I found the guitar scene!

I’ve lived in Luxembourg for almost six years now. In the last three years I’ve travelled far and wide to find acoustic guitar players to jam with and have some musical fun, including four trips to the USA.

I’m the webmaster for The Creative Workshop in Luxembourg and I thought I might try using their name to start something up. I was hoping that we would get a bi-weekly song circle or jam going where I could learn and teach and basically have fun. So I put ads up in shops and in the local English language paper, but so far we’ve never had more than four players turn up. But, there are now some regulars and there’s potential for something to come of it.

Through the host of the house concerts, I found out about a speak easy run by two guitar players, Frank and Peter, in a pub in Luxembourg city. The next one coming up was a Beatles night, so I thought I’d go along with my guitar and play a few tunes. I did my old favourite, Rocky Raccoon, as well as Blackbird and I’ve Just Seen a Face. It was a great night and I had a lot of fun.

It turns out that Frank and Peter run the speak easy every couple of weeks on a Wednesday night, as do I with the Creative Workshop sessions, so I can stagger the CW sessions to alternate with the speak easys and make Wednesday night guitar night!

I went to the speak easy last night and the usual suspects were there, Peter and Frank, Philippe (a fellow GAS sufferer with an unhealthy obsession for Gibsons), Chris and Alan, and some new folks I hadn’t met before.

We were playing with amps and mics. I had my Clarksdale Crossroads with me, because, as I discovered at the Beatles night, the pickup in my Heiner Dreizehnter wasn’t working so I took it to get it looked at and had to leave it behind. So I used a John Pearse pickup that sticks to the face of the soundboard and it didn’t sound too bad.

I played four songs, Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt (written by Nine Inch Nails), Bert Jansch’s Strolling Down the Highway and Black Water Side, and A Bang on the Ear by the Waterboys. I messed up Black Water Side pretty badly – for some reason that tune continues to evade me in a performance situation.

I guess I just need to keep getting back on the horse and keep playing it until I nail it.

The other performances were ALL great and I’m so pleased to have found something like this right on my doorstep. Hopefully some of the speak easy regulars will start coming to my Creative Workshop sessions and each one will influence the other.

If I can get my pickup fixed I’ll be stoked – it’s been faulty for a while now, but it never really bothered me as I only really used it once or twice a year. In fact, it was thanks to Philippe that I was able to find a guitar tech within driving distance – that’s been another problem for a while, having nobody I could trust to do setup work for me. It’s a Pick-Up the World Dynamic Trio (two soundboard transducers and an undersaddle transducer); the UST element has been faulty for a while, and the SBT elements give off a horrid hum that disappears when I grab hold of the end jack. I guess it’s a grounding problem.

There were some mighty fine singers in the audience who came up and joined in on some of the songs. Philippe seems to be a bit of a charmer and gets the gals up to sing with him. He’s got great stage presence, a good sense of humour and can knock out a tune or two!

I’m looking forward to the next one already and better get practising Black Water Side so that I can get through it under the stage lights.