More good tone

Last night I pulled my “new to me” 1995 Sheraton VSB off the wall. I didn’t plug in because the kids were asleep. But I really enjoyed the way it sounded. It had more volume and tone than my other electrics that I often play unplugged. It felt good in my hands and certain songs and styles felt and sounded right on it.
The two most obvious are John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Boom and Cake’s cover of the Muppets’ Mahna Mahna.
I then pulled down my Warmoth project guitar. It has a chambered mahogany body with maple cap and the neck is mahogany with an ebony fret board, so it has great tone and beautiful sustain. I quickly played some Thickfreakness by The Black Keys and I Want You (She’s So Heavy) by the Beatles. They did not sound good. Nothing sounded good…and not just because of my playing. I tuned the Warmoth, but it just did not sound good unplugged. Especially in comparison to the Epiphone.
Now a big part of that is probably because one is a semi-hollow body with f holes and the other is merely chambered, but it was more than that. The Warmoth just played poorly. And that is when I realized that I haven’t changed the strings on the Warmoth in months and haven’t done a set up adjustment in even more months, if not years. And I just did those things to the Epiphone since it is my latest acquisition.
I forget that guitars are also “breathing” things. The wood expands and contracts with moisture. The strings lose their elasticity. That is why so many things are adjustable on the set up of a guitar.
After this realization I pulled down my Wolverine guitar. The body is solid and heavy, but the reshaped neck is wonderful to play. The Wilkinson floating bridge, LSR roller nut, and Sperzel locking tuners make this guitar so stable that tuning it is almost always a formality. And it feels great to play.
So I will be doing a complete set up on the Warmoth. I know it is my fault for not doing one sooner. But I am curious, do any of you run into guitars that just need a good set up? How often do your breathing instruments breath a little too much? Is it slow and gradual to the point that you just don’t like the guitar as much each day? Or is it sudden and jarring to your playing? Are there instruments that will just never play well? Have you ever had an instrument go so far that it cannot be brought back?

Less Bass

I sold my bass amp. It is now in my friends home as part of his full fledged music room for jamming. I am sad to see it go, but did not sell my bass…yet. I am getting in the spirit of culling the collection of stuff. Perhaps because I got a new guitar. Or perhaps because I am interested in another one. Or maybe it just isn’t feasible right now to have my own music room outfitted for a whole band.
Or maybe I am just lying to myself. Anyway, the bass amp is gone but I have visitation rights. ūüėČ

Guitar Styles

On the way home I started flipping through radio stations. The first thing I heard was this.

As much fun as this song is, I got tired of the pop rock mix of styles. Plus that guitar solo at ¬†the 4:07 mark is so soaring that I needed something to balance it. Don’t get me wrong. The guitar playing is great, but it is so over the top with how much it soars that it just was too much. The very next station was playing this.

Wow. What a difference. Maybe I’m just a classic rock guy. But the tone and depth of the guitar solo at the 2:10 and 5:15 marks just floor me.

And then there is stuff like this.

What do you think? Which do you like more? Are they too different to honestly compare? What other solos really hit you hard?

Mod Mod World

I am too lazy to go back and look, but I think I have titled a blog post the very same way before. Oh well.

I’m on the internet looking at things to do to my new/used Epiphone Sheraton VSB instead of play it and I see this:

20065_Used_Alex_Lifeson_ES_355_AL150_1

It’s for sale at the Music Zoo¬†so way out of my price range, but man it looks cool! It’s a used¬†Gibson Custom Shop Alex Lifeson ES-355 Electric Guitar in Alpine White with¬†adjustable wide travel Tune-o-Matic bridge and Maestro Long Vibrola tailpiece. All in gold hardware!

I’ve been looking at adding a gold Bigsby tailpiece (probably a B70), but have been hesitant. Then I thought about adding some modern thing that may not look as classic, but will work better. Now I think I’m headed toward a Maestro in gold. I loved the one I had on my old Epiphone “1965” SG G-400. It was nice and firm. It didn’t do crazy bends, but it gave me the feel I like on my strings. And I could get a little warble with little effort.¬†

Which tailpiece would you add if you had Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket?

Epiphone Sheraton VSB

I pulled the trigger. Not on either of the guitars I’ve been GASing for, but I really like what I’ve gotten at more than half the price of an Epiphone 1962 Sheraton E212T or a Fender Modern Player Starcaster. I got a 1995 Epiphone Sheraton VSB.

Epiphone Sheraton VSB

I’ve started cleaning it up. First I took the old, grimy strings off. Then I cleaned the bridge pieces and polished the body. Next I cleaned the fretboard with a little elbow grease and lemon oil. Then I checked out the pickups. The bridge pick up didn’t really line up with the posts.

Sheraton VSB pick ups before

All I had to do was push down on the cover and it lined back up.

Sheraton VSB pick ups after

I should’ve polished the frets next, but I got impatient. I put new strings on. Tuned it. And played it.

Epiphone Sheraton VSB headstock

It feels really good and I still haven’t checked the neck relief, intonation, and pick up height. And I still need to track down some gold strap lock buttons. I hope to do all that this weekend.

December

I am amazed that December is here. The year has disappeared. Overall it has been a good year with a lot of life filling it up. And now I have a new guitar. Well, new to me. So I’m curious. What do you do with a new used guitar? Clean it? Restring it? I’ll be blogging the stuff I do over the next few weeks! But I’d love to hear from you for any ideas.