26.9.14

More Warr

I wrote a few days ago about playing the Warr Guitar again. After the last band rehearsal I decided to keep the instrument for one or two songs but not to bring it to this week's rehearsal. Keep it simple, I thought. Stick with what you know (the regular bass guitar) while you're learning new songs.

So when I left home I picked up the bass in its bag and looked forward to a night on a completely familiar instrument.

But no. When I opened the bag I found the Warr Guitar and was forced to play everything on it. Of course, having no option but to rethink my parts I had some panicky moments but also had a ton of fun. My kind bandmates also seemed to enjoy the change.
Teaser No. 2 - work in progress from the band New Accelerator from Will Cruttenden on Vimeo.


16.9.14

The Phonetic Alphabet - sorted at last!


I have been fascinated by the TED talks ever since I saw my first one some years ago. Typically for me I felt an irrational desire to be on that stage, showing the assembled audience my amazing idea. Without an actual amazing idea though, I wasn’t likely to do this.

Until now.

Of all the world’s serious problems surely one of the biggest is the Phonetic Alphabet. What? Not a problem? Well of course it is. For a start there are two phonetic alphabets. That can be confusing enough but hen factor in the problems with explaining either one to a four year old. “What does Alpha mean?” “What is a Foxtrot?” “Why do they say Sierra?”

So, to combat this problem I have created the (admittedly Cruttenden family-centric) phonetic alphabet. My gift to you.


Apples

Bananas

Custard

Dog

Elephant

Fart

Goat

Happy

Igloo

Jumper

Kick

Lemon

Mouse

Numpty

Octopus

Pants

Queen

Rubbish

Spacehopper

Toilet

Underpants

Vomit

Willy

X-Box

Zappa

 

Now, where’s the number for TED?

15.9.14

Warr

Many years ago I ordered a guitar from Mark Warr. It took a year to build and it arrived around the same time as my daughter, so I named it after her.
This instrument is a touch guitar and is designed to be played by tapping the strings against the fretboard, although you can play it in any style you like. I had previously owned a Chapman Stick, which is a purely tapping instrument and turned out not to be right for me. I didn’t like only being able to tap and, over time, I realised I did not like the tone.
The Warr Guitar is a wonderful, beautifully built, gorgeous sounding instrument, even when it isn’t amplified. But there was a problem. Not having anyone to teach me the instrument I felt my way and developed plenty of (probably) bad habits. I recorded it for bass and lead parts on my Spingere project and played soundscapes in front of audiences before Eclipse trio gigs. I even recorded the bass line for a country song on it.
The one thing I had never done was to play it, full volume, with a drummer in a band situation. At least, I hadn’t done that until last week.
The Band With No Name (soon to be revealed) tried out some new material and I felt this might be the place to let the Warr Guitar loose. I began with my back to everyone and the more comfortable I felt the more I turned around.
It wasn’t perfect. Getting consistent volume took a while and, as I was alternating between by bass and the Warr (both are tuned in different intervals) there were a few brown notes. But, overall, I was pleased with the sound and no one asked me to put it away and pick the bass back up.
The next step is to gig with it.
 

4.9.14

Cryptic

Thank goodness for the i newpaper and its five clue cryptic crossword.

I'm learning to solve cryptic crossword clues as part of my 50 at 50 list. I've tried before and got nowherr. I read Colin Dexter's book and got a tiny bit further. Now I can attempt these small but fiendish puzzles and feel seriously good when I get three out of five right.

Sometimes I don't understand the answer even when I have it in front of me. But I'm getting better and enjoying the difficulty. Time to read Mr Dexter's book again.

1.9.14

365

Just in case you're one of those people who follow my 365 project on Flickr, you may like to know I've worked out what the bug is that was causing photographs to appear many times over. It's all fixed now and can be seen here.

You may like to play the game of 'guess which days Will totally ran out of time and/or inspiration'.