Symmetry

I know these guitars hanging on the wall aren’t perfectly symmetrical, but I still thought of it when I was looking at them today. I’ve mentioned it in the past, but having a guitar or two out on display is one of the best ways for me to play more often. I realize it probably isn’t the best way to store a guitar, but if I keep them in their cases all the time, I won’t play them.

So I keep them on the wall. I have one hanging in my office at work too. It also encourages me to play from time to time…when things aren’t too busy.

Now I’m going to go play.

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Friendship?

Have you ever found out that a friend has been learning to play the guitar for the last year and you had no idea?

Apparently I have.

So we started talking about what he is learning and what he wants to play. He said he got a book and dvd that is teaching him to read music and play single notes through the fretboard. He is interested in playing chords, but feels like he will get a bigger pay off if he puts the time in now to learn this stuff. I agree with him…to a point.

I asked him how often he plays/practices. An hour a day.

Holy Cow! That’s awesome. So I suggested he mix up his single note, scale stuff with chords every third day just to start to get the basic fingerings and chord changes down.

Then we started talking about electric guitars. He said when he’s worthy, he wants to get a Gibson ES-339. Nice guitar.

When will he be worthy? When he can play this:

That’s pretty cool.

So don’t be afraid to talk to your friends. They may surprise you…or make you feel very foolish for not paying closer attention.

Easter Organ

On my phone sits an unsent tweet.

Currently listening to an organ and piano duet of a friend’s composition of “He is Risen.” Can’t stop thinking about getting a POG2…oh, and Happy Easter.

Yup, that is how I spent a good block of my Easter Sunday at church. Thinking about very un-Easter things. So if anyone out there has an Electro Harmonix POG2 they’d like to donate to the cause, let me know…and I’ll try to focus on the real meaning of Easter next year!

Troubled Waters

Get it? Get it? Like a bridge…over troubled waters? Bridge? Like guitar bridge? As in the bridge on my Epiphone 1965 G-400 with maestro vibrato. Ya, probably funnier in my mind when I thought it up earlier this morning.
Awkward pause.
Anyway…I took my guitar in to my local guitar shop and showed the guitar tech my fear. He chuckled and then showed me how the holes in the bridge that the posts go through are made a little to big so there is some play. The posts weren’t moving, just the bridge. He then explained how these vibrato tailpieces and the Bigsby vibratos do this to these standard bridges. He said that roller bridge saddles work best, but that my cheap Graph Tech bridge saddles would be better than the current set up.
Oh sweet relief! All the horror stories of plugging the posts and redrilling post holes left my mind. Thank you local guitar shop tech. Your friendship and advice is always greatly appreciated!

Bridge Concerns

Thanks to Karl at Guitar for Worship for the kind words about my blog. Greatly appreciate them at a time when things are stressful and somewhat out of control. Nothing bad, just busy.

I did play the guitar last night. My practice did not go well, but I still had a good time. This whole playing a steady bass note with your thumb goal/resolution while playing the melody with your fingers is very hard!

Before calling it a night I got my Epiphone 1965 G-400 with Maestro tremolo out to look at what I need to do to put on the new Graph Tech bridge saddles. I played it a bit and then used the Maestro tremolo and the entire bridge appears to rock back and forth when I do.

Oh no! Is this normal? Is this bad? It can’t be good! So I’m going to try to take it by my local guitar shop and get the opinion of the guitar tech. I feel like a nervous parent taking my kid to the doctor because something is wrong with my kid, but I’m not sure how serious it is (and anyone with kids has done this). But I feel a little silly since this is (technically) an inanimate object.

Tried to Play

Tried to play, or more appropriately, too tired to play. I took my guitar off the wall at work yesterday to play. I was tired, but I had a good 20 minutes of free time and I really wanted to play. I strummed some chords. I worked on a song intro I’ve started learning from guitarmasterclass.net. I played some scales. I did some little blues solo thing. And the entire time I just kept getting more relaxed.

So I put my guitar back on the wall. Turned off my office light. Leaned my chair all the way back. And took a 10 minute nap. I awoke feeling refreshed and ready for the afternoon. Yes, I missed out on playing the guitar. Yes, I did not pick it back up the rest of the day. But I remained focused through the afternoon and was more effective than if I had just played guitar and been tired all afternoon.

Now I’m curious. Has anyone else run into this struggle between other responsibilities and their desire to do something fun? Have you not done the fun thing, but still felt ok about it at the end of the day?

97 cents of guitar geekery

I rarely, if ever, go to Guitar Center.  But this weekend I did and I’m happy about it. While rummaging through their clearance bin I found Graph Tech bridge saddles for an old style ABR tuneamatic bridge…which I have on my Epiphone 1965 G-400. Normally these are $35, but they were on clearance for $0.97. Yup, 97 cents.

