Author Topic: Microsnout's Road Case  (Read 1148 times)

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Offline microsnout

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Microsnout's Road Case
« on: September 04, 2020, 08:47:51 am »
Initial Road Case entry: Sept 04 2020 (somewhere near Montreal)

Brief History
I started learning guitar about two years ago at age 57.  I have been playing drums off and on since the age of 12 so I did start with a good knowledge of rhythm concepts.  I wanted to learn the harmony and melody side of music so I started learning guitar.  I thought about piano but they are not portable and more importantly - not collectable!  I also wanted to make music in a solo context like sitting in the cockpit of my sailboat at anchor on a summer night. 

I have been using Justin Guitar for almost all of the last two years but also other online courses.  At some point I thought it would be a good idea to add a real life teacher to the mix of resources I was using so I found a good local teacher thinking this would add to my collective experience but... he more or less thought that I should put aside all this silly online learning stuff and follow his teaching exclusively.  Well there was no way I was going to do that, because I had no intention of taking lessons every week for $40 and ignoring all the great online resources.  I did continue to see him however because he had some really good methods.  

Current Goal - Learning 30 Songs
So after listening to a podcast entitled “The Importance of Learning Songs” (by Desi Serna)  I have been working feverishly on learning a bunch of songs from start to end. My goal is at least 30 songs on acoustic guitar.   

My focus is just on the rhythm playing, chord progressions, strumming patterns etc.  After I achieve the goal of 30 songs I will work on adding some melodic intro riffs and other embellishments.  I have good experience playing melodies in various keys and fretboard positions thanks to my local teacher who helped me work through all the exercises in books 1 & 2 of the Hal Leonard Guitar Method series so what I am looking for now is improved chord playing, smooth chord changes, new strumming patterns and song structure.

The Hal Leonard books did contain many chord progression exercises but I am finding it much more fun to learn this by playing songs than just strumming with a metronome.  I have consequently made much better progress with my chords this way.   My E - A change has improved immensely as so many songs use this - and it helped my finally settle on the best A chord fingering for me.  Using a capo as high as the 7th fret convinced me that the 2 inline fingerings (1,2,3 and 2,3,4) are not good for me so I settled on the Justin recommended fingering (plus a barre on electric).  Each song seems to help in a different way, “Dock of the Bay” for example exposed a weakness in my G to B7 change which has also improved.   

Here is my list of songs so far.  I have not quite reached 30 yet and I may replace several with others I like better. I believe all of the songs except one come from my Justin Guitar songbooks (I have 6 of them).  I have not strictly followed the BC stages since I have been working on 3 other beginner level courses plus material from my local teacher (who I have not seen since Feb I think) but I am trying to ensure that I do at least 2 or 3 songs from each stage.

My list of acoustic songs so far:

1. Wonderful Tonight - Clapton
2. Love Me Do - Beatles
3. Last Kiss - Pearl Jam
4. Knockin on Heavens Door - Dylan
5. Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
6. A Horse with No Name - America
7. Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
8. Hotel California - Eagles
9. Dance the Night  Away - The Mavericks
10. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
11. Feelin Alright - Joe Cocker
12. Where Have All the Flowers Gone - The Kingston Trio
13. Hound Dog - Elvis
14. A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
15. 5 Years Time - Noah and the Whale
16. Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
17. Eleanor Rigby - Beatles
18. Heart of Gold - Neil Young
19. Yellow Submarine - Beatles
20. Blowin Smoke - Kacey Musgraves
21. For What its Worth - Buffalo Springfield
22. Walking the Dog - Rolling Stones
23. Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
24. Bye Bye Love - Everly Brothers
25. Lay Down Sally - Clapton

Other Stuff

I am learning all the above songs on acoustic guitar. On electric guitar I am working on a beginner level Blues guitar course - actually 2 of them (from non-Justin sources). One of them general techniques and theory, the other focused on learning 10 standard blues tunes. I will post more details on progress at a later time.

