A new year

8:16 pm General

Ok, sorry, yeah… I got a tad distracted there. I guess if blogging is cathartic, then I haven’t had much need to cathart, as it were.

Been kind of bouncing back and forth between being very busy (at work) and very busy playing / writing and experimenting with the audio stuff. The crap has hit the fan at work and for a while it was all I could do when I got home to fall into a chair and watch an hour or two of CSI before crashing.

Before work got busy, I’d actually gotten to point of fairly comfortable fingerpickingness on the new Larrivée – an OM-09E, as it eventually turned out. That arrived around mid-October from Trinity Guitars (highly recommended, by the way). Jim Holler did a nice job with the strap peg (on the heel, as requested) and the instrument is just a joy to play. It’s a bit unique in that it was pretty much complete and ready to ship as an OM-09, and its inside label reads as such. Jim had them add the “E” – the L.R. Baggs Onboard iMix Notch System pickup – after it had been completed. After only a few days with it, a fairly complete musical idea kind of birthed itself, which was a little spooky. I’m guessing it was the combined inspiration of a new instrument, a completely new style of playing, and having just read a great script my cousin is working to get produced: Red Gold. If the script is any indication, it could be a real classic. He’s earned it.

The ‘studio’ is now pretty much complete, for what it’s worth, with the addition of a Rode NT-1A condenser microphone (for acoustic instruments and vocals). I’ve since pretty much completed the Red-Gold-inspired tune and have started experimenting with recording. There are a few (actually, a lot of) passages I can’t play quite as cleanly as I’d like yet, so it’s good practice. Ultimately this will be an orchestral piece anyway, but it does sound pretty nice on acoustic 6-string, I must say. For fun, I did record a quickie cello part, just to see how it sounded. It’s going to be cool.

And I realize how long it’s been since I last wrote, as I’ll also note that I finally broke down and took the Lyle up to Northampton to have it restored by Jane Hamel at The Fretted Instrument Workshop back in September. I’m guessing it should be just about ready by now. Perfect timing to bring the Larrivée up for it’s first set-up, now that it’s played-in and I know what I want the action like. A friend brought over his beautiful, new, one-of-a-kind Taylor T-5 12-string just before New Year’s. Wow. If the Lyle plays anything at all like that once Jane is done with it (and she’s indicated that it will), I will be a very happy camper. If she can do the same with the Larrivée, even better!

As you may see below, Tommy has become a fixture in my day-to-day. I have purchased most of his CDs, a couple of instructional / performance DVDs, and spend way too much time watching videos of him on YouTube. The guy is just awe-inspiring. Part of that, I think, is how accessible he seems – both while playing and in his interviews. To sit and listen to his charming, rather quiet manner, you’d never know that he’s probably the best all-around guitarist on the planet right now. In fact, I should add him to the list of inspiration noted above, as listening to his playing was also a big part of that. It was quite a shock to hear about his recently canceled tour (health problem). Here’s hoping the guy stays healthy, active and playing for many more decades to come! I have to get to at least one TommyFest!

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