Have you played your guitar today?

We human beings are funny. Or maybe it is just me. When I’m busy working, I often wish I had more time to play guitar and write music. But when work slows down, I seem to completely lose the desire to play.

Maybe it has to do with priorities. Maybe it has something to do with mental stimulation. All I know is this: I’m looking for a job or at least a new consulting client – and my fretting fingers are rapidly losing their callouses.

I forced myself to pick up my Martin acoustic and strum it a bit yesterday after re-soaking the humidifier device in it. At least performing humidifier maintenance forces me to open the case and look at the guitar. That was the first time I touched any of my guitars since recording a song a month ago.

Creativity is not something that can be forced, but practice (exercise) is. It is requires discipline. That discipline seems to go right out the window when I am looking for work. I’m going to have to try harder to play a guitar at least once a week. Especially while I have plenty of time. So I will try to take a deep breath….relax…and play something! It might even help lower my blood pressure.


The Joseph R. Ellis “Encouragers Club” is now accepting new members!


Not all of us are rock stars.  Heck, I don’t even want to be a rock star (especially at my age).  But I do need your encouragement.  Knowing that somebody is out there enjoying the songs I created would be a big incentive for me to create more music.  All I have to go by are play counters and comments left via social media (I don’t play live).  But here’s a new way for you to offer support and encouragement – Join the Joseph R. Ellis “Encouragers Club” over on bandcamp.  Here’s what you get:

  • My complete back catalog of music on bandcamp
  • Exclusive access to the Joseph R. Ellis fan community.
  • All the new music I make, streaming instantly on your mobile device via the free Bandcamp app, and also available as a high-quality download.
  • Exclusive access to “members-only” content (new song demos, previously unreleased tracks, etc.).
  • The satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting me in a sustainable way.

You get all this for $15 / year!

Hop on over to https://josephrellis.bandcamp.com/encouragers-club and see what it’s all about!

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement!



Can a new gadget or piece of gear increase creativity?

Answer: In the short term? Yes. Long term? Probably not.

I base my answers on my own recent experiences with new gear and gadgets, the lastest of which is the “BeatBuddy” pedal drum machine. The BeatBuddy is a drum machine in stomp box form. It is ideal for guitarists, since we are already used to using our feet to control many aspects of our playing (just look at the typical guitarist’s pedal board). The BeatBuddy comes with lots of different drum sets and “songs” based on a myriad of genres. If you haven’t already seen the many videos demonstrating this device, just Google it and you’ll find plenty.

Beat Buddy Pedal Drum Machine

Beat Buddy Pedal Drum Machine

So, I finally got my hands on one of these units and have been having a blast with it. I’m not really a gigging musician, these days. I mainly bought the BeatBuddy to create quality drum tracks for my recordings. Plus, the device is proving to be a big help in creativity by letting me jam along with lots of different drum rhythms that I would not normally be using for creating songs. My creative output has indeed increased since I received the BeatBuddy. At the time of this writing, the first 4 songs in my ReverbNation playlist were created with BeatBuddy drum tracks. I haven’t had this kind of creative boost since I bought a looper pedal!

Ditto Looper

Ditto Looper

So why are gadgets only a short-term creative boost? Well, the newness wears off. But I think the BeatBuddy will become an integrated part of my creative process – much like the looper pedal. So the temporary boost in creativity may wear off, but the other benefits will remain. Namely, an overall improvement in the quality of my music.