In the morning I spend a bit of time with my nylon string guitar. (I don’t think it’s really a classical guitar since it has strap buttons and a cutaway - La Patrie Arena series).  My teacher is a classical guitarist and he has taught me the basics - or tried to - but the truth is,  I have spent 99% of my practice time over the past two years with pick in hand.  I have been working on beginner level exercises in flamenco style, Picado rest strokes, Phrygian scales, Spanish triplets etc.  Plus I am working on a simple arrangement of the tune “Besame Mucho”.

I started working on several “Carter Style” tunes for steel string acoustic.  One is “Wildwood Flower”, a tune I learned (simplified form) from the Hal Leonard books.  I have not made a lot of progress with these yet. I immediately ran into the challenge of holding a C/G chord while doing a hammer-on with finger 2.  I am not nearly as accustomed to the C/G as a regular C and my pinky on the 5th string keep muting the 4th.

Gear

This is my favourite guitar! My Taylor 414ce acquired 'used', it is used daily for my 30 song acoustic goal.



New 2020 Epiphone Les Paul Muse - I love how thin and light this is compared to a Gibson



My first electric - Epihone Casino Coupe - Very light, hollow body, great for unplugged low volume practice


Godin/La Patrie Arena Mahogany Nylon String - thin body, QIT Electric


Ok, Gear Acquisition Syndrome at work - too many amplifiers for my current level but I love the clean tone of the Fender Princeton
Taylor 414ce
Epiphone Les Paul Muse
Seagull Coastline Cedar Folk
Epiphone Casino Coupe

Online DavidP

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2020, 09:34:58 am »
What a wonderful  post to launch your Road Case, microsnout.

Sounds like you have made good progress, have an approach to learning that works for you, and fine collection of instruments (though I missed a picture of the Taylor <Edit> now I see the picture of the Taylor).

Excellent idea to be learning songs and you I'd show up to watch you play those 30 when you can.  Do you sing as well?

I hope you will post recordings soon over in the Audio-Video area. Great way to get feedback, which is the gap in the online learning approach I think that a teacher normally fills. If you post videos here there are extremely knowledgeable folk who will help you with technique and (mostly) just applaud progress and be encouraging.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2020, 11:28:13 am by DavidP »

Online tobyjenner

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2020, 10:27:34 am »
Hi Micro

Thanks for the bio, as David said looks like you are making good progress. That's an impressive list of songs for a couple of years, you'll have to start recording for our AVOYP channel  ;)
See you have a nice selection toys as well, like most of us you suffer from GAS but life's too short.

Welcome to the forum.

Cheers

Toby
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Here since Mar 2013 Completed BC, RUST 1 & 2, IM, MTMS Still on Blues Rhythm and Blues Lead
https://soundcloud.com/tobyjenner/   
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2wcjHmnrFuQyom6tqUtdrQ
Roadcase : https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?to

Offline adi_mrok

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2020, 11:04:09 am »
Wonderful collection and wonderful post. Seems like you know what you're doing and what your goal is, hope to see a recording of you playing some of the songs from your list. Have you considered changing a teacher to more acoustic/electric biased one? I remember my brother as a young toddler was taking some lessons with classical guitar and they are far different to what you are aiming form. I believe if you want a real life teacher you would benefit so much more from someone less clasically biased.

Good luck on your journey!

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Offline RC23

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2020, 11:26:36 am »
Great collection of songs, quite a few of them are on my list too.

Also really like your amp and guitar collection, I nearly bought a Princeton but it would have been just too loud for home use. And both the Taylor and the Epiphone look fantastic.

Sounds like you’ve got a good strategy.

Rod.
BC (Classic) done, Intermediate Course  - in progress. Theory Course - in progress.

