Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More D'oh!

When we left our hero, he had neglected to change his address before ordering a $5 Fender Chorus pedal. He had talked to the vendor and been unable to change the address mid-shipping. Their theory was that the package will not be accepted, be sent back, and I'll be credited.

So, I check the tracking number.


My package was delivered at the house where nobody lives.

So, I called my wife (who has to drive near the old place to pick up my middle kid at school) and had her look, and sure enough, my package is on the doorstep.

I'll be trying it out tonight.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I saw two things I wanted this Black Friday Eve. Sam Ash was giving away Fender Chorus pedals, and Musician's Friend had EHX Nano pedals. So, I logged in and pressed buy.

Be aware that I order online about once every two years. And I've moved since I last bought. And so, about 24 hours after I bought, I realized that these would be going to my old address.

Sam Ash said they'd recall, refund, and make me buy again.

Musician's Friend is trying to redirect it.

Next time, I'll triple-check the destination address, but next time, I think you know who I'll favor.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh, I HAVE To Go There

I saw this on a French music blog. This is Billy Cardine. He plays lap steel. Look to his right, toward the bassist in the background. Do you see the logo on the headstock? Do you?

Here. Let me give you a hint.

It's a Moog logo.

There's another pic on the site which shows neck-and-bridge Moog Guitar-style pickups. It's a Moog Lap Steel.

I've talked about the Moog Guitar before. Impressive works. Impressive works that take more than a little getting used to, and require a battery that the showroom model might not have, but impressive works nonetheless. I've been more and more thinking about how to access the power of electronics in the with the tools I'm already familiar with, and it seems that there could be something with the Moog lap steel.

It isn't just the increased sustain, though. You have a huge one-piece body, high action and a huge movable fret, so they sustain well naturally. It's controlled sustain and muting. The Moog concept is far beyond the Sustainer/Sustainiac concept. I'm waiting patiently for video, and more importantly, audio of this thing.

I ran into this looking for Melobar (which deserves a dedicated post), and I think this is so cool. Obviously, Moog's syst em is more involved than a Fernandes Sustainer, but it makes you wonder what you could do with all that. Somebody wondered if anyone ever took an EBow to a steel guitar. I'm sure it's not too common to do, but it has been done. In 2000, Robert Randolph made a Sacred Steel album with John Medeski and the North Mississippi All-Stars called The Word, and on one of the tracks, "Call Him By His Name", starts out with Robert sounding like a melisma-laden black-gospel singer just going off, done with steel guitar and EBow. That's a good track to start to show the possibilities of this thing. Or, at least what I think they are.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Concert Review - Disfarmer Project with the Bill Frisell Quartet At Purdue's Loeb Playhouse

Bill Frisell - guitar
Greg Leisz - steel guitar, dobro, mandolin
Jenny Scheinman - violin, mandolin
Victor Krauss - bass

Isn't that good?

I could get into a bunch of gear talk, which of course is my wont. I will say that if an instrument had an amplifier, that amplifier was a Deluxe Reverb, but that's really beyond the point. The point is, the band is good. Yeah, they can do the weird distancing stuff in that video, but one of the songs in the set is a take on "That's Alright, Mama", and they rock it. I tell you, you wouldn't expect him to stand between Keith Urban and Marty Stuart on the Opry stage doing "Working Man Blues" like the video I linked a few days ago, but I'd love to hear him take a verse.

Little Wing

Dave Kilminster is one of the guitarists playing behind Roger Waters on the new tour bringing back The Wall.

Don't Fret

A recent post on TDPRI made me thing of this again.
A couple of years ago I bought a neck on Ebay from a guy who had sold a lot of neck and had a lot of positive feedbacks. Unfortunately, he must have been having a bad day when he built my neck. Edges that should be square were rounded over, the end of the heel was cut for a Strat instead of a Tele and the frets were a mess. I didn't pay a lot for the neck and hate Ebay hassles, so I just tossed it on a shelf and forgot about it.

Several months later I got to thinking about a Tele lap steel and thought this neck might work. I removed the frets that hadn't already fallen out and inlaid brass strips in the slots. I refinished the neck and installed some tuners, then decided that the neck was really too thin for a lap steel. So, back on the shelf.
A couple of months ago I got to thinking about a fretless Tele and remembered the orphan neck. I matched the neck up with a mahogany body that's been lying around in my shop and got to work.
I've looked at fretless guitars for a long time. I've even owned one for a while, but I decided to put it out of it's misery the last time I moved. Now I want one again. And being the Teleblogster, I know I want it to be a Telecaster.

I am fairly sure that, when this happens, I want it to have a glass fingerboard, so it doesn't suck sustain as much and sounds like this. Well, more like this. You need to be Ned Evett to sound like this, more than any other guitarist I know. But a glass fretboard on a blackguard Tele just wouldn't work for me.

This is closer. I mean, I'm not going for a doubleneck. Not yet, anyway, and if I do, the Gatton plan of baritone and standard, not glass and normal. Not that that isn't a plan.

The plan is, chrome pickguard, control plate and big bridge plate. Non-standard pickguards are a plus. So is a chromed-up bridge pickup, be it lipstick or PAF. And, come to think of it, an Alumitone pickup from Lace would look sweet on a black body.

There's something to discuss here. Glass won't suck up string vibration the way even the hardest woods will, but still, I think going with a Sustainer in the neck position would be the move. It might be obvious, but I've been wanting a Sustainer guitar (or Sustainiac; I'm not THAT particular) for at least five years. Also, I'm thinking that I'll want to play with compression most of the time, so as noiseless as possible for the pickups. I'm wanting to try Lace Sensors.

Plus, it seems that having a maple headstock at the end of all that black and silver seems to be so wrong. Something more like a John 5 neck, except with, of course, the silvery mirror fingerboard. (If it's fretless, you can't call it a fretboard, can you?) Not there for the Les Paul switch, but that's OK.

So, I know how to play with pickups. I'll be able to step up and learn how to do the Sustainer thing. The thing that I'm not 100% about is the fretboard removal and the glass part, but now there's an Instructable about that, too. 

The last thing I've found, the last thing I'll find until I start putting it money into this, is that coated strings like Elixirs rattle much less if you slide on 'em, and if you're playing fretless, that's all you're gonna do with 'em. They're best with the action dropped way down, and you're sliding not bending, so going thicker is smarter, too.

So, action items are: Tele body, Tele neck with rosewood fretboard. Sustainer. Lace bridge at least. Steam the fretboard. Get glass. String up. Low action. Elixir strings. Now, I suppose I should go earn some money.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Get Bent

Reading the Holiday 2010 issue of Guitar Player. The one with Carlos Santana on the cover. The part that really gets me reading is the Marty Stuart article on page 50. A good big chunk of the interview is about his #1 guitar, the original B-Bender originally belonging to Clarence White. I like Marty Stuart because of Clarence White. I started buying Marty Stuart albums because of Clarence White. I now get his work on his strengths.

The one thing he recommends for B-Bender players is long-pull bender. I wish I could find more information on how to play the thing, but then again, nothing can really tell you how to play it until you have one to play. Nobody could've talked me through playing mandolin or lap steel without having a mandolin or lap steel. Which, again, makes me want to get one more.

What I find most interesting is, while there are many guitarists dropping D, tuning to D-standard, dropping C, getting baritones, 7-strings or 8-strings, and Marty, for one song, tunes a Tele that used to belong to Mick Ronson up to F. That's an interesting thing.