Friday, May 28, 2010

Having A Thought

First, a Korg Monotron, a classic synth that can take an outside audio source — for example, a guitar — as an oscillator.

Second, a Morley FX Blender, a kind of blendable FX loop.

Mix in a little bit of synthy bloop or a lot. I love it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Setup Trick for Bolt-On Neck Guitars

I've just read this, not tried it yet. But I probably will before too long.

Tune your guitar up. Or, half-up; I've seen it both ways. Either way, enough that there's tension between the neck and the bridge.

Unscrew the neck bolts a quarter turn. This should pull the neck more fully into the the neck socket.

Re-tighten the neck screws. I've seen it written to tune up to standard before re-tightening, but I don't think it would really buy you much more. This is the setup technique that G&L put into their Owner's Manual. Supposedly, you get better contact within the pocket, resulting in more volume and sustain.

In fact, I think I'll set this down and try it on my #2.


I don't know that I hear a difference, but I do know that I tuned it up to Open G (DGDGBD) and after I had done this, several strings were up to a half-step flat. Which implies that something moved. So, maybe it's better. I think I'll have to do something more comparable and scientific with my #1. If any of you guys are gutsy enough to try it, tell me what you think.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shred, Gordon Freeman!

This is a Logicaster from Black Mesa. Through-body construction, 24 frets, reverse headstock, Steinberger gearless tuners, Thinline-style pickguard and my goodness look at that top!

I'm not too much of a fan of the to-one-side fretboard dots, though. I like centered or nothing, but you know what? I think I could live with it.

The electronics are chosen special, using handwound pickups and top-notch switches and pots.

And not really through-neck, but the explanation is a little on the long side to the point where I mostly get it but can't explain it, so check the explanation here.

It's a looker, and I bet it's a player.

Monday, May 24, 2010

This has almost nothing to do with guitars

Today, before work, I got a new pair of shorts from Wal-Mart. It gets hot down here in summer, and I decided to go for shorts. I don't know the size of the old shorts, but another pair on my drawer had a 48 waist.

The pair I got have a 42 waist. When I changed, I unhooked my belt and let 'em drop. Didn't need to unbutton or anything.

This makes me happy.

This is not a fast weight drop — the old shorts are 10 years old, easy — but it is ongoing. I can't remember if it was last year or the year before where I hit 44, which was the magic number that meant I no longer had to shop in the Big-and-Tall store to get pants. (The line is that fat people go to Wal-Mart, but you cannot find pants with more than a 44 waist there. Trust me. I know this.)

The only guitar-related thing about this that comes to mind is, as my weight and girth drops, I will have to become more and more worried about belt buckle rash on the back of my guitars. As is, there's a substantial buffer created by my gut.

So, yay me. I might go out and get a chocolate shake to celebrate!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nailed It

There's a song we're doing, and the song has this kinda strange guitar part. Kinda like a staccato 70s Who sequencer bit, but more behind the band. I don't really know what the guy on the track did, but I figured that I could put the tremolo on a square wave, slow it down and sweep the wah and get close, and yeah, that did it.

I love it when a sound comes together.

A Question of Balance

The man on the left is Cosmos Lyles. He holds a patent for the Evertune, a new kind of bridge.

Look at what looks like a tremolo spring rout on the black Strat is the spring tension, which goes to each individual string. The best metaphor I can come up with is an automobile suspension, which manages the ups and downs of the road you're on to give you a comfortable ride. When the tuner turns and the strings stretch, the springs take up the slack.

Or, if my explanation and the patent document fail to explain, here's their explanation video.

There's another video where the guitarist of the Sick Puppies (who I've never heard of, but evidently they're big enough that the guy gets a guitar tech — hey, I'm too old to know the cool bands). He takes his Evertune-equipped 335 and frobs the tuning peg with no identifiable change in tuning. This is pretty cool. Yeah, all the cool guitarists know that you go with graphite nuts, saddles and trees, and with locking tuners, if you have to make sure, but that helps with string slippage, it does nothing for string stretching. That could be very valuable.

On the other hand, consider rock guitar. Rock guitar sounds like rock guitar because of bending and vibrato, and if I'm reading this wrong, unless tweak it just right to where you're nearly losing the adaptive glory of this thing, you lose the ability put the vibrato on the notes. Shredder's delight, I guess, but a bane to those of us who like to put a little English on a note.

It should be noted that this doesn't do anything to solve the problems that the Feiten system, for example, is there to fix. If you're incorrectly intonated, you'll still be incorrectly intonated, just consistently wrong. But I think this is a new and exciting idea. What do you think?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gettin' The Story Told

I can't say I bought my first Dio album — it was part of a cache of albums that my sister's boyfriend gave up when he moved, years ago — but it was one of the first albums I listened to. Last In Line. After that, I listened back some, into Sabbath and Rainbow. Don't listen to him as much anymore, but I'm still a fan.

