Author Topic: SS7's Road Case  (Read 2252 times)

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Offline SS7

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SS7's Road Case
« on: November 15, 2020, 03:04:11 pm »
Hi, welcome to my new (and improved?) road case!

I decided to delete the old one because I lost the ability to edit my structured post and I really didn't feel comfortable bothering Richard to update it every time I had something to add so I'm starting over. This time around I'm planning on using this thread as sort of a casual journal of my progress learning songs, new gear, thoughts and musings, and anything else that has to do with my guitar journey.

So first off, new-ish guitar! After having a few close calls with toys flying at my mini Martin at Mach 3 speeds I realized pretty quickly that with two little boys around there was no way I was getting my Gibson out to practice in front of them. I've been on a lookout for a budget friendly guitar that has a similar scale length and nut width and was delighted to find this Art & Lutherie Legacy CW:



Solid cedar top, laminated cherry back and sides, rosewood fretboard, 24.75" scale length and 1.72" nut width, made in Canada (A&L is owned by Godin). This has been my main practice guitar for a little while now and I gotta say I'm really impressed. The built-in tuner is pretty meh but the satin neck is sublime and the rounded fretboard was a huge surprise.

On to the playing side of things - I know that it is imperative for me to start learning music theory in order to go from 'dude who knows some songs' to actually being a guitarist, and I am planning on starting Justin's theory course, but I'm just having so much fun learning songs that were previously out of my grasp and I don't know how to stop. I was going to learn more John Mayer songs after posting Why Georgia in order to slowly work myself up to eventually learning Neon (one of my holy grail songs), but I've kind of become obsessed with Doc Watson lately so I started learning Deep River Blues instead. It took me a couple of days to get the first half of the intro down (sort of), here's what I got so far:





This is doing wonders for my thumb independence. I'll be endlessly looping this bit for the coming days / weeks / however long it takes to get it in my blood because the chord progression is the same for the rest of the song. The change from B7 up to E7 (5th fret) at the end is pretty tricky which means I've got some 1-minute changes to do, and also my pinky isn't enjoying the bends one bit so it's going to take some time to build up calluses there. I might start learning JM's Heart of Life alongside this one if it gets a little stale, we'll see how it goes.

I think that's all I have for now. Till next time  ;)

Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2020, 06:01:36 pm »
Hi! Small update on the blues progress - I got the whole intro down now which is apparently the hardest part of the song.





All that's left is to learn the verse and bridge parts, and practice practice practice until I can play it all clean and on time. Hopefully next time you see me playing this will be in AVOYP in a couple of weeks.

Offline batwoman

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2020, 05:00:33 am »
Is this Ground Hog day? I thought I'd written in your RC and it did. Now I'm writing in it again.

Nothing more of use to say so best I buzz off.
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Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2020, 04:34:37 pm »
@batwoman
You definitely did, but in the old one! I deleted it and started over, apologies for any confusion :)
« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 06:23:45 pm by SillySock7 »

Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2020, 05:50:11 pm »
Time for another quick update!

First off, I'm going to delete some older comments in order to try and make this compact and easy to keep track of. Really hope no one takes offense, as I do appreciate any feedback I get from you guys!
--
I posted a new recording of Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard in AVOYP here. This was a welcome distraction from Deep River Blues, I've been slowly chipping away at it but it's hard! I was so wrong to assume that the intro was the hardest part. I've got the intro and verse down, but the bridge is pretty rough. One part in particular over E7 needs some really fast thumb playing and it's definitely a workout but I'm slowly getting there I think.

Also, I had some time to work on my Martin DJr.-10 today. It needed a string change so I used the opportunity to play around with some new tools I got. Quick list of what I did:
  • Swapped strings from D'Addario PBs to Elixir Nanoweb PBs (12s)
  • Cleaned fretboard and other nooks and crannies
  • Rounded sharp corners of the nut
  • Knocked down edges of frets and polished fret ends
  • Replaced original metal tuner buttons to perloid Schallers
Photos:


The buttons were a perfect fit and I think work pretty well with the MOP pattern rosette and fretboard dot inlays. They also shave off a little weight - it's a small guitar that is prone to neck diving so every little bit helps.

I used Justin's way of winding strings from his new video and I gotta say I love how well it works. I used to just wind them a couple of times below the string and it would work well enough but it could be a little annoying when the string slipped. This was a lot quicker and looks great too!

