Is this a dead forum I see before me ???


Do we need a roll call of those still alive ?


  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,232Member

    To wake you all up. You must listen to the second half to get what I mean. Great use of dynamics.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member
    I admit to being alive, but don't tell the taxman!

    It's hard to talk about guitars and shizzel when there are no gigs etc. I have updated my blog post about recent activity. But since I don't have a digital home recording setup (or currently a personal computer) because my day gig is desk bound driving the damn things.
    Breaking News: I shall take early retirement at the end of the year and will after a short break from tapping keys I shall indulge myself in a recording setup and craze the a#se of folks here with my inane tripe.

    For those what ave got facebroke this was us a couple of summers ago at a Dog show!

    Oh, hello everyone.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    The only playing I am doing these days is in church, where I am the drummer. Here in Slovakia we had the virus right down to almost zero new cases for 2 months but it is now rising far worse than before so I expect indoor meetings to be banned again.

    At home I am not even practicing as I am preparing a new music room. We rented but last year we had the opportunity to buy a 56 sq.m. commercial space in the same building as our flat, so I am busy which is a blessing.

    My wife is a piano teacher and has had to move to distance teaching. We experimented with all sorts of audio and video possibilities but as all but one of her students has WhatsApp on their 'phones that has proved to be the simplest and preferred method.

    Keep safe and, as Vera Lynn sang, "We'll meet again, don't know how, don't know when, but someday."
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,721Member
    Yep, still alive and kicking for the moment. Actually did a gig yesterday - a socially distanced duo gig in a pub garden. It was great fun and I'd forgotten how much fun it is playing a few songs to a few people. But it was bloody cold, and the social distancing regulations meant that the audience was spread out and limited so it was a bit weird. But that was the only gig since March and probably the only one until next March (or beyond).

    I think the rock'n'roll band won't survive the lockdown - the drummer has all his kit for sale because (he says) six months break, plus another six months has done for him. I get it. I'm wondering if I shouldn't start to sell some kit, too (although I suspect it's not a good time, price-wise).

    We've spent the summer doing these gypsy jazz videos, all with people I've never met.

  • martinsmith99martinsmith99 Posts: 390Member
    I'm here occasionally.

    I think Facebook and other social media is killing off forums in general. It's a trend I've been seeing for a while.

    There were a number of forums for my varied interests that I used to frequent and all seem to be going the same way. I do still prefer forums as it seems to attract genuinely interested people, rather than smart-mouthed twits.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    no, it’s sleeping. Or pining for the fjords....

    Nice to see others are keeping busy in one way or another.

    I discovered that soldering is great for mental health, keeping me in the moment, and meditating. So to help me through the beginning of lockdown I bought a bunch of kits from FuzzDog I made a mistake on the first one, but they sent me some parts I needed to complete the kit. I’ve now made an analog delay, bit crusher, yellow pearl overdrive, big muff (2 - one for a friend), slow gear, treble booster and a buffer that I put inside an Ernie ball volume pedal. I also built an overdrive and a preamp from instructions I found elsewhere on the web. All really satisfying if not a little frustrating when they didn’t work, but that only goes for the ones I didn’t make from kits. The FuzzDog kits are fantastic. If you can solder and you’re patient, you can do it.

    Lots of fun!

    To cut a long story short, I also decided to upgrade my guitar building skills by taking a course with a luthier in the Peak District. Essentially I built a guitar in a week, from scratch, and I now feel more confident about doing frets.
    So I setup a website ( and a Facebook page, talked to the local music shop (they know me anyway) and got my first client yesterday! Well, I got my first interested party but I’m yet to see the colour of his money hahah

    Lockdown and the pandemic made me think about what is important in life and how much I value working with my hands rather than sitting in front of a computer, so if all goes well, this part time guitar building job will go full time. Fingers crossed!

    That’s the good news from this year. I’ll focus on that.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member

    that is quite the story, you've had a good summer if I may say so.

    I hope you have a fan/ventilation when soldering to take away the fumes?

    Good for you recognising what is important in life, I think a few of us have managed similar and I certainly know what you mean about driving a computer for a living.

    Good luck with your venture and I hope you get to go full time when it suits you.

  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,328Member
    Still alive! And my life isn't really much different from before the virus, as I'm basically an introvert and I don't really miss the lack of contact with people. Having said that, I've been walking a lot with friends recently, 20 miles or so a week, and that's kept me from going crazy.

    Unfortunately my 10-year-old music computer finally gave up the ghost last week, having scrambled my current music project twice. Fortunately I'm a great believer in multiple backups, so hopefully I haven't lost much. The problem seems to be a motherboard fault. Well, I've bought a new PC and a new audio interface and I'm hoping I can reinstall my existing music software on Windows 10. I'm going to try the free version of Cakewalk (formerly Sonar) as it seems very similar to what I've been using for years (Sonar 8.5). I don't want to spend a lot of time learning a new system when I could be making music.