Ronnie James Dio was coming back, touring with the Heaven and Hell lineup as Heaven and Hell, rather than Sabbath, which is a decision I don't get. Still, what I heard, I liked, and I was glad to see that sort of rock come back.

Ronnie James Dio died today after an extended battle with stomach cancer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Return of the Daughter of How I Found The Woman Tone

The Museum of Music Making has an exhibition called The Art of the Stompbox. This is part of the exhibit, despite not being a stompbox, and this specific picture is from their Flickr gallery.

It is also a Girl Brand guitar. Specifically, the Sushi Girl. The site says this one was inspired by Henry Kaiser, who is involved with the DVD for this exhibition.

There's two words I've heard. First, the pickups come from the Schecter of Schecter Guitar Research and come with a three-way switch for each, controlling the number of windings. Second, these things run about $5000 each. Which makes sense. They're works of art, right?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Didn't Know That

So, I just got Bill Frisell's Best of, Vol 1., which has a very interesting Tele-style guitar on the cover.
I see a Telecaster neck PU and a PAF-style bridge pickup. Plus really interesting art. So, I want to know more. So, I type "bill frisell telecaster" into my favorite search engine and what do I get?

Bill talking to Fender about his Tacoma baritone? Why would he do that?

Because, it seems, that Tacoma, along with Guild, Gretsch, Ovation and both Charvel and Jackson, (plus a whole lot more) is owned by Fender Musical Instruments Company. 

That's interesting to me.

I knew about Charvel and Jackson. It strikes me kinda like owning both Ferrari and Porsche, as we're talking both major high performance superstrat companies, but whatever.

I thought Tacoma had a string-through bridge so you didn't need bridge pins...

Anyway, that is at least in part, his old Jaguar. Certainly is a Jag neck, and looks like they moved the bridge forward. At least that's what Elliot Easton thinks.

Me? I think we need a bigger picture of that guitar.

High Water Everywhere

The Tennessean has an excellent photo essay showing the Soundcheck storage facility and the gear damaged by the flooding.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

... but I know what I like

Saw this on TDPRI. It's a Tele Custom, with Seth Lover Split-Humbucker in the neck position and Les-caster wiring, modified by Jesper Eriksson. Look at the projects — he's got Gibsons and Strats and of course Teles — with these massively cool paint jobs.

Trip To Guitarworks

I went to Greenwood, IN today to see the Hellecaster Will Ray give a seminar at Guitarworks. He truly is a fantastic player, and store isn't half bad either. I mostly took video, which will be forthcoming once I upload to YouTube, but here's some pictures of gear for everyone's edification

That's from their wall of G&Ls. I don't know if these count as Legacys or S500s, but they're nice. The bound sunburst in the middle specifically is a guitar that wants to be in my collection, I promise you.

This is an Ibanez S series of some sort. I love the look of the S series. I love that straight-in jack under the bridge. I love the look of the switch. I love the Strat-but-not body shape. And I love love love love love that birdseye figure on the top. It is great!

Eric disagrees. Eric is wrong.

And, at the bottom, is the Peavey Power Slide, which is a lap steel meant to be played standing up, when you don't have a lap. Like a dobro, but electric. They come in red, too. I do think I like the black best, but given my #1, is that shocking?

On the Application of Knowledge

For I learned that the absolute best way to find out what you don't understand is to try to express something in your own words.
— Donald Knuth, Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About

Here, he's talking about translating the Bible, despite not knowing Greek or Hebrew. I think it works when you're talking about most subject, especially music. You can listen to music, you can read about music theory, but it's when you come to play, you have to be you, and you have to communicate with others. I think it's easy to recast that statement as one of this blog's statements of belief:

The best way to learn to play music is to play music, preferably with other people and in front of other people

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What's in the Water up in Canada?

Is it anything like what they used to have in DC? Because that's a lot of Blues Tele in those two women.

Ever actually SEE irony?

All his road gear were in storage and all got flooded. As the man says "On the positive side everyone is safe. On the negative... I think all my road guitar gear, amps, effects, are under 3 ft of river."

I hope to see his dried-out gear this summer.

Twangbilly Dive Bomb

This is the Tracii Guns Signature Nash Vegas guitar from Dean.

You know Guns and Roses? Notice how Axl Rose's name is Rose? Tracii was the Guns of Guns and Roses before everything happened.

