30
Aug

Why I play the twelve string guitar

The other day, in a Facebook thread in a huge guitar group, a guitar player asked, "Why do you play the 12-string?" He said he just didn't "get it." Granted, he was young, a mostly electric guy with a few cheap acoustic guitars. So this guy, we'll call him Dick, probably never played a well-made 12-string, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
 
He got me thinking though. Why do I play the 12-string? I'll tell you why, but it isn't an easy answer. The easy answer, obviously, is because I really love that sound. It is the orchestra of guitars. Strum it, pick it, open tune it, drop D tune it, slide on it, chicken-pick it, I don't care what you do on it I just prefer, technically, the fuller, more melodic complement of notes and their octaves.
 

I haven't always played the 12-string. I started, as most do, on a sort of toy nylon-string guitar and my first real guitar was also a nylon-string "classical" guitar. Well, technically a "flamenco" guitar, a slightly different shape, made in Spain. I was 4. It was beautiful. I played that for a long time. I've had lots of guitars since then. Nylon string, steel string, electric solid bodies, hollow body, cheap, expensive, stolen, Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Alvarez, Larrivee, from hock shops, trades and boutique music stores - guitars, I've had a few.

(there is a video at the bottom you can listen to while you read the post if you like. NoAutoplay!)

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18
Jun

The 9th Annual "What would you say to your Dad today?" FARK Father's Day thread. Bonus: New Dads what will you tell your child today?

Click here for the lyrics

We've been posting this on Fark.com for nine years now. The comments are an amazing study in fatherhood. It has been called "cathartic" by many. It has become "a thing." Get it off your chest. Say the things you would have, could have, should have said... if only you could. (Clickable links to past years below.)

Here's this year's FARK Father's Day thread.
Click the link below to join in the conversation.

The 9th Annual "What would you say to your Dad today?" FARK Father's Day thread.
Bonus: New Dads what will you tell your child today?


Link To Last Years Thread
Our eighth year: What would you say to your Dad today if you could?
Fathers, what would you say to your child?

Read more »



8
May

On the topic of Moms

I lost my Mom this year.
Today is hard.
There are, and have been, some amazing women in my life.

Can we take a moment to acknowledge the alt.moms.
Step Moms and Granny Moms and Auntie Moms and Daddy Moms.

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26
Mar

My face is wet.

There are only two things I do well with my eyes closed: play guitar and type. I can't reach my guitar. Sorry.

There is a thing that men, Dads in particular, do.  It's really stupid and self-destructive.  It's a tough lesson and you have to learn it the hard way.  We can't fix everything. There I said it. We can't fix everything.

The reason they call the hard times in your life “the hard times in your life” is because they aren't easy …and that's OK. It is OK to not get everything done; it is OK to forget a detail in the midst of a crisis. It is not OK to put your feelings on hold and just press on like you don't feel it. It messes with your head. It screws up your body as it screams for you to rest. You aren't helping if you make yourself sick, angry, frustrated or impotent.

However, this isn't what we do. What we do is push harder, putting on "the face," ignoring pain and exhaustion and pressing on, trying to fix things we can't fix with tools that are dull from lack of sleep.

If, in conjunction with your emotional impotence, you happen to have health issues, this is a recipe for disaster in your relationships as your frustration mounts and you begin to feel helpless about things that you cannot control.

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11
Oct

Alisa B

 

There is a special thing that happens now on the internet as we are more and more open to making friends with people nowhere near us, friends of friends or folks that find your video on youtube and hook up on SocNets. It isn’t just Facebook, but this happened to us there.
Through a case of mistaken identity we became friends with a lovely lady singer who happens to be friends with some of our other friends. She laughed with us when we found out she wasn’t who we thought she was but right then we became internet friends, connected through laughter, music and our musical friends.

We shared, as we all do, our limited view of each other’s lives, highs and lows, shows and pics of friends and gigs and food. She had a voice like an angel and we loved seeing her stage energy. It showed even in the still pics. You could just tell she was a joy to work with and that she took it very seriously. Studied it, listened to everything, found her voice, nurtured it and was continuing to grow while delighting audiences wherever she went. Her smile alone was enough to know her, so genuine and wide.

