Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including thoughts on setting up your practice room, Clapton’s comeback, and the dead “thud”.
Here we go…
#1 – Your practice room
The other day I went into my studio room at my house.
My word, it needed organising.
Over the years, I’ve acquired dozens and dozens of books, magazines, and other related stuff such as grade books.
I don’t teach in this room. When I teach lessons at home, I prefer to teach in the dining room in my house as it is bigger and brighter.
This means I can keep my studio room set up with the lights and cameras ready to go.
The studio room is pretty big, but that just means that over the last 18 months since we’ve lived here, things have gotten cluttered.
It’s like the room of a typical ‘creative’ type of person – stuff everywhere!
So, with Archie’s help, we tidied this room up massively and organised it much better.
…And guess what, it feels so much better.
A spring clean every now and then (even in Autumn) makes a nice difference.
If you have a dedicated practice room or practice space, it’s good to give it some organisation or a spring clean here and there.
For me, it makes a nice little difference.
#2 – Clapton’s comeback gig
Back in ‘73, Eric Clapton was struggling with his addictions.
When friends would visit to help him, he would hide away from them and peer behind the curtains until they would leave.
Ginger Baker (the Cream drummer) even devised a plan to kidnap Eric and take him to the Sahara Desert where he couldn’t “score”.
It didn’t work.
Instead, Eric would sleep all day, take his stuff, and write what he called “dreadful music”.
Nothing worked… Until Pete Townshend arrived and convinced Eric to play a comeback gig.
Along with Steve Winwood and others, they headed to Ronnie Wood’s house for rehearsals.
Clapton said his playing at the time was bad, and he was struggling.
He talked about how it was no doubt clear to others in the band that there was something seriously lacking in his playing.
It was only Steve Winwood who gave him the confidence to keep going.
On the night of the gig, Eric said he had put on so much weight he was late for the gig because the trousers of his white suit needed adjusting!
And even though his playing and singing were seriously “off”, he loved the gig,
It just goes to show how even one of the greatest has self-doubts and struggles.
I love his autobiography and that is just another great little anecdote I read recently from it that reveals a little more about the great Eric Clapton.
#3 – Accurate picking
One of the most annoying errors many beginners struggle with is plucking the wrong strings.
I can’t tell you how many times I have sat there, back when I was learning, and made this error.
Instead of finding a way to improve it…
…I’d just keep on hammering away, playing the same piece, and making the same mistakes, over and over again.
Each time I’d hear the “thud” of a dead note as I plucked the wrong string, my blood would boil that little bit more.
Little did I realise that there was a way to practise and improve this, which would make a difference right away.
…And it wouldn’t require me to anchor a finger on the body of the guitar with my picking hand (which I always found awkward).
If you pluck the wrong strings, I urge you to look at fixing this issue as soon as you can.
…Because once you do, it will allow you to stop having to look back and forth at each hand as you play (therefore increasing musical fluidity)…
Plus, of course, nailing this will help you end this frustrating dead “thud” hopefully for good.
A method I’ve found that will help you with this pretty much instantly is what I call the “Magnetic Hand”.
You can find out more about this method and plenty more highly effective yet simple techniques below:
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this email on my three random thoughts this week.
Have a wonderful week of practice ahead!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.