Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Classical gas

No, not the 1970s instrumental hit.

I recently pulled out my Goya G-10 classical, the first guitar I ever played (I've had it since the 1970s, it's been in the family longer and is beat up as hell). The D string broke awhile ago, and I finally got around to restringing the basses. (Classical guitar tip: Once you have the guitar strung, the nylon treble strings can last for years, while the basses are good for a MUCH shorter time, from weeks to months, depending on how much you play them, so I have about a thousand extra treble strings lying around.)

Playing a different guitar, especially a different kind of guitar (nylon string vs. electric archtop or acoustic flat-top) can re-energize you, or at least change your perspective for the moment. While the Goya was at the bottom of their line (it's not 3/4 size, but not full-size either -- Goya calls it "Concert size," I believe), it does have a solid spruce top and sounds pretty nice. Just noodling around on it while the strings stretched out was fun, and my chordal approach definitely changes on the 2-inch-wide neck. Smaller voicings with fewer notes. And just listening to each note as I play it. Making nice sounds is what it's all about, and I don't have to worry so much about how much jazz theory or ear training I've done.

The ideal is to be able to play -- and play out, for that matter -- at whatever skill level I'm at. To make the tunes and the style fit what I can do at any given moment and work on that. That is my goal for the moment, to balance study of advanced concepts (for me, at least) while working on repertoire -- and not just jazz tunes -- that I can get out and play for people. All the exercises in the world won't help if you've got nothing to play for an audience. Nice words from me, but can/will I follow through?

No comments: