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Old 01-19-2020, 11:10 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bakersfield!!!
Posts: 1,451
Default Remembering the forgotten songs and reminiscing on the last forty years.

It was 1980, I woke up in Sonoma after a long night recovering from the Grateful Dead at the Warfield, where they were celebrating 15 years. It was a so so performance. The chemical combination didn’t improve the quality of the performance, but I was energetic until the wee hours before I was driven to a friend’s house and put to bed.

A few hours later I woke up to magnificent guitar music flowing from the stereo. It was Alex DeGrassi’s second album, Slow Circle. I had heard the first one at a frien’s house a year or two before. I remember the cover, but not the music.

This time it was perfect. Alex’s playing and composition made perfect sense and I knew what was in store: I was going to go full on fingerstyle and find myself in the guitar.

It took a few years. I contacted Ervin Somogyi and we talked at great length. At $2500, his guitars were expensive. I went to his shop and discovered that his guitars were ugly and odd looking. His apprentice at the time had built a guitar that looked like a Somogyi with a beautiful finish. A guy there was playing a DeGrassi song just like the record. I was confused. On that trip I stopped at Guitar Solo n San Francisco where I saw a Santa Cruz FTC, a beautiful, magnificent sounding guitar that was more appealing than the Somogyi. At $1,000 dollars, it was in my price range. Like the fool I was at 24, I didn’t put it on layaway. I came back a few months later with my checkbook but it was gone.

In 1981 I went to Santa Cruz Guitar on Ingalls Street in Santa Cruz, just a two man shop in a smallish space. Bruce and Richard tried to interest me in an H. I wanted a Dread Cutaway. I ordered one and waited. I lost my job and thought I was done. My brother sold his house and he owed me and the other two brothers $1,500 each to pay us back from the profits since our parents helped him out. Sweet deal, I got the Santa Cruz, which I still have.

Since I was inspired by Slow Circle, I learned the DeGrassi tuning: DADEAD. I worked on Turning:Turning Back, getting closer over the many months of listening to it. One day I was in my neighborhood shop laying an original and a guitarist I knew, Phil Hernandez, walked in and asked, ‘ Who’s playing that Windham Hill stuff?”

I quickly stopped in embarrassment. No one else could spot it. I was faking my original brilliance with DeGrassi just dripping from my now shaking fingertips.

I turned to DADGAD after hearing Richard Thompson’s version of Banish Misfortune on his instrumental album, Strict Tempo, but I kept DADEAD stashed in my brain.

I came up with two originals in that tuning. That was it. I named the second one Tom’s Lament after a close friend who was then and will always be a far better player.

Yesterday I took out my Brondel A2 Essential and turned it to DADEAD. after an hour I had remembered most of Tom’s Lament. The Melody was still there, but I couldn’t remember the fingerings. I did the best I could. Lying awake in the early morning hours, I thought about the shapes and positions on the neck, trying to put them all together.

We shall see what today brings.

I finally met Alex DeGrassi at Healdsburg when I was working with Kathy Wingert. I bought a guitar from her and she had me do her demo, which scared the daylights out of me since I was only playing at home. He stopped at our booth and played her guitars. A year later I went to the seminar at his house, and followed up twice more. He became a friend and was the officiant at my wedding in 2016 after I discovered he was a minister. It was a great night to get married with Eric Skye providing all the music at the ceremony. Two of my heroes on guitar? My new wife, Darie had met them both before and was unaware of who they were. She had met so many guitarists, she was not impressed at their celebrity in the guitar world.

Life has been good to me because of Santa Cruz Guitars, Windham Hill Records, Kathy Wingert, Healdsburg Guitar Festival, my buddy Tom Long,Laurent Brondel, Jim Merrill, John Kinnaird, Nick Kukich, Matt Mustapick, and the Acoustic Guitar Forum.
rubber Chicken
Plastic lobster
Jiminy Cricket.

Last edited by M Sarad; 01-19-2020 at 03:23 PM.
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