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links and shortcuts that don't work

It's me again - more problems with the old IBM Thinkpad with W98 being used by a friend - 72 year old musician - for music practice purposes.
With your help I set up large icons and big text so he could clic on them easily. The first three icons which call up the music sequencer (Musicator) with the tune ready to play work fine and now other icons I want to put up for other tunes only call up the program - not the tune.
I realise that this could be a problem linked to the sequencer itself and if so I'll have to try to get the info from the Musicator company, but just in case it might be recognised as a W98 problem I put it to you. How can I "force" the icon to pull up the file and not the program?
Just a short supplementary question: is it possible to make desktop icons "once clickable" in W98 where just one click activates them?
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keithbraithwaite
Asked:
keithbraithwaite
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3 Solutions
 
blue_zeeCommented:

It surely looks like a software confuguration issue rather than Windows.

To set up one click navigation:

1. Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click on Folder Options.

2. In the General tab, go to Click items as follows, and select the Single-Click radio button.

You can then customize your single-clicking.

Good luck,

Zee



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BenReynoldsCommented:
Hi Keith,
For non-functioning icons, you're probably not linked to the file. Try this.
Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the tune that isn't working.
Right click on the file.
left click on create short cut
say yes a few times, and a short cut appears on the desktop
click on the icon to make sure it works.
If so, problem solved and change the icon.
If not, report back.
Good luck!
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
As you can guess I tried that - that's how I created the icons which do work... though sometimes I work from the desktop with right click etc
I'm more and more convinced (as B_Z said) that the problem is in the sequencer and how the files which don't work were made. This week-end I'll get time to compare how differently constructed files react. Some are sequences I've done myself (they seem to work) others are imported from midi files - those that don't work are in this category.
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BenReynoldsCommented:
Back to the one click issue, my 76 y-o mother-in-law also had a hard time learning to double click, but I'm not convinced that going to one click is the best way to go. You can change the double click speed in the mouse panel (I think; I'm now on my Win XP at work), which might be a better way to go. Single click is so open to erroneous clicks that it worries me.

On the shortcut issue, if you open up the properties and can see that the shortcut follows the correct path to the file, and the working directory is the same as for the shortcuts that work, then you've got a problem with the file.
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blue_zeeCommented:

Allow me to disagree with you when it comes to one-click navigation.

I do have the experience in the family, an old uncle that can only use one of his hands and if it wasn't for the one-click setting (and a web cam) he wouldn't be able to use the PC.

For a fully functional user (allow me the expression!), I agree that one-click is not at all the best way to navigate/use a PC.

Zee
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BenReynoldsCommented:
Hi Zee,
I understand that it is difficult to hold the mouse still and double click successfuly. I just worry about one click deletions, openings, etc.

But then, I worried when my son was little that he would drag things off the desktop never to return, and that didn't happen. So, I'll bow to your experience. :-)
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blue_zeeCommented:

No need to bow, just exchanging thoughts!

I have to worry with my wife...
;-))

Cheers.

Zee
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
Interesting debate on one-clicking... In this case my (old) friend will only be clicking on these icons to open the tunes he will play along with. He won't have access to anything else - he doesn't want to do anything else.
I prefer one-clicking myself and I install my main programs in the one-click task bar.
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BillDLCommented:
Sorry to go backwards a bit, but I'm trying to understand exactly what is happening on that computer.
You say that you have created three shortcuts that open the Musicator program "with the tune ready to play".
By this, I assume what you mean is that you are calling the program's executable with the file name as the parameter.

I know it's perhaps not an exact parallel, and different programs use different command line syntax, but here is an example of the command to open a specific audio file in Windows Media Player (referring to the old version 6.4 installed by Win98, and not the newer versions):

"C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\mplayer2.exe"  /Play "C:\My Music\AudioFile_01.mp3"

If the *.mp3 file type was associated with Windows Media Player in the registry, then the command executed by a double-click on a file of that type would be:

"C:\PROGRA~1\WINDOW~1\mplayer2.exe"  /Play "%L"

Don't ask me why it uses an %L as a variable instead of the usual %1.
Note also that Windows Media Player supports the /Open switch which opens WMP with the file loaded, but doesn't play it until you click the play "button":

"C:\PROGRA~1\WINDOW~1\mplayer2.exe"  /Open "%L"

