Priyaranjan ‘RANJAN’ Mestri Intermediate Blog Report http://slappopnpick.wordpress.com/ Narratives & Networks in Digital Media MCDM, UW. SUMMARY Fall, 2012 I moved to Seattle to pursue Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM) at the University of Washington. However, I did not bring my Bass Guitar along with me because I was hoping to buy a new one here, as per my latest requirements. Consequently, upon my arrival at Seattle I came across “BASS NORTHWEST” an exclusive bass guitar store in downtown Seattle. I visited the store and realized that there were no left-‐handed Bass Guitars. In fact, there were no pieces on display! Further, I visited another music store called “TRADING MUSICIANS” at Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle. I found a couple of left-‐handed bass guitars but could not buy neither of the them because the first one was priced twice the right-‐handed counterpart and the second one was a vintage Paul McCartney Hoffer bass and it did not suit my requirement. At the end of the day I went home and looked up online for left handed bass guitars on www.ebay.com, http://www.Guitarcentre.com and www.craigslist.com and was not surprised to know that there wasn’t anything interesting and worth buying because all the deals were subjected to online purchase. Which means I don’t get to try them first but buy them and try. Eventually, I was disappointed and left with few “UNANSWERED QUESTIONS”: 1. Why can’t left-‐handed bassists play the right-‐handed guitars? 2. Why do manufacturers produce less left-‐handed guitars? 3. How to play the right -‐ handed bass left -‐ handed? 4. Can I invent a Universal guitar for lefties and righties both? Therefore, I decided to create (www.slappopnpick.com) exclusively for left handed bass guitarists. SlapPopnPick is a blog dedicated to left handed bass players by a left handed bassists to overcome constraints of being left handed in the right handed biased world. SlapPopnPick is focused on resolving issues related to left handed bass guitarists such as: left handed people are not being able to play the right handed Guitars and Basses. It is really difficult to find a guitar when desired. What can get manufacturers to increase the production of left-‐handed guitars? How to play the right-‐handed guitar left handed? Can I invent a universal guitar that can be played by both right handed and left handed people. Therefore, SlapPopnPick will throw light upon these “UNANSWERED” questions.
Priyaranjan ‘RANJAN’ Mestri Intermediate Blog Report http://slappopnpick.wordpress.com/ Narratives & Networks in Digital Media MCDM, UW. OBJECTIVE To create solid awareness of a blog (platform/channel) exclusively for left handed bass players focused on resolving issues like lack of availability, reduced choices and guitars priced twice the right handed counterparts. Basically, the market is righty biased. Thus, I intend to start by identifying the pre-‐said problem by throwing light upon the “UNANSWERED QUESTIONS”. Because, almost all the websites and blogs dedicated to left handed musicians do not focus on the problem and solution but on the general aspects of “guitar playing “ like lessons and licks, techniques, personal experiences etc. Some notable examples: 1. http://www.leftybass.com/ 2. http://guitar.about.com/od/bass_guitar_lessons/a/left-‐hand-‐bass-‐technique.htm 3. http://1lefthanded.com/left-‐handed-‐guitarists EFFECTIVENESS EEFECTIVENSS Identify the problem Examine and explain the problem Create trust and credibility Increase engagement Effectiveness in terms of my blog is to identify the pre said problem (Lack of availability, reduced choices and guitars priced twice as much as their right handed counterparts) and share that problem in the form of a compelling story that has a structured and focused narrative with emotional impact because “Our shared stories create a connection to others that builds a sense of belonging to a particular community.” Daniel Siegel Examine and explain the problem thoroughly i.e. nature of the problem, how did the problem arise and why? E.g. “UNANSWERED QUESTIONS”. The unanswered questions form the structure of the overall story and will help me generate relevant content and community. Because every story needs to have a strong structure with a Beginning, Middle and End as discussed in Chapter 11 and 12 (Power of Structure and Power of Connection) in the book “Storyteller Uprising by Hanson R Hosein”. Create trust and credibility – Provide solution to the problem with substantial evidence, facts and figures to earn trust and social capital because the information regarding the issue on the web is based on assumptions and personal preferences
