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Topics - Guitar74

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One of my former singers who will remain nameless for this dropped a bomb on me a couple of weeks ago that just ended up with me thinking to myself, "You only hear about this stuff on television, or read about it in the papers."

He has been married for around 25 yrs. In that twenty five years his wife has been sick twice with cancer. She had only been cancer free for five yrs when she became ill again in 2015. So for the last 6 yrs he has been taking her to very experimental treatment, etc., at a VERY great expense. In that time, he complains to me that he is not feeling so good. He describes having bad muscle and joint aches, a foggy mind, weakness, random nausea and a whole host of other symptoms. At times when I talk to him it is like he's gotten hold of some very good weed which is COMPLETELY uncharacteristic of him as he is a retired police officer. So I am keeping contact with him just trying to keep his spirits up, etc., while they try and find out what is now wrong with him.

This goes on for almost the entire 6 yrs until a couple of weeks ago. He had been sounding a little better each time I had talked to him. But this time, he sounded like his old self. The difference? He tells me he has been going to a holistic healer to be detoxified and that he feel slike a new man. He then asks if I am sitting down for what he has to tell me next. So what does he say? It seems that after a whole lot of time has passed and there is no improvment in his health, his officer buddies take him to the hospital and have a test done for poisons. What they get back is chilling. He had very high amounts of ethylene glycol in his system (yep. car antifreeze). His wife's daughter, sister in law, and borther in law had been bringing over meals they had prepared to help "take off some of the burden of taking care of his wife". So he confronts his wife. It's even more chilling what she says. She tells him," Well yeah, I had them taint you food. I want my daughter (his stepdaughter) to have the house when I die. I want her to have it, not you. Besides, why would you want to live once I am gone?" Yeah. So the police officers go to the D.A. with this info. He tells them he has no idea who to prosecute since so many people are involved (Trust me on this one. The D.A. in Crossville, TN is as sorry as they come. So much so that my former singer and his friends, all officers, wrote me in on election day).

He is now in the proceedings of a divorce. Our former pedal steel player, an officer in a neighboring town has all of the test results, footage of them continuing to tamper with his food that he recorded, as well as footage of his step daughter pedaling his wife's pain pills out of her house, with a order to give it to the TBI should ANYTHING happen to him between now and the finalization of the divorce.

So after 25 yrs of marriage and taking care of her twice, the thanks he gets is that her and her immediate family try to kill him. You can't make this crap up. I know the only musical connection is that this is happening to my former singer, but I just thought, "never in a million years" and had to share it. I am still picking my jaw up from the floor. I just talked to him an hour ago. It gets even more bizarre. This is broad strokes.

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Agents
« on: June 24, 2021, 06:46:19 PM »
So after a discussion with my coworkers and then a discussion with my wife maybe 10 minutes later, I took what was told me as a sign.

With that being said, I have decided to take a much more active approach and get out of the rat race of the 9-5 and get back in the business.

My big question is for any of you who are using an agent. Who are you using? Are they doing it for you? If not, who do you know that is happy with who they are using and why?

Anyhow, any suggestions or recommendations would be great. I am getting the press kit together this weekend so that's covered. And I know what kind of cut to expect and what to pass on from previous experience.

One of the guys at work was talking about Mele Haggard doing a Marty Robbins impression when I told him the IMPRESSIVE thing would be David Bowie impersonating Merle Haggard doing Marty Robbins doing a David Lee Roth impersonation. It quickly snowballed into If David Lee Roth sang for.......

The first would be the Cure. Imagine Diamond Dave with Robert Smith's hair and makeup. I think you know where this is going. David Lee Goth.

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / When less is more
« on: May 21, 2021, 12:27:05 PM »
So today at lunch our newest employee, who is a very cool guy that is new to guitar but a VERY good critical listener, and I got into a music discussion that eventually landed on Ringo Starr. He was talking about everyone slagging on him for being a crappy drummer on the internet and how one person made the point to look up Paperback Writer and think about how it would sound with someone like Bobby Rock (who would probably play for the song as dude has some mad skills and great instincts) or Mike Portnoy playing the way everyone expects THEM to. It would not be as great a song which got us on to the topic of sometimes less is DEFINITELY more. That saying even goes for metal and other genres. There are times when you can just do too much and destroy a golden opportunity to tease an audience or listener.

