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> Improving Without Practising ?, Don't Kid Yourself
Ben Higgins
post Jul 29 2014, 10:51 AM
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Doing Everything Else to Get Better at Guitar... Except Playing Guitar.

This is something I see a lot. The hunt for specific exercises or tricks that will somehow connect all the dots and do all the hard work that we know we have to do, but can't quite believe that it's down to us to do. In fact this subject got me so mad recently that I even made a whole video about it !

Why do you think we do this ? My view is that it's a lot to do with trust. We don't quite trust the fact that by just doing more of something, we'll get better at it. We don't trust our own intuition or discipline to get the job done so we constantly search for a voice of authority that says "Do this. This exercise right here !"

Also, I think we, as humans, like to know that we're following a specific set of instructions. A routine or practise regimen. That in itself is fine, as long as we stick to it. But all too often people lose heart because they've tried something for a few days and they haven't seen any results so they think "This doesn't work" and then they're off looking for the next thing to replace that which didn't work.

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This process can go on for weeks, months and in many cases years. They've spent so long circling around looking for answers and exercises that they've neglected to do the one thing that would have helped them progress. Pick up the guitar and just do it ! There are people who've played guitar longer than I have and yet they still struggle with the basics of timing, bending, vibrato, basic theory knowledge. That's because they've lost heart or are they feel that they've got too many things to start with that they don't even make that start.

If we have the opportunity of asking the advice / help of someobdy who's far ahead of us in any given field then we should ask. But please, when you've received said advice, take it ! At least work on it. So many people keep asking questions, hungry for more licks to practise. But what I really see is something different to what they're seeing. I'm seeing people asking for licks so they can be distracted. Distracted from the truth. And the truth that they want to avoid is that they just need to do more. More practise. More time. More effort.

There's a great simple phrase. If you want more, you've got to give more.

Yet all the shiny toys (new exercises) distract from this and reinforce their bad habits of punching above their weight and never really cutting the crap and nailing the right stuff.

So, your finger strength is weak and you can't use your pinky, you say ? Don't even think about reaching for that Finger Strengthener 2000, pick up your guitar and use your fingers the way they're meant to be used ! The same goes for everything else.

Just do it. Don't talk about it. Don't talk about the best way of doing it. Don't look at endless videos of other people doing it. Don't think about it. Don't ask about it. Chances are that you've already done enough of those things. Don't keep kidding yourself you're doing research. You're not. You're procrastinating. Stop distracting yourself.

Pick the guitar up. The answers are always there. Always.


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Sensible Jones
post Jul 29 2014, 12:50 PM
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Very wise words!
Being from that ' There are people who've played guitar longer than I have and yet they still struggle with the basics' category I can really understand what you're trying to put across. Admittedly, when I was trying to teach myself some 30 years ago there was very little in the way of material to work from, no internet, youtube, weekend seminars at Guitar Colleges or anything of that ilk. Even the magazines like Guitarist etc had no 'Audio Aid' (CD or anything). So, to learn a solo from one of these magazines was impossible unless you already knew what the solo sounded like!!
Ah well, life was harder back in the Stone Age!!!
wink.gif

biggrin.gif biggrin.gif


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Jul 29 2014, 01:00 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 29 2014, 09:51 AM) *
Doing Everything Else to Get Better at Guitar... Except Playing Guitar.

This is something I see a lot. The hunt for specific exercises or tricks that will somehow connect all the dots and do all the hard work that we know we have to do, but can't quite believe that it's down to us to do. In fact this subject got me so mad recently that I even made a whole video about it !

Why do you think we do this ? My view is that it's a lot to do with trust. We don't quite trust the fact that by just doing more of something, we'll get better at it. We don't trust our own intuition or discipline to get the job done so we constantly search for a voice of authority that says "Do this. This exercise right here !"

Also, I think we, as humans, like to know that we're following a specific set of instructions. A routine or practise regimen. That in itself is fine, as long as we stick to it. But all too often people lose heart because they've tried something for a few days and they haven't seen any results so they think "This doesn't work" and then they're off looking for the next thing to replace that which didn't work.

