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Just got word that the banjo I used to record the 'Old Days' EP, --my first, bought 19 years ago-- has sold on consignment, and being the sentimental sap that I am I shouldn't be surprised by how sad I am at the news.

As an instrument, I will not miss it at all; I hardly played it for 18 1/2 of those 19 years and it had been knocking around in its gig bag that whole time. The whole point of the EP was to give it a last hurrah before moving it along.

It's mostly the "familiar object that's been with me for a very long time and now some total stranger has it" aspect of it, and that will fade quickly enough.

Ignoring inflation, I also got about what I paid for it out of the sale, so that's kind of a nice equilibrium. And it's motivation to try moving a couple of other things along.

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Having trouble fitting an entire DX-7 or Fairlight CMI into your mouth? Have we got the musical instrument for you!

A week or so ago some kid on reddit made a post that was basically like "people who learned how to play guitar in the 80s and 90s, how did you even do it? Were there, like, conservatorial professors and books?" and I keep thinking about it and turning to dust

I think I may have just decided to part with my (Squier) strat. I was trying to learn a riff on the 7th fret, got frustrated, tried it on the new Epiphone and it was, like, a lot easier to play.

The strat's action is a little bit high and that's fixable, but it's also a matter of neck width (narrow) and maybe also depth (too deep). 🤔

Key lesson from last weekend:

Never ask for permission to create something. Never. If you ask, you'll be met with disinterest or denial every time. Even if those voices are the minority, they will always seem loudest.

Goals/Intentionality (long, rambling) 

So, yeah, I've been guitarposting over on my @thermous alt lately out of some lingering sense of needing to live up to the "but I'm an obscure banjo guy" online identity I've established over the last 10 years (such as it is. It's a drop in the bucket as far as online presences go) but it feels a bit silly, *especially* on the fediverse where I am (as far as I know) the only early banjo enthusiast.

I've set plectrum banjo aside for the moment because I'm rediscovering guitar. Like, regular old rock guitar, which was my first musical love. The cheap Kmise tenor that I bought last month kicked something loose in my middle-aged brain and I decided I'm tired of the "musically lonely and frustrated because I can't find anyone to play with because I'm out here in the woods stubbornly playing shit nobody plays" hamster wheel.

Cashed in some rewards points for a no-frills little practice amp (I can't overstate how nice it is to have an analog amp that is just overdrive, gain, and tone and not a million amp models and effects built-in,) and splurged a bit on a new-to-me guitar. (I was going to wait until I got vaccinated and spend a day guitar shopping, but when I found a local-ish listing for a used Epiphone Dot in the rare color I'd gotten a bit obsessed with, I decided to jump on it.)

Spending some time getting back in the saddle before taking some lessons to recalibrate and pick up where I left off ~25 years ago.

Fingers hurt from those steel strings, but in a good kind of way. Feels like waking up.

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...TIL that DGBE on feels and sounds very strange in the same way that a folk/country song played on a six-string banjo always sounds a little bit off to me; You get the plunky sound but my brain objects to the chord voicings because it's used to hearing them in C or open G tuning.

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TFW writing your first rock-type song in many many years and feeling increasingly positive that you're just rewriting someone else's song that's burrowed deep in your subconscious

Found a new guy: that laughs at a funeral. Can't understand what I mean? Well, you soon will.

I just stumbled across this lovely collection of vintage string envelopes (most of which are for sale, although the page hasn't been updated in a while)

Love ephemera like this. IIRC there's an article about/by a collector in an early issue of the Fretboard Journal.

I need a goddamned "getting your early 20's guitar mojo back" life coach, lol

This morning’s gear-chasing fixation: the Digi-Tech Trio+ looping pedal.

(I haven’t read any in depth reviews or watched any videos yet but the auto bass+drum accompaniment feature seems *very* compelling as a practice and songwriting tool, if it works)


I was reminded that the jug band jam I was going to go to was 1 year ago today. The last update on the event page was along the lines of "The session is on but please stay home if you're not feeling well" and boy did that seem like a bad idea based on pretty much *everything* in the news by that point. I stayed home.

Amazing to think that people were still just, like, out and about doing shit without masks in March of last year. I don't remember when my state locked shit down and mandated masks but I feel like it was another week or so.

"Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit – all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.”

- Brian Eno

Reading Jeff Tweedy's "How to Write One Song" and I like where he's coming from so far.

I have a tendency to be overly skeptical of "how to do [ultimately intangible creative thing]" guides because I've reached a point in my life where I recognize that, on an overly simplistic level, you can learn how to do anything and even become pretty good at it *if you actually do the thing*, and do it regularly enough and long enough to get past the "I suck and I'll never get the hang of this" Don Music stage of learning.

...and he spends the first part of the book hammering on a couple of key conditions along these lines; giving yourself *permission* to do the thing, and then setting aside the time to actually do the thing (instead of saying "you know, I'd really like to do the thing someday" but then watching youtube videos for two hours instead of doing the thing.)

So much of it really is about giving yourself permission and silencing your 'who do you think you are' voice.

(I mean, it’s had plenty of string changes and the occasional gentle surface cleaning, I’m not a monster)

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I need to drop my luthier a line and see what he charges for a proper setup and thorough going-over. My poor guitar has never gotten more than a string change in the 31 years I've owned it (granted, it has not been played much for a lot of those years), and it deserves a spa day.

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The Hon. Mayor of Banjotown's choices:


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