Friday, February 29, 2008

I had to move fast

Troy Grady is a fast mofo.

More than that, he's a fast mofo with a mission.

Cracking The Code to effective virtuoso guitar playing.

He's mounting a camera on the guitars of the fastest of the fast, to show what's really going on with their picking.

Not just shredders. Not just Frank Gambale and Michael Angelo Batio. He's got Albert Lee and Scotty Anderson up in there as well. Tommy Emmanuel!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sweaty Palms, and I haven't even started

Last night was dreadful. All but one song was in Eb. I will never complain about playing in F again.

What made it worse was my playing. I had to think about positions for Eb, I had to think through the melodies, and I tried to use this as a reason to expand my CAGED fingering, so I had to think through that.

I was just thinking too much, and that doesn't work well.

The other guitarist caught that, and called me on it. So, I shall have to work on that.

He also suggested I work on my vibrato.

So, how do you work on your vibrato? I know there's a few different vibratos. There's bending and classical style left-right vibrato. I'm willing to try a few of them. What I need are concrete exercises. How do I improve my vibrato?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Makes me really wonder if I ever really cared about them....

That Youtube vid yesterday? The one with Teo Macero talking about how he assembled the classic Miles Davis albums?

I came to that because Tom of MusicThing wrote an article for The Word magazine on why all records sound the same these days. It's a brilliant piece that gets into the center gears of the music-making machinery.

Central to the article are these two videos from the making of a Maroon 5 song.

I suppose you really have to keep working on a song after you're sick of it when you're at that level.

I See A Red Door

My Telecaster is a late-80s MIJ, with a white MOTS pickguard and a top-loader bridge. I like it. I like the neck (except for the finish, which is too thick and will never look like Brownie on the back cover of Layla).

But there are things I didn't really like. The white MOTS pickguard, specifically. I pulled it off, and now I'm going without.

But soon, every soon (bwahahaha!) I will have a black/white/black pickguard. I will have black knobs. I will have a black control plate.

Why all the black?

Look at his Strat. Black body. Black pickup covers. Black knobs. Black pickguard. OK, yeah, big CBS headstock, but that's OK. In a decade full of superstrats with reverse pointy headstocks saying Ibanez, Charvel and Jackson, this is a cool mainstream Fender guitar. And I can get most of the way there through non-invasive changes to the knobs and plate and pickguard.

The next steps I want to do are get a black Tele pickup cover and a black Trilogy bridge to make it all black. Plus replacing my slightly microphonic bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan Hot Stack. But it's much more expensive and much more invasive to get to that point.

How much more black could it be? The answer is none more. None more black.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Images and Incorrect Facts

I went to a nearby big town for a job interview. (Got the job, more of a commute but I'll be able to afford more guitar gear. I start two weeks from Monday. I don't want to make a big deal of it here.) Since I was close, I took the opportunity to visit the local Guitar Center and Sam Ash, do some guitar shopping.

Guitar dreaming, actually.

Kinda wish I took out the camera phone.

I'm mostly a Telecaster kind of guy, but I picked up a few non-Fenders. There was a used Ibanez S-series that was set up for drop-D and extreme bar-lifting. There was an old-school non-chambered not-for-wimps heavy mahogany Les Paul. There was an aluminum National that I wanted to follow me home. But I go for Teles first and foremost. That's just me.

They had a Joe Strummer Telecaster. I didn't pick it up. I want to get something for my Tele that says "Ignore Alien Orders", either a sticker on the back or an engraving on the neck plate. But an institutionalized Joe Strummer Tele, a brand-new Tele that looks like a beat-to-crap Tele, with carefully engineered pits on the knobs, really seems non-Strummer.

There was a John 5 Tele. They don't seem to have one like it on the website. It looked kinda like this, except for a painted headstock, rosewood neck and a mirror pickguard. Considering how much ink he's getting in the guitar press, I would've thought it would be a nicer guitar. I was really disappointed by the fretwork. It had bad-Squier, cut-your-fingers fret overhang that you just should never see on an instrument with the word "Fender" on the headstock. I was expecting a hot guitar and it just simply wasn't.

I was impressed by the Nashville Tele. Compared to the Standard Teles, they just had more growl there. I'm growing on the middle-position Strat pickup. I really am.

