[06/28 /13 show notes from Guitar Technique Tutor Podcast Episode 107 ]
(I don't know what kind of brain drain attacked me, but I apologize for referring to this show as Episode 106 a few times in the recorded show.)
So how were your last couple of weeks? Mine were crazy busy, but okay.
TTFN to Shira, Aviv and Lani. Have good summers and play whenever you can. If you have taken your axes with you, spend some quality time with them.
This week, the Spotlight is dark - almost everyone is or has been away. Maybe there will be a student in it next time, which I’m targeting for the 3rd week in July, barring any surprises. The Question of the Week is What’s a Resonator? The News is about Gretsch’s G9210 Boxcar™ Square-Neck and the Take Note segment topic is, Don’t Take Anyone’s Word For It.
Over the past few weeks did you hear about the Arizona dude who carried a Strat with a lot of autographs, such as Alice Coopers, to the top of Mt. Everest? It’s being auctioned for charity.
The other night, I watched a Smithsonian production about the history of the electric guitar. I have to say, I had high hopes for it, but it was not well researched. I thought the Smithsonian would have done diligent research, but hey, these are the same people that were going to put all of Les Paul’s things in their basement, rather than display them. In this program on the history of the electric guitar, attribution for the Berlin Wall coming down was given to the electric guitar. Honest.
Have you been reading and hearing about Fender’s binding-less necks?
Completely unique to Fender guitars, the new channel-bound design encases the fingerboard into the neck, achieving longer-lasting construction, increased contact and amazing comfort.
Encasing the fingerboard also provides greater resonance. The Fender channel-bound neck and fingerboard design acts more like one-piece neck than a two-piece neck, with both greater resonance and unison between neck and fingerboard.
Instead of being laminated to the front of the neck, the channel-bound fingerboard fits precisely inside the neck, making the surface flush with the curve of the maple.
In addition to creating a stylish new look, it imparts an amazingly comfortable fretting-hand feel in which both edges are pleasingly rounded, with no side seam between neck and fingerboard.
And how about PRS Thank You Package and Experience PRS Experience sweepstakes! Get free strings for a year with the purchase of PRS and PRS SE gear and be entered to win a trip for two to Experience PRS 2013, in Maryland, in September. IF you purchase a PRS electric guitar or amp, US manufactured, your Thank You Package will consist of 24 sets of PRS Electric Strings in the standard gauge of your choice (the approximate valor of which is about $240.) If you purchase and SE Electric Guitar or Amplifier, your Thank You Package will consist of 12 sets of PRS Electric Strings in the standard gauge of your choice (the approximate value of which is $150.) So, if you’re making a qualifying purchase, good luck!
Here in the States, we’re approaching our Independence day next Thursday. Because it falls mid week, some people are taking the whole week as a vacation week, others are taking the Wednesday through Sunday. Some are taking the 4th through Sunday or Monday. I will have very few students, so it will be a great week to chill. This past week was so unexpectedly crazy that a loose schedule will be a welcome opportunity to decompress.
Independence Day ushers in a lot of sales, and from what I read online, in my emails and in my snail mail, there are going to be good deals at Guitar Center and other guitar sellers. I’m not a coupon-ing freak, but if I can save 15 or 20 or 30% on something I want or need, I’ll time my purchase so I can take advantage of a sale. I just did that this morning at CVS. I was going to go pick up something yesterday, but I had a coupon for 25% off everything beginning today. Hey, money’s money.
Despite last week’s madness, all of my guitars have fresh DRs. Oooo I love them.
The Smithsonian program about the history of the electric guitar that seemed so factually skewed, did mention Les Paul. If you haven’t picked up the great tribute to Les, done by Lou Pallo, the rest of the trio and an assortment of admiring artists, called Thank You, Les.
Here in NJ we’re in clean up day 242 and although there has been a lot of progress, recovery at our shore communities is nowhere near complete. Thank you for your continued participation, prayers and/or contributions to Sandy NJ Relief or any other trustworthy organization that will direct funds exactly where they need to go, QUICKLY.
We’re still thinking about our countrymen in Oklahoma, too. If you can volunteer, or contribute to the ongoing cleanup and recovery, I am sure it will be most appreciated.
In the warm glow of the Student Spotlight is nobody! Lots of students are away.
I’m looking forward to a threesome in the Spotlight next time. Let's see what happens
Question of the Week
This week's question came from one of my younger students, who asked with the most squinched up face you’ve ever seen, “what’s a resonator guitar?” Of course, they could have lifted a finger to go online and find out for themselves, but they didn’t. Well, I didn’t answer them and told them to research it and tell me about it next week, but in case any of you listeners aren’t familiar with resonator guitars, I’ll elaborate a little.
Have you ever seen a wooden guitar with what looks like a metal disc on the sound board? or an all metal looking guitar, again, usually with a patterned metal disc on its sound board? Well, that’s a resonator. It seems that acoustic guitars in dance bands and other informal orchestras were being drowned out by horns. I’m going back to the ’20’s. There are several pioneers in the field and I’m going to focus my comments on the instrument, rather than the luthiers - you can research that yourself.
The guitars are called resonators because the modification made was to increase the volume or resonance of the acoustic guitar. The early and current models have either a single or 3 cone-shaped amplifiers under that metal disc. I’m over-simplifying
Many variations of all of these styles and designs have been produced under many brands. The body of a resonator guitar may be made of wood, metal, or occasionally other materials. Typically there are two main sound holes, positioned on either side of the fingerboard extension. In the case of single cone models, the sound holes are either both circular or both f-shaped, and symmetrical; The older "tricone" design has irregularly shaped sound holes. Cutaway body styles may truncate or omit the lower f-hole.
