By paddloPayday loans

One year of guitar, end of week 1

Posted on Monday 30 June 2014

Saturday was kind of pathetic. Only got about fifteen minutes in, and that was mostly me figuring out that barre chords are next-to-impossible on my old Epiphone acoustic.

Tonight, one hour + of working on faster chord changes in open chords and learning a couple of songs.

Figured out how to play “Hey Ya” and “I’ve Never Met a Girl Like You Before” (Edwyn Collins). The course I’m using recommends both of those as open-chord songs (with capo on the “Girl Like You”) but I found them easy enough to play as barre chord tunes. Both fun songs. I feel slightly better about life, having figured them out.

My fingers hurt a bit. Not too bad.

patrick @ 1:28 am
Filed under: One year of guitar
One Year of Guitar: Days 1 & 2

Posted on Friday 27 June 2014

I’ve wanted to play guitar forever. I even play a little now. I’ve taken a few lessons and I understand barre chords and can play them somewhat. However, I’ve never taken it all that seriously. The desire is serious enough. I have found myself depressed by the thought “Man, if I’d only kept practicing for the last [insert months], I’d be so much better now” HUNDREDS of times.

I know the value of practice. I’ve played drums both professionally and semi-professionally since I was 11 years old. That’s, uh, well, over three decades. I have practiced drums for thousands and thousands of hours. Somehow, guitar has never taken root. Ironically, I even own some VERY nice guitars, bought mostly because I am also a recording engineer and I wanted to have certain guitars in the studio for certain types of clients.

Also, I am at a kind of awful place in my life, as my mother is dying, and it’s very likely that we’ll be headed down to my home town to spend as much time as possible in the coming months, and I feel a need to have some goals and something to focus on, besides my daughter’s sadness and my own grief.

So, I decided to practice every day for a year, even if it’s only 15 or 20 minutes. On June 25th, I tuned up my old Frankencaster (Esquire body, routed for a neck pickup [Lollar tele installed], with an American Stratocaster neck) and decided to start from the beginning. Towards that end, I am working through the entire course. It’s remedial, yes. I feel like a kid playing straight D chords over and over, but already I’ve learned a few things about thumb placement and that I’ve been squeezing the neck of the guitar too hard forever.

It’s humbling, yes. It’s not boring, though.

What’s my goal? Here are guitar players who I admire: Nels Cline, Doug Grean, Leo Nocentelli, Neil Young, Malcolm Young (no relation), Keith Richards, Pops Staples.

I’d like to be able to play some of those songs. Maybe in a year, I’ll be able to approach some of the guys with whom I’ve played drums all these years and say “Y’know, I play a little guitar, too.”


So far?

25 June: one hour

26 June: 45 minutes

patrick @ 11:57 am
Filed under: One year of guitar

Posted on Tuesday 2 June 2009

Shot the first coat of lacquer on the shells and hoops last night.

That’s my friend Henry Parker manning the HVLP rig.

Since last night, I went there on my lunch break and sanded the first coat while Henry sprayed a second coat.

I am trying to fill in the gaps on the hardware- still need to get a couple of things.


patrick @ 4:08 pm
Filed under: A Day in the Life anddrum geekery
post production pedal work

Posted on Tuesday 26 May 2009

Here’s that old bass drum pedal after a little love from the sandblaster:

and altogether now:

patrick @ 3:40 pm
Filed under: A Day in the Life anddrum geekery
the new bass drum pedal

Posted on Tuesday 26 May 2009

Here are a couple of details I meant to mention in that first entry:

It didn’t seem right or prudent to play a calfskin head with an Iron Cobra ( \m/ ), so I went and bought this:

Got one of those big, puffy lambswool beaters, too. Should have just the right sound, I think.

I plan on mounting a 40 watt lightbulb inside the shell to keep the calfskins warm and dry when it’s time to play. I’ll post photos once I figure out how the hell I am going to do that. It’ll probably be some variation on the “replace internal washer with structural metal” method that the May internal mics use.

I was thinking of using this to mount the rack tom to the kick drum:

the Maxwell consolette.

The kit is going to have two floor toms, and I just happen to have a stray Gretsch techware floor tom leg bracket, so I will probably copy what this guy did and do something like this with the 14″ tom:

I am going to put legs on the 14″ x 15″ floor tom.

patrick @ 3:37 pm
Filed under: A Day in the Life anddrum geekery
back from the dead to tell you about…

Posted on Tuesday 26 May 2009

the drum set I am building….


It all started when my friend Will came by my studio with some drums he’d been a-tinkerin’ with.

He said “I want to make a kit like Levon Helm used to play.”

and he showed me this picture, or one like it:

and I said… “I can dig it.”

He told me, “I have three of the drums already, and oddly, they were made within a couple of days of each other at the Ludwig Factory.” and he showed me the drums, and they looked like this:

And I played them, and y’know, they sounded good. Actually, great.

So, I thought to myself…. “No one really cares if you mangle single-tension marching drums. I want to make myself a little kit of those, too. They’re all single ply, with single ply maple hoops. …Get some calfskin heads and some alligator shoes, I bet I could play for TOM WAITS…”

I was thinking, y’know, massive bass drum, some old-school toms and a wood-hooped snare. It’d be like playing a pirate kit… y’know, if pirates played jazz.