  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    That was a close call, DaveBass, and top marks for being so disciplined with your backups.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,232Member
    It's lovely to hear from you all (sorry I didn't respond sooner.) Isn't Derek's music GREAT !

    Nick - Brilliant stuff... all of you, in fact.

    Puts me to shame.

    We've just got shot of the boys after them being here for lockdown. One's got a job in his chosen career and the other is back at uni doing an unusually long degree (with intercalation. 6 years !!!)

    We stayed in most of the summer (well, I was working throughout it) and I bought a snooker table and we all got quite good at that.

    Our holiday was disrupted but we managed to shift the cottage rental to a couple of weeks back and had a great time (Egton Bridge, Nth Yorks.)

  • MarkbluesMarkblues Posts: 134Member
    I'm here, keeping an eye out from time to time. Lots to do to keep the ship afloat these days.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 1,005Member
    Lovely to hear from you all! Thanks Kevin(s). It’s just about all I can do to keep my head above water.
    While I have been busy, it hasn’t been an easy summer due to mental health, and that’s really why I’m making this career change (hopefully). It does help me through the day while I’m at work, struggling through. Blimey, hope my boss doesn’t hunt me down and find me commenting on how crap I find my job!

    Talking to my brother and a friend the other day, it seems what really helps is having something to look forward to. It doesn’t matter what it is. Make plans. Make more plans. And keep looking forward.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    My brother has a similar story, Nick. For 33 years he worked his way up to a senior management position with a well-known High Street shop chain. Along comes a new chap who just seemed to always be having a go at my brother and claiming credit for things my brother had done. Earlier this year my brother discovered he would be old enough to take early retirement. He did and now he can get a full night's sleep every night, spend his days doing DIY around the house and garden, riding his bike, doing charity work in the toen he lives in, and altogether is appreciating the phenomenal drop in pressure, expectations and competitiveness.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,232Member
    I'm facing uncertainties at work but my plans were always to take the pension and do some work in the pubs.... oh dear !

    Things are not looking good on the railways.

    Yes. Plans. Or rather, an objective. A simple and achievable objective. Just a direction. And make each and every movement towards it one with fullest attention.

    The most fulfilling thing I have ever done is to get fit. Just twenty minutes a day but it must be good, purposeful effort of graduated training with proper form and exertion. (Joe Wicks is free and brilliant)

    The elixir of youth does indeed exist but it is not something you sup. It is something you sweat out of every pore.

    Get that endorphine addiction. At any age so long as you have the basic health and mobility.

    Trust me. Life becomes so vibrant and colourful afterwards. Even a cup of tea becomes WOW ! A CUP OF TEA !
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,721Member
    Hey y'all!

    Fingers crossed that all your various employment uncertainties get resolved. I've been lucky that my job is easily doable from home - so that's where I've been since March. It's weird as there's definitely a sense of cabin-fever, but at the same time it beats getting up at 5:00 am to drive 70 miles into Birmingham. That said, I've been doing this working lark for almost 40 years now, more if you include my old Saturday and Holidays job. So I'm also starting to look at early retirement options. The days of there being Early Voluntary Retirement offers on the table are long gone, but a lifetime of being reasonably frugal (i.e. buying Tanglewoods instead of Gibsons) means that in a year or so there might be some opportunity to change things.

    Getting fit / keeping fit is definitely a good thing. I try and get out cycling as much as I can, but it's obviously harder in winter (the motivation, that is. The cycling is just as hard in summer). But don't forget the mind, too. I worry that the latest generation, who do seem very fitness and body conscious, neglect the grey matter element. You still can't beat reading a book or learning something a little cerebral as well.

    Thanks for the kind comment above, Kevin, about the lock down music. I think that project has worked itself out. I've discovered that no matter how much I try I'm simply not an improviser, but I do like gypsy jazz and jazz and I'm taking a lot of the lines and ideas and chords and changes and trying to work them into my basic thumb-picking style, which, in the end, is the one thing I can do on a guitar.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,207Member
    Hi all! however many that be these days. Sorry I haven't been around - I am still alive just about. Haven't been up to a lot guitar-wise, although a month or so ago I did have a couple of "gigs" playing in a park - local businesses had stalls, and we provided what you might loosely call background music.

    Like Jocko, I have found myself giving away guitars I've built, both strats - one went to a cousin's son on my mum's side of the family, and the other to a cousin's son on my dad's side. So kind of a nice symmetry there. I still have two strats left, so I'm ok.