Write Me if you'd like to submit a Question of the Week or suggest an additional segment topic.
If I use one you submit, I'll send you a Guitar Technique Tutor pick.
Since the question of the week was about resonators, this week’s news is about the Gretsch G9210 Boxcar™ Square-Neck resonator, part of their Roots Collection. I have spoken broadly about this collection in a previous podcast, but I'm going to spotlight the Boxcar™. Here's what Gretsch has to say about it:
"More powerful than a locomotive! This square-neck version of the 1930s Gretsch classic has the tone and punch that pro players demand. The vital feature of all Gretsch resonator guitars is the all-new Gretsch "Ampli-Sonic" diaphragm (resonator cone), which is hand-spun in Eastern Europe from nearly 99 percent pure aluminium and yields an impressive quality and volume of tone."
This is a nice traditional wood resonator. It has rosewood neck and medium jumbo frets. They've done a smart thing on this instrument. The back and sides are laminate. Hey, if the amplification is coming from the aluminum, using laminate keeps cost down and doesn't have much of an effect on the sound. The desired sound resonator players are looking for is very tinny.
Don't forget that this model is a square neck, but it's available as a round neck, too.
Some extras are Gretsch Ampli-Sonic™ Spider Resonator Cone and Bridge; Nickel-Plated Poinsettia Design Cover-Plate; 1930s Gretsch Headstock with Aged Pearloid Face. A gig bag is not included but is available.
This guitar's MSRP is $599, which isn't bad. I have found some advertised street prices as low as $359, which is a sweet deal for a resonator made by Gretsch.
My take note topic this week is don’t take anybody’s word for it. I worked with a student a few days ago, who’s playing a pretty standard 60’s era song. If you heard the intro, you’d know exactly what song it is. So we were looking at and working this highly distinctive intro. It posed some challenge for the student because although he knew how it should sound, he needed to slow it down since he had to really think about the rhythm, rather than feeling it. We got through that.
Then, the body of the guitar part we were working on was a series of arpeggios of totally crazy chords. I shouldn’t call the chords crazy - their NAMES were crazy. I’ve had a gripe about the music publishing industry for a long time. I honestly don’t know if they’re completely uninformed or if they are computerized but don’t have any contextual equivalent of spell check when it comes to making up names for chords. If the chords were named theoretically correctly, although unfamiliar, they would be much easier to learn and remember.
The given names of the chords in this progression were:
D6 9, G6, D/F#, Asus2/E, Em7 and D. I don’t have any trouble with the Asus2/E or the D.
If you take a look at the image, look at what the music publisher has called D6 9. Really?? If you’re up on your music theory, and you examine the notes that are written for the first group of beamed eighth notes, you’d have no reasonable choice other than to call that arpeggio Em7/D, right? Definitely.
Let’s examine the next kookie chord. Well, I know a lot of people call this a G6 because it is somewhat a G chord with an open E, which is the 6th note of the G scale. I have mentioned on more than one episode of this podcast that a 6 chord is never really what chord it its. For example, a C6 chord is really an Am7. When you see 6 in the name of a major chord, the correct name of the chord is its relative minor chord, minor 7. In this chord progressions, the G6 is really an Em7/G.
The D/F#, if we take an analytical look at it, we find that what we actually have is the same chord as the one before, except with an F# in the bass. So this chord should be namedEm7/F#.
No problem with the Asus2/E. That's right.
Now, it would seem like the Em7 is correct, but no way is it an Em7. What we have here is a Dsus2. The Asus2/E presents the high open E that is the suspended 2 in this D chord. And it typically and naturally resolves to D.
Now, isn't this chord progression more easy to remember and doesn't it imply the close relationships of the chords? Em7/D, Em7/G, Em7/F#, Asus2/E, Dsus2 and D. Of course it is.
I've taken a bit of license because not every note in these chords were played notes, but theoretically, and logically, it makes the most sense. When you have crazy and exotic chord names, take a closer look. Don't believe anybody.
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Raptor™ picks are a registered design. All rights are owned by Black Carbon.
Check out the PRS Thank You Package and Sweepstakes and the dude who took an Alice Cooper signed Strat to the top of Mt. Everest!
I hope the Student Spotlight will be occupied next time. I'd like this podcast to count for the first week of July, even though it is early. I hope to have the next show up at the beginning of the 3rd week of July.
I'm loving my crisp new DRs and can't make up my mind about which guitar to play, so I play them all.
A resonator guitar is amplified by a spun aluminum cone or cones. The sound is most used in blues, bluegrass and Hawaiian music. They're cool. Check them out.
The Gretsch G9210 Boxcar™ Square-Neck Model: 2715020521 is a very affordable resonator.
When a chord progression looks bizarre but doesn't sound bizarre, check it out. You may have a much more simple progression than you think. Use your theoretical knowledge to make sense of it.
If you’d like to further assist SuperStorm Sandy victims, Sandy NJ Relief Fund will put 100% of your contribution to excellent use. The recovery here is going to take years and some communities still have condemned homes and unlivable conditions.
Don’t forget the marvelous tribute to Les Paul by Lou Pallo, the trio and other musical friends, called Thank You, Les.
If you’re not comfortable, your guitar isn’t either, so don’t leave your guitar in a cold car or basement, or a hot car or attic. Humidify if your guitar lives in an environment in which there is less than 40% humidity. If you’re going on a vacation - ask a friend to keep the guitar at their home until you return, if you can.