Miscellaneous Rumbles

Name the time you fooled people into thinking you were a good guita…


Q: If you get lost in the woods, whom should you ask for directions --- Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or an in-tune saxophone player?

A: Santa Claus. Because the other two are hallucinations. (sorry, rhythmisking --- present company excepted!)

Before I got serious about being a keyboard player, several bandmates commented that they liked the way I played rhythm guitar, and I even did a short stint as second guitarist in a band that did lots of Allman Brothers covers with dual leads and harmonies. Since then I've done relatively few gigs as a guitarist, and I don't totally stink. More than that I can't comment on.


I do remember the one time I fooled NJBob into thinking I was Robert Plant.

I did have a moment at a company party once. We had a local guy that did country music and wanted to entertain during our company Christmas party. He and others knew that I played a little and they asked me to step up and do one song. I did my version of Long Cool Woman and it went over pretty well.


I should amend the parameters of my relative guitar humility to say that I do exactly what it is I do better than anyone I've ever heard.

It's just that it's not necessarily a common currency.


I should amend the parameters of my relative guitar humility to say that I do exactly what it is I do better than anyone I've ever heard.

It's just that it's not necessarily a common currency.

– Proteus

Your playing is creative and not the same stuff that all the hacks like me play. Somewhere along the way, you learned something more than the 1, 4 and 5. You must have been looking in some books or something.


Oh no, I stayed AWAY from books. I played guitar because, compared to piano and the lessons I was taking, it "didn't have notes." That's actually what I thought.

Not that I could have taken rock guitar lessons as a yout - certainly not in the hometown, and there was no way I was going to be transported elsewhere.

But my first I-wanna-play-that interest in guitar was to play "protest music," Dylanesque 3 chords and the truth. Immediately after that came surf and long-hair rock & roll. LESSONS? BOOKS? You gotta be kidding me. Anathema! Garage-band, baby. Ignernt kids trying to figure it out off the record and passing their mistakes and bad habits to each other. We weren't playing in genre fidelity contests, as part of some hallowed tradition - or even trying to "sound like the record." We just had to make noise with each other, and found some rudimentary sense of coordination was useful. The desire to play was in every way borne of a sense of rebellion - and it didn't occur (at least to me) that there was some "correct" or learnable way to rebel.

Eventually it vaguely dawned on me that the guitar was a notatable musical instrument with all these damned traditions, and I learned stuff - but never really effective technique. That's what annoys me about my playing - sloppy, godawful, inefficient physical technique that introduces all kinds of noisy artifacts (and probably limits my fingering and therefore musical options). Not to mention the rhythmic disability and accompanying tendency to drop into a couple of characteristic grooves. Tubwompus can elucidate in technical terms.

That, and my personal sense of tone. I continue to thoroughly enjoy my tone(s)...but it's just never compliant with the standards of any of the genres I skim across.

I've learned that there are a few others who might appreciate my sonic salads - but they're scattered and far between. Small Blue World drew progressively smaller and smaller crowdettes when we played periodically over a period of years at a couple area food-and-music venues. The owners kept having us back because they liked us, and thought we were better than we sounded. The general public was not fooled.

Eventually the club owners would have had to succumb to the math: given what they didn't bring in from those who stayed away in droves when we played, they were paying out of their pockets to support us. As it was, gigs got further and further apart (I suppose as they saved money to have us back). Finally our best venue burned down (for the second time), and that was pretty much that.

It can be said that I stuck resolutely to my 90%-original-music guns and went down blazing, while eschewing any cheap crowd-pleasing tricks like playing songs anyone had heard, anywhere close to the way they'd heard them. Shoot, anyone could do that. (It's not that I'm opposed to doing covers that sound close...I'm really just incapable.)

I could volunteer to haunt area venues as a solo ambient or singer-songwriter sort, and eventually whittle their business down to three or two (or one) stalwarts who really like it. But sometimes even free music costs a place money.

And why bother, when I can just play in the basement to my best audience?

When even your fans don't like you, it's best to rethink your career. I now operate a deeply interactive home entertainment system. No set up, no set list, no tear down, no travel!


Okay, well there you have it. You learned to play from your friends. You had a distinct advantage in that you had friends.


Well, only for a few years. And just a couple. Also, they didn't really like me. There were only three or four electric guitars in the whole student body at the time, so there wasn't much choice.


Tim, back in my self-impressed, rhythmically anal youth, I missed the boat about what’s now one of my favorite things about your playing, and it’s a very difficult thing these days to achieve, namely, one can tell when it’s you playing. Your choice of notes and phrasing are really distinctive. It could also be partially because I’m so familiar with your playing, I dunno, but at the Roundups, with my back turned, I can tell when it’s you picking up the ball. You’re the Charlie Watts of guitar guys: cerebral, down on your own abilities but it’s obvious that there’s always something up your sleeve that will surprise and delight. Not to mention that I’ve never met a drummer who slagged Charlie who even remotely had the ability to sound like him. You sure knew you were hearing him when you did, though. Kindred spirits, you two.

You should both consider maybe playing Gretsches.


You should both consider maybe playing Gretsches.


