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34 years old
Gender Not Set
San Francisco, California
Born Nov-3-1987
Zombie Movies, Bond Movies, Music, Art, Life, Love
Joined: 15-August 07
Profile Views: 8.490*
Last Seen: 21st July 2008 - 05:45 PM
Local Time: Jan 28 2022, 05:41 AM
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14 May 2008
WARNING: this is a rather long and involved analysis of the decisions I made in my evolution as a guitarist. I put this here for evaluation and some helpful comments/criticism/joking. You may encounter some naughty thoughts. Read at your own risk.

Before I decided to set out and develop my own style of play, I did everything the way I’ve always been taught was right. I installed my closet worship shrine to Jimi Hendrix. I memorized my major and pentatonic scales, and all my 7 chords in first inversion on the 6th and 5th string. I kept my picks in my pocket, next to the “protection” lol. I warmed up using chromatics. I played primarily electric and I thought that anything outside of single note lead guitar meant only playing chords.

This all changed when I started doing Kosei’s lessons, and decided to add more “exotic” techniques to my pallet. This happened with a series of big decisions. The first of which was to sell my electric guitar and go acoustic/semi-classical (semi-classical because I only play nylon string guitars with cutaways, electronic, and necks no wider than 5cm or a little less than 2 inches) I did this for a variety of reasons:

-I wanted the option to play classical pieces, which I feel is harder on a regular thinner neck
-I was getting into jazz, and felt that jazz on a nylon string guitar was an area with lots of room left for exploration.
-I wanted to use flamenco techniques, some of which require some vicious usage of the nails and fingers, which would hurt really bad on a steel string.
-not only was my playing getting more rhythmic, but it was also getting more percussive, so having an acoustic body gave me something to drum on for fills and whatnot.
-the ladies really dig them Spanish grooves

Ok so that last one was bull**** (sort of) but regardless, I felt that a semi-classical better suited my developing style. The next big issue was what to do about the pick situation. Search for my posts and you may find my breakup letter with my guitar pick. The reason I decided to end our relationshiop was to be able to play the aforementioned classical pieces (also fingerstyle) and flamenco which does not use a pick. But here was my dilemma: I freakin love alternate picking and sweep picking. Even on acoustic that S*** sounds awesome. So I wanted to be able to fingerpick while still having the option to go alternate picking. I tried out quite a few things to achieve this:

-I tried using only classical technique, free strokes with the thumb and rest strokes with ima, but I just couldn’t get it up to speed/coordination.
-I tried using just fingers, and “alternate picking” with either the flesh/nail of the thumb (like Wes Montgomery) or index finger. Even with nail hardener, this did not work. I’ll spare you the bloody details.
-I tried hybrid picking (use of flatpick plus middle, ring, and pinky finger) but the inability to use my index finger really bothered me.
-I tried giving in and asking my flatpick for forgiveness, but she had moved on by then.

I finally switched to thumbpicks. This was a really jarring transition, which took months to get use to, but is incredibly rewarding because now I can go from fingerpicking to alternate picking and back without having to put anything down. Of course, the thumbpicks have to be sized correctly, filed down, and secured with plastic cement before they’re %100 to my liking. But it’s a lot of fun, when I’m making my own picks I feel like batman or a jedi or something.

My practice routine also evolved. Before, I use to do my daily chromatic workout, then play some scales, and then some alternate picking exercises. Then I would either a.) mess around, b.) improvise over a chord progression, c.) work on a lesson for a while, then move on the next without getting those techniques down, or d.) look up some tabs for a song I liked, play it, forget it later, then go back to a.) mess around.

Not the greatest use of a 2-4 hour practice session, which has gone through its own evolutions:

-I use to practice technique for hours and hours. I played all sorts of exotic exercises up and down the neck, and it would eat up all my time.
-I would spend that time writing music, which was good for creative reasons and would force me to research theory sometimes, but too much time spent writing is not progress.
-I would learn new material the whole session, but I wouldn’t play it later to remember it.
-I even kept a blog of my progress in music, but that fell short due to boredom.

