Rambling On

Thoughts, Opinions, Inspirations

What is NAMM and why it is more magical to musicians than Disneyland is to kids?

pics of the Anaheim covention center where win...

pics of the Anaheim covention center where winter NAMM takes place. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A lot of musicians know about NAMM, the National Association of Musical Merchants. Some have been to the annual NAMM show, while many have always wanted to. But, there are a surprising number of musicians that never heard of the show. They have no idea that this is the musician’s mecca and they should make a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.

In a nutshell, the NAMM show is a music conference where music instrument/equipment merchants come to see all of the latest products from the manufacturers of all things music-related such as instruments, electronics, software, accessories, and more. The main conference is held in Anaheim, CA, every January, while a smaller one is held during the summer in Nashville. The Anaheim convention center gets transformed into what can best be described as Disneyland for musicians. And by the way, it’s right next door to Disneyland so maybe some of the magic rubs off. (more…)

Still chasing tone? The volume knob can be your secret sauce


We’re all familiar with the typical guitar setting: volume at 10, crank the amp and distortion and go. But, there are 9 other numbers on the guitar’s volume knob. Many often ignore 1-9?

There are a lot of sweet spots bellow 10 that can help expand any guitar player’s arsenal of sounds. ┬áMany guitarists, myself included, have been guilty of chasing various tones over the years, often relying on guitar pedals to fill the void. One pedal for a little dirt, one for a little more dirt, one for uber dirt, two stacked for fatness, etc. But, a lot of these in between tones can be found with the often ignored volume knob.

Do you have gas? (gear acquisition syndrome, not the other kind)

I have GAS! I buy gear and before I finish swiping my card, I’m already eyeing the next thing I convinced myself I can’t live without.

I can’t afford to buy new guitars regularly, so even though my eyes are set on the next 3-4 guitars I “need”, I can’t do anything about it. But, guitar pedals are another story. These beautiful little boxes with their promise of angelic sweet buttery tones, are so hard to resist. And, many are in the sub-$200 range so they can be acquired more regularly.

But, more stuff does not equal happiness. (more…)

Finger pickin good

Guitarists lose guitar picks faster than Lindsay Lohan loses her dignity. In most cases, it renders them completely incapable of playing anything exciting. For me though, this has become quite a blessing.

At first, I played really simple things when sans pick, but over time as I did it more, I found a bit of a style developing. I attacked the guitar differently. Because of the limits of my fingers, I was forced to play in a unique way. Over time, I noticed that I was able to play faster and more complex lines. I also started using several fingers at once, which resulted in even more interesting lines. (more…)

The perks of guitar playing

Playing guitar has always been a big part of my life. I always encourage kids, teens and parents of kids and teens to pick one up and start learning. Most people value playing an instrument, but they don’t often think of all the benefits it can provide. Here are a few from my life so far…

1. Boredom doesn’t ever happen

Since I started playing the guitar at the age of 11, I’ve never been bored, except for times when I didn’t have a guitar around. I started writing right away, so when I would get frustrated technically, I would try to write something. Today, I do a combination of practice and writing. Basically, any time I pick up the guitar, I have something to do and the only reason I put it down is that I have to move on to something else like work, family, or chores. I often hear kids complain of being bored, even though they play sports and video games. Give them an instrument. (more…)

No excuses for not playing the guitar

The other day, I saw a kid I know who is very gifted and was totally obsessed with guitar six months ago. I asked him how it’s going. With sad eyes, he said, “Well, I don’t have much time to play these days. You know, school, sports, and stuff”.

It broke my heart because this kid has talent and passion. So, I told him there is no excuse. Everyone who loves to play should be able to find at least 15-30 minutes a day to play. Here are a few ideas… (more…)