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Old 10-15-2009, 01:37 PM   #26
Cathy
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Default Re: capos, transpose buttons and other aids

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I for sure in my youth, spent more time playing games than playing guitar! Cards, board games, shooting pool, sports...you name it! gee...I wonder if playing pinball and centipede (man, I was addicted) helped me with my guitar-playing at all . Well...it did get me drinking for the 1st time (when I was of legal age) because you had to drink to play!

Myself...I never even touched an acoustic guitar until I was 16! And even then, I was completely on my own and didn't know what the heck I was doing. No other teens in my neighborhood had a guitar.

I taught myself to play chords...but couldn't read music. Somehow quickly taught myself on the piano 1st but still can't on guitar. I didn't know anything about alternative tuning or capos until I was in my 30's...but I used to have to tune all my strings down to accompany my vocals until then.
I was just the opposite. I was raised in a family where all my aunts and uncles on Mom's side played, and they jammed just about every Saturday evening at our house. I remember telling Mom I wanted a guitar when I was 4 years old. I ended up picking potatoes and buying one when I was 7 or 8. From that point on, I was mesmerized by that old Silvertone. It was in my hands every spare minute of every day. Within a year of buying it, I was jamming with my aunts and uncles.

I don't think you can force a kid to play, or even influence him to play unless it's hardwired into them to be a player. There might be a few that will learn to play a little, but 9 times out of 10, unless they're mesmerized by the instrument, they'll most likely give it up. I was mesmerized by just about every instrument, and had a God-given talent. I realize that now. I started taking piano lessons when I was 16 or 17. My teacher said, "Your Mom tells me you already know how to play a little. Play something for me." I sat down and played Bridge Over Troubled Water, all without music. She asked me, "And why do you want piano lessons?" Of course, Mom didn't tell her I had a piano in my bedroom! I wasn't really mesmerized by piano, though. I haven't played one in at least 25 years.

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Old 10-15-2009, 01:41 PM   #27
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Is it more difficult to learn how to play piano, compared to playing guitar ?
I don't know that it's any more difficult. It just didn't do the same thing for me. I didn't get turned on by being a pianist. I took lessons and played for three or four years, then I lost interest in it, whereas the guitar, I'll never lose interest in that.

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Old 10-15-2009, 01:48 PM   #28
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I'm not sure. I can say that learning the piano provides a solid foundation that makes the transition to the guitar (or any instrument) much easier.
Hmmm... A piano teacher would really disagree with that! I think learning the piano by reading music gives a person a lot better understanding about keys, rhythms, harmony, etc. I know many music schools require their students to take piano lessons, just to learn the music theory part of music. I was in band all through school. I think I started playing clarinet when I was in the fourth grade, then switched to oboe in the 9th. I learned those by paying printed scores. But I could also play the sax, trumpet, drums, bass, a little trombone, all by ear. My band teacher used to tease me. I remember once he said he knew an instrument I didn't know how to play... the trumpet. I borrowed a trumpet and played the theme from The Exodus. He just shook his head. Gave everyone in band a good laugh.

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Old 10-15-2009, 01:52 PM   #29
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I have to agree with Cathy, and I was thinking the exact same thing when James said, "why not just play it in C?" The structure of the G chord on the guitar and the ensuing "lead ups" to the C chord (i.e., the Am and the B), as well as the reverse - the "lead downs" from the C back to the D before resolving to the G, in IYCRMM, just don't work in any other form. Sure, you can play the song in any key you like, but when you try to get that unmistakable sound that makes that song what it is, you just need to play it in G, imo. And, like Cathy, I can't SING it in G! So thank goodness for Mr. Shubb!

For me, it's not just a matter of what KEY I play the song in, it's also the structure of the chords and the relationship of the strings to each other. When playing in G form, for example, you will always have your top string as your bass note, and can hear the ring of all 6 strings. Same for E. However, in D form, it's a much lighter sound since you're only playing 4 strings (not counting dropped-D tuning or, in standard tuning, keeping your left thumb on the F# and playing all 6 strings), and that "lighter" sound just doesn't work for some songs, certainly not for a lot of GL songs.

