tried recording myself with GarageBand, it turned out that I was pretty sloppy. My timing was way off. Forcing myself to play a song well enough to record it and put it up on the internet for my friends to hear has made a dramatic difference in the quality, rhythm and tone of my playing. I get a real sense of achievement. Plus I can go back to songs from just a couple of months ago and hear how much I have improved since then.

Guitarist, record thyself.
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2010, 08:27 AM
kevlaw kevlaw is offline
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Last one before I get on my plane...

I started a thread a little while ago ("Watcha playin'") with the idea that people would post their current song and compare notes and maybe even a few people at the same level could learn at the same time. (and hear the results, if you record it!)

Nobody bit that time around but I'd like to give it another try....

I am working on Albatross. It's one of the songs that I thought "Man! If I can play that, I'll die happy!" which turned, in frustration, into "Man! I will never be able to play that. I am going to die unhappy."

It's the most beautiful song that I have ever heard on a guitar and am almost there!

Watcha playin'?
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2010, 08:43 AM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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A good low cost strat style guitar is the Yamaha Pacifica series. They have a couple different price points. You can always upgrade the pickups later.
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2010, 09:05 AM
Le Ministre de l'au-delà Le Ministre de l'au-delà is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
So, I'm now somewhat disgusted with the Starcaster's machine heads and how the frets gouge my hand, and thinking of wandering over to Sam Ash to look at their selection. What should I be asking when I look at a used Strat? I do want to stick with strats. Or a new cheapy one. Not looking to dump more than two fifty for this.
Machine heads can be replaced quite easily - that's a job you could take on yourself, in fact. Just don't overtighten and strip the hole.

What, about the frets, is gouging your hand? Are the edges not ground down so that there's a pokey bit sticking out beyond the plane of the fingerboard's edge? Or are the frets too high, not rounded enough? A good guitar tech would be able to either modify the existing frets or replace them. I'm thinking in Canadian dollars here, so maybe your $250. would get you a new guitar in the US and that would be more worthwhile for you. Up here, no. If I had a budget limit of $250. I'd be improving what I had, not trying for something different. Your local market may be very different. I wouldn't take on a fret job, myself, at least not on a guitar that I cared about.
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  #14  
Old 02-01-2010, 10:39 AM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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Originally Posted by kevlaw View Post
Last one before I get on my plane...

I started a thread a little while ago ("Watcha playin'") with the idea that people would post their current song and compare notes and maybe even a few people at the same level could learn at the same time.
You know how you were saying 'the only thing I could play was 'Ode To Joy'? Yeah, that. Except the guitar keeps going out of tune halfway through.
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  #15  
Old 02-01-2010, 10:48 AM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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You are correct, the edges are not ground down. I intend to use this Starcaster as an... experiment. It really doesn't look like a bad neck or body. So I'm going to apply a manual rebuild, bit by bit. I have the wood and metalworking talent, god knows. But I'm not going to do that until I have something else to play with.

I'm gonna wander into Sam Ash today, www.samash.com , and I wanted to know, if someone would spend some time looking at their selection, what the differences are between the various strats they have. Looks like all they have are Squier strats, maybe I'm missing something?

There's the Affinity, Affinity Standard, Standard, Standard Tele... all around the same price.
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  #16  
Old 02-01-2010, 11:53 AM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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Originally Posted by kevlaw View Post
Watcha playin'?
I think I'm using the same book that the OP didn't like. There's a version of Bach's Minuet in G that's just about the limit of my current ability.
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  #17  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:35 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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Oh, I like and respect it, it's just not working for me.
So I'm going to try something else for a bit, then come back.
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:43 PM
Ogre Ogre is offline
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If you're rhythm-challenged, or are learning how to change between, say, open chords, use a metronome. It'll frustrate the hell out of you at first, but it's absolutely essential.
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  #19  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:46 PM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Hey, can I join?

