Red Bennies

Getting ready to go to bed at a reasonable time tonight, but wanted to share a band that has inspired me many times in the past.  Thanks to the red bennies and the few times I saw you perform before leaving SLC.


Sleep v Guitar

At work today I had almost twenty minutes after I ate lunch before I had to be in a meeting.  I haven’t had a consistent time for lunch the last few weeks, so this was a surprise.  I then had a decision to make: should I take a quick nap in my office or play the guitar?  I was so tired, and knew playing the guitar would relax me even more (making it tough to stay awake in my meeting), that I opted for the nap.

I closed my office door, turned out the light, and took a ten minute power nap.  I don’t know if I made the right decision (I was still tired this afternoon), but can’t change it now.  So now we know where I stand on that question.

On a side note, my wife read my blog entry about blogging yesterday.  She asked if I am now addicted to blogging.

I assured her I could stop anytime I want.

Why I blog

Why do I blog?  And why do I blog about guitar stuff?

First, I love music.  Second, I’m a bit obsessive about things I like.  Third, I love guitars and the surrounding stuff that goes with them.  I wish I could say I love playing the guitar, but I don’t.  I’d like to say it is because I’m not very good.  But the reality is I just don’t play enough to get very good.  I don’t practice.  I don’t dedicate huge amounts of time to practicing.  I don’t play with others.  I don’t play alone.  So I must not love it…

Right now I don’t feel like I do much with the guitar.  But I do blog about the guitar.  I blog about the projects I have done.  I blog about the music I love.  I blog about the gear I have heard, read, or dreamed about.

My blog doesn’t really involve a lot of up to the minute posts about the latest gear.  I don’t have amazing gear or tone or vintage whatevers that would make my blog valuable or of any real interest to a large number of people.  But I still like blogging about guitars.

I don’t participate very often in guitar forums.  I don’t comment on other people’s blogs very often.  I spend way too much time on the internet doing things that really aren’t important.  It is funny that I don’t surf the web at all at work.  Not even a little.  Nothing.  Nada. Zilch.  So my internet time is rather precious.  So is my family time.  So is my church time.  So is my fencing time.  So is my sleep time.  So is my guitar time.  And yet I spend so much of my time on this blog.

Maybe someday I’ll spend as much time on the guitar as I do on this blog.  Maybe someday I won’t be afraid to plug into my pedal board and amp and headphones because I don’t want to so obviously unplug from my kids and spouse….even though I seem to be just as unplugged when I am online.  I think the real difference is that when I’m playing the guitar (or at least trying to play the guitar) I don’t want interruptions.  Very rarely am I doing anything online where an interruption would prevent me from doing something later.

Now that I think about it, interruptions of guitar playing don’t really end the world as I know it either.  But it feels like leaving my computer screen is not nearly as cumbersome as leaving my guitar.  So why start playing the guitar.

Lately I’ve been posting about getting an organ sound with my guitar.  The most economical way to do this appears to be with an Electro Harmonix POG or POG2, which is still not economical for me.  I have spent all my guitar funds.  I have an amp that I could probably sell today for less than a POG2.  In fact, I haven’t really explored or mastered my current amp in any way shape or form, yet when I read about the Frenzel HBX – AC15 “Sweet Little 15” on sale for $495 this monthly only (plus I’d add the effects loop for $50), I think “I need to get that!”  And the POG?  I don’t think so.  That’s not realistic.

So maybe that is why I blog.  Because I can easily mix the fantasy and the realistic without consequence.  I can dream about Frenzel reading my little blog and saying, “Gosh, this guys is normal.  Let’s send him a free amp to learn what good tone is all about.”  Or Electro Harmonix saying, “This guy needs to make organ sounds. Let’s hook him up.” But the reality is that I’ll continue to piecemeal equipment together (see future pedal board posts).  I’ll continue to love my Warmoth project guitar.  I’ll continue to dream about replacing the cheap pick ups in my Wolverine guitar.  I’ll continue to think about organ sounds or whatever sound I obsess over next.  I’ll continue to rebuild.  I’ll continue to blog.

P.S. It’s funny reading over this.  I didn’t delete anything, but I can tell I’m tired and a little incoherent.  This is certainly stream of conscious writing.  Whatever popped into my head I wrote.  Very little filter.  Perhaps I’ll be embarrassed about this later, but for now. It’s going up.  Good night.


