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fmw's Achievements


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  1. I try to do it like I would sing it. Play the chord progressions to yourself. Sing a melody over them, then play what you sang over them or something similar. Did you ever watch Oscar Peterson play piano? He sang to himself the whole time. He was one of greatest jazz pianists of all time. Possibly one of the greatest jazz improvizationalists of all time too. Theory? You bet. He graduated from the famous Julliard School in New York. He played Chopin to perfection. Most jazz players play by feel even though most of them are plenty knowledgable about music theory. They may play notes that would fit in some scale related to the current chord, but they don't usually think that way. They just think (or sometimes sing) a melody that fits the chord progression and they play it. They just feel it and let it happen. Doesn't come overnight. Jazz players like Wes Montgomery or Jimmy Smith didn't have a background in music theory. Instead they were blessed with a lot of talent and they put a lot of work into it. So, you can do it either way. It is the results that matter more than the methodology.
  2. I guess the bottom line of all of this is that all that testing has taught me that I can't trust my ears when it comes to subtle audible differences and neither can anyone else. Gross audible differences aren't a problem. Subtle ones and non existent ones are often nothing but bias. Why would a musical instrument be any different than a D/A converter in that respect? Why would the organic nature of the product make bias disappear for subtle audible differences? There is certainly no evidence of that anywhere. Don't take this as a slam against your craft. It isn't. I can appreciate fine craftsmanship and fine musical instruments as well as the next guy. Don't take it as a slam against your hearing. It isn't. It is simply some information that I believe and understand firmly because I have tested it to death. I've seen beliefs that are held by 90% of a group of people be dead wrong when put to the test. Many, many times. And I didn't say anyone was dead wrong. I just said I'm skeptical because it hasn't been tested in any way that I would consider valid. OK. I'll stop now. Again, sorry.
  3. Please, people. I didn't say I had any expertise at luthiery. I didn't say that input from a luthier wasn't valuable. All I said was that, contrary to what someone said, I do know what I'm talking about because I have done 10 years of testing and I know how bias ridden human hearing is. It is really amazing, actually. I meant nothing as a personal attack. Everyone's hearing is bias ridden - including mine. The responses I'm getting I've heard before hundreds of times. They don't move me. Sorry. Been there done that. If someone wants a demonstration of how bias ridden human hearing is, just drop by. I would be happy to provide one. I'll buy the beer and you can play my instruments. I didn't say guitars all sound the same. I didn't say the elements that make up a guitar aren't important or all sound the same. What I said is that I read a lot things that I interpret as deriving from bias and preference rather than whatever the writer has ascribed to it. The reason I interpret them in such a way is that there is little logic to it and, since there is little logic to it, someone ought to test these things to see what really is and isn't important. I feel pretty comfortable in the knowledge that country of origin has a lot less to do with sound quality than it does with price. I'm open to a demonstration but I haven't seen or heard one yet. Guitar A sounds different from guitar B. I don't have any problem with that. Guitar A sounds different from guitar B because of the material from which the sides are made or because of the bridge pins in use. Now I have a problem. That's guess work. Why do I say that? Because it is illogical and hasn't been tested. It's opinion and bias. I don't mind it. I'm just pointing it out. You shouldn't mind my pointing it out. Opinions vary all over the board. Why not nail it down? I would think a large manufacturer would have the facility to do it but it has never been done probably because nobody has been motivated to do it. Obviously, I'm not going to motivate anybody to do it either. Apparently nobody but me cares about it. I'm not trying to criticize anybody. I'm just providing some input based on my experience. I think everyone else is doing the same thing. My experience, however, is less popular than that of others. I can live with it. Like I said, been there done that. Let's go play a tune and stop this argument.
  4. Trust me, Mr. luthier, after 10 years of bias controlled listening tests I know exactly what I'm talking about but I'm not going to overcome common belief systems. OK, I'll get out of this thread. My input is obviously not popular. Take care.
