Merry Musical Holidays

I’m not even going to lie, guys. I have no idea what I’ve told you this month, what I haven’t. December is always manic here. Add to that the loss of a beloved pet, the addition of a new adoptee, and the cold from hell that roomie brought home just in time for the holidays (for which, yes, I am currently on several different medications, a stupid amount of hot tea, and a steady diet of two boxes of tissues a day), and I’m loopier than ever and I write this post.

Last week, I played ‘Generic Love Song’ badly for the group of people who inspired it, and there was such an amount of laughter that I learned if you’re funny enough, it doesn’t matter much how badly you fuck up as long as you plow through to the end. 

I’ve also got a renewed respect for musical comics, because playing to laughter and not losing your concentration is harder than it looks.

Further self-education, my skin being incredibly dry in the winter makes a pick much harder to hold onto than it is in the warmer months. I banged the hell out of my knuckle avoiding dropping one recently. No major damage, just a bit tender for a day or two.

During the holiday shopping, I stumbled across Guitar Hero for $30, so snagged that. Now, of course, not much use for actually playing guitar, but it turns out it’s not a bad workout for the fretting fingers. I also pretty quickly noticed a certain repetition of patterns across songs that probably in some way translates to really playing guitar, which is of some passing interest.

My holiday music haul is thus:

1. focusrite Scarlett solo, which I have no idea how to use, but will learn.

2. A cute little bag covered in guitars and things.

3. (not pictured) a low profile mic stand. My tripod stand is really tough to fit near my desk due to the very long legs, so this will be much less cumbersome.

4. Blackstar Fly mini amp (and adapter plug).

I originally had my eye on the orange micro crush(to replace the honeytone that died in 3 uses), but there are apparently some serious quality control issues. In the holiday shopping, my dad went to two different stores. Guitar Center only had the display model, which did not work. He went to Sam Ash, where they had several, and tried 3 more-none of those worked, either. The guy at the store suggested the Blackstar fly as a step up, so that’s what I’ll be rocking the bedroom with now. In a quick test, seems to have a pretty nice tone for a little thing, may post about it again later after further testing if I have any new thoughts about it. The mini amps are nice for me, because I can noodle around with gain and overdrive without the roomie wanting to kill me, which I can’t quite say about my Marshall practice amp. That sucker gets quite loud, so I can only use it with headphones if roomie is home.

In other holiday news, I apparently now get asked for advice on what type of guitar to buy for a kid for Christmas. On Thursday, one of my coworkers was asking for suggestions, and I ended up explaining about scale length and body type for about ten minutes. (my advice as the end of the day was, if you have an 11 year old girl, unless she’s quite tall for her age, you probably want to look at concert style guitars rather than dreadnought, due to the physical size difference, and pointed him in the direction of an entry level fender that was in stock nearby, and suggested he also pick up some sort of lesson book to get her rolling with), so we’ll see how that goes for him. 

I’m not sure what else. I guess that’s enough rambling for the moment. Going to curl up with one last holiday movie and try to remember what breathing feels like now.

4 thoughts on “Merry Musical Holidays

  1. I’ve had the next Focusrite model on my Amazon wish list for a while – the Scarlett 2i2. I thought it would be a step up from recording with the Rocksmith cable and also let someone else record at the same time, should the need arise (which I’m actively pushing for). Congrats on your haul!

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    1. I’ve no clue what to do with it yet, but think once I do, it will make life a fair bit easier. For now, I can’t get on their website to register the thing-I assume holiday traffic overload, so will try again later in the week. I won’t be able to do a proper test of it until I’m over this cold anyway-it’s really got me on very limited energy.

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      1. Sorry about your cold. I’m finally over mine, and just got through that bizarre allergy thing and a pulled left shoulder, so I’m taking advantage of that to practice. 😉

        My understanding is that the Focusrite is an instrument interface, like the Rocksmith cable, but its more refined and has more stuff to fiddle with. You can plug your guitar into it and then plug it into your computer to record. I think you can also plug it into your amp instead of pc, but I don’t know exactly what that might accomplish. Most likely, there are tone controls of some sort that will come into play to shape the sound.

        You can also plug your microphone into it and then into the pc to record. Maybe you can even plug the guitar into an amp and then the amp into the Focusrite and then plug that into the pc so you can record your guitar playing through the amp.

        I watched some YouTube vids about the 2i2 over the spring or summer, but I can’t remember exactly what it was they focused on. You might want to hunt for some – they’ll give you an idea of its capabilities. For me, it boils completely down to – plug in and record stuff on the pc. 😉

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      2. Yeah, same for me, more or less, plus the ability to adjust mic and guitar independently. It’s getting the drivers downloaded so the PC will recognize it that I’m struggling with ATM, but may have holiday traffic to blame.

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