Of Weighing Scales and Guitar Scales

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You know you’re overweight when someone you barely know has the audacity to tell you you’re fat.
And you take it with a nod while swallowing that bitter pill called pride. You don’t tell the other person to mind his own business because you’ve already lost enough weight over the past couple of weeks. When he says you need to go jog, you bite down on your own tongue and resist all temptation to say “you come along and jog with me, tubs.”
Nope. You just take it. Like a man. And make a mental note to increase the number of laps you take around the subdivision.
This is the life of a performer. You’re going to be scrutinized under the microscope. Every little flaw you have is going to be exposed. Everything from your weight to the minute scaly patches of skin on your forearm.
And the one doing the examination isn’t even a professional healthcare worker but you sit there and allow him to make his assessment and make mental notes to improve those areas he pointed out.
This is the life of a performer in a variety show band.
Part of your job description is your actual physical description. And it can be your measure of success in a variety show band.
If you look good, play your instrument well and follow the basic choreography, you’re going to be up onstage, in front of everyone and the light’s going to be focused on you a lot.
If you play your instrument well, follow the basic choreography well enough but don’t have the right type of face or body, you’re going to be shoved off to the side where the limelight can easily avoid you.
If you’ve got no talent, look good enough and can dance, you’re back up front without a mic, shaking your booty for everyone’s entertainment.
Lastly, if you have no looks, no talent and no sense of coordination, well… you’ll learn how to clap along to the songs while you sit with the crowd and finish your beer.
You’d think that just because I mainly come from the “underground” I wouldn’t be interested in becoming part of a band that sings and dances for everyone’s entertainment. There are certain things I probably won’t do but once you’re onstage, you’re public property baby. If they say, sing, you monkey up and sing. If they say dance, grin and grind along.
Music is music. You wanna be a musician, you go be a musician. You can’t be picky. Take any and all opportunities that come your way and make sure you leave a good impression, that way you have a good chance of getting the attention of better players out there who might have a spot for you in their own little group.
And, if it weren’t for variety show bands, AcidRadio wouldn’t be around.
In high school, one of our main sources of beer money was playing in front of a drinking crowd for Php250 or some beer. When I got to Manila, one of the first things I sought out was to have my own band, luckily, a cousin of mine had a very successful variety show band and they took me in as second guitarist and back-up vocals.
If you have your own songs, or you came up with your own album, playing the same 10 songs over and over to the same crowd is going to leave them bored and wanting for more. AcidRadio always made it a point to add more songs to the repertoire and we practiced with a show in mind.
Come show time, we’d already played to thousands of imaginary people, so nothing would faze us when we hit the stage.
We were gods the moment the first chord was struck until the last note (I should put something poetic here).
So, here I am, early in the morning expelling ungodly fluids from my body after taking each dog for a walk/jog/walk/jog/walk/crawl/walk/I can’t move my legs anymore. 
I’ve given my body a good workout. 
Now it’s time to give my fingers a few laps on the fretboard.
I’m rediscovering a few scales and I just found my guitar log book under the pile of all the notebooks I’ve managed to keep throughout the years.
I’m focusing on regaining speed and precision. So, it’s back to the basics with my favorite scale (whatever it’s called). It’s absolutely great for shredding and you can position this anywhere on the fretboard. I’m guessing it was Leander Jude Lim who showed me how to do this or Jean Paul Verona back when we were teens. It continues to be my favorite scale.
After the last note, you can choose to go on a loop and return to the 7th fret or move your pattern a fret up or down the neck. It’ll work. Once you master this, just play around with it, you can use string skipping, eliminate certain notes, deaden or mute some notes, play it fast, play it slow, cut it up, add some more, the possibilities are endless. And it’ll work for most songs if you play it fast enough.
Also, try to use alternate picking for this type of exercise. I find it sounds better if you pick all the notes. Because that’s how Zakk Wylde would definitely do it!
Here are some more reminders if you’re just starting to learn scales:
Practice this slowly until you can precisely hit each note with the same consistency of attack each and every time.
Use proper finger placement so you can be well coordinated when you play. That means you’re going to assign a specific finger for each fret and you’re going to play that specific note with that particular finger for the entirety of the exercise.
Use a metronome and only increase the speed if you’re comfortable playing it faster. Do it in increments.
Practice making this face in front of the mirror once you’ve mastered this scale. it’ll make you a faster guitarist. cooler too!

Ok, that should be enough to ruin your appetite hehehe.
Gotta lose more pounds and gotta earn back the right to pound on my guitar onstage.
Don’t be fat onstage, Be Phat!

oh lordy, i think that’s enough puns for the day!

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