Another example of the default *.WAV file association that opens the file in the Windows Sound Editor, plays it, and then closes the Sound Editor:

C:\WINDOWS\sndrec32.exe /play /close "C:\My Music\AudioFile_01.wav"

What I am trying to suggest is that you ascertain exactly what the correct command line switches and accepted parameters are for the Musicator program, because it sounds like a simple syntax error in the command rather than an invalid path.  For instance, if the command is being passed as eg.
"C:\Program Files\Musicator.exe" "C:\My Music\Filename.ext"
BUT the program needs a "verb" parameter like /Open or /Load or /Play to tell it what to do with the file, then that could be the problem.

Regedit > HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.ext
(where .ext is the file extension for that file type).
Note the Data Value of the [Default] line, and then find that down the list in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
Ascertain the "shell\action\command" for each "action" and see if that is where the problem lies with the shortcut commands.

One other idea I had previously thought about was to:
1. Create a shortcut (with a nice simple icon) to the Musicator program in the same folder as the actual audio files
2. Change the icon for the particular audio file type (Folder Options > File Types) to a good simple one
3. Show the user how to drag and drop the files right onto the program shortcut to play them.
That should work, but you have obviously done a fair amount of work to set things up to the stage you are now at.

Hmmm.  If this is the program, then it's $300 and their support people should be able to help for that price:
http://www.musicator.com/
http://www.sonicspot.com/musicator/musicator.html
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BillDLCommented:
You MAY find the extra mouse settings offered by TweakUI useful.  There is one referred to as the "X-Mouse" behavoiur that is explained in the TweakUI helpfile as:
"The "Activation follows mouse" check-box enables X-Mouse style window activation. When X-Mouse style window activation is enabled, you need only move the mouse into a window in order to give it focus.  Normally, you must click on a window in order to give it focus".

TweakUI version 1.33 compatible with Win98:
http://ftp.pcworld.com/pub/new/utilities/system_resources_tune_up/tweakui133.exe
It's a self-extracting zip file.  Once unpacked, just Right-Click on TweakUI.INF and choose "Install".
This creates a new Control Panel icon that allows access to all the tweak settings.  Use with care.
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
That's really interesting. I think the answer is in there somewhere.
My conclusion was that the files I made myself worked because Windows recognised them as being Musicator files and the files I pulled in from midi files weren't recognised (unless it is just a question of size...)
I'll definitely try a verb syntax - that seems like a good lead. I'll check out the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT extension as well.
I have of course written to Musicator. in the old days they had a very good help line based in California, but things closed up a lot when the Norwegian Education system adopted the program for use in norwegian schools. They didn't really need the world market any more. Trouble is I got the program free because a friend in Oslo had the guy who built the program as a pupil - and then later, the boss gave me the fourth version since there was an idea that I make a french version (I live in France). Now that version five is out - "Delta" - there doesn't seem to be much support for version four users...
It is a fabulous program and I've been using it since 1990 for all sorts of things - recording orchestras, mixing midi and wave files, writing scores for orchestras up to 64 different instrument parts, choral scores, practice scores etc. This is the first time I've had the problem of opening files from shortcuts...

I'll keep you posted
Thanks
Keith
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
I'll check out the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT data on the W98 laptop later today.
On my own XP box the command line is "C:\Musicator4\Musaud.exe" %1
Where musaud.exe is the musicator program.
And needless to say, all the tunes come up playing on this box...

Thanks for the info on Tweak. I have used it in the past, but now I've got my old friend clicking on big icons, I think it's doing him good. He's very proud of himself! Told everybody about it at the rehearsal lest evening!
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BillDLCommented:
Hi Keith.

One thing I notice with the command line:
"C:\Musicator4\Musaud.exe" %1

is that the target file's variable isn't enclosed in " " ie.
"C:\Musicator4\Musaud.exe" "%1"

If the path to the file represented by %1, or indeed the name of the file itself, contained spaces, then it is possible that the parameter would not be recognised at all.  Most programs would report this as a "File not found" error, but  others may just execute the program with no file loaded.