The first thing I went hunting for was a bass drum. There were a lot of cool single tension bass drums on eBay, but I kept missing them by a few dollars, and shipping was… rough. I lamented this to a friend of mine who said “Look here, son. I got an old Leedy bass drum out in the garage, I just bought it for the calfskin head for my other 28″ Leedy. You can have the drum.”

So we ran out there to have a look, and I said “Are you sure this is a 28″? It seems a little smaller than that.”

and he said “Yeah, I’m sure, because it’s bigger than a 26.”

“Well, yeah, it just seems smaller than a 28″ to me….” I said, so we measured it.

I am glad we didn’t put money on it. Because the drum is a 27″. No, really.

So, he got a little sad and said, “Well, I reckon you can have the heads, too.”

Well, now I have a lovely off-white, sort of cream colored bass drum, 27″ with calfskin heads and a cool painting of a naked lady on the front, and nickel hardware. I don’t have a photo of it all put together, because as soon as I got it home, I started messing with it.

I soaked the hardware and called Will and said “Hey, man…. I think I am a-gonna start buying some of those single-tension drums like you like.”




and so it was, I drove over there couple days later, and I am now the proud owner of the Levon drums.

But, well, I like black drums. A lot. And I got to thinking maybe I could make all these drums the same color. I wasn’t really feeling the big French vanilla Leedy drum, and it didn’t have a badge, wasn’t the original color, all that, so I stared hitting them with some grain filler in preparation for shooting them with black piano lacquer.

Word to the wise: Don’t put grain filler on old paint. It’ll crackle like crazy and you’ll have to strip it after that.

Fortunately, the drum is one solid piece of mahogany, and it was a snap to get the old paint off.

(Now, I hear some of you purists crabbing already. There’s a million old Leedy bass drums out there that AREN’T 27″, so no one wants this drum more than me. If I ever do sell it, I will probably have to have had Remo make me some custom heads… this drum is going to be my own little white elephant, only it’ll be black lacquer. So… shadduppayouface. There’s a plenty of other Leedy bass drums in non-ridiculous sizes. Run along.)

Here’s the bass drum hardware:

and the snare drum hardware:

I was over at a friend’s house, the same friend who sold me the bass drum, and we were looking at his old Leedy bass drum, which was black lacquer, only it has copper hardware.

And I said, “I sure like the look of that.”

He said “Well, you can get just about anything copper plated if you know the right guy.”

So I did some hunting and found the right guy. Boy, did I. He did this drum in nickel plate for another drum geek:

Charlie Lockhart is his name, and I can give you his phone number.

I sent an email off to Charlie, and he sent me an estimate. And it was… a lot. But, that’s understandable, considering I am asking him to copper plate a whole kit.

So, I balked, told him I’d have to maybe catch him on the flippity-flop, because, well, I mean, that was a lot of money, etc…

Then I got to thinking about it, and I decided I’d wait and see. Get the kit lacquered, get the heads on it, and then see how it sounds. It is sounds like a million bucks, then it’s worth getting that hardware copper plated. Otherwise, it’s Cape Cod cloths and coffee and just do it, do it, do it until it’s all done, live with a little flaky chrome and yellow nickel here and there…

if it sounds like a dream, though, I am going to get the copper hardware.

SO, this week, it’s been grain fill and sand, grain fill and sand, repeat, ad nauseum.

Three of the drums are ready to shoot, now, though. Here they are, all masked off:

Tomorrow the bass drum and the biggest tom get a final buffing with 320 grit sandpaper, then they get the masking tape and newsprint treatment.

After that, it’ll be time to wait for a sub-50% humidity day in Georgia summer.

Wish me luck!

patrick @ 3:30 pm
Filed under: A Day in the Life anddrum geekery
A reflection on the times

Posted on Tuesday 31 March 2009

Years ago, I read London Fields by Martin Amis, and I recall being struck by how every transaction in the novel was corrupted- the street market was full of hustlers, the taxi driver ripped the main female character off I think, and the plumber was totally on the take. All of the manufactured goods in the novel were falling to pieces and everything ran late. I don’t remember much else about the novel, but I remember coming away with the impression that what it was essentially about was England, more specifically London, in the rubble of the empire.

The theme seemed to be that it was impossible to have an honest transaction, pound for pound, to get what one paid for in the London of that time.

I can’t help thinking about that now. 

I know Amis’ father was Kingsley Amis, an early anti-Stalinist and one of the first classically defined “Neo-Conservatives,” (former Communist turned conservative) and that Martin volubly defends his father’s life and work in “Korba the Dread,” so I suspect that London Fields was never meant as a criticism of capitalism, but interestingly, to me it reads that way.

We learn from capitalism that we must hack out our own well-being, even if its out of the flesh of our neighbors. Now we have the lesson, but the rewards elude us like water rushing out to sea after the tide shifts. All we have left now is the hacking. 

patrick @ 9:40 am
Filed under: Kakistocracy andMore Fun in the Free Market
I gave $25 to make this happen

Posted on Thursday 7 February 2008

Since the polls closed on Tuesday, the Obama campaign has raised nearly $8 million.

Click here to see the latest total

Small donors like me… and you?… are making a difference in this campaign.

You can make a difference.

Every time you hit the link above, I think you’ll see how much more money we have given Senator Obama’s campaign. Donate!


patrick @ 11:21 am
Filed under: Yes We Can
Understanding what a Superdelegate is…

Posted on Wednesday 6 February 2008

patrick @ 5:25 pm
Filed under: Yes We Can
what he said

Posted on Sunday 3 February 2008

patrick @ 1:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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