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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / My struggles with the guitar

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Oct 21st, 2019 12:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

Actually the first instrument I was interested in, my brother got one for Christmas 1961, I was 7 he would of been 6. I borrowed it to take a summer “day” class at the school library. I wanted to play. Dad took me to the guy who taught music at the local school and registered me for the class in the upcoming school year. The teacher said I would play the violin, I was a dumb kid and figured that was how you learned the guitar.

About two years later, after the violin and after a short time on the cello I was put on the concert bass. That, without a doubt, was the coolest instrument in the orchestra. I could just hear how the bass ruled over all the others, the foundation,, the bass was the foundation all the others were built on, I was 8 or 9. Dad’s next tour of duty was Wiesbaden AFB, Germany.

I played my brothers guitar a little, but was seriously jonesing for a bass, I even attempted building one from scavenged construction scrap. Dad figured I was serious about it when I started gathering more construction scraps for my second attempt. I got the Framus for Christmas 1965.

My 6 string forays came and went, usually when not in an active band, I only played the six string in a gig situation once in 1970.

I’ve been working the six string a lot since I retired in 2012. Everything I play is from memory but I often forget what I know. As they fell out off rotation some needed to be refreshed. So I made a list of acoustic tunes I’ve learned, many out of rotation for a long time, in some cases more than 15 years, Like Suicide is Painless, played for a couple of years then dropped, I was working regularly on the bass for a bunch of years, both in my band and covering a few others when their bassist became unavailable, I didn’t play a whole lot of guitar from 1978-mid 2000s.

Once I listed these tunes and brushed up on the ones back into rotation, I’ve come up with a list of 40-45 tunes I can play from memory. Since I did this others pop up from time to time that I’d forgotten.

I spent a lot of time loading these and editing them in OnSong over the last couple of weeks. I suffer from a fused radial head in my elbow and partial (50%) paralyses, in my right arm, which ruined the ability to strum in any traditional way, but I can use my fingers and do a kind of Flamenco finger strum, leaving finger picking my only option.

My only real venue for acoustic guitar is around the camp fire. Out in the woods with my buddies, this is primitive/dry camping. It’s a captured audience “o) poor bastages. Now a I can pull of three or four nights without repeating a tune.

It’s a totally different thing than bass. The bass is a lot more forgiving, for the most part mistakes are not noticed if you don’t drop the groove, any note in passing is OK. Guitar is not so forgiving, it takes a bit longer to recover from a missed note and becomes an obvious screwup. For me it requires a bit of warm up. Probably because my guitars all seem to have different nut widths and scale lengths, which is never a problem with the bass.

The guitar player in my current band, never want’s me to play the guitar. He wants to be accompanied on the bass, the mandolin player likes my guitar playing and if it’s just me and him, wants me on guitar. It makes sense, not so much because I’m a decent guitarist as it is the scales covered by the instrument, with the bass all the mid freqs are missing. I only know one bassist that can pull off solo gigs. Bass needs other instruments to play with, it’s not an instrument that works in solo type settings, it turns into “ok, guess what song this is” kind of thing “o)

Contributing Member

Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Oct 25th, 2019 06:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

The lure of acoustic guitar is it makes a fine solo instrument. The bass (and IMO the electric guitar) needs to be part of an ensemble.

Now retired, my instruments are 2 Martin acoustics and nothing else. I'm fine with that.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Oct 25th, 2019 09:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

I totally agree. Very few choices for a portable instrument that can play full chords, with the range a guitar has.

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / My struggles with the guitar

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