I did some work, so let’s learn about the harp guitar!

I hope you’re sitting down for this. If not, you probably should be – and you may want to add a shot of whiskey to your coffee.

You’re not going to believe this, but I both did some actual work and I haven’t even smoked anything today. Yet… I’ve got to talk to a local radio station later and I should probably not sound like I’m mentally handicapped.

I’m not kidding – I did some actual work!

What did I do? Well, it goes a bit like this…

This site’s articles get to just a few other sites. I probably should pick different sites to submit them to, but I enjoy submitting them where I do and I don’t see that changing in the near future.

On those sites, as regular readers know – but we sometimes get strange traffic from other sources, I kind of keep their guitar communities active. I tried doing so for math, but people are far more interested in music. I enjoy the increased amount of feedback and participation with regards to music instead of math, so music it is.

It was on one of those sites where a user named Timmy posted a picture of their guitar that they inherited. I believe they said it was 100 years old, but we’ll get to that – as it probably isn’t quite that old. You’ll see. It’s a grand adventure.

It’s pretty awesome and fairly unique guitar.

The guitar is something called a “harp guitar” and I know a little about them but, given that I mostly do covers for money, I’ve got zero good reasons to actually own one. Until now…

Alas, I am not a harp guitar expert. That’s okay, there are experts!

I didn’t just fine an expert. I found the expert. This guy literally wrote the dictionary definition.

I’m not kidding and I’m so grateful that they’ve given us their time.

Who is this expert? It’s none other than Gregg Miner.

Seriously, check out his credentials! (Really, check them out because they’re extensive.)

That’s right… Someone posted a picture of a harp guitar and I then went to find what appears to be the foremost figure for harp guitars, and bugged them! (I ain’t scared!)

From what I’ve seen on their site, they’re all seemingly nice people with professionalism and a careful study of the harp guitar. They’re building an encyclopedia and use phrases like this, “the first serious organological approach to these instruments.”

They’re scholarly. We giggle at innuendo. They write about the history of a luthier. We write about bitchin’ solos. They have gatherings. We have parties.

I even told ’em that it was for this site and they still helped! I don’t know what they were thinking. I even warned ’em that I’d be linking to their site!

No, in all seriousness, I want to extend a special thanks for the time they’ve invested and I’d absolutely love it if you became interested in a harp guitar. I’m really sure they’d love it even more than I do.

I will say that I’ve never really been interested in playing a harp guitar – until just the other day, when this mystery guitar appeared and I started digging into it.

I will also say that the person who originally posted a picture of their guitar probably didn’t expect this to be the result. But, it’s a bit of a mystery piece and many musicians love a mystery instrument. I count myself as one of them.

So, let’s get this started…
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Don’t just sit there playing with yourself!

As the title may illustrate, to an observant reader, I’m pretty much a giant five year old. And, once again, I’m sure you can deduce my mental state!

I feel as though I should offer some sort of reason for my mental state – but it’s definitely not an excuse.

They took the fun out of weed and made it legal. Seriously, legal weed is like decaffeinated coffee.

Wait… That’s a horrible analogy…

Legal weed is like buying beer after you’ve long since reached the legal age to do so.

That’s slightly better.

Which is to say, some of the magic is gone.

The only rational way to put the magic back in it, is to find a way to make it illegal again. See? I’m a man of sound first principles!

I don’t want to be too specific, but let’s just say I decided I’d grow a whole lot of pot last year. To put this in perspective, I could have 12 plants flowering at a time – legally. I exceeded that amount, significantly.

Harvest season nears again and I have an unusual problem. I have more pot than I can possibly smoke. Some people have already harvested their early stuff and people seem to just give me pot. Granted, one look at me and I’d probably offer me pot, but it was a pretty strange trait to adjust to when I moved here.

It might be selection bias, but I’m pretty sure most of Maine smoked pot before it was actually legal. I don’t think I know anyone who realized pot was legal and said, “You know, I think I’m going to start smoking pot.”

Nah… They all smoked it before it was legal. It was decriminalized, long before I moved here.

I realize that this might be because of the people I generally associate with – but I associate with quite a few professionals – but I don’t actually know many people in my area that don’t smoke pot. It wasn’t entirely uncommon to see someone smoking or partake myself, while walking down the street at a regular festival – even before it was legal.

They had whole hemp-celebrating festivals, long before it was legal. I know this, ’cause I’ve been on the stage at a few of ’em. They don’t actually hide them – they advertised the hell out of them. “Come on in. We’re gonna do a bunch of illegal drugs and jam!”

Which, you know, is a pretty good party. But, it’s legal now. I haven’t been to one of their festivals since.

I should mention that selling marijuana is illegal without special paperwork. But… You can give away up to two ounces. A whole lot of bartering is frequently referred to as gifting. Someone gifted me a whole bunch of fresh stuff recently and I can’t even (realistically) gift enough of my own to my friends and neighbors.

It’s a very unusual problem to have. On this subject, I’ll add that every musician should be reasonably adept at hiding and security a decent stash of excess drugs. That’s actually a fairly frequent problem.

See? These are things you don’t learn in a music book!

