Tag Archives: guitar

J’attendrai: Melodic Beauty and Grace in Performance

J’attendrai is one of those songs that, when you first hear it, you want to play it on the guitar and sing it in performance.  The melody is perfect.  I have yet to see a performance of the song that didn’t glide with a gracious humanity.

Translated from French as — “I Will Wait” — J’attendrai was first made popular in 1938 by Rina Ketty and was written by Dino Olivier and Nino Rastelli.  J’attendrai is the hallmark song for the start of World War II as people all over the world prepared for an uncertain and dramatic future:

I will wait night and day,
I will wait forever,
For you to come back, I will wait, [I will wait]
For the bird flying away
Comes to seek oblivion in its nest.
Time flies and runs,
Beating sadly in my oh so heavy heart
And yet I will wait for you to come back

The most resonant, historic, performance of J’attendrai belongs to magnificent Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and expert violinist Stéphane Grappelli.

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How Alcoholism Saved Eric Clapton from Suicide

I’m always torn when it comes to admiring people who may be talented, but who should not be morally allowed to reserve our undying adulation.  Fame and adoration tend to clasp each other, and since most performers are broken, it becomes a difficult task to try to divine who deserves our public scorn versus who deserves our moral compassion.

It’s no secret that I’m an Eric Clapton fanatic — but there is no hiding from the facts of his life that he was an addict, an abandoned child and an abandoning father — and one of the greatest guitar talents of several generations.

What’s a fan to do?  Pity the man?  Admire the Guitar God?  Can we temper the person with a little bit of each, or are we not allowed to split the righteous baby when it comes to placing a talent in the history of time?

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Back to the Blues!

After a long and fulfilling experience playing fingerstyle Jazz chord harmonies on my Jazz guitars for the past few years, I have slowly been weaning my way back to the fingerstyle Blues that started me on this new musical journey in the first place.

I’m sure the Clapton Martin acoustic and Martin D-42 had something to do with this slow circling back to the center — but I do think it’s more than just that.

There’s a whole rush of intensity and emotion for me when I play the Blues.  I immediately feel connected back to a time of suffering and empathy that I do not always have while playing Rock or Jazz or Country music.

There is a deep and longing sadness in the Blues and it is in those marks of human sacrifice and resurrection that we learn to become kinder and more prescient human beings — at least during the melancholy life of a finger plucked Mississippi Delta Blues song.

So, I’m “Back to the Blues” — but not the “Boles Blues” started in 2009 — that great blog title and content will stay embedded here forever in Boles Blogs.

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Acoustic Guitars Strings Review

When you play guitar, you are always on the hunt for just the right set of strings for your musical expression.  Now that I’m back in an acoustic guitar swing, I have been on the hunt for just the right acoustic guitar strings and I’ll share my limited, but varied, journey with you now.

I learned over the past few weeks you just can’t beat the John Pearse acoustic strings. I use both the 600L and 700M sets and they both have such a wonderful chimey, echoey, glistening, chorus when you play that once you put them on, you’ll never want to take them off your guitar — even to change strings to the same strings!

Somehow, the John Pearse strings start off sounding grand and then only build their greatness as the weeks pass by — a complete reversal of the normal aging strings progression.  There’s some sort of magic going on, and the bright is right for focused experimentation.

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Fret Doctor Bores to the Fingerboard Rescue

The internet lives in mysticism and myth — especially when it comes to adding magical mojo to your guitars — but there’s one bit of medicinal shamanism for any non-sealed guitar fingerboard that you should know about right now; and that well-kept secret is a special bore oil formulation called “Fret Doctor.”

I am a wild and obsessive supporter of this miracle oil when it comes to preserving and bringing out the real personality of a rosewood or ebony fretboard.

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John Fogerty Just Wrote a Song for Everyone Again

Today is Big Music Day in the new album division of the music world.  We started the morning with a new 51-year-old album from Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett and we end the day with a new bit of wonder from John Fogerty — Wrote a Song for Everyone — and this new album of reconsidered Fogerty old songs is a big hit.  I am a true fan of John Fogerty and his long and historic musical career.  He’s a songwriting genius, but there comes a time in every career when popularity wanes, the road calls, and new music struggles to free a suffocated voice.

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Dings and Dangs vs. Road Worn, Vintage Original Spec and Murphy Aged

If you regularly play a new guitar, you’re going to get — what I call — “Dings and Dangs” and that means bumps, scratches and bruises that always and inevitably break your heart.  Nobody appreciates new damage to a guitar — even cosmetic — because your baby is sullied and broken forever by everyday life.

For that reason of careful guitar ownership, I am fascinated by the “New Old Stock” movement in the guitar industry where brand new, beautiful, guitars are purposefully “aged” at the factory — beaten up, really — so they can be sold as “Road Worn” or “Vintage Original Spec” or “Murphy Aged” guitars when they’re actually just brand new replicas.

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