Print Story The meaning of music in life
By theboz (Sat Nov 28, 2015 at 12:34:15 AM EST) (all tags)
I forget if I've ever mentioned here that I started playing guitar a couple of years ago. Below will be a short discussion of why, how, and what I've been up to with that.


Well, why not? Seriously though, we all grow up with music in some form, and to a mind like many of us here, it becomes somewhat important whether we like it or not. It's not just a background to our lives, but it is directly tied to our emotions and either controls how we feel or the choice in music we listen to expresses our feelings at the moment.

For me, I've always been a fan of music that accompanies the guitar. Sure, the whole rock n' roll thing, but it's not about the attitude as much as the sound. I grew up hearing the stuff my dad would listen to, and that really shaped what my musical tastes became. However, I always viewed playing guitar as something for other people who were born with talent rather than me, that I was basically just a fuck up or talentless asshole who was better off just listening to it.

So when my dad passed away, I had sort of a breakthrough mentally where I said fuck it and just wanted to start. I no longer believe that such a thing as talent exists, although some people live in circumstances that allow them to get better than others. Now it has become such an essential part of my life that I didn't realize was missing. It's both my hobby and my passion. I'm not good at it, but I'll be damned if it doesn't make me happy despite starting so late in life compared to most people who play guitar.


So I've tried all kinds of shit. I have a decent but cheap Epiphone Les Paul that I almost never play anymore and will probably sell soon. I have a MIM Fender Stratocaster that I also rarely play but will probably keep. I have an Ibanez acoustic that I should probably sell. I also have a Fender solid state amp that is cool for being cheap, and the only reason I won't sell it is because I may need to give it to one of my kids should they start playing.

My main gear that I play basically every day, though, is pretty simple. I have a PRS S2 Custom 24 which is night and day above any other guitar I've owned. I've never tried a Fender or Gibson that I have liked better, and really the only thing I would consider upgrading to one day is a core model PRS. I'm not trying to make an ad for PRS but they feel so much better than anything else to play.

In terms of amps, I love the sound of Marshall. I've tried several, and while I toy with the idea of getting a Fender at some point to split and emulate a Black Keys kind of sound, I mainly need distortion. Unfortunately, the low wattage Marshalls seem to suck and most of the time when I play, I need headphones anyway so my primary amp is a Blackstar HT-5R which was designed by former Marshall engineers. It's a great little amp, although I rarely crank it up but when I do it sounds sweet.

I sometimes use pedals, but it's kind of a pain in the ass, especially since my first amp was a modeling amp so I didn't need pedals, but the ones I mainly use are a Fuzz Pedal (either a ZVex Fuzz Factory or a Earthquaker Hoof) and a cheap Chinese knockoff Phase 90. Sometimes I use a Ditto looper but a lot of the stuff I've been playing lately are songs from bands with just one guitar player.


So what am I playing? I've been making up some of my own riffs, but they're surprisingly melancholy so I don't do much with them. I never really learned how to do anything good with pentatonic scales because it sounds too cheesy now that I've memorized them (and really, any guitar player who solos by just going up and down the shapes makes me want to puke.) There are interesting ways to use them but I have trouble coming up with them myself.

Bands that I have been playing a lot from lately are Muse, The Black Keys, The Killers, Rammstein, Queens of the Stone Age, and probably others that I'm forgetting. A lot of heavy stuff mainly. It's more fun.

That being said, I've noticed a change in what I've been listening to that will be bound to shift what I play. For some reason last week I was on a John Mayer kick. Not his Top 40 pop stuff, but rather his covers of classic blues songs like "Crossroads" and "I got a woman". I learned how to play "Daughters" which is extremely easy, but mainly so if my wife gets mad at my daughter I can start strumming the chords and say, "Mothers be good to your daughters..." just to defuse the situation. I also picked up the song "83" one evening which I like a lot lyrically, but in general his music sounds better on an acoustic guitar so I don't do much with it.

So that's pretty much it for now. I'll keep learning as I can, but I have no intention of trying to join or start a band. If anything, I'm considering buying a cheap bass and learning that at some point, although if I got to a point where I could play the bass riff to Muse's "Hysteria" I'd fly to the aircraft carrier with a "Mission Accomplished" banner and put it away, because bass seems so boring on 95% of all songs.

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That's cool... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Nov 30, 2015 at 09:43:39 AM EST
I one day want to start on the piano again (learned a bit when I was a kid) but have to say right now it don't look like it'll happen until I retire...

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