To Live is to Fly (TvZ cover)

My first AVOYP - please be kind.

It’s a cover of one of my favourite Townes van Zandt songs, from my favourite album. There don’t seem to be any tutorials out there so I ended up transcribing it myself. I am playing a slightly simpler version than I could hear on the recording - Townes mixes up the patterns a bit more through the verses. I leave that for another day. Even so there are still lots of mistakes and wrong (let’s say unwanted) bass notes in the video. But after focus-practising this song for a few weeks I will let it rest a bit now. And I thought that might be a good time to record a version.


Very enjoyable, Molly! Well done indeed!

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Congrats on your first video! I liked your playing and the song, even though I didn’t know it. Thanks for sharing.

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Superb version! Your pick and strumming was very good and you sang the song well.


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Was looking forward to this but no access this morning ?

Happy to say the link to YouTube was working. :smile:

Really enjoyed that Molly. Not familiar with the song but some deft finger work going on, with the picking and strumming. Some nice tones along the way and well sung.

Thanks for sharing.


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Awesome! Never heard this song before but it’s wonderful. You play great.

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Congrats on your first AVOYP Molly. Don’t know the song but I loved it, and it made for a good start to my Tuesday morning. Well played, and sung :grinning:

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Hi Molly,
Being nice because it is your first video is actually unnecessary to say (or beter sayed to be extra kind :blush:), the many years of practice can clearly be heard and it is sung and played very well :sunglasses: :clap: :clap: :clap:… but yes I understand, posting your first video is a thing :smile:

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Hi Molly. That was a lovely song, thank you for sharing. I never heard it before. Congratulations on your first video upload.

Few things stood out for me.

  1. Your picking accuracy was impeccable. I didn’t register any missed bass + strum combos. That melody line (bass walk) is great, really nicely adds to the song. Again, great accuracy. What is interesting to me is that your fingers are curled and your hand is floating. You do have a contact with the guitar with your forearm and possibly palm of your hand at moments. I would never hit a string this way, I must have my pinkie and ring finger touching slightly the area just below the strings (edge of pickup on my electric). This just show that different things work for us.

  2. You manage to sing which is seriously impressive. Strumming and (very bad) singing is a great challenge for me. :slight_smile: Picking pattern and singing is much harder.

  3. Bravo for transcribing this. :clap: Full chords, triads, melody lines - everything all over the neck. Very impressive.

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Townes is one of my favourite (old school) country artists.
Great performance of this song.
Congratulations and welcome to another rising :star: :sunglasses:

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Bravo, Molly, what a wonderful AVOYP debut. Thoroughly enjoyed it. The picking of those licks between chords was outstanding to me.

Mic positioning is hard to judge on videos. It looks like maybe you could lower the mic and change the angle to perhaps point up a little more and it might pick up your voice more consistently as your head moves. Distance hard to judge but I find sometimes pulling it back a little and increasing the input gain helps even things out, compensate for head movement.

Look forward to more!

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Excellent first AVOYP Molly - very enjoyable to listen to!

If you want your video to embed OK on the justinguitar site, in youtube you can choose “Video Details,” and make sure “Allow Embedding” is checked (you might have to select “show more”).

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I think you could not see the video here because I had not switched on the “allow embedding”. All fairly new to me uploading videos to youtube and all that. Thanks for the tip @twistor59 Phil! You should be able to watch the video here now, too.

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Thanks Tim, reading your comment made my day :heart_eyes:

Thanks @roger_holland , I know, this community is great and kind without asking for it. But I have been thinking for about 2 months what to post as my first AVOYP. I wanted to showcase something I have been practising recently and that one way or another is linked to Justin Guitar. So in the end I chose this song not only because I like it but also because it uses triads, which I learned from Justin, and it was Justin who taught me how to transcribe my own songs. But I ended up overthinking things and all things started going around in my head.

And now justinGuitar asks me not to reply to everyone individually …

@Boris1565 my fingers really look quite curled in the video - I’ve never thought about it, but I think that’s just their most relaxed position. I used to anchor my pinky on the guitar top in the past but in the last couple of years I have practised a lot of fingerstyle guitar and that’s changed my posture a bit even when I am flatpicking now. And yes, my arm touches the guitar - you need an anchor somewhere or else the fingers aren’t going to find the strings.

@brianlarsen yes he is! I choose Townes over a lot of other song writers every day of the week.

@DavidP thanks for the tip with the microphone, I will give that a try, I have a bit of gain left to experiment with on my audio interface. Usually you are told to get as close to the mic as possible, which is what I tried. And I didn’t even realise how much I am still moving my head until I watched that video back! I thought I was mainly moving my eyes to make sure I land on the right fret and all …

@TeeCeeJay Thanks Tedra for your comment. I am very honoured that your first comment on JustinGuitar is under my first AVOYP! If you are not familiar with Townes’ songs, check out Life at the Old Quarter, such a great recording.

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Molly, I’m obviously not a professional and have also heard that ‘eat/kiss/etc the mic’ guidance. It is true that a dynamic mic is less sensitive than a condensor. But I have found backing off 6-8 inches and bumping up the gain delivers a good result.

Also if you are not performing live and recording into a DAW (I assume you did) then you can always boost the level in the DAW after recording. And for that purpose, given playing acoustic and singing at the same time without headphones, you can target signal in the range of -18 to -12dB on the recording.

Best is to have some fun and play around with it.

Wonderful Molly and what a great first post. Look forward to hearing more from you! :sunglasses:

Great song. :notes: