Hey there - new member from New York City


#1

Hi all, I just joined this community. I’m excited to be here.

I’m a 43-year-old multi-instrumentalist living in NYC for over two decades (damn, I’m old). I started on guitar in 7th grade, took on some serious study in piano/keyboards and harmony/composition starting at 20, fell in love with synthesis, sampling, and desktop production, did a music degree, then whimsically took up Afro-Cuban percussion at the ripe old age of 28, and got deep into that passion for about a decade. In between, there was some dabbling with saxophone and flute that, sadly, only briefly flirted with competency. (I have a MIDI wind controller that I mess with from time to time, but my lack of fluency there is frustrating. I still hold out hope that I’ll carve out some space for woodshedding on that someday soon.)

Woodwinds aside, I’ve managed to gradually improve on all my instruments largely through osmosis, meaning that I really haven’t formally studied guitar since the 9th grade, and I haven’t taken a piano lesson since about age 22, but I have studied other forms of music, and those studies have challenged and refined my guitar and keyboard styles. Learning traditional and jazz harmony, counterpoint, and complex rhythmic systems (like those in Afro-Cuban drumming) has informed my playing considerably, but…

In the last few years, I’ve started indulging a growing urge to get to really advance well beyond where I’m at on guitar. As it is, I’m not bad. Several of my guitarist friends at Berklee and other pros and monster players that I encountered expressed genuine admiration for my playing and even asked me to show them stuff (deeply flattering), but I always felt like a fraud - like I can cast the shadow of a genuine talent, but I’m just hiding my mediocrity.

In short, my facility with harmony and groove mask a ton of sins (particularly my laughably slapdash technique), which is great if guitar is a tool for conjuring parlor tricks and amusing friends but wholly inadequate for satisfying my own desire for artistic expression.

With that in mind, I invested in a proper axe (nothing extravagant, but made with care - first time I’ve actually had a decent guitar in my nearly 30 years of playing) and I’ve worked my way through a few books on guitar technique from Robert Conti, Pat Martino, and Ted Greene.

For those not familiar with these names, they’re all very much in the jazz idiom, so the direction I’ve been going is pretty obvious, but my pursuit of jazz guitar proficiency belies a much broader interest in music. I love all kinds of music, from Palestrina to Mobb Deep, from Los Muñequitos to Slowdive.

Although hard rock and metal have never really been my bag, I know came across Troy’s videos and really appreciated the depth of analysis. I subscribed to the channel, saw a few more videos, and got my socks blown off by Carl Miner and Andy Wood. Their tasteful phrasing, rhythmic authority, melodic invention, and effortless fusion of jazz, classical, Celtic, rock, and Appalachian influences was just mesmerizing. The opportunity to learn some of that vocabulary while upping my picking game proved irresistible…so here I am.


#2

Hey, welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you have some awesome multi-instrumentalist experience, very cool. I can only imagine how a decade of Afro-Cuban percussion (not to mention other instrumental dabbling!) has been musically enriching in all sorts of ways.

All kinds of good stuff both on the forum here and various parts of our site :slight_smile: Take a look around, let us know if there’s anything we can help with, and feel free to post new questions / discussion topics here any time!