There should be an ending here. "I have touched the Holy Grail of guitar, and it is ...." I can't say that. The most impressive single instrument I picked up that day was a Joe Pass archtop that was $350. It wasn't an archtop archtop, a classic jazz box that'll blow you away without plugging in, but it was nice and played nice.

Should any of this dreaming turn into actual guitar purchases, I'll be sure to let you know.

Teo Macero, cutting tracks, and the importance of the edit

Monday, February 25, 2008

I know it's all a state of mind

I now have one, almost two more on the list.

I started beating on "Misty Mountain Hop" a while ago, hitting the main riff. I pulled it up on YouTube while I was showing my son some stuff, and I was able to pick it up without giving it a second spin. I even hit some of Robert Plant's notes. (If you haven't tried to figure it out, it's a blues in E. That tells you 9/10ths of what you need to know.)

It didn't start with "Misty Mountain Hop". It started with Skydog. In fact, it started with Tom Dowd.

His biographical documentary, Tom Dowd and the Language of Music was on IFC. Dowd produced Ornette Coleman. Dowd produced the Coasters. He produced Aretha Franklin. For us guitar fans, it is more important that Dowd produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Dowd produced Cream. Tom Dowd produced Fillmore East.

Tom Dowd produced "Layla".

Here is the tale. Dowd also produced Wilson Pickett, including "Hey Jude", which features Duane Allman on guitar. When Clapton was starting work on the first Derek and the Dominos album, the topic of that version of "Hey Jude" came up, and Eric started playing the hot lick.

It's in F#. (The Beatles' version is in F, in case you're curious.) The lick comes a few times, late and at the end. I finally figured it out when I started thinking outside the box. E C# A#. A# in F# is the major third. The blues scale uses the minor third. I think he uses it as A F# D#

"Misty Mountain Hop" is my song for this week. "Hey Jude" will be my song for next week.

And I have that lick up to 80 BPM.

Now I need to pick up a fiddle tune.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Baby, what do you want me to do?

I made a list this morning, going through all the songs I know. All the songs where, at the least, I could play the rhythm part. Some of 'em I could sing the verses, some I could play some leads, but for all of these, I could play the chords from memory. OK, not quite right: there's "Red Haired Boy", a fiddle tune. I can play the melody, but I'm not sure I could do the rhythm part. OK, there's variety in my definition of "know" here. Here's the list.

All Along The Watchtower
Alone Again
Born On The Bayou
Closer To Fine
Day Tripper
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
Fortress Around Your Heart
Friend of the Devil
Gimme Shelter
Hard Times
Hey Hey (What Can I Do?)
Hot Rod Lincoln
I Lift Your Name On High
I Wanna Be Your Dog
Lawyers, Guns and Money
Like A Rolling Stone
Long Cool Woman
Love Bites
Love Stinks
Nine Headed Woman
No Answer
No Depression
Red Haired Boy
Red Rocking Chair
Redemption Song
Rock 'n Roll
Santa Monica
Shoot Out The Lights
Sister Golden Hair
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Soul Man
Spanish Fandango
Splendid Isolation
Statue of Jesus
Sunshine Of Your Love
Sweet Georgia Brown
Sweet Jane
Take Me With You (When You Go)
Talk Dirty To Me
Talkin' 'Bout A Revolution
The Weight
Train Kept A'Rollin'
Watermelon Man
Werefolves of London
Wildwood Flower
Wish You Were Here

Lotta Dylan. Lotta Zevon. Bit of old folkie stuff. Some 80s folkie stuff. Velvets. Some alt-country. Some classic rock. Some hair metal. Some worship. I could throw it all together into a gig, but it would be a fairly schizophrenic set list.

As previously discussed, I think I should know more. I should establish sets of half hour or so of genre-acceptable songs, like a country set, a rock set, an alt-rock and a folk set. I should. I will make concrete the goal: I will learn one song and one fiddle tune a week for the rest of the year. The fiddle tunes will come from this list from Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamps website.

I think one of them should be "Freebird", too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Isn't it good? Musician's Woot?

It started with Woot. Interesting technological also-rans for cheap. The Big Lots for geeks.

So, where are the deals for musicians?