Quietly her posts became less frequent and soon came the post about the state of her health. Diagnosed, under treatment, hair falling out, she valiantly carried on. Smiling pics, lots of scarves, she returned for a bit, even gigged a bit if I’m not mistaken. With endless support from hundreds of friends, fans and family she stayed positive and we all hoped against hope… and then she was gone.

We knew her only there, so there is where we heard the news. There on my feed with the gun nuts, cat pics, silly memes and gig pics, a note from a family member that she was being made comfortable and soon another that she was gone. The anguish of her loved ones through those hours transmitted by the silence in between. As it is the way it goes, I saw both posts at the same time when I checked in to Facebook that evening and yet I could feel the hours as they passed in a blink.

I cried.

I read her friends’ love and pain on her wall now and cried again… and again.

I heard her music, and I cried again.

It’s true you know, those things you hear about the “5 Stages of Grief.”

I’ll admit to mine… 1. Oh no?! Not her!  2. Why did I let myself get so invested in a stranger?  3. If only I had arranged a gig close enough so our paths would have crossed, we’d have sung together and hugged. 4. How our lives are changed by this odd relationship.  She probably had no idea how much we liked her.  We ran out of time.  5. I have nothing to offer the family, no good stories to relate how much we loved her.  A prayer and maybe this article will offer us closure.

My wife and I were touched by her exuberance, her joie de la vie, her voice and her courage. She inspires me to be a better student of music and singer of songs.  Not really knowing her at all, I’d describe her as free and easy. Is that too cliche? That’s how she made me feel. I embrace this part of social networking as I must with my IRL meatspace friends. We are friends, it doesn’t matter if I’ve never laid eyes on you or touched your hand or hugged your neck. It doesn’t matter. I have to mourn their loss as if I “actually knew them.” What matters to me now , more than ever, is that I let you know how I feel… before one of us is gone.  

I love you, my internet friends, each and every one of you.  Late at night I stalk your walls and feeds and keep up with what you’re doing. I see the pics of your kids and the smiles on your faces and I read about your pain, and pray with you for loved ones. I listen to all your stuff eventually and I try and keep up but it’s just too much. Don’t let me forget you; stay in touch and keep us posted and we’ll  try and do the same.

Humans. We’re  a connected internet family now, a community. As we begin to act like it more, as it becomes more real, we suffer the loss of faraway friends as if they were right here. One moment talking under my fingers, on my screen, and then poof, you’re gone.

Goodnight Alisa B., sweet angel.  Join the choir, my internet friend; I’ll be able to hear you from there.

” width="480″ height="360″ frameborder="0″ allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">



20
Jun

What would you say to your Dad today if you could, or Fathers, what would you say to your child?

Click here for the lyrics

We’ve been posting this on Fark.com for eight years now. The comments are an amazing study in fatherhood. It has been called “cathartic” by many. It has become “a thing.” Get it off your chest. Say the things you would have, could have, should have said… if only you could. (Clickable links to past years below.)

Here’s this year’s FARK Father’s Day thread.
Click the link below to join in the conversation!
Our eighth year: What would you say to your Dad today if you could?
Fathers, what would you say to your child?

 

Read more »



14
May

The King is dead. Long live the King.

By Dan Grigor

I grew up on the guitar. Got my first one, a toy, at 4 years old and my first real one a year later. It was a thing of beauty. My dad bought it for me. It was handmade in Spain and it came with free flamenco guitar lessons in the Bronx. That became our visitation outing. My Dad would come by and pick me up in the Cadillac and we’d ride downtown… walk up the creaky wooden stairs and learn music… some of my fondest memories. Thus began my addiction, obsession and passion for the guitar.

There are few guitar players who have been more influential in my life than B.B. King.

Click through for more!

