He not only spoke of tone, but also of responsiveness, and I likened it to playing one of my good guitars and then picking up my 1938 Martin D28. The responsiveness that guitar has is much more about touch and feel than about tone.
So – I learned that gear has the same continuum of responsiveness. I’d never really thought about it. But in thinking of it, the principle is true across the board. Responsiveness, transparency, mirroring the music that is coming off the instrument - these things are truly important for a recording engineer, a house sound engineer, musicians, or just life in general. The dirty lens captures a distorted picture. False or distorted perceptions create a false or distorted life.
He said a lot of other things, showed schematics that revealed the technical process, but to me his real talent went beyond mere knowledge and was shown by an incredibly sensitive and intuitive way of interpreting sound, and using his knowledge and wisdom to better the means of recording.
The conversation had me thinking later about application – about that drive to create, to excel, to better one’s playing, clarify one’s focus, build one’s character.
Afterwards Ethan and I went back to the bus, which was several blocks away, and got his swim trunks and a towel, then headed to the beach. I didn’t have any, so I stayed dressed in my jeans and shirt, but while I was standing there watching him rush into the waves and body surf I was wondering why in the heck I didn’t leave my wallet and iPhone on the bus so I could get wet, clothes and all. I did roll up my jeans to above my knees to get my feet wet. The feel of wet sand on the feet, and cold, white-foamed waves hitting the shins, the smell of the salt breeze, with the white gulls calling and flying and diving overhead – the Pacific Ocean is always a restful experience.
After that we headed to Whole Foods in Santa Barbara, grabbed food and supplies, and then drove to Paso Robles for the show tomorrow. The drive was sweet – the 101 has a lot of ocean views.
We drove up to the hotel, Ethan and I got the keys Sean had waiting for us, and went in. I brought a lot of stuff, too much – guitar, Tele banjo, several books, and a couple of dvds. We’ll watch a movie in a bit, thinking of an older time travel movie called Frequency, and try to go to bed at a decent hour.
Also, I’m reading a book right now called The Practice of Practice, so that is fomenting in my brain lately. It’s got short, tight little chapters with good thoughts.