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Old 08-01-2019, 11:12 AM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is offline
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Default 10 things I learned at the 2019 RockyGrass Academy

Here are, in no particular order, some of the take-home lessons from my week at the RockyGrass academy in Lyons, Colorado. Purely subjective and debatable, obviously.

1) The rhythm is not in your tapping foot, but in your hips. Therefore, you should have a plain, uncushioned chair for practicing, so you can move while you play.

2) Never look at your guitar when you play. The music goes where you look, so look at your audience, not at the fretboard.

3) Henderson guitars sound nice and very balanced across the fretboard, but my undiscerning ears didn't really hear anything to write home about.

4) Only play when you have something to say musically. Otherwise, don't play, but listen.

5) The Krüger Brothers not only are two of the most talented and skilled musicians around, but also some of the most wonderful and down-to-Earth human beings I've ever met. They started out as poor street musicians decades ago, and unlike many other accomplished musicians, they have somehow managed to preserve that same level of "Spielfreude" from those days until today. (The German word translates to something like "joy of playing")

6) Uwe Krüger gave me the best one-on-one guitar lesson I've had in my entire life of playing guitar.

7) You really need to learn every note on the fretboard to be able to make music freely and speak through your instrument.

8) Tortoise shell picks are vastly overrated. The tone is so dull that I wouldn't trade any of my casein or BlueChip picks even if given the opportunity.

9) Playing guitar is all about staying relaxed at all times. As soon as any part of your body tenses up tense up, you can't play well.

10) Being a good musician is much more about being a good listener than anything else.
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Last edited by DesertTwang; 08-01-2019 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:50 AM
mcduffnw mcduffnw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertTwang View Post
Here are, in no particular order, some of the take-home lessons from my week at the RockyGrass academy in Lyons, Colorado. Purely subjective and debatable, obviously.

1) The rhythm is not in your tapping foot, but in your hips. Therefore, you should have a plain, uncushioned chair for practicing, so you can move while you play.

2) Never look at your guitar when you play. The music goes where you look, so look at your audience, not at the fretboard.

3) Henderson guitars sound nice and very balanced across the fretboard, but my undiscerning ears didn't really hear anything to write home about.

4) Only play when you have something to say musically. Otherwise, don't play, but listen.

5) The Krüger Brothers not only are two of the most talented and skilled musicians around, but also some of the most wonderful and down-to-Earth human beings I've ever met. They started out as poor street musicians decades ago, and unlike many other accomplished musicians, they have somehow managed to preserve that same level of "Spielfreude" from those days until today. (The German word translates to something like "joy of playing")

6) Uwe Krüger gave me the best one-on-one guitar lesson I've had in my entire life of playing guitar.

7) You really need to learn every note on the fretboard to be able to make music freely and speak through your instrument.

8) Tortoise shell picks are vastly overrated. The tone is so dull that I wouldn't trade any of my casein or BlueChip picks even if given the opportunity.

9) Playing guitar is all about staying relaxed at all times. As soon as any part of your body tenses up tense up, you can't play well.

10) Being a good musician is much more about being a good listener than anything else.

A wonderful and very true list!!! Thank You for this terrific post!

BUT...what did Uwe teach you? Are then any words of wisdom from that lesson...or techniques from that lesson that you could at least try to explain to us?!, so we might gain some small portion of the benefit/insight that you were able to gleen from Uwe...PLEASE!!! {:-)

#2 #9 and #10 are especially important lessons to learn and live me thinks


duff
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:05 PM
rstaight rstaight is offline
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Your list is fantastic. I may need to print it out.
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:11 PM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcduffnw View Post
A wonderful and very true list!!! Thank You for this terrific post!

BUT...what did Uwe teach you? Are then any words of wisdom from that lesson...or techniques from that lesson that you could at least try to explain to us?!, so we might gain some small portion of the benefit/insight that you were able to gleen from Uwe...PLEASE!!! {:-)