Guitars: Fender American Strat, Fender Japan Telecaster, Epiphone Flamekat, Eastman AC120CE
Amps: Fender Tonemaster DR, Joyo JTA-05

Offline Alex6strings

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2020, 12:15:44 am »
Hey Microsnout cool road case and some beautiful guitars there.  I love that Taylor!  I play drums too and I think you're right, it definitely helps with rhythm and timing.
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That's a pretty impressive post.  It sounds like you're a person with focus and I really like your goal setting idea of 30 acoustic songs.  The fact that you're measuring your success is very important imo.   Being here and sharing and becoming part of the forum is an excellent step.   Being able to discuss and share ideas on anything guitar related is priceless!   I'm sure you've already found it to be a great place hence your roadcase. 
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I can't help but think about all those piano players out there.  As you said, you can't really collect pianos.. so i guess they must have a huge Casio keyboard collections or something.  Anywho, as David said it would be great to see you post up a vid or some audio of one or more of your songs you're working on.  I think you'll get a lot from it.   
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I'll leave you with this thought on fingerpicking and perhaps ditching the pick for a while.   If we weren't suppose to play guitar with our fingers then why the heck have we got them?   ::)  keep on picking!
"Hand me a guitar and I'll play the blues, it's the place i automatically go"  EC

Offline batwoman

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2020, 05:03:58 am »
What an impressive array of skills, learning and gear you have micro. In fact there's nothing micro about any of this at all!
Walcott Custom OM Acoustic , G&L Tribute Fallout Electric, Crafter T035 OM Acoustic, Ashton Bass.

Offline microsnout

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2020, 06:31:22 am »
Thanks for all the comments…

@DavidP  No, unfortunately I have no experience singing - yet.  I will work on making a recording somehow but I may find it difficult playing without the singing in the recording to cue me.  I may try to record along with a MIDI backing track of drums, baseline and melody.  There are such tracks for most songs on Ultimate Guitar I believe.

@Toby  At least 6 to 10 of these songs still need some additional work.  I often gave in to the temptation to start a new song before finishing others. I also broke that rule of Justin’s where he says “Practice what you can’t yet do, not what you can”  by using my time to play songs that I already play well because it’s more fun.

@adi  Yes I have considered changing teachers to gain a different perspective but then along came this lockdown thing and that idea is on hold.  To be fair however, my teacher does teach different styles as well.  I did gain a lot from him in the first two years including sight reading of music notation in different keys and good knowledge of the entire fretboard.

@Alex  Its not too practical to collect drum sets either so I guess most drummers settle for collecting snare drums.  Guitars on the other hand are all too tempting, I must admit I had 4 by the end of my first year playing - I have already sold two as I learn what I like best.  As for the Taylor, I love the sound of it and also the Grand Auditorium body shape but I am not a fan of dreadnoughts.

As for fingerpicking!  It is the specialty of my teacher (who I have not seen in months) but I got the impression that his approach to teaching it was too rigorous and formal for me.  I say, hey Its just a retirement hobby for me, I am not preparing to apply to some classical guitar program.  One day for example, I tell him I have been working on the “Dust in the Wind” intro and his reaction was immediate “Oh you shouldn’t even try that yet. It’s much too advanced! Forget it.” which I thought was a very negative attitude.  A couple weeks later I was spending some time in Ottawa and decided to check out a local teacher who seemed like a fun guy and good teacher based on his videos (Youtube: ‘Guitar at Work’) and I mention the same “Dust in the Wind” intro. His reaction “Play it for me”,  “Ya you almost have it, let me give you a few pointers”,  “Thats better, now let’s play it together a bit slower”,  “You got it now, just work on the tempo”.   A very positive ‘can do’ attitude I thought.

@batwoman. Thanks, I would be embarrassed to admit to all the gear actually - there are others...
Taylor 414ce
Epiphone Les Paul Muse
Seagull Coastline Cedar Folk
Epiphone Casino Coupe

Offline Alex6strings

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2020, 08:41:48 am »
@Alex  Its not too practical to collect drum sets either so I guess most drummers settle for collecting snare drums.  Guitars on the other hand are all too tempting, I must admit I had 4 by the end of my first year playing - I have already sold two as I learn what I like best.  As for the Taylor, I love the sound of it and also the Grand Auditorium body shape but I am not a fan of dreadnoughts.