As you can see, I’ve made every mistake and wrong turn you could possibly make in the process of teaching yourself. I’ve learned a lesson or two though, and now my routine looks something like this:

-I spend the first hour – hour and a half on nothing but technique, and applied theory (like mapping out arpeggio patterns, or finding every chord shape of Maj7b9)
-then I spend a few minutes playing some selected repertoire (especially stuff I haven’t played in a few days)
-the rest of my time is spent either a.) sight reading or b.) working on a new piece.
Or both!

So I guess, if anyone has any comments about anything I said, or any advice about style or my current practice routine, I’d love to hear it.

10 May 2008
Dear GMC

It’s been nearly 9 months since I joined this wonderful site for the first time, and its been 4 months since my dramatic decline of activity here (which some of you may have noticed). I’ve been trying to come back ever since but my journey has taken me well out of the realm of online lessons and into the real world.

9 months ago also marks the moment I decided to devote my life to the professional, intellectual, and spiritual pursuit of music. Its been rough, and they have been some of the most difficult, most embarrassing, and ultimately most rewarding 9 months of my life. I’ve hit dead end after dead end in my learning process, I’ve struggled to learn musical notation, I’ve spent many late nights at home or at coffee shops tirelessly mapping out fretboard patterns that I would only throw away the next morning, I’ve had my guitar stolen, I’ve straight up hated playing guitar sometimes. But I kept at it. A year ago I didn’t know what an octave was, or what “diatonic” meant. Today I’m sight reading bebop, improvising flamenco, and modulating in my head. I sought a life which meant perpetual rigorous practice and study, but rewarded me with love (in many senses of the word), and though my journey has taken me away from this place, its clear to me that I would not have made it where I am today if I didn’t have GMC to guide me through the darkness in my first crucial months of learning.

Without GMC to help me, I wouldn’t have ventured into the realm of classical guitar and jazz.

Hell, I wouldn’t have even been able to understand jazz.

I wouldn’t have been able to play late night blues with the unappreciated virtuoso guitarists that live hard lives on the mean streets of San Francisco.

I wouldn’t have been able to play in shelters for the sick folks, homeless folks, and battered women and children.

I wouldn’t have been able to play actual gigs, and work with other musicians.

I wouldn’t have been able to contribute to a new and developing style of guitar (hip hop classical).

I wouldn’t have been able to take on guitar students of my own.

I wouldn’t have been able to stand out of the crowd, and win over the woman I love.

I wouldn’t have been able to feel closer to a higher spiritual power through the pursuit of music.

But most importantly, I wouldn’t have been able to feel like the man, or the musician I always wanted to be without that crucial first push by the GMC community 9 months ago. For that I thank you, all of my friends and teachers who help foster the next generation of guitarists (myself included). Hopefully one day, I can come back and be an active member again (but that would mean I’m not out working. Blah) I'm sorry if you felt this letter was poorly constructed. I usually spend a lot of time on my posts but not on this one, because right now I'm leaving to go play/study. I just wanted those of you who care to know how I was.

Yours Truly, Spiderusalem

P.S. How are all of you?
21 Mar 2008
Like most of my posts a while back, this is a good way to waste 2 minutes of your time (as well as a good way to waste 20 minutes of mine thinking this up). How is everyone?
25 Feb 2008
Ok, so after spending hours at a local coffee shop playing and studying theory, my girlfriend and I decide to head home. I get hungry on the way, so I ask her to get me one of the granola bars we packed earlier today. It was a granola bar with a blueberry yogurt icing, and it was delicious. Mind you I'm very tired from a whole day of playing music and studying theory, so my thoughts begin to wander.

I have a conversation with myself that went kinda like this: "man, this blueberry granola bar is delicious, but it would be more delicious if you had actual blueberries and played them an octave higher to better harmonize the flavor".......

please take a journey with me......

This is the image that I saw in my head.

This is how I know I've been playing too much guitar. How about you?
8 Jan 2008
So I'm not easily enraged, but these past few days have been really bad to me and today I'm just wholey irritable and flat out pissed off. I snap at all the people that try to talk to me and every little thing makes me angry. so two things:

1.) Can someone give me a song or sometihng to play to help me let it out? Something strummy maybe...something I can play pissed off and not think about.

2.) Is there anything that makes you angry?

I should of called this the "bad day" thread
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