When we think about Thanksgiving, we think about the festivities.
Turkey and Cranberry sauce, Thanksgiving day football, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – you know what we mean.
But, at its core, Thanksgiving is about, well, giving thanks. And that goes for us guitarists as well.
Here at Thalia, we’re been thinking about the guitar-related things to be thankful for this holiday season. These are some of our observations.
You have a guitar (even if it isn’t a custom shop)
As the saying goes, the number of guitars you need is always the number of guitars you have, plus one.
That saying isn’t exactly in the spirit of the season though. If you want to be a thankful guitarist, then it’s time to cherish the instrument you have. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $4000 custom shop Fender or a $99 Squier Bullet Strat. It’s yourguitar, and it allows you to express yourself.
With that in mind, make sure you pick it up and play it this holiday season. Remind yourself of those favorite licks, run through the solos that make you smile. The instrument you’re holding, for all of its flaws, is a gift that allows you to create, to unwind, to grow and to thrive. So, be proud of it, whether it has proud frets or not!
There’s good music out there
We’re living in an era where plenty of people complain about the state of guitar music. Whether it’s old rock gods telling you that the genre is deador newspaper articles saying that the guitar is on its way out, there’s a lot of doom mongering out there.
But, this isn’t the season for that kind of thinking. Firstly, it’s not strictly true – guitars are actually selling as well as ever – and secondly, even if guitar music isn’t in the mainstream like it used to be, there’s still so much good stuff out there.
There’s the YouTube wunderkinds changing the way we think about our instrument. There are the amazing, undiscovered bands that are getting out there, hitting the clubs and taking the music to the masses.
And, when you’re in the mood for something more familiar, it’s easier than ever to listen to all your old favorites. Thanks to services like Spotify and Apple Music, forgotten favorites and undiscovered gems are just a click away.
There’s always a stage
We’ve sung the praises of open mic nights in this blog previously, but it seems appropriate, given the season, to bring them up again.
There are guys and gals out there organizing events so that people, like you, can get up and play. Usually, they’re not doing it for a huge amount of money. In fact, they might not be getting paid at all. They’re doing it because they love music, they love their community, and they want talent to thrive.
Thanks to these guys and gals, you have a stage to play on. You have an opportunity to meet fellow musicians, to jam with them, and to do what musicians do. When you think about it, that’s incredible.
What guitar-related things are you thankful for this season? And in what musical ways will you be celebrating Thanksgiving? As always, share your stories in the comments.
Cal Jam doesn’t get the same love as festivals like Monterey Pop or Woodstock. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t have the late ‘60s countercultural cred, happening a full five years after the summer of love reached its peak. Maybe it’s because it was staged to be filmed for television (as part of ABC’s legendary “In Concert” series). Why do I love California Jam so much? It is because it established the record for the largest concert sound system ever assembled? Was it because it featured the first ever appearance of the Good Year blimp at a music festival?
Guitar lessons eventually followed. But, classical guitar didn’t grab me in the same way that my own freeform compositions had. Firstly, I didn’t know any of the songs I was supposed to be learning. Secondly, it required the kind of co-ordination and finger dexterity that I was – at that time at least – far too impatient to master. “I read somewhere that there are these things you can use to hit the strings so you don’t have to use your fingers. I think they began with a P,” I once told my guitar teacher. “The thing that begins with a P is called practice,” he replied. He was right, of course, but that didn’t mean I wanted to hear it.
This week, to satisfy my yearning for live music, I’ve taken a deep dive into my record collection and rediscovered some live favourites. Given how much joy I’ve got out of these records, I thought I’d share them with you today. Putting together this list, I’ve tried to take the road less travelled. I didn’t want to put together a list of classic live albums that everyone already knows like the back of their hand. Instead, my three picks serve as alternatives to some of those classic albums, offering a new look at some legendary bands.