Musician's Friend now has their Stupid Deal of the Day. Today it is a box of six sets of D'Addario EXL110s with a pint glass for $20. Seeing as I'm hitting $6 or more per string set, I'd say this is a decent deal. Except I'm rocking much heavier strings right now. Still, tempting.

I normally dream to Musician's Friend. My music gear budget is minimal. I've actually ordered from them only once. But the stuff came quickly and was decent enough. (Never pay less than $20 for a harmonica, or you'll get cheap and uncomfortable thing you don't want in your mouth. I blame me more than MF.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Broken Lines, Broken Strings, Broken Threads, Broken Springs

I'm set up for playing, right? Acoustic set up, electric set up, ready to go. We're in the middle of warm-up/sound-check, and wouldn't you know? Ptang! It's the G string on the acoustic. So, I played all electric all night. Always fun.

So, I pulled out the GHS Phosphor Bronze set, unwound the strings and started popping out the bridge pins. Then what happened? My low-E pin broke in half. This, of course, made it a complete pain to get out.

I have never bought a set of pins without them coming with a guitar. I now have to get a new set.

I'm thinking of going with Tusq, if either of the local pushers have some. I don't want to just get plastic replacements, or worse, a white plastic replacement to go with my five black plastic pins.

I just realized. My GHS set is .011-.050. As previously estabilished, my Tele is strung with Not Even Slinkys, .012-.052. When I get this set on, my acoustic will be strung lighter than my electric. Is it just me who thinks that's funny?

Anyway, if you have other ideas, if you think I should go brass, or it's so worth my money to go with fossilized ivory or concentrated mollusk shell, please, tell me.

PDF Help, or For a Post Title Less Interesting

Joe from From The Woodshed pointed me to the Steve Vai 30-Hour Workout. I'm at a stage in my life where 10 hours a week is an unusually large amount of pracice time, so I haven't hit it hard, but I grabbed the PDF off a site and saw that there's a lot in there that's useful, even if you have little interest in his style of rock.

Thing is, my PDF skips from page 82 to page 86. And thus, it reads like this: The five note minor pentatonic scale and its derivative, the six-note minor blues scale, form the foundation of the vocabulary of rock lead guitar playing. The minor pentatonic scale is cleaner with every strum; it will get better. William S. Burroughs would call that a cut-up. I would say that there's some content missing there, and I would think it's important information. Can anyone hook me up with pages 83-85?

Charcoal gypsy maidens strutting their stuff

I want it so much! I don't care about the imperfections!

I love an archtop, because archtops have pop. They don't sustain like flattops, but their pop is loud. Anyone wanna give me $500?

Didn't think so.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fighting for the throne

Ig from IgBlog wrote a while ago about having to fight your guitar. I just hit a practical point for that at my guitar pusher.

I went for strings, a few single strings for the lap steel and a second set for the Tele. I play that and the acoustic most of all, and if I broke a string, I wouldn't have a replacement, so I figured I was due.

But you don't go to the guitar pusher and not pick up a guitar, so I tried a couple. I'm crazy about them Telecasters, so I pulled down a Fender Baja, a Squier Vintage Modified SSH and a Vintage Modified Thinline. All of which, the pusher says, are strung with Slinky lights. I play Not Even Slinkys. .052-.012, not the .042-.009 on all those guitars.

I had to fight not to fight these things! Freakin' rubber bands! And I was sorely tempted to get a set of lighter strings, but I decided to keep the Not Even Slinkys.

And I decided, again, that I need to get myself a second guitar so I can string it with lights. Well, maybe mediums.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Still time to change the road you're on

Every so often, I think about the minor pentatonic.

Yes. I'm that kind of guy. The guy who, out of the blue, thinks about scales.

For the longest time, I thought about the pentatonic as a subtractive thing. Let me explain.

You have the first, fourth and fifth right? Assume A minor, so I have to type # and b far less. The root is A, and the A minor scale is A B C D E F G. The fourth is D, and D minor is D E F G A Bb C. E is the fifth, and E minor is E F# G A B C D. So, speaking from the root, there's disagreement about the second and the sixth, the B/Bb and the F/F#. So, we use what everything agrees on and subtract the second and the sixth, so we now have the pentatonic minor, A C D E G.

This is useful for a few reasons. If you subtracted it and you know why, you can always add it back. If you're on the turnaround, you can hit that B for the E and drop it back to a Bb for the D, then one more to A for the root.