Well, certainly, each of us has our own way of doing things. But, for me? Well, I just couldn't do much without my trusty capo. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

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Old 10-15-2009, 02:23 PM   #30
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Hmmm... A piano teacher would really disagree with that!
Well that's weird.........mine didn't. Maybe my mom got ripped off.
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:17 PM   #31
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gee, just changed my plans for running errands since it's SNOWING out this is the earliest!

Wow Cathy! Me too, I fell in love with the guitar at the same age! My big brother and his bandmates thought it was the cutest thing to see me holding that electric guitar (and get to see me without my thumb in my mouth!). But nobody took me seriously...that I really had wanted to play! And never did , very little if any encouragement. Though my bro did take me into Worcester to help me buy my 1st guitar when I was 16. 12 years I waited!

Besides having an interest/desire and the apptitude/interest...the one thing I've found that musicians have in common for the most part are the resources and encouragement, of which I've had very little if any of.

I'll leave it at that except to say that my piano lessons were a total nightmare. My teacher's son had ADHD and she used to do things like tie him to a chair while we had our lessons. I'd sit on the bench, shaking and on the brink of tears the entire time -rushing through the lessons so that I could play with him while my sister had hers.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:01 PM   #32
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I remember several years back there was someone marketing a contraption that would, rattle and roll an acoustic guitar in order to simulate years of playing. The idea was to open up the sound like your Martin.

One of the guys they were trying things on was Jackson Browne who was stunned at the effect on a new Gibson Nick Lucas.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:03 AM   #33
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I suppose a person could play it in C, but can you get those typical Lightfoot chords and make it sound the same? I wouldn't have a clue how to play the intro and make it sound right. The intro, to me, is one part of the song that's recognizable to most people. I like to put my own twist on it, but basically, I use the same chord variations that Gord does.
i hear ya, ok, understood..i think the key the song was recorded and aired in is a huge part of that recognition also..i'm no singer but in the past i guess i just dont toy with tunes that are way out of vocal reality...i've been inspired by this thread now to go back and try a few GL covers and toy with capo with that in mind...i guess i just adore the sound of a full guitar string (not choked) on some of those lovely axes you guys own...if you have a band jam with a bassist then i dont see the need for guitarists playing all 6 strings, gets muddy, imo
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:16 AM   #34
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the "lead downs" from the C back to the D before resolving to the G, in IYCRMM, just don't work in any other form
oh, i think they work but they are not as practical...hey, i read you loud and clear...i guess i never became familiar with capoed music til video became so easy to come by and i started watching a lot of folk and pop stuff...back in the 80s i could hardly even see the guitars let alone the capos from my nosebleed $18 Massey seat, lol

ok, why didnt they make guitars so that the top two strings are C and F instead of B and E...that way each string would be 5 semitones apart, consistent instead of having the one off 4 semitone jump? i know it wouldnt be as easy to play a simple D chord but that can't be the answer, can it? lol

btw, for folks sifting through this thread, there are many wonderfully solid guitar players as well as lovely singers amongst those providing feedback, i can tell you that from first hand (or 2nd hand via technology) listening

thanks all
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:23 AM   #35
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I'm not sure. I can say that learning the piano provides a solid foundation
my late band conductor (he was from Vienna, where I believe they are all on another musical level altogether) would always say 'ahh, the pianoforte, the abacus of musical development'

there will be no agreement amongst various musicians...google in 'piano versus guitar' and you'll get some interesting debates...as one guy put it 'what tastes batter, an apple or an orange?'
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Old 10-18-2009, 03:12 PM   #36
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melissa, i realize what you mean by capo being very friendly when it comes to wanting to play all 6 strings at once...gotta check out these partial capos (just covers the first 4 strings)

i know Gord has commented that he wishes he were like Dylan and would be one of those capo-free players...my initial anecdote was intended to be fun, full or irony and most of all, self-deprecating (ie. thought it was cute that a layman observer thought it was an enhanced challenge to play with capo)

for those who are learning any instrument or exploring new possibilities, the chart found at this link is pretty much what i leave any folks i've tutored with...if they learn a portion or all of the major and minor chords (i encourage, across all key signatures) typical to contemporary music and their relationship to each other, they are off to a good start and it's a big shortcut to having to got through the royal conservatory approach...then add the major and dominant 7ths...of course, 2nds and 4ths will take you a long way on their own http://www.abclearnguitar.com/transpose.html

i was just wondering if any who play GL songs to a T, would know what keys he typically plays in? ie. does he typically play in G or D with capo+2 or +3? ...i'll go back and look at lightfoot.ca but i think those are user friendly chartings and not in the actual key signatures recorded

also, have GL changed key on any tunes for live performances?