As for fingerpicking!  It is the specialty of my teacher (who I have not seen in months) but I got the impression that his approach to teaching it was too rigorous and formal for me.  I say, hey Its just a retirement hobby for me, I am not preparing to apply to some classical guitar program.  One day for example, I tell him I have been working on the “Dust in the Wind” intro and his reaction was immediate “Oh you shouldn’t even try that yet. It’s much too advanced! Forget it.” which I thought was a very negative attitude.  A couple weeks later I was spending some time in Ottawa and decided to check out a local teacher who seemed like a fun guy and good teacher based on his videos (Youtube: ‘Guitar at Work’) and I mention the same “Dust in the Wind” intro. His reaction “Play it for me”,  “Ya you almost have it, let me give you a few pointers”,  “Thats better, now let’s play it together a bit slower”,  “You got it now, just work on the tempo”.   A very positive ‘can do’ attitude I thought.

@batwoman. Thanks, I would be embarrassed to admit to all the gear actually - there are others...

lol yeah guitars are the best and there is definitely something addictive about getting a new guitar, whether it's a guitar to take camping or a dream guitar it's always a great day on NGD.  Nothing like holding your new guitar and learning its secrets.
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Sounds very negative of your teacher, I don't think thats really teaching to be honest.   Yeah I don't even think a teacher is needed for you to branch off into fingerstyle. If you were interested in learning classical pieces and adopting a classical approach to fingerstyle then yeah.  I'm self taught and just naturally went into acoustic fingerstyle.  I grew up with Tommy Emmanuel on tv every saturday night nearly so it was easy to fall in love with the music.   I think it happens naturally if it that style of music speaks to you.  One day you're playing with a pick and loving it then you see or hear something that changes the way you look and think about guitar completely and that can send you down a rabbit hole of fingerpicking or slide or whatever it is.   
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Dont be embarrassed about gear here ok?   This is the place where you can relax and talk about your gear without fear of judgment.   There's a whole thread dedicated to 'tell us what your newest guitar or gear purchase is'  It's not called that , but that's what it is.    8)  There are many of us here who have multiple guitars and not because we need them.  keep on picking (fingerpicking)
"Hand me a guitar and I'll play the blues, it's the place i automatically go"  EC

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2020, 08:42:03 am »
@Microsnout. What a fantastic start to your road case and this is just music to my ears ...



Current Goal - Learning 30 Songs
So after listening to a podcast entitled “The Importance of Learning Songs” (by Desi Serna)  I have been working feverishly on learning a bunch of songs from start to end. My goal is at least 30 songs on acoustic guitar.   

 :) 8) :) 8) :) 8) :) 8) :) 8)

 :) 8) :) 8) :) 8) :) 8) :) 8)

 :) 8) :) 8) :) 8) :) 8) :) 8)

Offline microsnout

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2021, 06:50:54 am »
2nd Road  Case entry: Jan 16 2021

I had intended to post updates at least once a month but its been over 4 months since my first Road Case entry so I guess an update is due. Guitar progress has been a bit slow due to a couple distractions.

Firstly, I was distracted from guitar practice in the fall by a drumming project which ended in early Dec. (It can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_B8L20GNxM if you are interested. We recorded 2 songs by "The Doors" (we also did 'L.A. Woman', 'Light My Fire' and 'Peace Frog' but just recorded these 2).  There was supposed to be a concert in a local bar but due to COVID we just made a video.  Someday in the future perhaps I will be confident enough to play guitar in a future session.

Secondly, In the last few weeks I have let a programming project steal my guitar practice time!  I don’t need to do that anymore as I am retired from that but occasionally I start some project for fun that becomes an addiction for a while. 

