So, you bought yourself a guitar and it’s still sitting in the corner?

I told you, my creativity well is running low. There’s still many things I’ll write about, but I’m actually reaching into things I’d have written in the future and bringing them to this time to publish them.

There actually is a madness to my method!

Well, today I’m going to be talking to some of you who are more at the beginner stage. You might think that it’d have suited if I’d started with you, but there’s a cold hard truth that I’m just going to tell you.

I don’t believe you. So many experiences tell me that when you say you’re going to learn to play guitar that you’re not actually going to keep it up very long.

Here, go back and read a rough draft of my thoughts on the subject of learning to play guitar. In that article, I put a very low number on the number of hours I’ve dedicated to mastering the instrument.

The thing is, I don’t expect you to do that. Fuck no. You’d have to be right out of you fucking mind to do that. Seriously, it’s not worth it – for most people. It really isn’t.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to play a guitar and have fun with it.
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Lessons about performing, lesson 42: Don’t do shit for exposure!

It’s amusing how bad at predicting the future of this site has gone. It has somehow gone from anticipating making a few posts and being done with it to the point where I try to get something out there every day for you.

I got a question from a guy we’re going to call “Bob.” Bob is not his real name, but he asked why I do this – if I’m not making any money at it.

Well, Bob, I enjoy it. I also like the idea of helping people. People seem to enjoy the work and I enjoy seeing the comments and hit counter go up. No, they don’t click ads, but I’m rewarded in other ways.

Yes, I’d like the site to break even. I don’t much care about a profit, so breaking even is just the goal. Anything additional would go to some worthy cause, perhaps some sort of gift for the regular readers.

Bob followed this up with asking why I didn’t seek out sponsors. Well, Bob, I’m pretty lazy and I might someday want to write reviews – and I’d like those reviews to be untainted with the smell of bias. So far, I’ve written mostly nice things, but I have plenty of not-nice things to say.

So, there you have it, Bob. Those are the answers to your question. They have not a damned thing to do with today’s post, but I’m going to put it here anyhow.

No, today’s post is something different. It’s yet another lesson that you might want to learn. This one has some caveats, but we’ll try to address them.

I’m not going to write my longer intro, ’cause I was busy answering Bob. If you want to see the complete list of rules for performing musicians, see this link.

Now, onto today’s article…
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My secret as to why I frequently get told I’m “tight.” (That’s not innuendo!)

Try as I might, my creative juices just haven’t been flowing lately. To top it off, we’ve lately had a weekend guest contributor, but they’ve gone on vacation. So, that means I need to fill the Sunday slot myself.

I’m gonna guess you’ve noticed that I try to get something out to you every single day – and have done so for more than a couple of months now. In Internet-years, that’s pretty much a lifetime’s worth of site articles.

Speaking of which, I got the strangest email the other day. I wasn’t going to tell anyone, ’cause I really don’t want to encourage this behavior. But, it amused me and I’m going to share it, before I get to the article.

This person had done their homework, as they referred to me by my real first name. (It’s David, I don’t actually hide that. I know, you were probably thinking my real name was TheBuddha, but it’s not.) They offered to buy my site.

I sent them a reply letting them know that the laughable amount of money they’d offered wouldn’t even cover purchasing a single article. Shit, the only reason I have ads is ’cause I want to automate the site’s payment. They offered me a grand sum of $75.

No, I’m not kidding. Part of me thinks that’s actually more than the site is worth, but another part of me is pretty damned sure it’s worth more than that due to the traffic alone. Really, however, I think it’s priceless, ’cause these fucking articles are pretty damned awesome. (I admit my bias!)

So, in the harsh world of the ‘net, we’ve been slapped in the face and told our contributions to the world of guitar are worth a paltry sum. Harsh, man. Harsh.

I told you I was out of creativity – but I’m not out of things to write. No, no… Those that know me well will tell you that I’m very seldom at a loss for words. Which means you get a boring article today.
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Let’s talk about one of the greatest guitars ever crafted…

Quick question for you. What is your favorite electric guitar and why is it the Martin D-28?

Nah, it’s okay to have other favorites. But, this is one of my favorites and I’m going to tell you all about it – and why I think everyone should own one.

It’s the immediate choice I’d make when the subject invariably comes up with what acoustic guitar would you want with you if you were stuck on a deserted island.

Wait,  you mean that subject doesn’t come up in your conversations with friends? It’s just me, then? No… It can’t be!

