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Posts Tagged ‘Guitar’

That’s me and my classmates graduating from Bob Goins’s Guitar 3rep class at the Old Town School of Folk Music last night. Given that we were absolute beginners eleven months ago, I feel like we’ve come pretty far. My guitar is covered up by the music stand, but it’s my 12-string that I love so much.

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My 12-string guitar came i the mail yesterday, an Epiphone DR-212 that looks like this:

And I love it.

This makes three guitars in the house, all Epiphones (in addition to the new 12-strang, I have a cherry sunburst Les Paul Special II and my wife has an acoustic, but I can’t remember the model).

It came with shitty strings that won’t hold a tune for long, so I’ll have to replace those of course. But when it is tuned up and I play it, it sounds like delicious, musical rain. I took it to my guitar class at the Old Town School of Folk Music last night, and had a ton of fun passing it around the class to give everyone a chance to strum on it.

12-String guitars have sets of strings in courses, like a mandolin. The higher sets are both tuned to the same note, and the lower sets are tuned an octave apart from each other, so it has this full, chorus sound. A lot of amazing songs have 12-string guitars in them, but here’s one where the instrument is prominent, so you can tell what it sounds like:

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We’ve been playing some Townes Van Zandt songs in my Thursday night guitar class at the Old Town School of Folk Music: first “No Place To Fall,” which is just a gorgeous song in 3/4 time and fun to play with the ol’ capo on the second fret. Listen to it here (played by Townes, not played by me; I’m not nearly good enough to impose myself on you yet):

My guitar teacher also brought in “Pancho and Lefty” for us to play, which made my day. I have previously expressed my massive appreciation for that song.

So anyway, I have those two songs in my head now. And I’ve been practicing them. Seriously, if you have never listened hard to Townes Van Zandt, you are missing out like you have no idea.

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Allison Moorer, “A Soft Place To Fall.”

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This is a fantastic song, but it raises the grim specter of a question: if this is not the greatest song in the world, then what is? It is a question of spiritual significance.

Rolling Stone says that the greatest song is “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan. That is bullshit. 1) That’s a really limp, boring song. 2) They just picked it because it says “Rolling Stone” in it.

Rolling Stone’s choice for number two is “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. But that is not even the best song by the Rolling Stones (that would be “Paint It, Black” hands down, no contest). Plus, again, Rolling Stone is just picking something that says “Rolling Stone” in it. How typically lame. Rolling Stone is full of shit.

So which song actually is the greatest song in the world? I can think of three contenders: “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash, “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, and “All Along The Watchtower” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Also possibly “Let It Be” byt the Beatles and “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos. But I think it needs serious discussion and consideration.

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My feet relentlessly attack the pavement
And my aching knees stab in savage dissent.
The cerulean sky is languid, indulgent,
And the early spring air is soft and cool–
Much easier to breathe than the thin, winter cold.
A drum beat–a metronome–pours into my ears.

I struggle to keep up.

Suddenly, the acrid fanfare of the guitar cries
Like the peal of a naked, horny church bell,
And Jim Morrison’s passionate but unintelligible baritone
First barks and then slithers like a black snake
Insidiously into the spinning gears of the polyphonic clockwork.
The delicious, Dionysian danger of the music and the
Perfect pain of running are wrapped up
Into one overwhelming singularity:
It is the universe’s gift to me, and I throw myself into it.

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