But there's things it can't explain, like why the blue third, the "Spoonful" third, isn't really either C or C#.

Steve Kimock can explain. And it's all adding harmonics.

The harmonic relationship between the root and the fifth is considered perfect. That's what they call it in theory books. And because the root is fifth to the fourth, that's also a perfect relationship. Thus the I IV V. And that's three of five. Where are the other two?

We're switching to E minor pent, so tune up the Es on your guitar. There's a harmonic just back from the G#. Hit it, and then try to find it with your guitar. Here's a hint: bring your slide. Because it isn't the G#, but it's far sharper than G. The blue third is not the blue because "it's happier than the minor third but sadder than the major third." It's the blue third because the design of the universe made that the harmonic.

This leaves the flat seventh. Find the harmonic just behind the G. The D on the B string will sound sharp. Again, the flat seventh we find is not the one that occurs in nature. Or is it the sharp six, really?

But anyway, that's the additive way to the pentatonic minor. If we adjust to where we can get with our frets, that's our E G A B D. Or, back to A, the A C D E G.

The practical application of this information is left as an exercise for the reader.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The flames in the furnace of desire are pretty well stoked

It starts with Tom Petty. So much of my musical appreciation starts with him.

One of his videos from the Southern Accents. "Make It Better (Forget About Me)". A small Petty crawls in some girl's ear, and the Heartbreakers kick it out in her brain. He wears cool glasses with different-shaped lenses. Petty plays a blond Rickenbacker.

Mike Campbell plays a white Vox Mark III.

It looks like an egg with a neck.

Forget all my previous lists. I would like the exotic superstrat. I wouldn't mind owning a black Les Paul. A Trussart Telecaster would be nice. But I want a Vox Mark III.

And, evidently, they are being reissued.

It's a freakin' egg with a neck! How cool is that?

Friday, February 15, 2008

So proper and fairly elite

I've been hearing lately that Rondo Music and their Agile line were secret weapons, great instruments for a fraction of what you'd expect to pay. Looking at the sight, you see a lot of Strat clones, a lot of Tele clones, a lot of Les Pauls, Jazz bases and P-bases, a few superstrats and some other things.

You don't always see really truly odd things.

It's a fretless Les Paul.


I hear about fretless guitars. I don't think I have heard one.

I have a fiddle and a lap steel. I have enough instruments where intonation is a problem. No. A learning opportunity. Do I need another one?

It would be far more practical for me to get a normal Les Paul.

Why do I want this guitar? Beyond "It's a guitar!"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Requiring the use of a dump truck

I have been wanting to figure out chicken pickin' for a while. That is the standard hot country lead style. If you don't know what it is, it sounds a little like this. It first came into my head as something I'd want to do when I heard Van Hagar's "Finish What You Started". (It's a little there in the verse work, but the solo, starting at about 2:22, is where he does it the most.

Compare the videos and you'll find that Eddie isn't the fastest or the hottest in that style, which is unusual for Eddie. But it had a funk that made it interesting, at least for the Van Hagar-era.

(Just as a point: I'm a big fan of pre-55 Hagar and of DLR-era Van Halen, but I've found interesting in post-Dave Van Halen few and far between. This is one of 'em.)

Back to the topic at hand, I found this article in Guitar Player. GP is, by content, my fave guitar mag, and with their online articles, they're even cooler. But here, it kinda fell down. Some of the notes in chicken pickin' are muted to death. We know that. It gets the name because three muted notes followed by a snappy one are supposed to sound like "bk-bk-bk-Bgak!" Like a chicken. But there's something missing here. Something that takes a simple use of this style, going bt-ting-bt-ting-bt-ting and moves it closer to what we hear on those two YouTube videos.

Here's the first thing. Pull-offs and the use of your bad mother finger. (I'm going to have to use that line more and more.) Unlike Greg Koch (and like Guitar Tube, I think) I grab the string with the fleshy part of my finger. I can't get the snap with my fingernail. Adding to that the knowledge that country guitar tends to use pentatonic major, and you can pull-off chromatically. So, that's helping.