First Video posted:
One good thing is I have posted my first video to the forum.  I will have to work on getting another one soon.
Yellow Submarine.
https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?topic=48166.msg434604#msg434604

Barre Chords:
I have been procrastinating practice on these for too long so I am trying to correct that.  I have made some good progress playing both E shape 6th string root and A shape 5th string root chords - especially on electric guitar.  The big issue that needs much more work is changing well to an E-shape chord in time!  I can play the chord ok - which is great - and I can change to an A shape ok but getting back to the E-shape on time is tough.  To practice I am working on barre chord versions of several of the songs that I already know well using open chords.  I prefer this to chord progression exercises with a metronome because it is more motivating to make the song sound good. So far I can play "Wonderful Tonight" ok and have moved on to a couple other songs.

Blues guitar:
I have been working on the following classic blues songs:
   “Smokestack Lightning”,   Howlin’ Wolf
`   “Hoochie Coochie Man”,   Muddy Waters
   “Killing Floor”,  Howlin Wolf
   “Sweet Home Chicago”,  Clapton 
Progress has been slow because of above noted distractions but it has been fun.
Here is a short sample from Smokestack Lightning… https://youtu.be/3Wt8gH-qNS0

Fingerstyle
I have started Justin's intermediate module "Folk Fingerstyle". So far I am just practicing a few of the Travis picking patterns.  I had a cool practice idea for finger style chord progressions - as a drummer I love metronome practice but... I used the free version of the online songwriting app called 'Hookpad' to create a chord progression using the roman numerals for chords like I-IV-I-V and choose a key.  I play along with the app at different tempos and in different keys.  It sounds much more pleasing and musical than a metronome - and as i said, I love metronomes.

Random Guitar Thoughts
It seems like guitar practice can expand time in some way!  Have you ever gone back to play something you struggled with a year ago, something that seemed near impossible to play because you just couldn't get from one note or fret to the next on time and you find that now... there is lots of time to achieve the required change! Thats rather cool and must involve general relativity in some way.

I have a bushel of guitar picks that I might as well throw out.  I seems after buying some of almost everything I now always want a Fender 351-shape Heavy for everything - acoustic, electric, strumming, picking notes.

Gear Talk
In April it will be 3 years that I have been playing guitar - or trying to learn you could say.  I have already sold 3 guitars and given one away; that's G.A.S for you!  I gave away an Epiphone Special II that was given to me 3 years ago and was actually what inspired me to learn guitar.  The new owner was very happy to get it as they regretted selling their guitar they once had. I also sold one of two nylon string guitars that I had because I certainly don't need two.

The purchase of the Taylor GS Mini seen in my 'Yellow Submarine' video was a big success, I love it.  It was a replacement for the Art & Lutherie Roadhouse parlour seen below.  This guitar was very pretty but to me it sounded 'thin', lacking the warmth and low end that the GS Mini has.
 


Another guitar sold is this nice Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. It was cool that it had my year of birth printed on the pickguard but after getting used to the light weight and slim body of the Epiphone Muse LP, the Gibson felt like holding a tree. Plus I just didn't need a second Les Paul style guitar. This guitar has thus been replaced by the Epiphone Muse shown in my first post. The choice was also influenced by the fact that I was able to sell this for more than 3x the new price of the Epiphone. 



This TC Electronics Flashback delay pedal is new. I like the cool way it has for loading custom settings from an mobile app.  It communicates the settings acoustically from the speaker on your phone into the guitar pickup! You hold your phone near the pickup and it plays a burst of sounds and the pedal is programmed. There are some cool custom profiles, some made by renowned guitarists that can change the settings well beyond the capabilities of the 3 knobs. TC Electronics makes a number of other pedals with this technology including the Hall of Fame Reverb and the HyperGravity Compressor - they call it TonePrint. You can use USB link to program them also.



Lastly, there is this BeatBuddy drum machine pedal from Singular Sound.  I am still exploring this. It has great drum sounds and lets you switch between verse and chorus beats and insert fills with your foot. I am a little bit disappointed however at the high cost of the extra beat libraries which have all the good stuff like popular song patterns.  The jury is still out on this... but I would like to try using this for a new song video.





« Last Edit: January 17, 2021, 04:49:37 pm by microsnout »
Taylor 414ce
Epiphone Les Paul Muse
Seagull Coastline Cedar Folk
Epiphone Casino Coupe

Online DavidP

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2021, 09:12:34 am »
Fabulous update, microsnout ... or if I am correct, may I call you Barry?

