Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tell Me About The Good Old Days

I'm pretty excited about the new guitar I just bought. My wife and I have decided to not spend any money that we don't have, and definitely not on frivolous things such as toys. So I sold my motorcycle that I haven't ridden since Jackson was born. I called a local mechanic so that I could get the bike back in running condition since the throttle was sticking and it was leaking gas. When I told him what kind of bike it was, and that it was in otherwise mint condition with less than 10K miles on the engine, he decided to buy it himself.

We made a deal after some haggling back and forth, something I totally suck at by the way, but in the end I think I got a pretty good price for it. So my with my wallet loaded, I decided that this money was all mine. It wasn't for paying the bills or doing something really responsible like an adult would treat it. Nope. For the first time since I was a bachelor, I was going shopping for boy toys. There was also a sentimental aspect to this train of thought. Although I didn't ride that motorcycle anymore, which I gave up because I wanted my children to have a father when they reached puberty, I still loved that bike. I know it sounds corny, but that bike was my buddy. We toured California together. Down highway 1 from San Francisco to LA, to Palm Desert, Sequoia National Park, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite. We learned the streets of San Francisco together and took in the breathtaking views from Twin Peaks and the overlook across the Golden Gate and into the wetlands beyond.

When I signed over the title to the mechanic, I took what I knew was going to be my last look at the bike. He patted me on the shoulder because he just knew.

So I have to respect how I spend every cent of the money I sold her for.

I've been a big fan of Brent Mason, who is a Nashville session guitarist. You can pretty much hear him on any album recorded by any country artist in the 90's. His sound defies imitation, and I had long since given up even trying. But of late I've been seeing YouTube videos here and there of guitarists that play a style called "chicken pickin'" which is Brent's style as well. YouTube is an incredible source of guitar lessons, and there are resources that enable you to copy a YouTube video locally to your computer, and free software that will scrape the audio from a video into an mp3 file. On top of that, there is software such as The Amazing Slow Downer that will slow down a recording without altering the pitch, meaning it plays just like the recording only slower, just as if the artist was playing it slower for you. It really is as advertised: totally amazing.

I noticed that almost all the chicken pickers have Telecaster guitars. I asked my guitar instructor why that is, and he pulled his out and let me play it, telling me that you just get more pop and bend out of the strings than you get with a Stratocaster, which I already have. So, long story short, I spend seven hundred dollars of my motorcycle money on a new Tele, and I totally love it.

Ninety more went to Mr. Doug Seven. He's a Brent Mason enthusiast and he publishes videos on how to play in that style. I'm on disk 1 of four working on riff one of around nine. It's insanely fast.

Ok, so the point of all this. It all goes back to the early days of life when my Grandma Rose would listen to me sing along with the radio. She asked me to make a cassette tape for her so she could listen to me some more, and I always told her I would. Now I'm 45 and still haven't done it. So I spent two hundred more dollars on a Tascam recorder that will facilitate the recording of my guitar and voice and whatever else into the computer. I have to figure that out still, but I've got everything I need now to make it happen.

The only question left was which song to start with. I've decided on the Judds song called Grandpa Tell Me about the Good Old Days or some variation of that title. I'm going to change Grandpa to Grandma and give it a go. A long time ago I tried to figure out what the guitarist was doing with the main riff, but it was beyond me. Picking around with it yesterday, suddenly I know exactly what he is doing. It's really such a pretty sounding song. If you've never heard it before, look it up. If you've ever thought that life was simpler in your Grandparents' day, when families stuck together through good times and bad, and a man's word and a handshake was all the assurance you needed, then this song will resonate with you.


Natalie said...

So I spent two hundred more dollars on a Tascam recorder that will facilitate the recording of my guitar and voice and whatever else into the computer. Hmmm...You know what this means right? You can share with all of us, too! I'm happy to hear about your purchase. Money spent on advancing music education is money well spent in my book.

As for the bike, I'm right there with you. I am in agony because Dean's been making noise lately about us selling my '93 lime green Honda del Sol and getting a "family car". I've had it since high school and it's made the trip from MN to FL to RI. Ugh, knots in the tummy just thinking about it!

Scott said...

I was thinking about putting something up too. I really love it when I can play a song like the recording, or even a part of a song like the recording. I can't explain; it's just a thrill.

You totally understand me on the bike. You understand that sentimental attachment. I ended up giving my first car away to a friend because I'd driven it over 200K miles. It was worthless, but I had the same attachment to it. I could enumerate the places I'd gone with it too. I feel that way about my cats that have passed away too--what we'd gone through together and the changes over that time.

Alan said...

Watching/hearing a song from you Scott is one of those things I'll put on my Lottery Winnings list. If it happens, oh how happy I'll be--but what are the odds I'll get it? ;D

I'd like to know how things are going in this area- if you don't mind telling it--

Scott said...

Alan - I think you would do well in predicting futures! No promises, but I really want to do this for granny, so we'll see.