Here's the second thing. "Memphis Soul Stew". Doesn't the "Finish" lick sound so close to the "Soul Stew" lick? Eddie thinks he's playing country, but really, he's playing soul! The technique here is to play the outlines of chords with a few high strings. "Soul Stew" and I think "Finish" are across the D and B strings, while the lead parts to "Soul Man" are on the G and E strings. My first knowledge of this style and of it's roots came from a commentary on Jimi Hendrix's version of "Like A Rolling Stone" from Monterey Pop. I forget where I read it, but it said that this is really from his chitlins circuit days.

So, I know how to get the pop. I know how to get the thud. I kinda know how to get the speed. All I need know is substantial practice and fretboard knowledge. That looks like a plan, eh?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Memorizing Artifacts of Ancient Architecture

Joe of From The Woodshed is reconsidering his goals for learning the six-string beast. Which seems like a good reason to at least form an initial set of goals.

GAS is easy. We can say "I'll get a Les Paul and a Marshall stack and I'll sound like Cream-era Clapton!", or "If I just had a high-end Martin, I'd get those Tony Rice licks down." This isn't true, because tone comes from your hands as much from your hands as it does from your gear. It also isn't good, because instead of being the best, most interesting you that you can be, you end up sounding like your hero. But because you are not your hero, you sound instead like a cut-rate imitation of your hero. Which is even more boring.

Looking forward in my own playing, I see four areas where I would like to grow.

  • Repertoire

  • Technique

  • Scales, Chords and Arpeggios

  • Lyricism

Repertoire is simple. I think I should know more songs. I think I should know different songs. I know a great deal about playing over some chord changes and the like, so I can improvise when others play a song, but I don't know enough songs.

There's things I have Technique for. I can pre-bend, I can bend to a note. I know hammer-ons and pull-offs. I can do squealers. There are things I want to do that are strictly technique that I hope to get into. I can do straight boring folkie fingerpicking, but funky blues fingerpicking and dead-thumb is beyond me, So is chicken pickin'. I can make the sounds of EVH finger-tapping, but I can't make it music. And I'm more and more resigned to the idea that I'll have to pick up some sweep picking someday. And I can't crosspick with authority, and my arm gets tired quick.

I'm iffy on Scales, Chords and Arpeggios. I know the major, minor and blues pentatonic scales in a few positions, but I do not know them in all the CAGED positions, nor do I have a real handle on the three-notes-per-finger scales. I have a good start with chords and chord theory, but the jazzy, Freddie Green chords still make my hands hurt. And I am just starting to see arpeggios as acceptable and applicable to the music I want to do. I was listening to some New Orleans piano, I think Professor Longhair, and he used an arpeggio to get halfway across the piano, and while New Orleans piano is not what I do, it is in the style of music I want to do. I want to be funky and bluesy. I listen to shredders, but I don't want to sound like a shredder. I'd rather play like Mike Campbell than Vivian Campbell any day, but that doesn't mean that Viv doesn't have anything to show me.

Finally, I don't know that my playing has Lyricism. I just don't really have the means to record myself and listen back. I know this is something that is rare and to be treasured. I've heard outtakes from Charlie Parker, from his Strings album, where he's improvising the intro, and there's absolutely no relation between the original melody, the scratched previous take and the one he followed up on, but each one is perfectly melodic. Not everybody has that. Not that many rock solos you can hum, and those you can are those you remember.

Those are my failings as a musician. These are the areas I need to work on. Which is not to say I consider myself a failure as a guitarist. I put on some XM radio the other day and worked to figure out the key and try to play some matching music, and I was greatly heartened by my ability to catch on fast. For one or two, I found myself playing the same licks as the guitar player on the track, and I hadn't heard the song before. I am a pretty good guitarist. I'm working on becoming a good guitarist. I hope to become an interesting guitarist. Being good and being interesting are not the same thing.

Shub-Internet is helpful for some of it. There are lots of guys on YouTube who want to show you how to play that song, that lick, that style, and the tab sites have a whole lot of chord sheets and lead sheets that, if they aren't perfect, are at least good enough. So I can build up my repertoire. I have the HotLicks DVD Learn Heavy Metal Guitar with 6 Great Masters out from NetFlix. I have the Masters of the Telecaster book and my library has the video. So I can pick up technique. I'm a coder in my day job, and I always heard that the best way to learn a new thing is to write something that uses it, so when I wanted to figure out Scaled Vector Graphics, I wrote a tool to show scales across the neck so I could use it to learn positions. (Comments are always welcome, because it ain't near good yet.)