Seriously, I’ve had that conversation (or similar) many times. I’ve even witnessed that conversation leading to hurt feelings and damaged friendships. Some folks are just pretty passionate about such things.

Meh, it doesn’t matter. They’re just wrong!

Ha! I kid! (Or do I?)
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Lessons about performing, lesson 41: Venue follow-up!

Well, here we are again, my dear reader! If you’re reading this on the day it was published, it’s the Friday and that means that we have our weekly guitar thread tonight.

If you’d like a reminder (and any updates that may apply to that thread) then there’s a spot right there on the right. It says, “Subscribe for thread notifications.” If you put any ol’ name and working email address in there, I usually remember to send out reminders.

Note: You’ll have to confirm your email address. We take issues of spam pretty seriously, so you can’t just put in any email address – you have to have access to it. If the email containing the confirmation link doesn’t arrive in short order, check your trash/spam folder.

We’re a fairly new domain, on a non-standard ccTLD, and we live in a bad Internet neighborhood. So, it’ll probably get filtered to your junk folder. Sorry ’bout that, but there’s not much I can do about it. You can configure your email provider’s settings to filter it to the inbox, which is what I recommend. You can also send them hate mail, or a horse’s  head, but it’s probably just as effective to use your own filtering mechanism.

Now, this is our 41st entry into the lessons for performing musicians. They’re rules that you can pick and choose from – but most of them are applicable, in some way, to your particular situation – assuming you’re going to be a performing musician and would like to eat more than frozen meals and peanut butter.

No, they won’t help you be a rock star – but they will help you reach the point where you’re able to make a successful living by just using your musicianship. It means you might not have to try to juggle three different jobs.

If you’d like to see the whole list, sort of – it’s probably a little out of date, then click here. Otherwise, I’m going to assume you’re all caught up and we’ll just jump right into the next lesson.
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Yes, it is time for the 20th guitarist that was better than Hendrix!

I guess you could say that I’ve been writing these for 22 weeks now. Two weeks were taken off and so I’ve missed two. On the other hand, I’ve been saying this for decades – so I’ve really been working on this longer than that. Here is a complete list of guitarists so far featured.

But, even if we just count the twenty artists that I’ve featured, that’s still a long time in Internet years. How long will the list go on? I don’t really know. There are lots of guitarists who were better than Hendrix.

Some weeks, I get complaints from people who don’t seem to actually have any interest in learning what this list is about. They think I just hate Hendrix. They think there’s no such thing as a guitarist that is better than another.

Strangely, pretty much all of them choose to offer their opinions without having actually read the articles. I’m not absolutely positive what makes them do this, but I’m pretty sure they do this because they see this as damaging their egos. After all, I challenge a belief they’ve been told to hold and they don’t actually know what this list is for.

The reality is, It’s not easy to articulate the reasons for this list – unless I’m discussing it with someone who is either a guitarist or someone who is very interested in music. Most of the complaints come from people who don’t fit into either of those categories.

Each week, I try to explain it in new ways. Each week, I try to use new verbiage and express my thoughts and criteria. This week, I’m going to do no such thing. This week, I’m not even going to bother putting any great effort into it.

Why not? Because the people who argue aren’t actually going to read it. The people who already understand aren’t going to need to read it again.

So, a very short version is in order!

Rolling Stone is one of many magazines that has rated Jimi Hendrix as the best guitarist. From a technical standpoint, that’s not even remotely correct. It’s my assertion that the term best guitarist should be one of technical merit and not one based on popularity.

And, unless I’m with a bunch of other guitarists, few people seem to even understand what that means. I don’t know what they think it is that we do with our guitars, but I can assure you that we’re not equal in skill. Unfortunately, the possibly inbred, inebriated, know-nothings at RSM have shat out article after article that demonstrates their mental deficiency and have convinced people that Hendrix was not just a great guitarist, but that he was also the greatest guitarist.

They’re wrong. They aren’t just wrong, they’re leading otherwise nice people to believe horrible lies. Hendrix was a fine artist and his performances were astonishing. I love his music. I love his art. I love his statements. I love covering him. I love to take one of his songs and noodle on it for hours. He just wasn’t a very good guitarist – by my metrics and, frankly, my metrics are the metrics that should matter for determining greatness as applicable to the word guitarist.

Hmm… Okay, so that wasn’t nearly as short as I’d expected it to be! Well, it should be okay. By now, you know coming to this site means that you won’t be getting things that fit on a bumper sticker. Being verbose is kind of what I do!