Yeah, after I pulled together that list of links in MwNNrules's thread (you can bet I am saving that one for reference) I was struck by the fact that there are always a few guitar threads going on...

as for how I am doin' - I am doing well guitar-wise. I have been toying with a couple of changes / upgrades to my set of guitars - if I do, I will chime in and let you know. It would involve selling some First Edition books, so I have to take a deep breath and figure out my options...but the guitars would be really cool.

in terms of whatcha playin" - I am really just noodling with hybrid picking and slide. I seem to be getting to a place with hybrid picking where I have some "flow" - I can lay down a rhythm and then drop in some lead work and pick back up at the rhythm without any loss of groove. I am extending my playing up and down the neck - really just focused on standard blues in E and A, nothing fancy - but using a flatpick + middle and ring fingers for picking really opens up the fretboard for me.
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  #20  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:31 PM
kevlaw kevlaw is offline
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Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
If you're rhythm-challenged, or are learning how to change between, say, open chords, use a metronome. It'll frustrate the hell out of you at first, but it's absolutely essential.
That's the essence of my "use GarageBand" advice - I use it as a metronome that can give me feedback on my rhythm.
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  #21  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:33 PM
kevlaw kevlaw is offline
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Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
really just focused on standard blues in E and A, nothing fancy - but using a flatpick + middle and ring fingers for picking really opens up the fretboard for me.
Sometime soon, I will ask for some advice on how to do this. I still have to put down my pick ... finger-pick for a while...then grab it again without losing the rhythm :-)
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  #22  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:37 PM
kevlaw kevlaw is offline
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Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
I think I'm using the same book that the OP didn't like. There's a version of Bach's Minuet in G that's just about the limit of my current ability.
My teacher taught me a bunch of blues & boogie woogie rhythms that are a lot more pleasing to play (to me at least) than Ode to Joy and Minuet in G. I still use them for warm ups when I practice.

When I get a chance, I'll try to track one down.
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  #23  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:45 PM
Enginerd Enginerd is offline
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kevlaw, I'd love to see/hear some of those if you can find them.

Right now I'm working on teaching myself to play Steve Earle's South Nashville Blues. I'm trying to work up to the hybrid picking that Wordman talks about (and I've got the Susie Q lick he posted a while ago bookmarked), but I'm not quite there yet.
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  #24  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:48 PM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Originally Posted by Enginerd View Post
I'm trying to work up to the hybrid picking that Wordman talks about (and I've got the Susie Q lick he posted a while ago bookmarked), but I'm not quite there yet.
Heh - I hear you. I start with that lick to warm up and muff it regularly. Keeps me honest
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  #25  
Old 02-01-2010, 03:13 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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Originally Posted by kevlaw View Post
My teacher taught me a bunch of blues & boogie woogie rhythms that are a lot more pleasing to play (to me at least) than Ode to Joy and Minuet in G. I still use them for warm ups when I practice.

When I get a chance, I'll try to track one down.
I picked up a guitar for the first time last summer. I'm still happy to just play anything that I recognize.
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  #26  
Old 02-01-2010, 04:25 PM
Crown Prince of Irony Crown Prince of Irony is offline
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Nothing to add except to say that I recently got back into playing after buying a left-handed Hagstrom Deluxe-F this summer.

After years of not playing much (due to either being too busy with the kids, or having cheap guitars that were un-fun to play) I finally decided that I wanted to get a decent guitar, and make time to play at least a few hours a week,. After a few weeks of playing regularly, I feel like I did when I was 15 and "discovered" the power chord.

And I love my Hagstrom - while it was only around $450, it is by far the most playable guitar I've ever had. The neck is super-fast, the action is great - the only beef I have is the electronics, since it's a bit buzzy. But I can always get it re-wired. And I'm using a Zoom G1n multi-effects pedal for a practice amp - after years of playing through crappy practice amps, I never realized what a bit of reverb and some decent amp modelling could do for my confidence. Plus I can line in to my PC and play along to iTunes.

Damn, I love the guitar. . .
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  #27  
Old 02-01-2010, 04:27 PM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Nothing to add except to say that I recently got back into playing after buying a left-handed Hagstrom Deluxe-F this summer.

