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  1. Day 121b: <Tangent> Top 10 guitar terms that sound filthy to the uninitiated...

    by , October 16th, 2012 at 12:59 AM (The 40-Year-Old Music Virgin)
    #10... hammer-ons & pull-offs

    #9... bending above the nut

    #8... headstock

    #7... bolt-on

    #6... buckle rash

    #5... hot pickups

    #4... bone nut

    #3... single coil

    #2... brown sound

    #1... humbucker!



    Honourable mentions: G-string, F-hole and speed knobs.

    Feel free to add more in the comments section.

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  2. Day 121: Life gets in the way sometimes...

    by , October 16th, 2012 at 12:30 AM (The 40-Year-Old Music Virgin)
    My hiatus is officially over and it's time for an update.

    Since my last post I:
    1. moved my family out of one house and into another,
    2. had a serious bout of bronchitis and pneumonia,
    3. was promoted at work,
    4. turned 40,
    5. lost over 25 pounds (including 1.5" from my neck, 2" from my chest and 4" off my waist),
    6. and suffered a ligament injury to the thumb on my fret hand, which still hasn't fully healed.

    Even if I had the time or inclination to play ...
  3. Day 16: Just in case you're wondering...

    I am reading Gary Marcus' Guitar Zero. In fact, I finished it tonight.

    It's an excellent read for a middle-aged analyst and guitar enthusiast like myself. The book offers enormous insight into how we learn, how our brains re-wire themselves, how music affects us, music history, theories, studies, observations, anecdotes, opinions...

    I read a digital copy on my iPhone. This was also a new experience for me and, surprisingly, not unpleasant. I was a hardcover guy, now ...
  4. Day 13: My first "real" challenge...

    Ties and dots.

    Ugh.

    Ties and dots.

    I get it. They're simple concepts, but this is the first music notation that made me roll my eyes and want to go to bed early.

    I've had minimal difficulty with whole, half, quarter and eighth notes writhing up, down and across the staff. It's cool. It's an alphabet. There's a natural flow and familiarity. These are notes/letters forming riff/words... but now I have to deal with these accents--these ties ...
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  5. Day 10: Joy! (An Ode to...)

    I've definitely played more difficult songs than "Ode to Joy." I can't recall playing an entire song on just 2 strings. I can't recall playing an entire song with only 5 recycled, natural notes.

    So why am I grinning from ear to ear? Because I can read EEFGGFEDCCDEEDD | EEFGGFEDCCDEDCC | DDECDFECDFEDCFG | EEFGGFEDCCDEDCC across a treble staff as fast as you can read it here.

    Sure, it's just "Ode to Joy." But playing it from sheet music at a decent ...
  6. Day 6: Insidious rationalization...

    I wanted to play the guitar tonight. So I did, but I didn't.

    I wanted to play the guitar tonight, but I didn't want to practice fretboard fundamentals or learn foundational music theory. I told myself to play the guitar because practice is just practice and it's not really playing. I convinced myself to play/not play.

    This is perhaps the most insidious trap in adult learning: rationalizing procrastination. In effect, I played myself.

    All I've ever wanted to ...
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  7. Day 4: Thumbs up for thumbs down...

    Previously, I expressed concern over the inconsistency of thumb placement by my fret hand. Eerily, my pre-recorded guitar teacher addressed the issue tonight.

    What's scarier is his advice made instant sense and had an immediate impact (paraphrasing): don't worry about your thumb, worry about your wrist--keep your wrist down and your thumb will fall into place.

    The prescribed wrist-down technique has also improved my fingertip angles. As well, it helps keep my fret ...
  8. Day 1 - Lesson 1...

    Noble me, I literally started from scratch. I did not fast forward through the pre-lessons like "the parts of the guitar" or "the names of the strings." In recognition of this miracle, I may change my handle to Saint David.

    Early comments about Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar program:
    • Outstanding production value
    • Nice balance between high-level concepts and low-level details
    • Steve Krenz is a genuinely nice guy and his voice is well suited for instruction
    • Appreciate
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  9. Day 1 - Taking inventory...

    Acoustic guitar? Check!
    Chromatic tuner? Check!
    Picks of various shapes and sizes? Check!
    DVD-based guitar learning program? Check!

    Some backstory: last year I received Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar as a gift. It's a high-end product in this saturated market and emphasizes music theory as much as technique. Plus, L&MG was already an established thing before Gibson funded some reshoots and attached their brand to it. Vote of confidence, right?
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