Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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andreas777
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Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by andreas777 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:46 pm

Have you ever been to the Tuscany (Toscana) in Italy? If not, then you should consider a trip to this beautiful place on earth. I have just returned from a two week vacation to the Tuscany, and I really enjoyed all the nice places, the historic sites, and the delicious Italian meals and Chiantis. I travel a lot and I have visited many countries, but this trip was different to all other trips before - due to my travel guitar:
travel_guitar.jpg
It was the second time that I traveled with my guitar, after my first trip to Cairo beginning of this year, but it was the first time I played guitar in public. The weather was quite hot with more than 30 degrees C, so in the afternoon after a strenuous tour in the city and after visiting all historic sites I returned to my hotel room to have a shower and relax some minutes. Then I took my travel guitar and returned to the town center to play some Tarrega and Barrios pieces in public.

My first stay was in Pisa, and the first time I went out with my guitar I tried to find a place that was "not really" exposed to the public. So I went to the Giardino Scotto, chose the most hidden park bench and started to play some easy pieces. The only creatures that listened to my music were some bothersome mosquitos. But after the first tiger mosquito have bitten me in my leg I was forced to move to a different place. I found a mosquito-free park at the Piazza S. Paolo. Just after I started to play I was surrounded by curious faces of many young kids that have stopped playing soccer, or have stopped their roller-skate performances. The kids quickly lost their interest in this funny man that doesn't understand Italian and makes strange sounds with this wodden box, but the parents joint me on my bench and we had a nice conversation about daily life in Italy.

Some days later I played in a park in the Piazza della Indipendenza in Florence (Firenze). I could not finish the first piece when a refugee from Ethiopia came to me an listened to my music. He quickly waved to and called his two friends from Somalia, and then we had a funny conversation. They offered my a bottle of cheap whisky and some things to smoke that they pulled out of their socks but I rejected as gracefully as possible. One of the refugees from Somalia told me that he is a singer. Then the guy from Ethiopia, who could not play guitar, took my guitar, did some percussion-like strumming, and the three of them gave a funny performance of an African folk song.

On a park bench near the Piazzale Michelangelo I have met a professional guitar player who first listened to my music and then told me that he plays Latin music in a band. I gave him my guitar and he played some Bossa Nova chords. Many people came to me, for example a Chinese family at the viewpoint at the the Piazzale Michelangelo, and asked me why there is this strange hole in the back of my guitar, and whether this improves the sound. I told them that I put the guitar in my case when I travel, and the hole is to fill the inside of the guitar with my clothes. They all thought that I'm kidding, but I could convince them that I really do this. The Bossa Nova player told me (in a joke) that he thinks this is typically German...lol.

In Florence the biggest problem for me as a "street musician" were not the mosquitos but the garbage collection trucks. In the night there are so many of them, and one day when I played at the Basilica di San Lorenzo there were so many of these trucks collecting garbage and moving garbage from small trucks to large trucks that I did not hear what I play and I had to leave. Then on the last day it happened: I was playing my repertoire when an old Lady walked in my direction. I spotted a coin, 1€, in the palm of her hand, and my first thought was: she wants me to change it into two 50c coins. But then I realized that this could be the first money I earn as a street musician...lol. I was so perplex that I could not continue to play, and I said to her that this is very kind, but I'm not looking for money. We had a nice conversation and I think she told me about every family member she has, or at least she remembered.

Beside all the guitar experiences I also completed one topic on my bucket list. See the great picture of Botticelli's Venus:
venus.jpg
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21 classical guitars, soon 22 :-D, 1 digital piano - no TV, no radio

ddray
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by ddray » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:54 pm

Congratulations, you're a pro. You've probably made more money than most guitarists already :mrgreen:

Leo Apray
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by Leo Apray » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:48 pm

Thanks for the short stories. Really refreshing.

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Guitar-ded
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by Guitar-ded » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:45 pm

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you had fun there.
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spanishguitarmusic
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:52 pm

Thank you for sharing you trip to Firenze!

