Mar 4 2011

Practice, iRig, John Mayer and more

by Josh

How quickly a month goes by!

Amid the frenzy of preparation for our new baby, I have found the time to practice on a handful of songs and techniques that have helped me progress (or at very least remain the same).  I have been working on some fingerstyle techniques lately, thanks to my cousin John I found this YouTube video of Dale Turner explaining Hole Notes in the style of James Taylor.  I found the focus on the formation and ornamentation of chords to produce a more interesting song very helpful.

On the electric side of things, I have been continuing to play with my iRig which has succeeded wildly in letting me explore the more rock/metal leanings of my Les Paul.  My stratocaster has not been neglected, thanks to the discovery of this tutorial (with tab!) of John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”.  I am growing to appreciate John Mayer’s guitar abilities… he is one of those artists that I’m not a crazy fan of but I do see that he has talent.  The blues infusion in this particular song and the mellow groove really keeps my interest.  I am by no means good at playing this song, in fact it is a giant struggle to get through the intro but it is helping to practice moving up and down the neck and practicing hammer-ons.

If you like the look of John Mayer’s Black One guitar, John (my co-contributor on this site) operates Custom-Relics.com where he makes a fantastic reproduction of that guitar (among many others).  I have personally laid hands on many of the reproductions that he offers and can tell you that a lot of care goes into making them look “just right.”  Check it out!

Over the next few weeks, I am going to continue working on these songs primarily.  I have a few other projects in the works, but that will have to wait for another time!

 


Jan 3 2011

A $35 IKEA guitar shelf

by Josh

This one came across my feed reader today, courtesy of IKEA Hackers.  It seems that one intrepid music-lover has made a cool 8-guitar stand for $35 using a Gorm shelf and a wine rack.  We’re set to get an IKEA this year and I love the hacking spirit, so I might just make one of these up myself!

Read more over at IKEA Hackers.


Aug 22 2010

Instrument building…

by Josh

As I mentioned previously, I am cultivating some interest in learning how to build instruments.

This all began innocently enough… several years ago, my Dad purchased a tenor ukulele kit from Grizzly Industrial, Inc. for me, which unfortunately sat on a shelf for a number of years.  At the end of May, I began constructing the ukulele kit. Over the course of nearly a week of evenings, I built the kit and finished it. Shortly thereafter, I became dissatisfied with the friction pegs and ordered and installed some Grover ukulele tuners, along with some Aquila strings. This made my ukulele complete, and it looks and sounds pretty good for a first try.

You may have noticed by now that I documented this process over at my personal blog. Frankly, I anticipated this project to be a one-off that I just got done because I had the kit handy, but by the time I was finished with the ukulele I enjoyed it so much that I began to think that I should look into trying an acoustic guitar next.

Over the course of several months, I have been investigating possibilities for someone with very little actual woodworking experience to build an acoustic guitar. I found that several companies have acoustic guitar kits of varying degrees of difficulty, the highest rated of these is the StewMac Dreadnought Guitar Kit. This kit comes highly recommended because of the superior instructional guides that come along with it. Several websites have denoted this kit as a good one for beginners, and it produces a very nice guitar as well.

The biggest limiting factor for me right now is tools. The StewMac kit comes with a recommended tool list that is fairly long, so I am going to save up some money over the winter months and begin this endeavor in the Spring. I have already stockpiled a great set of links, reading material, and videos that are further encouraging me so I will share those as time permits, in addition to our regular content about learning the guitar.


Aug 18 2010

What’s been going on lately…

by Josh

Happily, a lot of guitar practice. I’ve been alternating between my Gibson Custom and my Seagull acoustic, mostly practicing songs that I am familiar with. I’ve been continuing on lessons over at Totally Guitars and slowly making progress.

I got the opportunity to travel back to my hometown thanks to my job, so I got to hang out and jam with my two cousins. It’s always cathartic to get to practice with family, and I always find it to be much more relaxing.

In the process of learning more about the guitar, I am also cultivating a strong interest in learning to build guitars myself. It will likely be next year before I execute on this interest, but we might end up with a new section at The Guitar Zero to focus on instrument building for the absolute beginner. I am still in the information-gathering phase, but luckily the Internet is filled with information from both amateur and professional luthiers. As the weeks progress, I will explore some of the more interesting websites that I have discovered lately.

In the meantime, I will get back to posting more about my guitar practice and some recent discoveries that have made playing more easy. More soon!


Aug 17 2010

Kid builds guitar, meets his Guitar Hero…

by Josh

What a great, uplifting story of rock excellence. A 14 year-old kid became obsessed with Heartbreaker Mike Campbell’s “Red Dog” guitar and decided to build a replica himself after scouring Ebay for a month. And then this happened.

I think it’s great when stars recognize their die-hard fans in this way. John, my cousin and contributor here, builds heavy relic guitars in the style of John Mayer over at Custom Relics and it would be SO awesome if this type of thing were to happen for him. John Mayer, if you’re reading out there you know what to do. 🙂