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jjohn (22)

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Perl hack/Linux buff/OSS junkie.

Journal of jjohn (22)

Sunday July 11, 2004
07:40 AM

music - the good, the bad and the free

[ #19788 ]

The good: Chuck Coleman's debut album People, Place, Flings is that rare gem of pop music: smart, hip and pathologically catchy. If you enjoy the nice Ben Folds boy, you should find Coleman quite the fancy rocker. Through the Amazon link, you get two free songs.

From the why-the-hell-did-I-wait-so-long department, I recently bought Fiona Apple's Tidal. Recorded when she was 19, her prenaturally smoky voice is sublime, but augers nothing good for her personally. See Josephine Baker and Billy Holiday. If you don't have this album, you ought to.

Finally, Lean on Me-Best of Bill Withers is desirable less for the title track and much more for the insanely funky "Use Me," which will be familiar to all true fans of Grace Jones (via Nightclubbing).

The bad: I'm playing around with my DAW and trying to get a feel for what kinds of guitar sounds and songs I can record in my apartment. I'm trying to turn down the suck knob on my compositions and arrangements but this is no easy task. In despire, I've turned to the wah-wah pedal. Results to follow.

In a message of interest perhaps only to Gnat Torkington, I chanced upon a fretless banjo while in a Cambridge music store. I'm uncertain of the advantages of a fretless banjo, but mayhap they are manifold and glorious.

The free: I live in an aparment building whose garbage area is just outside the laundry facilities. This placement sometimes yields plunder. While doing laundry yesterday, I notice someone had thrown out a lightweight gig bag for an acoustic guitar. Since I'm too cheap to buy one, I snagged it. Lo and behold: there was a Takamine G-230 inside in near mint condition! The G-230 has a shape know paradoxically enough as the mini-jumbo. If you've watched enough of those fancy Nashville types, you'll be familiar with an outsize acoustic guitar that's got a fat figure-8 shape. That's a jumbo. The mini-jumbo is the same shape but the size of dreadnought. The only thing missing from the guitar was strings. I happen to have a motley assortment of such things, so I pieced together a set of mediums (although the A string is an Ernie Ball electric). It plays fine! The Takamine won't be mistake for a Martin, but of all my free guitars it's my favorite.

Later on in the evening, I discover not one, but two sets of D'addario strings and a string winder in the gig bag. Wow.

For those keeping track, I've found both a working iMac (333Mhz) and a working guitar in my building's trash. Do I have a secret admirer trying to woo me?

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  • When it rains, it pours... Now they just have to start leaving amps for you.
  • I think it might be cool some day to build my own [] acoustic guitar.
    • Electrics are *way* easier. Start with one of those. They are more forgiving to newbies. I used to help out a luthier setting up eletrics. It's not too bad. But, acoustics require a lot of hard-earned talent to put together correctly.

      A friend of mine "built" a dulcimer once.

      Wood glue. Clamps. Varnish. Eek.

      • I basically rebuilt my old electric already, redid all the electronics and [ickups, put on a new pickguard, routed it a little. The only thing I wouldn't have done myself is the tremolo. Yow. But yeah, I know acoustics are not easy: this is a "someday" thing.

        I dunno if you saw my journal entry on Handmade Music [] ... they built three instruments in 8 episodes. Four for the Martin D-28, three for the Gibson F5 mandolin, and one for a dulcimer (and I mention the DX1 I bought when the two of us went to Guit