Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Scruggs Roll

I really shouldn't be blogging right now. I should be practicing.

As most of you know by now, Ken is a man with a flair for big, dramatic gestures. He never gets me just one bouquet of flowers, let alone a single red rose. (In fact, he feels that far from being romantic, buying a woman a single red rose is an unparalleled way to demonstrate that you're a cheapskate.) He brings home armloads of flowers. And when he buys me a gift, it's got to be something special. Nothing but the best will do, and more is better.

There has been more than one occasion where he has elicited gasps from onlookers at Soma by approaching the display case holding all the types of truffles and bon bons and asking for one of everything. He doesn't call it decadence. He says it's the least he can do for me.

Ken's generosity is only limited by the number of bills in his wallet. And since he recently got paid for a big project, some pretty fantastic gifts have come my way.

For starters we were browsing in a music store that was having a special sale/music festival. Ken picked out some recording equipment that he needed, and then asked me if I wanted anything. I said No, I'm fine. He said Come on, nothing? Nothing here appeals to you?

Well, I said, those guys over there sure seem to be having a lot of fun with their electric guitars.

Next thing you know we're browsing the electric guitars. It seemed a harmless enough diversion. I picked out my favourite based on looks. Predictably, it was red and sparkly. OK, not red so much as this beautiful dark shade like rootbeer, or cherry cola. Kind of like this one in terms of shape, but swap the white parts for black and you've got it.

Long story short, we drove away from the store with that guitar, in a case, in the backseat of the car. And this wicked lightening bolt shoulder strap. I wish that there was some way to wear the shoulder strap without the guitar, as a fashion accessory unto itself.

Ken promised that he will teach me how to play it. He took lessons for years when he was a lad. Have I played it yet? Nope, haven't found the time. Although so far I get quite a lot of happiness just from owning such a beautiful object. But as if that wasn't enough...

Anytime we've gone into a music store, I've always lingered by the banjos and plucked wistfully at their strings. I don't know what it is about banjos. I just like'em. I have unjustifiable banjophilia.

You can see where this is going.

One day last week I came home grouchy after a tough day at work. When I got home, Ken said to me "There's something wrong with the bed." WTF? I asked myself. What the hell did he do, jump on it or something? Annoyed, I went to see for myself.

There was a very odd-shaped cardboard box on the bed. I was clueless. Of course you already know. I opened up that box, and there was a banjo! Fantastic!

I am very keen on learning to play the banjo. I found some free online lessons and dug out my pitch pipe for tuning. On the weekend I got myself an instructional book and some fingerpicks. I can already do a pretty good Scruggs Roll. I just need someone to play the whiskey jug and someone else on washboard and we're good to go.

I did tell Ken that we shouldn't bring any more new instruments into the house until I get a chance to learn these two. I feel that instruments are meant to be played, not just to sit around and gather dust.

One day I might even go back to my electric violin. We'll see. I gave up on it last year partially due to time constraints, and partially because it's a really tough instrument to play well. Fretted instruments are easier; you don't have to be quite so precise to play in tune. The violin requires posture that's physically demanding (you try turning your left elbow under like that for an hour a day) and tons of practice. Banjo and guitar are more forgiving.

So there you go! Now I can rock out or go bluegrass style. Yeehaw!


Kate said...

I just need to get my banjo restrung and we could do duets across the internet. Hahaha!

Jameil said...

SO COOL!!! I want an electric guitar and/or violin!! ROTFL @ "he feels that far from being romantic, buying a woman a single red rose is an unparalleled way to demonstrate that you're a cheapskate." Absolute hilarity. I love when people do things for me that show they've been listening. I also love grand gestures so good job, Ken!!

darcknyt said...

A banjo? Well! You still need a piece of straw with the seed top on it stuck in your lips with the following to complete the image:

For greater effect, you can use make-up to black out a tooth or two directly in front; missing incisors are especially effective.

Add coveralls and a plaid shirt and ratted straw hat for a perfect ensemble. ;)

Happy strumming!

whatigotsofar said...

I just love it when I hear a girl talk about a guitar. "Oooh, it's sparkly and red with a cute guitar strap."
When a guy gets a guitar, it's different. It's all "Solid maple body with a rosewood neck, double humbucker pickups." You know, stuff like that.
It's the same with cars. A girl says "I got a red car with a CD changer" while a guy says "I got a V8, turbo-charger and Monroe struts."

So, you got a guitar, how does it sound? More of a clean tone or more of a rough tone? How's the sustain?
Took a peek at the picture, is it an authentic Strat, a Squire or just an Ibanez or something like it?

LL Cool Joe said...

I'll try to avoid reacting to the gender stereotyping of the last comment, and just say how cool Ken is! ;)

Sounds like you are going to have even less time to blog now.

I can here Cotton Eyed Joe all the way from here!

G said...

Cotten Eyed Joe?



Seriously though, it's great that found two potential outlets for your creativity...

LL Cool Joe said...

Sorry typo city! Hear! I mean hear, although I am here too.

I need to go to bed!

Sparkling Red said...

Kate: That would be awesome! I would love to play banjo duets with you. It's totally possible.

Jameil: Yeah, Ken's one of the most thoughtful people I've ever met. Combine that with his extreme generosity, and he's unstoppable!

darcknyt: I'm totally going to black out a tooth. And go to work like that. With a straw stuck behind my ear and a farmer's tan.

WIGSF: OK, to be honest, all I remember is that it has a rosewood neck. I had to ask Ken about the brand. "Fender", he says. I asked about the pickups. "I think humbucker" he said, at which I burst out laughing. Partly because humbucker is a funny new word, and partly because you got two out of three descriptors bang on. Not bad!
You will probably be amused that the only pickup type that stuck in my head from the music store guy's sales pitch was when he showed us the model with the lipstick pickups. Yes, I'm a girl, so I paid attention when he said lipstick.

LL Cool Joe: I love Cotton Eyed Joe! I put that on a mix CD I made for my mom, and I love watching her boogie around in the kitchen to it while she dries dishes. It's probably fair to say that that's more of a fiddle song, so I'll have to pick my violin back up and use the magic of home recording to play duets with myself.

G: What? It's better than the Hamster Dance song.

DarcsFalcon said...

YeeHaw indeed! Purty soon you'll be hoggin' it up on HeeHaw! LOL

It does sound like some serious fun, and now you have something to do for those nights when you get bored. :) Pretty soon we'll want YouTube vids of you playing, just so you know. ;)

Karen said...

I love bluegrass music. Awesome. Banjos are the best

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I'm thinking I'll focus on emptying the whiskey jug and then try to learn to play it!

Ily said...

Lucky you! I would love to hear you play if you ever decide to vlog a tune. :)

I'd love to have small keyboards to play in bed. Now that's a box I wouldn't mind coming home to!

Ily said...

I love musical instruments and Ken is just so sweet to indulge you with TWO!!

This whole post makes me want to get back on my keyboards...before they collect more dust!

Enjoy learning your guitar and banjo...and I hope you post a video of you playing them in the future. :)