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 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

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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