this is here because i wanted to write something about playing the guitar.
most people play the guitar ‘right-handed’.
i am left handed, or ‘wrong-handed’ - hence the title of this blog.
that isn’t the only thing i do differently when it comes to the guitar, maybe we’ll get on to that.
i will try and put something here if i think it is interesting to guitarists, musicians and normal people.
i just got back from a tour in slovakia, hungary and austria with a band i play in called the geordie approach. TGA has been going for a long time (maybe 6/7 years) and i think this was our best tour yet. the music flowed, the audiences enjoyed it (mostly-a woman came up to me after one show and just shouted, “WHY?!”) and good times were had.
we were joined on the tour by the great recordist andy bell who documented the shows.
andy’s bread and butter is recording the best folk artists the world has to offer and it was great to chat to him as we swerved around eastern europe getting an insight into some music that i know very little about.
we checked out a lot of music from richard thompson to the punch brothers but something really clicked with me when he played me some music produced by t-bone burnett.
t-bone burnett is a music producer and guitarist who, quite simply, has made some of the best records i’ve ever heard.
lately, my playing has been changing quite a lot and there is something in the way this guy plays that really speaks to me.
his attitude to recording also leaps out at me. here’s an excerpt from an interview he did for performingsongwriter.com
How do you go about creating complexity in the low end?
First of all, I think of everything as a drum. An acoustic bass fiddle is just a big drum with strings attached that you attack with your fingers or a bow, but it’s still just attack and resonance. A piano is just 88 little drums—in fact, by combining notes, you can make thousands of drums out of it. And for me, it all has to do with the tribal storytelling that happens with music, so I don’t really care what’s hitting the backbeat, whether it’s a snare drum or a mandolin … as long as it’s getting hit in the right place with the right meaning.
So the attack of the instrument is just triggering the tone, and we’ve spent 10 years minimizing attack and maximizing tone. All of these other rhythms and beats get set up in the overtone structure, which creates a lot of mystery and a real sense of place. In contrast, the thing that a computer does best, which is to put all the notes on the right beats, becomes completely uninteresting.
Do you accomplish that by using compressors and limiters to hold down the attacks and emphasize the body of the sound? Your productions don’t sound especially compressed.
That’s because we actually accomplish it in another way: We play very, very quietly. The more quietly you play, the less attack and more tone there is. If you hit a guitar too hard, it chokes the note off; the volume of sound that’s attempting to escape from the box turns in on itself and cancels itself out, so the sound just collapses. The same with a drum: If you hit it too hard and leave the stick there, nothing happens. But if you tap it softly, you actually get a much fuller sound.
see what i mean?
anyway, those couple of statements have really got me thinking over the last few days - i hope it floats your boat too
keep it wrong
ps - i just bought a tremolo pedal