Unfortunately I can't think offhand of any examples, but I do recall some programs that just opened blank if the variable value wasn't recognised while I was messing with self-contained CD's using standalone and self-supporting programs.  I've also had experience with this while creating my own right-click registry entries to open certain file types in specific programs.
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
I don't think there are any spaces on the W98 laptop but I'll check that out. In fact on my XP version there is a space between "musicator" and "4" - I typed it in quickly like that, but of course it all works on this box. I checked another computer in the music room where I have all these files on a PIII with W2K - they pull in correctly thee too.
Can I put quotes round %1 in the registry entry without danger?

I'm going to have a look what the registry entries are like on the W98
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blue_zeeCommented:
>>Some are sequences I've done myself (they seem to work) others are imported from midi files - those that don't work are in this category.<<

Did you check the file extensions of those imported files? Maybe they are slightly different and need to be associated with that sequencer?

Do they run clicking directly those files?

If they don't, right-click them and select Open with, select the program you want to use (the sequencer) and tick "always open with".

Zee
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
does that work with W98?
These files do open when I click on them directly in Explorer
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blue_zeeCommented:

If they launch correctly when you click them directly (not using the links/shortcuts) the problem must be the shortcut, as far as I can understand it.

Have you tried recreating the shortcuts?

Right-click an empty spot on the desktop, select New > Shortcut, point it to one of those files and see if they launch as expected.

If they do, delete the old link.

Zee
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BillDLCommented:
Keith
>>> "Can I put quotes round %1 in the registry entry without danger?". <<<
Yes you can, and I always advise doing so for NEW user-created entries to eliminate the possibility of unrecognised paths.  Even if the path or variable representing a path doesn't NEED to be enclosed in quotes (for example the path and filenames are already specified in the registry in DOS 8.3 format), it won't do any harm at all.  Misplacement of quotes when merging *.reg files to the registry is a common cause of problems though.

When exported to a *.reg file, quotes will always be added to enclose a StringValue's Name and its DataValue even if it doesn't show as being enclosed in " " when viewed in Regedit.  To deliberately create enclosing quotes around a StringValue and the %1 parameter in a *.reg file that you intend to merge to the registry, you have to use a format like this:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\anyfile\shell\Edit\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files\\AnyProg\\anyprog.exe\" \"%1\""

Note the use of the extra \ inserted before the quotation marks that you are adding, and the fact that paths delimeters are \\ rather than a single \

This would show in Regedit's Right-Hand Pane as:
[Default]     ""C:\Program Files\AnyProg\anyprog.exe" "%1""
and would show in the "Edit" dialog as:
"C:\Program Files\AnyProg\anyprog.exe" "%1"

ie. in the Edit dialog with the above example, YOU added the quotes around
C:\Program Files\AnyProg\anyprog.exe
AND
around the %1

If the [Default] Value was represented by a name, then instead of the unquoted @ value, you would enclose the Value's name in quotes, eg.
"StringValueName"="\"C:\\Program Files\\AnyProg\\anyprog.exe\"

<MOAN>
Although this doesn't affect your particular problem, please allow me the opportunity to whine about one of my pet hates, ie. the fact that Windows creates system folders and user shell folders with spaces and dots in the folder names.  Obvious examples are "C:\My Documents" and "C:\Program Files", and a less obvious example is "C:\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5".  Try and access the "Content.IE5" directory from DOS!

A lot of programs stupidly create their program folders not only with spaces, but with dots in them to show the version.  In Windows, this usually won't affect the command in any way, but where a command is run through a batch file or some other method that uses the DOS environment, then the space and dot can confuse things.  A good example is the folder into which Adobe Acrobat Reader installs by default:
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\

If the command gets as far as the first space without thinking that it should be looking for the "Acrobat" sub-folder, then it may get to the dot and think it is looking for a file named "Acrobat 5" with a *.0 file extension.  As I said, these things are usually ignored from within Windows, but I invariably change the default install path to a more friendly name like "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat5" or "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat_5-0".
</MOAN>

Aaaah.  I feel much better now with that off my chest ;-)
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BillDLCommented:
By the way, there is SOME support still remaining for Musicator version 4:

http://www.musicator.com/ver4/
http://www.musicator.com/ver4/index.php?section=patches
http://www.musicator.com/ver4/index.php?section=demo
http://www.musicator.com/ver4/index.php?section=techsupport
http://www.musicator.com/ver4/downloads/mw4edemo.exe

I'm going to install the demo in Win98se and see what new file associations it creates, or what existing ones it modifies.
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BillDLCommented:
Inconclusive results with the Version 4.1 demo version, probably because it restricts saving and exporting to files.
The Demo doesn't create or modify file associations in the registry, and contains all but one of its requirted program files to its own program folder.
Interestingly though, the program executable isn't fully 32-bit compliant.  It offers a user option to "Allow Long Filenames" and then uses the file LFNSVR.EXE to allow the use of long filenames and saves its configuration settings in its own *.INI file.  I assume that this is because it can be installed and used on the older versions of Windows 95.

