Relaxing

For my birthday my wife surprised me with an afternoon of visiting every guitar and pawn shop in our area. Not only that, but she had socked away a little money every month so that I could buy something of my choosing (within reason, but within a much bigger reason than my usual $10 to $20 limit). I couldn’t believe how much fun it was and how relaxing it was!

I found lots of stuff that I liked. There were microphones, PA speakers, pedals, and even an absolutely lovely Squier Classic Vibe Custom Tele that played and felt like a dream (unfortunately reason didn’t quite cover that tele). But I compared it all to the three items that have been on my wish list for a long time:

  1. Electro Harmonix POG2
  2. Upgrades to my Frenzel amp head
  3. Powered PA speakers

I didn’t actually buy anything. But I can’t get over how much fun I had and how relaxing it was. Stay tuned to see what I end up getting (within reason)!

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Songs I’ve Heard Before

I’ve heard these songs (many times) before, but when I heard them both most recently the first thought in my head was “I should learn to play that!”

This will be a great song to play with a drummer and some friends singing/rapping the words!

And then there was this.

Go ahead. Take a minute to blow your nose and dry your eyes.

Back?

I’ve dismissed this song a lot when I’ve heard it in the background. Sure, it’s a fun pop song.Sure, Katy Perry is fun. But I didn’t feel like the target audience. I didn’t listen to the lyrics. I never saw the video. Now I think everyone is the target audience. And the original video was shot in Budapest. How cool!

Guitar Part

Anyone out there watch the Austin City Limits episode with Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples. Of course I enjoyed Bonnie Raitt, but I really enjoyed the guitarist for Mavis Staples. He was front and center for just about every song. He didn’t just support her singing (which he did well). He was also a key part to the songs.

If you haven’t had a chance, check it out here. They put all their shows online!

The Times, They Are A Changing

Looming deadlines at work, teaching a new beginning fencing class, physical therapy for spinal injury recovery, church involvement, sleep deprivation, a good book, and limited time with my family (just to name a few) all came together over the past week. What go cut? Guitars.

Actually, blogging about guitars is a more accurate description of what got cut. How could I  in good conscience blog about guitars when stress was building and I wasn’t spending time with my family. I don’t want to whine, but it feels like my plate has been getting smaller (rather than more things piling up on my plate).

So I’m curious. Is your guitar time a selfish thing? Is it at war with the other things in your life? Or is guitar time augmenting and improving the other things in your life?

Guitar For Worship recently wrote that he was going to soon change his web presence, which would mean less to no blogging. He’s been at it for five years and his life has evolved. He makes more music. He is more involved in other aspects of guitar and life. So his blog may (and likely will) go to the wayside.

I for one will miss his gear reviews. They were so thorough, entertaining, open, and honest. I will miss his tips and commentary. But I will enjoy his new music. I will enjoy his new web presence. And I’ll be happy for whatever else he has going on in his life whether it is part of his “web presence” or not.

So just as I’m starting to get in the habit of blog entries every other day, I feel that my web presence is close to a change. At least the last week certainly has been.

But the more important question is what do I want my “guitar presence” to be. Not my web presence. My guitar presence. I want to play the guitar. I want to get better. I want to explore my gear. I want to perform. I want to play with other people. I want to make music.

What is your guitar presence and how does it compare to your web presence?

Finished Black Squier

It’s ALIVE!

Well, it is all put together, set up properly, and sounding pretty good! The kill switch works really well. I think I may replace the metal washer under the volume knob with a black one, but that is merely cosmetic. Overall I’m pretty happy with this little project.

The two tone knobs work fine. I kind of like the blue. We’ll see if I keep them for very long.

 

Sustain Magazine

Saw a reference to a new European magazine for luthiers: Sustain. Their first issue already has me looking forward to the next issue… and it is free!

I’m certainly not a luthier and this magazine is a bit on the pricey side for me to easily justify, but I am interested. It will come out quarterly and although not the most professional of layouts (yet), I really liked the articles, the pictures, and the topics to be explored in future issues.