Damn, I love the guitar. . .
Very cool looking!
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  #28  
Old 02-01-2010, 04:43 PM
Crown Prince of Irony Crown Prince of Irony is offline
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Very cool looking!
Yeah, well. . . the lefty only comes in the black sparkle finish, which looks less like a flashy LP goldtop copy and more like a cheesy Formica countertop.

But it sounds frickin' awesome, which is what counts.
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  #29  
Old 02-01-2010, 07:51 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by kevlaw View Post
For the people who are just starting out and struggling with chord shapes, I am about a year ahead of you. Here's my story. Maybe you'll take some encouragement from it.

I remember first picking up the guitar and having a list of songs in my head "one day, I'll be able to play that" I told myself. I remember coming down with a huge, frustrating bump when making music on a guitar turned out to be MUCH harder than I expected. "How come the only song I can play is Ode to Joy!!??" "How can I ever change from a G to a C while still strumming??" "How come all my chords buzz??". I refused to believe that barre chords were even possible.

I seemed to be stuck in that phase for an interminably long time and I lost hope that I would ever be able to play well. Then one day, I sat down with a pile of song books and found that I could play most of them. Not well...just strumming away....but well enough that my wife would recognise what I was playing.

Just like that - Can't play ...then suddenly...Can play .

Sure, I couldn't play well (still can't), but suddenly my guitar is tremendous fun and I look forward to practicing at every opportunity. It's like being able to play crept up on me without me noticing. My wife would say that I am obsessed. For the first time since I started I can imagine that, one day, I will be good at playing guitar and I'll be able to play all those songs I want to play.
This pretty much sums up where I'm at, a year after getting an electric guitar, and 9 months after starting lessons. About a month or two ago, something clicked, and things are coming to me more easily. I'm still not *good*, but I definitely can see the progress.

I concur with Runs With Scissors -- taking actual lessons with a real person helps tremendously, far more than trying to learn from a book or video. The feedback, for me, is what helps the most.

As to what I'm playing, for the past month or so, I've been working on three songs:
"Ah! Leah!", by Donnie Iris
"Would I Lie To You?", by Eurythmics
"Holy Diver", by Dio
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  #30  
Old 02-01-2010, 10:26 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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Well, that was educational. Apparently even the $500 guitars aren't smooth down the necks. I'll save a bit.

So I got a metronome and a 1 watt amp so I can practice electrically. I'm going to keep working on this.
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  #31  
Old 02-02-2010, 06:36 AM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
"Ah! Leah!", by Donnie Iris
Lordie I haven't thought of that song in ages, but I remember the riff. And the tone - interesting tone with a bit of sizzle on it.

[guitar geek moment]

Wasn't he playing a Daphne Blue vintage Strat on the cover of that album? Is that why you got one? That was you, right?

[/guitar geek moment]
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  #32  
Old 02-02-2010, 09:44 AM
kevlaw kevlaw is offline
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[guitar geek moment]

Wasn't he playing a Daphne Blue vintage Strat on the cover of that album? Is that why you got one? That was you, right?

[/guitar geek moment]
We speculated that my strat might have been Daphne Blue - but it's actually Surf Green. I got it because it's what they had.


"Would I Lie To You?", by Eurythmics sounds interesting. I might give that a shot.
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  #33  
Old 02-02-2010, 09:54 AM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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We speculated that my strat might have been Daphne Blue - but it's actually Surf Green. I got it because it's what they had.


"Would I Lie To You?", by Eurythmics sounds interesting. I might give that a shot.
Got it.

