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frazzled max

answer to a frequently asked question

Posted on 2006.07.30 at 12:14
Current Mood: woozy
groove: porcupine tree
My guitar is the one on the lower right.


viscous at 2006-07-30 19:55 (UTC) (Link)
Aha! So it's not a Warr. Those things are hella expensive. I was actually thinking of getting a Megatar myself (though I admit they are a bit ugly).

I had some questions if you are up to it...

What made you decide to take up this type of instrument?

How long have you been playing it?

I presume all learning has been self-teaching? How has that been?
max1975 at 2006-07-30 20:29 (UTC) (Link)
Well, it is a Warr. "Austin Douglas Guitars is a subsidiary of Warr Guitars" though actually I do prefer to call it an "ADG" than a "Warr Guitar," just has a better ring to it. They are less expensive than other Warrs.

That Megatar actually looks pretty cool, too (I'm looking at this.) That's fretboard is really neat, i wonder though whether it actually makes it easier or harder to play.

So I took up the instrument partially because of its versatility...in the band situation at the time, I thought it would be good to be able to switch between guitar and bass without actually having to change instruments. Mostly, though, I wanted a tapping instrument, just because it feels more intuitive to me than plucking. You only need to do one thing to sound a note rather than two. Which means you can play more notes.

It's not as good for more traditional guitarry stuff. Strumming is possible but can be difficult because the frets are farther apart than on a normal guitar, so you need to stretch your hand more to play chords. Heavy-metal-type chugging is pretty much impossible.

I've been playing it...4 years, I guess. Self-taught, yes, and it's gone well enough for my purposes. But there's certainly a lot of potential in the instrument that I haven't tapped into.

Maybe my brother can jump in here and give you some tips. He gave up the style a few years back, but while he was doing it he was a lot more focused with it than I have been, to the point of getting lessons and practicing several hours a day, and I'm still nowhere near the level he was at.
viscous at 2006-07-31 00:22 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, sorry, missed the "subsidiary of Warr" part. Actually though, I think yours looks like one of the best I have seen of that type. Sticks are pretty plain; Megatar is sort of out there; Warr (to me) seems like the guitar body part just looks too wide. This one looks pleasant, but functional.

I did talk to William about it at some point, but I do not believe he necessarily had a lot to say.
monkey587 at 2006-07-31 17:23 (UTC) (Link)


Sorry... It's just been so long since I've played one that I don't have a lot to say. In retrospect, all my discipline and practice time with it was at worst horribly inefficient and at best misdirected. The best advice I can give is to take it slowly, pay much attention to physical tension you may feel while playing, and listen critically to everything you play. But that's the same advice I'd give to anyone about any instrument. They're all the same in most regards, really, it's just about what kind of sounds you want to make. If you have sounds in your head that you want to make, there's probably some instrument you can learn that will allow you to make them if you are patient and attentive. It's entirely possible that a tapping guitar is the right way to go but be aware that it is an expensive and difficult path to take if you are not sure about it.

In the past I played certain instruments because I thought they were cool, and I played music of types that were being played by people with similar instruments, because it just kinda seemed like the thing to do. I was genuinely interested for a while, but it eventually became apparent that I was trying to make someone else's music. These days I play my 1880s wooden flute more than anything else. I have also begun in earnest to learn fiddle, and between the two of them, I am more excited about what I can do as a musician than I ever have been before. I still play guitar, but that is split between a primarily accompanist role in my band and solo classical guitar. I am a better player now than ever, and on some levels I do like guitar, but in general for me it's about as enjoyable as flying on a plane. It makes sense to do it and it can lead to good things but it is rarely enjoyable for its own sake.

Occasionally people express disappointment that I've switched to more normal instruments, but all I can say is that if you enjoyed what I did in the past, then it's best to just appreciate it for what it was. What I do now doesn't "undo" the past... and I am now a happier musician and overall person than I have ever been before.
max1975 at 2006-07-31 18:27 (UTC) (Link)

Re: sorry

I thought you didn't have a lot to say :)
monkey587 at 2006-07-31 18:33 (UTC) (Link)

Re: sorry

viscous at 2006-07-31 00:31 (UTC) (Link)
(I wasn't trying to insult the instrument by saying it wasn't a Warr :)
max1975 at 2006-07-31 00:45 (UTC) (Link)
No insult was inferred :)

I do have a book and a corny instructional audio tape I could lend you. We could also get together at some point and you can give my guitar a try and see how it feels.
viscous at 2006-07-31 11:05 (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I'd like that very much (the checking out the instrument, moreso than the cheesy tape).
max1975 at 2006-07-31 18:28 (UTC) (Link)
Ok. I'm not sure when exactly i'll be available, but probably sometime this weekend.
viscous at 2006-08-04 14:29 (UTC) (Link)
Any idea if any plans for the weekend are known yet?
skyjammer at 2006-07-30 23:13 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I don't think I've ever seen a guitar like that. I wish I could play guitar, and right now I wish I had the time to learn how.
max1975 at 2006-07-31 00:51 (UTC) (Link)
I have trouble with traditional guitars...my left hand just doesn't want to contort into certain necessary positions. I kinda still consider myself more of a keyboardist, even though I play guitar a lot more often than keys these days.
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