Down 37 pounds!

I can’t believe I’m writing this (on SEVERAL different levels 🙂 )… Yesterday was the start of a new session of Weight Watchers.  This is session number 3.  When I first started Weight Watchers I weighed 234 lbs.  Now, 8 months later, I am down to 197.  The math works out to losing 37 pounds in approximately 24 weeks.  To me, that is just amazing.  I still eat what I want, but I’ve learned a LOT about portions and control.  I hope to drop my weight to somewhere around 180.

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It’s not the equipment, it’s the player…

Another one of those ‘Ah-Ha!’ moments happened this weekend. 

I have been re-evaluating my guitars and amps to get a better sound that fits in with the band.  On Saturday, I happened to find myself near a Guitar Center with some free time, so I proceeded to check out some guitars.  I have been looking at Gibson Les Pauls, the Slash model specifically.  I really love the sound.  You can’t get more rock and roll than a Les Paul playing through a Marshall amp.  The GC I went to had several Les Pauls, which I took for a test drive.  I discovered something at that point… I wasn’t comfortable playing them.  I had a hard time reaching the top frets.  I had just worked out a solo for one of our songs, and when I tried to play it, I was completely uncomfortable.  So, the dream of getting a Les Paul has been shelved.

Instead, I grabbed a couple of PRS guitars.  First up was an SC250.  Wonderful, wonderful guitar!  Had a great sound, and was MUCH more comfortable.  The salez dood even commented that I looked FAR more at ease playing the SC250.  And, it was close to half off!  (I ain’t gonna tell ya where it is at… 🙂 )  Finally, out of shear curiosity, I pulled down a PRS Paul Allender guitar.  For being an SE model, I was totally blown away!  The sound was great, the playability was top notch, and I even like the look!  Plus, the price was FAR more affordable.  No, I didn’t purchase it, but it’s on the wish list!

The one thing that really struck me at the end of the day was that all of the guitars I played sounded good, whether they were inexpensive or ridiculous.  Maybe it was because I was playing through a Line 6 solid state amp, but I’d like to think that it is all coming back to the fingers.  Knowing the songs, being confident, and twisting the knobs of what one already uses will probably be just as good, if not better than getting new gear 🙂

More ways to practice…

Recently, I have had trouble finding MIDI files for some songs that I need to learn for my band.  Doing all of my usual searches has yielded nothing 😦  I was becoming a little desperate, because some of these songs I REALLY need work on.

Fortunately, I do have complete Guitar Pro tablatures that include bass and drums.  This is a good thing, as I discovered that Guitar Pro has a neat little feature… it can Export to MIDI files.  Woo-hoo!  Now, if I can’t find a MIDI file for a song, and I have complete tabs, I can just export the tablature to a MIDI file, then follow the normal import process into garageband, and then I’ve got my backing tracks.

Practice, practice, practice…

It’s amazing what a month of solid practice can do for you.

This week, I have finally been happy with my playing. It started with last weekend spending all of Sunday just working on songs for the band. We had some new songs to learn, which I *sorta* did, but what I really did was go back to some of the things we’ve been working on and really punched them up so that I felt very comfortable playing them. It paid off Monday when we played ‘Rebel Yell’. That song can be a bit tricky, but when we played it, we just NAILED it! So, I started getting some confidence in my playing (finally!). After that, I found out that we were going practice on Wednesday with a specific set of songs. Tuesday, I ended up spending some quality time with a song that I was just kind of playing sloppy through. I spent most of Tuesday night just working this one song. Again, it paid off in spades on Wednesday, as that song REALLY came together. Friday, my plans fell through, so I ended up at home, and decided to start really getting the leads for some of the songs. I was able to learn the solo to "You’ve got another thing comin’". I normally don’t learn solos note-for-note, but I’m beginning to re-think that position. It seems like learning the solos will give me some great licks, and it will sound better when I play the songs with the band. So, my new goal is to learn all of the solos CORRECTLY. If I can learn one solo a night, I’ll be a VERY happy camper!

Taking a day off

Yesterday was one of those rare days where I just needed a day off.  I have been VERY busy lately.  Heck, last week I was home only one evening, and this week was about as busy.  Next week, my schedule will be back to normal, with just band practice and trying to catch up with my friends 🙂  I still can’t believe it is October already.  Scary how quickly this year has gone.