Kids these days

More on the music theme. By the time I was in my early teens, I had become infatuated with music. This was the mid to late 1970’s and I skipped the trendy Disco era (dafuq was up with that?) and went straight to the classic and album oriented rock direction.

I listened to a lot of radio, and growing up in the SF Bay Area, we had several titans of the airwaves battling it out daily. KOME, KSJO in San Jose, and a slightly less edgy player in San Francisco KFOG. All three of them played the greatest music.

Late in my High School life, I decided to take up Guitar. This was circa 1982, and back then it was a lot tougher, for a variety of reasons.

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The Day my Guitar Teacher Burst my Bubble

No, he didn’t tell me that I sucked, or that I ought to give up trying.

It was probably about 18 months into the lessons, weekly 1 hour sessions that covered a lot of theory and practical groundwork. I was making a lot of progress, and feeling pretty good. I had learned several of the songs that I thought would be pinnacles of my playing. ‘That which shall not be named’ (1), UFO’s “Rock Bottom”, several Michael Schenker songs, some of Gary Moore’s rockers, and others that I considered my go to songs.

Then I brought him a song to learn that was more of a loosely structured jam session.

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Music Appreciation: Michael Schenker

I was interested in music at a young age. My father built his HiFi system from a Heathkit, and I am pretty sure my fascination with Progressive Rock was kindled by hearing Emerson, Lake and Palmer on the radio (Karn Evil 9, 1st impression, part 2 was frequently aired).

But, my desire to learn to play guitar was driven by the discovery of Michael Schenker. My first brush with his playing was when a friend in high school introduced me to the song “Shoot Shoot” from the UFO album “Strangers in the Night”, a live album recorded on the last tour that Michael did with the band before a brief return to the Scorpions, and then launching his solo career with the Michael Schenker Group.

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The First Prog Rock Album I Bought

In the mid to late 1970’s I began to listen to local rock radio stations. One of the huge benefits of growing up in the south Bay Area was that we had to iconic rock stations, KOME and KSJO that just played kick-ass music.

I was a total n00b, not knowing ANYTHING about music, but I know that there was one song that when I heard it, I loved it.

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Oops, I’ve done it now

I know I have said I could be strong. But alas, I am weak. Weak as a kitten.

Nostalgia is a bitch, and when it strikes, it hits hard. In this case it is the nostalgia for a guitar neck. My third guitar, and the first one I bought with my own money was a 1986 vintage Charvel Model 4, from the era that they were made in Japan. It was a black body, with the pointy head stock, bolt on neck, second generation Kahler tremolo, and superb Jackson active electronics. Continue reading →

The Lowly Distortion Pedal

Many times in life, you will go full circle. In the way back time, after my junky – impossible to play – Montgomery Ward guitar and amp got shitcanned, and a persnickety Ibanez V that was nearly impossible to keep in tune, and a lil’ Crate practice amp replaced it, I have been on a search for tone.

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I have written often about music. I have a modest (1.5TB) collection of digital files, largely spanning my tastes of guitar based rock (classic rock, heavy metal, progressive, and hard rock), jazz with an emphasis on guitar lead, classical, and some off the wall items.

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Music Collection Grooming

Music has long been a big part of my life, beyond just my (admittedly waning) guitar playing, I have been an avid collector of music. From my early days of buying LP’s (and kicking myself when several moves in the 1990’s caused me to donate my vinyl collection) to being an early adopter of the CD format while I was still in high school, my collection, while not huge by some standards, remains quite large.

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Apple Music – A Fresh Look

With the shifting allegiances in streaming music, I found myself re-enabling my Apple Music subscription. There are some benefits, and some less desirable aspects.

This is relevant as I again ponder the mix of music that I have in my collection, as well as the convenience of streaming. In the following post, I lay out the pro’s and con’s of Apple’s Music subscription plan. $9.99 a month, it is in the ballpark of the offers, between Amazon and Spotify. All three of them also offer family plans for the same price (alas, my Wife isn’t interested in sharing a plan.) Continue reading →