02010-11-16 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

New York was great. Playing solo is a great challenge that I enjoy very much. I had problems keeping the treble strings in tune. Told the audience that guitar players spend half of the time tuning and the other half playing out of tune. Asked Stephen about his recent experience with the D’Addario Titanium trebles and he told me he was also struggling to keep them in tune. I will put a regular set of D’Addario Composites on today and will email my rep at D’Addario to find out whether they changed the formula for the Titaniums and whether other guitarists have reported tuning problems as well. For sure the heat and humidity of the Blue Note stage did not help, but what I experienced was not fun – although probably typical for guitarists pre WW2, using gut strings…

Awoke to a sprinkling of snow on the landscape. Very pretty.

Schizophrenia has long been blamed on bad genes or even bad parents. Wrong, says a growing group of psychiatrists. The real culprit, they claim, is a virus that lives entwined in every person’s DNA. See this article in Discover.

The article also mentions that everyone already carries the virus that causes multiple sclerosis.

It would seem to me that, especially in light of these discoveries, we should tread more ligthly with our chemistry set. Environmental pollution might have a very negative effect on the human body’s ability to control any of those viruses.

This also ties in with something Jon and I recently discussed. Farming cultures have a natural ebb and flow of time and work, and therefore stress. In the Winter a farmer will cut wood for the oven, might pickle foods and do other odds and ends, but Winter is mainly a time, I would think, of renewal. And by the time Spring comes around one is ready to get out there and work.

Modern schedules are not only pretty hectic year round, we are adding on top of that the stress of constantly being connected. I watch people, updating something while walking, emailing while waiting for their coffee, texting while running across the street. There is no downtime, espcially in the U.S. where vacations are incredibly short. I think that drives up stress levels tremendously. Add to that the (fast-)food most people seem to allow into their bodies… and, well, you see where I am going with this.

Synthesis: Will the Internet Destroy Us? – Harvard Business Review book reviews of Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet by William H. Davidow, and You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier

First they cut Arts and Music, then they cut foreign languages… what’s next?


  1. Victor

    Hi Ottmar, I really like the T2 Trebles and found that when I play at our local coffee shop I sit under the heating vent and It just about impossible to keep the strings in tune.

  2. Ottmar

    Victor: I restrung my guitar with a regular set of composite strings yesterday (I have never minded the composite G-string and it does stay in tune very nicely) and really enjoyed playing without those tuning problems. With the Titaniums tuning had been getting worse throughout the year and I suspect that D’Addario may have changed the formula. Hopefully I will know more soon, but for now I will stick to the regular composite set.

  3. Victor

    I will try that this weekend thanks for letting us know. Hope it works for you as well.

  4. James

    Your comment to the audience on tuning strings reminds me of my own experience: computer programmers spend half their time fixing bugs, and the other half their time creating bugs.
    What is the difference between the normal strings, hard strings, and extra hard strings? And which is your preference?

  5. Ottmar

    James: the difference is in the tension of the string once it is tuned to pitch. Harder strings will sound a little louder, perhaps, but will also be require more effort. Of course, this also depends on the scale length of the neck. I prefer Normal tension.

    Some guys actually prefer really flabby strings. I heard that Carlos Montoya used to tune his strings down a half step and brought the pitch to normal with a capo on the first fret, which essentially shortened the scale and made the strings really soft.

    Victor: I received word from D’Addario that the formula for the Titanium Trebles was never changed, and they are baffled why one would find them hard to tune now, compared to a year ago. Nevertheless, I find the tuning-problems I have experienced too distracting at this point and am using a regular composite set on my guitar.


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