Goodbye ol’ friend

I am having to say good bye to the Boss RC-20 loop station that I have borrowed for at least two, maybe three, years.  For someone who plays alone 95% of the time, it really is a great tool.  And, I must admit, I have just started getting into the layering textures of looping and delay after reading about it at Guitar For Worship for so long.

But now I must move on, be the responsible friend, and return the pedal that I have truly been grateful to borrow.  I’ll add it to my list of big ticket item wishes and keep an eye open for a good deal someday.  It may even beat out the POG2 on the top of the list.  We’ll see if I put my money where my mouth is.

Before unhooking the pedal, I did record everything that I have recorded on the 10 tracks.  And since I was using it, I came up with two more things to loop and play on top of, so I recorded those too.  It was great fun listening to the differences between the different licks and chord progressions I have come up with over the years.  Some have been on the loop station since I first borrowed it.  Others have come and gone, only to be replaced again by other ideas.  I don’t know if I’m better, but I have learned a lot.

I keep telling myself that the return of my Holy Grail reverb and the addition of my new Morley A/B/Y switch to my pedal board is well worth the loss of the loop station, but I think I’m just telling myself that for comfort.  I don’t think I need to be consoled, but…I guess I do.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  I got to use it for much longer than is reasonable due to the generosity of a good friend.  That generosity is now passing it on to another guitar player who will probably work with it a lot more and get a lot more out of it.  If my friend reads this, THANK YOU!

New Gear

Well, new to me.  I got a used Morley A/B/Y footswitch.  This replaces the Boss A/B footswitch I have been using to go between the F and M preamps on my Frenzel Super Sportster Champ.  Now I have the ability to switch between the F and M preamps, as well as send my guitar signal through both of them.

Technically this is a Christmas gift that should be under the tree, but since it was used, I had to make sure it worked properly… of course.  I was surprised at how good both preamps sound together.  I like the Fender amp sounds I can get with the F preamp and I’m really exploring the Marshall sounds from the M preamp, but combining them just really seems to wake up the sound.  I can dial in the right amount of gain on each channel, play with those two settings with the A or B footswitch, then add a third sound with the A and B footswitch.  It doesn’t increase the volume very much, but it certainly sounds fuller.  More full.  Whatever the proper grammar is for that.

Now that I’ve “opened” it, I’ll play with it more and post about it later.  Merry Christmas!

Another few songs

The “local” radio station 107.7 The End has been playing a few songs that I am really enjoying.

Crystalised by the XX seems so straight forward, but it is the two voices that make it great.

Middle Class Rut are probably sick of hearing this, but they have a very Jane’s Addiction sound in “New Low.”

Their other stuff, not so much.

Blues Queen

The other day, while we were cleaning the house, my wife put Queen’s News of the World on the turntable.  I have to admit, I don’t think I have ever listened to the album in it’s entirety.  Side one was great with We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions starting it off.  But side two shocked me.

I thought someone had changed records.  I thought the kids had switched it over to something on the computer.  I stopped cleaning the bathroom so I could figure it out.  But, in the end, it was Queen playing straight up blues!

Now I just have to learn it…

Break

I played the guitar yesterday.  I was at work.  I’d been in contentious meetings half the morning, which ran through lunch.  I’d spent the other half of the morning working on a problem that I have not been able to figure out for the last week.  And I’ve got a deadline on this one that is looming.  So I ate some lunch at my desk and continued working on the problem.  I even brought in an extra white board so I could diagram all the transactions and relationships of what I was working on.

Finally I saw the link between transactions I had been missing.  It all came together.  I grabbed a coworker and took thirty minutes explaining my theory to him.  It made sense.  It was logical.  I could explain it.  I had figured it out!

I let my boss know of my new status on the problem and went back to my office.  I looked at my half eaten lunch sitting cold on my desk.  I mechanically finished it.  I thought about running the errand I had meant to run at lunch time.  Then I looked at the guitar on my wall.

I pulled it down from the wall hanger.

I didn’t close the shades on my window or even close the door to my office.  I didn’t plug in to my headphone amp.  I just started playing the Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” I played the intro solo to Paul Simon’s  “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.”  Next I played the intro solo to Big Brother & the Holding Company’s “Summertime.”  I did some scale runs and went back to “I Want You (she’s so heavy).”

A few coworkers walked by, slowly looking in as I played.  I ignored them.  I played whatever came into my mind for ten minutes.  I put my guitar back on the wall.  I took a drink of water from my water bottle.  I turned to my computer and started to write up the solution to the problem.  I was completely calm and relaxed.  It was the perfect reward/break/reset.

Drummer Down

We took the drum set down to make room for the Christmas tree the other day.  It was a sad day, but we decided we won’t be using the drum set much between now and Christmas.  But all is not lost.  We have a commitment from friends to come play in January, so we have to put them back up!  No long hiatus like last time.  Whew.

While putting the drum set back into the storage space in the garage, I found an old set of bongos in the box.  I brought it out and it has been beatnik night ever since.  The kids think the bongos are hilarious “tiny drums.”

Riffage

I actually don’t riff well. I play chord progressions and then play the same scale over and over on top of them.  I don’t even play moving bass lines with my chords or throw in little single string stuff with my chords.  However, today I plugged my Wolverine guitar straight into the Marshall style preamp on my Frenzel, put the pick up selector on both the neck and middle pick up, turned the guitar volume down just a bit, and played something that sounded really good!  It was loose and sloppy and very fun.

I then tried the same thing through the bridge pick up.  It didn’t sound good.  Then I tried the Fender style preamp on my Frenzel and that didn’t sound as good.  Then I tried a bunch of pick up configurations and tone knob adjustments.  None of it sounded as good as what I first played.  So I went back to my original settings on everything and played the riff again.  It sounded great to my ears!

I felt a sense of triumph!  I felt a sense of gratification.  I found a sound, a tone with my gear.  Something that I can recreate and something that I enjoy.  It felt really good to have done that since I play so rarely through my amp.  I look forward to trying to recreate it again tomorrow.  Hopefully I will feel that same sense of accomplishment when it sounds as good to me as it did today.

Comments

I’m happy to say that one of the driving searches that sends people to my blog is now how to build a guitar speaker cabinet.  I’m happy that something I’ve done may help others in their projects.  However, if this is helpful, I’d love a comment or two indicating that what I’ve posted is helpful.  Or please let me know if it isn’t helpful and what would be helpful.  I’m more than happy to share more about my project, especially if it helps others, but I don’t know what to share beyond what I already have.

Thanks!