Would I Lie to You is an interesting song from a guitar standpoint simply because of how you have to have a feel for the electric guitar. The initial chord - something like a D7sus4 played in barre form - is just a cool arpeggio; pick each of the middle four strings and life is good - let them ring out. But the main riff is a power chord thing - sure, it's just A G A - D A - G C G (or something like that - I am going off memory here) - but you have both strum assertively to establish that rhythm, while also muting the strings with the fat of your picking hand to get that chunking, hard rock sound going. The trick is to really just focus on the lowest two strings of the chord - i.e., the "power chord" version of the chord, with enough overdrive in the tone to fill out the sound. THEN - when it comes to the verses you have to get into funk mode - I know the chord to hit, but don't know how to describe it - but the point is you have to move to funk-strum mode - a real free hand where you spank the higher strings with a clean tone up the neck.

So it's a variety of techniques - deceptively harder than you might think...
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  #34  
Old 02-02-2010, 10:09 AM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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It's amazing what five minutes with a flat file will do to stop crude metal edges from cutting your hand open. Now, I'm a little dubious about my high E. Apparently, holding the first fret down gives me an E#, according to my tuner.

... I'm gonna restring the whole thing, see if that fixes things any. I've noticed the B-string I just put in is much easier to deal with than that E-string. The E-string is about the tension of a cheese-cutter.
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  #35  
Old 02-02-2010, 12:05 PM
BigShooter BigShooter is offline
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Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
It's amazing what five minutes with a flat file will do to stop crude metal edges from cutting your hand open. Now, I'm a little dubious about my high E. Apparently, holding the first fret down gives me an E#, according to my tuner.

... I'm gonna restring the whole thing, see if that fixes things any. I've noticed the B-string I just put in is much easier to deal with than that E-string. The E-string is about the tension of a cheese-cutter.
It sounds like you need to set your intonation (the distance between the bridge saddle and the nut) for all the strings when you restring it. On all the strings, one at a time, check the fretted note at the 12th fret with the 12th fret harmonic. If the fretted note is sharp compared to the harmonic, move the saddle back a bit - towards the rear end of the guitar. If the fretted note is flat compared to the harmonic, move the saddle toward the nut. On most strat type guitars, each bridge saddle is adjusted by a corresponding small philips head screw on the backside of the bridge...

Anyway, I'm happy where I'm at guitar-wise - both playing and owning. I'm mostly concentrating on getting Ghost Town Guitars, my luthier business, off the ground. So most of the time, I'm building guitars, not playing them...

Last edited by BigShooter; 02-02-2010 at 12:07 PM..
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  #36  
Old 02-02-2010, 12:54 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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Whut's a 12th fret harmonic?
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  #37  
Old 02-02-2010, 01:08 PM
BigShooter BigShooter is offline
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Whut's a 12th fret harmonic?
Place your finger lightly over the string right at the 12th fret. As you pick the string, move your finger away from the string. If done correctly, you should hear a chimey tone that is the same note as the open string. Basically, what you're doing is cutting the scale length of the string in half by placing your finger at the 12th fret. Then by plucking the string and and removing your finger, your dampening some of the harmonic overtones of the open string. A more detailed description of natural guitar harmonics can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_harmonics

And more intonation setup info:

http://www.wikihow.com/Set-Your-Guitar's-Intonation
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  #38  
Old 02-02-2010, 02:28 PM
mack mack is offline
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I've started yet another quest to not suck at flatpicking after playing mostly fingerstyle for the last 20 years or so (). I'm an enthusiast, not a performer (although I did write and play a song for my friends' wedding somewhere in the '90s).

I've been working through a couple of books - Linear Expressions by Pat Martino and the 'GIT Guitar Accelerator', which is a prep book I permanently borrowed from my first guitar mentor. The Pat Martino book is way above me in terms of theory and philosophy but I committed the patterns in the first section (horizontal phase) to memory, set up some grooves on my sequencer and hey, it sounds cool. I don't play the patterns by rote to the music, but break them up into little pieces, change the rhythm around, whatever sounds good. It's a good basis for soloing, which was exactly what I was looking for. Now my task is to play it in 12 keys.

The GIT (Guitar Institute of Technology) book is basically 'this is what you should be proficient at before you start GIT'. I like it because of it's simple explanations and practical exercises. Despite all the stuff I've played over the years, alternate tunings, etc. I'm still pretty ignorant of basic chord structures.

