rcsnydley#1 wrote:<...>Notes - it seems you have an aversion to open string chords (cowboy chords, as you refer to them) and as an extension of that, using a capo, which does not throw your guitar out of tune if used properly. You are missing out on a whole lot of sounds and ways of making music.<...>
I don't have an aversion to open string chords, but I don't play the kind of music that requires them. I appreciate the sound when others play them, and I think they are especially nice on acoustic guitars.
I listen to a lot of different kinds of music that I don't play. In my CD/Vinyl/Download collection you can find everything from Blues to Rock to Classical (Romantic era to contemporary) to Salsa to Jazz to Cape Verde music to Tuvan throat singing to Disco/dance to Fusion to Funk to Gypsy music (from Andalusia to India) to Ragas to Klezmer, to Chinese Classical to Caribbean (Soca/Reggae/Calypso) to Mexican to Andean to Afro-pop to dozens of other genres. But I don't play all those kinds of music.
So I agree that I'm missing out on a lot by not playing open string chords, but I'm also missing out a lot by not playing bebop, techno, fusion, concertos, metal, rap, ragas, gypsy, and other forms of music. There are only so many hours in the day, and my musical tastes are very wide, so I pick first what makes me a living, and then what I like the most.
I play in a duo http://www.s-cats.com
where I make my own backing tracks. We play a variety of music, but probably more "baby-boomer" pop than anything else. On stage I play sax, wind synthesizer, flute, vocals, drum controllers, guitar and sometimes keyboards. It's not my first choice of music to play, but it is what pays the mortgage and I do enjoy it very much..
Two modern proverbs come to mind:
1) If you stand on stage long enough, people will tell you what they want to hear.
2) You can play for yourself ... you can play for other musicians ... or you can play for the general public ... if you are good enough, you will get the audience you asked for.
If I had my way, it would be cool school jazz, but that won't pay the bills.
In my age group and in my local market, the best paying gigs are playing for the adult audience (Florida is a big retirement state). Years ago I was playing Glen Miller and Duke Ellington, now it's Bob Seger, The Beatles and Elvis. And I do enjoy playing any kind of music. What I play on the guitar now is mostly leads and the kind of chord comping that requires chords to be choked with the left hand (no frang-a frang-a frang-a rhythms and since it is mostly dance music, not any of the more mellow finger-picked, classical, and other acoustic guitar styles)
Cowboy chords is the term used by the guitarist who was in one of my bands when I was younger. He said that's what the people in Nashville called them, and he used them quite well. But on stage, he seldom played them because most of the material we played used chords that could be choked with the left hand.
I bought a capo to set the string height according to the directions in my guitar's manual. I've done some experimenting with it and an electronic tuner. Putting the capo on makes the strings a tad sharp, about as much as fretting if you are using a heavy hand on the neck. Add some fretting above the capo, and the guitar gets even more sharp. Granted it is only a little sharp, and perhaps not enough for the average ear to notice, but I can hear it and I don't really like it.
So unless I start playing flat-top, I doubt I will ever have a need for the capo, except to set the string height on my electric.
Not that there is anything wrong with it, it just isn't for me and the kind of music that pays my bill.
Insights and incites by Notes