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11
Sep

911 Truth

Never Forget. Never forget that for some people 911 isn't about politics or conspiracy, it isn't about hate or war. Never forget that for some people it is a very intimate day of sorrow. Never forget that families are missing pieces. Dads are gone, Uncles are gone, Brothers are gone, Moms and Sons, Daughters and Friends and the families are left with missing pieces. Our family is missing pieces. That day touched everyone but not like that.

Now, it is an ipso facto national holiday and a despicable excuse for commercial abuse and hate. That is what they have to deal with every year on the anniversary of their very intimate day of sorrow.

Please take a quiet moment today and send some love to the families with missing pieces.
Oh, and maybe you could go hug everyone you love that you can reach and call the ones you can't. Tell them all out loud that you love them. If you tell them enough maybe they will never forget.



8
Jun

Seven Years Running: What would you say to your Dad today if you could?

Click here for the lyrics

We've been posting this on Fark.com  for seven years now. The comments are an amazing study in fatherhood. It has been called "cathartic" by many. It has become "a thing." Get it off your chest. Say the things you would have, could have, should have said if only you could. (Clickable links to past years below.)

Here's this year's FARK Father's Day thread.
Click the link below to join in the conversation!
Seven years running: what would you say to your Dad today if you could?

Dear Daddy,

 

This year I have come across some great Dads. Dads that didn't give up, didn't run. Dads that stepped up and Dads that have restored my faith somewhat in the future of our male children. Dads teaching future dads how to be good dads by being good dads.
There is something to be said for the "how not to do it" lessons you gave but the positive influence of good dads all around me growing their young families is refreshing. My kids are healthy and strong and leading good lives full of fun and adventure and my grandchildren's laughter. To be a positive part of that is all I could ever hope for. 

 

See you soon,

 

Danny

 


Here are all the previous years' FARK threads.
Take the time to read through some of the heartwarming -
and heartbreaking - "Dear Daddy" letters.

2013: What would you say to your Dad today?

2012: Fifth year in a row: What would you say to your Daddy today if you could?

2011: Dear Daddy, It's what I should have said but didn't. What would you say to your Dad today if you could?

2010: "Dear Daddy" ... what would you say to your Dad today?

2009: "Dear Daddy, Here's what I should have said to you." DIT

2008: Happy Father's Day. What would you say to your father today if you could?



12
Aug

Have you ever changed a boxcar door on a train?

 

Have you ever changed a boxcar door on a train? I have. For a while there, about a thousand years ago, I worked on the “rip track” for the Rock Island Railroad. I was young and full of cheap beer. I had a rock and roll band and we played Foghat covers on the weekends. We mostly played in the drummer’s basement.

 

I kept my day job. The money was really good. Union Crane Operator in the 70s. Easy Money. The rip track is where trains go to get repaired. We kept them up to code, we changed knuckles and wheels, we straightened and repaired ladders and catwalks and whatnot. We would heat stuff up with torches and hit it with big hammers. We used welders and huge pneumatic jacks, two of which could lift the ass end of a train a foot off the ground… in seconds. Set the jack, hit the pneumatics, BAM! Train, up in the air.

We also changed boxcar doors. Boxcar doors are huge. Think about it. They cover the hole in THE SIDE OF A TRAIN! So changing them is not as easy as it sounds. It takes manpower, chain hoists or come-alongs and a crane. I drove the crane.

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15
Jun

How about a sixth year: What would you say to your Dad today?

Here’s this year’s FARK thread. Click the link below to join in!

For the sixth year in a row: What would you say to your Dad today?


Dear Daddy,

Wow, our sixth year. Reading through the Fark threads again and, once again, amazed at the results. It seems it is a good thing. Let’s do it again.  (Clickable links below)

2008: Happy Father’s Day. What would you say to your father today if you could?

2009: “Dear Daddy, Here’s what I should have said to you.” DIT

2010: “Dear Daddy” … what would you say to your Dad today?

2011: Dear Daddy, It’s what I should have said but didn’t. What would you say to your Dad today if you could?

2012: Fifth year in a row: What would you say to your Daddy today if you could?







Click here for the lyrics

This year I would speak to my Dad on behalf of my brother, Alan, who died this year. My little brother was a casualty of divorce. Young enough to know he had a dad, not old enough to really get to know him.