As for the ADD thing, I'm taking Concerta at 36mg now, and I think it is a wonder. Overall I just feel better, but as you know that's not all there is to ADD. It still takes effort on my part. I'm seeing another counsellor that is helping me to form a strategy. I've been to a few counsellors before and have only been mildly impressed. I know what to say to make someone happy, so I've always felt a bit smarter I guess, but this guy has piercing eyes that can see into your soul. He's like a football coach--he's got that kind of charisma. He and I just click, and pretty soon I'm telling him things, and he's asking my why I feel that way, and I'm saying I don't know, then I guess, and he just knows what I'm talking about. Anyway, we're going with a method of attack the forces me to challenge myself with cue cards that I pull out whenever I engage in irrational thinking--since I almost always know just when I'm doing it. I know when I start talking about things I shouldn't. I recognize the social cues that people give me when I'm making them uncomfortable with my frankness or when I'm overstepping boundaries. Basically I just need to stop bullshitting myself about some things, bag and tag the negative and/or destructive thinking. I feel pretty pumped about this. He thinks I'll be able to tackle this in short order and won't need him for very long.

I love his can-do attitude. And I love it that he recognizes that I can take this on.

Alan said...

Wow Scott. That's just so fantastic. I didn't know you had gotten that far into it and I couldn't be more impressed. I didn't even know you were struggling in those areas, but I would never have thought that you COULDN'T take something on when you need to. You always have with every post you've written. You've always been my go-to guy when it came to inspiration and two-fisted take-charge man-thinking. I was in fact missing you something fierce, but adjusting to your absence.

Of course you can do it, Scott. You've been a hero of mine all along.

Scott said...

I appreciate your confidence, Alan. I've fallen off the blogging horse, but I still poke around. I'm not writing an official "I Quit" post because I don't. The blog is a place for me to come when I feel that I have something to say, plus work has been a stress through the downturn because everyone is fighting for their professional life. I've been trying to knuckle down and take work more seriously. It's really only been a footnote as I've pursued my personal goals of writing and music and being the best cod'er on the server. My priorities have been whacked, and I'm taking strides to reorganize my life. I'm still around, just not as much.

Alan said...

Understood, my dude. Fathering and husbanding are Job One. Making bacon allows you to do Job One well. As I said, I've been adjusting to your absence. I've had to adjust to a lot of bloggers' absences in fact. Your Fringes with her Q is about to launch their sprog and they're all married up and happy now. And about four or five of my "I Follows" have shut their blogs down completely with the ol' "Goodbye, love ya!" post.

I guess that's what happens when I take this long to get my sh!t together. People move on without me.

I'll always be glad to read a post from you no matter how frequent. Particularly because of phrases like this;

I'm not writing an official "I Quit" post because I don't. :-D You're The Man.

Jada's Gigi said...

Way to go Scott! We all need some fun money sometimes and sounds like you have spent yours very well indeed. You're gonna have a lot of fun with this stuff and modern technology to ease the learning curve. :)
Glad you made that move from the motorcycle...we gave up ours when we had our first kid too...sigh...almost 30 years since I've been on one...but no regrets here...can't say the same for my hubby. :)

The Zombieslayer said...

OK, you'll have to do more than just say it's a Telecaster. When you said Brent Mason, I immediately knew it was a Telecaster. Details....

Also, what kind of Tascam do you own? I bought the 2488 MKII. Love it.

Scott said...

Cheryl - Thanks for the support. My time with the bike was past, and I thought there would be some regret, but there really isn't any. But still, I'll miss it. But with the music equipment to replace it, it feels a heck of a lot better.

Zombie - I forgot that I'm dealing with professionals! The tele has a Lite Ash body and Birdseye Maple Neck (reading from the label), Seymour Duncan pickups and a vintage style chrome bridge, which is like a little metal bucket and has what are called brass barrel bridge saddles, giving it a unique pop and twang that I have been craving and couldn't get from the strat.

The Tascam recorder is a US-144, which pretty much takes inputs from midi, microphones and guitar hookups and takes the signal to the computer via USB. It came with a LE version of Cubase (4), which I'm poking around with now.

The Zombieslayer said...

I'm a HUGE fan of Seymour Duncans. They're all I use.

As for the Tascam, I don't know that model but I'll look it up.

mr. schprock said...

I've always wondered what I'd buy if I had money fall out of the sky one day and I had to spend it. I'd probably do something stupid like replace some windows on my house. Boring! I like what you've done much better.

Trisha said...

Hey Scott! It's June already. Hope nothing is wrong and you are busy living the good life and getting some stories written.

onipar... said...

Hey, Scott. How's it going? Good deal on the motorcycle. My brother is trying to sell his right now too.

Glad to see you still blogging. I'm trying to get my blog going again.

Alan said...

"Glad to see you still blogging. I'm trying to get my blog going again."

Now that's a relative statement if I ever read one. ;-D

I choose to believe this is a good sign and Scott is handling his business with no distraction.

The Zombieslayer said...

Scott, where did you go?

eda said...