New Measuring Stick

When I visited the Chicago Music Exchange, I found my new measuring stick. You  know what I’m talking about. That guitar that you would really like to purchase, but really shouldn’t. It plays great. It has a great sound. It feels fantastic.

64 Guild Starfire III playing

And it is technically not where your money should be going.

64 Guild Starfire III body

So it becomes your measuring stick. Do I want to spend money on this new clutch for my car or would I rather have the 1964 Guild Starfire III? New clutch.

Would I rather have my kids’ college educations funded or the 1964 Guild Starfire III?

Would I rather have a new amp or the 1964 Guild Starfire III?

Would I rather go on vacation with my family or have the 1964 Guild Starfire III?

Would I rather buy my wife’s new gaming rig for Fallout4 or have the 1964 Guild Starfire III?

Would I rather have a my mortgage paid or a 1964 Guild Starfire III?

The questions and comparisons just keep on coming. Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the answer is yes. But I find that the chance to get a “new” guitar is stopped with the desire to live and pay for the rest of everyday life. I have a lot of guitars. I have had more. I play the guitars I have, and enjoy them immensely. But I also go days without playing the guitars I have. However, I do drive my car with the new clutch a lot. I do live in my house on a fairly regular basis. I do go on vacation from time to time. I do love my kids. My wife built an amazing computer for playing Fallout 4!

64 Guild Starfire III

So what is your measuring stick? And when does it win? Should it?

New Pedalboard Set Up

A few weeks ago I purchased a Strymon Flint reverb and tremolo pedal at Chicago Music Exchange.

Flint Strymon

And now it is part of my pedalboard!

As I have mentioned or described in the past, I had an Electro Harmonix Stereo Pulsar tremolo and EHX Holy Grail reverb that I got for cheap at a local thrift shop. The reverb just didn’t do it for me in the long run and as much as I liked the trem, it just wasn’t something I used a lot. And that is a lot of pedal board real estate. But my ModTone Vintage Analog Delay was not working as a reverb in the long run either. So I splurged and got the Flint after trying it with a bunch of other reverb pedals. It is fairly high price, but I justified it by getting a tremolo in the same unit. I would’ve spent the same amount of money on separate reverb and tremolo pedals anyway. Right? Right!Nov 2015 pedalboard

In order to keep my other pedals, including the looper/feedback modified OhHoNo pedal that currently has nothing in the loop, I took off my tuner. I haven’t noticed a big difference in the sound without the buffer that was in the tuner, but I am loving having dedicated reverb and tremolo back on my pedalboard. Combine that with my POG2 and the two delays with my volume pedal and I am having a blast with ambient swells and oceans of echo and reverb underneath what I am playing!

Or I can just go with the tremolo and feel it wash through whatever chords I’m playing.

And having a warm reverb is just incredible for those occasional blue notes that I hit just right!

I do need to put it on a wood block to raise up the pedal for the back row and to keep the pedal velcroed in place without putting velcro on the pedal. And eventually I’ll build a tap tempo pedal for controlling the trem. But I don’t know where that will be kept on the board. Things are a bit crowded. 🙂

Chicago Music Exchange

I was in Chicago last week for work, but was able to make a trip or two to the Chicago Music Exchange.

SG Wall

Oh, hello row of 60’s and 70’s SG Juniors and Specials. Nice to meet you.

Gibson

Gibson ES-225

Hi 50’s guitars. I can’t believe I actually got to play a Gibson ES-225! So amazing. I still prefer the P-90’s of the ES-125DC, but this was very cool.

Epiphone Casino Gibson ES-330 red

Hi 60’s hollow bodies! John Lennon would be proud of that Epiphone. I enjoyed it. And that Gibson ES-330 is amazing in the “naturally aged” cherry. Something about a 50 year old guitar.

Rhoney

Hi history and art made from wood and metal and plastic. I finally got to play a Rhoney. I’ve been listening to their podcast for a while, but never seen one in the flesh. It was fun to play. The body was surprisingly small. I liked it!

Fano

The Fano is a guitar I have always wanted to play. When I first learned about the Fender Starcaster, the Fano was the only version I could find in production at the time. And it has a comfort belly contour. Perfect! And those pick ups! Perfection…but still out of my price range!

Reverend

And I finally got to play a Reverend. I really liked the neck on this one. Overall a great guitar, but not what I’m looking for right now.

Thank you Chicago Music Exchange for creating a space that feels as comfortable as my living room, as historic as a museum, and a positive shopping experience.

I will post about my Strymon Flint next time!

Back In Tune

unopened tunerIn my attempts to get back into blogging here on a regular basis, I bought a new tuner. Here is the box.

just open the new tuner

Here I am opening the box.

tuner box open

Gotta put the battery in.

using the tuner

Now I use it on everything in the house! Did you know my son vibrates at A sharp?

The Polytune clip on is pretty nice. It has a few negatives with the tuner not being able to rotate on the clip. It folds in and out, but rotation would allow me to set it exactly how I want. But the reality is that it is very accurate. And it works very quickly. It is bright. I generally use the single note tuner on each string and then use the polytune to see how all the strings interact with each other.

