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Post new topic The Point of no return
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Author Topic:  The Point of no return
Bill McCloskey

Post  Posted 30 Jan 2019 8:00 pm    
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For any instrument you pick up, there is that long learning curve where you try this and that and back and forth and if you are lucky you settle eventually on something. and when you do, nothing else will sound good to you any more.

When I spent 5 years away from steel relearning trumpet, I bought and sold dozens of cornets, trumpets, flugelhorns. Then one day I tried this flugelhorn at a store and it spoke to me. I gave up all the other horns, because no matter what I did, none of those horns sounded good to me anymore.

I'm at that stage with steel guitar. I've been playing the eharp and the eharp tuning exclusively now for about a year. I hadn't taken to the instrument yet to the point were I was going to give up everything else. I still bought 6 string, 8 string instruments. Still played around with A6, C6, good old G and D tunings.

But slowly slowly, I started to get more natural on the eharp, I started being able to get things I couldn't get before. And now 6 string and 8 strings are dead to me. I need those 10 strings.

And then even last night, I was thinking what to do with my second eharp. I figured I'd give Billy Robinson's C6 tuning a try. Figured, I'd have the eharp and the a 6th tuing for when I wanted that.

Almost from hitting the first note, I knew it was a mistake. I had no interest. I went back to the eharp tuning and ahh.....it felt so good and sounded so great.

And then I realized. I've reached the point of no return. I'm now so far down the eharp rabbit hole, I'm like a snake in narrow pipe: aint but one way to go but through it.

What are your stories of reaching that moment where you found your home.
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Mark van Allen

Watkinsville, Ga. USA
Post  Posted 1 Feb 2019 6:23 am    
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What a great post, Bill! I’d be interested if you found that finding this “home” brought greater focus and faster development as well?

I’ve sometimes wondered if I’ve spread myself too thin, with deep interest in Pedal and Lap steel, guitar, Dobro, and studio production as well as other dabbling. I’m certain I’d have been much better if I concentrated on one path. But I deeply enjoy it all, so it is what it is.
Stop by the Steel Store at: www.markvanallen.com
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Bill McCloskey

Post  Posted 1 Feb 2019 6:40 am    
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Absolutely. I've progressing much faster with much more focus. I am now at the stage where I can sight read the melody of pretty much any sheet music I look at and create a harmony line. The grips where are so essential to eharp playing have started to become a natural extension of my fingers. So much muscle memory is tied up in focus on single tuning.
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Fred Treece

California, USA
Post  Posted 1 Feb 2019 9:47 am    
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This may be tangential to your topic, but here goes...

I used to think I would die if I went more than a few days without playing guitar. Pedal steel has changed all that. In the last 6 months, there have been times when I can’t remember when I last picked up one of my noble six-string friends. Reaching that first degree of competence on steel has been the main factor. The thing is like a magnet now every time I walk into my practice room.

However, I hope to never get to the “point of no return”. There will always be plenty that I can do (and want to do) on the guitar that I will never be able to do on pedal steel. Most of the players I know who double on psg and guitar feel the same way.
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John Alexander

Post  Posted 1 Feb 2019 9:59 am    
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I started playing both piano and PSG in the late 70's. I always knew piano was going to to be my main instrument, and actually put PSG aside entirely for more than 25 years once I started working full time in a non-music profession.

It's been almost a decade now since I started noodling with PSG again. By then I was way past the "point of no return" but I think for me there is still some value in practicing the PSG. Maybe the main advantage of playing it is that the instrument forces me to pay close attention to the pitch of each note, something which I tend to take for granted when playing the piano.
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Jim Kennedy

Brentwood California, USA
Post  Posted 1 Feb 2019 3:52 pm    
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I bought a 75 Tele off eBay 22 years ago. I have several other guitars and have tried several other Teles. I always go back with renewed apprrecition for this guitar, as well as renewed inspiration. No other will do. I have a Shobud 3&2, early 80's that I am not bonded to in the same way.

Mark, there is nothing wrong with multiple pursuits. Breadth of knowledge is just as important as depth. Think Family practitioner verses A thoracic surgeon. If both stay within their realm of expertise, everybody lives happily ever after.
ShoBud Pro 1, 75 Tele, 85 Yamaha SA 2000, Fender Cybertwin,
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Bobby Nelson

North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2019 5:13 am    
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I know exactly what you're talking about bill. For me, I experienced this phenomenon in dramatic fashion when I was 18 - and it came from seeing a guy play in a bar. When I was about 15, I went from classical to electric, and for the next 3 yrs I toyed with Gibson's and Fenders, finding stuff on both of them but not really finding a home with either - so I sold My Stratocaster, as I found it a little hard to get good tone out of.

Then I stepped into this little bar one night and saw this guy (I'm not going to bring up the name - I have before) playing an old beat up Stratocaster. The first thing he did was grabbed the low E with his thumb and went "snap-snap", and I knew from that moment I was going to have to get another Strat. From that first two notes, I was a changed guy, and knew I was to be a Stratocaster player for life. In a very dramatic and instant manner, I went from being a guy who practices and studies guitar, to an actual guitar player that night. It wan't any particular guitar, although I've had a couple favorites, but it was an instant awareness of how a Stratocaster demands to be played (very aggressively, especially with the right hand) and, sort of a transfer of the spirit, for lack of a better description, from a master to another, younger musician.

I haven't come across this with the pedal steel yet, but I still have the musician's insight, spirit and drive instilled in me that one night.
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Tony Prior

Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 17 Feb 2019 2:51 am    
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while I would agree with the premise to a point, I own 2 Steels and multiple guitars, including 5 telecasters .

The Steels of course were purchased un-played ( 2 x Emmons ) but the Telecasters were all individually chosen over a fairly long period , they each bring something a little bit different to the table. I rotate 3 of them all the time, many times based on the set list for the next upcoming show. If the set list has a bit more rock and roll I'll bring one Tele but if it's got a bit more Traditional Country I'll bring out the B Bender. My position in this band is that I can play guitar or Steel on any song, it's really my choice. Some songs speak loudly STEEL while others holler Guitar !

As a fill in player for a few different bands, I can easily find myself with a 100% Steel call or the other direction. Typically it's 50/50 so splitting my time at home is really common. Its the nature of the beast. I just do the best I can, learn songs and apply what I can.

I will say that for me I can go days on one instrument ( and do ) then move back to the other, this is probably because I am playing shows regularly on Steel and Guitar so there is no down time per sey .

I don't mess with any alternate turnings so that makes it much more consistent from Steel to Steel. P Pull to all pull.

This doesn't mean that I don't sit and study one instrument vs the other for longer periods, I do.

Now , Horn to Steel or guitar, like Bill, thats a wild mindset, I can't speak to that and glad of it ! Very Happy
<b>Steel Guitar music here >>> http://www.tprior.com/five.htm</b>

Emmons Steels, Fender Telecasters
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12
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