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Friday, May 21, 2010

The Ultimate Diary Pt. II: Pre-Summer League Leg

Well, I've been playing quite a few pickup games with some friends and others who I will be playing with in the East Lansing Summer League.  It's been pretty good, nice to stay active.  My forehand is almost perfect right now and my backhand is great within a 15 yard range.  Outside of that range, it's just OK. 

I played a somewhat intense game (well, intense compared to most pickup games, not compared to competitive matches) and did very well, playing the entire game as a cutter.  I usually do a fair amount of handling, so spending the whole game as a cutter was a new experience for me.  I was surprised that I was able to get so far in front of my defender, as I was able to go deep three times and come down with the disc in the end zone very easily. 

I did realize that my weak points are on defense.  I can stay with my man somewhat well, but I was never in a position to prevent him from catching the disc, I was only able to set up my mark as soon as he caught it.  On a long point, I did get burned, but that was partially due to the reasons in the following paragraph.

Injuries.  They suck.  Luckily, my current injuries are very minor, but they are all in parts of my body that affect my running.  The most annoying one being a pulled muscle on the left side of my back.  On a huck that was thrown to me, I had to twist my body very quickly to catch the disc, and it ended up pulling a muscle.  Not fun.  I do have a couple other annoying pains right now, which are a sore calf (which shouldn't last) and a cut along the bottom of my foot. 
8:46 am - 2 comments - 1 Kudos
Monday, May 10, 2010

A Quick Thought: Gay Marriage & Gender Equality

Just a quick thought for the day for those interested.

Is prohibiting gay marriage violating a sense of equality between the genders?  In other words, prohibiting gay marriage prohibits a man from doing something a woman is allowed to do, and vice versa.  A man is allowed to marry a woman, but a woman is not allowed to do the same?  Doesn't seem very equal to me.

Care to weigh in?  Have a point to make?  Feel free to comment, but do so in a civilized manner or your post WILL be deleted and you will be blocked from my profile.  I am open to any stance on the issue as long as it is presented in a civilized way.  Thanks!
7:09 am - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Ultimate Diary

Well, tomorrow at 3:30, my Summer starts.  And that means one thing for this guy: ULTIMATE!  Big Jake is gonna be tossing the disc all Summer long (in a similar manner that Kid Rock sings "Sweet Home Alabama") and getting prepared for trying out for the best college club team ever.  That's right, homies, Juice Box Jake is trying out for University of Michigan MagnUM. 

I'm gonna start training this weekend, and I am super pumped.  Over the course of May, I will be running about 2-5 miles every day, hopefully on grassy, soccer field-like surfaces to get myself acquainted with my new pair of cleats (Nike Mercurials).  In addition to this, I am going to find every game of pick-up that I can, which shouldn't be difficult, as my two primary places of residence are college towns with serious ultimate teams (MagnUM at Michigan, Burning Couch at MSU). 

East Lansing Summer League begins in late May/early June, and that is going to be a blast.  Unfortunately, it only happens once a week, but I'll be able to work in some pick-up games in addition to that.  I will also be walking the 2-3 miles to work every day, so that will go well with my training. 

My goal for the Fall is to be in good enough shape and skilled enough to be able to make MagnUM's B team.  If I can make the A Team... AWESOME.
1:54 am - 3 comments - 0 Kudos
Thursday, April 29, 2010

For anyone who wonders what happened to my mp3's..

Well, I want my music to be indicative of my styles, and as those tracks were recorded 2 years ago (and more importantly, when I was still in an ever-evolving state) I felt they didn't represent my playing now. 

This Summer, however, I may be getting together with my drummer friend and his pop-rock band buddies, and his recording equipment is far superior to anything I've ever owned.  I have some drafts of songs written out, and a few may end up recorded with a full band.

Expect these tracks (should they be recorded) to be a mixture of Andy Timmons, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Bonamassa, Freak Kitchen, Brett Garsed, Johnny Hiland, and Cypress Hill.

However, I will be working almost full time and playing Ultimate in most of my spare time, and my music may have to fall 3rd or 4th on my priorities list.  It pains me immensely, but it has to be done.  This Fall's musical harvest, however, will be more abundant.

For anyone reading this asking "who the hell cares?", you obviously care a bit because you clicked the link to get here.  So suck it.
1:44 am - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's Talk About Legato...

Current mood: Informative

Okay, so, anyone looking to "shred" or anything of that nature has heard the term "legato" used quite frequently.  But I find that most who come across legato playing tend to get the concept wrong.  Oftentimes, we are told that there are two types of playing: picking every note and legato.  Well, that is rooted in truth, but is still a misunderstanding of the concept of legato.  And I have realized that it came down to this:  people think legato is a technique, but it is not.  It is a SOUND.  The term "legato" translates to "tied together", hence, in legato playing, the notes should sound as if they were connected, or "tied together".

Many people will say that legato just means doing a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs, but that is a description of technique, not the sound.  You can achieve a staccato (opposite of legato) sound by using hammers and pulls, and you may be able to muster a legato sound by picking many notes.  For a prime example of this misconception, watch this video.  Notice how his sound his very tight, snappy, and defined in between each note.  That makes it staccato. 

Now, let's discuss how we can achieve an actual legato sound.  Well, here's what our goal is: to have no change in volume, tone, or percussive nature of consecutive notes.  The most useful tool for accomplishing this is a proper hammer-on technique.  Now, what makes a hammer-on technique proper is two things.  First of all, as we hammer, we must not remove the finger holding the original note too early.  It will cause a slight gap in between the notes, and that's not what we want.  Secondly, the attack of our pick must be exactly the same as the attack of our hammering finger.  If you can perfect these two things, you will notice your legato sound start to improve immediately. 

While we're on the subject of hammer-ons, let's talk about ghost hammers.  For those who don't know, a ghost hammer is when a note is hammered without an initial picked note on the same string.  This is just a very useful way to ensure a smoothness of sound and note-linkage. 

Another useful technique to get down is hybrid picking, or using fingers to pluck notes along with the pick.  Because the flesh on a finger is softer than the material on a pick, a string plucked using a finger can sound less snappy or percussive.  Now, country players use this technique as well, but they achieve a VERY snappy and percussive sound.  This is because a) they might be using their nails as opposed to the flesh and b) they aggressively pull the string upward, and let it snap back down.  When hybrid picking, make sure you only rub the string with your finger, don't snap it.

Now, you may have noticed that I did not talk about any sort of pull-off technique.  This is because pull-offs can sound very staccato very easily.  When we pull off, we bend the string a bit, and let go.  This is exactly what we do when we pick a note.  Over-using pull-offs will make something seem less legato due to the snappy, percussive nature of the technique.  Now, I'm not saying abandon pulling-off altogether, just be careful when you do.  If you find yourself needing to get to a lower note, but don't want to pull-off, see if there is a way to achieve that lower note by using a ghost hammer on the next-lowest string.  Getting in the habit of doing this can really be helpful for playing legato passages and pieces. 

If you want to listen to some legato guitar music, Allan Holdsworth is the first guy you should check out.  If you would prefer to hear legato in a more classical sense, you can't go wrong with Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), a romantic-era pianist.  

I hope this was helpful.  I would have posted a video lesson, but I have no means of doing so.  Feedback, criticism, comments, compliments, etc. are all appreciated. 

12:46 am - 2 comments - 4 Kudos