It looks like I will be taking my Boss TU-2 Tuner pedal off my pedalboard. Maybe I’ll add a reverb? Future post topic? Probably!

1973 Coronado II

I haven’t blogged in a while because life seems to be getting in the way of typing. But that’s ok, because I’m alive and I’ve been playing this!

73 Coronado II

I’ll get back into the habit of blogging. I’ve got pictures to share from the last Seattle Tacoma guitar show. I’ve been having fun with music. Things are going well!

New Family Member

I did it! I pulled the trigger on a hollow body guitar and I ended up with the 1973 Fender Coronado II at my local guitar shop.

Fender Coronado II headstock

It has a fender neck, but it has what can only be described as a Gretch body. And those pickups are loud! It will need a fret job in the future, but most of my guitars are getting to that point. I like low frets.

Fender Coronado II

And the set up from my local shop is spot on. I am very happy with it. However the pickups make me want to replace the Gibson 490’s in my 62 SG Jr with some sort of dog eared P-90’s so it goes back to the SG Jr it originally was (or the SG Special I wish it was).

Fender Coronado pickup

But enough about my other guitars. This is all about the new to me Coronado II. It plays well through my Franzel Super Champ Sportster. It is certainly a feedback machine, but I can minimize that with body placement and volume control.

Enjoy the pictures because I’m enjoying the guitar!

Another Hollowbody

I’ve noticed this one during past visits to one of my local guitar shops, but hadn’t played it until this week. I really liked it!

73 Fender Coronodo II

The neck is well worn and the whole thing rings out when I play it. I really liked it! Oh, man. How does this compete with my desire for some form of a Gibson ES-125TDC? Let’s not even talk about the almost identical Hagstrom! Both are hollow bodies. Both sound good with their interesting versions of single coils (historic P-90’s versus unique DeArmond pickups ). One was a budget level student guitar and the other was a premium flag ship attempt. Both look really cool! However, they do not fall in the same price range.

We shall see what happens!

Camping with Friends

My family and I went camping with friends. We had a great time. Our kids played together. We stayed up late in the evening chatting around the campfire. It would’ve been perfect for my old garage sale acoustic guitar. But I didn’t bring it.

Because in all reality, it wouldn’t have been perfect. No one was there to sing. No one was there to hear me noodle on the guitar. They were there to relax. To roast marshmallows. To make s’mores. To go hiking and swimming.

But these friends are nice. So one night as we are sitting around the campfire and the kids had already gone to bed, one of my friends asked what my current dream guitar is.

Just asking that question in that way…”current dream guitar” shows great insight. So I described how much I love my light and thin SG. I described how much I love my chambered Warmoth strat with the Firebird neck. I explained the recent love for full hollow body, but thin line guitars. Then I described a thinline strat with the back contour that I may need to have someone make for me someday!

The rest of the group moved on with their discussions, but this friend and I enjoyed our conversation. He described his dabbling with guitar when he was young, but stopped because his guitar just didn’t seem set up right. We laughed about how much depth there is to this topic, just like any topic you really care about.

And then we joined the rest of the conversation and moved on to other topics.

But it was a nice reminder of how much I love this stuff!

Coupe

One of my local guitar shops has an Epiphone Casino Coupe. It is like a small body Epiphone Casino.

Epiphone Casino Coupe

Admittedly I don’t like the modern sunburst or the headstock, but it is a hollow body and has fun P-90s! I played it acoustically and moved on. Then I saw the Gibson ES-390 in transparent red.

Gibson ES-390

Sorry for the bad picture cutting off the headstock. The important thing is that I played it acoustically and then plugged it in. Wow! I know I didn’t plug in the Epiphone, but I really liked playing the Gibson.

But it makes me wonder if it is the price tag that makes me like it more (you like more what you can’t have). Or is it the cosmetics like the color and headstock. Or the fact that I don’t like pick guards on these guitars? Is the Gibson really worth 4 or more times more than the Epiphone? What influences your guitar choices when looking at the expensive version and the budget version of such similar guitars?

Letain Guitars

A while back I posted a bunch of pictures of guitars I saw at the Tacoma Guitar show. There was one guitar that I didn’t know the maker of at the time. It was a cool mix of carbon fiber, steel, and wood. I compared it to a Parker Fly that was also at the show.

I finally cleaned up the bag of picks and magazines and ads I got from the show and found the business card of the maker of the unknown guitar. It was Letain Guitars. I went to the Letain website and saw this!

Letain Custom Electric frontLetain Custom Electric back

Isn’t this an amazing guitar? I think it is incredible. I hope Letain Guitars doesn’t mind me resizing and reposting these pictures from its website here. The only question is whether it is semi-hollow or fully hollow.

Ok, there are a few other questions. What does the neck profile feel like? What scale is it? How does it sound? How does it play? etc. I am very curious about this guitar and the possibility of having a modernized version of a Gibson ES-125TDC custom built. That would be very cool!