Year in Review

It's that time of year when those inclined to make resolutions start to think about what they might be.  Since I actually made resolutions last year, I think it might be better to first have a look at how I did...

  • learn an instrument
In January 2009, I started taking guitar lessons for the first time in my life and I'm happy to report I am still at it.  I bought the first guitar (after borrowing my son's for the first few lessons) and was told it would not be my last.  I didn't know it then but they were right.

I am a bit of a weird student.  Most kids come in wanting to learn to play insert favourite song here.  As somebody already making and recording music, I wanted more theory.  And my instructors have been happy to oblige.  So my playing is still on the crap side (though, that's probably true of anybody with only 1 year under belt).

Recording the guitar has posed new challenges.  I wrestle with latency in my recording setup.  Composition takes longer while I fart around developing guitar parts and practicing them to the point where I can get a passable take.  And it's exposed me to the bugaboo of computer recording which is latency.  Something about my setup is crap.  When I figure it out, I'll be a happy man.

Another challenge is remembering things outside the computer.  "In the box" artists tweak their virtual knobs and the computer remembers all.  As soon as you leave the box, you have real knobs and you need to note all the settings if you ever need to recreate sounds.  And without MIDI, you need to remember chords, voicings, etc and write them down somewhere.  Pickup switch, tone settings, etc.  There is a lot you get to take for granted when everything is a virtual parameter.  Of course, being extremely fastidious can interfere with creativity so some sensible balance is something that I'm in constant search of.

Finally, a guitar is just the beginning.  And I ended up buying some toys.  Some affordable (e-bow) and some less so (GT-10).  And then, about a week ago, I bought my second guitar.  I'm in love all over again.  More and different sounds.  Bigsby.  Now learning new playing tricks.  And I'm tempted to start recording the acoustic sounds alongside the electric sounds...
  • learn to better use the things I have
To some extent I did that.  I did take an Ableton course and I bought the fabulous sound design videos from Nick's Tutorials.  The primary intent behind this resolution was to not buy/covet new gear before more fully figuring out how to use the stuff I already had.  I failed.  Flashy software upgrades happened. New plugins happened.  Max 4 Live happened.  My cup floweth over.

Resolutions and goals for next year?  Stay tuned.

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