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Thread: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

  1. #1
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    Default Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    Twenty years ago when I was new in this house, I brought with me the guitar I've been playing now pretty much every day since then. With one exception about fifteen years ago when I took a turn at an open mic night at a local watering hole, I've never played for an audience in public. I lack the confidence. I've never had a music lesson, not a formal lesson in a class, nor from a tutor. I did learn how to read music and I got a clue about twelve-bar blues construction from my old man who was an accomlished big band swing and dixieland jazz trombonist. And lo and behold, in those twenty years I've taught myself to play fingerstyle, the antique jazz standards I grew up hearing my old man play. Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehavin, Honeysuckle Rose, Sunny Side of the Street, some gospel standards like Just a Closer Walk with Thee, and When the Saints Come Marching In, along with Beatles and some folk rock pop, parts of John Prine's Plastic Jesus inspired by Paul Newman's rendition in Cool Hand Luke and Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore.

    ***

    Up in Harlem
    At a table for two
    There was four of us
    Me, your big feet, and you

    ***

    After I was here in this house about five years, and I had a good full-time job doing graphic design, print advertising and pre-press for a commercial four-color printing business, I was making better money than I had most of my working life, not great but enough that I started to feel like I could afford to treat myself to a nice guitar.

    The one I had been playing, and learning on, was a parting gift from my ex-MIL when I got dumped in life crash number four at Christmas time (precipitating my diagnostic for bipolar one, manic delusional wild ride through northern California.) I guess she felt sorry for her departing newly ex-son-in-law.

    That guitar came from a pawn shop, a small, plain, student sized, classical style, made in Korea, with nylon strings. Being unschooled and inexperienced I thought what I should have was a nice, western style, full-size, steel-string, with the narrow and slightly convex neck and a cutaway. So as I was feeling flush, and after spending an equivalent amount of cash on a then state of the art new-fangled digital Nikon camera for my new bride, I went guitar shopping. And what I came home with was a brand new Takemine acoustic electric, as above, a dreadnaught, with a built-in tuner and pickup. It's gorgeous. Solid, heavy, feels great just to hold. It was listed for almost sixteen hundred bucks at the music store, and the salesman spontaneously closed the deal by asking only eleven hundred. It came with a nice hardshell case, of course, and I bought a small practice amp to go with it, which I keep in the shop.



    But a weird thing occured. In the few years I had been playing the small nylon string, I had gotten used to it. At first I thought it was harder to play than a western style steel string, mostly because the neck was dead flat and broad, a challenge for my beginner's reach, for making chords and barring several strings at once with one finger. But what I realized was that I had overcome what I thought was a difficulty, to focus on teaching myself a personal style, in hopes that I would eventually learn to play well enough to be entertainment for someone.

    And then I discovered that the steel strings being hard compared to the softer nylon, and under more tension, require more pressure to sound clean and not buzz, and the neck being narrower is actually more difficult for me to play. The guitar is that much larger, the neck is somewhat longer, and the spacing between frets is wider and so requires more reach to span cleanly for a chord, while the narrower neck requires a bit more precision to get my clumsy fingers to press a string without touching and deadening adjacent strings.

    So for fifteen years I have taught myself to play my version of fingerstyle old-time jazz tunes on the smaller, more humble and slightly quieter nylon string guitar, while the super nice, in pristine condition, expensive guitar sits idle, either in it's case, or lately on it's stand so I can gaze at it occasionally. At one point several years ago, when I realized I had adapted to the nylon strings, I discovered, purchased and installed a pickup and jack specially designed for nylon string acoustics, so I could play it through the little amp, which is also designed for acoustic. It works a treat. For my style of playing and the tunes I've developed, I have no need nor desire for anything much more sophisticated than a touch of reverb, nothing like a wah-wah pedal or a whammy bar, etc.

    Lately I have been feeling guilty for having such a nice guitar without playing it, and at a time when I could definitely use the money that I could maybe get for it, more than I need a second guitar.

    Then suddenly last week, the daily driver popped a string while sitting unattended on it's stand, and I'm loathe to just drive out and get a set, so I'm waiting for my Wife and purchasing manager, and our Amazon shopping cart queue to process, before my set of strings gets to the top and then shows up sometime in the next week or so. So the combined factors of that guilt over the neglected good guitar, which turns out to be actually more difficult for me to play, since I'm not used to it, and the fact of the broken string keeping the usual player unplayable for the moment on it's stand, I decided it's time to bite the bullet and switch over and put myself through the regimen to harden my fingertips, and discipline myself to press more firmly and reach for the necessary frets, touching only the right strings as I'm playing, until new muscle memory kicks in.

    The good guitar is also louder when played assertively enough to have a clean sound, even un-amped, and I'm a little bit shy of playing less than perfectly and loudly at the same time, especially since it is now too cold to play in my shop in the unheated garage, and I am aware that my Wife isn't necessarily up for hearing my practice, which is why it is my habit to play out in the shop, and might be put out by my doing it in the house now and more loudly than usual.

    And now it has taken me days to smoke the fact that my Firefox for Linux has been blocking my attempt to make a Youtube account. So now, ta da, without further verbal splatter, my very first youtube—five minutes of me practicing guitar in my little woodshop, plugged in.

    [Might have to turn it up to hear it.]

    Dammit. Life is hard. And then it's not, alternating unrhythmically, punctuated with moments of clarity and enjoyment, fraught with momentary tension, sporadically peppered with anxiety and dread.

    Jimmy, be the guitar.

    I am your father, Luke. Use the forceps.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    As John Mc Laughlin said to Paco de Lucia during a performance of Spain;...... "Yeah!".......

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    Very cool, Jim!
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    Jim, I love a nylon string guitar! It just feels good in my hands and under my fingers. I love the touch of the strings and the way you can shape a note.

    I realize that the two guitars are not interchangeable and each has its own voice, but if could have only one (and I do have only one) it would be nylon.

    I hope you continue to get many years of pleasure from them.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

    "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    Excellent!

    Thanks for sharing.

    (The graphic art work wasn't by chance for Worldcolor?)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    Thanks.

    (The graphic art work wasn't by chance for Worldcolor?)
    No. That particular one was Spaulding in Sacramento. No relation to the local boat builder by the same name, far as I know.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    Indulge me for just one more short one. A blues diddie.



  8. #8
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    Quote Originally Posted by dutchpp
    As John Mc Laughlin said to Paco de Lucia during a performance of Spain;...... "Yeah!".......
    Or, as John screamed to Paul, "I've got blisters on me fingers!!!"
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube


    A few seconds after the 2 minute mark.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    That’s great Jim. Special! Thanks for posting.
    An option for the Takamine might be to tune it down so the low E is D then tune as per normal. That obviously lowers string tension and you can put a capo on the 2nd frett to play in E. Also if it came with a factory set up you it might be worth getting the action tweaked for using a light gauge set of strings if that hasn’t been done. There’s nothing wrong with the little nylon always being the favourite and building your style around it.
    Last edited by Hallam; 11-28-2022 at 05:09 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Default Jimmy guitar story—first ever youtube

    Thanks for sharing your guitar journey and posting those videos Jim. The suggestions Hallam has are great ones. A capo on the second fret will bring the tuning back to standard e a d g b e. It will shorten the scale length to be a bit closer to your nylon string. Your nylon string looks to be a 3/4 size perhaps so the scale length would be pretty noticeable. You could even try some silk and steel strings. They are light gauge and the wrapped strings are softer under the fingers. You seem to have a light touch so a good tech should be able to set your steel string up with a pretty low action.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by garland reese; 11-28-2022 at 08:27 PM.

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