Week 258: “Different Paths” by Western Skies Motel


When I wrote to Rene Gonzalez Schelbeck of Western Skies Motel to tell him that I wanted to feature this song, I got a very friendly reply. He thanked me, said he was glad I liked it, and informed me that this song uses the “3rd bridge technique”.

“Ah, I see,” I said to my computer screen. I stroked my chin thoughtfully for a second. Then I wondered what the hell the 3rd bridge technique is.

Thankfully, Google was there to clear up my confusion, and I can now pass the knowledge on to you.

So imagine you have a guitar. The strings are attached at two points so that they vibrate when you pluck them. Those two connection points are “bridges”. Next, imagine that you take a screwdriver and wedge it under the strings about halfway up the neck of the guitar. In addition to ruining a perfectly good guitar, you have now created a third bridge. When you pluck the strings on either side of the screwdriver, you create different notes, and you give the guitar a slightly more harp-like sound.

As you can hear in this track, the results are lovely.

So the next time a friend sees you hacking away at a guitar with a screwdriver, you can casually explain, “oh, this? I’m just working on my 3rd bridge technique.”

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The opening notes sound like the doorbell at an enchanted palace.

2. The repeating eighth notes that anchor the song sound like a tiny train.

3. It fades out after only two and a half minutes, like a dream that never got a chance to take hold.

Recommended listening activity:

Dusting off a musical instrument that’s been hiding at the back of your closet.

Buy it here.