Saturday, March 09, 2013

tunings, and temptations...

One thing about a 3 string box guitar is that it can be tuned in a variety of ways, and now that our Clear Spring School box guitars are nearing completion, it's time to begin researching ways to play the danged things. It seems that making a box guitar is almost a thing anyone could do, as there's far less investment of time and materials than in the making of a standard guitar. When it comes to strings, there are only half as many of them to master, and still the pleasure that can be found in making music on an instrument you made yourself, and to feel one's hands revitalized in the process of maintaining character and intellect, is literally a no-brainer. On of the best ways to keep our minds and hands fresh as we age is to keep doing new things.  Making a box guitar and then making your first feeble efforts to play it, qualify as new, both in and out of the wood shop.

This video is one of many made by Keni Lee Burgess, demonstrating 3 songs on the a box guitar, with the first in Gdg, a standard box guitar tuning that's the starting point in my own play. Watch through to the end to see the chords and finger movements.

Now that I've made one, am learning to play it, and can see small ways that it can be improved, there is a temptation to make another. I hope that some of my students also suffer from that same temptation.

My friend Zeke Leonard, assistant professor, Syracuse University School of Design offers an interesting social and political view of musical instruments, along with this bit of philosophy:
"Making anything for yourself is a political act... The further we get from the creation of an object, the less we have a connection with the people, resources, and process. This limits how we assign value to objects. If we can all start to make more and consume less, then we can be more thoughtful about the resources used to create the objects and food and garments that we fill our lives with."

Make, fix and create...

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