I also got to use my new pin puller I got from Thomann (this one) and it's so good! Amazing design, super simple to use, no way to scratch or damage the bridge. I used to use the one that came on the back of my string winder but it left a mark on the bridge of my Gibson the last time I used it and it's no big deal and you don't really see it if you don't know where to look, but it still crushes my soul every time I think about it.

I'm going to keep working on Deep River Blues because I really want to record and post it until the end of the year, but there's one other song I'm really interested in learning so maybe I'll do that instead and keep DRB for January. We'll see how it goes!

Aaand that's all she wrote. Till next time :)
« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 09:05:56 pm by SillySock7 »

Offline Twilight Storm

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2020, 07:05:53 pm »
Hey, don't let the ding/ mark/ scratch bother you too much. :) It's a story and part of the history of your guitar. Besides these days people pay a lot of money for really uglied up guitars... Unless you're me and you walk up to the counter with one and ask how much of a discount there is on it because it's paint was all f-ed up... (True story. It was my first experience with factory road worn stuff. I had no idea it was a thing.)

Wish you luck with Deep River Blues! 💖 Your progress vid sounds great :)

(Feel free to clean this out immediately, if ya want.)
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Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2020, 08:57:19 pm »
@Twilight Storm
Thanks TS! Yeah it really shouldn't bother me this much and I'll get over it soon. My other guitars have dings from my kids and bumping into stuff and I'm totally fine with that. It's just that this one could've been easily avoided if I wasn't a little too careless and a lot of it has to do with the price tag if I'm being 100% honest. Pretty sure this Gibson is going to be my first and last expensive guitar. It's an amazing instrument but I just don't like how much I feel like I need to baby it all the time.

Of course, please feel free to comment, discuss and stuff! I'll only clean up old posts every two updates or so to keep all the most recent and relevant stuff as easily accessible as possible.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 09:26:14 pm by SillySock7 »

Offline DavidP

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2020, 03:59:41 am »
SS7, enjoyed your update. Good for you for getting so handy and doing as much as one can at home to maintain your guitars. Tuning buttons look great.

Keep on going with DRB, I know you'll get there in due course and looking forward to the day you post it.

Offline sairfingers

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2020, 09:41:52 am »
Hi SS. I’ve found that rather than risk marking the bridge with a pin puller I can push a tight pin out from inside the guitar.

Once the strings are loose you put your hand inside the guitar through the soundhole and using the flat side of a thicker gauge guitar pick to protect your fingertips, you push the tight pin out whilst wiggling the other end with your other hand.

My guitar has no internal electrics to worry about so if doing this with an acoustic electric you would need to take care not to dislodge any wiring etc.
Studying Intermediate Course, Folk Fingerstyle and Blues modules.
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Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2020, 11:50:43 am »
@DavidP
Thank you David! I enjoy tinkering so it's really fun messing around with my guitars. Glad I'm not much into playing on electric because I'd probably be spending way too much time fiddling around with pickups and all the other bits and pieces.

@sairfingers
That's a great tip, thanks so much SF! I'm going to try this out next time I'm changing strings.

Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2020, 06:07:14 pm »
Hey hey, update time! I'm going to start using headings to give these entries some sort of structure and make it easier to organize my thoughts. Anyhow, here we go:

Deep River Blues
It is done! I recorded and posted it up over in AVOYP (link). Not 100% happy with it so I'm going to do it over some time next year, but I really need to learn to play with thumb picks first. I have to work really hard with my thumb while palm muting in order to play the bass line loud enough and that just doesn't work very well with all the fast parts. That quick snappy bass run over E at the end of the verse is especially tough.

Overall learning this song has been really fun, challenging, and frustrating all at the same time but it was well worth it. I feel like I've learned a heck of a lot of new tricks:

- Palm muting
- Thumb independence
- Keeping time with my thumb
- Playing triplets
- Bunch of new awesome chords
- and probably a lot more.

It's the hardest and most complicated song I've had to learn yet and I probably should have started with something a little easier to get my thumb going - Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotton for example. No regrets though, it's an amazing song that I will continue to work on and keep forever in my repertoire.


