Keeping Up

If you haven’t taken a moment to check out my @gtr1ab Instagram account, then you are missing out on the real updates. I post a guitar related picture every single day. Almost all of them are guitars I own. Sometimes I post guitars I have seen in a store and want to share.


1965 refinished Fender Precision bass with jazz pickup added in the bridge position.

So if you haven’t already, go to


Welcome back?

It’s been 1,175 days since my last post here. That’s 3 years, 2 months, and 18 days (excluding today). Almost 168 weeks. 28,200 hours. 1,692,000 minutes. 101,520,000 seconds.

Not the longest time, but not the shortest either.

Life feels completely different from just a few years ago. Better.

So what has gtr1ab been up to you ask? Check out @gtr1ab on Instagram. That’s what I’ve been up to. There have been a lot of guitar shenanigans. I started playing bass in a band. I have explored many cities and countries for guitars.

Some things are still around from 2015. A lot of things have been added. Some things have come and gone in that time, even some of the stuff in this picture from 2018.2018Guitars

Let’s see what happens next!

Collings & Dusty Strings

A quick hop, skip, and a jump from my work is a great guitar shop call Dusty Strings. On one of my lunch breaks I made a quick trip to check out the National Resolectric I saw online.

The National wasn’t what I had hoped for, but I did see a lot of great guitars. Namely this Collings SoCo LC!

Collings SOCO LC

What a great instrument! I liked it a lot, but it is a semi-hollow body guitar and I am looking for the lighter full hollow body guitars like my Fender Coronado II or the 1964 Guild Starfire III measuring stick.

But there are some absolutely gorgeous instruments being made in this world. We can’t have all of them, but we can try to get exposed to as many of them as possible.

So a big thank you to Collings for making a great instrument and an even bigger thank you to Dusty Strings for a great shop and for providing those wonderful opportunities.

New Measuring Stick

When I visited the Chicago Music Exchange, I found my new measuring stick. You  know what I’m talking about. That guitar that you would really like to purchase, but really shouldn’t. It plays great. It has a great sound. It feels fantastic.

64 Guild Starfire III playing

And it is technically not where your money should be going.

64 Guild Starfire III body

So it becomes your measuring stick. Do I want to spend money on this new clutch for my car or would I rather have the 1964 Guild Starfire III? New clutch.

Would I rather have my kids’ college educations funded or the 1964 Guild Starfire III?

Would I rather have a new amp or the 1964 Guild Starfire III?

Would I rather go on vacation with my family or have the 1964 Guild Starfire III?

Would I rather buy my wife’s new gaming rig for Fallout4 or have the 1964 Guild Starfire III?

Would I rather have a my mortgage paid or a 1964 Guild Starfire III?

The questions and comparisons just keep on coming. Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the answer is yes. But I find that the chance to get a “new” guitar is stopped with the desire to live and pay for the rest of everyday life. I have a lot of guitars. I have had more. I play the guitars I have, and enjoy them immensely. But I also go days without playing the guitars I have. However, I do drive my car with the new clutch a lot. I do live in my house on a fairly regular basis. I do go on vacation from time to time. I do love my kids. My wife built an amazing computer for playing Fallout 4!

64 Guild Starfire III

So what is your measuring stick? And when does it win? Should it?

New Pedalboard Set Up

A few weeks ago I purchased a Strymon Flint reverb and tremolo pedal at Chicago Music Exchange.

Flint Strymon

And now it is part of my pedalboard!

As I have mentioned or described in the past, I had an Electro Harmonix Stereo Pulsar tremolo and EHX Holy Grail reverb that I got for cheap at a local thrift shop. The reverb just didn’t do it for me in the long run and as much as I liked the trem, it just wasn’t something I used a lot. And that is a lot of pedal board real estate. But my ModTone Vintage Analog Delay was not working as a reverb in the long run either. So I splurged and got the Flint after trying it with a bunch of other reverb pedals. It is fairly high price, but I justified it by getting a tremolo in the same unit. I would’ve spent the same amount of money on separate reverb and tremolo pedals anyway. Right? Right!Nov 2015 pedalboard

In order to keep my other pedals, including the looper/feedback modified OhHoNo pedal that currently has nothing in the loop, I took off my tuner. I haven’t noticed a big difference in the sound without the buffer that was in the tuner, but I am loving having dedicated reverb and tremolo back on my pedalboard. Combine that with my POG2 and the two delays with my volume pedal and I am having a blast with ambient swells and oceans of echo and reverb underneath what I am playing!

