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28 Jul 2016

Charley Hicks

Charley Hicks is the man.  You want a new blues voice that isn’t Chicago blues? How about this guy. He recorded videos for every one of Charley Patton’s songs.  He just rips. Follow him on instagram too.

He’s bought three Mules so far, so there’s a ton of resonator guitar all over the place.

16 Jul 2016

Aggregate Alternatives

A bit of a tangent but it still applies.

We tend to think of alternatives in aggregate. “If I didn’t work this job I could start that business, go back to school and still have more free time.” We take the best parts of all our options and lump them into one big fat unrealistic alternative.    We don’t see that we don’t know how to run a business, going back to school would just be starting over, and there’s no real reason why we would actually have more free time.

It’s an important realization to have.  “If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up,” the ever-wise Shia LeBouf said.  If you’re doing something, you’re further along on it than anything else you might try. Instead of changing course, double down.

It’s the same thing with guitars, even the resonator variety.  Maybe the single cone holds everything I think I’m missing, maybe it’s the pickup. Or the OM, or the dreadnaught. Round and round we go.  Instead of chasing, double down.

05 Jul 2016

The Haag Spinning Lathe

The resonator guitar cone.  The myth, the legend. Built in mojo bag. Talisman and bringer of all that is good and loud in the world.

Ok, that’s overkill. But we love them don’t we?  It’s such a unique part of guitar culture.  Designed by a couple of brothers who wanted to make guitars loud enough to compete with brass instruments of the time.  Then they got in a fight about which cone design was better and split up. Drama, intrigue.

They are also spun on a pretty rad machine.   This is the first step in my cone spinning journey, but it may be the coolest. A Haag spinning lathe from a closed up spinning factory in Kentucky. Pretty fun. Here ya go:

IMG_6183 IMG_6157 IMG_6204 IMG_6223

30 Jun 2016

Amateur/Professional

If you make things for a living this is for you. If you make things but not for a living, add this to your thoughts if you find yourself daydreaming about telling your boss to shove it.

This is my friendly encouragement to myself and to you: remember you aren’t an amateur anymore. An amateur can take all the time in the world until the perfect “original” idea comes along. They can afford to hide all the things they dont want to show. A professional realizes that we all use the same chords, the same materials, the same methods. Nothing is ever completely original. Part of what you do is your own, but part of it is from everyone before you. Don’t hide from that, build on it, you honor other makers with what you do. You are in select company. Because of what you do, you know many others who also do it. Guess what, the majority of the world doesn’t care about you, your work and where it fits into the scheme of People Who Make Things. You should find that refreshing. I read that sentence twice to remind myself of that. You, however, are original. How you connect to people is how YOU connect to them. Be that.

An amateur’s art defines them. A professional keeps it at a healthy distance knowing there will be good weeks and bad weeks, and they are in in for the long haul. The highs are lower, the lows are higher. A amateur does the work when they are inspired, a professional does it always, incessantly, because that’s how you care for yourself, your family, and your future. A professional shows up, everyday. The balance for the professional is found between making their art and doing what it takes to make the living they want, both are equal in virtue. If you are are/are not using a certain tool, making a certain thing, designing a certain way and its harming your life’s balance you need to figure out why. If you’re being an idiot, stop.

You. Are. A. Professional. Keep going.