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About Ning

  • Birthday 08/01/1950

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    Gainesville FL

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  1. @matonanjin The evaporative humidifier that I replaced (a Hunter product) did not use a wick. Rather it had something like an automobile's radiator, an expanded metal framework over which recirculating water could flow and through which the fan forced air could pass. Such a unit would be somewhat more resistant to the effect of hard water than a unit using a wick, then again maybe it would be preferable to replace wicks rather than have a metal "radiator" that would need to be cleaned from time to time in a manner similar to what coffee makers require. In addition, since such a unit uses a pump to recirculate water, it would have a somewhat higher annual cost to operate since one is powering a pump in addition to a fan and control electronics. I've lived in a home with hard water. In that case we made use of a water softener service. Monthly they'd come and replace a couple cylinders. Occasionally water usage would out strip capacity a few days before the monthly service was scheduled and everywhere in the house were water was in daily use would be quickly and thoroughly stained with iron, and just as quickly the stain would disappear once the cylinders were replaced. Whether softening one's hard water would in any way reduce the total dissolved solids thus extending the useful life of a wick seems unlikely since the softening process replaces the metals (calcium, magnesium, iron etc.) that makes the water hard with sodium. Having said that now I find myself wondering if water being hard or not makes any significant difference to the amount of dissolved solids present. On the plus side one does like that a bar of soap will quickly work up a lather, not that it makes a difference when it comes to personal cleanliness but one does think the soap is doing a better job when one is lathered up. @K9kaos I too have (a short haired) dog, a beautiful mutt that looks like a yellow lab not fully grown. With hairy pets in one's home it is prudent to minimize their hair being drawn into the humidifier. In my case I have my humidifier in a low traffic area the dog does not normally come close to and have the unit on a 24" stool. Both low traffic and unit height above the floor are important as just walking around one can cause shed hair to become airborne, and cause the hair to reach heights higher than one's pet is tall. An added benefit comes from raising the humidifier off the floor. Air temperature will be higher and thus more heat will be available to evaporate the water consequently the unit will be able to put moisture into the air more quickly. I would recommend against raising the unit so high that it impacts either safety or convenience when refilling the reservoir. Yes, it does seem that whenever a door is closed a dog is on the wrong side. Toward that end to make life a bit simpler for the humans pet doors were invented but then not every door is one that one would be willing to cut a hole for such a door. An alternative solution I think one would find unattractive is to put something like a plastic shower curtain across the doorway with slits cut in the bottom to allow one's pet through.
  2. @Triple-o Reading your post got me to thinking. It seems the first song that I learned (~1974), and that I could play all the way through was played fingerstyle. "The House of the Rising Sun", a song I had grown quite fond of during the time the version by The Animals was getting considerable air time on AM radio during my teen years. The picking pattern was something I took to like the proverbial duck to water, Thumb picks the chord's bass note and then the fingers (32123) picked the treble strings. I don't remember how I came to know which key to play it in. But it called for chords that were all within reach of my limited ability - Am, C, D, E, and F - with a 6/8 time signature, a modest tempo, and each chord filling a bar this worked out very nicely for the rank beginner I was at the time. I don't remember, but I would guess that most if not all these chords had to be learned as I was only just starting guitar. If that is the case than it is this song that I would give credit to for knowing those chords to this day. It is particularly suitable for play on a classical guitar. As I've a lead sheet for the song I'll post it here and leave it to those interested to transpose as they see fit. As far as when to start anything I'm inclined to respond that there is no better time then now to expand your repertoire with songs of your own choosing. The House Of The Rising Sun.pdf
  3. Justin Sandercoe (Justinguitar.com) a right-handed guitar player and instructor with 35 years experience documents using his own course to learn to play left handed. https://www.justinguitar.com/modules/nitsuj-lesson-1-practice It was a couple weeks ago when I first came across this link. My first thought was that "Nitsuj" was some sort of eastern martial arts training philosophy applied to learning guitar. Today I let my curiosity follow the link and learned it was something else entirely. For perhaps the first time ever we see documented learning guitar with all its pain and warts, something that would likely be reassuring to the beginner that he is not alone and everyone goes through this. For the rest of us we'll find more than an occasional chuckle as Justin bemoans the pain in his finger tips.
