Relic #1 – Chapel Rd.

When I was a 19 year old hotshot guitarist, a violinist friend was admiring my left hand technique. With the wisdom gleaned from his classical studies, he said, “Enjoy it now, man, because you’re at the height of your physical skills, and it’ll be all down hill from here.”

He was wrong about the time frame, but correct about the concept. Since 1996, I’ve gradually become more limited in my playing ability due to focal dystonia of the right index finger as well as the ravages of age. Because I had developed a wide variety of stylistic abilities, there is still a lot of music available to me, but I sometimes lament the loss of various parts of my repertoire. Right before I started having problems, I’d completed my second CD, “Max’s Ramble”. It’s now out of print, and, listening back, there are some tunes that make me wince…thankfully, when you lose your chops, you have to fall back on good taste, which was not always the case in my youth. But there are some tunes that I’m still proud of, so I thought I’d start posting them as relics of a bygone era, hence this first post.

The house on Chapel Rd.

The house on Chapel Rd.

We lived on Chapel Rd, near New Hope PA, for a dozen years. It was a modest cabin in the woods, with large windows and lots of barn wood along with the white walls. A long porch on one side of the house was a perfect guitar-picking site, and that’s where this tune was written. The music was published by Mel Bay in their “Fingerpicking 2000” anthology, but I’ve long since lost my copy…so it goes…

The slideshow features lots of nice guitars and good friends. I hope you enjoy the tune!

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Posted on March 10, 2019, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Dear Rolly

    Thank you so much for your fascinating Relic post!  Your humble porch reminds me of the home place in Kentucky where I spent much of my formative time.  You no doubt remember the extended conversations we had a few years ago when I was just starting my return to the guitar.  You were very kind and I recall your mentioning you could not converse with everyone who bought a CD!  I knew that was true and at the same time much appreciated your kindness in taking the time then.

    I am glad you had a hayday for sure.  Through ignorance and the pressure of life and family I missed all of that.  I will be eighty this year.  Nevertheless I am contnueing to study and to practice.  As you know those are separate entities.  Bar chords I use sparingly since it irritates an arthritic forefinger.  But I can play passibly, tell a story and love the fellowship with my guitars.  I play a 714CEN Taylor with a 1 ¾ nut.  The Nylon really helps.  I also play a 312 CE 12 fret steel string Taylor  the short scale helps as well.

    You are to be encouraged and celebrated for your efforts at bringing the joy of our instrument to others.  I have shared your efforts with my son and grandson who are embarking at the age of 51 and 11. Please be encouraged and feel appreciated for what you are doing. Maybe I should do some teaching!

    Best regards

    Bernie Finch

    From: RollyGuitar Reply-To: RollyGuitar Date: Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 6:49 PM To: Bernie Finch Subject: [New post] Relic #1 – Chapel Rd.

    Rolly posted: “When I was a 19 year old hotshot guitarist, a violinist friend was admiring my left hand technique. With the wisdom gleaned from his classical studies, he said, “Enjoy it now, man, because you’re at the height of your physical skills, and it’ll be all dow”

  2. Hello Rolly.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful song and your candid story of playing guitar then and now. You’re still an inspiration to me. I’m grateful for you teaching me various skills.

    I hope you’re doing well my friend. I’m hoping to make Winfield and hoping to see you there as well.

    All my best, Eric

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Thanks, Eric, Hope to see you in KS. It’s tough that we’re losing friends…I still miss Dennis, and we lost Charlie Hall this year as well. While we’re still kickin’, we must still keep pickin’…Best to you and your family, and I’ll look for you in the campground!

  3. John Cadley G-mail

    That’s a really beautiful tune, Rolly….and very beautifully played. You could lose half your chops and still be better than 90% of the players out there.

    John

    >

  4. Charles Ortolani

    I’ve got Max’ Ramble and there is some seriously intimidating guitar playing on it! Not on the same level but I’ve got love performance CDs from 30 years in country and rockabilly bands, and I know I can’t play like that any more. Thank you, my friend, for sharing your adventures with aging and playing. That has been very helpful for in putting my situation in perspective.

  5. Hi Rolly

    Just thought you might like to see a photo of myself with my old Martin 00015.  Have a good one!

    Bernie Finch

    From: RollyGuitar Reply-To: RollyGuitar Date: Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 6:49 PM To: Bernie Finch Subject: [New post] Relic #1 – Chapel Rd.

    Rolly posted: “When I was a 19 year old hotshot guitarist, a violinist friend was admiring my left hand technique. With the wisdom gleaned from his classical studies, he said, “Enjoy it now, man, because you’re at the height of your physical skills, and it’ll be all dow”

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