Tag Archive: Dallas Guitar Show


V-Picks

There came a time when I could no longer buy any more guitars. I certainly don’t need any more guitars. Which is what led to the moratorium on buying guitars. Well, that and Cyndy wouldn’t buy any justification I might come up with.

So when I worked the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Dallas and Arlington guitar shows, I started looking at accessories. I have an impressive capo collection (more later). I have picks of many sizes, shapes, thickness, material, etc.

For years I used Fender medium picks like everyone else. Then John Pearse picks with the off-center point that helped with the way I played. A few years ago, a lot of people started making picks out of just about anything you can imagine. I have one out of petrified wood and one of granite.

So I began to experiment with all different kinds of picks. They were cheaper so Cyndy didn’t mind. It had never occurred to me how the pick can change the sound. Like everyone else, I tried different strings, different gauges, and so forth. I was amazed at the different sounds I could get with the different picks.

Then Vinni Smith introduced me to his V-Picks picks. I use them exclusively now- except for finger picks, which he doesn’t make. I also use different picks for different songs. The picture below is my V-Pick leather wrist band with the picks I use. Check out the website and see the variety of shapes and styles. There is bound to be one that fits your sound or even enhances it. They are made with Vinni’s special acrylic blend. And they stick to your fingers with the heat of your fingers.

Last week, I got an email from Vinni with the picks on sale and a new pick. The Nashville pick is a return in his special acrylic blend to that same Fender pick except “on steroids.” I didn’t like using a heavy pick, but I love this pick. It rounds out my wristband onstage selection quite nicely.

Check out the website. They have sets you can order to try different ones. Tell Vinni I sent you.  Or catch me when I play and you’ll have a demonstration. I’d be glad to show them to you and let you try them.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Madalyn White, Grace Kuch, Grace Ritter

I worked the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Dallas International Guitar Festival (I still call it the Dallas Guitar Show – as it was for years – or, as above, the Dallas Guitar Festival). Naturally, there were hundreds of really nice guitars. There were some of the usual vendors, but some of the ones I was used to seeing weren’t there this year. Then there were the new, or non-yearly, vendors.  And of course the music on multiple stages. Suffice it to say, there were a lot of things to see and music to hear.

I was sitting at the DSA booth, talking with whoever was with me at the time, and watching people walk by. A good number of them came by the booth, but more just passed by. Since a lot of them weren’t songwriters, that made sense.

A group of younger girls and a guy walked by. I thought one of the girls looked familiar. As showcase director for the DSA, I try to promote younger talent, DSA or otherwise. But I just figured I was imagining things. They passed by at least once, maybe twice, when the girl I thought looked familiar walked intently toward me. She walked up and held out her phone.

“Is that you?” It was my website with my blog on the home page.

“Yes.”

She said okay while still fiddling with her phone. She pulled up  this post.

“You wrote this about me a few months ago. I just wanted to say thank you. I really appreciate it.”

I always try to promote other musicians and songwriter. It was nice to hear someone say “thank you.”

The guy that was with them said that they were playing on the Young Guns stage. Jimmy Wallace and the staff of the Guitar Festival take entries from bands with members under the age of 20 for a chance to play the stage. I made a note of it.

G2 Band

The young girl was Madalyn White. The band was the G2 Band. I managed to get over to the stage soon after the start of their set. The lead guitarist and the drummer are Grace Kuch and Grace Ritter, I think respectively but I’m not sure. Madalyn played rythmn guitar. I didn’t have a chance to get the names of the rest of the band – keyboard player, bassist, saxophone player, and second vocalist.

At one point Madalyn said they were in a jazz band at school. They played mostly blues. But after Madalyn made that announcement, the saxophone player, bassist, and drummer played a very interesting piece with saxophone as lead instrument. A nice break from the constant blues through the weekend.

When G2 played the blues, their inexperience and naivete worked in their favor. It was refreshing – in contrast to the constant flow of standard blues licks mixed with doesn’t this sound like Hendrix licks or I can play Stevie licks, not to mention the I don’t know what I’m freaking doing licks throughout the weekend. I’m not referring to the bands on the stages.

I think that given another environment, with different audience expectations, G2 could relax and play music that comes more naturally to them. Not that they didn’t hold their own on the Young Guns stage. But they didn’t break loose either. I would have liked to hear a couple of jazz tunes. However, I was probably in the minority with that thought.

Check out Madalyn White when she plays solo and the G2 Band if you get the chance. You would be pleasantly entertained.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

20140503_171118 One thing I noticed while working the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Dallas Guitar Show is something I notice most of the time when I visit a music store. Naturally, there are talented guitarists at the guitar show or store. The majority, I would think. But then there are the new guitarists who do not want anyone else in the store to know that they have not been playing very long or cannot play very well.

So they play the one riff they can play well from their favorite band. Unfortunately, that is the only cover tune riff they can do well enough to be heard in Guitar Center, Sam Ash, or any music store that sells guitars, as well as guitar shows. So, rather than risk embarrassment, they play that riff over and over. They change the settings each time so it sounds a little different and gives the impression that they are actually serious about buying a guitar. Which would work if they were not there three times a week and had never bought anything more than strings.

At guitar shows, these guitarists are the same, but incredibly louder. Particularly at booths selling amps that purport to be louder than all other amps. Then it is just painful. And it is made worse by their insistence in hearing themselves over all the other guitarists who are doing the same thing. That and the fact that, for some reason, the sound men for the various stages seem to feel that good sound is not as important as being heard in the next universe.

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, there was a dual lick. By that I mean that the lick I refer to was useful to guitarists and also those who wanted to “prove” they could play bass. That lick was from the song, Smoke On the Water, by Deep Purple. Whether you liked Deep Purple or not, you got tired of it quick – just because someone could play the riff did not mean they could do it well. These days, these irritating guitarists’ riffs span the scale of genres.

I was in a Guitar Center in the past week or so to pick up a couple of things. A guy was playing his favorite heavy metal riff. As the clerk was ringing up my purchase, the guy played it a couple more times, pausing for a few minutes between to change settings.

“I think you’ve got it down now,” I said outloud to the guy (who couldn’t hear me).

The clerk made a face that said he agreed with me.

“At least it wasn’t Smoke On the Water!” I said, and he laughed.

“Oh, he was in yesterday,” he replied.

It was my turn to laugh, but I was surprised that people still play that riff in public. I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. The song is still played on classic rock stations. And the riff is relatively simple to play. The funny thing, though, is that most people play it wrong. Which makes the pretense of displaying their talent all the more sad.

Peace be with you.

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