September 14, 2019
Starting this past Wednesday afternoon, I am taking a week of time-off to learn the pedal steel guitar. It arrived last Monday, and I’ve been playing it a lot these past few days.
It’s a fun instrument! I like how easy it is to make smooth voice leading.
The instrument that I bought was fairly expensive, but the quality is excellent. It’s a Mullen Discovery, and I bought it from Steel Guitars of Nashville. It looks like a pretty complicated instrument at first, but the instrument is engineered well such that it simply works.
One thing that annoys me about the instrument is the picks. I don’t find them natural to use. I much prefer to use my fingertips, although this is certainly unconventional.
When I use the picks, I find that it’s challenging to mute the strings that I want. Pedal Steel strings will ring a long time unless you stop them.
The two primary ways to mute strings with the right hand are “pick blocking” and “palm blocking.” Without going into extreme detail, I find it hard to do either naturally with the picks on.
It would take a great deal of practice to perfect each, and I’m not willing to put in that effort at this time. I will instead use whatever works easily for me. So for now, I’m going to play without picks entirely.
During this week of CTO, I’m also working on programming challenges at https://leetcode.com/. I need to be more confident when solving problems on the spot for interviews.
I biked to work on Monday, and when I got to work, I took a shower. In the shower, my neck suddenly stiffened. I’m guessing I pulled a muscle or got a knot. I don’t really know! My neck was stiff all week, and it’s just now getting better. If this happens again, I’ll probably go to a massage therapist immediately and see if they can debug what’s going on.
I find it hard to be positive or motivated when it feels like my body is letting me down. I wish I had a better relationship with my body. Most of the time when I’m having some sort of issue, I don’t know where it comes from or what it means. I just have to deal with it and hope it doesn’t take my life too soon.
Written by Joseph Weidinger.