Tools of the Trade

So much has changed since I last considered myself a professional musician. These days, there are digital tuners, spring loadedĀ capos, butterfly finger picks, computer printed lyric sheets, and who knows what else. I’m used to tuning my guitars by ear, of never having a capo that’s adequate for a 12-string, trashed fingernails (or none!), and hand-scribbled lyrics. Mind you, these new tools are improvements as far as I’m concerned. For instance, how many times have I struggled to tune my guitars in noisy bars and coffeehouses? Fortunately, my Luna Trinity has an onboard tuner, unlike my Briarwood 6-string, for which I have one of those tuners that clip onto the headstock. What I’m most excited about, right now, anyway, is the new Butterfly Finger Picks. I’m ordering some tomorrow. No more ragged fingernails, and they look cool, too. Almost like Elven rings. I’ll be reviewing them later, after I’ve tried them out.

Butterfly Finger Picks

These babies come in three finishes: gold, silver, and copper, depending on the sound you want. I’m going for the copper as it will lend a softer, mellower tone to the robust 12-string.

In other music-related news, I recently got back in touch with Andrew Austin, who used to perform with me as my backup guitarist back in the early 1980s. He was a lot more than just a guitarist, though, he was my friend and we enjoyed many happy times together. Andrew went on to become a top notch animator with Disney and Warner Brothers, contributing to many of their films. He now has his own business, Fowler Amusement, that produces animation, storyboarding, video games, and music videos. So glad to have him back in my life! Hopefully, he’ll be coming to Oklahoma this year on a video shoot for a Country artist. We’ll see! I’d so enjoy jamming with him again over bottles of wine.

We’re in the midst of our storm season here; lots of rain, tornado watches, thunder storms… Meanwhile, I listen to Dan Fogelberg and Gordon Lightfoot, and try to remember long-lost lyrics. I sure wish they had a tool for that.

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    1. Practice, practice, practice. Just keep adjusting your hand until it’s comfortable, and don’t tighten up the palm. The hands and brain work together to memorize movement and positions, like our feet memorize dance steps. Just stay relaxed and practice until the chords become second nature. After a while you won’t even have to think about it. When I perform these days, I think about my hands very little, which frees my brain up to remember my lyrics! LOL.

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