In May I had a stroke which left me with my right hand side a bit un-coordinated to say the least. It’s taken me til now to get myself somewhere near resembling my old self, therein lies the secret, “Do I want my old self back again?”, or do I take this opportunity to rebuild myself from scratch with new ways to do things and do let go of the person who has not been happy with all the results that 64 years has brought? Tonight is practice night and I have to go now, but I’ll be back.
Bright and sunny but cold, another typical Autumn day in rural Herefordshire. Yesterday I grubbed up the wild flowers planted in my medium sized pots and planted some wallflowers, a bargain I thought at just over a dozen for 25p, the next thing is to move the remnants of the dahlias in the biggest of the pots in to the greenhouse where they can dry out. Two varieties I’ve grown outside my office, one variety called “Peter” which is bright pink and one called “Guitar Man” which is a duo tone with cream in the centre and red towards the outside. We have a photo shoot for the band booked at the weekend, i hate having my photo taken and the thought of a “Photo Shoot” gives me the heebyjeebies.
A picture of some sorry looking, replanted wallflowers
Meant to embed a picture here but I haven’t got it sussed yet 🙁
So instead of writing the first thing that comes into your head, try picking a topic or maybe relating something that happened during the day such as “Today I saw the first swallows arrive in our neck of the woods” I think the same families always come back to their nesting site because the ones that return to the horse stables next door always tend to arrive a few days earlier than ours, that being the case then if they are not the same pair why would they not look around for another nesting site such as in our stable? They must like being in familiar surroundings and I suppose that they will always be armed with the layout of the land so they know where the food is, where the mud for the nests is and anything else that a migrant that has just traveled up to three thousand miles could possibly want. I haven’t heard the cuckoo yet.
So the first thing I notice after going through the chapter on nuts is that the Indie’s nut is too deep and possibly muting the strings. The strings as you might be able to see are completely buried in the plastic of the nut and according to Dan Erlewine (How to make your electric guitar play great), and I bow to his superior knowledge here, the groove should be just enough to keep the string in place but certainly not enough to smother the string so, I am going to have to shave some off the top of the nut!
My next quest then is to find out what tools are best to accomplish this what appears to be a fairly straightforward task with.
Above is a picture of the nut as it is.
Got this a week ago plays really well and is dead comfortable even now but I have ordered a
book called “How to make you electric guitar play great” by Dan Erlwine so after going
through that I am going to see if I can make it even better.
(In case you can’t read the headstock, it’s an Indie Two Tone slim.
It’s so good to play in a band again, to have the means just to let rip playing solo’s with some solid backing.
Just had another email from someone excited for me to be on the program (That’s because you would be getting some money from me if I signed up) anyway there is a link to an inspiring story entitled
“How I Turned Failure Into $15,000,000…”
I don’t know about you but I’ve seen this many times before and after watching the video which I have not done because I know roughly what there is inside i.e. a sales pitch with an opt in form to do what I do again, boring or what?
Anyway back to the band we are named “Paris For Home Brew” this was decided by majority with my suggested “Think Like Da Vinci” running a close second at 2 to 3, (We are five)
It had occured to me before but now, that is before I or anyone out there starts spreading their creations across the universe we ought to think seriously about getting your music, writing, poems and whatever copyrighted to safeguard against the theft of your material for other people’s gain, after all this is part of you and your brand ans as such you deserve everything that it can bring you and not just the fame but the fortune as well. I came across this site that seems to know what they are talking about.
Music Copyright – Music copyright information page at Copyright House.