Andrew Pohlman
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:51 pm

What an amazing story! My best story involves playing at BART stations (SF Bay Area Rapid Transit). The homeless guys hang out waiting to steal my tips, but I never open my case for "gas money". They get bored and move on. And everyone else is too busy trying to catch their trains to notice. I wish I had marvelous conversations as you did! And nothing against homeless people, but they are not engaging conversationalists in my experience. :D

Your story is much better! The human connections you experienced will be memories for a life well spent!

But you never did tell us how you assemble your travel guitar? I'd be interested to hear that for just curiosity's sake.
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Alan Green
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by Alan Green » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:47 pm

I played a Martin Backpacker on the steps in the Piazza de Miracoli in Pisa back in 2005. Great fun, but I reckon I got more attention playing it in Pisa airport on the way home

SteveL123
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by SteveL123 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:13 pm

andreas777, I love your travel guitar with the hole in the back to put clothes in! Is that your idea? Brilliant! How does it sound? How long does it take to set up including stringing it up? Can you make a video of you playing to demonstrate the sound?

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andreas777
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by andreas777 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:57 pm

Thank you for your feedback.

For me a sightseeing tour is more than just visiting all places and buildings listed in a travel guide and permanently taking pictures of objects from all possible angles, not to forget the vast amount of useless selfies for facebook.I see more and more people going to a museum and taking pictures of every boring object only watching the object on the small camera display and without reading any details on an information board. They have no idea what will be on their pictures.

My explanation to this development is that due to our education, media, etc., we more and more transform ourselves into zombies not capable anymore to live and feel the presence. We can't enjoy the presence so we take a picture to be able (theoretically) to enjoy this moment later at home when we watch the picture.

I decided for myself to reverse this trend, and one measure is to get in contact with local people. I think it's quite easy is every country but especially in developing countries where people want to learn about life in Europe or Germany. Now with my travel guitar I just have to sit and wait for the next nice conversation. Buy a cheap travel guitar and try the same! I think this is also a good measure to overcome stage fright.
Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:51 pm
Your story is much better! The human connections you experienced will be memories for a life well spent!
But you never did tell us how you assemble your travel guitar? I'd be interested to hear that for just curiosity's sake.
The following picture shows the holes and the long screw. I just fix the screw with a 5c coin (from New Zealand) to the nut in the neck, and that's it. Putting on strings is business as usual, and optionally I can close the hole in the back with a lid and some tiny screws.
travel_guitar_2.jpg
SteveL123 wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:13 pm
andreas777, I love your travel guitar with the hole in the back to put clothes in! Is that your idea? Brilliant! How does it sound? How long does it take to set up including stringing it up? Can you make a video of you playing to demonstrate the sound?
Let's say, the hole in the back has a negative impact on the volume, but I can close it and then it sounds like before. It isn't a luthier-made guitar of course, but the sound is acceptable for my purposes. Anyway I would not do a professional performance with it. I think about adding an amplifier but I have not decided yet. Stringing is a bit more complicated because the head of the guitar is closed on the back, but I have to do it only once per trip, and I would say it takes almost 30 min. I also think about using string ties and then keep the strings on head but only remove the strings by untying these string tie blocks, but I'm not sure if this will really improve the effort.

I have a good recording equipment (microphone and AudioBox), but I have to admit that I haven't use it so far. I want to create some videos (just for fun), but this will take some time. Maybe this winter during some rainy days...
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SteveL123
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by SteveL123 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:10 pm

As for closing the back, how about magnets instead of screws? To make setup quicker, have you considered adding a tailpiece?

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andreas777
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by andreas777 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:29 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:10 pm
As for closing the back, how about magnets instead of screws? To make setup quicker, have you considered adding a tailpiece?
I have not thought about adding a tailpiece yet, but I have considered the use of magnets. My first approach was to cut the sides of the guitar, to add a hinge at the waisline on the back, and to use magnets to close it. This would have been the luxuary version, but at the end I decided to make it as simple as possible.
21 classical guitars, soon 22 :-D, 1 digital piano - no TV, no radio

Georgi Chernishov
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Re: Playing guitar can change your life...at least your vacation

Post by Georgi Chernishov » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:27 am

Thank you for the story, Andreas!

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