Sunday, March 12, 2017

KLEM FM


How young are you?
How old am I?
Let's count the rings around my eye
How smart are you?
How dumb am I?
Don't count any of my advice


That is Peter Buck -- the reclusive genius behind R.E.M. -- on guitar. They say his sound was distinct because he didn't play chords but rather arpeggios. WTH are arpeggios?

Full lyrics after the jump

How young are you?
How old am I?
Let's count the rings around my eye
How smart are you?
How dumb am I?
Don't count any of my advice

Oh, meet me anyplace or anywhere or anytime
Now I don't care, meet me tonight
If you will dare, I might dare

Call me on Thursday, if you will
Or call me on Wednesday, better still
Ain't lost yet, so I gotta be a winner
Fingernails and a cigarette's a lousy dinner
How young, are you?

8 comments:

Sixty Grit said...

I wrote at stupefying length about arpeggios a few years back - in retrospect the simplest way to describe it is to imagine playing a chord on a guitar by striking all 6 strings at once. That's a chord.

Now start at either the lowest or the highest string and pluck each string one at a time in succession - you are still playing the same notes in the original chord, but only one note sounds at a time. That's an arpeggio.

Variations can be how close together you play one note after the previous and whether you start at the highest pitch or the lowest.

On a keyboard it is a similar thing - bam - all the notes at once or rolling your hand on the keys. Or using your foot like Jerry Lee Lewis. Or the prelude portion of J. S. Bach's BWV 846 - it is written as a series of arpeggios, but you can play the same progression as chords, if you are in a hurry.

I leave it to the student to locate the appropriate YouTube video.

Even this half fast description is lacking, but maybe I have conveyed the basic idea.

That is impressively dense Doug fir you have there. As for a finish, I don't have any great ideas at the moment. I have recently been using a true Tung oil based finish that I like a lot. I also use polyurethane, but that's not everyone's cup of tea.

There are epoxy based finishes available. You will probably want a tough durable finish.

Regardless of which one you decide to use - test it on a piece of wood that won't be seen. Every finish will change the color of the bare wood, and it is important that you like the final result.

Lem said...

I like the song. I don't have it either. In fact, I don't have anything by this band.

chickelit said...

@Lem: Great comments exchange at the YouTube link:

"In an alternate (i.e. much cooler) universe this song was a massive hit single."

reply:

"But in a bittersweet way I'm so glad it wasn't... so it's just ours to share."

chickelit said...

@Sixty:

I guess what's confusing is that a strummed chord hits all the strings sequentially (either an up or down movement), albeit very quickly. You can't hit all strings simultaneously. So it's the rate of how fast the pick or finger hits all the strings. I get that that would lead to a different sound. I'd like to hear an example.

Sixty Grit said...

Tell that to Pete Townsend!

Perhaps this will help.

Or maybe this.

It is much clearer when playing a keyboard instrument. Bring a piano over and I will demonstrate.
.

chickelit said...

Thanks, Sixty. This video for guitar helped too.

AprilApple said...

Look at those tight Douglas fir rings. Impressive.

chickelit said...

Look at those tight Douglas fir rings. Impressive.

Sixty convinced me that the old growth rails are worth saving, as clunky as they are. I'm going to refinish both the rails and the lower Doug Fir boards to show off the rings and long grains. If nothing else, it's a great conversation topic at all the parties I plan to throw.