When I'm not working out of those books I like to figure out songs, most recently 'The Nobleman's Wedding' which is a traditional arranged by the (I think) defunct Celtic group Whirligig. No tabs existed so I had to figure it out all by my lonesome. It's also mostly piano, but it converted to guitar pretty easily. I love figuring out songs. Once you can zero in on a couple of chords you're on your way. I've also recently been working on 'Won'dring Aloud' by Tull and 'Into White' by Cat Stevens. My great sin is figuring out songs then forgetting about them, as opposed to maintaining a repertoire, like I did when I first got into fingerstyle in a big way.

Barre chords - I played with the guitar mentor I borrowed the GIT book from from junior high through college (except I played drums). I guess he'd started at an early age because he can make his ring finger bend backward at the 1st knuckle so he perfectly frets the 2nd 3rd and 4th strings but doesn't touch the 1st string. I can't play like that and not touch the first string. My lot in life.
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  #39  
Old 02-02-2010, 09:09 PM
MwNNrules MwNNrules is offline
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I'm curious to know: has anybody here ever witnessed a guitar duel? If so, was it any good?
My friend and I were wondering about them, and if it is at all a fair comparison to rap battles, which are essentially never worth listening to, we figured that most guitar duels would end badly, but we still wonder, and I've gotta hear it from someone who knows.
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  #40  
Old 02-02-2010, 09:56 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Great idea for a thread; gj.

E, I was gonna suggest you take a look at the Pignose amps. I have 2 and they both sound great: the original, and the 20.

For your guitar, I suggest that you look at something other than a Strat. You already have a Strat, right? Branch out and try something new. I'd point you to Schecter Guitars for reasonably priced guitars with outstanding craftsmanship. I have a C-1 and not only is it a great looking guitar, it's fun as hell to play, and it didn't cost me 3 months pay.

I'd also suggest you take a look at I was going to suggest you look at the Hohner G3T, but I see they've been discontinued. I got mine for about $400 and it came with a gig bag (a soft case). Plays great, sounds terrific, and is small and light enough to take on a plane without any fuss. Check it out: I found one on ebay still being bid on, and the price is currently only $102. So if you're patient and look, you should be able to find one of these for something under the original retail price, maybe.

Songs: I'm working on about 8 songs atm, since I hope to have Logic Pro in a couple of weeks. I'm not really working on any covers; I rarely care to do more than figure out the basic riffs of a song, then play it My Way™.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 02-02-2010 at 09:57 PM.. Reason: fixed coding
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  #41  
Old 02-02-2010, 10:17 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigShooter View Post
On most strat type guitars, each bridge saddle is adjusted by a corresponding small philips head screw on the backside of the bridge...
Well, that done did it, indeed! Also, I just found out that my tuner only recognizes the notes of the open strings.

Hm. You know, this thing is settling up decently. One last issue. My A string. When I pluck it, _something_ vibrates in... not harmony, no. More like 'in annoying buzz'. The strings above and below it are tuned properly, so they shouldn't be resonating.
Any ideas on what that is?

(I can't believe how much easier this is to practice with now it's not cutting fine lines into my skin every time I slide past a fret.)

Quasi, the problem is, I have about $100 worth of guitar. Technically, it's a stratocaster, but it's not _really_. However, thanks to you guys, and a little letting go of pointless frustration, I'm back on my original plan. Make all my mistakes on this piece of junk, keep working, and then get a good guitar later. (and give this to my dad who always wanted one.)

As far as the Pignose, I've got a Squier-10. But the microamp I just got is a Fender-1. 1 blazing amp of power. Runs off a 9-Volt, so I don't have to worry about finding an outlet to plug in. This is important.
It's pretty quiet, but it's working for me.