  4. I thought I'd take the time to write about the whole house humidifier I use, the AIRCARE Mini-Console Evaporative Humidifier, Model D46720(CN). Winters in North Central Florida can be quite challenging when it comes to controlling humidity. Each cold front that comes through drops the temperature and every following day the temperature rises until the next front comes through. As a result the amount of moisture in the air can change dramatically over the course of 24 hours as the temperature can potentially plummet by 60ºF. One can't tell from a hygrometer how much the amount of moisture has been changed by the passage of a cold front but the Rule of Thumb I use is for each 20º change in temperature the amount of moisture in the air at a given Relative Humidity changes by a factor of 2. Problems arise when the cold air outside with low moisture content enters one's home and is warmed up. Take for instance, it is dawn, the temperature outside is 30ºF, and the Relative Humidity is 100%. Now bring that air inside warm it up to 70ºF and the Relative Humidity drops to 25%. Since wood responds to changes in Relative Humidity by changing its dimensions if one wants to prevent one's guitar (or furniture for that matter) from tearing itself apart some sort of humidity control is essential. Anyway … a little over a year ago with Winter approaching I went to check on the evaporative humidifier I had been using only to find that the fan motor had seized. With tears in my eyes I loaded shovels, and rakes and implements of destruction into the back of a red VW Microbus … oops sorry somehow I got off track and started singing a verse from Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant." I headed to Wal-Mart where I'd purchased the unit only to find they had dehumidifiers but no humidifiers. With Winter coming I thought that odd as now would be the time to have stock on hand. So back to the car and I headed to the next nearest store, Lowe's Home Improvement, only to find the same situation, plenty of dehumidifiers to chose from but not a single humidifier. Ok, no problem, Home Depot wasn't far, but upon arriving I found the same story … so home I went and began an online search. In the end I decided on the unit cited above and ordered it from Home Depot for in store pickup. This particular unit has two water tanks (one on each side) that dismount for filling and a wick that draws water up where fan forced air can evaporate it and blow the moisture enriched air out into the room. Further distribution throughout one's home would be done by the circulation of the central unit during a heating cycle. With only the fan and control electronics drawing electricity it is an economical unit to run. Each tank holds a gallon of water and together that is sufficient for 24 hours of continuous operation. The unit's humidistat can be set in increments of 5% Relative Humidity across a range of 25 to 60%. The fan can be turned off and has settings for four different speeds, the two slowest speeds are barely noticeable. The wick is disposable and appears to be good for somewhat more than a single Winter of use as by evaporating the water leaves behind dissolved solids which eventually clog the filter and reduces its ability to function as a wick. I have the unit placed in the largest space I have which conveniently also has the return air duct for the central unit. With hygrometers placed around the house I can tell that the Relative Humidity throughout the house falls within a range of 5%. This unit is rated for 1250 square feet, assuming a ceiling height of 8 feet that works out to a volume of 10,000 cubic feet. Today I found the unit flashing "F" (fill me) on its display and as a result the Relative Humidity had gotten down to 35%. After refilling both tanks it was only a few hours of operation before the unit shut itself down indicating a Relative Humidity of 50%, and turned itself back on when the heater kicked on distributing the moist air to the rest of my home. As much as I like keeping my (all too numerous) guitars happy humidity-wise even more to my liking is that the house is so much more comfortable and consequently I can save a little coin and still feel warm with a lower thermostat setting. As a rough estimate I would hazard to guess that between the annual cost of filter replacement and electricity to operate the annual cost to make use of this unit is about as much as two sets of strings
  5. Not mentioned so I will … In the menu bar, just right of center, is the tempo. In this example a quarter note = 112 BPM. Clicking on this pulls up the Automation Editor where one finds that the BPM can be changed in one beat increments.