I got them. Then I took my Epiphone Crestwood ET-275 to work so I could bring back my Epiphone G-400 for this wonderful upgrade I’ve wanted to do for a long time! I’ll keep you posted.

Organized Fashion

My last post had my new year’s resolutions (not bad for April) and one of them was “I’m going to play the guitar at least every other day in an organized fashion (more on this in my next post).” So what am I thinking when I say “organized fashion.” Well, dear reader, let me tell you.

First, I have the wonderful pleasure of a free membership for another 4 or 5 months to guitarmasterclass.net (that I sadly have not been taking advantage of). One of my struggles is how much information is on that webpage. I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

Second, I am also torn as to what I want to learn. Or more practically, what do I want to learn first. I want to learn to play better lead guitar (a la blues and classic rock). I want to learn better rhythm guitar (a la Jon Spencer and AC/DC). I want to learn to play slide (both electric and acoustic… I’ve got my father’s dobro, I should be able to play it). I want to learn to play with my thumb on the bass notes and my fingers on the treble notes. Very delta blues style.

Third, I just flat out haven’t been playing the guitar lately. So that has to change.

So I have to decide what I want to learn. I have to pick the lessons online that will help me learn that. And I need to start a practice schedule. So that is what I’m going to do.

Drum roll please.

  • I am going to start with learning to play with my thumb on the bass notes and my fingers on the treble notes. I figure this skill can be used with both acoustic and electric guitar. It is very easy to use in playing the blues. It will help my rhythm skills. It will allow me to play songs in their entirety on my own. And I like the way it sounds.
  • I am going to play 20 to 30 minutes each day with a metronome. (3 to 5 minute warm up, 10 to 20 minute lesson work, 3 to 5 minute band song practice)
  • After searching guitarmasterclass.com, I am going to email or post in the forum to confirm/get ideas on which lessons will work best.

Any other tips or ideas are welcome!

Contests

I just entered a contest for a full Line 6 rig at Sweetwater. I have to admit, I’m more curious than anything else about the gear. But if I win, it will be something to explore and learn about. And as far as online retailers go, I really like Sweetwater. They seem to try harder (think rental car ads).  I unfortunately haven’t bought anything from them to show this support, but maybe someday. After I’ve shown my support for my local guitar shops perhaps! Oh, and have transcended financial concerns.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to laugh at the realization I had about my current guitar gear when answering their contest entry question: What’s your favorite guitar/pedal/amp combination?

Here’s what I wrote:

Currently my hard tail Warmoth project strat with firebird neck and p-rails into my morley a/b footswitch that runs into both the fender style and marshall style preamps (at the same time) on my Frenzel Champ Super Sportster amp head plugged into my homemade 1×12 pine speaker cab with a Celestion Vintage 30.

When I re-read it, it sounds like bragging.  But I’m just trying to communicate the gearhead/nerd side of what I currently have. And I really like my current set up. I’d like a POG2. I’d like a Boss DD7. I’d like to add an effects loop and a second optional power tube to my amp. But currently I like what I have. I need to play through it more. I need to play more.

So I have some new year’s resolutions.

  1. I’m going to restart my 30 minute morning workout regimen.
  2. I’m going to play the guitar at least every other day in an organized fashion (more on this in my next post).
  3. I’m going to read more scripture and pray more regularly.
  4. I’m going to plan more time with my spouse.
  5. I’m going to engage (thanks Angry Baker) with my kids more.
  6. I’m going to relax about the other stuff.

My goal is to prioritize. Less tv. Less late night reading. Less internet. Less work. More family. More personal faith. More guitar.

We’ll see what happens.

The Joy Formidable – Effects

Last night my wife and I saw The Joy Formidable play Seattle. Fantastic show!

Sorry about the out of focus picture. I was using my phone.  I’ll post more when I’ve had a good night’s sleep, but here is the line of effects as far as I can tell:

  • Boss TU-2 (or 3) Tuner (top row)
  • MXR M-108 10-band EQ
  • Powered by a power strip and a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus
  • Line 6 DM4 distortion (middle row)
  • Line 6 FM4 synth modeler
  • Boss TR-2 Tremolo
  • Boss PH-3 Phase Shifter
  • ElectroHarmonix Micro POG (bottom row)
  • Boss LS-2 Line Selector
  • Boss GE-7 Graphic EQ
  • Boss DD-7 (or 5) Digital Delay
  • Boss DD-7 (or 5) Digital Delay
  • Boss GE-7 Graphic EQ
  • Line 6 Verbzilla (or Echo Park, I can’t tell)
  • Into what looked like an ElectroHarmonix Holy Grail sitting on top of a
  • Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (not the Deluxe III since it had the “Fender Deluxe” name plate on the front) 1×12 40 Watt with channel selector and drive/more drive footswitch

I’m not sure about the actual model numbers of all the Boss pedals, but this is my best guess. I’ll say it again, the show was fantastic!