Guitar Quartet

Yesterday I completed my first track for this year’s Nasoalmo, titled He Sees Roses.

The idea is to do an entire album as a guitar quartet. I have four guitars, each with a different quality to it, a unique characteristic in the way it plays or the way it sounds. I’m planning to use all of them in every song, with no over dubs — so each guitar will appear as if it was played by a separate person. I might add drums — either live bodhran and djembe or from sampled kits. I may add other sampled instruments, but if I do they will be used sparingly. I probably won’t add vocals.

With this track I was going for a melancholy feel moving into a more hopeful feeling. The opening acoustic part uses a simple descending melody with a low note backing. Descending progressions lean towards the mournful. The sequence is G+C, G+B, F+A. When the second electric guitar (the Black Jack) comes in it plays a descending E, E, D sequence to complete the chords. This makes the chord progression C, E minor, D minor. Minor chords are sad sounding chords which, coupled with the descending progression, makes this quite a sad start to the song.

What was meant to happen in the later repetition of the intro was for the second electric to play E, D, C, making the chord progression C, G, F — a much happier sequence of chords. That was the plan, anyway, but I don’t really think it works. I may have messed up the second electric part — and the third (Washburn A20-V), which is emphasising the same thing — somewhat but, importantly, I didn’t change the sequence the 8-string was playing. The 8-string is playing a bass part here, which is a descending C, B, A. This really emphasies the mournful nature of the melody rather than pushing for a happier progression.

If I get time I’ll re-record the second half of the track to try and fix this. Alternatively, I may redo it as a single guitar reprise to try and reuse the idea.

The name of the track is taken from a line in the TV Series Castle from the episode The Human Factor.

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Stoo Goff

Stoo Goff is a writer, musician and programmer hailing from Norwich and now living in Glasgow. When not buried beneath a mountain of programming code or torturing guitars he can be found creating strange new lands and conjuring dreams from nothing. He regularly promises himself that he will finish the next novel and album.

He is heavily influenced by a number of writers and musicians, including: Tom Waits, Ursula Le Guin, Trent Reznor, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Gene Wolfe, Frank Miller and a host of Finnish Folk Metal.

Follow him on Twitter @stoogoff.