Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Back to Philmont

I will be leaving next week for the Philmont Training Center in Cimmaron, NM where I will have the honor of serving as chaplain at their Fall Leadership Conference.  I will get to play guitar and sing at several outside services this year.  Looking forward to being in "God's Country" once again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Rainsong Black Ice Jumbo guitar . . .

(UPDATE 9/5/18 - The deal fell through.  Trade-in was good, but not quite good enough. Another day ...) 

A couple of years ago, my lovely (and very patient) wife kindly accompanied me to the Guitar Sanctuary store located in McKinney, TX.  Guitar Sanctuary is a really great guitar store, with a very eclectic feel.  The reason we went was that I wanted to play a Rainsong Black Ice Jumbo electric/acoustic guitar.  They were the only dealer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that had one at that time.

Yep, a Rainsong Jumbo. 100% carbon fiber.  No wood. Light and loud.  Very loud.

I played that guitar for about an hour.  Honestly, I wanted it, pretty badly. However, I knew that I didn't have the funds and at that time I didn't want to part with any of my guitars.  So, I left the store sad, but at least I wasn't whining.  I did put it in the back of my mind that one day I would try and get one.

I will admit that I am drawn to the concept of carbon fiber guitars.  I've had the opportunity to play a Rainsong Jumbo as well as a RainsongWS model.  I was blown away by their tone and volume.  Admittedly, I am not a purest when it comes to guitars.  I am brand loyal to Guild and Martin because their guitars have served me well the past 15 years.  I don't have any kind of real relationship with any of my guitars.  They are tools.  Each one works better in certain situations.

A carbon fiber guitar makes sense because I play in mostly walk-in venues like nursing homes, rehab centers and senior activity centers. There are times when I get to play outside, such as the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, as well as outdoor settings here at the church (Vacation Bible Camp).  A carbon fiber guitar is supposedly impervious to heat, cold and humidity.

All guitar players know how humidity affects a guitar. My Guide F50R (my Philmont Scout Ranch guitar) has to have at least two Humidi-Paks inside the case when I travel to New Mexico just to survive the up and down humidity levels. Dry in the morning and damp in the evening.  My Guild F50R has fret buzz like crazy in low humidity.  I wouldn't dream of subjecting my Martin's to that kind of weather and environmental conditions.  And my Guild 12-string . . . nope, wouldn't even consider it.

To be honest, I wouldn't be thinking about a Rainsong Jumbo until sometime next year.  And then a few things fell into place, and I might have a opportunity to acquire one of these guitars in the next week or so.  A few "boxes" still have to be checked first, but a Rainsong could be in my hands by next week if I decide, and if I'm able, to pull the trigger.

It all boils down to making a decision that I can live with.  Trade-in value these days are only about 60-65% of what a guitar is being sold for on e-Bay.   The old saying, when trading in a guitar, is "walk in with two and walk out with one."  I would be able to get the Rainsong and walk out with a pretty nice check.  But I would be trading in two guitars.

As usual . . . we shall see.   It may happen, and it may not. A lot of things have to fall into place.  It's a process, and the process builds patience.

Oh, the Martin M-36 I wrote about earlier didn't pan out.  I just couldn't find one to play.  I know I would have loved it . . . but it's just a thinner Martin J-40, and I already have a J-40. 

Funny, I really haven't shopped for a new guitar in over five years, and until two days ago, hadn't gone into a Guitar Center in almost two years.  And now this opportunity drops into my lap. 

Rick ><>

Monday, August 6, 2018

Fred Kelly "Slick Pick"

A couple of years ago, I wrote about finding some Fred Kelly Slick Pick thumbpicks at Craig's Music store in Weatherford, TX.    I bought some yellow Delrin, large sized, in light guage as well as some Poly large sized in medium guage.

This style of thumbpick is more comfortable for me than National and Dunlop brands.  And, they are my favorite thumbpick for strumming, especially in a band situation when I am not the main rhythm guitarist.