Attached Image

This process can go on for weeks, months and in many cases years. They've spent so long circling around looking for answers and exercises that they've neglected to do the one thing that would have helped them progress. Pick up the guitar and just do it ! There are people who've played guitar longer than I have and yet they still struggle with the basics of timing, bending, vibrato, basic theory knowledge. That's because they've lost heart or are they feel that they've got too many things to start with that they don't even make that start.

If we have the opportunity of asking the advice / help of someobdy who's far ahead of us in any given field then we should ask. But please, when you've received said advice, take it ! At least work on it. So many people keep asking questions, hungry for more licks to practise. But what I really see is something different to what they're seeing. I'm seeing people asking for licks so they can be distracted. Distracted from the truth. And the truth that they want to avoid is that they just need to do more. More practise. More time. More effort.

There's a great simple phrase. If you want more, you've got to give more.

Yet all the shiny toys (new exercises) distract from this and reinforce their bad habits of punching above their weight and never really cutting the crap and nailing the right stuff.

So, your finger strength is weak and you can't use your pinky, you say ? Don't even think about reaching for that Finger Strengthener 2000, pick up your guitar and use your fingers the way they're meant to be used ! The same goes for everything else.

Just do it. Don't talk about it. Don't talk about the best way of doing it. Don't look at endless videos of other people doing it. Don't think about it. Don't ask about it. Chances are that you've already done enough of those things. Don't keep kidding yourself you're doing research. You're not. You're procrastinating. Stop distracting yourself.

Pick the guitar up. The answers are always there. Always.


I absolutely agree with you, mate!

There's so much bullshit out there that people think they should learn because some idiots told them they should! NO, you don't have to waste your time with the grip master, you don't have to practice the spider for hours every day, you dont have to learn jazz chords if you hate the style or sound of it, etc. etc.
The answer to all of this is as simple as it coud be:

ONLY PRACTICE WHAT YOU LIKE BUT PRACTICE WITH PASSION!

Speaking for myself, i dont remember any day i played or practiced something that i really didn't like! Of course i tried out some things that i might found be interesting at the beginning and later on(when i dived in deeper) realised that's something that didn't touched me so much. But my main focus is always on something that i relly like and i could use in a muscial situation(live, studio etc.).
This is really important point too: if you want to make a living as a (session)musician and making money with it, no one is gonna hire you because you are a great sweep picker or fast as hell! Defintely not! You'll get the job if you have a great timing/groove, are versatile, good understanding about harmony, a feel for music etc, etc,,

I remember one student who came to me and told me he wanted to develop more since he played for about 15 years. After hearing his mostly pentatonic soloing with typical blues phrases but played without a good timing, inaccurate bending/vibrato by only using three pentatonic boxes, i told him on which things he should work to improve his playing.
His first answer was: yeah, i know but i dont have time to work on that!? I told him then it's impossible to teach him! biggrin.gif

to make the story short:

Rembember, there's no shortcut in learning an instrument!
If it was there would be 1.000.000.000 Steve Vais, satrianis etc.

On the other side: it makes so much fun(Yes, IT SHOULD) to practice, so why we should shorten that? biggrin.gif
Learning or practicining is all about discovering, passion, life, heart and so much more... All these things don't need a shortcut!

So only be patient with yourself! :-)

This post has been edited by Guido Bungenstock: Jul 29 2014, 01:06 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 29 2014, 01:52 PM
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QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ Jul 29 2014, 12:50 PM) *
Very wise words!
Being from that ' There are people who've played guitar longer than I have and yet they still struggle with the basics' category I can really understand what you're trying to put across. Admittedly, when I was trying to teach myself some 30 years ago there was very little in the way of material to work from, no internet, youtube, weekend seminars at Guitar Colleges or anything of that ilk. Even the magazines like Guitarist etc had no 'Audio Aid' (CD or anything). So, to learn a solo from one of these magazines was impossible unless you already knew what the solo sounded like!!
Ah well, life was harder back in the Stone Age!!!
wink.gif

biggrin.gif biggrin.gif


Yeah I taught myself mainly from guitar mags and listening to music.. and visually pinching what I could from videos of guitarists. If I had the internet I think I would have been overloaded with stuff and not put in as much effort !

Good ol' Stone Age. I miss those wooden carts that we used to travel around in. And I haven't chucked a spear at anyone in years !