#2 #9 and #10 are especially important lessons to learn and live me thinks


duff
Be A Player...Not A Polisher
#1, 2, 9, and 10 are some of the wisdom Uwe shared with me. When we first sat down, he asked me to pick a tune. i played Billy in the Lowground, and his first response was, "You're all tense. Let's get you relaxed." He asked me to watch his pick when he plays. I almost couldn't believe my eyes: the pick danced up and down in his hand by about a quarter inch. It flopped up and down. His advice was to only grip the pick right before it hits the strings, and let it go otherwise. He then asked me to play Billy in the Lowground again, but this time with my thumb on the fretting hand not touching the neck. At first, I thought he was joking, but I tried it, and it worked -- sort of. The point he was trying to make is that I exert too much force with my fretting fingers to push on the frets, when rather than using the thumb to counteract the fretting pressure from my fingers, I should use my right elbow to slightly push on the lower bout and use that leverage to create the light pressure between my fingers and the frets. "Your fingers on the fretboard should feel like playing on a keyboard," he said.
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Martin America 1
Martin 000-15sm
Recording King Dirty 30s RPS-9 TS
Taylor GS Mini
Baton Rouge 12-string guitar
Martin Backpacker
1933 Epiphone Olympic
1971 Dobro
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:02 PM
Goodallboy Goodallboy is offline
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Thanks for posting. I think all of it is good information but the report on TS picks doesn’t match the experience I get with mine. Not the overrated part, that’s certainly up for debate, but my TS pick is anything but dull and far more in-your-face than either my BC’s or Casein picks which actually do sound muffled and dull to me. I love them for recording because they are subdued and quiet.

But a great post and thank you again.
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:21 PM
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Groberts Groberts is offline
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This is in my topmost loved posts ever! Great list!

I am reminded of the movie Mr. Hollands Opus when the young girl couldn't play a musical note on her clarinet. He said something like "Close your eyes and play the sunset". Voila! She played musical sounds.

It's so cool when someone points out ways to 'let go' and just play music.
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:34 PM
EatingHumblePie EatingHumblePie is online now
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This is wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing.
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Old 08-02-2019, 02:10 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Great post, Daniel. Thanks for writing it.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 08-02-2019, 03:28 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertTwang View Post
Here are, in no particular order, some of the take-home lessons from my week at the RockyGrass academy in Lyons, Colorado. Purely subjective and debatable, obviously.

1) The rhythm is not in your tapping foot, but in your hips. Therefore, you should have a plain, uncushioned chair for practicing, so you can move while you play.

>>>> Bit bemused by this initially, but, yes a good firm base is best. <<<<<

2) Never look at your guitar when you play. The music goes where you look, so look at your audience, not at the fretboard.

>>>>>>> I wouldn't say "never" but a glance is all that is necessary from tme to time, Mando Bob stares at his mando all the time, which irks me, but I totally agree - making contact with your audience is vital. (what yu do inthe comfort of your own home is your biz). <<<<<<

3) Henderson guitars sound nice and very balanced across the fretboard, but my undiscerning ears didn't really hear anything to write home about.

>>>>> Saw Trey Hensley playing his - it sounded like a fine guitar, next, <<<<

4) Only play when you have something to say musically. Otherwise, don't play, but listen. >>>>>> Bluegrassers, often over play. I include myself in this. <<<<<

5) The Krüger Brothers not only are two of the most talented and skilled musicians around, but also some of the most wonderful and down-to-Earth human beings I've ever met. They started out as poor street musicians decades ago, and unlike many other accomplished musicians, they have somehow managed to preserve that same level of "Spielfreude" from those days until today. (The German word translates to something like "joy of playing")

>>>>> Yes, whether we pay for fun or for money, if it ain't fun, don't do it <<<<.

6) Uwe Krüger gave me the best one-on-one guitar lesson I've had in my entire life of playing guitar.

>>>> great! I've discovered from attending bluegrass workshops that few fine players are god teachers <<<<<

7) You really need to learn every note on the fretboard to be able to make music freely and speak through your instrument.
>>> mmmm, Uh, OK, maybe. Surely it is more important to know what you need to play the melody and/or extemporise around it, plus the progression of course. <<<<

8) Tortoise shell picks are vastly overrated. The tone is so dull that I wouldn't trade any of my casein or BlueChip picks even if given the opportunity.

>>>>> ABSOLUTELEY! plus TS wears, and cracks even more than celluloid (ugh). I have a load of TS picks, never play 'em any more. <<<<<

9) Playing guitar is all about staying relaxed at all times. As soon as any part of your body tenses up tense up, you can't play well.

>>>>>> This is a VERY GOOD point. Took me a long time to learn, actually, still learning. <<<<<<<

10) Being a good musician is much more about being a good listener than anything else.
>>>> Yes. Especially when playing in a combo. What are the other guys doing? I over play my bass lines, because our Bass player (lovely bloke) can't do more than I and Vs. I'm always "suggesting" to bob - "leave some space!" <<<<<<

Added su8ggestion - NEVER stop learning.
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:21 AM
gfspencer gfspencer is offline
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Quote:
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8) Tortoise shell picks are vastly overrated. The tone is so dull that I wouldn't trade any of my casein or BlueChip picks even if given the opportunity.
8a) All Tortoise shell picks are different.
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