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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another memory set to music

My dad may remember this differently, but I have a very distinct memory of the day my dad pulled out an odd handle, attached it to his electric guitar, and played this song. I think he called it a "kick", or maybe this song features a musical style called a "kick". (Yes, I admit that I am not a guitar expert: Dad will likely correct me within the hour.)

We were in Harbour Breton at the time, and my dad used to play guitar in his office between the desk and the photocopier. It was a small space, so I'm not sure if he played in there because he was avoiding work, because my mom wanted a closed door between her and the amplifier, or because he just wanted to be close to his four-track recorder.

Anyway, I remember that he seemed very excited about this attachment. In my head, this was the day he bought it, but I admit that this doesn't make a lot of sense. Perhaps he'd just misplaced it and found it again on his creaking bookshelves.

My dad has always been very intense about music, and he passionately explained the lyrics: I hope Neil Young will remember/The southern man don't need him 'round anyhow.

I, of course, was ten years old and had no idea who Neil Young was.


Kevin Holsapple said...

Megan, a daughter like you gives me the chance to live my life over again.
Alas, I have no idea what sort of "handle" would be called a "kick".
The rhythm guitar certainly gives a kick!

Kevin Holsapple said...

Allow me a word of explanation: I thought Neil Young's "Southern Man" was mean and narrow. I was happy to hear somebody fighting back.

Steve & Megan said...

Hmmm. Memories are such fleeting things. I should start posting about things that happened a couple of hours ago instead of 20 years ago.

It was a small silver handle that you operated with your right hand. Not really a handle, though -- more like a silver stick.

Am I nuts? (Of course, this was always a possibility!)

Kevin Holsapple said...

You are describing a Vibrato bar, sometimes called a "whammy" bar. It wasn't used on this record, but it was frequently used on my Jimi Hendrix records. You might be conflating two incidents.

Steve & Megan said...

So I am not nuts, just confused.

I'm not sure if that is better. You never would have used it with this song to create the flats that make it so distinctive?

Steve & Megan said...

...and I say "flats", but I am sure there is a technical term for them. I need to find a topic that I know better than my readers! Be gentle!

Kevin Holsapple said...

I don't know what you mean by "flats". Could you say more about the elements of this song you are calling "flats"? ("Flats" is a genuine musical term, but it doesn't have much to do with this song, as far as I know.)

Steve & Megan said...

Obviously, I am a dweeb.

The counter is running backwards on my screen, so I am talking about the notes at 3:55, 3:45, 3:06, 2:57, and so on.

Perhaps I am crazy AND dweeby! Why do I think you called these "kicks"?

Kevin Holsapple said...

OK, I call them kicks. That's a fitting name, don't you think? You are not crazy, or dweeby, but kicks
have nothing to do with a whammy bar.

Torq said...

The whammy bar was used, and the old man and Gurn knows this way better than me, to do something called "bending" the strings. It would actually be used to tighten the strings and loosen them to change the note a little. I actually remember dad's whammy bar too. I tried to use it once or twice but was always a terrible musician.

I asked the Princess to help with this but she made a "humpf" noise when I mentioned the electric guitar and she walked off as if I had insulted her. My poor uneducated opinion will have to suffice!

Steve & Megan said...

Oh dear. Does the Princess know what she is getting herself into? Even Michael loves guitars! (He broke his pick this afternoon while playing a Bon Jovi song and fell into a deep funk.)

The Blueberry Princess said...

It's not that I don't like guitars. I play a little bit of the acoustic guitar, but I don't know much about electric ones. There are actually 25 guitars in my classroom that I use with my general music classes. I know enough about the guitar to teach a few basic chords and strumming patterns. Matt was asking me these questions while I was trying to get dinner ready, so a "humpf" might have been uttered.

Kevin Holsapple said...

Here's a clip that shows a whammy bar: