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Thread: The Myth of Perfection

  1. #26
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    There was a late night discussion with Bill Halsey where I made a comment about how things were done at the factory with “casual perfection” I think we laughed for an hour. But, the fact remains that excellence can be pursued but, perfection can not be obtained.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  2. #27
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    I turned my hands to wood spoon carving using a piece of Juglans Regia wood. Well what do you think Jim Garber and others as an example of Wabi Sabi. They are not finished yet - they are a present for my wife's birthday. She likes natural hand-made things.

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    I was having a break from this:

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    It is no way perfect yet I am pretty happy with it.
    Nic Gellie

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  3. #28
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    I turned my hands to wood spoon carving using a piece of Juglans Regia wood. Well what do you think Jim Garber and others as an example of Wabi Sabi. They are not finished yet - they are a present for my wife's birthday. She likes natural hand-made things.

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    I was having a break from this:

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    It is no way perfect yet I am pretty happy with it.
    I like the spoons, but I think you should give your wife that pretty mandolin as her birthday present!
    Purr more, hiss less.

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  5. #29
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Well Bob. Interesting you should say that.

    She just ordered a citola like this one in the video made by a Spanish luthier.



    She is into Sephardic and Mediavale music like this:



    Pretty darn perfect might I say so.
    Last edited by Nick Gellie; Oct-26-2020 at 11:44am. Reason: video links
    Nic Gellie

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  7. #30
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    Well Bob. Interesting you should say that.

    She just ordered a citola like this one in the video made by a Spanish luthier.



    She is into Sephardic and Mediavale music like this:



    Pretty darn perfect might I say so.
    Wow Nick, this is really interesting. The music is wonderful and the instrument, wow, beautiful. I hope your wife will let you give it a try when it arrives. I would be really interested in seeing pictures when it is done.

    Is this music or modern descendants of it performed live at all in the part of Spain where you live? It must be amazing in live performance!

    Thank you very much for posting this. I really enjoyed the videos!
    Purr more, hiss less.

  8. #31
    Registered User Davy Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Nicely said @sunburst. I watch my 5 year old son struggle with being a perfectionist - something he has definitely inherited from me. I can see it frustrate and limit him as he makes and creates, and I work with him to shift his thinking. Because as you say, perfection is always unattainable. Striving for it can help you achieve great things, but you need to understand that your inability to attain it is not in itself a failure.

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  10. #32
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    The perfect instrument would not accept anything less than a perfect player. Anybody couldn't help but spoil it all by playing something stupid.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  11. #33
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    IMHO A life lived with nothing but perfection in mind leaves very little room for living.

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  13. #34
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    The perfect instrument would not accept anything less than a perfect player. Anybody couldn't help but spoil it all by playing something stupid.
    But wait. . .isn't the Shmergel the perfect instrument?
    Purr more, hiss less.

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  15. #35
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    Wow Nick, this is really interesting. The music is wonderful and the instrument, wow, beautiful. I hope your wife will let you give it a try when it arrives. I would be really interested in seeing pictures when it is done.

    Is this music or modern descendants of it performed live at all in the part of Spain where you live? It must be amazing in live performance!

    Thank you very much for posting this. I really enjoyed the videos!
    This music Bob is one of the many traditional styles of music here in Spain. Most people outside Spain believe that there is only flamenco and even that has many different variants. For instance there is a form of Fado in the Faro islands which is much like flamenco. It also was once just handclapping and voice with perhaps a traditional instrument thrown in. Spain has a very rich and varied oral tradition as rich as the Oldtime tradition in the Appalachian mountains. There were many different instruments played including the Bandurria (or Mandurria), Alhambra Laud, Zamfona, Accordion, Flutes, Violin, and many different percussion instruments.

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    Alhambra Laud ( Look familiar to a cittern?)

    We did see Emilio Villalba and his group perform an open air concert in the Alcazar de Sevilla in Sevilla a month ago. It was pretty challenging to wear a mask for 1.5 h of performance and we sat 1.5 m apart. Great performance though. Sephardic and Andalusian music have Moroccan roots so the Oud is also played as well in many groups. The Irish Bouzouki also now has a foothold in Spain along with Portugal.

    We spent a year in Galicia which is pretty much celtic music with pipes and drums, a bit like Scottish music although there are some beautiful unaccompanied voice music. I am a fan of Asturian music particularly the band Felpeyu whose band members we know personally because my wife Helen travelled with them back in the early 2000s to many of their concerts.

