web analytics

He Shall Bring it to Pass

August 23rd, 2010

Fruition

Last week was fantastic.

For the last few years, I’ve been dealing with a nagging problem. My primary approach to solving it has been supernatural. I have chosen to hold off on using some earthly weapons I have at my disposal. God has been completely faithful; last week he gave me a big victory, in pretty much the way I asked for it. Maybe I’ll write about it eventually.

I’m having lots of fun with the guitar. My arm pain went away when I started using dumbbells to exercise my forearms. Last week, I noticed I was bending the .73mm Dunlop pick I was using, along an axis from the tip to the back, and I realized I was getting too strong for it, so I upgraded to a .88mm pick. Now I’m playing louder and clearer, because the pick is stiffer. I’m not completely ready for the heavier pick, but I can’t go back to the thin one, and I know I will get stronger during the coming month.

My left hand is also getting better. Notes I could not fret well in the past are sounding clearer. I suppose it will be another couple of months before I really feel strong.

I suspect that the dumbbells are improving my hand strength, not just my forearm strength. Maybe forearm workouts are a good idea for guitarists, generally.

The Burny Les Paul I bought is turning out to be a wonderful investment. I got a little help with the electronics (guitarist from my church advised me), and now I am able to use a Fat Sandwich pedal to get a B.B. King tone you would not believe. I actually wrote down all the settings so I could repeat it. You can convert your amp, guitar, and electronic settings to numbers in order to record them in a compact notation. Figured that out on my own.

The neck on my Chinese Epiphone is actually slightly better than the one on the Burny, but that’s probably a truss rod thing.

I think I’m going to stick with nines and tens (strings) for the foreseeable future. The Burny has DR Pure Blues nines on it, and the tone is pure bliss, and it’s easy to play. I have some problems feeling the strings with the pick sometimes because they’re so thin, but I think I can overcome that. I am able to get three distinct notes out of a single bend, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that with heavier strings. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t think it’s a strength issue. I think it’s just the nature of heavy strings. They don’t seem to increase in pitch as much for the same degree of bending.

I really wanted to get a Japanese Les Paul and put single-coil pickups on it, but I can’t stand to take the humbuckers off my Burny. They’re amazing. So what do I do? I guess I’ll have to get a second Burny eventually. What if I like the pickups on that one? Hope that doesn’t happen. Every so often, one turns up with P90s already installed. Maybe that’s the best bet.

I am ready to take the next step in my Fretboard Logic studies. I have the “CAGED” thing pretty well under control, although I can’t make an A-type chord above the seventh fret. It’s impossible for me to line up three fingers between two frets that high up. I assume the answer is to do a sloppy second bar with the ring finger. I can’t believe a human hand exists which can get three fingers into that space.

I have to start writing original variations and tunes. I have been determined to learn to impersonate recordings accurately, because this is a sure way to build good technique, but I have to do my own thing, too. I already have the tab paper. I should get a tab-editing program.

It’s difficult to write tab, because you have to put down the guitar pick and pick up a pen, and it breaks the concentration. I may start writing it with my left hand. It doesn’t have to be pretty the first time around. I can fix it later.

I still think about my upcoming major guitar purchase. It’s slated for January. Right now, I’m strongly considering a Heritage H555 with single coils. But I may have to put the decision off until I really know what I want.

I may try out high-end guitars and discover that vintage Japanese guitars are as good or better. If that happens, there is no way I’m going to drop a pile on an American-made money sink. When you own a tool that costs too much, you tend to treat it like a sick baby, and you don’t get proper use from it. I am not afraid to risk the destruction of an $800 Japanese guitar, but I would be very nervous about putting a new Heritage on an airplane.

It should not be a surprise that the Japanese make great electric solidbody guitars. Japan is considered to be the home of the finest carpentry in the world. The strange thing is that their acoustics (and most of their pianos) are so bad. I guess it makes sense. A Les Paul is just a neck and a board, so if you make them fit together right, you should get a great sound. Copying the sound of a complicated hollow box would surely require more familiarity with American culture and the American sound.

Even semi-hollow electrics do not require perfect resonating chambers, so presumably, Japanese ES copies are also good.

Les Paul himself used to play a guitar that was actually a board. To be precise, it was a four-by-four with a neck. He called it “the Log.” It upset people, so he glued parts from an archtop to it, to make it look like a guitar. It’s in a museum now.

It may sound insane, but solidbody guitars would probably be good woodworking projects for me. The bodies would be a joke. Just cut, rout, and sand. The only hard part would be making a neck and headstock and setting the neck correctly. You can actually buy necks already made, if you get in trouble.