i'm full of more questions than answers...thank you all again for the diverse input!
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:40 PM   #37
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Some musical purists dismiss the capo as a musical "crutch." But James Taylor uses a capo and that's a good enough endorsement for a mere amateur like myself!
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:46 PM   #38
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One thing important to singer/guitarists, particularly, fingerstyle players that sing, is the chord forms finger patterns being played as the individual sings. I'd love to flow my fingers into the upper positions and get into lots of variations. But when singing, most guitarists, I believe, find it easier to stick with the familiar open chord first position forms, and using the capo to match the key to their voice.

Cathy is right about the barre chord thunks too.

I can hit the augmented bits in the first position when they're needed, but the performance requires breathing, vocal tonality and lyric concentration too, for the total presentation.

I am trying some alternative tunings to vary things somewhat. That's fun, when you've learned, and played a song "the right way."

My D-28 doesn't seem to suffer much with the capo at all. At least to my ear.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:30 PM   #39
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I am by no means an accomplished guitarist, but I do know that fingerpicking most of Gords songs in other keys (sans capo) does not sound remotely the same. I am a cheater and proud of it!

Brian
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:50 AM   #40
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...when singing, most guitarists, I believe, find it easier to stick with the familiar open chord first position forms, and using the capo to match the key to their voice.

...the performance requires breathing, vocal tonality and lyric concentration too, for the total presentation.
that is something i never considered and makes a lot of sense, after all, i think vocals (well, and typically, their songwriting) is what they are showcasing more than instrumental versatility...i wonder what percentage of guitar player/singer (or piano player/singer) concentration and focus goes into each aspect when performing...sounds like the playing is quite engraved already (as well as lyric recall i would imagine) and the focus becomes that breathing, tone and phrasing...i guess Terry uses capo here and there for those voicings all talk about?...or simplicity as the case may be, that's allowed...i guess i'm buying in...i searched youtube and there is no end to videos showing how a variey of capos can be used to achieve and end by lesser means

ok, is there such a thing as overkill?

YouTube - Trace Bundy - Hot capo Stew (whole version)

is their a voice capo? or is that what tight pants are for?

note: brian, you're tastefully accomplished, imo...your smooth progressions and steady pacing is something all should strive for...
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:39 AM   #41
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btw, speaking of concentrating on lyrics...what about if GL started using a teleprompter? would that go against the code of the concert going purist? i'm not sure how common they are
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:11 AM   #42
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There seems to be a misconception among many people that capos are used primarily by people who don't play the guitar well. (barre chords,etc.)
While this may be the case for some people, it should be stressed that
capos are used for a VARIETY of reasons.

Voicing and resonance are primary factors in how some people make use
of capos. If you have two guitars strumming away on first position chords,
the mix can end up being much "muddier" than having one play in the first
position, while the other is played in a higher register. There are also
a lot of riffs that don't transpose particularly well, if a vocalist has to
shift keys to eflat or bflat, for example.

Capos can also be used for alternate tunings. Some are
even manufactured for a "drop D" effect which allows you to
play a drop D style without having to change the tuning of
the high and low e strings.

I've used kyser 12 string and 6 string capos for years, even though
I learned to play barre chords long before I ever bought a capo. Like
most things that relate to playing guitar, the tools are only as good as
the people playing them.............. and there are frequently several
ways to use the tools.............
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:20 AM   #43
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There seems to be a misconception among many people that capos are used primarily by people who don't play the guitar well. (barre chords,etc.)
While this may be the case for some people, it should be stressed that
capos are used for a VARIETY of reasons.

Voicing and resonance are primary factors in how some people make use
of capos. If you have two guitars strumming away on first position chords,
the mix can end up being much "muddier" than having one play in the first
position, while the other is played in a higher register. There are also
a lot of riffs that don't transpose particularly well, if a vocalist has to
shift keys to eflat or bflat, for example.

Capos can also be used for alternate tunings. Some are
even manufactured for a "drop D" effect which allows you to
play a drop D style without having to change the tuning of
the high and low e strings.