Yup, I watched the Doors video ... brilliant ... and assumed that you were the drummer.

Also really enjoyed your snipped of Smokestack. Got me thinking about that one in the near future.

Guitar learning is a strange thing. Sometimes it seems like one can learn do something by going off and working on other things. And somehow when you return, like magic, quickly that challenging thing falls into place.

Enjoyed the gear update.

Look forward to the next song over in AVOYP!

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2021, 10:10:49 am »
Wow! I thought I had GAS! Some very nice gear there, I like the look of that Epiphone LP, I don’t like the normal ones, too heavy!
Enjoyed your tracks, especially Smokestack lightning, it’s one along with Freight train that’s on my to do list.

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2021, 11:17:35 am »
Great update. You really seem to be on track for 2021 and further in terms of your learning plan and your equipment. I’m surprised you sold the LP gold top. I know they are heavy but they are classics.
Studying Intermediate Course, Folk Fingerstyle and Blues modules.
Pickin’ an’ lickin’.....😎.
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Offline adi_mrok

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2021, 12:41:24 pm »
Great entry, looking forward to see your progress this year. The delay pedal sounds awesome with its mobile app functionality, didnt even know that's possible!

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Offline JustMe123456

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2021, 12:47:43 pm »
How was it to mix several online courses? And how did you keep focus?
“Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” ~ Keith Richards

Offline microsnout

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2021, 05:16:13 pm »
Correct David I am the Barry the drummer in that video.  I have used the id 'microsnout' for about 25 years now since one day in the mid 90's when I was trying to think of an email address. I was working at Microsoft in Redmond, WA at the time and I had a childhood friend who used to call me 'Snout' (ok, he still does) at it just came to me and was available.

@DarrellW - Selling a couple guitars may end up feeding GAS. For me it creates a couple 'vacancies' that allow future acquisitions.  I can't help browsing new listings on Reverb and it bugs me to be at my personal 'limit' on the number of guitars I own.

@sairfingers, yes it was a tough decision to sell it but I am happy about it.  I can buy a Gibson LP again sometime as a reward for achieving a higher level of play. 

@adi_mrok, Yes that TonePrint technology is cool. I suspect that the capabilities of the pedal greatly exceed what can be done with the 3 controls, in fact the circuit may be almost identical to other pedals like the HOF reverb. Perhaps it is just a digital signal processor that can be programmed to do anything you want and some are packaged as reverbs and others as delays.  Using the USB link and the associated app you can actually reprogram the knob function so that it controls multiple parameters simultaneously - like for example as you turn a knob it could be increasing delay while reducing feedback. It would require a bit of creativity to make it sound good I expect.

@JustMe123456  Well I lose focus regularly actually. I try to maintain notes using a cloud based notepad that I can refer to from any device.  Currently I use an app called 'Bear' for this - ya its a strange name.  There is certainly no shortage of good online courses - don't know how in-person teachers are getting by, I haven't seen mine in about a year.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2021, 05:38:29 pm by microsnout »
Taylor 414ce
Epiphone Les Paul Muse
Seagull Coastline Cedar Folk
Epiphone Casino Coupe

Online DavidP

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2021, 05:07:02 am »
Correct David I am the Barry the drummer in that video.  I have used the id 'microsnout' for about 25 years now since one day in the mid 90's when I was trying to think of an email address. I was working at Microsoft in Redmond, WA at the time and I had a childhood friend who used to call me 'Snout' (ok, he still does) at it just came to me and was available.

Thanks Barry. Lovely story about the origins of microsnout.

Offline phx1973

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Re: Microsnout's Road Case
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2021, 04:58:46 pm »
Awesome rig. thank you for sharing. Love that collection of guitars and amps!
Currently studying Intermediate Foundation 2

Fender Telecaster, Taylor 214CE-DLX, Martin 000-X2E, Fender Blues Junior IV

 

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