Priyaranjan ‘RANJAN’ Mestri Intermediate Blog Report http://slappopnpick.wordpress.com/ Narratives & Networks in Digital Media MCDM, UW. by untrusted sources. E.g. Hanson Hosein discussed in the class about an aircraft that landed on the Hudson Bay. It was tweeted by a common man and not a trusted source or reliable network but he gained engagement through trust and credibility because he had shared an image. MY THREE FAVORITE POSTS 1. Why can’t left-‐handers play the right-‐handed guitar? 2. The market for left handers is limited 3. Why play bass guitar? WHY CANT LEFT-‐HANDERS PLAY THE RIGHT-‐HANDED GUITARS? At first when a left handed person decides to learn the Guitar/Bass the first and the foremost problem faced by him/her is to decided whether he should play left-‐handed or right-‐handed. It is obvious because the market is righty biased. Considering that approximately “Not even 1% of guitars built are left handed, even though 8% to 10% of the population are lefties”. According to Jerry Welch owner of Jerry’s Lefty Guitars (http://www.jerrysleftyguitars.com/about_us.html) Thus, the market for these guitars is limited and scarce. One of the major disadvantages of playing a left-‐handed bass is that left handed bass guitars are much harder to get and usually more expensive than their right-‐handed counterparts. Many companies do not even make left-‐handed bass guitars and those that do often only produce a limited number of their models in left-‐handed versions. If you play left-‐handed then you have to accept that you may not be able to buy the exact bass guitar you want and even if you are able to buy it you will probably have to pay more for it. The main disadvantage of playing a left-‐handed bass is not the lack of instrument selection and cost but the fact that you will not be able to play a regular bass guitar. “Imagine you are at a party or an event and someone hands you a Bass Guitar, you will not be able to play it. If you want to play the bass guitar then you will always have to have your own guitar around. On the contrary if you played a right-‐handed Bass Guitar you would be able to borrow someone else’s instrument or use whatever Bass Guitar is around. “ Consequently, Left-‐handed bass guitarists have to make a serious choice between whether they want to play a regular right-‐handed bass guitar or a left-‐handed bass guitar. But why? There is no simple answer to this question! While this may seem unfair “It does cost guitar manufacturers a significant amount of money to adapt their machinery to produce left-‐handed bass guitars”. As per (http://leftyfretz.com/cost-‐versus-‐demand-‐lefty-‐guitars-‐and-‐the-‐production-‐line/)
Priyaranjan ‘RANJAN’ Mestri Intermediate Blog Report http://slappopnpick.wordpress.com/ Narratives & Networks in Digital Media MCDM, UW. And that’s one of the reasons why left-‐handed bass guitars are rarely available in comparison to the plethora of options available for right-‐handed people. Thus, it became imperative to find out as to why a regular right-‐handed guitar is held in the direction of the headstock pointing to the left. Simply put, why is a guitar played the way it is played? After necessary examination and research I concluded that this tradition of the guitar being held to the left comes from the “CLASSICAL GUITAR”, which was the dominant guitar style when the guitar was being developed. Until the 20th century. The Guitar classical and popular both were played by fingerpicking. For example; Lullaby song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRN92g3IWs) instead of with a plectrum (pick) and; (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvtXsx9YAJo). In finger-‐style guitar both hands are performing complex and difficult tasks but the hand required to pick the strings requires more strength and stamina than the one used to fret. As a result, the right-‐hand was given the fingerpicking task and the left-‐hand the fretting task resulting in the guitar pointing in a direction towards the left. Eventually, when Paul Tutmarc invented the bass guitar in 1930s he followed the same principal. However, in the last century, playing the Guitar/Bass Guitar with a pick has become much more popular and widespread to the point where there are far more players who can play with a pick than with their fingers simply because it is easy, faster and requires less effort than fingerpicking. Yet the direction of the guitar has remained true to tradition. Therefore, often times, when a left handed person decides to play a bass guitar left handed, the easiest solution occurs to him/her is “Flipping the strings upside down” or restringing the right handed guitar to left handed. But, this is a wrong method. Let me explain why. The first obstacle a person faces while restringing a guitar (interchanging the string positions) is at the nut because the low E string wont fit into the high E’s slot on the nut. This is because the high E string’s slot is thinner as compared to the low E string which is to say that the low E string gauge sizes are usually .046 and the high E string gauge sizes are .010. There is a difference of .036. Either, you will have to force the string through the nut or take it to a Guitar Store and have it altered by a professional with a nominal price of $ 20 -‐ $ 50 depending upon the store. Next, the high E string has an extra space of approximately .036 gauges in the nut, because the slots were interchanged with low E. Making the high E string floppy and jerky. And thus, it requires an expert to wind the string along the length of the guitar neck and stuff a tooth pick or a similar something that occupies the extra space to increase the tension, and bar the high E string from jarring, like Paul McCartney did!