I've used kyser 12 string and 6 string capos for years, even though
I learned to play barre chords long before I ever bought a capo. Like
most things that relate to playing guitar, the tools are only as good as
the people playing them.............. and there are frequently several
ways to use the tools.............
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:21 AM   #44
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when this guy puts the capo at or beyond 5th fret it starts sounding like a mandolin to me...i think picking style works ok but strumming just sounds odd...other than fun jams, i think more than one rhythm guitar, regardless of capo positions, sounds muddy and usually drown out vocals...glad this thread pulled you out of lurker mode, amberwaves...i never realized there is a capo variation for every occasion...they must sell one of those capo belts to carry em all (similar to what harmonica players wear?)

YouTube - Guitar Lesson - The REAL Chords To Know 5 - Using a Capo

say, ever watch the Piano Guy? it's also got short cuts to playing pop, rock and a wide variety of cheese...some of the guest i've seen are quite interesting actually...is there a Guitar Guy out there?

YouTube - How to Play "Crazy"

one thing about piano fun, you can just play with a simple, say C chord, for minutes ...different bass

CEG /C (ie. with C bass)
CEG / E (ala Shadows)
CEG / G

or different inversions

CEG (root)
ECG (1st)
GCE (2nd)

in order to highlight the melody (unless accompanying a singer) while you support rhythm with lower chord notes

so, imo, the piano can be an entire self supporting band with bass, rhythm and melody pronounced, it's the motherboard...unless you're merle travis or chet, pretty hard to to on guitar...interesting what guitar players see when they look at the fretboard vs what pianists see when they look down...hats off to harmonica players who visualize all those ins and outs in their head or by instinct...i think gtr and piano are both easy compared to wind instruments where you actually have to work to generate even a single note

...i remember when first going to Massey concerts and hearing the TSO from the upper balcony and thinking 'all that glorious sound'...truly unplugged

Last edited by jj; 10-19-2009 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:29 PM   #45
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btw, speaking of concentrating on lyrics...what about if GL started using a teleprompter? would that go against the code of the concert going purist? i'm not sure how common they are
That would probably bother me but Sinatra was using just such a thing in his last few years.
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:48 PM   #46
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It wouldn't bother me if he had a stand with lyric sheets on it..we all get older and more forgetful..if he wants to get up and perform but needs a little memory booster I know I'll still be there when he starts singing.
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:08 PM   #47
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you always see kindergarten teachers at the front of the stage, wording the lyrics to the kids at Xmas assemblies and such

char, since you're always in the front seats, maybe besides recording setlists, you could take on an expanded role for GL?

i think GL uses some little notes along the floor with his setlists scribbles...i've seen the starting lyric of a few verses for certain tunes in the past...that's totally different than reading a prompter...somehow when you see newfolks reading from a prompter, somehow a bit of the truth and trust is lost...ultimately, i suppose a prompter could have the lyrics, the chords (capo position of course), the song intro story, etc....instead of a small teleprompter, they could also project the words on the back wall of Massey... and we could all turn our necks and have a big singalong....not

btw, many keyboard players have an external 'box'...you sift through the menu and it lists all your tunes preprogrammed to what sounds and other effects (perhaps midi settings too) you've designated for each...we used to have to switch a bunch of oscillator knobs on synths between songs, agh...i suppose they could be programmed to switch to the right key if using the tranpose feature also...maybe my inital bad invention list is all backwards and the order needs to be flipped upsidedown

i suppose the extreme would be to just have GL sit on stage while we play his CD's over the PA...he could just take a Gordish bow after every tune...i'd still pay money for that...not good money, but money
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:36 PM   #48
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melissa, i realize what you mean by capo being very friendly when it comes to wanting to play all 6 strings at once...gotta check out these partial capos (just covers the first 4 strings)

i know Gord has commented that he wishes he were like Dylan and would be one of those capo-free players...my initial anecdote was intended to be fun, full or irony and most of all, self-deprecating (ie. thought it was cute that a layman observer thought it was an enhanced challenge to play with capo)

for those who are learning any instrument or exploring new possibilities, the chart found at this link is pretty much what i leave any folks i've tutored with...if they learn a portion or all of the major and minor chords (i encourage, across all key signatures) typical to contemporary music and their relationship to each other, they are off to a good start and it's a big shortcut to having to got through the royal conservatory approach...then add the major and dominant 7ths...of course, 2nds and 4ths will take you a long way on their own http://www.abclearnguitar.com/transpose.html

i was just wondering if any who play GL songs to a T, would know what keys he typically plays in? ie. does he typically play in G or D with capo+2 or +3? ...i'll go back and look at lightfoot.ca but i think those are user friendly chartings and not in the actual key signatures recorded

also, have GL changed key on any tunes for live performances?