What I don't know is how you learn how to be melodic. I am sure that, even if I'm genetically able to be half the melodic player that Bird was, I'm about 20 years of practice behind him. It might be part of the repertoire thing. I have to say that most of the songs I can play, I can play the chords. I can't always play the melody. Which isn't necessarily the guitar part. Really, it's the singers that get the melody these days, if anybody gets one.

I feel I should comment on this. I've put together a couple lists of guitars I want. I could easily come up with a good 20 more. I love Hendrix, so gimme a left-handed white Strat I can flip over. I dig gypsy jazz, so I want a Selmer. You gotta have an F-hole mandolin if you wanna play bluegrass, right? And the Hammond B3 is an instrument that is equally cool if you come at it like a master, like Jon Lord or Jimmy McGriff or Booker T. Jones, or if you pull out all the stops and lay your arm across the keys. There, I did more.

But I know that I could play what I play now and never need more than half my collection. I have and I play lap steel for myself. I play mandolin for myself. I scratch at the fiddle to show my limits. I play out on the acoustic and the Telecaster, and the most need are spares so I can keep going should I break a string. The point of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) is the hope that you can bypass practice and get good by simply buying good. And it just doesn't work. It's a fallacy. There are things you need, and I needed my AX1500G or something like it to put some juice between me and the PA at church. I don't need everything in the Musician's Friend catalog. But I still get it sent to me.

Just so you know, I'm a very talkative fellow online. If you have a comment, any comment, I will read it and appreciate it, and more than likely I will comment back. Don't be shy!

Can't Buy A Thrill

I got this from my friend Ig at IgBlog, who got it from GuitarFlame. So, limiting myself to five guitars I'd like to own:

  1. A 00-style steel-string acoustic 12-fret slothead with sitka top and mahogany back and sides. No kerfing, no inlays, good electro-acoustic setup because why not, but no guilding the lily, just fine guitar made from top-of-the line wood.
  2. A righty sunburst Stratocaster with a lefty Floyd Rose. And maybe, as Richard Thompson has one of his wired, separate volume knobs for each pickup. No tone control, no selector switch.
  3. We're dreaming, right? So price is no object? A 1920s Gibson L-9 non-cutaway. Maybe with an electrified bridge. Maybe.
  4. I know what I want, but I am not sure how I want it. A Gibson Les Paul. Black, looking like the guitar on the cover to Al DiMeola's Elegant Gypsy. Black, white and chrome. I'd either want it with low action and wimpy .009s or I'd want it set up heavy with high action so I can play slide. My other LP heroes (besides Al, and Les himself, of course) are slide players playing sunburst. I still want mine black.
  5. My dream Frankentele. Baritone neck. B-Bender, except with the baritone, that'd kick it back to F# or something. Sustainer setup. And for giggles, we'll make it a Trussart Steelcaster with perforations through the front big enough that you can see the Bender move when I pull on it.

I, of course, reserve the right revise, extend and ignore this list at any point.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wantin' something but I don't know where it is

First off: Can you even get a Fernandes Sustainer 401 anymore? The one with three knobs, a mix position on the switch and a single-coil-sized driver? I'm becoming more and more in love with the idea of the Sustainer. I'm even pricing out hot stacked humbuckers for the bridge position of my Tele. (I hate the look of non-stacked Tele humbuckers. It's a thing. You might sound great with 'em. I still want a stacked HB or single-coil.)

Of course you can put a HB-sized driver in your Tele. I don't particularly want to take a router to my Tele, and if I don't gotta cut a swimming-pool route, I don't wanna. Sure, I'll need one for the controls. Sure, I'll need one for the battery compartment. I know this. But a Tele's always had a single coil or less at the neck, and I like that.

Which gets me to another "I don't wanna" moment. I don't want to route for and put in another knob. I don't want to crowd up the control plate with three knobs. I've seen the Brent Mason Tele, and three knobs is one too many. So, that leaves me deciding what I want to leave pegged. This guy didn't use his tone knob. I do. But I have a volume pedal on my effects unit, and I don't really expect to ever play without one.

So, a guitar without a volume knob. How weird is that?