Tips, Techniques, Examples about my favorite musical instrument, the Twelve-String Guitar.

If you play guitar check out Playing Technique, or Strings / Setup. There are also some interesting posts about guitars at, you guessed it, Guitars.

If you want to spread your musical talents around, you will find some good info at Recording.

Marketing - meh - I'm probably the world's best bad example. Although you could find funny stuff there.

I've made some music videos through the years, and you can find them and other interesting music at Music I Like, Music I Play.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


fris·son [free-sohn; Fr. free-sawn]

a sudden, passing sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion; thrill:

[Origin: 1770–80; friçons (pl.) frictiōnem, acc. of frictiō shiver (taken as deriv. of frīgére to be cold), L: massage, friction] Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
What does it for you? There are several points of Beethoven's Ninth that do it quite well for me, thank you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

12-String Shoot-Out

Something I've been meaning to do for a long time is to put Light strings on the LKSM-12 and tune it up to concert pitch. With the Winter finally closing in it seems like the time to do this - so it's done.

The LKSM-12 is a very nice sounding guitar at concert pitch. There is, obviously, a lot more jangle but it also seems more phasey sounding, more like the 12-string sound that everyone is familiar with.

I recorded about 10 minutes of comparisons with the Taylor 355 which is also at concert pitch and uses Light Elixir strings. The strings on the 355 are older than the LKSM-12 strings, but neither set is too new nor too old to make a substantial sound difference, I think.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New study on human frequency descrimination

From Science Daily:

A single auditory neuron from humans showed an amazing sensitivity to distinguish between very subtle frequency differences, down to a tenth of an octave. This compared to a sensitivity of about one octave in the cat, about a third of an octave on average in rats, and half to one octave in the macaque.
So that's why our cats like the way the lady of the house plays harmonica.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Winter in the NorthEast

My old buddy Kevin O is getting hammered with another Nor'easter tonight in Bean Town. I thought about him while out on my almost daily bike ride. It's been years since I've lived up North, but the memories of what Winter in the North is like linger on like Post Stress Disorder. Few people down here in Greenville ever venture far from home. There is a remarkable percentage of natives who go to local colleges, then get jobs in the area. So it is hard to convey just how difficult daily life is during the Northern Winter. Yes, you see the pictures on the weather channel during the blizzard, but you don't understand that life between snow events doesn't get a lot better. Sidewalks are mostly impassable, sometimes covered in slush, sometimes in snow, sometimes the snow dusting hides a treacherous layer of ice. There is almost always a 15 to 25 mph wind; it lulls only during the beginning of the snow. Night falls about 4pm. They have a tough life up there.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

pami or pimi?

I'm still working on the Tremolo Study (a former boss calls this 'polishing the turd'). I got rid of the finger brace and manage to keep a good right hand finger position except when doing the tremolo with pimi. So I tried pami and lo and behold my accuracy is much better. I'm not sure why.

I'm doing the tremolo with a rest stroke so I can get the high octave ringing out better on the third course. I'll post a bit soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Mic Positions

For the last year I've used a Jecklin disk with matched Oktava MC-012 omni-directional mics but the sound doesn't seem right. There is always a boominess in the playback that I don't hear as I'm playing. Even though the recorded sound might be natural for a listener, it's not the same sound I hear when playing. So I abandoned the idea of 'natural' sounding mic positions, such as x-y, ORTF, or the Jecklin Disk Array for something that would better mimic what I hear.

The right microphone is close to my right ear, pointed down at the high point of the lower bout. The left mic originally was near my right ear - the idea being that my head would be the center of a Jecklin array. But I soon found that putting the mic out in front of the fretboard, near the 7th fret, and as close as possible without interfering with normal guitar movement gave a brighter and more bell-like tone.

I like the results and re-recorded a couple of pieces with the new postion. You can hear them here:
Bach Prelude in C from Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1
Memories of the Fair

Monday, January 7, 2008

Apparently it's dying a lot of other things in the United States, Music is dying:

“This is a new song,” Natalie Merchant announced onstage at the Hiro Ballroom on Friday night, at her first full New York City concert in four years. “Try to absorb it here, now, ’cause I don’t know when I’ll make a record.”

Ms. Merchant, who sold millions of albums in the 1990s, has an adoring audience and no record label behind her. She’s not alone. As contracts end, more and more well-known musicians are trying to reinvent their careers for the era of mass downloading and plunging album sales.

NY Times - Jan.7th, '08