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The Fifth Course

Downs and Ups

Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
Went into the studio for most of the day on October 9. In retrospect it feels like a waste of $150.00. But Things improved a little more than a week later...

I arrived at the studio on Friday hopeful of getting at least two songs in the can under the watchful eye of a professional engineer using some good mics. But I ended up with two lousy tracks I don't feel I can use.

The problems stemmed from lack of preparation and equipment failure. I figured I could walk in, drop guitar down to click track, sing the song after that, and add mandolin & harmony to top it off. But I had trouble on the first song, "Big Valley," sticking to the click track. Six-eight time with an intricate strumming pattern does not make for easy time keeping. And in the end, I was not happy with the whole thing.

The second song, "Old Calapina" was a bit more successful on the click track. But my beloved SCGC 1942 Bluegrass D developed a "wolf" overtone on the B and E strings. The overtone vibrated out of tune with the chords in the song and sounded like a bad case of tinnitus. So I sat down, sang over it, and added a loose mandolin track. Ugh.

Six hours of work and nothing worthy to show for it.

Two days later (10/11/09), I was on my bike and riding the Cheese and Wine Century out of Riverbank, CA. Completing the ride was the completion of a personal goal, and quite the morale booster. But the music loomed.

A storm closed campus on Tuesday, canceling classes, so I didn't teach. And sore body parts kept me off the bike for the rest of the week.

I drove to Santa Cruz on Saturday (10/17/09) to participate in the Santa Cruz Guitar Company Gathering. Had a good time. Played a ton of great guitars, toured the "factory" --a shop, really-- and hobnobbed with the semi-famous.

I also got the opportunity to leave my guitar with Richard Hoover and the gang. He heard the wolf tones too, and I am confident they will fix my favorite guitar.

I always take my mandolin to guitar gatherings. Guitar players like to have something to play against. And it paid off at a house concert for Alex Brumel and Janel Elizabeth, when Alex and Janel asked me to join them on a song.

Getting to play with these young up & comers was a treat. Great songs, lovely harmonies. And they were highly complimentary of my mandolin playing.

It was nice to end a down week on a high note among friends and with great music.

Check out Alex and Janel on iTunes and on their web site. For you Mandolin Café folks, there's no mando in the music (yet), but great tunes are great tunes. And there may be mando in the future!


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