QUOTE (Guido Bungenstock @ Jul 29 2014, 01:00 PM) *
I absolutely agree with you, mate!

There's so much bullshit out there that people think they should learn because some idiots told them they should! NO, you don't have to waste your time with the grip master, you don't have to practice the spider for hours every day, you dont have to learn jazz chords if you hate the style or sound of it, etc. etc.
The answer to all of this is as simple as it coud be:

ONLY PRACTICE WHAT YOU LIKE BUT PRACTICE WITH PASSION!


Very good, G ! That phrase should be used all the time ! smile.gif


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klasaine
post Jul 29 2014, 03:41 PM
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+1000!

People tend to ask the question until they've received the answer they like ... in every aspect of life.



This post has been edited by klasaine: Jul 29 2014, 03:42 PM


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Phil66
post Jul 29 2014, 05:04 PM
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Ben, you've summed me up 100%, I feel a bit of a prick to be honest. I've explained all to you via a Facebook message and you advised me to join. GMC so here I am. Currently on holiday but when I return on Saturday I want to be treated by all tutors as though I have just started and know nothing, if something comes up that I already know it will still probably need work so it shouldn't matter, I don't mind covering old ground . I need the smallest chunks to work on. I even found having to learn all pentatonic shapes in one go in Mr Cockburn's first steps series a bit too much. I think one shape put into practice and mastered would suit me. What you reckon? Above all I think a well structured practise routine is paramount. I tend to pick up the guitar and noodle along doing the same old stuff without moving forward.
Cheers
Phil


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Gitarrero
post Jul 29 2014, 06:08 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jul 29 2014, 04:41 PM) *
People tend to ask the question until they've received the answer they like ... in every aspect of life.


So true! A colleague of mine realized that this spring a few other colleagues have lost weight (including myself) and starting asking. All of us told her what kind of exercise program we were doing. For me, it was jogging before work and lifting weights after work. For others, it was aerobic classes, cycling, power walking...point is, everyone was doing something every day, giving up free time for training. A week later she told us she started this new diet a friend told her about...needless to say she didn't do it for long and didn't lose weight.

With this new cover I did with Ville, many of you gave the feedback that my voice got better and stronger. And I was like "what? I didn't even practise at all!"
And it's true, I didn't practise, but I sang. Or rather, sing...every day, I strum some chords and sing a few songs, just because it's fun.

Point is, if you wanna get better at something, just do it. (Will Nike sue me now??)



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Sensible Jones
post Jul 29 2014, 06:15 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 29 2014, 01:52 PM) *
Good ol' Stone Age. I miss those wooden carts that we used to travel around in. And I haven't chucked a spear at anyone in years !

Yeah, the Stone(stoner?) age was great but then came the Iron Age with the invention of METAL!!!!!
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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 29 2014, 06:17 PM
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We all look for a quick turnaround, right? 'Play the guitar like an ace in 30 days!' - they say biggrin.gif

True words from Ben and practicing with passion is pretty much the only way to get good at ANYTHING in this life - guitar and any instrument included.

@Phill - looking forward to your return, man wink.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 29 2014, 07:36 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jul 29 2014, 03:41 PM) *
+1000!

People tend to ask the question until they've received the answer they like ... in every aspect of life.


That's it exactly. I think they call it circular reasoning or circular belief where people look for the proof they need (and by damn, they will find it) whilst discarding anything that doesn't fit with their initial hypothesis or belief.

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jul 29 2014, 05:04 PM) *
Ben, you've summed me up 100%, I feel a bit of a prick to be honest. I've explained all to you via a Facebook message and you advised me to join. GMC so here I am. Currently on holiday but when I return on Saturday I want to be treated by all tutors as though I have just started and know nothing, if something comes up that I already know it will still probably need work so it shouldn't matter, I don't mind covering old ground . I need the smallest chunks to work on. I even found having to learn all pentatonic shapes in one go in Mr Cockburn's first steps series a bit too much. I think one shape put into practice and mastered would suit me. What you reckon? Above all I think a well structured practise routine is paramount. I tend to pick up the guitar and noodle along doing the same old stuff without moving forward.
Cheers
Phil


I would definitely ask you what your goals and tastes were and get you doing stuff that was enjoyable and conducive to your tastes in music. I wouldn't give you a load of theory if all you want to do first of all is learn how to rock ! So I would advise keeping the enjoyment factor in there !

QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jul 29 2014, 06:17 PM) *
We all look for a quick turnaround, right? 'Play the guitar like an ace in 30 days!' - they say biggrin.gif


Yeah this quick fix stuff is aimed at the desperate and vulnerable. Don't believe the hype !

That said.. I can offer a super secret course that will make anyone a guitar master in 1 month ! Not only that, you'll become irresistible to the opposite sex, earn more money than ever and if you're bald you will grow all your hair back. Only £50,000. smile.gif


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post Jul 29 2014, 07:50 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 29 2014, 07:36 PM) *
That said.. I can offer a super secret course that will make anyone a guitar master in 1 month ! Not only that, you'll become irresistible to the opposite sex, earn more money than ever and if you're bald you will grow all your hair back. Only £50,000. smile.gif



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Phil66
post Jul 29 2014, 11:07 PM
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I would definitely ask you what your goals and tastes were and get you doing stuff that was enjoyable and conducive to your tastes in music. I wouldn't give you a load of theory if all you want to do first of all is learn how to rock ! So I would advise keeping the enjoyment factor in there.

Well I've always wanted to be able to play Surfin With The Alien; Scuttle Buttin, Couldn't Stand The Weather, For The Love Of God, Always With You AWM but I know that's light years away, for now I'd love to pick up the guitar at a friends house and play a few chords with some lead lines that have rhythm that they can tap their feet to and clap along to even though they don't know it because I'm just jammin.
I hope you understand what I'm trying to say after a night on the devil's juice smile.gif
Cheers
Phil

This post has been edited by Phil66: Jul 29 2014, 11:25 PM


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Phil66
post Jul 29 2014, 11:32 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jul 29 2014, 11:07 PM) *
I would definitely ask you what your goals and tastes were and get you doing stuff that was enjoyable and conducive to your tastes in music. I wouldn't give you a load of theory if all you want to do first of all is learn how to rock ! So I would advise keeping the enjoyment factor in there.

Well I've always wanted to be able to play Surfin With The Alien; Scuttle Buttin, Couldn't Stand The Weather, For The Love Of God, Always With You AWM but I know that's light years away, for now I'd love to pick up the guitar at a friends house and play a few chords with some lead lines that have rhythm that they can tap their feet to and clap along to even though they don't know it because I'm just jammin.
I hope you understand what I'm trying to say after a night on the devil's juice smile.gif
Cheers
Phil



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Israelmore Ayivor
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Mith
post Jul 30 2014, 03:54 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 30 2014, 02:36 AM) *
That said.. I can offer a super secret course that will make anyone a guitar master in 1 month ! Not only that, you'll become irresistible to the opposite sex, earn more money than ever and if you're bald you will grow all your hair back. Only £50,000. smile.gif


Man that got heaps more exspensive real quick. I should of gotten in while it was cheap.

I think the internet is the biggest blessing and curse for learning guitar nowdays. Its a wealth of knowlage but it can overwhem people and they never fully develop anything.

I'm currently going back to basics. I've always been ok at most things but I don't want to settle for ok. At the moment I'm working on my timing and speeding my playing up a bit. But I want it to be perfect. I've actually really enjoyed going back to basics and not just learning them again but nailing it to a perfection that I wouldn't exspect a beginner too. And I actually think this has yeilded more results than mindlessly trying more and more complicated stuff.


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Todd Simpson
post Jul 30 2014, 04:09 AM
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Well said!!! The PINKY example stands out in particular!! EVERYONE has struggled with a WEAK PINKY! Some folks buy all manner of gizmo to make the pinky stronger. Some folks just join my BOOTCAMP and run the GAUNTLET of QUAD PICKING PINKY WORKOUTS!!! smile.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 30 2014, 08:49 AM
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QUOTE (Mith @ Jul 30 2014, 03:54 AM) *
I'm currently going back to basics. I've always been ok at most things but I don't want to settle for ok. At the moment I'm working on my timing and speeding my playing up a bit. But I want it to be perfect. I've actually really enjoyed going back to basics and not just learning them again but nailing it to a perfection that I wouldn't exspect a beginner too. And I actually think this has yeilded more results than mindlessly trying more and more complicated stuff.


