WAGS is expanding beyond guitars (but staying acoustic)—we’re going string-crazy—ANY type of acoustic stringed instrument is fine!
This coming Sunday, April 28th, Sunrise invites everyone to celebrate and participate in a new wider group of acoustic musicianship (including guitars of course), but to also include ANY stringed instrument, a spin-off we are calling the Wahkiakum Acoustic Guitar And Strings Society (WAGASS) *grin*
Want to play a ukulele, autoharp, banjo, cello, violin, viola, fiddle, harp, dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, etc. etc. etc.? This would be the group, focusing on exploring music done with acoustic stringed instruments (and having a good time at it).
This coming Sunday Night, April 28th, 7-9pm is the inaugural kickoff of the new WAGASS group (held at the Inn at Lucky Mud)– let your string-playing friends know about it and encourage folks to come. If anyone has questions about this event, feel free to direct them to Sunrise or Doug.
Here we are coming into spring in
2013, and it's great seeing all of the WAGS events including songcircles,
workshops, and performances, and once again we want to reiterate our long-standing
policy of supporting all WAGS
members in creating and coordinating their own WAGS events (of whatever sort –
song circles, song circles theme nights, jam session, workshop, featured
performer, or some hybrid of those – you decide what kind of WAGS event you
want, where you're going to hold it, and then e-mail the invitation to the WAGS
Speaking of membership, is really
nice to see the ever-growing list of new WAGS members and along with that the
growing diversity of guitar and singing styles. The range of styles and the
unabashed, enthusiastic mutual support for each other in the WAGS group is really
conducive to growth and development.
I was talking to one of the
long-time members of WAGS the other day who expressed concern hearing someone
claim that WAGS membership was linked
to the frequency of attendance at WAGS
meetings. There is no such link – WAGS
membership is simply based upon your desire to be a member of WAGS – everyone
is welcome, and whether or not you attend any specific WAGS event is entirely a
personal decision and has absolutely no bearing upon membership status.
While all WAGS members are
encouraged to host WAGS events, only the founders speak for the WAGS organization
and policy – and we’ve been absolutely clear on this point: there is no attendance requirement for WAGS
membership – come when you can, when
it works for you, and we will be glad to see you.
From the time that we founded the
organization almost 9 years ago, we've always encouraged as much sharing of
guitar knowledge, expertise, technique, and songs, and to that end we've always
encouraged every WAGS member to arrange or host WAGS events that meet their own
educational and entertainment interests. And because of the member-based
scheduling of events, and the high degree of uncertainty regarding scheduling
conflicts (especially with such a large group), attendance by other members has always been viewed as a matter of
convenience and preference.
So… please arrange and facilitate
whatever kind of WAGS events that you want to participate in, and come to only
whichever WAGS events actually work for you, your schedule, & your life… and
enjoy the diversity and fun of this ever-growing organization of guitarists,
singers, and more.
The last Sunday night WAGS Workshop on guitar tuning was an interesting evening. A small group met to discuss the musically arcane -- a night of tunings, musings, and elaborate playing with tonalities and senses of the songs delivery.
For an hour we explored the nature of tuning the guitar, how its not just getting one string in tune, but rather bringing all of them in tune together. The short version--> Avoid tuners, get an E tuning fork and train your ear to hear when a pair of strings or a set of strings is in tune.
The workshop explored cross referencing tuning methods using harmonics, open strings, and played notes in tandem to ensure that equivalent notes on different strings and positions on the fretboard sounded the same.
The musical focus evolved into specific presentations of tunings and musical styles, with Alex Docker singing beautiful classical song "Streets of London" with just the prettiest fingerpicking imaginable, and performedin in a Gsus tuning. The nuance of his delivery, the clear crisp tones, and the lyrical song architecture was very nice experience to hear.
Sunrise Fletcher played a guitar that had apparently gone through the wash and shrunk quite a bit (& lost a couple of strings in the process). Yet I've never known Sunrise to be limited by the ostensible capacity of an instrument, and his artisan delivery of Toto Santos (off his up coming CD) with his ukelele and sonorous voice left us wanting more. To our surprise, Sunrise was willing to play again, and listening to the precise picking pattern on yet another instrument while singing his heart out, I was once again struck by how hard it is for me to pick a song in the dark...
Then the classical fingerpicking of Joyce Orr filled the room, the counterpoint fingerings harmonizing off the walls, pulling us along in the melody. The ease with the songs is increasingly apparent, as I even caught her just forgetting about us, the music in the book, and was just playing... ...next thing you know, improvisations will start to crop up like a laughing toddler... *grin*
And then there is my own set of musical ramblings on the strings of guitars--I did a bit of elaborated explorations in standard and drop D tunings, and with structured and improvised rhythms and stylistics tossed in because it sounded right. Course, sometimes my fingers just went places on the fretboard, and I was just along for the ride. Seemed to sound ok, though.
The Wahkiakum Acoustic Guitar Society (WAGS) is a group of local guitarists getting together to share a diverse range of acoustical styles and to exchange tips, picks, and licks with like-minded guitar enthusiasts. To join or obtain more information, contact us at Wahkiakum Acoustic Guitar Society