JSBX Freedom

I have seen this band a lot over the years. And they area always best live.

JSBX - Seattle 2015 first

I was first introduced to them when a coworker at my crappy college job putting price tags on candy bars loaned me the Orange album. Bellbottoms blew my mind!

This year, and I guess part of last year, they have been working on an album and performing all over New York.

As always, they played their trusty guitars.

JSBX - Seattle 2015 second

Jon Spencer played his Zimgar something or other guitar and it looked like he ran it through a smaller Peavey amp, but the amp may have been for his harmonica or theramin. Judah Bauer played through two teles that ran through what looked like a Fender Deluxe and Fender Twin. Premier Guitar did an interview here for their last album (Meat and Bones, which I also saw them perform) and Judah Bauer rig rundown. I can’t compete with that, so check it out!

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Forgive or just forget?

Forgive me, Internet, for I have sinned. It has been over two months since my last confession. I am still here. I am still alive. I’ve seen Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (again), attended the Tacoma Guitar Show, sold some equipment, purchased some equipment, almost purchased and sold more equipment, and dabbled with the guitar in that time.

  • Have I joined a band? No.
  • Have I learned a song? Almost.
  • Have I lived life to the fullest? Trying.
  • Am I back? Probably.

I haven’t written anything, but I have some pictures from the past few months that will hopefully turn into blog posts. I also don’t know if I have a lot to say right now, but am willing to try. I do have a certain gift for blathering on about guitars. I do have a new work schedule that has me taking on more child care duties. That has been a blast! My kids are awesome and, while I am by no means a perfect Dad, I can freely admit I would rather be engaged with them than playing guitar. But I do take some time to play while they make up songs, which is the best of both worlds. Perhaps I’ll post some of their diddies here in the coming months.

If you have any topics or gear you would like to see on Guitar Wanna Be, let me know. I’ll see what I can do!

Dealing with G.A.S.

I have mentioned, discussed, shared, and complained about Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) many times on this blog. Tone Reports recent article exploring what GAS is with such a healthy recognition that it exists and discussion of how to address it is probably one of the best and most timely messages for me.

Having recently paired down my gear significantly, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I started to see gear I wanted. And instead of being able to sell stuff I already owned so I could buy the new stuff, I just wanted to buy the new stuff. I deserved it. I now had the space for it. I even had a little cash left from past sales that could go toward each piece of gear I saw.

This became exceptionally apparent when a group of friends started talking about starting a garage band. In the past, I had everything necessary for us to plug in and play. That is no longer the case. I no longer own a microphone, let alone bass, bass amp,PA, etc. I can play guitar and someone can play drums, but that is about it. I sure hope it is an instrumental guitar/drum duet!

I have continued to go back to why I sold my “excess” gear and how much happier I am with where that money went. It isn’t easy. But this article helped a lot by reminding me that I can figure out alternatives (see the part about “re-researching your own gear”). I can explore what gear I have already. My daughter has a practice amp. I have a POG2 for low octave stuff. I have friends with gear I can borrow.

Maybe someday I’ll have all the gear (even though they keep making more). But learning to live within limitations is the reality all of us live with, and we need to learn how to do so happily!

Guitar Lessons

My daughter has been playing the piano for over a year and asked this summer if she could also learn to play the guitar. We had tried this once before, but she lost interest quickly. Now she is a little more mature and understands what it means to practice.

So we started with a Hal Leonard Guitar Method book and are making progress. And she practices. She enjoys it! And she is patient. She just keeps trying at something until she gets it. It may take a day or a week, but she keeps coming back to it.  It is pretty inspirational to see first hand.

I mentioned last post that I started learning Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel. A big part of that decision was because I wanted a song I know by heart, have sung many times, and should be able to work through slowly with the finger picking until I can play and sing it at the same time. This is a long time goal of mine. I have lamented many times in the past on this blog that I just never seem to focus or stick to it enough to learn. I learn riffs, intros, choruses, etc. but not the whole song.

After watching my daughter’s example, I am sticking to it. My goal is to play/sing it for my family when she is able to play a song (she wants to learn Cherry Bomb* by the Runaways after hearing it on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack) that we have worked out the bass line for. And knowing her, she’ll sing and play at the same time.

*Don’t worry. I’m only a slightly bad parent. She and I already talked about how that song is not a good example for her to follow…:)

It Got Loud

I got home from work tonight and the rest of the family was out. I knew I had about an hour alone in the house so I plugged in a guitar, turned on my pedal board, and powered up my amp. Then I turned the master volume up. My little Frenzel Super Sportster Amp with a single KT88 is loud. My ears are still ringing (which is also a good reminder to protect your hearing when you play).

I didn’t play anything specific. I just made noise and enjoyed myself. It was very relaxing and a great way to unwind for the day. I was again surprised at how different the guitar responds when the volume is turned up so loud. It is a very different instrument when I play at more reasonable volumes and use pedals for distortion. So I’m curious for all you performing musicians out there: Do you ever struggle with practicing at home using “bedroom” volume levels and then playing live using “stage” volume levels?

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?

Good Listening

A lot has been going on in life. One of those things was a record festival. I saw a lot of great records, but I only bought one. A T-Bone Walker album. Always good stuff. And now that I’ve listened to it I just have to post some stuff here. He is one of my goal tones. I want to achieve his tone.