Welcome to a savvy veteran musician and some “shop talk” – lots of useful information



Welcome to a savvy veteran musician and some "shop talk" - lots of useful information


My name is Dave from Apple Valley, MN. My nephew, L.P., heard you play at a Holiday Inn a few weeks ago and visited with you. He passed on some of your email exchanges which seem to favorably compare with my playing style, hopes and dreams. I'm a self-taught, mid-seventies avid solo guitar player/singer. Over forty years I've played a few weddings, funerals, parties and many campfires. I began with John Denver songs but branched out with several other country style songs and recently added gospel. Maybe we have things to talk about. If so, respond back. Cheers. Dave


Dear Dave,

Thank you for this lovely email, obviously, from a Bro'. We are peas in a pod, I think. Coincidentally, I just played to a small town church a few days ago, and it caused me to take more seriously my need to add more gospel music to my repertoire.

What are your goals as a performer?

What are your barriers to doing what you want to do?

Do you have any gigs booked?

Wishing you all the best,



Hi Charlie,

Quick response. No gigs scheduled, performing goals are finding a venue where my mostly ballad melodic style is warmly welcomed and self confidence is my barrier. Taking response queues about my playing from my immediate family is not encouraging or confidence-building. I do have a great, great family, so likely, they are not the problem.

So, let's compare notes. Me: strictly acoustic with 5 six strings, one twelve string, one five string banjo, one six string banjo. Am mostly a guitar player but banjo can liven things up. My music is ballad style but can throw in Country Roads and peppy songs occasionally, plus some six string banjo. My man cave studio can record and burn cd's and I have written and recorded several songs. I'm reasonably sure I'm a halfway decent performer as outside friends seem to appreciate my hobby-type skills.

My very ultimate goal is to play and sing duet harmony with a female. Well, 'nuff for now. Respond in kind. Love talking guitar stuff. Cheers. Dave.


Nov 8, 2019

Thanks, Dave, for the straight and detailed answers. I think the following will help you reach your goals:

  1. Yes, love your family. They are probably well-intentioned for the most part. Although you have to be on the alert for any kind of ill-will or rancor that may be there, perhaps even hidden behind "friendly advice". I wouldn't even perform for the ones who are usually critical or discouraging. Avoid putting your tender artistic creations in front of those who don't help you toward your goals. It's not something I would tolerate regarding my art. STOP listening to or even asking for their opinions about your music. You have to keep your integrity on this point, and disagree with any invalidation of what you are or of what you can do. And, not only family or people close to you, but also audiences, agents, other artists, or anyone. This is the biggest killer of self-confidence is agreeing with and then internalizing other people's less-than-150% positive opinions of our artistic endeavors or abilities. YOU ALONE KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO AND YOUR OWN GOALS AND PURPOSES. And, YOU are the one who has to keep true to those goals to the best of your ability. It's a spiritual issue, and one that all of us, especially as artists, have to work on.
  2. You need to catch your singing up to the level of your string-playing abilities. Start practicing and drilling singing about 50%-100% more than your strings. If you are going to sing, then sing as a pro. I recommend www.jeanniedeva.com I wish I had found her earlier in my music career as I wouldn't have had to unlearn so much. Regardless, she's the real deal. I took off as a singer when I studied her writings. Even had a chance to attend two of her workshops when she was still alive. A lot of singing is the knowledge of what to do, so your practice will yield results in the direction you really want to go. This will pay off with complete songs that will really have the emotional impact on people that you want.

Of course, you could do that with just instrumental virtuosity, as well. But that's not your goal.

  1. Once you get a head of steam built up on #1 and #2 above, you will be in much better position to attract a singing partner for duets. And, I think you won't be having any more confidence issues. You're going to be discovering a lot about YOU in the process.

Hope this helps. Let me know back.

Happy Trails to you!


Nov 9, 2019

Hi again,

Am contemplating your kind words of wisdom...

But some logistics, please. First me.