Over the weekend and despite the dreadful British summer, the offspring to the pair of Swallows that nest in our outbuildings every year took to the air! This is good news for us all, firstly the Swallows themselves because they have had another successful year flying all the way from Africa just so their children can have a British passport and for me because I can continue to work in the room they have adopted as their home for the maternity visit this year. The room incidentally is going to be my office/studio and is featured in an earlier post nattily titled – 6 Things you can do to help you reclaim the life you had before you became “Dad” here http://wp.me/p2tHwz-6L
Although they have officially flown the nest they generally hang round for a good few weeks after getting fed and getting used to feeding themselves, here they are resting in the family home after a regular swallows day …
As no one – that is – no one at the moment reads or views my blog I thought I might just as well use it as a dump for my thoughts as my “Morning pages” although in my case they never were morning pages and most often were “Whenever I find Time Pages”. This is one of those moments waiting and working on an instrument that has long run times you can get on with other stuff while it’s whirring and flashing away, the latter coming from the strobe that is used to illuminate the latex beads as they pass through a glass cell in sync with a camera so all the happy events can be viewed and analysed at a later date. Part of my day time employment consists of dropping in latex beads that are certified a certain size and then if the instrument says they are something else then we apply a correction factor to bring it into line. So basically I spend a lot of time looking at spherical blobs in a two dimensional plane either live whilst being drawn through the cell or as recorded images, fascinating or what? I don’t think so but apparently the customers find the information gathered by these instruments help them to create the correct size and shaped material for whatever application they require it for. This is massive field of particulate science and I am not proposing I enter into that now but I will say that for instance, Silicon Carbide is a commonly used abrasive material and the less round it is the better but size is also important so the material is generally ground to reduce the overall particle size but as that is done they become more round. What a horrible sentence and I do need to start writing more.
I am presently recovering from what is commonly known as a bout of depression which was triggered initially by a severe chest infection. Because I have been living on mainly will power and adrenaline for at least the past two years and possibly longer my body could no longer cope with the stress of holding together a full time job, completing the building work on what is now our home and also trying to start an on-line business, teaching guitar and write and produce some music. This was all without any real break for R&R for about four years. Anyway, as I was saying I am recovering from this illness at the moment with the help of an SSRI and some reading. The book I have just read in less than a week was “Back To Sanity” by Steve Taylor which seems apt considering what I am going through at the moment. I must say now that there is little wrong with me that living in a sane world would not cure but as you all know most of the western world is consumed by the insanity of acquisition and celebrity in any order and that the ego driven consciousnesses will in the end destroy itself which is good but unfortunately because of the power that this major part of the world has over the whole planet it will mean the destruction of it and most of it’s inhabitants. So how is playing the guitar to move people going to help with this? because it is a way of being in the moment and not having your mind consumed by pointless thoughts about the past which cannot be changed and the future which does not exist yet and is one of the many ways that can used to find a way back to being in touch with your heart and getting rid of all the wasteful distractions that bombard us twenty four hours a day. We can use playing the guitar as a form of meditation that will bring benefits to all areas of our lives and this is the first tentative step on our journey towards that end.
I have been a regular meditator (Person that meditates) for quite a long while and strangely it seems to be coming back as flavour of the month lately. I’m wondering what programs could be on the market soon to fulfill this “Need” we’ll probably start getting the emails soon. So I was aware of meditation as long ago as the 60s and dabbled with it without any real focus on and off until I decided to enrol into a Trancendental Meditation program back in the 80s. This went some way towards a less stressed and thoughtful way of life but I drifted away from the practice through one reason or another, not sure why because I did find it beneficial but I think at the time I was surrounded by folk that thought it a bit weird to do such things anyway, I think I was looking for a way of “being” rather than “doing” and it’s taken all this time to reach clearer vision about what I was initially seeking through the practice of meditation. One of the problems I had had though was that it seemed separate from the rest of my daily activities and although the benefits were supposed to last and sustain through what I now understand to be a subconscious level I became too easily distracted from being in the moment and spent too often reacting instead of responding, I did.
I have recently started playing in a band and at last using my Peavey VK212 in anger rather than at low levels in my office/studio at the old place. The first time I used it with any sort of volume the mains input fuse blew and was forced to use my back up amp, I thought it was just a glich and took it home to change the fuse, however, the second time I used it exactly the same thing happened and I was starting to think that maybe I had made a duff purchase, anyway, this time I took it in to work so I could get it on the bench one lunch time and have a proper look. After a bit of searching in a forum I managed to find out how to remove the electronics from the cabinet and I also managed to find a copy of the circuit diagram so out it came and the preliminary visual inspection showed nothing that would indicate a component failure and the fact that the three internal fuses were all intact gave the opportunity to breath a sigh of relief. I was at least expecting to see either the bridge rectifier, a diode or resistor burnt out but it was all clean and free of the usual noxious smells that emanate from overloaded silicon! But, no such sites met my eye and there are three internal fuses that were all intact so with some input from a helpful engineer at Peavey UK we concluded that it was probably the valves burnt out and as they were now almost four years old and past their due change date I ordered a matched set of JJ6L6s for £80, whopped them in and hey presto, loud and proud!
