February 26, 2013 by vaudeville
• I’m left handed and I’ve been playing right-handed guitars since I was 16, because when I decided that playing guitar would be a good thing to dump a few ten thousand hour portions of my life into, the right-handed guitars at the music store were $50 cheaper than the left-handed ones. “Hands are hands,” I thought, “and 50 dollars is, like, I don’t know, three cool dates!” You sure don’t know, kid.
The other day I was at a practice for one of the projects I’m in, a vaudeville / burlesque troupe. I was leading them through a Louis Prima x jugband-flavored version of “Just A Gigolo”. Actually, you know what, Judith recorded it at that practice so I’ll just put it up for you to hear it:
Just A Gigolo (Jak Locke – guitar, lead vocals; Hannah Krieger-Benson – piano, backing vocals; Doctor Sick – guitar, backing vocals; Thugsy da Clown – banjolin, backing vocals; Remy Duguet – stand-up bass, backing vocals)
In the middle, you’ll hear Sick take a guitar solo with some super fast strumming in it. I haven’t ever been able to play fast like that regardless of how much I practiced at it, and I always just figured “well, that’s as fast as I can go, I guess” and never gave it a thought past that. I’ve been in a lot of projects with guitarists who play faster than me — something about this time stuck with me though. On my way home after the rehearsal, thinking about it, I realized that I had reached this wall maybe a year after starting the instrument, and had been more or less stagnant with strumming speed improvement since then. It didn’t make sense. Why would my right hand just stop developing its–and that’s when it all crystallized in my head. I got home and researched guitars and handedness online to find numerous examples of left-handed people playing right-handed guitars that inevitably ended up hitting the same speed wall I did. Well, this just wouldn’t do.
The next day, which was a few days ago, I went to Guitar Center and bought a left-handed guitar, because they were the only store in the New Orleans area that had any, and the one I got was one of three that they had in the whole store. I thought you’d enjoy seeing me try to wring out awkward chords and limpwristedly drag a pick over the strings, so I set up my phone to shoot a video of me playing it for the very first time. SPOILER ALERT: I don’t even get that far:
When I play it, it’s like I never picked a guitar up before. I’ve got to relearn everything from scratch. Actually it’s pretty fun because I forgot how rewarding the whole process can be. Maybe I’ll let you hear how I’m doing with it in a year or two, because there’s nothing you want to hear from me on it right now.
• I’d say old methods die hard with me except that really they don’t die at all. I’ve used Paint Shop Pro 4 from 1998 for almost every graphic design project I’ve ever done, I still use it, and probably will continue to use it until it’s no longer compatible with anything — and even then I’ll probably still find a way to run it in a virtual machine or emulator.
The “Magic Mouth” at the beginning of this incredibly silly video my friend and I made in 2001 is a cheap cheap cheap desktop microphone I used to use for all my recordings. Up until today, I still used it for scratch recordings, even knowing that there’s no reason I couldn’t just use the Voice Memos app on my phone to do that now. Today it started blasting white noise over everything I tried to record and I couldn’t fix it. After using the super clear and sharing-convenient Voice Memos app to record and send out the songs I needed to record and send out, I went on Amazon and spent eight good dollars on a microphone that was identical to the Magic Mouth except that it was painted black instead of off-white. This guy, if you’re really that interested. Now that I’ve typed all this out and it’s in front of me, I’m realizing that I can’t even explain my logic in this to myself so there’s no point in trying to explain it to you.
• A Mexican pizza and soft tacos from Taco Bell. Because I have no long term memory.