Making Movies

Jun 11, 2020
I had a housemate in college who observed that once you spend a certain amount of time on a particularly focused task, it takes a comparable amount of goofing off afterwards to rebalance one's internal academic equilibrium. In other words, spend a week cranking out that fifteen-page paper on "Pastoral Imagery In The Sélincourt Edition Of Wordsworth's The Prelude," and you can reckon on at least a week of shooting the breeze at O'Rourke's diner, listening to Dire Straits in your room, and staring at the clouds out on Foss Hill before you feel fit for rigorous inquiry again.

Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, had a kind of superstition about calling what he did "work." When it was time to head out to his studio behind the house, he would merely say "I have to go draw funny pictures now." Similarly, I can't bring myself to say I've been working much the past week – I've just been making little movies about how to play guitar. That, and thinking on paper about the little movies I'm going to make about how to play guitar.

In particular, I've been plotting a way to turn some of the material from last fall's Blues Chord Substitutions workshop into something a little more streamlined and clear. It's a fun project, because I'm trying to explain Freddie Green voicings for steady-bass blues in a more systematic way, and that in turn is helping me organize my own use of those kinds of chord substitutions. All in all, much more captivating than 19th century Romantic poetry, but time-consuming nonetheless, so a certain amount of goofing off has ensued in the aftermath of all that concentration.

As a result, there's no new Youtube video this week, but if you're curious about what 1930's dance band rhythm guitar and steady-bass fingerstyle blues have to offer each other, you can check out this 2017 lesson of mine from the Fretboard Confidential archives:

Freddie Green Guitar Voicings For Blues In E

You can even download the accompanying tab booklet, if you don't have it yet:

Fifteen Grooves For Fingerstyle Blues

To echo comments I made as the pandemic was deepening, I recognize that what I do functions primarily as entertainment, and in that light, there is some virtue in continuing to show up on schedule. That said, the magnitude and significance of events unfolding in the U.S. over the past couple weeks have penetrated the thoughts and conversations of everyone I'm currently in contact with, as well as, of course, my own. So while I personally feel it is far more important right now for me to pay attention and listen closely than to offer any opinions of my own, I also believe it would be tone-deaf not to acknowledge all that is going on in the world right now.

More soon,