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These Days

My desk doesn't look so different. To one side rests a folder holding the statements for my tax return. Notes and homework for my music theory course are spread across the blotter. On the other side sits my appointment calendar. But none of this is quite as it should be. The tax returns would normally be done by now. The notes for my course were not taken in the classroom, they were created by our teacher during a Zoom video chat. And the calendar reminds me only to put out the trash. Like

DianeB

DianeB

 

Holding off songs and LMG for a bit

with in-trepidation, I've put aside learning songs for now, in hopes that concentrating on what might not sound very musical will help expand my playing ability. I still what to get a 10 song set list together (other than my 150 songs for church), but I feel the need to concentrate on more skills before I can make it happen. I really like playing live and that's what the church choir does for me.. but I want more.. who doesn't want to run a riff on stage like Hendrix or SRV (just not in chu
 

Getting Started

My first thought, for several days now, had been to start a thread in the Guitar Open Talk Forum and name it "Ning's Diary." Having found there is a place for blogs here it seems that it is a more appropriate venue to do what I have in mind … so I'm here rather than there. Since the beginning of the year I've been finding that activities I was quite willing to spend all my free time doing any one of, one after another, have lost any interest for me.  With the list of activities of interest

Ning

Ning

 

Seventh Anniversary

Now the mountain ahead reveals its full, awesome height. Seven years -- 4,151 hours of hiking, as it were -- have put scarcely any distance between me and base camp. I have yet to even set foot on the Khumbu icefall. No, I'm not climbing with oxygen bottles, crampons, and a ladder on my back. I'm practicing guitar. I need not fear -- like anyone who literally approaches Sagarmatha -- being crushed by a block of ice the size of a ten story office building. My guitar mountain is motor skills

DianeB

DianeB

 

Sidewalk Serenade

It was just another errand on a sunny autumn afternoon as I strode up the sidewalk to the Rite Aid. He was perched on a folding stool at the front door, a high-mileage Fender acoustic in hand, strumming a ballad in A minor. I stopped next to him, nodded, and listened: mid sixties, a stubbly, graying beard, bright brown eyes beneath a knit cap. His battered, open case displayed a collage of picks, old string packs, an elastic capo, some singles and change, and a handwritten sign appealing fo

DianeB

DianeB

 

At the Library

“So, what do you think, Di?” It was more challenge than invitation. Yet again, Dave was gently coaxing me to play an open mic with him. After two years, my resistance was gone. Ten minutes at the library? Why not? “You win. Let’s do it,” I said. Dave is a veteran of open mics. We met a few years ago at our monthly acoustic jam. Warm, self-effacing, and possessing an exquisitely light touch on his Martin, he prefers to play standing — even for two hours. I’m as envious of his stami

DianeB

DianeB

 

Not Finished With You Yet

Rrrrr-i-i-i-i-pppp! I peeled the label off my plastic box of lead sheets that read “Band”. Seven months and no word from our leader. Time to admit it: I wasn’t in a band anymore. After four years of almost weekly practices and rehearsals, and five gigs, my neighborhood band had dispersed. Our neighborhood social committee decided that although they enjoyed the band, the music was distracting from — to put it bluntly — the gossiping. Four of the guys returned to their continuing education ro

DianeB

DianeB

 

Coda for Terrie

“Miss? Hello, miss? Are you all right? Can you hear me?” I tapped on the driver’s side window. She was slumped over the wheel, parked in a space with the engine running outside our apartments. I recognized her as a downstairs neighbor, but we had never spoken. Rain pelted me and I felt a twinge of fear. As I reached for the door handle, she stirred, woozy. She had fallen asleep. That was how Terrie and I met, years ago. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was ill and slowly getting w

DianeB

DianeB

 

Sixth Anniversary

Who is next, Thalia?      After Andrew, Barbara, Greg, Gregg with two gammas, Darin, Dave, and — Diane is next. Is she asleep?      She should be, it’s midnight below. Oh, no, you see? She’s with her guitar. Let us descend, dear Euterpe. This way. Ohhh, how delightful, this place is all for music. Did you see the inscriptions on the door? I think she knows of us. Gaze upon her face, Thalia. These mortals can be so expressive. What is this music she makes?      It is call

DianeB

DianeB

 

Pig Gig

Third and final stop on Uncommon Ground's 2018 "We Play for Food" tour: a neighborhood pig roast yesterday in an upscale corner of Landenberg, PA. Warm sunshine bathed the lakeside recreation area where we were to play for our saxophonist's neighbors.  Our band, unfortunately, felt like an afterthought. We were scheduled for midafternoon, but as we began, only a handful of guests had arrived. We played our first set outdoors to a white sea of empty tables and chairs broken only by the few e

DianeB

DianeB

 

Face in the Mirror

Halfway through my cheeseburger, I realized, that’s enough: you’re about to go on. My fellow neighborhood Memorial Day picnickers were starting on their desserts and coffee in the community clubhouse as Rick leaned in my ear. “Take your time,” he said, “we’ll be downstairs checking.” I nodded. “Be there in a minute,” I said. I had a couple of bites of fruit salad and stopped by the ladies’ room to brush my teeth, check my hair, and fire up a panic attack. I was alone. I stared at myself in

DianeB

DianeB

 

Audience of Two

An hour along, my monthly acoustic jam had lost its vibe. Two guys were playing their guitars so timidly I could scarcely hear them. The other was a talented newcomer, but curiously nervous and hyper. No one else knew his songs, so as he played them, the rest of us gradually dropped out, leaving him and the bass player to finish his tunes. We meet in a tiny art gallery that occasionally draws a visitor or two while we play. I was heaving a sigh when two young women entered, pushed in their

DianeB

DianeB

 

Carlos and Me

For April first, a favorite thread, edited for flow, from the old forum in early 2017: I was in love with my new PRS. I still am but there is something wrong with it. I have been primarily working pentatonic scales and Steve's Speed and Agility course since I got it. I decided to try to play Europa by Santana and it can't play it!!!! Europa by Santana. Come on. Santana is known for PRS guitars. Any self-respecting PRS guitar should be able to play Europa! What should I do? -- Matonanji

DianeB

DianeB

 

Tidy Enough for Jazz

Lately, I’m uncharacteristically messy. I have the organization gene in every cell. Grocery store surveillance cameras everywhere capture me straightening up produce bins. Next to the TV and Bose rests a random pile of CDs: Chicago II, Lake Street Dive, Gregory Porter, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Pink Floyd, a Ken Burns “Jazz” DVD. On my desk I see a scribbled chord block from last night: how is this a C11? Where’s the F? Oh, there it is. At my elbow, Berklee Music Theory Book 1 and my f

DianeB

DianeB

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