I have been a subscriber to your esteemed organ for about a quarter century, gleaning many useful tips and parting with infeasibly sizeable amounts of money on GASinduced binges en route. I have even been a contributor back in the day, not to mention improving my gig-fitness on the journey.
However, what are you guys on? You keep blathering on about ‘woodshedding’ being indispensable for improving technique and stamina. So OK, I’ve trusted you down the years, and took your advice to heart. I built
a nice solid wood shed in my back garden, stacking it high with logs from a local forest. And I have left my road-worn custom acoustic propped against it for hours at a time. But still I encounter the same old limitations when I come to play it. All of this, I’m sorry to say, leaves me with serious doubts about you advice concerning the soundness of investing in ‘woodshedding’. Dr Mark Everard, via email Damn – we’ve been rumbled! In fact, someone has filled our woodshed so full of logs that we can’t actually fit any guitars inside at all. And we’re also slightly worried that if we did leave a guitar in there to soak up the ‘positive waves’ generated by the shed environment then it might be gnawed by rats or mistakenly taken away to be burned by some over-zealous furnacestoker in the bowels of the Guitarist building. As a result, we’ve decided to do all our practising indoors now instead, in the study. But we’ll probably keep using the term ‘woodshedding’ anyway because ‘studying’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? Oh, wait a minute...
In the past couple of weeks I have seen two country-rock stars in concert. Miranda Lambert hits the stage with five guitars, keyboards, drummer and a backing singer. It swamped every audible frequency and although she was well-liked by her fan base it was truly awful sound and the vocals were almost inaudible. Contrast that with Lucinda Williams’s four-piece band in which there was lots of space for the musicians to shine. Stuart Mathis on lead plays beautiful fills and solos and coaxes the most amazing tone from his guitars – it was the best I’ve ever heard. Trevor Barstow via email
Silence and space are under-used but powerful musical tools. Not for nothing did composer Claude Debussy claim that “music is the space between the notes.”
Are the learning benefits of the woodshed overrated?