Best of luck to the editor, writers, and publisher!

Guitar Straps

After getting my back brace off last week, I was still very nervous about moving about and strapping a guitar on. In fact, just holding myself up is exhausting right now. I’m sure I’ll build up my back muscles soon.

After a few days of functioning without my brace I finally strapped a guitar on. It went great. I decided to go with my Warmoth project strat. The chambered body makes it  much lighter than my Wolverine guitar. I played standing up and it was so nice to not have my guitar just a little too far to the right like it was when I played with my brace on.

I also used the softest and widest guitar strap in my possession. That made a big difference too.

I was tired after playing, but felt good. My hands are certainly weaker too, but that could just be normal and I’m just hypersensitive to all parts of my body now.

I hope you are all enjoying whatever opportunities you have to play.

New Pedal

Ok, I know I looked at one of these during my quest for drive and I decided not to get it…but now I have one. And it is pretty cool!

I got the original graphic, not the newer airplane graphic. Anyone out there know if they are different on the inside?  I haven’t explored it a lot, but this original graphic one seems quieter than the airplane graphic green screamer I had originally tested at the end of last year.

And thanks to Studio1087 for the pic from here.

Soldering On

Finally took some time this afternoon to finish the soldering on a bunch of projects. First, i had to repair a power supply cable plug that goes from my Voodoo Lab Pedal Power Plus 2. It was a quick repair, but very necessary (nothing like having your delay turn off in the middle of playing).

Then I removed the battery plug at the end of my DIY daisy chain power supply for my recent bass pedal board and replaced it with a standard 2.1 mm barrel. Now I just need to find a cheap tuner and chorus pedal for my bass rig.

Next I repaired a guitar cable that had a developed a short. I think I got it. We’ll see if that’s all it took.

Finally, I installed my cheap Behringer Graphic Equalizer EQ700 pedal inside my homemade acoustic stomp box. I’ve been using this pedal to boost the volume and lower end of the acoustic stomp box when I plug it into an amp or mixing board. I’ve gotten to the point that it is always on when I use the acoustic stomp box, so I might as well have just one cable going from the acoustic stomp box. I have to carve out some wood to run the wires through it, figure out how to power the pedal inside (don’t want to spend too much on batteries), and add a latch to keep it closed (may even add a handle for transporting it more easily), but I think this will work quite well. The piezo pick up inside the top of it doesn’t need the space that is being taken up by the pedal, so I don’t think it will impact the sound. I’ll let you know when I’ve had some time to try it out!

Wall Flowers

I don’t know about you, but when I moved a few guitars from out of their cases to hang on my walls or sit on stands all the time, I started playing more. This was years ago and they became pieces of art on the walls with all the other art (well, we like it anyway) we have on our walls.

However, I limited the guitars that were kept on the walls to three…and to a specific location. Plus, at the time, I had very little kids, so I couldn’t leave any guitars on the floor or on a stand because the kids were fascinated (can we blame them). I also got a small parlor guitar to repair and let the kids use so they would “leave Daddy’s guitars alone.”

So for those of you who don’t have the fortune of living in the great Northwest of the United States, we have had some absolutely fantastic weather. And with weather this good always coming to an end when it rains, we make sure our kids are outside as much as possible. And while their outside, I like to get outside and play my guitar. But I don’t want to take my electrics out and the kids’ acoustic parlor guitar is right there. So I take it out on the porch and bang away.

My wife asked why I wasn’t playing the garage sale Ibanez acoustic that I spent so much time modifying and my simple response was because it was put away. So this morning I was in my closet and got it out. I’ve been playing it most of the morning when I have time between family activities. What a fun instrument! I don’t play acoustic enough.

So this long and winding story was just to get us to the following questions: What guitar equipment do you keep out (if any) and does it help you play more often? Is there gear you don’t use because it is “put away”? Would you play more if you had easier access to your gear? What are the risks of having your stuff out? What do you do?