Last edited by E-Sabbath; 02-02-2010 at 10:19 PM..
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  #42  
Old 02-02-2010, 10:36 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Lordie I haven't thought of that song in ages, but I remember the riff. And the tone - interesting tone with a bit of sizzle on it.
I asked my guitar teacher to teach me the song about a month ago. As we were working on it, with my iPod playing the song on my teacher's speakers, the door to the classroom opened. It was another of the school's teachers... "I *love* that song...I haven't heard it in years! Who does it??"

Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
[guitar geek moment]

Wasn't he playing a Daphne Blue vintage Strat on the cover of that album? Is that why you got one? That was you, right?

[/guitar geek moment]
He is, indeed:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...500_AA240_.jpg

And, yeah, that was me. Good memory! No, that's not why I was looking at one...a friend of a friend was looking to sell one. I didn't end up buying it (he didn't return my last e-mail); I still just have the Epi Les Paul.
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  #43  
Old 02-02-2010, 10:38 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Quote:
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"Would I Lie To You?", by Eurythmics sounds interesting. I might give that a shot.
It's pretty straightforward, with no crazy chords or anything like that, and it's a lot of fun.
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  #44  
Old 02-02-2010, 10:41 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
It's pretty straightforward, with no crazy chords or anything like that, and it's a lot of fun.
Though, apparently, WordMan disagrees with me on that one.

I suspect my guitar teacher (who transcribed it after listening to it by ear) may have cut a few corners in what he taught me.
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  #45  
Old 02-03-2010, 04:44 AM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
Though, apparently, WordMan disagrees with me on that one.

I suspect my guitar teacher (who transcribed it after listening to it by ear) may have cut a few corners in what he taught me.
As with many rock songs, there's the easy way and the subtle way - on one hand, when Keith Richards is playing in Open G, he famously states "all you need is 3 chords, two fingers and 1 asshole" but if you actually try to play it with all the nuance and groove that Keef does, every song is a master class...

...as I always say, I spent half my playing time working on new challenges and half rockin' out to Smoke on the Water on 1 string - you have to both grow and have fun...

E - glad you are learning more about guitar set up - a good tuner that can detect 12-fret harmonics so you can compare them to the fretted 12th note to check intonation is very helpful; learning to DIY is good, especially if you leave your guitar out of its case and/or live in a place with seasonal variance; adjusting intonation in Winter and Summer is easy to do and can be a very good thing.

kenobi - I remember scoping out Iris' guitar - back in the day, it stood out because it was retro - i.e., not pointy!

Last edited by WordMan; 02-03-2010 at 04:44 AM..
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  #46  
Old 02-03-2010, 05:27 AM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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Yeah, okay, so this tuner I have isn't as good as I thought it was. It shows chord _positions_, it doesn't tell me if the chord sounds right. I thought it would from the package. What's a good tuner?
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  #47  
Old 02-03-2010, 06:33 AM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
Yeah, okay, so this tuner I have isn't as good as I thought it was. It shows chord _positions_, it doesn't tell me if the chord sounds right. I thought it would from the package. What's a good tuner?
No clue - meaning, I have tried a bunch of the $20 - $30 kind from Guitar Center and they all seem basically fine. To me, tuners are like, I dunno, oregano - you know how you are at the store and you see it, and try to remember whether you have some; it's pretty inexpensive, so just to be sure, you buy some? I have a ton of tuners.

I have a few Korg ones - they are fine. Try to find ones with big, readable digital numbers or a very clear dial - you may not gig, but you may find yourself in various lighting conditions...and make sure it is chromatic - i.e., can show the full Western scale, not just EADGBE - you will need alternate tunings at some point...
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  #48  
Old 02-03-2010, 07:13 AM
BigShooter BigShooter is offline
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Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post

Hm. You know, this thing is settling up decently. One last issue. My A string. When I pluck it, _something_ vibrates in... not harmony, no. More like 'in annoying buzz'. The strings above and below it are tuned properly, so they shouldn't be resonating.
Any ideas on what that is?
Could be one of a few of things. First thing I'd check is the string behind the nut. Put your finger on the string between the nut and the tuning peg, pluck it, and see if you still hear it. If that does the trick, then it's probably a poorly cut nut slot - something that you shouldn't fix yourself because you have to be pretty precise and there's a high chance of mucking things up. Can't tell you how much nut material I went through before I could do it confidently...