  6. Ning

    A Reading List

    There was a time I made a determined effort to educate myself on how to practice. Of all the books I've come across on the subject the one that was most influential was "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" by Chuan C. Chang. http://www.pianopractice.org/book.pdf
  7. @zeve At first thought one may think there is nothing to be done about problems related to fret spacing. However, there is a solution. One so easily done one may feel guilty as it comes across as cheating. Tune your guitar flat and bring it back to pitch with a capo. Place the capo at whichever fret makes the spacing a bit challenging (or not at all). As the flexibility of one's hand increases, whether from guitar practice or stretches directed toward that end, one can move the capo another fret and continue the process. Other benefits come from using a capo in this manner. The lowering of the action at the nut (now the capo) makes first position bar chords easier to play. The reduction of string tension that comes from tuning the guitar flat reduces the pressure required to fret a string, thus one's fingers (and hand) do not fatigue as quickly and one can practice longer. Learning to form chords requires we learn to do something that just isn't natural. All our lives, right up to the moment we first pick up a guitar, our fingers have worked as a team. The muscles of our fingers so accustomed to flexing together in a similar way now have to act independently. And we expect them to do so while we are trying to read music, pay attention to a metronome, tap a foot, stay in time, keep an eye on form, and not hurt ourselves in the process. For those reasons and more it is hard and will remain so until one day perseverance and practice has made it easy. Training fingers to act independently doesn't have to be done just at the guitar. Simply flexing one finger at a time while holding the others in place, relaxed and ready for their turn to flex, will go a long way to breaking down the life long habit of moving together doing the same thing.
  8. After watching two live lessons with Greg Voros I ordered Learn and Master Guitar Setup and Maintenance today. I've known about the L&MG course for many years but only by seeing those did I learn that Greg Voros is just the sort of professional I want to work with, knowledgeable, competent and willing to explain what is being done and why in a manner, clear, direct, and comprehensive. I have every confidence that the course will do for my ability to do guitar setup what watching Roy Underhill of "The Woodwright's Shop" did for my ability to cut dovetail joints with hand tools.
  9. Ning

    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 to me becoming every shorter I found myself thinking, time and again, that perhaps I should once again pickup guitar … and so I have. I'm unsure now how long ago it was before thinking made the transition to doing (let's say it was six weeks ago) … not that I actually picked up one of my guitars but rather I started putting everything together. So much to do, I found myself frequently thinking it would have been easier starting over with nothing than rummaging around the house trying to find all the guitar related media that had gotten scattered around the house mixed in with (or literally buried under) media from other interests, woodworking, stargazing, chess, then assessing its value and coming to a decision about which I wanted to make use of, get a count on my guitars, check what condition they were in, make some additions to the spreadsheet where I keep track of the changes I make to my guitars, find my guitar tool box, get the practice area setup and ready for use, ponder how I wanted to go about getting started, find all the files on my computer I had amassed while being a L&MG student 5 or 6 years ago, agonizing over whether or not my interest in guitar was sufficient to justify giving in to an attack of Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, refreshing my memory as to the internet sites I liked to visit (which had the unexpected benefit of making me aware that there was once again an active forum for Learn and Master Guitar) … this went on for about a month. During this time I was conscious that my actions, though guitar related, was time that would have been better spent at practice, but that finally changed with a New Guitar Day. The arrival of an Epiphone Casino Coupe, my first hollow bodied guitar. I have an Epiphone SG and back in the 70s I had purchased an Epiphone dreadnought but neither had left me with the impression that Epiphone was company one should expect great things from. The Casino Coupe has changed that, in Cherry Red it is a beautiful instrument and I believe it to be just a wonderful guitar to play. Out of the box, tuned up, I took and logged measurements for relief, action and string height at the nut. A small adjustment (~0.005") could be made to the relief, if anything the action is low but since the strings don't buzz I can find no reason to bothering with raising the saddle, the low E could stand to have its nut slot filed, and the intonation is as perfect as a Snark 2 Tuner can measure. I'll wait a couple weeks, remeasure and make a decision about what should be changed. The Coupe has been quite the