Click through for the whole story.

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24
Mar

For My Little Girl


 

Click through for the lyrics

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13
Mar

Be Yourself with Live Music: Call For Info from the first-ever show at Knuckleheads on Front Street

We were delighted to be the first act on the new stage at the hottest new venue in Temecula, CA. Knuckleheads on Front Street is the epicenter of Inland Valley blues. I never seem to get this song recorded. We always use it as our sound check song. Since this was an all acoustic show I finally got it. Enjoy








5
Aug

Celebrate Diversity, Be Different Like Me.

I will post this without comment, except to say that this is a raw and live screen test. It is one of  those things; it isn’t perfect, it isn’t the video I was expecting to post, but it is the one that I’m posting. I don’t mind you seeing me this way. This is who I really am.

Guitar Note: The guitar that I am playing is tuned so that the normally octave strings on the twelve string are tuned in fifths. There will be more on this in another post.

 









You celebrate your diversity best by being yourself
instead of what others expect you to be.
Be Yourself, be informed and never let
someone be in charge of your decisions or opinions.











8
Jul

The Magic House Strikes Again

Pardon my passion as I brag about my crew.

Cast party crew, you know who you are, you came, you drank, you conquered. My yard was safe and looked great.

Shaun A. McIntyre, Edward Lapple and his son, Josh Lapple handled the tech stuff so well that all I could bitch about were trippy wires, the stinky carpet and the sound being… on the fly… once or twice.

Michael Mountain who fixed the generator, chopped the wood, set up the shade, carried and then shared the bass amp and played with me til midnight. He also puts up with my madness sometimes three times a week, so eager to learn the next thing, the next song.

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16
Jun

Dear Daddy... Here's what I should have said. What would you say to your dad if you could?



 

For five years in a row now I have posted a Father’s Day thread on FARK.com asking simply, “What would you say to your Dad today if you could?”

It has been so cathartic for many and refreshing and heartbreaking to read the comments. People. They are amazing and wonderful and ridiculous and stupid and bright and are supportive or trolls. It truly takes all kinds.

Click through for the lyrics and links to the threads

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16
Jun

Just One of Those Things

I’ve been “online” since before most of you were born. It never ceases to amaze me the little relationships you grow along the way. You learn the short hand and the short cuts. You communicate in strange ways with people from all over the world from different cultures and economies. People who don’t speak your language and people from places you will never go. You will never meet them face to face and some, you may never have a one-on-one interaction with other than a “like” or some “props” of some kind.

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29
Apr

Just Sing

I don’t care what you believe in or whom, but there is a thing that happens on Sundays that is pretty special and it should happen more. Every Sunday people from all walks of life gather together and sing. Old people, young people, enlightened people, deluded people, rich people, poor people, happy people, sad people, all kinds of people, people that don’t know each other, they all get together in a room and sing songs. Forget for a moment the topic of the songs. Forget religion and politics and economics and problems of the day.

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16
Apr

Windy Road from the Pitstop Pub in Menifee, CA

 

I love this kinda stuff. Friday afternoon I get a call from my buddy J.A.M. of J.A.M.Kwest, a local roots reggae band and an old friend. He needs to fill out the show at the Pitstop Pub that night. A few frantic phone calls later and it’s all set up. We get a half hour in the middle. Cool. We gather up the stuff and off we go. A J.A.M.Kwest show is always a good show even if you not in it, so I knew this would be a good time. We got there early enough to hear most of their opening set and they blew. it. up! Jay was in great voice and the band, with new bass player Dan Millican, have a crew that can hit the road. Stay Tuned for more from these guys; they are absolutely setting new levels.

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23
Mar

Dan Grigor Crack In Time

Another cut from a delightful afternoon at the Callaway Winery enjoying wine, food and new friends at the Meritage Restaurant. The song, Crack In Time, is a sweet little jazz riff love song. For those moments when time just seems to stop.
They always have live music on the weekends, call for info.

Crack In Time


callawaywinery.com

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