Interesting thing, the body of the pick is thick, but the tip tapers down and has a slick edge.  It's been fun to play.   It's not my main pick (Dunlop Nylon .73mm or Dunlop Tortoise in medium gauge can always be found in the pick pouch on my key chain).  When playing through my amp or PA, the yellow Delrin in Large light guage are often my first choice.  For old fashioned camp fire boom-chucking, I will stick with Dunlop Nylons.

How about you?  What is your favorite pick and why?   Let me know!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Martin M-36

I've become interested in trying out a Martin M-36.  May be difficult to do. According the Martin Guitar Customer Service folks, there haven't been any delievered to dealers in Texas this year.


Martin Customer Service helped me locate one in Nashville; however, I wasn't able to make it to the music store there on a recent vacation to Tennessee. 

The Martin M-36 is a 0000 sized guitar, pretty much the same as my J-40, but not as deep from front to back.  The other difference is that it has a 1 and 3/4" nut width.  My J-40 is 1 and 11/16th nut width.   I have found the wider nut width a little easier to play, especially on hands that are getting older each day.  My Taylor GS has similar specs and the same nut width.  However, I'm still a Martin guy at heart. 

Like a J-40, the M-36 is touted as being a great balanced instrument for strummers like me, and for fingerpickers.  It's a good all around guitar that can handle different venues, whether plugged into an amp or not.  Acoustically, I wonder if it will be as loud as my J-40, which is still one of the best camp fire guitars I have ever owned.

The journey to find one begins!   Will I get one?  Who knows.  It seems I find more joy in the journey finding something than I do buying it.

Rick ><>

Family Concert at Crowley UMC on August 19th . . .

For those in the area near Crowley, TX and southwest Fort Worth, Crowley UMC and the Crowley United Methodist Preschool will be hosting Jim Newton and Paul G. Hill of the Hugworks Children's Network for a family friendly Back-to-School concert and ice cream social beginning at 5:00 PM on Sunday, August 5, 2018.

I apprenticed several years ago with Jim and Paul in their Therapeutic Music Performer program.  They pretty much taught me most of what I know about singing to children and to senior adults.

If you are in the area, and would like to participate, then please email me and let me know!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Exploring the possibilities of singing at a new venue . .

For several months now, I've been driving by a new rehab and memory care facitily that is under construction not far from my church.   I am unfamiliar with the company, but the design of the building was very familiar to me.

One day I stopped by the building, and found that several administrative staff were in place and working on site.  I was directed to contact the progam director and did so later in the day, introducing myself, as well as letting her know that I volunteer where I can as a therapeutic music entertainer. 

Several conversations later, including my offer to come in an audition to the staff and filling out a background check, and it looks like I will be singing there about 1-2 times a month once they are opened for business.  I may get to provide entertainment at the grand opening.  We will see.

I can't emphasie enough the need to have a clearly stated "elevator" speech to share when asked about the musical service I am willing to provide.  Mine has changed over the years, but it serves me well.  Here it is:

Good morning / afternoon.  My name is Rick Mang and I am the pastor at the local United Methodist Church.  One of my personal ministries to the community is to sing for senior adults in senior centers, and to seniors in nursing, long-term care and rehab facilities.  I do not charge to do this.  I am a certified therapeutic music entertainer, and I am willing to volunteer if your facility would benefit from my doing so.  I am available 1-2 times a month as my schedule allows.

I think the word "free" gets me in the door more often than not.  One day I hope to be considered good enough to be paid a fee, but that will probably be after I retire from pastor / preacher stuff.

It is good to volunteer in the mean time.  It feels good to offer a brief respite to senior adults, especially if they are going through some kind of medical treatment.  I'm glad I can make a little difference in their lives with the gifts and skils that I have to offer.

Monday, June 4, 2018

New song by Paul G. Hill

A song written by Paul G. Hill, one of my therapeutic music mentors, will spin on next Sunday’s  (June 10, 2018) Outbound Music special "Sunday In The Heartland" broadcast at 2:00 PM Central Daylight Savings Time.
You can listen through one of these options:
On Computer:

Mobile device listeners:

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