educational experience as I'd never experienced feedback before. So the Stratocaster was sent to its case and the Coupe took its place in the practice area. Having finally cleared all the preparatory considerations, that had been distracting me, I was ready to start. However, I am deeply aware that at my age (approaching 70), that even the slightest injury could cause an unwanted and lengthy delay, I resolved not to give in to any desire to practice as much as I might like to. So the first priority went to callus building and doing it carefully. My current daily practice (perhaps totaling as much as 30 min a day) occurs in several brief segments. First, some fingering of the first string to stimulate callus growth on the tips of all four fingers. I made some effort to find, via the internet, information about stimulating callus growth but apparently no individual with this knowledge has every contributed what they know to the discussion. So I made what I think was the intelligent thing to do, avoid practicing so much that I damage the fingertips thus avoiding the necessity to heal when the energy being used to do so would be better directed to growing calluses. Second, practice a few chord changes, particularly E, D and A (fingered 213) along with the occasional C, G, G7, Em, D7, whatever I remembered. At this point my first finger lets me know its had as much as is likely good for it. Third, resume what I was doing from the beginning while active in L&MG, bar chord practice, in particular the single shape progression found in the arrangement of (Sittin' On) "The Dock of the Bay" in Hal Leonard's "'60s Pop" Easy Rhythm Guitar. And fourth, pick up the bass and play a few bars on the low E string from Hal Leonard's "Bass Tab Method." Though my primary objective is callus growth I do not neglect paying attention to form and timing. Amazingly, after just three days I can run each thumb over the fingertips of its corresponding hand and tell that there is a noticeable, albeit slight, difference in the fingertips of the fretting hand compared to those of the strumming hand. It would seem I'm accomplishing my first goal … get the calluses grown and ready for practice.
  10. This may be just the thing to overcome whatever reason is blocking me being able to tap a foot in time to the music … strapped to an ankle of course.
  11. }{appy }{olidays everyone. Back about 2013 for perhaps a year I was a student of L&MG and active on its forum (Oh how I wish I could go back and edit those naïve posts I made in that Forum.). But like the two previous times I attempted to learn guitar I hit a plateau, and after weeks, perhaps months of no discernible progress I put down my guitar. Apparently the time has come once again to make the attempt. For several months I've been repeatedly visiting the L&MG website only to be frustrated by a dead link to the Community Forums. Repeated attempts to Google what had happened yielded no results. But a couple days ago I tried again and thus I'm here now. My history with guitars goes back to my teen years when in about 1964 my parents gave me a guitar. It was an awful guitar but it wasn't until many years later I came to understand why. Probably purchased at a W. T. Grants, one of the dime store chains that existed at the time, it was a classical guitar that had been strung with steel strings. Why the bridge never pulled off is beyond me. With no musical training, no tuner, no ability to read music, no lessons there was no progress. I still remember my father once saying to me I should be playing chords and I was clueless as to what he was saying. Another ten years passed before I again took an interest in guitar and having no idea what I was doing I went to a local music store and came home with a classical guitar branded Lero. I still have this guitar but far too many years of uncontrolled humidity has taken its toll. The top is bowed and I suspect if I were to tune it up to pitch the bridge would pull off. Still feeling motivated, still not knowing what I was doing, I signed up for private lessons. A frustrating experience. In 30 min I had more material presented to me than I could hope to get under my fingers in a month. Perhaps I went to four such weekly lessons before I told the instructor I wasn't going to sign up for another month. Why the instructor, a local bluegrass professional, didn't tell me to come back with an acoustic steel string guitar or engage me as to what I wanted from guitar is beyond me. Not deterred it wasn't long before I purchased such a guitar, an Epiphone dreadnought. I self taught myself from music books by artists of interest to me like Cat Stevens' "Tea for the Tillerman" and learned a fair amount while I had that guitar. Eventually though I put it down and gave it away. Probably a good thing, as I came to realize 40 years later when I educated myself about guitar setup, its action was way too high and the reason was when I took it to the store for an adjustment the clerk (no guitar tech would have done this) loosened rather than tightened the truss rod. Many years passed and it wasn't until I retired that my interest in guitar reawakened. Still not knowing what I was doing I made an online purchase of a relatively inexpensive Ovation Applause. Nice guitar but its deep curved body was not