I'm torn here. "Fish" would be a guitar with a Floyd Rose and big beefy humbuckers. "Fowl" would be standard Tele pickups on a hardtail, or maybe a Bigsby. This is neither fish nor fowl. Or maybe not. It says it has "Nash Vegas" pickups, which could be stacked humbucker versions of Tele pickups, but as the standard Nash Vegas is discontinued, I can't look that up.

There's a philosophy for this blog, which isn't necessarily clear. In purest form: "This is a guitar-" "I want it." If it has six or twelve strings (or seven, or eight) and is played with a pick, this blog wants it. But I'm torn on this one. Pin-stripes? I like pinstripes. Teles? I like Teles. Floyd Rose? I want my next guitar to have 'em. But this isn't quite add up to "want", except in the most abstract sense. But, cool.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I Had To Post This

This blog is unambiguously a fan of the Allman Brothers Band.

This blog is also unambiguously a fan of Telecaster.

So, when someone posts a YouTube video featuring both, I have to link it.

Is the last line "Deep"?

"The versatility of a Telecaster is almost unmatched."

The versatility of the yahoo playing it (me) is much more limited.
Did I mention this? The other guitarist begged off this weekend, so I played two Sundays in a row (and will get a third next week). And it was fun. Let's discuss the differences between the bands.

  • Drums - My regular band has a drummer who was so jazzed that he got to see August Burns Red recently. Here's some August Burns Red. C is for Christian Metalcore, that's good enough for me. I like him, I'd gladly play with him wherever, but he's slowly growing from a mindset where his dynamics go from 9 to 10. The sound guys are gladdened that now, he's getting to the point where they can have him in the house mix, and not mute his mics and STILL have him too loud. The other band normally has a guy that's closer to a jazz drummer, never too loud, but he also skipped out, so the normal Wednesday night drummer stepped up. I think the oddest meter we did was 6/4, which, as things go, is pretty simple, but I've seen drummers I was greatly impressed by fall flat on waltz time, but the new guy handled it.
  • Bass - My regular bassist is a metalhead. He's picking stuff up, but he knows so little theory that my second favorite bassist joke ("How many bassists does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "1. 5. 1. 5.") fell flat with him. The other band's bassist is much more technically adept. 
  • Piano - The guy I normally play with will tell you that he's a P&W keyboard player who's learning to play the roll of a piano player. Today, I played with a piano player. The biggest difference is that with the keyboard guy it's very clear. "Now, I will play chords" "Now, I will improvise a solo." Today's pianist is much more integrated in the way good piano players (pianists?) are.
  • Guitar - no second guitar today. Which I do like.
  • Sax - Our sax guy can't make it to practice on Tuesdays and sounds like he didn't practice with us. I don't want to say bad things about him, but I don't really know good things about him beside "he shows up". But the other band's sax guy was a gigging musician for years with a deep and abiding love for Tower of Power. 
I think I'd fit in a lot better with this band. I had a lot of fun.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Not the Songquest

I blew it again this week. I've got no licks pulled out, and I don't even have an anniversary as an excuse.

In the June 2010 Guitar Player (Jeff Beck cover), Andy Ellis has a lesson where he demonstrates how easy it is to go From C#dim to the F7, B7 D7 and Ab7 chords. That's cool, really, and it's in my head if not in my hands, but there's a key piece of information he fails to bring up.

Consider a chromatic scale.
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
We'll start from C#, as this is where Andy started.
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
A diminished chord uses a minor third, so E.
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
A diminished chord uses a flat 5, so G.
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
A diminished chord uses a flat flat 7, formerly known as a 6 so A#. Well, we're talking flattening, not sharpening, so I should say Bb, but then I'd have to rewrite this chromatic scale.
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
Do you see it yet?

Give it a moment. Now?

Bold normal normal Bold normal normal. A diminished chord is a stack of minor thirds. This means that a C#dim7 is also an Edim7 is also a Gdim7 is also a Bbdim7 (and it makes me wish I could type unicode on a Windows netbook keyboard to have that written as B♭°7 instead.

... wait ...

Anyway, if that one chord is four chords, and dropping the root a half-step gives you a dominant chord, of course you can jump to any of those four chords quickly.

But Sans, you might say, we play rock. How does this help us? And that's a good question. Some time around 1960, melody went from being notes in the chord to notes in the scale, and soon we went from expressive algebra chords to root-and-fifth power chords that allow you the maximum number of choices. (Gross exageration, but I believe that's the trend.) Diminished chords are elegant weapons for a more civilized age. But they do show up on occasion. Take "This Wheel's On Fire" from the Basement Tapes.

The chord is the second chord in the verse. "Meet again and wait". Take whatever diminished chord form and move it up a minor third at a time, 1-2-3-4, to get some cheap drama into the progression.

Considering going through "People Get Ready" to get Songquest on track.