Acoustic Series #2 and #3

on March 19th 2010 in Uncategorized


  1. Jeff


    There it is!

    Can’t wait to dig into these!

    Thanks so much, Mr. Kimock! Generous of you to do this! And I’m speaking of the entire Site, etc. Not just these great Examples. But currently, these are my favorite parts!

    Posted March 20, 2010 at 11:10 am
  2. jon

    Steve…Jon Sikora here…howsit? What kind of camera are you using and how are you recording the audio? It sounds clean!

    Posted March 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm
    • Kimock

      Hey man! Nice of you to drop in, it’s good, busy, slow, up and down, normal etc.
      The camera is a little Canon FS200 and the audio is a pair of AKG 414’s into an Apogee Ensemble mic-pre into the computer. No pads, no EQ.
      The audio gets synced to the video post, so no camera audio is used. The camera audio is way to compressed and lo-fi to be taken seriously.
      It does sound pretty clean, even tho in my opinion there’s still a lot of loss in the conversion from what I’ve recorded to what finally gets heard over the internet.

      Anyway, nice to hear from you. Hope we hook up soon, it’s been too long!

      Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:55 am
  3. yes! i love the blue notes.

    Posted March 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm
  4. Cliff

    Great examples Steve, finally hearing these tones w/o the math (which I’m working on)

    Could you talk about the left fingers being suspended in the lower neck and then the ring and pinky are planted up the neck?

    Also perhaps how to get a good clean tone w/o slide rattle when slide goes off/on the string?

    Thanks so much, happy spring to you.

    (rumor has it you’re going to play at the Hop Monk in Sebastopol?)

    Posted March 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm
    • Kimock

      Hi Cliff! I don’t really think about the fingers that much, although generally it’s probably true that for the purposes of the video examples, the fingers behind the bar are elevated to allow the open strings to ring in the lower positions, and the fingers behind the bar are in contact with the string being played in the higher positions to help locate the bar as the intervals get closer together.

      I’m still playing with the nose of the bar down and the tail up, single note style, more or less ‘Hindustani’ as opposed to ‘Hawaiian’ with the bar flat across all the strings.
      The point being that the fingers behind the bar being up or down at one end of the neck or the other are up or down for different reasons.
      Up in the lower positions to let the guitar ring, down in the higher positions to help control the bar, but still 90% of the time, nose down with the low strings ringing.

      As far as getting the slide on and off the string without causing too much fuss, that’s a right hand muting issue that for the most part takes care of itself.
      For example, if I’m playing a note in one position, and I let it ring through it’s natural decay, and I want to pick up the melody in another position, when that note stops ringing, the finger that plucked it just rests back on that same string and the bar can be lifted from the string quietly.

      Same deal to start a note with the bar off the string.

      You’re gonna have to put your right hand finger on the string preparatory to striking it somehow, right?
      It would just be a matter of timing or co-ordination between the right and left hands that would make that brief muting moment closer to a free stroke or necessarily a rest stroke at whatever tempo, right?

      So if you want to pick the bar up or down, touch the string lightly first. You’re gonna have to touch it anyway before you strike it, so that right hand set-up is the window of opportunity to move the bar without generating a bunch of extra noise.

      So yeah, that’s a muting issue when viewed from that perspective, but I really don’t want you to get hung up on muting.
      The overwhelming majority of musical moments you might have with the slide will take care of themselves naturally if you just focus on ‘making a sound’ as opposed to ‘not making a sound’.

      I’m sure that would be considered lousy advice by most teachers for most students, to not focus on the right hand muting, but it’s REAL easy to overdo it and run afoul of the “record more than you erase” rule.
      Just try not to get hung up on it.
      Excessive muting to “clean up” your sound, is a symptom of sloppy playing, not the cure.
      If you play it clean in the first place, there’s no need to go overboard with the damage control. So my advice would be to keep it on the positive side and concentrate a little more on what you ARE doing, and a little less on what you’re undoing.

      Hope that makes sense!

      Posted March 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm
      • Cliff

        Thanks Steve for a complete rundown on the tecnique. I’m happy to say I got it all correct with the exception of the rt hand prepared position. This is something that Ralph Towner talks about in a technique book of his. and now I’m getting a broader understanding. Will apply
        to my flegling dobro technique. (old funky Goya guitar that was being tossed so I put a flat nut and saddle at 3/8 inch, Sounds good.

        DADGAD is a nice tuning for this bluesy stuff.

        Posted March 24, 2010 at 7:45 pm
  5. KwaveD

    I really enjoy these snippets of you listening for the secret, searching for the sound …. Thanks Steve!

    Posted March 20, 2010 at 5:12 pm
  6. Andy

    That’s the most intelligent approach to muting I’ve heard in the five years I’ve been trying to figure it out. Thanks Steve!