By now, you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. “Oh, TheBuddha is just stoned, again.” Which is true – but I have a point!

And, remarkably enough, my intro is even topical! You’ll see…
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A bit about musical notation, specifically tab.

So, as I was imbibing my early morning creativity booster, I read through my messages and responded to some. I read everything people send, but I don’t always respond – because I sometimes can’t think of anything to say.

Today, I had someone ask me a pretty good question in a private message. I’d share it, but it was specifically marked private – and I don’t need to share it in order to get today’s article done.

But, it’s from their message that I got the idea to write this article. I’m gonna tell you about musical notation.

Tab, sometimes ‘tablature’ or ‘tabulature’ has a pretty neat history.

When someone looks down on you guitarists for reading tab, just smile and say that at least your not the bass player!

More seriously, just ignore ’em and realize that they speak from a place of ignorance! And, I’m gonna teach you why!

Hmm… This is the shortest intro that I’ve written in a while. I’m pretty much done with the intro. This feels wrong! (I’ve written like 160,000 words for this site. I have a lot of words.)

Yeah… So, I’m pretty much done with this intro. I’m not sure how that happened.
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So, I’m still not done…

My creativity bone is still broken – but I’m pretty sure it’s nearly mended. I’m actually excited to write tomorrow’s article. (It will be Thursday, time for the guitarist better than Hendrix!)

So, I think my creativity bone is almost healed. I almost wrote a lessons about performing, but I decided fuck it… I’ve written a whole lot of them. I’ll finish the series soon, but I’m not writing one today.

This morning, I tried some herbal inspiration but then I had some phone calls to make and it just wasn’t helping.

Well, today, I’m going to tell you about a lovely guitarist and share a story about their guitar. That’s it…

I ain’t even sorry for this! You’re getting this story.
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And now, the conclusion of the story…

Alright… I’ve got a massive hangover and I didn’t even crawl out of bed until about 09:30. I smoked some herbal inspiration and my headache is subsiding.

The short version is that yesterday’s show was a postponed show from the week before. (As those playing the home game know.) Well, we were one of several bands to be postponed – as you may also know.

One of them was unable to make yesterday’s show and a number of other stupid things happened at the venue. Either way, that left a hole in the schedule. We were asked to fill it and they’d give us money. We like money. We did it.

However, they wouldn’t let us actually do two sets back to back and just move everyone up a slot. No, we had to do a partial setup, do a set, tear our stuff out, and then do that same exact thing later in the evening.

The only possible way to cope with this sort of stupidity is to get intoxicated. So, I did… Not very intoxicated, but drunk enough to deal with inept venue management. And, once you start a good buzz-on, it’s just not realistic that you stop.

So, I hung out at the venue long after we could leave and soaked in the atmosphere. Also, I got pretty drunk at that point. I spent zero dollars on booze, strangely enough. Everywhere I went, somebody already had a beer for me.

Gotta tell you, it was pretty much the best day ever. I maybe made three trips during the unloading process – and those were only from the front of the stage to pack my guitars into the cases. Someone carried them out from there.

For those who are performing musicians, that’s important!

This is pretty much as good as it gets, and only a little bad. I’ve played in dive bars and our only pay was what they made at the door. I’ve been playing at places where someone was shot in the parking lot and the vast majority of the bar stayed inside because they didn’t want anything to do with witnessing it.

I’ve paid my dues! I do, I admit, have it pretty easy. So, I’m really bitching about something trivial – but it was a good excuse to get inebriated. Either way, I stayed there really late and the drummer’s wife drove us back to my house. My car is still at the venue. I’m so not going to go pick it up today.

Anyhow… Where was I?

Oh, yes…

The story! I am telling you the story of a very wonderful guitar. She’s a beauty and I would possibly consider punching a nun if it meant that I could play her.

And, I’ve set the scene for the conditions when she was first brought into this world. For those of you who aren’t caught up, this is the beginning of the story:

Read this, before reading the next part. It’s important that folks understand the background of where this guitar came into existence.

Without further ado…
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The tale of a very famous guitar. Part one.

Well, it’s after noon and I am sitting here with my keyboard and unable to think of what to write. I’ve got lots of things to write about, but none of them really seem like they’d be all that fun to write.

I told you… My creativity bone is broken! It kind of sucks, as it’s making these articles often seem like a chore, instead of the joy that they can be.

But, I try to get something out to you every day. Today is no different, but I need to tell you one story so that I can tell you the second story. It’ll be too long for one article, so I’ve decided to smash it into two pieces and write it that way.

I also don’t have much time. I have a show this afternoon/early-evening. I probably will leave here in just about 3.5 hours! Fortunately, it’s pretty close and we’re doing just a single set. I won’t be gone very long and I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed tonight.

There’s something to be said for being a regional band and not actually trying to achieve fame and make it big. Nope… Those following the story know that it’s all about getting paid and making it a reliable career. That’s what I’m teaching the younger generation and, so far, it’s been pretty good.

Maybe tonight will see me writing about today’s show? I am not sure, as that after-show time is still a fuzzy schedule. We shall see!

Anyhow, I am gonna tell you a story – so that I can tell you a story!
Continue reading “The tale of a very famous guitar. Part one.”

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