Whether the demo has much in common with the full version, I don't know and have no way of ascertaining.  It was worth looking anyway.
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
I wrote to the techsupport ver4 a couple of weeks back...
Thanks for the explanations - it may have to wait till monday since we have two concerts tomorrow - but I'm off to Lille for an Eric Clapton concert on monday... I'm definitely going to try forcing the program to open these files.
I still often have to type in names like DOCUMENTS~1.EXT - terrible business !
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BillDLCommented:
Oh man, I do envy you.  I've always wanted to see Eric Clapton, but too many domestic or financial commitments got in the way on his tour dates to Scotland.  Could never have justified the expense of jumping on a plane to catch a concert somewhere else.  Something came up and I missed the concert on 8 May 2006 at Glasgow.  Robert Cray was due to open for him at that gig.

I had an album on vinyl "Just One Night - Live at The Budokan" (1979) that I loaned to a friend, and never got it back.  He played it so much I reckon he scraped a hole right through it and was afraid to admit it because he couldn't get a replacement.  My brother bought me the re-mastered CD version on Amazon recently, and it has to be my all-time favourite album.  Country guitarist Albert Lee was a perfect choice for the mix of songs, and it's the best version of "Wonderful Tonight" that you will hear him sing and play.

Have fun at the Zénith Arena :-)
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
I'm a great fan since Cream and I play electric guitar in a sort of imitation of his style. I have th lates DVD which I run slowly to study his fingering...
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BenReynoldsCommented:
Just a plea to Lee Tutor to shut up Keith about going to a Clapton concert. I'm perfectly willing to read BillDL on envy, but not Braithwaite on actually going.
Sign me,
Grumpy in Baltimore
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BillDLCommented:
>>> "I play electric guitar in a sort of imitation of his style". <<<
So do I Keith, but it's only the facial expressions and approximate fret positions I can imitate while the guitar is unplugged :-)
Sorry, Ben.
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
Sorry Ben...
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
No broadband connection when I got back from the c*nc*rt of "you know who" (dare not expound...) round about 2am (I'm about two hours from Lille). Just got back from rehearsals in Douai now, and the connection works again.

So... I remembered something about those pesky files that wouldn't shortcut - they were all copied from a CD I burned on my own desktop. I remembered that such files are often read-only when copied onto another hard disk. I took two of them - made some changes necessary for the guy to play along with them, saved them with a different name - and lo and behold - they come up with the shortcuts...
I did however check through all the steps you gave me, and such experience with the regristry is worth its weight.

I have an apology to make however - to Blue-Zee. I stated that the files opened when clicking them in Explorer. I hadn't checked all the files this way - only the ones I had transferred using my USB key - and I'd forgotten, as I said, that many of the files (there are many hundrds that I've built over the years) had been pulled in from my CD.

As to single clicking, I tried this: (from BZ)
     To set up one click navigation:
     1. Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click on Folder Options.
     2. In the General tab, go to Click items as follows, and select the Single-Click radio button.
But there are no "Folder options" in the control panel.They are there in W2K and XP. Can I get to these options any other way?

I'll split the points - many thanks to all of you
Keith
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blue_zeeCommented:

Happy to read you managed understanding, and solving, the problem. No need for apologies!

Single-click: Try My Computer > View > Folder Options.

Zee
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BenReynoldsCommented:
Hope you enjoyed the music of He Who Must Not Be Named.
Smart thinking, too, Mr. B!
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BillDLCommented:
Thank you, Keith.
At the risk of sending Ben into a state of deep depression, I do hope that the Eric Clapton concert was worth travelling to.  Were you close enough to see any of his fretboard tricks that you could take home and emulate?

I'd love to see how he does those blues turnarounds in "Ramblin' on my mind" as he steps through the different keys  in a cycle back to where he started, and how the lead style takes on a major pentatonic country-blues flavour rather than the minor bluesy feel he started out in, depending on what key he has moved into at each step.

:-)
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blue_zeeCommented:
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
Naming no names (and not knowing how to put up an image in the comments box) -
do you remember this?

http://www.tubas-de-noel.com/cx.html

I've eliminated the vowels to avoid causing pain but I was too lazy to eliminate the floating tuba...
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
Just got those knowledgeable remarks as I sent up the http address with my rather puerile attmpts at humour...
http://www.tubas-de-noel.com/cx.html

Yes I did get a good view of the finger work (I switched to the large screens when I really wanted to know where he was at...) and as I said earlier I've now got him on DVD for study purposes... :)
Virtually all guitar blues playing is more or less pentatonic in my view - I even moved to index finger referencing (instead of third finger based classic scale playing) when watching bluesmen at work. I'd say that the nuances you mention "minor versus pentatonic" come from the degree of bend he puts on the thirds and sevenths.

I'm not sufficienly expert to be able to say this with any certainty, but I have the impression that he has moved from using the fourth finger on the third fret position  (counting from the base fret he's using for the riff) to get the blues "bent" third and seventh notes - to bending up the third finger second fret position right up to the note he wants. To this end he seems to be using only the second and third strings (the most "bendable") and jumping up and down the neck instead of riffing on the same fret like I still do...

That being said, I did see him bend the first string from time to time, sometimes pushing it up two whole tones. He makes me sing.

I dream of getting him to play with our Christmas tubas (600 tubas playing christmas carols in the open air - main square Lille...)

better stop there or LT will be after me!
All the best
Keith
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BillDLCommented:
Last comment about guitar playing ..... seeing as blue_zee went to the bother of looking up "pentatonic" :-)

Play an A Minor Pentatonic scale (http://www.cyberfret.com/scales/blues/page3.php) over an A Major (or better still an A Power chord) and you have a classic Minor sounding but barren feel because of the missing notes from the Melodic Minor scale.
Move the scale down 3 frets and play it over the same chord, and you are playing an A Major Pentatonic scale with a Country feel when played fast, or a folky, Chinese, or Scottish/Irish sound when played slowly and deliberately. (Same as playing "chopsticks" with your knuckles on the black keys of a piano.

Play an A Major Pentatonic scale over an A Major chord and you have that same country-type feel (listen to the Allman Brothers - "Jessica"), but move it up 3 frets and play over the same chord, and you have that Minor feel again.

Use the extended (slide up and down the neck) versions (http://www.cyberfret.com/scales/blues/page4.php) and your slides are catching where the bends tend to sound best in each type of guitar music.

Add more chromatic notes (and maybe some double-stops and bounces) thrown in carefully and usually as one chords is moving through to another chord (often via a Minor or 7th or 9th chord), and you have something that can be mixed heavily like the style of Albert Lee or SRV playing a melodic but powerful rocking tune.  Play it slowly and catch the neck position where the 3rd string bend goes right up through the passing note in a Blues Scale, but bend way up past the next note after the passing note, and you have the wild and unpredictable Buddy Guy style and the "just about staying in the right key" Albert King style that inspired Clapton, SRV, and many more.

Listen to Walter Trout playing "Victor The Cajun" and you'll have a demonstration of some wild passing notes used to absolutely astounding effect.  Refrain from too many bends, but throw in a lot of passing notes, and you'll begin to hear Lynyrd Skynyrd's slightly jazzy "I Know A Little" coming through.

By moving the same chord shape up and down the neck over the same chord you are getting almost into "modes", where each scale position has a unique sound of its own, be it Egyptian, Spanish, Folky, or Sad.
http://www.jazzguitar.be/modi_2.html

Record a rhythmic but laid back Latin American-type chord progression using repeating Aminor to Dminor (down at the 5th fret to keep it loose) which resolves to E7 every so often.  Now play the D Phrygian scale shape over it (ie. root on the low E string at the 10th fret as shown here http://www.jazzguitar.be/images/lessons/fretboard_E_phrygian.gif).  Right underneath your hand you have a D Blues Scale (ie. Root on the low E string at the 10th fret) that you can catch and inject some bluesey bends for a really Santana-type feel.  Listen to his version of "The Sensitive Kind".

