Flamenco Fusion at Hopewell Valley Vineyards on 11.4.11

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Live Set Up DeVoe, Shure or DPA, Mackie, QSC

In the ever evolving set up for that ultimate tone I have stumbled across a set up that I actually like quite a bit. Its my DeVoe guitars Blanca and Negra, with a Shure KSM 141 Mic (bass rolled off) or the DPA 4099G Mic (which is nice in that I don’t need a mic stand), Mackie ProFX 8 (number 8 verb@12 noon) eq. on mic pre flat, graphic eq a few frequencies tamed (see pic) QSC K 8 Speaker and Powered amp in one 1000watt package at 28 Lbs.

Jason McGuire on Fingernails

There is a bit about nails in the forum. I am not super picky about nails. I tend to play with my nails pretty long compared to most players. I make them rounded to mimic the shape of the fingertip. I use a combination of 5 second Nail Glue and Acrylic Nail Powder to make my own acrylic nails. My natural nails were very weak to begin with so there was no real loss there. Acrylic nails are bad if you want to ever use natural nails. I have tried many other products, but have always gone back to the 5 second stuff for convenience and reliability. The other important thing to consider about nail shape is keeping them smooth underneath where the string actually makes contact. I use a normal 4 in 1 file and move from coarse to fine when shaping.

Live Guitar Midi Setup

I’m soon going to try a new live set up that will use Midi. I will also try using this in the studio. It will be a Godin Grand Concert SA, Fishman Aura Nylon, Roland VG8, Roland GI-20, Korg Trition Rack, Spectronics Omnisphere, Trillian and Stylus RMX, with Apples Mac Book Pro 17in and Mainstage. This will run into a live board.

How To Learn And Master FlamencoAdam del Monte

How To Learn And Master Flamenco
I would like to talk about an aspect of learning that is easily overlooked in today’s fast paced world: Patience and methodology.

In a world of instant everything, mobile texting, email, drive-through, microwaveable mash potatoes, etc, our expectation of the world around and what we believe it should provide us with is ever more immediate. If our computer stalls for 5 extra seconds we start to get annoyed and antsy.

If we carry these emotional attitudes into our learning process we are doomed to suffer frustration and our minds will stall more than 5 seconds, we can enter a cycle of endless impatience and dissatisfaction with our selves and our process.

How can we avoid that and how does this apply to learning flamenco?
First of all, to assume that because things change so quickly around us and therefore we should be able to do the same is counter productive and will set you up for failure in your own mind.

Every one has a different capacity of absorbing information, both mentally and physically. Skills that are worthwhile and complex simply take time and we should feel gratitude that we have the opportunity to be exposed to it and are able learn it.

Learning is one thing and absorbing and assimilating a new skill until you feel you own it, is another. That is where patience comes in. Just because we know how some thing should go doesn’t mean we are totally capable of doing it – yet. This is the crucial period where it’s make or break. Here are some strategies that are useful:

Honesty: Be honest with your self and your true ability and your current level. That doesn’t mean to be self deprecating nor unrealistic about your actual level.
Time: Realize that the body (your fingers in our case) take time to program information into our nervous system and cells. Our bodies are filled with so much intelligence but it needs time to be absorbed.
For a skill such as scales (picado) arpeggio, resgueado etc, to be ingrained into our second nature habit we must first embrace whole heartedly the journey of what that process may demand from us. It is during this trial period that we forge our character ( musical and otherwise) and start to build our mental muscles. If we can’t find a way to fall in love with the process then patience will be hard to achieve.

Strategies: Create a strategy of building on small successes. Whenever we sit down to practice and decide to work on either a skill such as scales, tremolo or a hard passage, we tend to want to solve the whole problem after one practice session. We want 100% improvement. How unrealistic. If it happens, then great, I’m not saying it can’t but don’t expect it.

But if we go for a 5% improvement at the end of the practice session and actually feel good about achieving it, we are creating little cycles of success, which in turn build our confidence and faith in our selves.

We many times feel more heroic when we fail at some thing difficult rather than succeed at some thing easy. But that is just our unrealistic ego wanting to get the better of us. It’s good to be ambitious, it’s better to be smart and strategic about how to go about it.

Imagine day after day a 5% improvement, now that sounds hopeful.

Simplify: If we spend too much time playing things too high above our level we will get impatient and frustrated. We must first accept our level and be happy about the place that we’re at this moment. If we turn our focus on mastering things that are at our level and or little bits of passages at a time, we will be able to absorb things faster and more effectively.
Mastery: Don’t just practice pieces or skills, practice Mastery, by taking a certain period in your life to just doing very easy things or in a very slow and easy way. We some times think that if some thing feels too easy then it has little value, so we attempt to play faster than we can without control or pieces that are too hard right now. Mastery can only come with the feeling of ease and relaxation. There can be no struggle in Mastery. By playing easy things really well for a while we are practicing the Feeling of Mastery not just the piece it’s self.
Finally, think of music as a journey of your own bliss. Don’t think of it as some thing to achieve. There is nothing to achieve only a process to enjoy. If you get too goal oriented you’re missing the point. Discipline must come from the love you have for the instrument and the music.