May your guitar strings be your heart strings
Does this picture represent anything close to the state of your dreams and wishes?………. Are there corners of your mind that have been collecting discarded, unwanted stuff filling unused space in your head with clutter?
It’s time to get rid of it, out with the old and in with the new. You can do it!, take a step today. I have just spent 16 years renovating a derelict barn into a small but warm and comfortable dwelling for our family of four, now I have more time not building, I can reclaim my former life and the picture shaows the centre of operations as it stands today. With all the skills I have picked up during the long building project I am transforming this neglected corner of the yard both spiritually and physically to my own control room. This is the beginning of the story and in the coming weeks and months you will see not only the development of the “Bowridge Bothy” (The name I have given it) but the topics I cover will reflect the transformation from
- Find yourself some space This can be anywhere, the spare room, one end of the dining room that is never used, better still another building that is sonically and physically isolated from the others in the family ( See what I have in the photo). This first step apart from deciding that you are going to reclaim your life back from what has been slowly ebbing away is one of the most important steps in your quest to become renaissance man. The place you see in the photo is where I am going to teach/ play guitar, write, blog and generally retreat from Eastenders, Jerry springer or any other trash TV that’s on in the house.
- Fill that space with your own stuff Once you have found the right place, you are going to have to defend it from invaders and the inevitable creep of other members of the family’s desire “Dad, can I just put this in here for a while”, you might think that to say no is being unreasonable and they may even try to make you feel that way but it’s not true, everyone has their own place and anyway how often have you commandeered the girls bedroom for storage for your bike?
- Make your own time I have found this almost impossible to do during the last 15 years while we have been doing the barn conversion without feeling guilty. I know we have had a lot of work to do and with a full time day job it means inevitably that your evenings and especially weekends are going to make demands on your own free time but take a reality check, this is your life, is it absolutely necessary to spend the few hours you could be out on your bike or walking the hills by the coast helping with chores that could be done easily without any real need for help other than making someone else s life easier.
- Learn to say No This is probably the hardest one of the list to work out mostly because for years as a dedicated father you have been the pillar of all things practical and been there to help fix broken devices, both software and hardware engineer, composer of letters, research assistant, mentor, cook, taxi service and naturally you would say yes to all requests without question, but are you really obliged now to get drinks for the teenage daughter and mother who are so busy watching the latest episode of Waterloo road and find themselves unable to move because maybe the cat is sat on them? or just because you happen to be near the kitchen and looking as if you have some time on your hands? Which leads us on to our next point….The best way of saying no is to have retreated already to the new space that you are creating for your campaign for world domination but I’ve found
- Don’t let the bastards get you down. You are a child of the universe, you have unique gifts that can enrich the world, it doesn’t matter what they say, how they might mock you or with the best of intentions advise you against becoming too intent on your idea that you want to write, learn to sing or paint even because they know that you will never be able to make anything of it. If you can dream then you can make it happen.
- Get in touch with your spiritual side We are spiritual beings even if you cannot accept or believe it of yourself right now, we really long to be in touch with the greater universe and not just what we take in through our five senses. Try meditation, tai chi, yoga or any other esoteric discipline you may have your eye on at the moment. Either way, you should be aware of where you are now and be able to see where it is you want to be and there are a million websites out there helping you get in touch with all that. Not all of it is bunkum but it might take you a while to find your own path. I found mine and can give you some tips to save some expense and time.
I know that this post is not specifically about any aspect of playing something on your axe and I make no apologies for that, this is a new direction for me now that I am beginning to realise all that I am but indirectly it has major implications for others in a similar situation, how many of you out there, dad’s particularly; now the kids are teenagers or older, need your own space to at least set up up your own space. I know so many blokes like me specially the guys with all female families that have real trouble having the room to express their inner visions easily and without being made to feel foolish even if the comments (Guidance) are well intention-ed.
Further reading: Here’s a couple of articles I cam across that are somewhat related to where I am thinking.
The sort of thing I do when I have the time and the space and what I am going to be doing more of in the building above is show people how to fix and play their guitar here’s a link to one of my vid’s