Thursday, March 16, 2017

Playing Outside the Box

Guitarist Doyle Dykes: Through the ages, Jews have been accused of and credited for thinking outside the box. While others often color within the lines, Jews have painted as if there were no lines.

This is odd, says Abq Jew, since traditional Judaism has always insisted on lines; indeed, on "fences" to protect the lines.

So on Wednesday evening last, Abq Jew went out (a rare occurrence in itself) to listen to master finger-picking guitarist Doyle Dykes perform at Grandma's Music & Sound, here on the Westside of Albuquerque. About whom more later.

But first, let's talk about this box. As in this box, the one pictured above, which is what most people think of when they hear the phrase

thinking outside the box

But that kind of box is not where the phrase comes from. (Abq Jew knows, because he was there when the phrase was invented.) The phrase actually comes from this - the 9 Dots Puzzle.

The setup is clear; the rules are easy to follow. But most people (including Abq Jew) just can't figure this puzzle out the first hundred or so times they try.

Once people are presented with the solution, however, they ask themselves why they didn't see it.

After all - it's obvious.

Why don't people see the solution to the 9 Dots Puzzle?

Because they (mentally) draw a box around the 9 dots and tell themselves that they can't draw a line beyond - outside - that box.

So it is with traditional Judaism - and so it is with guitars.

When Abq Jew plays his guitar - a beautiful Larivee OM-03 purchased from Stan Burg of Guitar Vista in the heart of Nob Hill - he sees the fretboard as a box. Inside that box - a defined space - Abq Jew places traditional chords and chord progressions to make a song.

Doyle Dykes doesn't play his guitar (he used a Godin Spectrum and several other Godin and Seagull models - which he was promoting - during his Grandma's performance) anything like that.

For Doyle, there are no boxes.  His fretboard is an open field.

So play!

Here, for your enjoyment and amazement, is a video of Doyle Dykes playing his own mashup of Classical Gas and 25 or 6 to 4.

What, Abq Jew hears you ask, did Abq Jew personally take away from all this?
  1. Abq Jew should play his guitar more.
  2. Abq Jew should buy a Godin or Seagull guitar. (He's never giving up his Larivee ... but a person can own more than one guitar at a time.)
  3. Abq Jew should give it up and sell all his instruments. Every musician knows that's the only way to make money from music. And besides, what's the use?
There is another takeaway, however. And it shows up (for those who can see it) in the URL of Godin's What's New page.

Some will parse this URL (as the webmaster surely intended) as

Godin: What's New

Abq Jew, however, prefers to see it as

Larivee L-10FM AY Jackson    Built for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
50th Anniversary "The Group of Seven Guitar Project"

God [is] In What's New

How's that for a guitar-based theology?

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