Greetings from John

John
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:19 pm

Greetings from John

Post by John » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:04 pm

Hello everyone.
My name is John Gannon- I am a 67 year old retired Maths teacher from the UK .

My earliest significant experience with the guitar was in the Lancashire town of Bury. Being a young 22 year old with nothing to do in the evenings I was soon drawn to the bright lights of the local folk club ( 1972 ) . My star turn was a rendition of " Grandfathers' clock" on a second hand Saxon steel string guitar. My inspiration came from a dear friend at university by the name of Peter who spent much of his student days strumming and picking on a folk guitar . He sadly died young from kydney disease and he certainly deserved better . I try to make the best use of my opportunities on the guitar now as a tribute to him.
I wasn't really a great player and teaching didn't really make it easy to practice.
I moved to Southampton on a senior teaching post ( the money wasn't great ) and soon fell in with a small group of friends, including my wife to be Rowena, meeting in someone's bedroom ( I can't remember which ) to practice folk songs. I am definitely not a singer so concentrated on background picking with a jumbo Fender acoustic. At the same time I bought my first classical, a Fender FC30 which I am practising on now. I don't know why I bought it at the time because I never used it in those early days. We played a couple of sets in a club in Portsmouth but that was it. The leader of the group got married and left the group. So Rowena and I met up with another chap ( who I think played an accordion I can't remember for sure ) but we practiced as a threesome and played two sets in the same area. We even gave ourselves a name ( pointless really given how little we played in public ). We did spend a few Saturday evenings at a pub north of Fareham performing things like " Wild Rover" at the tops of our voices! That was huge fun ( probably due to the drinking). All I was required to do was to bash out the same 3 chords over and over and on these occasions I even got away with singing as the lead vocalist.
Being short of money I also managed to persuade the local Evening Institute to let me give guitar lessons in the evenings.
For this I essentially adopted tablature as a teaching medium and made use of simple pieces of folksy finger picking that Mike Raven and John Pierce were publishing at the time. I was a fraud to be honest. I was barely more than a beginner myself but I labelled the lessons as for beginners so I never got found out!
So we were definitely folk musicians of limited ability. Then marriage and a further promotion put a stop to all of this.

I didn't pick up the guitar again for another 30 years. After retiring I have decided to concentrate on classical guitars and now have several guitars of standard makes such as Admira, Yamaha and Fender. I also have a Lag nylon string which is an auditorium size.
Each guitar has a slightly different set up. They range in nut sizes from 48mm to 52mm although I have replaced the 52mm nut on my Fender with a 50mm nut . I want to see how my fingers and hands react to these differences because I do suffer from arthritis in the left elbow and shoulder ( I am right handed player ) so stretching can be tricky.
I am playing a much greater variety now of classical pieces such as the offers from Jerry Willard but I also occasionally pick up a recent Mike Raven. You could consider me as a complete beginner again to be honest. I want to enjoy what I am playing and I tend to be in a bit of a hurry so I never really get to play a piece faultlessly. But I like what I am doing. It gives me joy.
I refuse to learn music notation as I don't have the time. Tablature is fine with me. After all it was good enough for the truly great lute players in the courts of our Kings and Queens so why shouldn't I ? It seems to me that music notation is only necessary if you intend to perform in a group or orchestral setting.
Well that's definitely not me then since I have no such ambition.
Kind regards to everyone on the group and I hope that my story touches some of you in a nice way.
John

User avatar
GeoffB
Chief moderator
Chief moderator
Posts: 32303
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:37 pm
Location: UK

Re: Greetings from John

Post by GeoffB » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:24 pm

Hello John,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for that excellent and interesting introduction! I'm sure you'll feel very much at home here.

Please have a look at this page for some useful information to get you started, including links to the rules and helpfiles. After your second message has been approved, you will have access to all members' scores and recordings plus the first 3 levels of the Delcamp score collections. After you have posted 20 messages, you can apply for the 020 group, which will give you access to the remaining levels. I know you said you'd never bother with music notation, but I just mentioned that in case you ever change your mind! It does open up a wealth of music that you won't necessarily find in tab, including the Delcamp scores.

Just ask if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you around!

Best wishes,
Geoff
Classical Guitar Forum.

