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New Song: “Afraid”

Play the song:

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OM-18VI made this tune up in 2005 in Naples, Florida on my my newly purchased Martin OM-18V (see right). It was when I was noodling on some simple chords back in the hotel room, while getting used to my new guitar, that during much investigative prodding and poking, picking and strumming that I alighted on it. Why that should be when I was only interested in exploring the sonority of my new instrument, I don’t know. The lyrics came much later when I was back in the UK and when I had become aware that a song was lurking in these simple fingerpicked chords. And in the process I show my unerring ability to make the normally bright and breezy key of C Major something quite a bit darker. Ho-hum.

 Afraid

Be afraid
That’s OK
Your pulse can race but you can’t
Run away

They’ll try to blow you around
Well you can bend with the breeze
But you must
Stand your ground

Pride and grace

You can be statuesque
Or you can just feign death
Or you can just stand still and take a
Big deep breath

So staunch those tears
I’ve been that way for years
And no-one’s
Noticed yet

Pride and grace

© 2015 Dave Keir

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Care and Feeding of Acoustic Guitars!


Guitar care is a preoccupation among many acoustic guitar players – at least amateur ones. A lot of pros seem to take satisfaction from treating their guitars with a certain amount of careless disdain. On the other hand, there is a section of the guitar buying public that, in truth, are more collectors of guitars and admirers of them as objects than interested in playing them.

Here’s what I don’t do:
Continue reading Care and Feeding of Acoustic Guitars!

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A Pickup On My OM-18V”¦


“¦ was installed at the same time as the aforementioned nut job, above. So far, and after only a quick audition in the store, it is all I expected it to be: like an acoustic guitar with a pick-up on it.

Let me be clear: the sound of an acoustic guitar with a pick-up, of whatever flavour, is not something I expect ever to quicken the pulse. I have not heard any that hasn’t imparted a certain”¦ ah”¦. grittiness to the sound. Anyway, “loud acoustic guitars” is almost a contradictio in adjecto – it’s not their natural state. Even when carefully mic’d they sound unrealistic if even just because they are loud. Still, it’s a means to an end (to allow me to play place where there is much “ambience”) without having to haul another mic and a PA (been there – done that). So it’s a wee compact acoustic amp which will take a mic for the voice that will do for me.

For the time being, I can pop along to open mics where the rock guys play and plug in and get it all “under my fingers”. Then I’ll need to buy one of them compact acoustic amplifier thingies. Oh, and a mic – and stand. Not forgetting I also need to figure out which EQ and compressor is good to get for this application. On the other hand, I’ve got an old Lexicon reverb unit which will serve for songs written specially for the Taj Mahal, or when I’m playing in a carpet factory. So, I’m almost set. Ready to rock’n roll. As they say. Yup.

In case you’re wondering: no, I’m not going to be putting any pick-up on my OM-28V. Waverly tuners? You bet!

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My OM-18V nut job”¦


“¦is done.

Just to recap (and to save me the bother of including a hyperlink) I suspected the string slots in the nut of this guitar had been cut so that the bottom and top strings were uncomfortably near the edge of the fingerboard, especially at the first five frets, or so. I had convinced myself this was a lack of quality control at the factory since inspection revealed that the distance from the string to the edge of the fingerboard increased noticeably – without the need to measure it – the higher up the fingerboard one looked. The consequence of this (again to reiterate) is that pull-offs, without real care, will be strangled because the string is pulled off the fingerboard before the intended pull-off is executed.

It’s now fixed and I can play a number of pull-off infested songs with a lot less inhibition. Thanks to Ed at Jimmy Eqypt’s Guitar Repair Shop.

The nut on my newly arrived OM-28V has the same issue which causes me to ponder: either CF Martin & Co have a blind spot when it comes to cutting and QC of nut slots, or – and this would be darkly amusing – it’s a design “feature” to maximise the string spacing – something which all the rage among fingerstylists in some quarters. Anyway, it means another trip to Jimmy’s in Glasgow.

Posted on

A Pickup On My OM-18V”¦


“¦ was installed at the same time as the aforementioned nut job, above. So far, and after only a quick audition in the store, it is all I expected it to be: like an acoustic guitar with a pick-up on it.

Let me be clear: the sound of an acoustic guitar with a pick-up, of whatever flavour, is not something I expect ever to quicken the pulse. I have not heard any that hasn’t imparted a certain”¦ ah”¦. grittiness to the sound. Anyway, “loud acoustic guitars” is almost a contradictio in adjecto – it’s not their natural state. Even when carefully mic’d they sound unrealistic if even just because they are loud. Still, it’s a means to an end (to allow me to play place where there is much “ambience”) without having to haul another mic and a PA (been there – done that). So it’s a wee compact acoustic amp which will take a mic for the voice that will do for me.

For the time being, I can pop along to open mics where the rock guys play and plug in and get it all “under my fingers”. Then I’ll need to buy one of them compact acoustic amplifier thingies. Oh, and a mic – and stand. Not forgetting I also need to figure out which EQ and compressor is good to get for this application. On the other hand, I’ve got an old Lexicon reverb unit which will serve for songs written specially for the Taj Mahal, or when I’m playing in a carpet factory. So, I’m almost set. Ready to rock’n roll. As they say. Yup.

The pick-up in question is a K&K Pure Western Mini. And In case you’re wondering: no, I’m not going to be putting any pick-up on my OM-28V. Waverly tuners? You bet!

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OM-18V Nut job!


Yes, well. My OM-18V is a wonderful thing. However one thing that has irritated me is the nut slots being cut so that the top and bottom strings are so damn’ near the edge of the fingerboard causing pull-offs on the top ‘e’ string not to ring true. It also causes the fleshy part of my palm just beneath the index finger to foul the top ‘e’ on certain chords. I finally lost patience and took the guitar down to Jimmy Egypt in Glasgow to have the nut replaced. I also took this opportunity to have him install a K&K Pure Western Mini pickup so that I can plug in when I need to. I’m not a fan of pickups on (acoustic) guitars but not to put one on would limit the places I can play and I can’t afford to do that.

I’m picking the guitar up tomorrow at Jimmy’s place. I’ll let you know how I get on.