About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Seven String Hobby

I bought a seven-string guitar a few months ago with the intention of using it for solo and Godfrey and Guy gigs when we don't have a bass player (which is most of our gigs). I knew it would take some getting used to, but was even more challenging than I expected. I lost interest in it and gave it up…or so I thought. I was considering selling it, but I hung onto it. I'm glad I kept it, because I've started playing it again.

When I first bought the seven-string guitar, I figured that maybe three months would give me time to adjust. It's just one more string! Silly me. I put too much pressure on myself to get good at it right away, and I became frustrated when I realized that it would take more time to sound halfway decent on it than I thought.

Now I'm thinking of the seven-string guitar as a hobby. Of course I would like to eventually be comfortable enough with it to play in public, but I'm enjoying the low pressure approach. Each night, before I go to bed, I pull out the seven-string guitar and play it for around 30 minutes. I'm not doing anything fancy with it. I'll play a few ii-V-I sequences and then play with a handful of songs that are in my repertoire, figuring out how to take advantage of the low A string. I enjoy puzzles, and this is a kind of musical puzzle.

As I continue to dabble in the seven-string guitar, it'll feel more and more natural to use the low A string, and eventually I won't have to think about it very much. At some point, I'll realize that I'm ready to play it in public. I'm not putting the pressure of a deadline on myself. It might be a year from now; it might be two years. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying my new "hobby."

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