particularly well suited to playing while sitting. My next guitar was a Yamaha LL-6, apparently this guitar is now only available as an acoustic electric. The LL-6 is a quite remarkable guitar for other than having a slightly larger body than a Martin D35 it measures identically in all respects (nut width, scale length, string spacing, action height, etc.) and is made with the same tone woods (at least that was so in 2013). I once spent an hour with a Martin D35 at the local Guitar Center, during that time I was unable to discern any sonic difference. The LL-6 edges into the jumbo category as a result I sidelined it when I realized that it was cutting off the circulation in my strumming arm, either I needed a smaller bodied guitar or at the very least limit how much time I spent practicing (yeah … right … like that is an option ;). I was then hit with a serious case of Guitar Acquisition Syndrome and for a while hardly a month went by before another guitar arrived at my doorstep (oh the joys of a successful retirement plan). In no particular order: A classical guitar, a modest priced Yamaha C40, was eventually followed by another classical guitar, a Cordoba C9 Crossover, notable in having a curved fretboard and a truss rod. Then there is a parlor guitar, a Washburn R320SW, this was totally motivated by vanity, who can resist all that inlay. Then there is my first electric, an Epiphone SG, which I never warmed up to, but it did result in me becoming familiar with Rocksmith although I didn't appreciate that software till much later. The SG was soon followed by the totally self indulgent purchase of a Gibson Les Paul which in turn was followed by what is currently my favorite electric, a Fender Stratocaster (I did a serial number look-up today. Who'd have thought?! Made in Corona CA). Of all my guitar purchases this was the only one made in person in a music store and in so doing I confirmed what I'd come to suspect, that there is room to deal. So I got a sale price while no sale was in progress. To round out my collection of electrics I acquired an Ibanez SR500 bass. Buying into the notion that more expensive is better I purchased first a Larrivee OM-40 (by far my favorite acoustic) and later a Rainsong Shorty SFT (my only acoustic electric). The purchase of the Rainsong was motivated by curiosity about short scale 12 fret guitars. It is quite unusual, at least to my ears, I get the distinct impression that I can hear each individual string. It is also the one acoustic I didn't immediately restring with a lighter gauge. Unfortunately I'm subject to the power of suggestion and with a reawakened interest in guitar I watched a PBS documentary about the Beatles last weekend. Seeing that Paul McCartney was playing a hollow body guitar I researched what it was. Turns out the Beatles purchased several Epiphone Casinos and so I ordered not a Casino (I can only thank the appropriate deity that I wasn't motivated to buy any of the other guitars they were playing.) but a Casino Coupe from Sweetwater and today it arrived. What a nasty (well, only in the sense you have to wait another day for your new guitar) sticker Sweetwater puts on their packages - allow a day for your gear to adjust to changes in temperature and humidity before opening. Does anyone do this?! Well this time I decided to … so tomorrow I'll open the boxes … why the heck didn't they make it clear which box has the guitar and which the case as both boxes have that sticker? This leaves one guitar to mention. As I intend to integrate material from L&MG, JustinGuitar.com and Rocksmith I thought it beneficial if I had a guitar sized more appropriately for sitting in a comfortable chair with arms in front of the computer. With that in mind I ordered a Hofner Shorty HCT-SH-CG-O in metallic light blue, it will arrive next week. Oh right, there's a ukulele around here somewhere. To round out my gear I have a TC Electronics Ditto Looper, a Fender Mustang amp, a Fender Bronco amp, and a Yamaha THR5 (my battery powered travel amp). And then there are the miscellaneous tuners including a tuning fork I've had for nearly 50 years, specialized tools, metronomes, guitar stands (I'm particularly fond of D&A GigStands), capos, spare strings, software (Rocksmith, MuseScore and Guitar Pro), a music stand, a TASCAM DR-05 recorder, an assortment of picks, a (not nearly so large as I thought but still many) collection books of sheet music, music theory, music styles, and it would seem just about every introductory book on how to play guitar, an assortment of guitar straps, you know how it goes. When asked if I play guitar I say, "No, I collect guitars and I practice." (If you've managed to read this far you can laugh now.) And that brings me around to answering the question, "What are your goals." I have but one goal to never again stop practicing. So just one thing left to do now … start building calluses. Some of you may recognize the name "Ning" it was the name I used in the L&MG Forum. It is my actual name being the last four letters of my last name. The pic you see shows the Larrivee OM-40 in front of the Yamaha LL-6. I am grateful to have found my way here and that I will once again benefit from the pearls of wisdom so generously scattered by Steve Krenz.

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