What's next?
I went pretty hard with practicing for the past couple of months and managed to hurt my shoulder somehow so sitting with a guitar in my lap kind of hurts. Strumming is off the menu for a while and picking isn't super comfortable either but I have discovered that I can still work on tapping, hammer-ons and pull-offs without any pain so I'm learning a song (no spoilers)

I'm going to take it easy though, chill for a bit and enjoy the holidays. Up until now all I did in my free time is play guitar so I've got a lot of shows and books to catch up on, and some video games maybe?

As soon as my shoulder gets better I plan on getting out my thumb picks and learning how to use them properly. I'm having some trouble with volume because I'm used to picking pretty hard with my thumb, so now when I put a pick on the sound simply overpowers everything else. I need to go back to square one and practice picking softly with my thumb while matching the volume with the rest of my fingers. Really excited about it to be honest because as soon as I get the hang of it I'll be able to add a load of awesome techniques to my arsenal.

So one or two more songs, thumb picks, and then its back to Justin's courses. I'm planning on going over Justin's new beginners course because there's lots of cool stuff in there that wasn't included in the classic course, and then I'm doing the theory and ear training courses right after. I feel like I have amassed a pretty good repertoire of songs so I'll be polishing up the ones I already know alongside these courses. I also might revisit some old songs I learned earlier and see if I can learn more advanced fingerstyle arrangements of them.

While on the topic of my repertoire, I made a playlist over on YouTube of all the stuff I've uploaded here on the forum sorted by date from earliest to latest. It's a convenient way to see all my recordings without diving into my post history so feel free to check it out! I'll update it every time I post something in AVOYP.

Gear
Following David's latest RC entry I thought I'd also post a list of all the gear I have and use (crossed out is stuff I no longer have):

Guitars
Ibanez EW20ZWENT (sold)
Squire Affinity Telecaster
Fender Blacktop Partscaster (sold)
Martin DJr-10
Yamaha FG-TA (sold)
Gibson L-00 Studio Rosewood
A&L Legacy CW
Taylor GS Mini-e Koa

Pedals
TC Ditto
TC Flashback 2
TC Bodyrez
EHX Soul Food

Amp
Orange Crush 12

Recording
MXL V67N Small Diaphragm Condenser
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen

Software
Abletone Live 10 Lite
Adobe Premier Pro

I think that about covers it for now. Till next time! :)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2020, 08:01:14 pm by SillySock7 »

Offline close2u

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2020, 06:49:25 pm »
I thought I'd commented in here but it seems not. You've got a great road case, some great gear and are making great progress.
A blessed way to close 2020!
:)

Offline DavidP

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2020, 06:03:36 am »
Congrats on all the progress made, SS7. The gains in your play-grade have been significant over the time you've been posting. A testament to the investment in practice. Though not good to hear you've pushed yourself to perhaps picking up a strain injury.

Went over to your YT channel and caught up on a couple I'd missed. Lovely to watch you play.

Go well with the finger and thumb picks, something I am thinking about. Look forward to the video showcasing your progress there in due course.

Offline DarrellW

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2020, 10:10:54 am »
Interesting to read your RC, just goes to show what you can achieve with determination! You’ve got some really nice gear and are well set up for a good while, enjoy it!
As regards thumb and finger picks I’ve tried using them on and off for years and never got on with them, I always struggled with the dynamics, the lack of tactile sensitivity always seemed alien to me. If you can do it fine, but don’t dwell on it to the point of hindering your progress, some people can, some people can’t!

Offline adi_mrok

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2020, 02:21:41 pm »
Really interesting to follow your journey, you are a fine guitarist who has a bright future in front :) I agree with what Darrell says about thumb and finger picking that it is a difficult thing and not for everyone but I also truly think it is something you will flourish in, so enjoy your holidays and once you feel comfortable go straight back to your guitar :) or guitars I shall say!

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Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2020, 02:24:24 pm »
@close2u
Thanks very much Richard! Your kind words are always greatly appreciated. :)

@DavidP
Thank you David! Really happy to hear that you enjoy my posts, all your feedback ever since I started posting has been invaluable.

@DarrellW
Thanks Darrell! Yeah I really don't like using those darn things but I'm going to have to learn to like them because I'm set on learning songs that just don't work that well without them - things like The Claw (Jerry Reed), Classical Gas (Tommy E), Cannonball Rag (Merle Travis), Mister Sandman (Chet Atkins), and a couple others. Obviously I'm still pretty far away until I can try to tackle them but that's my long term goal.