    I about to head into the hills to visit some Spanish and Flamenco guitar luthiers. I plan to make one this year and make it as perfect as I can based on visits to the well known luthiers of these parts.
    Nic Gellie

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  17. #36
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Perfection is so out of the range of each of us that it is foolish to think we can even get close. It is as if I were to climb on to the roof of my house and yell down to you that I was closer to the moon.

    What is possible is constant improvement. Attention to what we want to improve and conscious effort to work on it. Compare our selves to our prior selves (not others) to track progress and make corrections.

    There is not a player alive who could not do something to improve - work on new technique, learn a new genre, practice up the neck or in third position, practice reading music by following scores while listening to CDs, practice learning tunes by ear, practice improvising, just doing laps (scales and arpeggios) and exercises (etudes). Practice singing along with the melody you are playing, or backing up the melody on the CD, attend a jam regularly and challenge yourself to do better each jam. Millions of things.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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  19. #37
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    But wait. . .isn't the Shmergel the perfect instrument?
    Haha, but is anybody playing it?

    The perfect instrument is exactly the one that makes the player happy.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  20. #38
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    Haha, but is anybody playing it?

    The perfect instrument is exactly the one that makes the player happy.
    Maybe that is one of the reasons for mandolin acquisition syndrome. The imperfect player can't match the perfect or imperfect mandolin musical instrument.
    Nic Gellie

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  21. #39
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    its been said here already, Perfection is like infinity you can never reach it but can only move towards it.
    Perfection is also very relative " I had the perfect cup of coffee" or "it was a perfect sunset", and is never really a universally true condition.
    If you've seen me play mandolin you would I agree I have given up on pursuing perfection.
    What I believe is worth pursuing is a State of Grace, it is ever distant on the horizon but I often remind myself its a good enough reason to get out of bed.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  22. #40
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Tone and playability/feel are the key elements for me, and the aesthetics are nice to have, but secondary. My first “good” mandolin was my 2009 Silverangel Econo, which played/sounded great. It was pretty, too, but you could definitely tell it was handmade, which, honestly, I liked. I actually chose to keep it over a Collings MT I owned briefly because of the tone (and, probably, some sentimentality). That said, there are those who want that Collings level of fit and finish who would have never bought my SA because of its “maker’s marks.”

    I recall seeing an interview with Mr. Thile discussing his Loars. Iirc, he gravitated to that particular batch because he feels they don’t lose tone as you play up the neck. As awesome as his Dude was, after seeing the interview and listening to recordings from different stages in his career with that purpose in mind, I can hear what he’s talking about. I would have never picked that out on my own, but now that I’ve heard it, that’s part of how I evaluate mandolins I’m playing, and one of the reasons I really enjoy playing my Kelley. (Sheez, thanks for adding to my obsession, Chris )
    Chuck

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  24. #41
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Part of the idea behind this thread was to make people aware that in seeking perfection in your instrument you may be missing the most important is to make the instrument sound great whatever your ability or expertise. So we may be seeking perfection in the wrong place so be aware of your choices and what is going to make that instrument sing for you. You are the master behind the instrument and of course a dud instrument won't speak for your or sing for you.

    There is some middle ground in all this when I became aware of John Reishman's Loar being played on a number of tracks. There are a lot of Loar like sounding instruments out there like his. The problem is that most people don't have that same pick attack as he does, he gets a beautiful tone out of that instrument. I followed along with ones of his tunes and realised that with the mandolin I had I could get quite close to his sound. Part of his great virtuousity is in the way he puts a nice lilt and rhythm to his notes because the influences on his music vary widely. So work out what you want to sound like and aim for that bullseye.

    The instrument will only take you part of the way towards perfection. You will have to do the rest and it is in the rhythm of the music that you might find it. The instrument also has to feel good under the fingertips to get you there and that is where the wabi-sabi and the zen interconnect on another energetic level. Each of us has his or her own way to find it and when it happens you will feel enlightened and uplifted for that moment. May many of those moments come to you on your musical journey.
    Nic Gellie

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  25. #42
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    The first real craft I got into, photography, was with my university newspaper. There is nothing like a deadline to kill the demon of perfection for the good enough. Good enough sometimes is perfect but there are only so many times you can reprint a photo and get a better result. This, along with embracing the wabi sabi @Jim Garber reminded us of, is key to my own happiness.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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  26. #43
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Myth of Perfection

    Yes great philosophy Jamie good enough is enough to keep us happy. I remember one cafe member a few years back was stricken with the idea of the perfect instrument. So much so he spent a lot of money on some high end instruments which went in and out the door pretty quickly. I hope he feels grounded with the instrument of good enough for him.
    Nic Gellie

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