Time Flies…

First off, Time Flies, and the rest of Porcupine Tree’s new album, the Incident, is fantastic.

Secondly, yeah, time flies. Been a while since I blogged. Not had much to say! On the one hand, Cantor imploded, which is bad. Decided I was fed up with bass guitar, and warr guitar for that matter, and packed them away under the bed. I have this niggling feeling that the Warr guitar isn’t worth the practise. It is a somewhat confused and odd instrument (same goes for the Chapman Stick of course). Sure, you can do some truly epic basslines, but hmmm.

One the other hand, my “I’m fed up of playing music” mood only lasted a day, and then I decided to try and relearn the ‘cello again. Which is proving to be a fantastic idea! Such a nice change from bass guitar. I’m getting a few lessons, and having great fun trying to play Bach’s cello suites. And scarily, I’ve now been given some grade 7 pieces to learn. The only grade i ever passed at school was the first one! Time to get practising playing in treble clef I guess.  Although, before that, i have to get the hang of playing the instrument…. my hands keep cramping up while playing at the moment.

And in more important news: PhD is going well. Hopefully be finished soon 🙂 In less important news:  Ali’s still showing zero interest so I’ve been having a go at playing with somebody else. Hopefully it won’t end as disastrously as the project with Eddie.

Oh, and I was lucky enough to see James McMurtry and the Heartless Bastards again. Only a three piece this time around but they still rocked 🙂

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7 Responses to Time Flies…

  1. Hi,

    Sorry to hear you’ve packed away the Warr. It’s a fine instrument.

    If you’re not having good progress, it might mean that the way you’re proceeding is not giving you adequate reward. Maybe.

    So I’d ask two questions —

    (1) Do you have it with the bass strings tuned in fifths, fat string in the middle, like the Chapman Stick folk do?

    (2) Do you have a copy of the free fast-learning method book that Mobius Megatar gives away with the free newsletter subscription?

    If your answers are “yes” and “no,” then I would suggest that you consider a two-part suggestion —

    (a) Go to http://megatar.us/NEWSLETTER and get the free newsletter and free method book; and

    (b) Retune your Warr Guitar bass strings into fourths as shown in the book. (The book actually works with either tuning, but fourths is way easier to make fast progress due to mental clarity; you’ll see what I mean.)

    If you do this, and then engage in modest but regular practice, I predict you’ll make way more rapid progress … confusion will vanish … and you’ll have way more fun.

    — Traktor

  2. riadsala says:

    Thanks for the advice Traktor.

    I might have a look at the book, although I won’t be retuning the Warr to 4ths anytime soon. I like 5ths, and am happy with 5ths. The cello, my first instrument, is tuned in 5ths, and it seems a perfectly natural tuning. And sure, while i’m a far better bassist than I am cellist these days, it’s not the bass tuning that’s holding my back. If anything, I find it easier to come up with interesting parts on the bass side of the neck than the treble (which is tuning in 4ths).

    You’ll be pleased to hear that the warr guitar is no longer under the bed. It’s now sitting in the corner of my living room, although it’s still no recieving much attention at the moment. There’s a huge range of beautiful sonatas and suites to learn, by some of the greatest composors . I could probably spend a year on Bach’s six suites alone! The same can’t be said for the Warr guitar or Stick.

    Also, since I’ve started re-learning the cello (haven’t really played for 10 years, but seem to be picking it up again fairly swiftly) I’ve had several invitations to play with friends on the local music scene. So sure, I don’t have the creative freedom that playing the Warr on my own gives, but the actual act of playing is more enjoyable.

    And I still think it’s a confused and odd instrument, and am still not worth the effort. I think the fact that the instrument has had effectively zero impact on popular or jazz music is a sign of this. There’s Crimson. Tony Levin generally sticks to bass most the time. KTU are great.

    But, there’s not really anybody else. And I would hazard a guess that most of the other “well known stickists” are only really listened to by people like me who are trying to learn. And most the music they play sounds more like technical etudes than good music.

    I’m pretty sure there are no notable jazz musicans who’ve given a gig to a tapper. I can imagine it working really well though, especially with some of the guys on the ECM label. Mathias Eick featuring Markus Reauter would sure be an interesting listen that’s for sure. But as far as I’m aware, nothing of the sort has happened. Which makes me wonder “why?”

    Anyway, please don’t take this as a negative rant! I plan to get back into playing the warr in a month or so (same goes for computer music production and composing). And hopefully I can get one of the singer/songwriters I’m working with to collaberate with me on a tune heavily based on a warr guitar part.

  3. Ana Carrillo says:

    Prowling around the internet on a search for Warr guitar vs the Stick brought me here.
    I think your negative comments about these instruments are valid.
    They have been around a long time without really catching on.
    I think there are a couple of additional points working against them.

    I don’t think they sound satisfying. To me, its the muddy, slow attack. If you say, compared a piano with a touch style instrument, 9 out of 10 would prefer the piano. IMHO

    Another problem is that most people who play go for the wow factor and try to emulate the whole orchestra. It becomes too many thumping strings. It gets a little interest, mostly from guitarists who could never play something that complex. But thats about it. Its mostly a curiosity.

    These instruments tend to attract loners, who want to play all the parts. Mostly its not a very good show. It might fill a Buskers hat, but thats about it.

    I think touch style instruments have missed the most viable niche. This would be to compete against keyboards for accompaniment. I believe that there would be a short learning curve. Once you learned a scale and chords you could play anything in say, a church hymnal. This could only work if there were available mass produced instruments sold on at a per string cost of a basic electric guitar($2-300 for a 12 string)

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