Monday, December 27, 2010

Rhythm Guitar Therapy

I've played guitar since I was thirteen years old. In college, I was an active local folkie. Except for one spontaneous coffee house performance in the late '70's, and accompanying Christmas carols at a pack meeting, I hardly touched it for the rest of the century. Then, in 2001 Sarah and Andy gave me an American Standard Telecaster, and a year later a Marshall amp. I've been a regular basement rocker for the last decade. (They're also responsible for moving my listening habits from Classic Rock 'n Roll to the harder, metal edge–Loud Rock according to Andy's title at his college radio station.)

There are three impetuses for this post.

The first is my friend, George Possley, with whom I played and sang regularly in college. George recently retired from being a higher education techie and former math teacher, and has set about his life's dream of being a recording star. Accordingly, he posts a daily song to YouTube on his channel Geoman7447. George wondered in a Facebook comment on my wall what I sounded like now and encouraged me to record and post something, OK, here ya go, George.

The second was a blog post by Lisa Golden last fall about why she blogs. My take away from that post was that to really follow through with any creative process , you have to put it out there for an audience to chew on. Thanks for the nudge, Lisa.

The third was an article this weekend in the St. Paul Pioneer Press about an upcoming performance by Los Straightjackets. One member of the band stated that they had been moving to a more punk, metal sound. I have always described my guitar playing as surf punk metal and I wanted to establish my precedence as surf punk metal hero.

So I recorded the piece below sometime in November. It's through a Line 6 Pod into Audacity on a Mac Book. This is the fourth take. I tried different settings of amp type and effects, but they all ended up sounded much the same once I fiddled with them to sound like me. I'm not sure which guitar it was, either the black Ventura or the Warlock.

The basic riff is one of the first things I learned to play on the guitar.

Listening to the playback, I get the impression that this is a long rhythm part in search of a lead. From the title of the post, you can see I consider myself essentially a rhythm guitarist.

One of the things guitar magazine editorials always encourage the beginner to do is follow their own style. I've always been of the opinion that you really don't have much control over it, a style is going to emerge once you start doing something with enough facility to not have to concentrate totally on the mechanics. I should mention that I've been taking formal lessons for three years, and it's starting to stick, and by the time I retire, I may have the confidence and skill to approach other musicians to play with, but, I don't think it has had much influence on what you will hear here. That having been said, if this sounds like something you might think it's fun to play drums or bass to, give me a call.

It might fall into the category of what Sarah occasionally characterizes as more fun to play than to listen to, most commonly applied to Yingwe Malmsteen and Steve Vai.

So here it is, my riff on Rebel Rouser–Nick Dvoracek raw and unfiltered. I don't think I'm the kind of rebel Duane Eddy had in mind.

Rebel Rouser (MP3, 4MB, 4:18)


Geo said...

Hey Nick, that sounded like fun! Thanks for posting your performance. I enjoyed it!
A few clarifications. You came close on the last name. It's Possley. Everybody makes the l e dyslexic thing.
Actually, my long-time dream is to be in a band. I've made an acquaintance with a woman who has a band that does covers of Girlyman (three-part, 2 female, 1 male, harmonies) and Indigo Girls and the like. Her band up and quit on her and I inquired about getting in. My response is a song I wrote entitled "It Ain't good enough for Sheboygan Light Rail" which I have listed as "private" on my YouTube channel due to her wishes.
Another clarification: My YouTube Channel is geoman7447.
Again, thanks for taking the leap. You might find that it's not quite as scary as it seems to post video to YouTube. It's quite a rush to get comments from people in Australia, England and even non-English speaking countries. You could always just not show your face.
I remember fondly that I used to embark on projects like you have done on the days between Christmas and New Years. That was historically a time when I could do whatever I wanted without the usual work and life obligations.
Please accept my sincere wishes for a Happy New Year and, who knows, we may even meet f2f in 2011!

The Audiovisualist said...

Thanks, George. I made the corrections