Monday, November 24, 2008

Fake Plastic Rock, plus

My parents bought me Rock Band for my birthday (which I opened well over a month before the event, by their permission).

My son and I spent a good long time playing it last night. At 11pm, we finished "Won't Be Fooled Again" and called it a night.

And, about 8pm or so, I used my Leatherman to pop my guitar-controller blister. I've started frobbing the "string" part like a bassist rather than hit it with my thumb. I've tried using a pick, but that just doesn't work with me.

Since I program for a living, hitting the space key with the picking part of my picking thumb, I should really be more careful. And I am starting to be.

So, Chinese Democracy is out. Get yourself a drink. If you can get through before 6pm EST today.

My jam partner got himself a new lefty Les Paul-style Agile guitar from Rondo. All the pretty you see in the picture is dwarfed by the pretty it is in your hands. But the thirteenth fret is high, visibly high when looking down the neck, and thus there's a dead spot. He's not as happy as he could've been, but when that gets sorted out, he'll be happy. You just don't see a 24-fret Les Paul with a Floyd Rose everyday, and make it a lefty and they become even more rare.

Speaking of guitars, my friend Patrick has de-fretted my old acoustic, and I'm planning on picking it up from him Friday, after a good long jam with my jam partner and his brother. Due to Fender's excellent customer service, I have an embarrassment of strings, but I'm strongly considering getting it a set of Elixirs, because 1) if I slide my fingers, I don't need to bend, and 2) sliding without string noise works a lot better on coated strings. I've had Elixirs on this before and liked them, but that was when it had frets. Can anyone comment about playing fretless with Elixirs? Guitar, bass, lute?

Speaking of Elixers, one time, I looked on their website and saw that Nickel Creek were endorsers. Well, Chris Thile and Sean Watkins. Not Sara Watkins. Why not?, I wondered. You're sliding with fiddle as much or more than mando or guitar, so why wouldn't you want slippery strings? Then I thought about it. Your left hand might want the slippery, but your bow wants sticky. You rosin the bow to get the sticky. The bow is grabbing onto the strings as it passes by. That's how you get the sound! So, if you put on coated strings, the slippery makes it a quiet thing. Not good.

7 comments:

ericmakesmusic said...

Elixer strings feel strange to me. I used them one time, and they felt like plastic under my fingers. I wasn't happy with them at all. besides, I like the squeak that comes from sliding up and down the fretboard. Over time the coating starts to peel off and the strings start to look like sloughing snake...

As for violin...that's a fiddle for you Midwest folks, those strings are traditionally flatwound...less squeak by nature I guess, easier on fretboard wear... and no need to endorse

Furtheron said...

just to wet your lips more...

http://www.gibson.com/en%2Dus/Lifestyle/Features/les%2Dpaul%2Daxcess%2Dstandard%2Dthe%2Ds/

Oh yes I'm tempted!

And looky here for one of Alex Lifesons customs...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Alex_Lifeson6.jpg

Dave Jacoby said...

I know fiddles. I own two. Put a round-wound set of Black Diamonds on one, and took 'em off as soon as I could, they sucked so bad. So, yeah, you can get around the squeak with the right choices.

I never did like squeak. It's like a constant reminder that my technique could be far far better.

Yeah, I know the snakeskin look. I used them hoping that the coating would be the solution to my popping G string problem. Turns out, it was "stop swinging as hard as you can with a metal pick" that solved it.

When I stop installing here and get back to my desk, I'll look up flatwounds, too.

Dave Jacoby said...

Furtheron, the Lifeson is very close to what my friend has. All-gold hardware, 24-frets and, unlike the Axcess, no tummy-cut.

Also, with Rondo, about 1/10th the cost of the Gibson custom shop LP.

Sammy said...

Dave, did you have two Red Bulls or three? ;)

Dave Jacoby said...

I use no performance-enhancing drugs during a Rock Band competition. I want to be able to go to sleep afterward.

Ava said...

I love this post. It goes from Rock Band to Guns N' Roses and back again. It's the first time I'm reading your blog and I'm impressed. I'm sure you don't use any performance-enhancing drugs, but there must be something turning around and around in that brain of years. It sounds like you are always busy and always running from cool thing to another. Am I wrong? What do you think, Dave?

Regards.