Yes, just piling on more and more licks can result in the log jam effect !!


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PosterBoy
post Jul 30 2014, 01:30 PM
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This is what I'm liking about Todd's bootcamp. It truly is about nailing the basic movements, making the tension free and efficient. If you can't do the basic things, it's only going to get worse when you add in more complexities!

If I had worked this out when I was a teenager, I wouldn't have so much guitar instructional material gathering dust, that was bought with such excitement that it would be the book/dvd etc that would change my playing by just reading it.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jul 30 2014, 02:13 PM
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This thread is very inspiring Ben. I can't agree more with your words about practice and I also think that Guido added that phrase that is also fundamental.

This is a never ending journey guys so nothing makes sense if we don't enjoy the journey as itself. I've been practicing and making music for more than 20 years and I'm still learning new things every day, there is a lot to learn and practice yet, but what's even cooler, there is a lot of music inside of me ready to get out. That's what keeps this journey amazing for me: music. smile.gif




QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jul 29 2014, 07:07 PM) *
I would definitely ask you what your goals and tastes were and get you doing stuff that was enjoyable and conducive to your tastes in music. I wouldn't give you a load of theory if all you want to do first of all is learn how to rock ! So I would advise keeping the enjoyment factor in there.

Well I've always wanted to be able to play Surfin With The Alien; Scuttle Buttin, Couldn't Stand The Weather, For The Love Of God, Always With You AWM but I know that's light years away, for now I'd love to pick up the guitar at a friends house and play a few chords with some lead lines that have rhythm that they can tap their feet to and clap along to even though they don't know it because I'm just jammin.
I hope you understand what I'm trying to say after a night on the devil's juice smile.gif
Cheers
Phil




Hi Phil! You have everything to achieve those goals: energy, passion, wise thinking, GMC mentoring program. biggrin.gif

Let me know if you need some help designing your guitar routines. Remember that a diary practice is much more effective if you know which things you'll work each day so writing down on a notepad the guitar plan for each week is a good idea.



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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 30 2014, 05:31 PM
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Right Phill wink.gif Don't forget about our little program as well biggrin.gif I am waiting for your return wink.gif

About the internet being a blessing and a curse - I totally agree - there's TONS of info but no structure and no guidance or feedback. People who are saying - Bah, I can learn on Youtube, are so wrong - you need A LOT of experience to be able to pick up ideas from Youtube players and REALLY grow on those, by using them into your playing and thus learning.

GMC is one of the few places where you can find the things above, so people.. DO profit and write us smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Jul 31 2014, 12:07 AM
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Well thanks!! You hit the nail on the head smile.gif My entire teaching philosophy is based largely on the physical, mechanics of playing. Achieving a low tension stance with the guitar, finding the magic angle where the neck rest perfectly to match the angle of your hand. Finding the right pick grip and right pick attack when addressing the string.

These fundamental issues are often overlooked it seems. As such, it can lead to a player knowing his scales but being chained to a poor picking/fretting technique that limits his ability to actually play them in an expressive way and without pain.

Your doing well in BOOTCAMP Posterboy! KEEP UP THE FIGHT!

Todd




QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Jul 30 2014, 08:30 AM) *
This is what I'm liking about Todd's bootcamp. It truly is about nailing the basic movements, making the tension free and efficient. If you can't do the basic things, it's only going to get worse when you add in more complexities!

If I had worked this out when I was a teenager, I wouldn't have so much guitar instructional material gathering dust, that was bought with such excitement that it would be the book/dvd etc that would change my playing by just reading it.


PHIL! PM Me when you get back and we will get you going in BOOTCAMP!!!!! You will travel the River of Blood!!!

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jul 29 2014, 12:04 PM) *
Ben, you've summed me up 100%, I feel a bit of a prick to be honest. I've explained all to you via a F..uit me. What you reckon? Above all I think a well structured practise routine is paramount. I tend to pick up the guitar and noodle along doing the same old stuff without moving forward.
Cheers
Phil


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