Vocally I sang solo and also female duets in a very small HS. After college and marriage we raised three great kids who are now in their forties with family. I taught myself guitar when close to forty. Began with JD [John Denver] songs and grew into more Western country music and now some gospel (I love Alan Jackson's gospel album, check it out). I'm mostly a Travis [Tritt] style picker guitarist learning from JD. Actually can't even use a flat pick for playing. No matter, I think I do my vocals over strings reasonably well and have a digital harmonizing device (TC-Helicon Guitar) which is plugged into my guitar that adds standard high low octaves of harmony while playing controlled by foot pedal. Kinda neat. But really doesn't replace my female duet vocals I think. I play at home 5 days a week for my enjoyment bout 30 minutes. But I can play and sing "From Memory" up to 60 minutes at a stretch. Prepping for future gigs maybe. Additionally I have gone wireless with guitar and voice, no wires. Also, I have gone from three ring binders of paper music to digital computer. All of my assistance of song sheet music now is on a computer screen with blue tooth foot pedal control to turn pages. Plus with internet connection I can search and download almost any song I want. I perch my computer on an cheap portable aluminum folding easel. No more carting binders full of sheet music.

Ok, pass on some of your logistics.

Flat pick or finger pick or both?

Brand of guitars, strings?

Sit or stand during gigs?

Any pics of gigs?

Type of voice, tenor, bass?

Type of music?

Up tempo or slow song mix?

Names of Artist influence to you.

When how did you begin?

At 75, what r ur goals?

Advise in kind.

Watch your top knot and keep your nose into the wind....cheers. Dave.


Dear Dave,

Thank you for your communication. I love the Alan Jackson gospel songs that you recommended. I am already a fan of his. His renditions are tops! I have just added some of them to my "Songs to learn" list.

I like the idea of the digital music instead of paper sheets. Got a picture of that set-up?

Re your logistics questions:

Flat pick or finger pick or both? Both.

Brand of guitars, strings? Taylor 313 ce, 6-string

Sit or stand during gigs? mostly sit

Any pics of gigs? www.charlierocksvegas.com has a few

Type of voice, tenor, bass? Alto

Type of music? www.charlierocksvegas.com/playlist

Up tempo or slow song mix? mix according to the moment

Names of Artist influence to you. www.charlierocksvegas.com/playlist These are the people who were, some my heroes, and certainly impacted me. Of course, there are many more.

When how did you begin? 1965, and "played until my fingers bled..." St. Paul, MN Learned "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen first song, and sang it (which was not easy to do together!!!). Always sang and played guitar together.

At 75, what r ur goals? This also mixes in some more generalized purposes: Achieve a broad and lasting emotional impact with my music; earn all the money I need for the rest of my life doing my art; make a substantial impact on other artists to succeed at what they want to do; record high quality videos of all my own songs as well as my practical philosophies and thus make a contribution to the genre for future posterity to benefit from; make a significant and noteworthy impact to uplift the cultures of earth with my art, and help others to do the same.

Thanks for your interest!

Beautiful instruments on your picture, BTW.



Nov. 10, 2019


To go digital I began by buying a touchscreen HP Pavillion x360.

This HP model can be used as a laptop in landscape or portrait position (used on my aluminum portable easel)

Key to this setup is an app to download songs with chords and lyrics from the internet. I purchased Chordle for less than $10 online. There are several other apps like SongBook, etc. and there are some free ones now.

Once installed the app allows internet searches for any song and permits one to change the Key automatically, change add titles, words, etc. Then you can create libraries to save songs into groups like John Denver songs or favorite Gospel songs etc. When performing I put the PC on my easel in portrait position, activate Chordle, select a song library and select a song from that library to perform. From this position The app even allows you to edit that song if you discover that a word or chord is incorrect and then save the change back into the library. I also added a bluetooth foot pedal made by AirTurn to turn pages or scroll through your library of songs. The whole setup is really cool so no more three ring binders of sheet music.

Also, I think I mentioned b4 I am totally wireless now with a vocal headset and guitar transmitter/receiver to my TC-Helicon Vocal and Play Acoustic effects processor. This device detects my guitar chords and provides selectable high low vocal harmonies to my songs if so desired.

Well that's the high points of my digital song book and wireles setup.

Sorry but I'm at my North Country log home deer hunting with my boys so I can't provide you a total composite pic at this time. Cheers.


Thank you, Dave. This is way cool! Now you got me cookin' on this!!! It's a smart way to go.

Nice guitar strap (at the bottom of photo)!

Happy Hunting,



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top