There we go..last word about guitar playing.
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blue_zeeCommented:

Bill,

And, again, you surprise me with one of your posts.

Happy to see you're not only 0's and 1's...!!!
;-))

Zee
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
Heavy stuff! I do use the "three frets down" technique - I think it's what I taught myself as "little finger referencing"... the tonic falls under the little finger instead of the index or third finger... I've tended to use it for "country" licks.
However I didn't know that there was a major and a minor pentatonic scale - I've only used the one that as you say corresponds to the black keys on the piano :) You learn a lot on Experts-Exchange!

I'll be studying those web pages with interest - thanks!

Back to business - Zee, your new suggestion for single clicking worked  (Single-click: Try My Computer > View > Folder Options.)

Many thanks once again to all of you.

Keith
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blue_zeeCommented:

Keith,

It was a real pleasure!

Zee
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BillDLCommented:
Ditto :-)
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
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BillDLCommented:
I've mastered the "shaker" that you see being used just before the instrumental break ;-)

Try this Joe Satriani one (has to rank amongst my all-time favourites):
http://raghunathraomonologues.blogspot.com/2006/04/joe-satriani-saint-joe-gods-of-guitar.html
(url from the source code : http://www.youtube.com/v/uZOCwlUhcyE)
Preview MP3: http://preview.mp3search.ru/lofi/60/480470.mp3
There's a guy who knows the fretboard like the back of his hand, but plays a lot of that song on the high 3 strings by sliding in and out of the various scale positions.  It just wouldn't sound the same played in one or two "block" scale position higher up the neck.
http://www.azchords.com/j/joesatriani-tabs-2047/alwayswithmealwayswithyou-tabs-20191.html

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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
I've already watched it time and time again - but I'm no nearer... What about Arpeggios from Hell!
Your'e right - my block scale positions are dead by comparison - and yet I was so proud forty years ago to have found them all by myself!
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BillDLCommented:
Yes, I agree that Yngwie Malmsteen is highly proficient, but I have never seen him acknowledge Ritchie Blackmore as his main "inspiration".  Perhaps he doesn't realise how much of his style (playing and demeanour) is unconsciously derived from this unmentioned mentor.  In fact, that flash clip is really just a showcase of his prowess rather than being of any great "musical" content that stirs me like Eddie van Halen's playing.  It's fine as a demo, but when most (or all) of Malmsteen's songs sound like demonstrations of highly practiced arpeggios based on the classical composers' trademarks, then they don't really sound like "songs" to me.  He also needs a damned good haircut! Give me a meaningful and soulful sustained single-string bend with a false-harmonic over the right chord sequence, and it does more for me than all of Yngwie's energetic fretboard twiddlings put together.  Nevertheless, I do wish I had that fretboard knowledge and dexterity to be able to inject some of that type of content into proper lead solos.  In fact, I haven't played with any conviction for about a year and have got a bit rusty.  You've inspired me to fish my guitars out of their cases again.

Nothing wrong with blocky scale positions.  It depends on the song, chord sequence behind it, and how long the lead break lasts for.  Chuck Berry wouldn't have sounded the same playing all over the fretboard, and his sound is unique and timeless.  Many think Billy Gibbons' trademark licks (ZZ Top) sounds clichéd, but it creates the right mood for the songs and I love it.