I’d also like to take a moment to stress, now more than ever, that this list isn’t actually in any specific order. For the first ten, maybe the first fifteen, I was pretty good about placing them where I felt they belonged – in order of greatness and according to the metrics I’ve set for deciding this.

The reality is, you can switch these artists around. This is going to become more and more true as the list progresses. They all have just a couple things in common. They all played guitar and they all have played it better than Hendrix did.

So, you may prefer (or even objectively rate) Vai as better than Zappa. Feel free to rate them yourself. Feel free to use your own criteria and make your own list. If you do make such a list, feel free to let me know that you’re making it and I’ll give you some exposure to get you started.

Speaking of exposure… Our next artist is one who seems to suffer from an exposure issue. Oh, you know who she is – or you’re at least familiar with her. However, few people can name her and remember why it is they know her. Let’s give her some of the recognition that she’s earned.
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Lessons about performing, lesson 40: Remember why you’re there!

If you don’t know what I’m doing, why are you even here? Sheesh! I write these intros and explain what I’m doing. I probably should have just written one and the copied and pasted it to start every article. It’s a little late for that now.

So, what am I doing? Well, I’m telling you how to be a performing musician and how to actually increase your odds of getting paid to do it. No, I’m not telling you how to become the next person to have an album go gold. That’s entirely unrealistic (sorry, but it’s true).

What is realistic is that you can be a professional performing musician and not have to work multiple jobs. What is realistic is that you can do so without having to resort to eating nothing but generic cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on cheap bread.

The odds of you getting rich are pretty low. The odds of you getting great fame are also pretty low. The odds of you actually being able to afford an off-lease car are much better. So, if you don’t want to be rich and famous, here’s the lessons that have so far been published.

There has been new daily content for the site for over two months now. The amusing part about this is that I never expected to do this. No, I expected it’d just be a few articles and then abandoned due to lack of interest. I figured the greatest lack of interest would be on my end. But, here we are…

I get a lot from writing these. I don’t get paid, ’cause y’all don’t actually click on any of those ads. In fact, it costs me money. However, it costs me more time than money. But, I do get rewarded.

I get rewarded by honing my skills as a writer and, more importantly, learning to understand my audience. That’s an art in and of itself and it’s one that can take a lifetime to truly master. It is also related to today’s lesson.
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Lessons about performing, lesson 39: Case closed!

Y’all know what I’m doing, right? I mean, this is the 39th entry on this damned list. I really shouldn’t have to explain it to you nearly every day!

I should seriously plan these things out better. The sloppiness of this is entirely my fault. There is nobody to blame but me – and possibly the lazier people who came before me and didn’t actually write this shit down.

What didn’t they write down? The list of rules you should follow if you want to actually make a living as a performer. It’s not gonna make you a rock star, but it might mean you don’t have to eat pasta and butter every night.

Here, read the full damned list. It might be up to date, it might not be. It was up to date the other day but you’ll have to forgive me for having other things with higher priorities. It’s probably never going to be complete – until the series is done.

When is the series over? Buggered if I know. It’s over when I run out of ideas. I actually get quite a few ideas from you folks (my dear readers) and turn ’em into lessons.

Not this one, however. This one I had to come up with all on my own. I got not one iota of help, you unhelpful bastards. Seriously, help me out! I’m running low on ideas and could use some fresh eyeballs and thoughts. There’s a contact form and you (yes you, you personally) should use it.

Seriously, click here and send me a message. You can even throw in gratuitous insults. I ain’t scared. I ain’t even smart enough to be scared! No, really, I’m running low on ideas.

What you might not have noticed is you’ve had a new article – every single day – for over two months now. That’s right. We’re fucking productive. (Y’all chew through some bandwidth, too. But, I digress.) Anyhow, it’s been two months and I’ve had some help along the way (for which I’m very grateful, as are my dear readers) but the ol’ idea bucket is running a bit dry.

Am I ranting? Yes, yes I am. Why? ‘Cause I’m getting good at these damned intros! Ha! I had a madness to my method all along!
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Lessons about performing, lesson 38: Maintaining Relationships!

We meet again, earthling! We meet again!

You should know what I’m doing. If you don’t, then please see this list of rules that you should know, should you desire to become a performing musician. Following these rules won’t make you an instant rock star. Following along with these lessons will, on the other hand, give you some chance at making an acceptable income from your musicianship.