Karolyn and I really liked Small Blue World, Tim. It was just a bit of a drive and you never really told me when all of your shows were.

It's funny reading yours and others like Bob and Sam complain about their playing when I'm nowhere even close to your levels of expertise, Tim. Sure, I play in a band, and sometimes two, but power chords are my friend. Heck, I'm usually too scared to get too involved at the Roundups. I mean, I can hang for sure but I never played in a cover band or did very many covers at all that were top 40 hits. I know some Led Zep because they were my heroes and I can do anything that hangs in the G,C,D variation,usually but you guys have had to have been doing covers over your time playing because you guys really do that well at the roundups. I was blown away that one year when Joe C asked me to play along side him in front of Duane Eddy. Joe showed me the chords and luckily I had been practicing my blues scales so I held on but with some trepidation.


Huh. Well, I've been fortunate to play with Richard a couple times, but I know he wasn't fooled.

And when I played with Duane, Richard, and Bear I stayed on acoustic rhythm. By the 3rd time through a verse I knew most of the chords.


I make no claims about ever sounding good to anyone's ears. I have had brief moments where I've positively surprised myself - very brief moments indeed.

I'm reminded of being in a band in the Flint underground music scene where the singer had a penchant for getting quite drunk before we'd play. Immediately after every show, he'd comment that the night's performance was his "best ever". Upon reviewing the tape a day or three later, we'd always observe that his drinking kept that performance bar fairly low...

Lesson learned: alcohol is a lot like your mom - both will tell you that you're handsome and maybe even clever or talented. Reality is a much more honest and/or harsh of a mistress.

I know, I know... Stop talking about your mom that way!


Kansas State Finger Picking Championship. I had to play two numbers. So I had "It's Only a Paper Moon" in C,(Harold Arlen) and "Ragpickin'" (Richard Saslow) in E picked out as my contest numbers. And I won. Fooled 'em again!

Well, I'd say when fooling rises to that level, it's as good as the real thing.

– Proteus

Yeah....well.....the bit of the story I never tell is that there were only about six or seven entries that year. So somebody had to be first, second, and third. I always feel like I can identify with Chet's quip to Paul Yandell "Fooled 'em again."



I guess it depends on where you are and what THEY play there. In Texas, I'm nothing more than a hack guitar player that is like the other hacks. In Hawaii, I'm some exotic player that plays what they really don't have the groove for, so that makes me a "player" of sorts to them...but then I try Their stuff and it becomes readily apparent that hack is never far away...


Jonathan, You just described me as a rockabilly player!



I've made a very long and successful career of it,


i was hanging out at Guitar Center in Santa Clara, where i used to go on my lunch hour to buy strings and check stuff out. i was fooling with a maple-board Telecaster when "Kashmir" came on the overhead speakers. i amused myself by playing Clarence White stuff all over it, making the guys behind the counter crack up. one of them said "we've got a real one here."

this was the same store where i was walking a 1-4-5 on a fretless Jazz Bass, another bass shopper who'd just demonstrated some killer slap-'n'-pop stuff came over to me and asked "where'd you learn to play like that?"


Coming from drums to guitar I've been able to fool people all along only because I can play with a groove.


Never (my non-musician sweetie notwithstanding). I am one of the few self-deprecating guitar players who no one ever objects or contradicts. Usually after a self-deprecating comment as to my lack of playing ability, the receiver is usually silent.


Good players have noted my ability to count to four with unfailing regularity. They sometimes hire me to shove or pull them along as necessary. Being on stage with good players makes it look like I know what I’m doing.


I fool people enough to keep paying me.


Man, why didn't I think of the obvious response the first time?

I'll let you know when it happens.


Last month, when these guys invited me to join the band. I don't know how long before they catch on, but I"m riding it out... I'm the one with the Gretsch and the big, cheesy grin


There was the time at the Quilter booth at the NAMM Show a couple years ago. Chris, their CEO, grabbed me and said, “Frank, jam with these two guys.” So I grabbed an SG they had in the booth and sat down while he plugged me in, and we started going at some swingy blues stuff, and I look at the guy on the Strat and think “That’s Kid Ramos, what am I doing here?” But I kept on playing, we kept trading solos back and forth, and finished to uproarious applause. The bass player was wearing a hat and looking down the whole time, so I asked his name and he looked up and said “James,” and we both simultaneously said “James Intveld.” If there hadn’t been video shot of it, no one would have believed me when I told them about it.

Two weeks ago, I was paying my bill at the hotel restaurant in Carson City the morning after we played there, and the customer next to me in line asked “Do you play the guitar?” I replied in the affirmative, and he said “We really loved your show last night, you guys are great!” That felt just as good as playing with James and Kid.

I hope to try to fool someone again soon.


Good stuff, Frank. You do ok, you know.

I suppose this was more about the guitar than me (and may in fact have been a veiled swipe at me), but at one gig where I’d played several different guitars, I started to put the Country Club down after its turn, and someone said “No no, keep playing that one” - to a murmur of general agreement throughout the vast crowd of 18 people. Probably just confirmation that it is indeed TBGITKU.

And I must have been passable, or he would have suggested I let someone else play it.

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