Odd little guitar

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The first time that I looked at this picture, of a guitarist playing this one of a kind guitar, I thought it was my eyes at first! I instinctively knew there was something a little off about it.

I understand that some instrument’s are just made to look at and this is no exception. Looks to me that it might be a bit difficult to play while sitting down, standing up it might be not all that bad?!

odd guitar

Have you ever seen a guitar with it’s fret on the wrong end like this? Hmmm Maybe this is some kind of left handed guitar conversion? LOL

Keep on Jammin’





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Bruce Cockburn plays Rocket Launcher at Live 8

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The best thing to come out of Canada, acoustically speaking that is, is Bruce Cockburn. The way he approaches songwriting is breath taking. He makes his guitar and two hands sound like a full band.

One totally mind boggling aspect of his playing live, is that Bruce mixes up how the song is executed on stage. One night he plays it one, then the other he performs the song in a completely different position on the guitar. The essence of the song remains the same but, by playing it in contrasting locations, it allows him to add little phrasings to add even more colour to the piece. Damn this guy is GREAT!

The one song that he performs solo and the one I play the most is If I had a Rocket Launcher. Bruce’s thumb acts like both the bass and drums, while the other fingers act like the melody. This becomes very clear, to even most of the non musicians out there, when the song enters the solo part.

He has an incredible amount of independence between the his fingers and his thumb on his right hand. Mr Cockburn basically has a whole band in his right hand.

The best example of this is his performance at the Live 8 concert, held in Barrie 2006. I recall getting ready for work that day while watching it. As the time to leave for work was getting closer, I was sitting at the edge of my seat just hoping to see him before heading off. With the luck of the Irish with me that day, he waltz onto the stage just before I had to go. He did not let me down!

When I perform this song now a days, I use this concert as a reference point. I do his intro, which I’ve never heard him do it quite like this before, along with sections of his solo. The only thing different about my version is that I play it in the first position (I play it at the top of the guitar). This allows me to have more strings that ring out when playing. Filling in the musical holes if you will.

The thing about this show is, every time that I watch this show, it seems that I’ve missed out many subtle changes that he does! Damn this Bruce Cockburn fellow, I will never be able to play exactly like him~!@#$%^&*()_+!

So in case you missed out on this show/version, check out the video and tell us if you think I got it right!

Keep on Jammin’ Bruce Cockburn

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Which Digital Keyboard Is Right For Me?

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Before you go out and buy your keyboard, there are a few tips that you need to consider. There are a huge choice of keyboards and digital pianos available today -and quite often that choice can seem really overwhelming. Even a quick online search will give you more options than it is possible to get through in a week -so which one is right for you? Which one will best suit your needs?

1) Affordability. Make sure that you can afford it! Even the most conservative budget should not have too many problems finding a good keyboard that will suit your needs. Once you have set yourself a top level of what you want to spend, make sure you do not go over that.

2)   Weighted action versus synth action. Synth action simply means that the keys are a little lighter, weighted action simply means that the keys are heavier and therefore behave more like an acoustic piano. The weight of the keys transmits to the style of play that you are buying the keyboard for: weighted action is great for the trained pianist or someone who is looking to develop their piano skills; synth action is more suited to those who play a more synthy or techno style, as the keys can be played a lot faster. Just a couple of the more technical terms you may come into contact with when buying your keyboard.

3) The number of keys. It can certainly seem that the choices you have when it comes to the number of keys can be almost as far-ranging as the choice of keyboards in the first place! The range goes from as little as 20 right up to 88. The choice is yours: if you are looking to use your keyboard for things like samples, then only a small range is needed and you only need a few keys. For the more experimental, for instance if you are looking to play around with sound development, then you want as many keys as possible.

4) Is an onboard sequencer worth it? This comes down to a very simple factor: if you’re working without a computer, then yes. If you’re working with a computer, then it probably won’t be necessary.

5) Do I need a workstation? The workstation on your keyboard will perform a myriad of functions, from sequencing to effects. If you are already using a computer which handles all of that, paying extra for a workstation may not be the most economical vantage point. This should be weighed against the fact that the workstation is, however, an incredible tool to use.

6) Velocity and aftertouch features. The velocity feature relates to how the sound is produced relative to the amount of pressure given to the keys, for example how quickly they are pressed. The aftertouch feature deals more with the sound that is produced after the keys have been pressed, like when they are resting on the keybed. Whatever use you have in mind for your keyboard, then velocity and aftertouch is something you should definitely be looking for.

7) Can I take this to a gig? You might want to think about a hard case to protect it, and obviously maneuverability is going to be a factor. It may seem obvious to say, but do you really want to be lugging some huge keyboard around from one gig to another? If one of the reasons you are buying the keyboard is to take it to gigs, then this should definitely be considered.

When you take the time to find the best keyboard, one that will suit your needs and your goals, then you are much more likely to develop the long-term relationship with your instrument. Think about what is available online -this is often the best way to buy a new keyboard -with the added advantage that they will deliver straight to your door!

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