Another possible cause could be the strings saddle. Sometimes the small allen wrench height adjustment screws can become a little loose and not fully contact the bridge plate. To test this, place your finger on the string's saddle and press down lightly. Then pluck the string and see if the vibration goes away. If this is the case, you just need to turn one of those little allen screws clockwise to get it to contact the bridge plate.

Another possibility is a sympathetic vibration coming from the tremolo springs (if you have a whammy bar - I'm pretty sure you do). This is quite common with strat type guitars and usually only occurs when a certain note is played. I have a strat that does it whenever I play a B flat anywhere on the neck. It's not an annoying buzz though, it's actually the spring vibrating at the same frequency as the string and it should sound like the same tone as the note. It doesn't really bug me, but if I have this issue with the guitars I build, I'll put a little of this spongy packaging material between the springs and the bottom of the spring cavity which keeps them from vibrating...
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  #49  
Old 02-03-2010, 09:20 AM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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Chromatic tuners display all the notes, not just EADBGE. Got it. That's what I 'need'. Or at least am looking for.

Further examination says it's low E, not A... or at least it's easier to reproduce on low E. It's not the tremolo spring vibration, I can make that happen, and it sounds completely different. I _think_ it's the E-string hitting a fret, it sounds like it's happening somewhere on the neck, and if I pluck it then let the tip of my fingernail rest on it, I get a similar buzz. Further examination says the bridge saddle is screwed in the lowest, that is, this is the longest string on the guitar.
The saddles are not loose, though.

http://www.amazon.com/Hal-Leonard-Gu...5210102&sr=8-1
Is this any good? I saw it at one of my local music stores (the one that tried to sell me a set of $15 strings) packed in with a tuner of some kind.

I have discovered that there are four stores in my reasonable vicinity:
A: Tiny, not much of a selection, but apparently really good stuff in it.
B: The store I grew up going to (Clarinet, guitar the first time through but it was mumble years ago and my hands have forgotten what they knew and I learned jack from the teacher.) which is dusty, now operated by a guy who doesn't even know anything about music instruments (I think he's just the weekend guy), but seems to have decent used stuff .
and a big selection.
C: Store that has things the others don't, people at the counter are on top of things but I'm pretty sure they're sharps, as they tried to sell me $15 strings when I just wanted a set of 9s. Carries large variety of Hannah Montana stuff, off-brand cheap guitars.
D: Sam Ash. Too Hip For The Room, but actually not bad. Enormous selection, but if you don't know what you want, you're not gonna find it.
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  #50  
Old 02-03-2010, 11:34 AM
BigShooter BigShooter is offline
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If you're getting fret buzz on the low E string, it's probably due to the action being to low, the neck needing adjustment, or a combination of the two. To raise the action, just turn those allen screws on the saddle clockwise and raise the height of the saddle, which effectively will raise the height of the string off the fret board. Now, if you raise the action to a point the the saddle is equal in height or higher than the A string's saddle, then you probably have a neck issue, which can be a little harder to fix.

Neck issues come in four types: up-bow, down-bow, flattened, or twisted. The first three are relatively easy to correct by adjusting the truss rod which is a steel rod that runs through the center of the neck that works against the string tension to keep the neck stable and in balance. However, these three conditions are usually evident by fret buzz on every string at the same point on the neck, which doesn't sound like your issue. Adjusting a truss rod is a fairly easy process that requires a few basic tools. I never read the Hal Leonard book you linked to, but I do have this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Player-...90&sr=1-1#noop

Dan Erlewine is a god in guitar repair/building circles and he definitely knows his stuff. A very informative book. Learning this stuff and being able to do it yourself is very benficial to even the beginning player.

A twisted neck is more of a problem and usually would require a refret, or for more serious cases, a brand new neck, which is a job for a pro. Let's hope it's the action, eh?
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