Or I can just go with the tremolo and feel it wash through whatever chords I’m playing.

And having a warm reverb is just incredible for those occasional blue notes that I hit just right!

I do need to put it on a wood block to raise up the pedal for the back row and to keep the pedal velcroed in place without putting velcro on the pedal. And eventually I’ll build a tap tempo pedal for controlling the trem. But I don’t know where that will be kept on the board. Things are a bit crowded. 🙂

Chicago Music Exchange

I was in Chicago last week for work, but was able to make a trip or two to the Chicago Music Exchange.

SG Wall

Oh, hello row of 60’s and 70’s SG Juniors and Specials. Nice to meet you.


Gibson ES-225

Hi 50’s guitars. I can’t believe I actually got to play a Gibson ES-225! So amazing. I still prefer the P-90’s of the ES-125DC, but this was very cool.

Epiphone Casino Gibson ES-330 red

Hi 60’s hollow bodies! John Lennon would be proud of that Epiphone. I enjoyed it. And that Gibson ES-330 is amazing in the “naturally aged” cherry. Something about a 50 year old guitar.


Hi history and art made from wood and metal and plastic. I finally got to play a Rhoney. I’ve been listening to their podcast for a while, but never seen one in the flesh. It was fun to play. The body was surprisingly small. I liked it!


The Fano is a guitar I have always wanted to play. When I first learned about the Fender Starcaster, the Fano was the only version I could find in production at the time. And it has a comfort belly contour. Perfect! And those pick ups! Perfection…but still out of my price range!


And I finally got to play a Reverend. I really liked the neck on this one. Overall a great guitar, but not what I’m looking for right now.

Thank you Chicago Music Exchange for creating a space that feels as comfortable as my living room, as historic as a museum, and a positive shopping experience.

I will post about my Strymon Flint next time!

Back In Tune

unopened tunerIn my attempts to get back into blogging here on a regular basis, I bought a new tuner. Here is the box.

just open the new tuner

Here I am opening the box.

tuner box open

Gotta put the battery in.

using the tuner

Now I use it on everything in the house! Did you know my son vibrates at A sharp?

The Polytune clip on is pretty nice. It has a few negatives with the tuner not being able to rotate on the clip. It folds in and out, but rotation would allow me to set it exactly how I want. But the reality is that it is very accurate. And it works very quickly. It is bright. I generally use the single note tuner on each string and then use the polytune to see how all the strings interact with each other.

It looks like I will be taking my Boss TU-2 Tuner pedal off my pedalboard. Maybe I’ll add a reverb? Future post topic? Probably!

1973 Coronado II

I haven’t blogged in a while because life seems to be getting in the way of typing. But that’s ok, because I’m alive and I’ve been playing this!

73 Coronado II

I’ll get back into the habit of blogging. I’ve got pictures to share from the last Seattle Tacoma guitar show. I’ve been having fun with music. Things are going well!

New Family Member

I did it! I pulled the trigger on a hollow body guitar and I ended up with the 1973 Fender Coronado II at my local guitar shop.

Fender Coronado II headstock

It has a fender neck, but it has what can only be described as a Gretch body. And those pickups are loud! It will need a fret job in the future, but most of my guitars are getting to that point. I like low frets.

Fender Coronado II

And the set up from my local shop is spot on. I am very happy with it. However the pickups make me want to replace the Gibson 490’s in my 62 SG Jr with some sort of dog eared P-90’s so it goes back to the SG Jr it originally was (or the SG Special I wish it was).

Fender Coronado pickup

But enough about my other guitars. This is all about the new to me Coronado II. It plays well through my Franzel Super Champ Sportster. It is certainly a feedback machine, but I can minimize that with body placement and volume control.

Enjoy the pictures because I’m enjoying the guitar!

Budget Guitar Set Up

My friend has an old Silver Cadet by Ibanez from a long time ago.

Silver Cadet Headstock

It has been sitting in a really cool looking hard shell case for years with a broken high E string and a lot of cat hair. Because I am always looking for guitar projects, I offered to clean it and set it up.

Silver CadetAnd so it begins. Strings off. Next is cleaning everything. Putting it back together. Complete set up. Wish me luck!