Last night I read “Little Brother,” a young adult fiction book about hackers, cryptography, family, friendship, love, security, politics, civil rights, and revolution.  My wife got it from the library as something fun to read on topics we like.  It is a quick read (obviously…I read it last night) and I enjoyed it.  It was entertaining.  What I enjoyed most was the object lesson about the benefits of “hacking.”  In other words, the benefits of exploration and challenging technology.  Figuring things out.  Making them better.  Customizing technology to serve you.

I am not a hacker.  I can barely manage the technology involved with this blog.  So I finished this book and felt inspired to “hack” something.  Then I realized I’m already a “hacker.”  I “hack” guitars.  I noodle.  I rebuild.  I fix.  I customize.  I explore.

Admittedly I am taking a very slow pace.  And I’m limited by funds and time.  But I have the desire and am enjoying it.  So I guess I’m a hacker…Hack the planet!

That Organ Thing

I can’t get the idea out of my head of using a guitar effect to get an organ sound from my guitar.  On the ride home today the local radio show (Retroactive) played the amazing Sunnyland Slim song “Baby How Long.”  I have a thing for Sunnyland Slim.  I named my Epiphone Korina SG “Stella” after hearing him perform “Soft and Mellow Stella.”

I’ve sold that guitar and I couldn’t find “Baby How Long” on youtube, but I did find “I’m Prison Bound,” which has a similar organ sound.  It sounds like a straight forward blues line on the organ supporting Sunnyland on the piano.  It sounds like it would be easy to recreate on the guitar.  I really want to try…


This evening I’ve been reading some new blogs (well, new to me…kind of like Premier Guitar…this seems to be a trend).  Anyway, most of the posts that catch my eye have been about constantly playing, constantly improving, and constantly working to expose yourself to new opportunities and experiences in playing music.  I can’t even take full advantage of the playing opportunities I have now, let alone get new opportunities.

Life is too busy.  Too much is going on.  And I don’t see it changing anytime soon.  Good night.  I’m too tired to be worrying about this right now.

Premier Guitar

It’s probably just me, but I just became aware of Premier Guitar magazine.  I think I have seen it before, but always thought it was one of those expensive UK guitar mags like Guitar or Total Guitar that are triple the price of U.S. mags.

Anyway, the family and I went to our local Borders (sorry local book store, you didn’t offer a 40% off CD’s coup0n…actually, you don’t sell CD’s) to get some CD’s (I got the new White Stripes live album).  That’s where I saw the March issue of Premier Guitar and got it.  Not as fiscally responsible as getting a subscription or checking them out online first, but I now have more guitar reading material.  Yippee!

Same Language?

Last year on GuitarFlame, there was a post about a blues guitarist and a metal guitarist getting together and not being able to play music together. It reminded me of my next door neighbor’s high school son when I lived in Idaho. He was/is a huge metal head. He plays the bass and loves it. We would get together from time to time and “jam.” But we could only jam 12 bar blues because I couldn’t get anything to sound good over his heavy metal bass riffs. He was very gracious and very nice about it, but reading Guitar Flame’s post reminded me that the fault was mine.

I’m supposed to be the mature one. I’m supposed to be the one showing the example to the young punk (metal head, whatever). Instead he’s the one crossing the language barrier. He’s the one setting the example. Former neighbor, if you ever read this, thanks for being so cool. If we ever jam again, I’ll be sure to have some metal riffs ready. I’ve learned my lesson (just not metal…yet).

Quilt Maple Top

I took my Warmoth guitar project into work today since I drove (no way I’m taking that thing on my bike). My boss is a fairly avid wood worker and was complimenting me on my choices of woods (he knows next to nothing about guitars). Then he commented that the quilt maple didn’t have the three dimensional look he is used to. I assured him that it does, but perhaps the lighting was bad in my office (see pics here). He was nice about it, but obviously thought the guitar was inferior because of the lack of depth in the quilt maple top. I must admit, I was a bit embarrassed.
Then a coworker came in (who is thinking about getting a new guitar). He asked if he could take it off the wall hanger and I said sure. When he turned the guitar sideways the quilt maple top came to life. It was like one of those little cards with the different pictures on it that appear and disappear as you move the card. My boss made an exclamation of excitement and commented that he now saw the three dimensional aspect of a good quilt maple and was equally impressed. My pride is back in place. Thank you very much.