About jimgablick

I'm a musician; guitar is my main instrument, but I'll give a go at anything I can get my hands on. I love all things music. My favorite thing is writing and producing my own music. I dig collaborating with others to make music also.

A Persistent and Pervasive Manifestation of the Creative Mind

I was thinking of something I had said to a friend the other day. I asked them if their brain ever got going so fast, that it lapped around and crashed into itself from behind. This person is a very creative individual. They, without hesitation, replied and expanded on the idea, as if it wasn’t a strange comment to make at all. That made me think about it and I came to a diagnosis of my condition as, “A Persistent and Pervasive Manifestation of the Creative Mind”.

The day I learn to make the pass and keep going on the lap, is the day I’ll really be getting  somewhere. When my mind gets going that fast, it actually gets in the way of itself. I’m thinking the trick is to figure a way to slow it down, so I can understand where it’s headed, and to focus those thoughts into something productive. Sometimes I’m successful in doing that, but far more often, I need to really work on it.

Disclaimer: The only qualification I have to make my own diagnosis, is that in the dark and far reaches of my mind, I am an eminent psychoanalyst.  

Thoughts on the Musical Alphabet

There are only 12 notes in the western musical alphabet and yet I could spend a lifetime finding all the possibilities for each one. Start combining them and the possibilities seem infinite. This never fails to amaze me.

I am so grateful for the day I picked up a guitar and started myself on a journey of endless horizons.

The Worth of Our Music/Art

I just caught myself revisiting a topic that I think about fairly often: what is the worth of any given individuals music. I use the term music, because I am a musician, but Art is what I’m really referring to.

When I was younger, I used to deride music I didn’t like or musicians I didn’t think were very good. As I’ve grown older my tastes in music have broadened and I don’t even like to think in terms of specific genres. A song is good or it’s not good and even that breaks down to the individuals interpretation.

Now that I am older, I’ve come to realize that music and art are just an expression of emotions and ideas. Whether it’s wrong, right, or means anything is ultimately up to the artist to decide and secondly up to the people experiencing that art.

This topic is so broad, it makes my head spin. I’ll just use a personal experience to try and share what I’m thinking. I was browsing music on SoundCloud some time ago and I came across a recording which sounded to me like a drummer and a guitar player playing in a garage. It honestly sounded horrible and I’m not sure they were even playing the same song, but I guarantee you that they were feeling it and having the time of their lives; I know because I’ve been there. It was the best thing I’ve ever heard on SoundCloud and I was envious for those days past.

Art is just expression and those musicians were expressing themselves as best as they could. How much is that worth? Priceless!

Who do I think that I am to decide that she’s wrong“…..Townes Van Zandt – For the sake of the Song

Note: It has been pointed out to me that in the last line of this post I should have said, “expressing themselves the best that they could”. I wish there was a place to hang a “Proofreader Needed” sign here somewhere.

Looking back on this post, I reflected that they were doing just fine and that I didn’t mean to imply otherwise, just trying to make some sort of point.

Funky Hipster Tripster

I just finished my latest music project, an instrumental piece,  “Funky Hipster Tripster”:

I can’t tell you what the title means, it just came to mind and seemed kind of fun. The tune is a bit of a self indulgent guitar jam(understatement) and I had a lot of fun with it.

Do perfection and music mix? Not in my book

I was just reading a post by Bobby Owsinski about Jimmy Pages’ guitar on “Whole Lotta Love”; you can read it here: http://bobbyowsinski.blogspot.com/ He has a great blog there if you’re into recording, mixing, and such.

Anyway, he was talking about some imperfections in the guitar playing  and how that would “never fly” today. He wasn’t being condescending at all; just stating a fact, and being a very successful Audio Engineer, he should know. To me, the fact that those imperfections would “never fly” today is just sad and is the problem with much of todays music. There are plenty of things that perfection is an important consideration when dealing with, but not in any of the creative arts, as far as I’m concerned. Good yes, perfect no.

I’ll take a performance with a few mistakes in it, but with good feel, over a perfectly played part and less feel, any day. Page was always a bit sloppy at times, but he had feel like crazy.

I don’t know this, but I just think that Page improvised most, if not all the solos he did; if he did something he liked the feel off and it had a few little flaws, I can’t see him going back, learning it, and then re-recording. It wouldn’t make sense. He’d never get the same feel back. You can repeat the notes, but it’s very hard to capture the same feel from performance to performance. This has been my experience anyway.

There’s another situation I wanted to address. For instance, I was recording a song of mine, “Will I Ever Get Home To You”, and was ready to record a guitar solo. I was just setting levels, hit record so I could hear the level, and improvised. By chance I played exactly what I was looking for, but it had a few very slight timing flaws. It was an easy solo and I could easily have redone it and captured very close to the same feel, but this was an improvised, first take. I had recorded the actual moment of creation and there it is in the actual recording. That means something to me. It was a no brainer to me that I should use that first take and I did. I could have fairly easily fixed the timing issues in editing, but that’s another topic all it’s own, so I won’t go into it here. If you’d like to listen to the tune I’m referencing, it can be found here: “Will I Ever Get Home To You”, or you can also find it in the “My Music” section of this page. I hope you’ll listen to the entire song, but if you want to cut to the chase, the solo starts about the 2 minute mark.

In my opinion, when dealing with music, perfection is boring (except maybe Classical music and feel is as important in Classical music as any other (those cats’ are superhuman anyway). I’d go as far as to say that feel is one of the most important musical ingredients, along with good material.

Let’s love our music with goodness, not smother it in perfection. We’ll leave perfection to the record producers. Heck, even a dying breed needs something to do :). Sorry guys, that was a cheap shot. That’s o.k., you can make fun of my corny “love our music” statement.

Ah smack, there goes my record contract! I do feel better though.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my question; leave me a comment.

About my header image – Gibson Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty”

I just had to say something about my site header photo:

Gibson Les Paul Custom

1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom

This is my Gibson Les Paul Custom which I picked up brand new in 1978 when I was 18 years old and had been playing guitar for less than a year. This was my first electric guitar and when I die, I hope I’m playing my Paul and they have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

This guitar and I definitely have had some adventures together. She’s a bit road weary, but still plays like a champ!

I recently replaced almost all the electronics, new pots, capacitors, and pickups. The pickups are the Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded Humbucker Set and I love them. This old Paul has always played great, but it’s never sounded better than it does with the work I’ve put into it. I sure wish I had the original pickups, but those were lost in youthful ignorance. I thought the finish was completely shot, but recently I spent about two hours polishing it with the Dunlop System 65 Guitar Maintenance kit, which is just a selection of cleaners and polishes, and to my amazement much of the luster came back. It was quite a disgusting ordeal, as it turned out it was coated with a thick, mostly tobacco smoke residue (I’ve played a fair amount of nasty dives in my day). The finish is still rough, but it looks a thousand times better than it did. She’s definitely earned every nick, scratch and scuff on her.

The beginning

I’m creating this site to share my thoughts on all things relating to music. I hope to share my knowledge and passion for music and hopefully start some dialog about music with others as passionate as I. That’s it in a nutshell; truth is, I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ll be winging it, for the most part, so we’ll see what happens.