Whoa!  Stop talking about guitar playing or I will go on forever.  Between that and computing you have hit my favourite topics, and blue_zee will bear testimony to how much I type when I'm on a roll with a pet topic :-)
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
We'll have to stop soon... but I'm the same - hard to stop talking about the subjects closest to my heart.
I heartily agree with your definition of this sort of playing. It doesn't sing. It doesn't move you - it's just there to impress. It stirs a sort of jealousy in me which made me get out my electric guitar again too after 6 months of just playing the acoustic which sits on a chair in my living room - the euphonim is on another chair, the sax on a third and the clarinet sits on the piano... that's probably why I live alone!
As an ex-traditional jazz man (trad jazz moving to bebop in the late fifties and early sixties when jazz died in U.K.) I became a Beatles/Rolling stones (etc) fan when teaching all my budding music pupils their first three chords. I started to push them towards blues type improvisation but didn't get very far till Cream came along and I was able to expound my theory that the electric guitar had "come of age" and that its real future was in its capacity to make your soul sing. I realise that all that is far too simplistic and there are loads of precursors that I didn't know about at the time, but it opened my eyes as it opened theirs. Then I came to live in France and lived musicless for quite some time till I started a gospel choir and then a bebop group at the univ among colleagues and students. Retired, I play in several concert bands - tuba, bass guitar and keyboards... When will it end!
I'm really glad I mentioned the unmentionable E.C. Those web pages you suggested have really got me going. Don't suppose there are bonus points on E-E for guitar instruction?  :)
All the best
Keith
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BillDLCommented:
Au revoir pour maintenant, et appréciez votre jeu de guitare électrique :-)
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
PPPS
You wouldn't know by any chance who actually played the guitar solo in the film "Return to the future" (I suppose that is its name in english). I thought it was a superb historical demonstration of electric guitar evolution.
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
... if a bit corny...
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BillDLCommented:
Here's some interesting Info, not about the solo in Back To The Future, but from the equally corny "head-cutting" showdown at the end of "Karate Kid n" (where n = a number up to about 5).  No it wasn't, it was "Crossroads" - with a more grown up and less violent Ralph Macchio.  The wild and nasty, but rather effeminate looking, Steve Vai gets more than he bargained for when Ralph Macchio makes him so nervous that his sweaty paws keep slipping off the neck as he tries to do his own "arpeggios from hell".

What Vai didn't bargain for was that Ralph Macchio wasn't actually playing the guitar, but had been so expertly trained to mimic all the neck positions, approximate fingerings and twiddling movements, and facial expressions, that it looked as though he was.  In fact, he was trained to mime the parts by Arlen Roth, while Ryland "Ry" Cooder, Roth, and William Kanengiser (46 seconds of classical guitar) actually played Macchio's guitar parts.  Steve Vai didn't need anyone to play his parts, which was obviously his greatest misjudgement and why he screwed up at the end.  If only he had just mimed the parts and let the others do it, ol' Willie Brown would still have had his soul sold to the devil, as is the story based on Robert Johnson's alleged doodling with the occult.

Interestingly, Joe Seneca did perform his songs as the as the retirement home escapee Willie Brown, but the blues harp playing of the equally old and famous (probably also dead by then) harmonica bluesman Sonny Terry (real name Saunders Terrell) was used in many places.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry_Cooder
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonny_Terry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_vai
http://www.vgorecordings.com/ARTISTS/Kanengiser_William.htm
http://arlenroth.com/crossroads.html    http://arlenroth.com/hotlicks.html

As far as the "Back to the Future" guitar solo goes, it's not very well researched and synchronised.  Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) plays this solo in 1955 on a Gibson ES-345 that wasn't made until 1958, and furthermore it has humbucker pickups first manufactured in 1957, and a Bigsby Vibrato bridge that wasn't released until 1956.  (Dates are approximate, but you get my point about the "hybrid" guitar of the future and the past).  In fact, that Bigsby Vibrato bridge must have been exceptionally good, because at the end of the solo it is still applying vibrato to a sustained note, even though Fox's hands are well off the fretboard.  Watch the drummer and Double Bass players also for bad synchronisation.

http://www.chucksconnection.com/back.html

http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/catalog/soundtrackdetail.php?movieid=1108

Johnny B. Goode (03:05)
Written by C. Berry (and D. Williams stuck his name on it for the royalties!) - Performed (mimed) by Marty McFly with the Starlighters (backing singers). Sung by Mark Campbell.  Guitar solo by Tim May.  Produced by Bones Howe