    Posted March 24, 2010 at 3:49 pm
  7. Cliff

    Hey Steve, in video 2, the blue note, 1/3 back from fret same as the harmonic, is that the septimal 7th?
    It’s not a tone that we typically relate to on the fretted guitar, maybe a bend up from the 6th, but the effect of just hitting it spot on as with the slide, that’s a bitchin tone, and quite different from the offerings of 12edo.(I’ll bend the neck to get that tone. It’s so great that I’m learning this is a pitch with a name, not just a bend.

    I’ve known about the 7th chord played in harmonics between the 5th fret node and 1/3 back of the 3rd fret, what I think is the septimal 7th. I’ve played that harmonic thing for years but never thought it out as you do. Now that I’m playing some dobro, and with your guidence, I’m getting to know those old friends for the first time.

    When you hear that tone, what do you hear, what’s the emo story? I mean is it vibrant as in red, or is it a distant haunt of dark green tobacco memories, a million clubs, ok I’m making up emotional connections, but you know what I mean?
    (I understand if it’s a private thing between you and the tone)

    Posted March 25, 2010 at 7:17 pm
    • Kimock

      Hey Cliff, “1/3 back from the fret, same as the harmonic” depends on which string you’re playing, right?
      I’m pretty sure in the example you’re talking about I play the overtone series harmonics down from the 4th fret, 1 5 3 7 (conventional) on the middle D string, and then copy that location over to the 2nd string A with the bar.


      That would be your more or less septimal 7th, yes.
      33 cents ish flat C with a D tonic.

      The ish/more or less disclaimers are in place partly because of method, partly the nature of the measurement, and partly individual ear.

      The method we used to find the pitch in the first place was “Play the harmonic, copy the location.”
      Ok, two problems with this:

      1. One, you’re gonna hear the “harmonic” and want to copy the PITCH.
      Well, from those bearings we’re playing down an octave from that 7th
      partial, and octaves are tricky anyway, but the harmonic itself isn’t very in tune on that big, fat, short string at that tension.
      It’s technically not a harmonic if it isn’t an exact mathematical multiple of the tonic, it’s an overtone.

      It’s whatever it is, but most of the time it’s sharp.

      It’s not exactly the pitch that gives you 7:4 with the tonic.
      You got to relax it a tiny bit and just listen for it to smooth out and bloom, chime, etc with your drone.
      You just have to listen . . . it’s hard sometimes.

      2. Too! The measurement we’re using, “Cents”, is an approximate measurement anyway to our ears.
      It’s 1/100th of a semi-tone. That’s nuts.
      If you’re keeping track of any of this with a “needle tuner” that has the cents marked off on the display, you might not always be in agreement between listening and looking at the display.
      Just listen. Do your best.

      3. Free. . . Your perception and resolution of this stuff is going to go through some changes no matter what, probably forever.
      It’s easy to let the “Copy Harmonic Location” routine turn into “I got it, I know where it is.”
      I do it.
      It just doesn’t work like that completely.
      You GOTTA keep listening.

      If you just start stitching NODES together, you’re kinda right back where you started with the frets. “Go to grid co-ordinate s2/f3-33% and take whatever it gives you.”
      That ain’t it.

      There’s a whole bunch of things that are gonna screw that up for you, tuning, other players, harmonic context etc.

      Under those changing conditions, if you take your mind off the pitch for even a second shooting for a physical mark, it really screws up the interval sizes.
      If you can keep listening, your ear will tell you exactly how far you need to go to your next destination pitch.
      That isn’t always going to look like your “Node Map”, when you’re playing with other instruments/people.
      If you’re doing it right tho, you’ll be in agreement harmonically with whatever IS going on, but you can’t ever drop that thread of the pitch, the melody.

      OK, the last bit about “What do I hear when I hear that tone?”

      I just experience some resonance, some quality or essence of listening.
      I don’t really ever go so far as to treat that experience as an outward referential mental or emotional projection.
      I’m just inside the sound, feeling it.
      Real basic.

      It’s an exercise, a musical exercise.
      I’m trying to tune MYSELF. Right?

      I haven’t got past that part yet. Maybe later I’ll do the “Ship on a stormy sea” routine with it, but right now I don’t see it like that.


      Posted March 25, 2010 at 10:01 pm
      • Cliff

        Hi Steve

        I’m confused about the overtone series harmonics
        being on the 4th fret, did you mean 4th string, 5th fret moving towards the 3rd fret?
        What I hear is a D dom7 arp doing that, if this is wrong, can you explain the harmonics I’m hearing and once again what your 4th fret overtone series.
        You are so patient,,,

        the elephant grazes wherever it is.

        Posted March 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm
        • Kimock

          Oh, duh. Just sloppy re-write on that part, I wanted to say 4th partial, decided it was more normal to say 5th fret, and didn’t finish writing it over. Down from the 4th partial at the 5th fret.
          1 3 5 7. Better, right? You’re not confused, you just don’t know how smart you are!

          Posted March 29, 2010 at 10:07 pm

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