I hope my fellow Americans all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I have a fridge full of turkey and cranberry sauce, but imagine everything but the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes will vanish in a flash with the Gigantor portions the roomie tends to eat.  And, the vegan cream cheese. I am going to have to get creative and eat a LOT of vegan cream cheese in the coming weeks.

We have a pretty small Thanksgiving crew – just me, Mom, and the roomie. (I will do some kind of belated visit with Dad over the weekend, most likely. We were going to meet up this evening after work, but postponed due to the gorgeous weather here in NJ. Apparently, it was a great day for fishing, which is fine. The day after Thanksgiving, I don’t want to eat much of anything, anyway, so some huge diner meal wasn’t really all that appetizing.)

While chilling at Mom’s house, watching the Disney Channel (an interesting choice, I know, but when your alternatives are football -which I’m indifferent to, and the roomie is not a fan of – and the Honeymooners, which Roomie is indifferent to, and I’m not a fan of, you end up watching Cinderella and half of Monsters, Inc.), I pulled out my ukulele to work on my barre chords in between playing with her tiny cat.

Yes, I brought my ukulele. The entire appeal of the ukulele is that it’s extremely portable, so there’s really no reason not to throw it over your shoulder. At the holidays, there’s always some down time where there’s not much chatting going on, especially when you’ve got a small group like ours. So, I barred to my heart’s content.  It worked out to be really productive.

I was having a really hard time with the B-shaped barre early on, but as I worked at it, it’s coming out clear most of the time now. I personally find it much easier to form this chord with a full barre. For me, personally, that requires less flexibility and less tension than barreing only the lower two strings. Obviously, I’m not that concerned whether or not the top strings are barred properly, since my middle and ring fingers are fretting the next two frets over, but I’m getting a cleaner overall sound out of the lower part of my finger than the higher, which I mentioned in a previous post.

Actually, in my practice, I noticed that in order to get a really flat finger, I have to hyper-extend a little bit. I guess that’s just calling back to my previous comments, too, about everyone’s fingers being a bit different. Apparently when ‘straight’ mine actually have a naturally very slight bend up by the first knuckle that’s been causing me some problems with barre chords. That’s okay. Now that I’m aware of it, I can work with it.

I’m still running into buzzing on the first fret due to the difference in pressure required there due to the higher string tension by the nut. This is a minor issue, and it’s really only a matter of time before I remember the appropriate amount of tension required up and down the neck to increase my consistency here.

Overall, I’ve made a lot of improvement just casually working on it for an hour or two while digesting my turkey.

In guitar-land, I’m still working on ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’.  It’s coming along, but I’m still fiddling around with the accents, trying to replicate that properly, or at least properly enough to make the song feel a bit closer to the original.  And, I’m still doing the usual – going too fast. I know I should get in the habit of using a metronome to practice slowing down, but I’d rather just iron it out enough to play along with the original track and get the pacing that way. If I can do it fast, slowing it down should, in theory, be the easy part, but it’s not. I’ll talk about that more once I’ve got the song in a more satisfactory and consistent condition, and have fully-formed thoughts on it. For now, I’m making progress, but my ability to discuss it is pretty half-baked, so I’ll revisit that subject later.

Until Next Time, still plugging away. Making a general sort of progress.