Priyaranjan ‘RANJAN’ Mestri Intermediate Blog Report http://slappopnpick.wordpress.com/ Narratives & Networks in Digital Media MCDM, UW. Also, the strings tend to pop out all of a sudden from their slots, especially low E and A. Finally, when you wind the strings and tune it to “Standard E” your worries are temporarily over as it will allow you to play as hard as you want and the strings wont budge, but you cannot tune the guitar to any other tune like drop – C or D. The final modification is risky. So, it requires a lot of attention. No matter what kind of guitar or bass you turn into left handed you will have to make sure that the action is correct. If not, the desired sound when a note is played, especially bend, slide, hammer on, pull off and vibrato will sound abrupt more importantly incorrect and out of tune. Also, there will always be intonation problems once the bass side and the treble side of the guitar is interchanged. ANALYSIS OF THE POST In the above post I’ve introduced the background of the problem with appropriate facts and figures. I’ve identified the problem and discussed the disadvantages of the problem and how it directly impacts the target audience. I’ve shared a small but a compelling narrative focused on the target audiences explaining the problem in a real life situation (Slice of life) with which people can easily resonate. “Imagine you are at a party or an event and someone hands you a Bass Guitar, you will not be able to play it. If you want to play the Bass Guitar then you will always have to have your own guitar around. On the contrary if you played a right-‐handed Bass Guitar you would be able to borrow others instrument or use whatever Bass Guitar is lying around. “ Further, I’ve explained the consequences of the problem: “Left-‐handed Bass Guitarists have to make a serious choice between whether they want to play a regular right-‐handed Bass Guitar or a left-‐handed Bass Guitar”. Next, I’ve provided the answer -‐ The major reason for these issues are the cost: “A guitar manufacturer needs to shell out significant amount of money to adapt their machinery to produce left-‐handed guitars”. Along with, essential evidence (http://leftyfretz.com/cost-‐versus-‐demand-‐lefty-‐guitars-‐and-‐the-‐production-‐line/) Moving forward, I have also examined the problem, “As to why a regular Guitar is made the way it is? Left-‐handed people cannot play the regular guitar and I need to find out why? And the answer was that since the finger picking style was dominant when the guitar was being developed, and in this style of Guitar both the hands are performing complex and difficult tasks and the hand required to pick the strings needed more strength and stamina than the one used to fret. As a result, the right-‐hand was given the fingerpicking task and the left-‐hand the fretting task resulting in the guitar pointing in the leftward direction. Eventually, when Paul Tutmarc invented the bass guitar in 1930s he followed the same principal. I have also discussed the most common misconception being that of restringing the guitar as the most common solution but that does not hold true. I’ve given a detailed explanation as to why.
Priyaranjan ‘RANJAN’ Mestri Intermediate Blog Report http://slappopnpick.wordpress.com/ Narratives & Networks in Digital Media MCDM, UW. In my previous post The market for left handers is limited I’ve discussed my personal experiences with the issue and the consequences in the form of a compelling story that has a structured and focused narrative with emotional impact highlighting the “UNANSWERED” questions. And hence, my former post The market for left handers is limited helped me frame my next post -‐ Why can’t left-‐handers play the right-‐handed guitar? As far as awareness is concerned, I’ve got 8 likes and twelve followers on Wordpress.com, twenty-‐three likes for my Facebook page and four followers on Twitter so far. And, there has been a significant rise in the views and shares after the post The market for left handers is limited The total number of views as of November 6, 2012 are 611. With 53 being the highest on one single day, November 2, 2012. In addition, overall 16 shares for my posts via Facebook and LinkedIn. Considering that approximately only 8% to 10% of population is left–handed out of which there are only 736 Bass players in the world and around 1% musicians as per www.leftybass.com and Jerry Welch, the owner of Jerry’s Lefty Guitars (http://www.jerrysleftyguitars.com/about_us.html). However, Engaging on social networking groups and Word of Mouth so far has not generated the required ROI. Therefore, I believe I need to create solid awareness campaign like the Kony 2012 video by Invisible Children Inc., to increase awareness because majority of the population is ignorant as it does not concern them directly and the target audience is scattered and confused. In my opinion, “problem and solution approach backed by a structured story” with a compelling and focused narrative will help me create content that can engage communities around that content. While, substantial evidence: facts and figures earn trust when it comes to creating awareness. In my recent post Why can’t left-‐handers play the right-‐handed guitar? I’ve discussed that restringing the Guitar is not a potential solution and supported my argument with appropriate facts and suitable examples. Therefore, in my next post I will discuss about “Should left-‐handed people play the Guitar right-‐handed?” As this is one of the frequently asked questions on the web (http://www.bing.com/search?q=should+I+play+the+guitar+left+handed+or+right+handed&go=&qs=n&form=QBLH&pq=should+i+play+the+guitar+left+handed+or+right+handed&sc=0-‐25&sp=-‐1&sk=) and an “UNASWERED QUESTION” also it is cited as a potential solution. Basically, people opinionate and make
Priyaranjan ‘RANJAN’ Mestri Intermediate Blog Report http://slappopnpick.wordpress.com/ Narratives & Networks in Digital Media MCDM, UW. recommendations based on their assumptions and preferences and do not provide evidence and substantial statement to earn the trust and credibility of others. However, when I publish my post I will support my argument with substantial evidence and suitable examples so that I can earn the desired trust and credibility. Best Practices: Identification and analysis of the problem and providing solution with suitable statements and substantial evidence in the form of a compelling story that has a structured and focused narrative with emotional impact, which will help me, establish trust and credibility and increase engagement.