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Sunday, May 5, 2013

This blog is a little bit different because I am going to talk about music.  Gee, you would think with a blog name like "DrewCoustic" there would be music mentioned beyond a mandolin restoration by now.  Well, guess what?  You will now get what the name implies.  Allow me to give you a little background on where the name of my blog came from.  

I have been playing guitar for about thirteen years now and have had my ups and down with trying to do something with it professionally, which ended up with me declining a pretty tasty offer quite a few years ago.  When I was learning to play, I sort of grew into it on an exposed level and played in front of a crowd for the first time less than a year after starting.  The largest crowd I have played in front of was on a trip to Jamaica in 2005, which could have been anywhere from 750-1000 people, but I have no idea what the exact number was (it could have been more?).  The only lesson I have ever had with the guitar was when my dad wrote down five chords on a piece of paper the day I told him I wanted to learn.  Anything beyond that day I just figured out on my own, though I have taught others a few things here and there along the way and love being able to share that with people wanting to learn.  Everyday I am thankful that this is something I enjoy doing and continually learning about, even though I do not think I am all that great at it, playing eases my mind and makes me very happy in ways nothing else can.  
I currently own seven guitars, two mandolins, and a banjo.  Three of those guitars are electric and the rest are acoustic, which is where my blog name comes from because my preference is for acoustic instruments overall.  Now you know...

Out of my whole collection, this is my baby.  A 2006 Gibson Songwriter Deluxe.  I would let you break three of my toes with a ball-peen hammer before I would ever let this guitar go:
I bought it brand new and I play it every single day.

I have been trying to learn a new style of playing for about two weeks now and decided to change from my usual D'addario EXP Lights to something more Bluegrass-sounding.  Why?  That is the style I want to learn.  After talking it over with the guy at my local music shop, I decided to give these a go:
I have seen these on the string rack for years, but never looked at them because I thought they were classical nylons, but apparently not.
They do have somewhat of a nylon core, but they contain trace amounts of silver, steel, and copper as well.  I was pretty skeptical, but after doing a string change and setup, I recorded a song I wrote for a friend of mine and here is what they sound like through the pickup in my Gibson:
video

I was impressed with the sound as it is MUCH more metallic than I was expecting and actually sounds great on my full-size guitar, even though they are intended to be used on a smaller folk-body guitar.  
They look pretty nice all strung up as well since most other acoustic strings are brass-colored when you take them out of the pack:

What sort of Bluegrass style am I learning though?  I want to learn the hammer-on and pull-off lead licks that you hear in most Bluegrass music.  The reason I want to do this is not to get into playing primarily that style of music, but it has always interested me and sounded like a really fun way to play improvisation with other people or when recording.  

Take this for an example:
 
This is Sierra Hull and Justin Moses doing a promo for a company that makes acoustic instrument pickups (check both of them out, they are very versatile musicians).  What they are both playing is improvised on the spot.  They choose a key, one leads, the other follows with rhythm, and they trade that method back and forth.  They are both playing in the style I am trying very hard to learn.  Hearing that and being able to play in such a way seems like so much fun to me and I would just love to do it.  Once I get to that point, I will make a video of me playing with someone and post it up.  

I also need to brush up on my mandolin playing since I finished restoring this guy:
I think learning the Bluegrass style of playing leads is the best way to go about it because mandolin is much more fun to play scales on than rhythm.  

I also have this 1948 Harmony Master I restored that I am really excited about playing in this style as well:

So, since the past two days have been rainy and gross here in Georgia, my nights and portions of my weekend days have been spent trying to be furhter constructive and learn something new musically.  You know, when I haven't been repairing every gasoline-powered apparatus I own...

Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/drewcoustic
Email:  drewcoustic@gmail.com

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