    Definitely more to help with keeping me sane than anything, I have just started another project - I bought a Korina wood H-S-H strat body, and have a spare Allparts strat neck (12" radius", jumbo frets, rosewood board) that seems to fit nicely. The plan is to make a kind of "superstrat" with floating trem, although I'm going to use a pair of GFS Surf 90 pickups in the neck and bridge position instead of humbuckers, and just a single strat pickup in the middle of course. I already have most of the bits I need really, which is the result of doing too many projects in the past. Blah blah blah anyhow - I will post more about it when it really gets going.

    I signed on for another year with Barry Greene's jazz video tuition website - really I have made shockingly little use of what is a superb resource, I must try harder.

    Take care and all the best all of you :)
  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,328Member
    Well, my new PC (see above) is working fine. I managed to install all my music software, including successful authentication of some really old programs. I also rescued my crashed music project from backups, and now I've finished it. As Sonar 8.5.3 still works well for me, I'm going to stick with it.

    Windows 10 is a bit of a problem as it keeps wanting to take control, but a combination of turning off as many of its privacy-invading "features" as possible and not allowing it to connect to the internet seems to have tamed it. You have to let these things know who's the boss!

    In response to Nick, I've been through two complete changes of career and in each case I was happier with the new than the old. I also agree that meditation (go with whatever technique works for you; I learnt TM back in the 70s) is a valuable practice that can help sort out your mind. In the end it's up to you; no one else can get in there and do it for you.

    As far as mental problems go, I've been through some of that too, and I can vouch for the power of recognising and countering negative thoughts. The key is to monitor your thoughts continually and to spot negative ones, and then try and come up with a positive alternative. For example, thinking "This will never work. I'm completely useless and a total failure at whatever I do! I'm going to bin this whole thing." ... Oops, negative thinking there! Let's see... "Well, this hasn't worked out too well, but I'm usually quite successful at what I do, so maybe I should have another go at it. Let's see, is there any other way I can approach it? It would be really good if I could make it work. I'll put it aside for a day or so and come back to it. I'm sure it'll turn out all right in the end." And so on. Like anything else, it's hard work at first but practice makes perfect.

    Another thing I've found during lockdown. I'm not really a people person, but I've found that helping others, even if only in a small way, is very satisfying. For instance, going for long country walks with a friend and teaching them how to improve their map reading. And there are a lot of lonely single people out there, facing the Christmas shutdown with trepidation, and some personal contact can mean a lot. If we all did a little bit to help each other, the world would be a happier place.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,232Member
    I love map reading ! Especially in the fog as we were this Sunday. I miss the pubs though.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 980Member

    I love map reading ! Especially in the fog as we were this Sunday. I miss the pubs though.

    Missing pubs in the fog is good, that way they are there for the return journey!

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,232Member
    Ha ha ! I set that one up, didn't I !
  • martinsmith99martinsmith99 Posts: 390Member
    I'm just waiting for studios to reopen.

    My latest band had 2 practices before lockdown, then a couple left so we ended up disbanding. I've been talking with a couple of musicians I've played with before and hoping to get something going.

    The amount of false starts I've had over the last couple of years, is a personal record :(

    Anyway, I miss Megi's & Jocko's guitar builds.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator

    Anyway, I miss Megi's & Jocko's guitar builds.

    Me too.
  • martinsmith99martinsmith99 Posts: 390Member
    Where have they gone? Magi has appeared on The Fret Board a few times. Not sure about Jocko.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    No idea but I would like to wish everyone a happy Christmas.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    ... and a happy new year.
  • martinsmith99martinsmith99 Posts: 390Member
    Not a great NY for me so far; I contracted Covid, unpleasant but mild symptoms. The fatigue was horrible for a couple of days, but 2 weeks clear and my wife is also suffering worse with fatigue, but fortunately, it didn't affect her asthma.

    Also, my last remaining brother who had Motor Neurons contracted it around the same time and sadly didn't recover. So both my brothers gone in under 2 years.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 799Member
    So sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    That is tough, Martin, both brothers gone. I hope your wife recovers well and quickly.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,730Member, Moderator
    I just re-read this topic and noticed where I was at 9 months ago. Shortly after that we went into another lockdown and that is lifting now, so along with being vaccinated, things are beginning to look up.

    I was plying drums in church but haven't for the last 8 months. I will be starting again in July. Other than that, live music opportunities are still non-existant. Maybe that doesn't help the forum if there is no life to be reporting or talking about.

    I am still putting our new home studio together, with a fair bit of progress since last September's photo, further up this page.

    My wife is still teaching piano students, just now back in her classroom.
  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,328Member
    Has the dead forum risen from its ashes, or is this a mirage?
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