@adi_mrok
Hey thanks so much man! I think that's the first time anyone has ever called me a guitarist :D I can play some songs but I'm not sure I really considered myself one, most of my friends and relatives still don't even know that I play. Thanks very much for your support and continued encouragement! Really means a lot.

Offline frito

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2020, 10:46:46 pm »
@adi_mrok
Hey thanks so much man! I think that's the first time anyone has ever called me a guitarist :D I can play some songs but I'm not sure I really considered myself one, most of my friends and relatives still don't even know that I play. Thanks very much for your support and continued encouragement! Really means a lot.
Man, I don't know how you can't consider yourself a guitarist.  I just gave Deep Water Blues another listen and fell in love with it again.  I can only hope I stay dedicated long enough to be able to belt that out as well as you did.  Keep on playing on.
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Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2021, 07:57:12 pm »
@frito
Thank you Frito! Appreciate the kind words! I don't know man to me it just seems like such a big word which implies you're really good or accomplished or something.

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Offline frito

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2021, 10:42:01 pm »
@frito
Thank you Frito! Appreciate the kind words! I don't know man to me it just seems like such a big word which implies you're really good or accomplished or something.

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In the context I'm using it Man can be equated to WOW!  And yes I am saying you are really good and accomplished.  I absolutely enjoyed it.
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Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2021, 02:08:51 pm »
@frito
Wow I'm speechless. All I can say is thank you for your incredibly kind words. I have a long way to go to get there but all the support and encouragement from everyone here keeps pushing me to practice that much harder.

I'll make sure and add a new recording of Deep River Blues for you next time I post something because I'm slowly getting the hang of thumb picks and it just sounds so much better.

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Offline Twin Six

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2021, 03:27:13 pm »
Your Deep River Blues sounds amazing. You make it look easy. Well done!
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Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2021, 02:06:10 pm »
Your Deep River Blues sounds amazing. You make it look easy. Well done!

Hey how did I miss this, I'm so sorry! Thank you very much, I appreciate it a lot. I really do!

I haven't posted any updates in a while, think it's about time I wrote one up.

Offline SS7

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2021, 11:07:37 am »
Hello hello, it's about time I dusted off this thread and posted another update since there's so much to write about and so many things to unpack. I'll try to be brief.

The Open Mic Trial
I think everyone is aware by now that an open mic trial run took place on March 23rd. It is now around 1.5 years since I started playing and I've never done anything of the sort, but I knew as soon as it was announced that I had to take a chance at performing because otherwise I'd just be kicking myself for not giving it a try.

So give it a try I did, and what a nervous mess I was! I felt very confident leading up to it but then when it was my turn to play suddenly I got really anxious, my voice became shaky and my hands refused to cooperate - especially my picking hand. I made a few mistakes while playing but I didn't stop so it could be worse I guess, I'm more bothered by the way I carried myself to be honest. Here is the link to the timestamp of my performance.





It was still a phenomenal night and everyone was super supportive and cheered each other on. There were a lot of incredible performances and fun banter, so I strongly encourage anyone considering singing up for the next one to just go for it. I'm really fired up to try it again because I know I can do a lot better, so I'm definitely signing up to have another go at it.

What I'm Working On
So I finally purchased life-time access to Justin's PMT and I'm currently working through Grade 3. I have no idea why I have been putting it off for so long, it's so much fun! I thought it would be really dry, textbooky kind of stuff but Justin has come up with such an amazingly accessible way of presenting and explaining all the concepts it's unreal. Oh and I'm finally getting some use of the stylus that came with my phone, being able to consume the course and do the tests and worksheets on one device while always having it in my pocket is ridiculously convenient.

Out of respect to the mods I won't go into much detail on the next part, but it's still part of my journey and I'd like to be as transparent as possible. If it's an issue Richard / Lieven please feel free to edit this out.

I recently started a percussive fingerstyle course on a different platform, and began taking private lessons from a teacher so I'm no longer 100% self-taught! It's a weekly video exchange sort of thing, where I send off a video of whatever I'm working on along with any questions I may have and get a reply back within a couple of days. It's already made a huge difference in the way I approach my practice because ever since completing the beginners course I've sort of been stuck in limbo, drifting around between working on a bunch of different things without really having a clear focus or goal in mind. That's about as specific as I'm going to be about it because again, I don't want to be breaking any rules.

Gear
I got a really good deal on a Godin A6 Ultra a while back, it's in great condition with some light wear and no dings. The catch is that it was basically unplayable though. Some bozo completely ruined the nut by cutting into it with what looks like a knife in an effort to lower the action. Apparently they got carried away a little bit because the 1st string in particular was buzzing like crazy no matter what I did with neck relief. Here is the damage:



I know there are some quick fixes like glue and saw/bone dust, or sticking some paper in there, but I wanted a more permanent solution and this nut was in a pretty rough shape anyway so I decided I'd try and replace the whole thing. I started off by taking the nut out - it took a little convincing using a razorblade, screwdriver and a rubber mallet but I got it out easy enough.



Lucky for me Godin use off the shelf Graphtech nuts so finding a replacement wasn't difficult. Since it is a hybrid acoustic/electric there is some work to be done though - the acoustic nut needs to be ground down to a height similar to that of electric guitars.



I don't have access to a CNC machine and using a rotary tool would have probably resulted in a really uneven surface so I took the slow and painful route - sandpaper and elbow grease. I used a sharpie to paint the bottom of the nut to make sure I'm taking off material evenly and I think it turned out pretty well (new nut on the right):



The new nut slid in perfectly and it was a very snug fit so I didn't bother using glue, just in case I needed to take it off for some more work. After I strung the guitar back up it was apparent that the slots still needed to be filed down because the action at the nut was way too high. You can see how the 6th string is basically lying on top of the nut:



I used some StewMac slotting files I got off amazon along with this extremely helpful guide to slowly file the nut slots down, what a huge difference! The guitar is now a dream to play. Here it is:




Honestly I'm not sure yet if I'm going to keep it for good or sell it off for a small profit. It's a great guitar and I love using it for some quiet practice at nights, but I have enough guitars already as it is. We'll see I guess.

Also I'm working on completely rebuilding my Affinity Telecaster, I'll probably make another update like this when I'm done. It didn't get much use lately but I didn't want to get rid of it for sentimental reasons so I decided to make something really cool out of it.

Oh and I'll stop removing comments between updates from now on, I now realize what a horrible idea that was. I was reading other road cases and all the comments are just as part of the story as the entries themselves, this is a discussion board after all and not a personal journal.

I think that's it for now. Till next time :)

Edit: added a close-up shot of the new nut.

Offline DavidP

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2021, 11:21:11 am »
What a cracking update, Ivan.

I can only reiterate what I have said elsewhere ... your OM performance was great.  And speaking for myself, the only person I can speak for, I really didn't notice or get distracted by anly stumbles in the performance.  I suspect we are all far more aware of our mistakes than most people in the audience. So to keep playing is the best advice to give anybody playing live ... as you did.

I posted a long comment on another post yesterday about effort vs duration.  For me personally, again, I could be despondent when I read that you have been playing 1.5 years and then watch you playing the finger-style pieces the way you do. But I recall you also posting about how many hours of practice you dedicate to your learning. Like the other fellow ... probably on average more per day than I often manage in a week.

You are an absolute inspiration, showing what can be accomplished if you really go big and invest much time in a focused disciplined way.

Also admire your skills to do more than routine guitar maintenance. I've changed strings and done a basic setup on an electric.  I don't think I'd be bold enough to do anymore than that.

Look forward to your next AVOYP postings that reflect further progress on percussive finger style.
 

Offline adi_mrok

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Re: SS7's Road Case
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2021, 12:04:55 pm »
Great stuff Ivan, very educational as well from guitar maintenance point of view as similar to David my maintenance ends up on replacing strings, locking tremolo bridge and playing with a truss rod. I hope one day to play around too but first I need a bigger place of my own and some proper tools and on top of that I need to bring my first electric guitar back from Poland which was the cheapest you can get over 10 years ago so if I screw anything up it won't be that big of a deal

As for frozen picking hand during OM trust me I know the feeling, not expecting it at all in the past and it completely caught me off guard during the performance. However as David said it's different when you are listening to someone else and when I was watching over your performance and even shown to my wife which was really admiring your skill so means you are doing it good! All the best.

Keep on rockin' my friends


 

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