  5. I've heard this same nonsense for years from audiophiles. Sorry, it is just as nonsensical when it comes from musicians. Just as there are sonic differences between electronic audio playback systems there are sonic differences between musical instruments. But to ascribe those differences to anything that pleases you is guesswork at best. I know that beyond a doubt. Personally, I just enjoy the sound without worrying about what part of the instrument or what factor in its construction caused it. I love music and musicianship just like you do. I'm just a little more pragmatic about the physical instrument itself. I'm still trying to understand why people think bridge pins have a sound. There is certainly no logic for it. It can only be a belief fed by bias and placebo. Hold these beliefs if you like but some of us aren't going to play there until someone comes up with real evidence that bridge pins have a sound. If you want to compare the sound of a classical nylon strung guitar picked with finger nails to the sound of a steel strung dreadnought played with a plastic pick, I'm on board with the dramatic difference in sound. When you start trying to distinguish what is a subtle difference between two steel strung dreadnoughts, then I suspect some things, like the bracing or the thickness of the top make so much more difference than bridge pins or side material, that getting hung up on those things is caused by sonic differences in personal bias rather than sonic differences in the materials themselves. It's OK. It's human nature. It affects all of us humans. My favorite Chinese made guitar only cost me $500. As it turns out the Chinese are capable of making decent instruments when they are motivated to do so. Is it as good as a $4000 one? It is to me. Otherwise I would buy a $4000 one. I have $4000 and I can use it for a guitar if I want to. I've played $4000 ones in the hope that I would experience some sort of sonic ephiphany. All I can say is that there are subtle audible differences between them and mine and whether one is better than another gets down to bias and preference rather than some universal truth. Different is not necessarily better. I guess it is my doctorate in listening tests that causes my insanity.
  6. I received the Nato guitar in the mail, and compared to my Martin D15LE, it has less depth in the bass-mids and has a predominant sharp treble. Mahogany seems to have a greater warmth across the board. In the scheme of things, the top is the most important part of the guitar; the sides effect the timbre (color). And what is it that leads you to believe it results from the Nato and not from the bracing or thickness of the top or any number of other issues?
  7. I can out-heretic all of you. I believe it is impossible to know what the "nature" of the sound of the back and sides of a guitar are. To begin to get an idea you would have to do some scientific listening tests and I don't believe anybody has ever done that. I've done all kinds of scientifically valid listening tests but I wouldn't know where to begin with guitars. Comparing two different guitars at different times is meaningless. Completely meaningless. To get a valid sample you would have to test many, many guitars at the same time in the same room with exactly the same performance with a panel of listeners in a bias controlled environment. If it would be possible to make two guitars EXACTLY the same but with different back and side materials, you might convince me that it would represent a valid comparison but I'm not sure that's possible. I think you would need to do it with a statistically appropriate sample of instruments and listeners. It's a really difficult thing to do. I'm not suggesting all guitars sound the same. They don't. But I doubt seriously that the composition of the back and sides has much or anything to do with it. I firmly believe nobody has done tests that I would consider scientifically valid to find out either. So to all you heretics I can only say that I agree with you and go one step further to say that you can't even know the difference if there is one. You can think you do but, until you do it right, you would never convince someone experienced at bias controlled listening tests.
  8. I'll say one thing. He plays the guitar really well.
  9. Take a look at a fake book like the Real Book. That is pretty common way of writing charts.
  10. Sounds great. While I've spent the normal time practicing scales like everyone else, I don't think about scales when playing. I just "scat sing" in my head (or sometimes aloud) and play along to the scat singing. Most jazz players I know do it the same way. Sounds like this author is leading people in the right direction.
  11. Yes, you can output MP3 or WAV directly from BIAB. There is a very friendly forum on the PG Music website that you might want to register for. BIAB is simply the easiest development software for backing tracks ever made. You'll enjoy it.
  12. The problem with walnut is that it is a very open grain wood - like mahogany. Since fingerboards are not normally finished (I know, I know, I have a Fender too) it's better to use a closed grained wood like the woods that are used. An open grain wood that is not finished is a little too delicate. You wouldn't normally see a mahogany fingerboard either for the same reason. The mahogany you see on backs and sides is filled and finished so it doesn't look like an open grain wood, but it is.
  13. Even chromatic harmonicas play in one key. They just have a button to raise each not by a 1/2 step. When you play a chord on a chromatic harmonica, it is still the 1st and 5th of the key in which it is made. I have a chromatic harmonica in the key of G. I don't play it very well in G but I'd have an impossible time playing an F chord with it. But it will play a complete chromatic scale unlike the typical harp.
  14. Sight reading is mechanical. Musicians who sight read spend their thinking time on things other than playing the notes. They think about how to play the notes - what stylistic nuances to apply to the notes. I have a friend who plays oboe in the Chicago Symphony. He told me once he never practices at home. He has the oboe down cold and he's played virtually all the classical music played by virtually any orchestra. He goes to rehearsal not having played a single note in preparation. What he does is listen to the way other players and other orchestras perform the music. It broadens his stylistic repertoire since his musical repertoire is already filled to the brim. For him reading music is like driving a car is for the rest of us.
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