So Much to Say, So Much to Say

By Kevin, April 17th, 2024

I know I had set a goal for myself to write more this year, but I have not been motivated to write lately for two reasons.

One, I celebrated a killer 2023 by treating myself and bought a really nice acoustic guitar from the folks at Taylor. The Taylor 324ce is a beautiful looking and incredible sounding guitar, made in America.

taylor guitar

I had done something similar after 2022 and a book release and got myself a brand new Fender American Ultra Stratocaster. I love that, but it is hard to travel with an amp. I have a coveted Mesa Boogie Mark IV combo that I love, but its extremely heavy and extremely loud. I am up and down the east coast in the last year and needed something portable - an acoustic was a perfect fit. Prior to this, the only acoustic I ever had was 20 years ago, a cheap Ovation Celebrity. It looked meh and sounded worse, and that ended my desire to ever have an acoustic.

I decided to look into this again because I wanted to stay mobile and play guitar more. I didn't want to just play an electric with no amp, nor did I want to use any sort of computer hookup or cheap 'travel' amp that are tiny. I am a real stickler on sound quality and I am not a fan of either of those. Basically, if it doesn't sound 'good', I have no desire to play. I mean, who wants to hear that? I also have to be mindful of neighbors unlike when I am at home, so even a small amp is out of the question.

I had done a lot of research and came across this video that showcases the fantastic sound of a Taylor acoustic. Specifically the 300 and 800 series. In the end, I decided I liked the 'darker' tone of the 324ce and I loved the finish and color of it. 

Fortunately I am near a Guitar Center so I was able to go down last January and try out everything they had. They had a brand new 324ce, and compared to other brands and models it just fit the tone and sound I wanted in an acoustic. It is rare that I go to a music store, something about places like that make me real nervous or self conscious (I am sure I am not the only one) as eyes are on you and scrutinizing everything you play. In this case, I was given access to a private booth with a handful of guitars so I was way more comfortable. 

I didn't really go in with much other than some points of tone references to make sure that what I heard on YouTube was what I would hear in person. I was satisfied after an hour of trying it out and purchased it on the spot. It is an amazing guitar.

That wasn't enough though, I needed to challenge myself and set goals so I stayed engaged over time. I decided to take a three step approach to the year.

  • Retrain my left hand against the entire catalog of Dave Matthews
  • Retrain my right hand for fingerpicking, from the basics up to country greats and artists like Lindsay Buckingham
  • Combine both in the end and go further, and applying it to blues and jazz structured learning along with artists like Mark Knopfler

When I began, I was pretty awful. I have played electric guitar for many years, and love to do so, but acoustic is just different. Slightly muted strings or flat notes are less forgiving, there is no distortion from an amp or effects pedals to help 'cover' mistakes or flubs so to speak. I could hear all of that. I was simply not used to acoustic playing.

After a couple of weeks that began to improve, though. Improve to a point where I wish I had began with an acoustic (you couldn't tell 14 year old me anything, though). It was important to me to learn to play the songs as the artist plays them, the correct fingering and positions, no shortcuts. I wasn't able to do too much Dave Matthews at first (played as is), but after a time I was cracking several songs from many initial albums. If you don't play, you have to understand his style of playing is unconventional and rather complex. This song is a great example, watch how and what he is playing. The verse section is pretty challenging.

I've always been fascinated with this song in particular based on the hook-y, poppy feel but its also very rhythmic. It just sounds great. I had to take the time to train my fingers to work independently more than they had been. Once it clicked though, it clicked. We're seeing Dave Matthews live this summer as a reward for hard work and have some fun. It will be my first time seeing them live!

But, what about the blog posts?

So, a lot of my time has been spent on that instead of writing. Frankly its been more rewarding. I have been noticing other agencies ripping from blog posts of mine and other colleagues and reposting it as if it were their own, all the way down to comments in the code samples and not crediting anyone. That has completely taken the wind out of my sails to write anything. 

There are discussions that are happening in regards to what should happen to those agencies, but if people like me are going to be ripped off and not credited, what is the point. It is a losing battle, considering we are already fighting a rising tide of agencies just spewing out AI generated bullshit because they have nothing to really say or actual insights to give. Its entirely discouraging on both fronts. I am working on a few new posts for Velir, but the dev-heavy material is scaling back some in light of that until I find the motivations to do so.