Friday morning I had coffee with a friend and checked out the roof of his building on the corner of the plaza. My plan was to shoot photos for a timelapse-video from the roof around sunset.
I spent the early afternoon in the studio working on a LAVA track I am remixing. I hope to upload it to Ottmar-Friends for your listening pleasure in April.
In the late afternoon I drove back into town and climbed onto the roof to set up my camera on a tripod and start shooting. The view was quite beautiful, but it was very windy and I could tell the camera was moving a little bit in the wind and so I abandoned the shoot.
Well, every hand is different, every nail strikes the strings at a slightly different angle. So, if you play long enough, your sound will eventually emerge somehow. There are rules, but they can all be broken. For example, I file my nails to a shape that is “wrong” according to some experts.
I think there are two elements to “your” sound. The first is the sound-production itself, how your fingers strike the string, where they strike the string. Many guitarists don’t make use of the many different sounds one can coax from the nylon strings and the box. That length of guitar from the fretboard-side of the soundhole all the way to the bridge is rich with different sounds. This can also help with the tuning of the guitar. Sometimes plucking the string in a different position will sound more in tune. (I recently watched a Julian Bream video and was impressed at how he would bend this note in a chord here and that note there… he was always aware of the pitfalls of a fretted instrument and the well-tempered scale)
The second element is what you play. Some guitarists are instantly recognizable, like Carlos Santana for example. Others have a more chameleon-like approach and it takes a while to hear their personality. One is not better than the other. Just different.
Finding your sound is a little bit like finding what you should do for a living, or finding your place in life. It seems to come to us of itself, almost sneaks up in the dead of the night. One day we wake up and from then on we wear our heart in our melodies. Maybe finding your sound has a lot to do with finding yourself and finding yourself comes out of being natural. In the West natural refers to whatever humans have not manipulated, controlled, or despoiled. That’s a dualistic view. It separates humans from nature. In the East, what is natural is what exists according to its true nature. There is no separation, no dualism. That also means that there is no despoiled nature devoid of humans to return to.
What is your nature? What does your nature sound like?
I discovered that at the core of my melody is a slightly melancholy feeling. Even when I am expressing happiness you will find a few notes that speak of longing. But, that is as much a part of me as my crooked right index finger – it turns to the right and because of that turn the nail is perfectly parallel to the string. A flaw may become a pearl in time.
Don’t forget to practice. And keep thinking about what your nature sounds like!
As one who enjoys the abuse of substances, I was taken with the stories of performance enhancing supplements such as a blend of Cognack, sugar water and Ether to aid in the participant’s quest for domination. As a matter of fact, just so I could fully enjoy the experience of the film, I mixed up that very concoction for myself, but before long got distracted and found myself in the corner of my living room attempting to gnaw through a garbage can lid.
At any rate, I whole heartedly recommend any and all lovers of the two wheels and the fixed cog to get this movie if for no other reason than to see first hand where they came from.
Rode my fixie to Counter Culture for breakfast. Left a little late and fell back into old messenger habits, you know, running stop signs and a couple of lights. I have to admit it was great fun, though.
Afterwards I rode to Stone Forest and looked at their collection. Impressive and definitely worth a visit if you come to Santa Fe. From there my path went to Ohori’s to check when they open in the mornings. Am visiting a friend early on Friday morning to check the view from his office or the roof of the building overlooking the Santa Fe plaza. I think it might be a great place for a time-lapse, especially for the hours between night and day.
The afternoon was spent in the studio, where I had loaded the multi-tracks from the 1995 LAVA recordings into the computer using data backup tapes. The LAVA music was mixed on an analog machine in the nineties and today I had fun working on new mixes in the digital world. (((before we sold the analog 2 inch recorder we recorded all of the analog tapes into Pro-Tools))) It sounded amazing, amazing.