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Ben Clapton

New Teacher, New Youth Orchestra Year, Final Uni Semester

February 16, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Well, it's been a while. I kinda got out of the playing mould recently, and it took a new teacher to shock me back into playing. Well, more when I realised that I would be studying with a former Concert soloist, concert master, and former leader of the Australian String Quartet, I think i've got to do some practice to do him justice. I'm only with Peter Tanfield for one semester, so I've got to make the most of it.

I played for him the other day, and he said there was a lot of good things, but I needed to be more free with my playing. Perhaps it was because I was nervous and not really well prepared - he should see me play on Sunday.

I've been in contact with this band called Poetry Lounge. I played a gig with them in the middle of December, borrowing a friends pickup. When they asked me to play with them again, I realised I needed to buy a pickup, as there's a possibility of them asking me to join them again later. I didn't have much money, so wasn't looking for anything too fancy (If money was no issue, I'd probably go with a Schertler Dynamic Transducer, as I've heard impressive results with them, and had a friend that loves them), however being poor, I went with a Piezo. Just wanted a basic one, however had trouble getting to a Music store. Finally got to one today, and they only had a Fishman V100 or V200. I would've liked the V200, simply for it being easier to take on and off, but it was above my budget, so the V100 it was. Needing it for tomorrow really put a dent in my limits.
I bought it after my orchestra rehearsal, and was heading off to my uni to get some practice in. I decided to fit it there, just to make sure it would fit. In the process of adjusting it to fit I ended up snapping it. "Oh God" I thought, "I've just wasted $250" Called my parents, and they convinced me to come home (I was in no mood to practice). I Came home and Dad had a look at it, and realised that I hadn't broken anything important - just the spring. THe contact mechanism was still fine, and just needed to fit into the wing. Thanks to me having quite fine bridge wings (the reason why I needed to adjust the pickup in the first place), the pickup fits just fine now, quite a snug fit, with no bridge adjustment neccessary. Well... hopefully. I'll play tomorrow at church just to make sure, and if not, I guess I'll have to bust out my acoustic electric, and look for a DI.

Started the new year of the youth orchestra today. First season is Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from Westside Story, and a couple of pieces by Ravel. Also doing an all Russian season in the middle of the year with Maestro Vladimir Verbitski. And in December, we have the Tour to look forward to. We'll be in Singapore from the 8th to the 12th of December (Flying out on the 13th), and then in Japan in Tokyo and the Hyogo region, until we fly home on the 22nd of December. Hopefully, I'll be able to meet up with the famed Buri, and anyone else who might be in the area.

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