Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Newbie geek strums # 2

This is a follow on from (Newbie geek strums # 1)

Well. Some interesting blog comments and also some interesting e-mail.

Some more observations and remarks

  • It seems beyond coincidence that so many markup people (dare I say "doc heads") are musicians of various types. Lessee : Steve Newcombe, Eliot Kimber, Eve Maler, Bob Du Charme, Len Bullard, Tony Coates...
  • On Jarrod Robertson's recommendation, I got Fretboard Logic Special Edition by Bill Edwards. I have only flicked it so far but I'm more enthusiastic about it than anything else I have seen on the "music theory"/learn-your-scales-they-are-good-for-you/here-are-the-most-important-25-million-chords genre. A book that seems to use 3-4 core ideas/patterns as combinatoric algorithms for navigating around the fretboard. That fits my brain very nicely than you very much. Besides, who can resist a learn-the-guitar-book that quotes Claude Shannon? ("Information is anything that reduces uncertainty").
  • There seems to be an entire Guitar culture/community that venerates guitars as, um, Object d'Art. Things to be crafted (luthiered?), decorated, polished, mounted, sensuously rubbed...even if they never play a note. Maybe the same is true for other instruments like the piano or the saxophone and I'm just not being exposed to it on my current travels.
  • Lots of folk talk about making sure you get a "good" guitar but of course, newbies are lambs to the slaughter here because we haven't a clue what we are looking at. Sure we can pick up a dozen guitars and strum the strings and go all pensive and earful but we are basically kicking tyres. Thanfully, my mate Pat stepped into the breach and picked a decent guitar to get me going. If you are a newbie too, get someone you trust to do the first round of buying for you. (Hi Pat:-) Starting with a bad guitar (a finger slicing, impossible to tune, bent-knecked dog of a thing you got for fifty bucks appears to be the fasted route to the dreaded "I cannot do this. I've no talent like *they* all have." confidence tailspin.
  • As a newbie, I cannot discern the difference between pitches terribly well and my confiedence in my own ability to tune a guitar by ear (using the relative method - having latched onto a Low E from somewhere) is, um, zero. I bought an electric tuner. What a great gadget! Highly recommended.
  • If you have an electric tuner, make sure it is set to "guitar" and not "bass" or "chroma" when you try to tune. I baffled myself for a good hour on that one. Thought my gadget was busted.

Thats it for now. Some time soon : You must be F...ing joking chords, guitar as a sure-fire road to RSI flareup. Oh, and musical texts as a proper subset of the all the hermeneutic circles in the world.

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