Today there are more people on the planet than ever, and yes, that includes musicians. Now, in the past, access to knowledge and information was hard to come by, but today you find anything on any subject on YouTube and Google and almost any one can have that access.

That means that at some point the big ‘achievement’ isn’t just in knowing how to do some thing ( you and ten thousand other guitarists…) but rather how are you going to enjoy this new knowledge and how are you going to use it in your ongoing creative process and make it your own.

TSA Flying With Your Instrument

Flying With Your Instrument? What You Need to Know.
November 21, 2006
There are important questions you should ask yourself when traveling with a musical instrument; “Will they let me on the plane with it or do I need to check it?”
You should also be wondering, “Will the instrument get there in one piece or in tiny chunks? And if the instrument is smashed to bits who pays for the damage?”
In answering these questions, the Transportation Security Administration offer a particular set of requirements. The airlines must meet TSA standards, but they have additional rules of their own. And each airline will likely have slightly different policy regarding what is covered regarding damage or loss–and what is not covered.
TSA guidelines state you have the option of checking or carrying on musical instruments–with the exception of brass instruments (which must be checked). Other instruments, within carry-on sizes, can be taken through security and onto the plane.
TSA rules allow you to carry one musical instrument in addition to your carry-on and a personal item (a small handbag, for instance) through the security checkpoint. This does NOT, mean your airline will allow this additional item on the plane. Each airline will likely have different policy regarding this “extra” carry-on. In fact, you may find that the airline personnel will bend the airlines rules depending on how full the flight is or what kind of mood they are in that day.
According to American Airlines, small musical instruments can be carried on if they fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you (in this last case it is hard to imagine an instrument bigger than a piccolo that would fit under an airline seat). The instrument cannot exceed 45 linear inches, except guitars. They may be stowed in the overhead bins or other approved areas of the cabin).
TSA officers must either x-ray or physically screen an instrument before you take it on the plane. If you cannot take it on the plane you have two options–buy it a seat or check it.
Checked instruments not in hard-sided cases are considered “at-your-own-risk”. If an instrument is damaged but the case does not have visible damage, you could be out of luck.
American Airlines policy states “..due to their fragile nature AA does not accept liability for damages and limited liability for loss.”. This last part is what should give you pause. If they lose an expensive piece of gear they tell you, up front, that they are not paying for all of it.
Policies differ from one airline to another. Your ticket will have a list of items not covered, as will the airline website.
“If checked and lost we will cover it but normal considerations apply.” says Alison Eshelman, a spokeswoman for Jet Blue.
Among these considerations, no doubt, are Federal and International laws/agreements over liability for lost luggage. Federal law places a cap of $2,500 per passenger for lost baggage. International law limits this to $9.07 per pound for checked bags and $400 per person for unchecked bags.
In other words if you have gear that is worth more than $2,500 do not bring it on an airline or if you do get outside insurance (and don’t get it from the airline).
Jet Blue’s policies otherwise state that they will pay to repair an instrument that is damaged if the case is damaged (although they assume no liability for the case itself).
The case must be an ATA rated case before any airline will cover it. But what is considered an ATA-rated case? “There are various guidelines to make it a rated case.” says Kathy Galbraith, media manager for SKB cases in California.
One part of this is that the case is determined to be able to withstand 100 trips by air. There must be bumper protection on the locks and latching system. On SKB cases there are moulded bumpers that surround the latches. You also need to have a lock that the TSA can open to inspect the contents of the case.
“Not a whole lot of musical instrument cases are bumper protected,” says Galbraith. “Because of the shapes of the instruments.” SKB have one model 18 RW that are for acoustic guitars and another, 44 RW which are for bass guitars. They also have cases for mixers and the like.
Another company that manufacture travel cases is Des Plaines, IL based, R&R Cases. If you play a stand up bass you may also want to take note. American, for one, does not allow them in the coach cabin and only accepts them on certain types of aircraft.
There is also the issue of what to do when checking an instrument. It WILL be taken out of the case and inspected most likely. The TSA website says that you should stay with your instrument to make sure it is repacked properly. TSA admits that this may not be possible.
“Each airport is different,” says Christopher White, a spokesman for TSA in Atlanta. “In some cases we check baggage in the public area in others in a security area.”
If you cannot be with your instrument the TSA encourage musicians to include short written instructions on how to repack the instrument. It’s important to write the instructions so they are clear enough for a non-musician to understand.
“We do take every care to replace instruments properly.” says White.
That may be comforting to some, but more comforting is traveling armed with the knowledge of exactly what your liabilities and responsiblities are with regard to your gear. The more you know before boarding the plane, the less hassle you’ll experience in the event you find your equipment is damaged in transit.
To find out more about TSA regulations on musical instruments. For more on SKG travel cases For more on R&R Cases
by Patrick Ogle, Gearwire feature writer.

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Visited Luthier Music Corp Today

Was up in NYC today and I picked up hafe a dozen sets of Luthier Set 30’s for bass strings and Titanium trebles. I also picked up a Barcus-Berry True Expression “The Outsider” Piezo Guitar Transducer to try on the DeVoe for large performances. I also picked up a Paco De Lucia cd con Ramon de Algeciras. played a few guitars as well, DeVoe 1964 and a Perice 2009. Oh I picked up the wifes Christmas presents as well. Nice day in NYC.