No, not Mel Bay! Tim May:
http://www.melbay.com/authors.asp?author=1789
He's primarily a Jazz Guitarist, Keith, so there's still hope for someone with a euphonium on one chair, a sax on another, an acoustic guitar on yet another, a clarinet on the piano, and an electric guitar just back out of its case after 6 months :-)
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
Wow! a veritable mine of info... I have often had to admit that there is much more that I don't know than I know... this is just one more time.
As to details of the anachronisms on the guitar - I didn't notice a single one, but then I didn't know any of that stuff. I see bad miming, like anyone else, but when I watch that part of the film (I put it on a VHF tape) I'm just pleased to see a sort of tribute to the evolution of electric guitar playing.
My current project is building portable electric guitars (!) I put a small amp and speaker into an acoustic metal string guitar with a small 12 volt motor mower battery either in the guitar or in a back pack... I'm trying to put in an octaver (don't know its name in english - drops every note an octave) so as to produce a bass sound. Doing the same with small midi keyboards in the hopes of producing an electronic marching band...
I have an Ovation which I play with an amp and battery in a backpack for our less serious parades - St Cecilia etc.
Not quite mad yet, but almost...
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BillDLCommented:
OK, which one is you?
http://www.onemanband.org/omb-photo/busker-one-man-band-lg.jpg
http://www.rootsweb.com/~nychauta/Postcard/One-Man-Band.jpg
http://thecaboodlestoppers.com/images/Img31.gif

Strap a battery-powered Vox or other similar amp to your back and play one of these which has a preamp fitted:
http://media.zzounds.com/media/brand,zzounds/p26700h-b5c08f8959a156d3b0a17d428657f2b3.jpg
Or, even better, Dan Erlewine's "Chiquita":
http://www.erlewineguitars.com/pgs/chiquita.htm
http://www.erlewineguitars.com/pgs/chiquita_mjfox.htm

Actually, that portable concept isn't a new one.  I used to have a Hofner "Shorty" with built-in amp and speaker back around 1985 until it was stolen.  I built it from a kit and changed the bridge to a German-made "Shadow" version that provided the option for an acoustic-type sound:
http://vintage-hofner.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/factfiles/shorty/main.html
It was stolen at the same time as this model which came with an integrated Piezo-Ceramic transducer in the bridge for acoustic sounds or electric, or a blend of both:
http://hofner.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/solids/sol18.html

Here's my cheap way of amplifying practically anything.  I've done this to a midrange quality classical guitar and also inside drums with excellent results.

Buy two or 3 different sizes of these piezo-ceramic transducers ("buzzers") that are used as speakers in musical birthday cards, etc. http://www.mutr.co.uk/images/products/main/DSC_1438.jpg
Buy one of these long quarter inch jack sockets and remove the strain relief: http://www.maplin.co.uk/images/full/1267i0.jpg
Drill a hole through the tailblock of your acoustic guitar after removing the strap pin, and ream it out to the diameter of the jack socket.

Solder the wires from the transducers into the socket, apply some epoxy resin glue to its barrel, and push it through the hole from the inside so that it pokes out about half an inch on the outside of the guitar's shell.
Stick the transducers to the inside top of the guitar with low-tack fairly thick double-sided tape.  Larger one on the bass side, and smaller on the treble side.

Solder or glue a washer around the protruding barrel of the jack socket to act as a new strap pin.
Plug it in to an amp and experiment with the positioning of the transducers (hence the low tack tape).
Once happy with the sound, use more permanent double-sided tape to secure them, or use a very thin layer of rubbery glue or silicone mastic.  The idea is not to have them right against the wood, or the sound will be too harsh.
You may have to fashion a cover to insert in the sound-hole to kill feedback a bit.  I used a black plastic end-cap from one of those cardboard document mailing tubes that fitted, and cut a couple of small neat holes in it to so the guitar body space could "breathe".

Enjoy :-)
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keithbraithwaiteAuthor Commented:
Some interesting stuff there. I'd already seen people in american marching bands who had a biggish speaker on wheels with a transmitter for each player, (Like the caboodle stoppers) and the amp I carry on my back is a small 15 amp Vox. Trouble is that the sound doesn't go in the right direction...
By using an acoustic with wire strings I can just use normal pickups - I'm not looking for an acoustic sound. I also have enough space inside to put in an amp and biggish speakers which can make the guitar compete with trumpets, saxes, trombones, tubas etc. A student of mine had a hoffner with built in amp (so it was probably a "shorty") but it was only about 3 to 5 amps output - that isn't enough for my needs.
Trouble is I have to do this on a shoestring for the moment but I have a whole class of young guitarists and keyboard players whom I want to include in the marching bands or make up a separate unit...
I had a music school near Lille ready to launch this september last, but they've gone bust...
I'll keep you posted :)
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