God gives us the desires of our hearts, according to Psalm 37. I am here to tell you it’s true. I am killing the electric guitar, and I am cooking better than I ever did, and I have wonderful friends. I have great tools, I’m thin, and I even have a pickup truck! I guess God has to be careful about rewarding us when we are not serving him. Once we’re back on track, his blessings will not corrupt us, so he can be more liberal.

If you want God to bless you, crucify your flesh so your evil desires don’t rule you. That makes you a fit candidate for blessing.

Things are going great, and I’m even meeting amazing Christian women. I keep pointing this out: non-Christian women, as a group, are a never-ending torrent of disappointment and conflict. They are neurotic and chronically unhappy. They expect men to solve all their problems. They blame us for everything that goes wrong. They think bickering and put-downs are the proper way to demonstrate their worthiness of respect. They are draining. They expect sex no later than the third date, and if they’re in their baby-crazy years, there is a good chance they’ll defeat contraception in order to trap you. It’s extremely difficult to find a non-Christian woman who interests me enough to make me risk the pain.

Christian women are completely different. The problem with Christian women is that I want to take ALL of them home. How do you choose? They’re pleasant to be around. They’re encouraging. They’re polite. They listen. They understand that a mate is not a competitor. They’re not princesses who have been raised to believe their overpriced weddings are the focal events of all creation. It’s hard to believe they’re for real. It’s such a beautiful thing, dealing with women who don’t put you on trial and make you walk on eggs. I can’t get used to it. I know it’s real. It’s like moving from Miami to Texas, where the people were so nice to me. It seems surreal, but it’s genuine, and I can trust it.

God will change your life so you can trust happiness.

Tonight I’m making Champagne chicken for 15 people at church. Boy, are they in for a shock. This stuff is incredible. I will not pretend to be modest. They think my pizza and cheesecake are good. They don’t know what they’re in for.

Stumble it!  Save This Page

8 Responses to “He Shall Bring it to Pass”

  1. greg zywicki Says:

    More from your favorite blowhard (me, I mean)

    Vintage Koreans have good reps too. As far as single coil, Reverend Guitar made some both in the US and Korea before moving to china? They’re supposed to be good. Danoelectro has a certain reputation too – Korea then China, I think. All sorts of quirky body styles.

    She may be a Christian, but she’s still a woman. I see plenty of Christians who are on better behavior with their peers than when they’re not at church. I wouldn’t necessarily call them hypocrytes, just inconsistent. But, Yay! Meeting good women! God keeps doing amazing things for you.

    Have any of your rings stopped fitting now that you’re regularly playing guitar?

  2. DAve Says:

    Really expensive guitars SUCK.
    I used to bring like $10K worth of vintage guitars to a gig (that’s only 4 nice ones really) and then the whole rest of the night worry about them out in the parking lot while I was trying to enjoy the rest of the show. Especially thinking about the people who knew what my stuff was worth… and how quick and easy it is to just break a window… ruined the rest of the night.

    My captcha is “URMF”. Are you trying to tell me something?

  3. Steve H. Says:

    On the reputation scale, Korean guitars rate a 5 and Japanese guitars rate 9. Obviously, this is a generalization, but it’s true.
    .
    Rings? What kind of man wears rings? Sure, if I get married, maybe. But I think you wear those in your nose.

  4. greg zywicki Says:

    “Rings? What kind of man wears rings?”

    The kind that wears whatever he damn wants.

    Or the married kind.

    There’s not much overlap between the two.

  5. pbird Says:

    Steve, I could almost weep for happiness about your discoveries of Christian women. Long ago I tried to tell you something like that, IIRC. In fact I am a little misty. Praise God. He is making you into a good husband candidate. Your happiness is delightful

  6. walt Says:

    Speaking of hand/forearm strength: In Clapton’s autobiography he mentions that as a younger man, he would go to the pubs frequently and often arm wrestle left-handed. He said he could beat almost ANYONE, even “blokes” quite a bit bigger than himself. Very interesting.

  7. baldilocks Says:

    “non-Christian women, as a group, are a never-ending torrent of disappointment and conflict”

    As are non-Christian men. You know to what I’m referring. It’s a lesson that has been repeated in my life. Please pray that I have learned this time.

  8. gregzywicki Says:

    I forgot, then remembered RE Koreans:

    Sure, but the guitars are unique, from what I understand. The Danos, that is. So, cheap, different, and lauded.

    The Reverends were originaly mfgrd in the US, and don’t cost wads.

    So, if you’re looking for a single-coil, and you don’t want a strat or a tele, these are other options that you could consider. Or not.