Monday, March 17, 2008

Good Acoustics

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Everything is greening up. The trees, every one's outfits, and even the bagels in the bakery section of the grocery store. I sure wouldn't buy dyed bagels, though.

I had the privilege of attending a super duper guitar workshop yesterday. If you guys haven't heard of Al Petteway before, you should check him out.

An acoustic wizard, Al gave a very informative workshop aimed at all levels of musicians. As a music teacher, I know how difficult it can be to make sure there's something for everyone in a lesson. He pulled it off very nicely, and I, for one, got a lot out of the class.

The point that struck me was this: Al said he tries to make everything as simple and easy as possible. You shredders out there might be raising your eyebrows, but you haven't heard Al play. He really rips, sings, and talks with his guitar. So what's the point I'm getting at? (Actually, that Al was getting at?)

Now, I can always twist things around, so Al, please accept my apologies if I've got this all wrong. However, I'm pretty excited about applying this next point to my playing.

If you've ever watched a great pool player, they never have any difficult shots. Why? Because they set themselves up nicely. They know how to play position. That's where their magic is. They can run hundreds of shots, and make it look so effortless...Because they're on such a high level, they always can leave themselves a great shot.

I had known this about pool, but I had never thought about it with guitar. By playing something the most effortless way, it allows the greatness to shine through. Note, this doesn't mean playing easy stuff. It means playing a piece the easiest way. In other words, if we're mountaineers, let's take the shortest path up Mt. Everest. No point to climb it walking backwards!

I'm looking forward to applying that lesson I learned from Mr. Petteway to my playing. No need to make things extra complicated!

By the way, for all my philosophical talk, I still believe that there's a fiercely competitive musician inside of each of us. When they're not competing, they're comparing. And comparing Al's workshop to the Doyle Dykes clinic I attended in August...Al's playing blows the doors of Doyle's! It just sounds so much better. Check him out!

PS. Drive safe tonight, please. I can't stand the irresponsibility folks of driving drunk, so give a buddy the keys, and do the best thing for your music career - live!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, I discovered that I sound MUCH better and cleaner when I don't make things complicated. There are so many different positions to play the same lick so there's gotta be one that works best for your playing as an individual. That's a great tip that I read a while ago and try to live by.