Of course, they’ll not all apply to you. Some will be more important to you than others. But, they’ll help you – even if you’re not a musician. There are all sorts of lessons in there for people involved in other careers. So, think of them as a buffet. You can take what you will and disregard the rest – but I’d urge you to make your selection carefully, as they’re all pretty valuable things to know.

Sort of related: I actually caught up the master list of all the lessons. I usually do that on Monday but I’d missed one week and that led to the master list being pretty far behind. Thank you for your patience and please keep in mind that I have to prioritize my time and I also need to keep this as a hobby and not make it anything like work.

You know, I really don’t actually like writing these intros. They’re about the hardest thing to do with regards to keeping content coming. I have said pretty much everything in these intros before and, to date, I’ve said it some 37 times.

Yet, here I am, saying it again! The thing is, I really don’t like repeating myself. I said it once and saying it again is a waste of time. My time is important to me. This not liking to repeat myself was a thorn in my kid’s sides and it took them years to understand it.

“I already told you to clean your room. Don’t make me repeat myself.” They seemed pretty fond of making me repeat myself,  probably for their own amusement.

But, with regard to these intros and many other things in life, the key seems to be to practice. It’s my opinion that I’m getting better at these and that I’m learning to make them topical, interesting, and informative! Maybe…

At the very least, you’ll soon see why I chose my children as the example…
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Lesson about Recording for the Complete Novice: EQ

Aloha! Chris here from The Kilt Lifters with another lesson on Recording for the Complete Novice.   I hope everyone has had a great week and has digested the last few lessons.  We covered buses last week, so now we can move on to EQ.  

While EQ and Compression will each receive their own lesson, it’s important to note that they have an effect on each other depending on how you order your signal chain.  If you place your EQ before your compressor, the signal that the EQ is receiving ideally already has the peaks reduced by the compressor. If you place the EQ before the compressor, the compressor is then working on a signal that has been modified by the EQ.  I often use a channel strip that allows the position of the EQ and compressor to be swapped with the press of a button.

So, let’s start by talking about EQ and what it does.  EQ allows you to cut (subtractive EQ) or boost (additive EQ) very specific ranges of your audio.  EQ is extremely useful for dialing down frequencies that are annoying to the listener. To that end, I generally prefer to start with mostly subtractive EQ and boost very little to eliminate noise.  Once that initial cleanup is done on the individual tracks, I will tend to listen to everything together and boost or cut additionally where needed so that the entire mix fits together without any instruments being unintentionally obtuse.  Personally, when I’m working with familiar subjects, like my own voice, or any of the instruments I work with regularly, I have presets that are fairly close to what I want, then I fine tune the EQ to fit the piece. Another important function of EQ is to make room in the sonic spectrum for a given instrument.  Often instruments have overlapping frequencies that can sound muddy in your mix. Remember, that when mixing, it’s not much different than being on stage with a band. It doesn’t matter if you are fulfilling your sonic dreams with your penultimate guitar tone if it’s clashing with another instrument. It’s about blending them together artfully to create a good overall experience for the listener.  If I’m EQ’ing a keyboard part, I’ll very likely cut the low end so it doesn’t step on the bass. Besides, we all know that they keyboard player should be sitting on his left hand with a bass player in the mix!

The best advice I can give for EQ is to look up any number of frequency charts, like this one, in order to start to familiarize yourself where various things fit in the sound spectrum. This will help you to find a good starting point for your adjustments.  I would also recommend an ear training program for audio production, like this one.

There are a couple of different types of EQ.  Parametric EQ’s allow you to adjust the width and and frequency of a specific bandwidth and modify it.  They will usually have a knob or setting for frequency, a knob or setting for range or bandwidth, and a knob or setting for adjustment.  Usually they will have at least two sections, one for low, one for high, but may have three, four, or more sections for different frequency ranges.

Parametric EQ

Graphic EQ’s are just that.  They show a graphic representation of the entire frequency range and allow you to modify frequencies by selecting them visually across the spectrum.

One advantage of a parametric EQ is that it allows you to really train your ears to various frequency spectrums because they don’t show you a visual representation.  They force you to listen.

Here are a couple of examples of graphic EQ’s

Graphic EQ 1

Graphic EQ 2

 

The last thing I’d like to mention is that like any other effect or processing, it’s important to have a goal in mind.  If you like the sonic profile of your track, don’t EQ it! EQ is for adjusting the sonic profile of your track with an intended goal in mind.

That’s it for this week!  Feel free to drop a comment or question below, or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can buy my album!

Until next week!

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