Okay, guys, time to talk about the things I was too tired to write about last night.
My pretty new toy, the Godin Exit 22 S:
After starting my guitar journey with the behemoth, I became really neurotic about guitar weight. I think that’s natural. You only get to experience what you’ve actually experienced, and while I know my first guitar weighs in closer to an unchambered les paul than it does to a strat, I also knew I couldn’t go there again, not on a guitar that I anticipate working with for extended periods of time. I also knew my bass is uncommonly light (seriously, I don’t think it even hits the 7 lb mark), so I googled like a madwoman trying to find that middle ground.
I thought I’d chosen what I wanted, and then…this guitar appeared. Onward, to google! It was called lightweight (yes!) and supposedly weighed in in the 7-8 lb ballpark. Next step: my friendly neighborhood Canadian (if you count the internet as a neighborhood). I happen to have a friend living in the Northern Wastes we like to call Canada, land of ice and snow. And, Godin is a Canadian guitar brand. So, I pestered my guitar buddy for intel. Short story shorter, it led me to decide to snag the guitar while I could (the Godin Exit 22), for the record.
I’m a big fan, so far, nice weight (even with my flimsiest strap, which prompted one of the guys on reddit to approve of my “Chewbacca theme”….and me to look like an idiot having to ask because, as much as I tried, I never was able to get into Star Wars), lots of variety in sound. And, it’s NOT BLACK. How cool is that for a lefty? We don’t really get to sit there and pick between colors very often. And, it’s not that I dislike black guitars, but, I am a sucker for the woodgrain look.
The Exit 22, as you might guess from the name, has 22 frets. (Specs can be found here) My buddy Al compared it visuall to the Epiphone Special II, which is probably moderately accurate. They’re a similar shape, the same scale, both have 22 frets and a mahogany body. Both have a rosewood fingerboard. But, that’s where the similarities end. The epiphone special has 2 humbuckers, a mahogany neck and a 3 way switch. The Exit 22 has 2 single coils and a humbucker, a rock maple neck, and a 5 way switch. So, in my newbie way, I presume from this that the epi is probably sweet for rock and blues, but the Exit just seems like it’s a much more versatile piece of equipment.
In fact, one of the redditors who commented on my new aquisition claimed it was his first and “still” only electric guitar. That bodes really well. I’m taking it to mean that the guitar is well-built and covers a lot of ground. Of course, it could really mean anything, seeing as I have no idea what type of music this person plays, or how long “still” actually is. But, so far, I’m happy with it. I still have a lot to learn, so there’s no telling how I’ll feel in the long run, but, for me, this guitar feels right. It gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling I got when I first picked up my bass, when I first started fiddling with my kala uke. So, I think we’re a good match.
We sealed the deal in Rocksmith, where I actually made progress on the Legato lesson in Rocksmith. It wasn’t pretty. It actually was fairly tragic, if I’m being honest, BUT, for the first time in a good long while, I saw my percent go up on a rocksmith lesson, so I am now sitting around 80% completion on Legato 101. It’s not really much to brag about; it sounds pretty cringe-worthy overall, but it’s forward momentum, and that’s all that really matters. I am better today at it than I was the last time I tried it. My eyes are starting to acclimate to the very busy-looking lesson. Those are both valid things to be happy about, I think.
In Ukulele Land, I’m still working on the 4 finger roll (and barre chords, of course, sometimes, both at the same time, because why not kill 2 birds with one stone, right?). It doesn’t feel natural yet, but I am getting all four fingers in there most of the time. Most of the time, it comes out alright as long as I’m thinking about it. Other times, I don’t splay my fingers enough and it comes off kind of crashy.
I do need to keep working on this technique, though. It’s not a matter of it being smoothed out and just requiring some practice. There’s definite fine-tuning that’s needed. Half the time, I hit the strings with my nails. Half the time, with my knuckles. One, obviously, sounds and feels better than the other. Also, once I get it fine-tuned, control will be required. Like when I was first learning basic strumming, my nail sometimes hits the body at the end of the strum. So instead of “struuumm” what you hear is “struuumm-thunk”. Since this tended to happen when I was learning the basics of strumming, I’m not worried about it. I don’t hit the body during my down strums anymore, and I don’t remember consciously exerting excessive amounts of effort to make that happen. It’s just a matter of learning through practice where the strum ends and not extending it too far, I think. The Ukulele Handbook suggested working the roll into the Calypso strum, so I’ve been practicing that. After all, doing all the roll strums in the world isn’t going to matter, since it’s unlikely that you’re going to come across songs that are nothing but roll strums. Rather, they need to be put into a context, and be able to be repeated in that context. It’s in that context that I’m thunking my nails against the body, though. I seem to be flicking my four fingers out a bit too far, a bit too abruptly, or possibly going more down than out with the gesture. In any case, it’s not every time, so it’s at least clear that I am capable of performing it properly, and just need to keep working on it until I can do it properly AND consistently. If there’s anything ukulele has taught me, it’s that everything feels awkward at first, but eventually a new normal is established.
Until Next Time, finding it increasingly hard to decide which toy to play with first.