i'm full of more questions than answers...thank you all again for the diverse input!
WOW VERY neat! thanks! I just placed my capo over all but the 6th and never thought of doing these things before . Thanks for the 'new possibility' to play around with . I also tried the capo just on the lower 4...but so far I just like having the 6th open. So no special capo needed to do this on the Goya...but probably would need a partial capo for the Ibanez (which I won't play any more, I don't like it). But I better stop playing around on this board and my guitar soon and get back to applying for JOBS online.

I can't recall exactly when I 1st started using a capo -but learned about them from a friend, and then she gave me one of her old ones. I can't do bar chords so it's a big help to me .

I checked out the link to the chart I am so dense, it looks so foreign to me. It's like trying to learn algebra from a blackboard -I just can't!

On that note...the 'best' way for me to learn anything on guitar is by looking over someone's shoulder while they're playing. And then just picking up whatever I can, wherever I can and I'm learning ALOT in these posts...so thanks everyone . I've checked out lessons online (including youtube) and have a hard time finding behind the shoulder lessons! So if you know of or come across any...please pass a link along to me .

I can still pick up things by watching opposite, and someone mentioned (jj maybe?) on a recent post, how they've never been able to be close enough at a concert (until GL concerts) to actually see the musicians play. Same for me and although I don't flat pick, I have picked up a few things by watching Terry .

Gordon -I already travis finger pick like he does (and 3-finger, anchor with the pinkie) but he has large hands and can cover more territory. I don't rely on a long thumbnail as he does. I alternate fingerpicking and strumming with my thumb and, and mostly with putting the nails of my thumb and forefinger together (making an "ok" sign)-something someone showed me years ago.

I don't get the crisp sound as when strumming with a pick, but this is the best way I've found to be able to alternate between strumming and picking (without using a thumbpick...which gets caught in the strings too much). But it looks strange when I do this because my fingers are double-jointed (which is a help, actually).

I've got to get back to paying more attention to technique and reading music for guitar. Going through one of my old piano songbooks the other day, I see that I had written out the names and defs for musical signs and symbols (like for to Coda and Del Segno) and I used to know all that...had taught myself to read music and was in the process of teaching myself how to write it.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:45 PM   #49
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I don't get the crisp sound as when strumming with a pick
I have great admiration for the flat-pickers out there. I've tried using one, but would always end up shaking it out of the guitar body. And that's not as easy as it sounds.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:40 PM   #50
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I have great admiration for the flat-pickers out there. I've tried using one, but would always end up shaking it out of the guitar body. And that's not as easy as it sounds.
you need Stick'em (as do the Argos)...either that or try the ribbed ones...we're talking about guitar picks, just to clarify

yes, i've seen lots of drunk folks at campfire sessions holding guitars over their heads (lots of cursing too, i might add) waiting for something to fall back out

pam, daniel smith has some fun stuff..i friend used it to print off some lyrics for a party way back when first online and i found it easy to remember (DanSm) http://www.scenicnewengland.net/guit...tic/index.html

btw, i had an idle guitar that i decided to turn into a high-string for fun....it's often nice to add that shimmer sound to a track....something Bob Doidge does, that's where i first saw it anyhow...the bottom 4 strings are tuned up an octave...just pick up the thinner gauge E A D G ones from a 12 string set and you're all set...of course, leave the high B E as is...i went ontot hat tangent when you said you have an idle Ibanez

anyhow, this could be a never ending thread if all the guitar players (a wide range!) add their 2 cents worth of tips and tricks...btw, ron jones was the first one i saw who used the drone capo positioning...he actually used two...he's one of the many here who don't rely on it as a crutch

you can find great guitar discussions back at the newsgroup archives (wayne francis, derek, matt, val, ed, melissa, cathy, richard harrison, etc, etc) knock yourself out!

btw, i've seen people with small hands tackle the guitar and/or piano in masterful fashion, many of them female, it's humbling...good luck
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