Addicted to the Six Strings

My progress of mastering acoustic guitar songs

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Angel-My Hands Itching XD

Posted by Isaac on July 12, 2009

A beautiful song by Eric Roche. He is an amazing guitarist from New York, America. He died from throat cancer when he was only 37 years old (in 2005), leaving his wife and 2 children. His music will always be inside of our hearts. May he rest in peace…

This song reminded me about my lovely younger sister. She is beautiful, funny and caring, and although being naughty sometimes, she always listen to me and tolerate with me. Sometimes I’ve upset her (or another way round XD), we will be ok after a short while,  and sharing food and giving present to each other as a token of apologize. When she’s crying, I am always at her side. She is always my angel, I am really happy to have her as my sister ^^

The major problem I’ve encountered when learning this song is it requires insane stretching and rapid movement of left hand to play. There are some place I have to stretch my hand 5 frets apart, which is really hard for small handed person like me.

Another problem (not a problem actually) is that this song is in non-standard tuning(also known as altered tuning). The standard tuning for guitar is EADGBE. However, Eric used DADGAD tuning, which made some chords are easier to press, at the same time complicated some chords into funny shapes. This is also the reason why I have to stretch my index finger and my pinky 13cm apart just for the funny chord shape. Moreover, I will have to tune my guitar to this tuning when I want to practice the song,  I can’t practice immediately when I grab my guitar, and due to my lazyness (ops..), it took me some time to master the song.

Here’s the recording, enjoy^^ (I become tense in fornt of cam and mic, sorry for that XD)


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Ebon Coast – Recording

Posted by Isaac on June 16, 2009

Finally done with this song! I’ve slighty improved on playing in front of recorder (invisible pressure XD), which I’ve done the recording within 5 times. However I still make some mistakes at the end though.

Anyway, enjoy ^^

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Ebon Coast

Posted by Isaac on June 10, 2009

This week is a busy week; Metrology presentation on Monday, Communication Skills presentation on Tuesday, E. Maths test on Wednesday, Programming Lab Test on Thurday. I’ve survived the first three days, and finally able to squeeze 30 minutes to update my blog.

As mentioned in the post before, besides Cavatina, I’ve been working on the song, Ebon Coast by Andy McKee. Andy McKee’s pieces is REALLY hard to learn as there are many techniques in his songs, which most of them are very complicated, and there isn’t an exception for Ebon Coast. Moreover, the only resources for me to learn are a tutorial video and an inaccurate music sheet. Struggled a lot to learn this beautiful piece though..

To learn this song, I practised only 2 bars and maximum 4 bars a day, as it was a pain by just referring to the video for the fingerings. Although the author of the tutorial video played the song slowly, it was hard for me to get my playing right by just simply refer to the video without explanation by the author.

The hardest part would be the bridge part (02:02 to 02:27) and the ending part (04:28 until end). First, the bridge part requires frequent movement of right hands to make the percussive sounds and press the bass note throughout the whole part, whereas my left hand’s fingers ring the note without plucking using the right hand. It takes me some time to synchronize my left and right hands. It feels like playing a piano, but on a guitar.

Second, the ending part. It was quite troublesome to me as the beat of the ending bars is inconsistent. It was hard as I can’t count the beats accurately (its keep changing duh..or its me counting wrong?). Therefore, I can only try my best to imitate the original video as well as the tutorial video. At last, I can play the thing quite similar to both of the video, but there are still some details I need to take care of.

After learning this song, I can feel that I have improved significantly. I acquired many techniques (Andy’s technique is weird yet awesome XD) and learn to synchronize both of my hands better.

For the video recording, I guess I will do it on holiday, as I need some more time to polish up the song XD. 2 more days to go…

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Cavatina-Simple Melody, Hard Playing

Posted by Isaac on May 31, 2009

This week I’ve been working on Cavatina and Ebon Coast. At the first glance I thought that Cavatina will be easy for me. However, after some time of practising, I’ve found that it is much harder than I thought! It is a simple melody that is hard to play indeed.

Sitting PositionCavatina is a melancholic music composed by Stanley Myers, and be played with guitar by John Williams. The song is the theme song of the movie, Deer Hunter ( a 1978 war drama film). Cavatina reminds the quiet and languid life in Clairton,  a third-class city in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

There are many fingerings that need me to stretch my finger so much and many unusual chord I haven’t seen before. It is difficult to me as I have small hands. I also can’t play the tunes smoothly as I still not familiar with the later part of the songs. The frequent transitions between barre chords make it hard to sustain the melody.

To overcome the problems, I tried to make myself familiar with the weird-shaped chords to avoid pressing the wrong notes and ensure that the transitions between those chords are smooth. I also sit according to the classical guitar’s standard position (as shown in the left pictures) as I found that some of the fingerings will be more comfortable in such position. As for the difficulty of stretching my hand, I guess I can only try my best to reach the notes by practising more.

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Bo Go Ship Da (Recording)

Posted by Isaac on May 20, 2009

Finally done!

It took me about 20 attempts to get a satisfactory result.

There is a little bit messed up though 😀

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