"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it." - Steven Wright

CathyCate
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:25 am
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan

Re: Greetings from John

Post by CathyCate » Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:33 pm

Hello John and Welcome!
Fascinating intro. Most likely you have invited an earful re:tablature vs. reading "standard" notation. :D

I will start and suggest that you may benefit from giving it another try now that you have increased (even if limited) time. If you taught mathematics, you may surprise yourself with your ability to master any music notation system devised by mankind. With proper coaching, this could happen in a very short time.

As a committed soloist, the advantage of reading music is that you'll have an increased number of scores available to you. Unlimited selection opportunity is a great reward in itself.

As time goes by, you may not wish to remain a solo act and once again find yourself ready to join an ensemble. Being open to learning to read music will broaden your horizons and your opportunities to play with other musicians as you continue your new journey.

Either way, I congratulate you on your retirement and wish you all the best!

User avatar
pogmoor
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8677
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:55 am
Location: Oxfordshire, UK

Re: Greetings from John

Post by pogmoor » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:39 pm

Hello John,
Glad you managed to get here :)
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

Rick Hutt
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Oak Paark, IL

Re: Greetings from John

Post by Rick Hutt » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:01 pm

Hi John, and welcome to the forum. I really agree with Cathy above. Notation opens up a whole world of music. Perhaps you could check out Sagreras. His studies in his first book are easy to master and perhaps a good introduction to the wonderful world of treble clef. Enjoy!
2010 Pimentel & Sons Concert Grand
1970 Taurus (Barcelona)
2009 Ramundi flamenco blanca
1962 Martin 0-16
2000 Martin 000-18
1963 Epiphone 12 Str

John
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:19 pm

Re: Greetings from John

Post by John » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:30 pm

In reply to all of your replies. Just so you know I have read every reply and I appreciate your enthusiasm. Thank you for all your kind words.
You have done enough to convince me that reading notation is the best way forward. I can as it happens read most parts of music notation and I can also run through scales on the guitar described by their musical pitch. However putting the two together requires years of practice. I think you may be over-estimating my technical skill . My first target is to be able to complete full passages without error and with techically correct ( or appropriate fingering). I haven't achieved this with anything beyond let's say Packington's Pound. I have roughly 2 hours available each day but not every day. I can do most beginner pieces but by sight reading tablature . I haven't practiced memorising. Now I'll make a promise because you all have a valid argument in certain contexts. So if I can master without error say for example a piece like Ayende then I will make an effort to pick up some easy pieces using music notation.
Regards,
John

User avatar
GeoffB
Chief moderator
Chief moderator
Posts: 32303
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:37 pm
Location: UK

Re: Greetings from John

Post by GeoffB » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:21 pm

Bravo, John! One thing you may find helpful for improving your reading is to play through as much easy music as you can (including easier music than your current playing ability), without attempting to memorize or spend very long on each piece before moving on to the next. The more you read notation, the sooner it will start to become automatic. The Delcamp score collections are ideal for this, as they are arranged in order of difficulty, clearly laid out and fingered, reasonably plentiful (and free!). Just start at volume D01 and keep going. Good luck!

Geoff
Classical Guitar Forum.

"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it." - Steven Wright

DerekB
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 10:22 am
Location: Bollington, Cheshire UK

Re: Greetings from John

Post by DerekB » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:31 pm

I completely agree with Geoff's advice. You will find that the majority of guitar music is in a fairly limited range of keys and time signatures, which helps. Stick to stuff that is of a fairly easy grade. Don't try Leyenda or any other concert piece until you can play simple pieces. Another source of free legal material is the Iceland Guitar School. Their lower level collections will give you lots of material to practice on.
I've suffered for my music. Now it's your turn... - Seasick Steve

Ana Espinosa 2014 Swiss spruce/IRW
Yulong Guo 2009 640mm scale cedar/IRW

John
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:19 pm

Re: Greetings from John

Post by John » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:25 pm

Thanks for the support, highly valued. John

portalesman
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:38 pm

Re: Greetings from John

Post by portalesman » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:20 am

Good luck and have fun John. Might as well belt out some vocals also.
Alvarez MC90

Return to “Introduce yourself”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], tspaulding and 11 guests