I think one time that that idea MORE than spoke for itself was at an audition for a metal band when I was in college. This was in 1993, I was 19, and the group I was auditioning for was pretty well established. The guys were on average about 10 years older than me. I show up with my rack half stack, and guitar. I plug in, and start warming up. I was a HUGE Savatage freak back then and once I got my fingers warm I would always play the guitar parts for Temptation Revelation (the instrumental that segues in to When the Crowds are Gone) just to make a mental check (bends good, fingers limber time to play). I finish my warmup and play Temptation Revelation thinking, okay they are gonna "suit up" and we will jam some stuff just to see if we gel musically. Instead they look at me and the drummer says,"You wanna' go have a smoke?" Sure. There is this guy sitting next to the singer that asks if he can check out my guitar and rig. Not thinking too much about it I tell him sure. I walk outside and notice that only the drummer and myself are outside having a cig and this kid is inside just blowing smoke on my gear. I realize that he is auditioning too and think to myself,"Man why didn't I go through Scarified and show them what I REALLY can do?" So Jay, the drummer and I are talking and having a smoke, all the while I am listening to this guy just literally do nothing but six string sweeps (which I could do, but just didn't because I was just trying to warm up my hands after coming in from the outside in central Illinois in January), and I am ready to pack everything up once I am done with my smoke when Mike, the other guitarist, and Kevin, the bassist come outside to join us. Mike looks at Jay and says,"I don't know about you but I heard enough in the first twenty seconds to last a lifetime. I get it, kid you can shred." Then all three of them look at me and Jay says,"You want the job?" I tell him of course. This was an established band, with a great sound, great following, so I was really sweating this audition. I ask them why they chose me over the other guy and they answer, "We have seen you with other groups. We know what you're capable of. We also know that even though you're young, you have enough restraint to let a song breathe. Besides that, you nailed that instrumental when you were warming up. You got the job."

That was one of the best compliments I have ever gotten as a guitarist. It was even more important for a 19 yr old kid who by the standards of these guys was inexperienced. After that, I wasn't even mad that the other guy auditioned on my gear under false pretense.

Moral of the story? Don't play everything you know in an audition. Just play enough that they get an understanding of who you are as a player. If they ask for more, give it to them.

The Pickup Place / Bobbins cracked
« on: April 24, 2021, 09:10:52 AM »
So many moons ago, around 2010 I believe, I noticed the pickups in the trusty 'ole Big Apple Strat had what looked like black ink splats on the mtops of the bobbins. Upon closer inspection I found that the bobbins had cracked in a diagonal line from the high e slug to the low e slug. I called SD and they assured me that this was normal (never been the case with any other pickups in ANY other guitar), and that it wouldn't affect anything.

What's funny is as the cracks continue to open the pickups become more and more microphonic, as well as a subtle change of tone over time. Now when I listen back to recordings and use the same settings (yes I write them down in a notepad to keep things consistent), this guitar sounds nothing like it did 10, 12, and 15 yrs ago. Now I know that magnets will "soften" over time, but I can't help but think that having open areas around the slugs is contributing to the change.

So I would like some input on this if anyone has had this experience regardless of brand, as well as some suggestions because I also think that it is time for a pickup change (I know I had said in an earlier post that the '59 PG+ wouldn't leave this guitar, but after listening to older recordings, what endeared me to the tone is pretty much gone). I still want to go with a more vintage wind setup on this guitar to keep it versatile.

I am thinking PAF 36th in the bridge because at least output wise it seems to be in the ballpark of the PG+. I would like a suggestion for a neck pickup. Maybe not too far off of the '59 vibe. There is an almost single coil quality to this pickup that gets that sort of Yngwieish neck pickup tone that I love. I would, however not mind getting rid of a touch of the boominess that the '59 has. Also, aesthetically, I like to have pickups match (slug and screw). It's just an OCD thing for me. That last one isn't a have to, but it's what I prefer.

I don't want to high of an output because a) my amps have enough gain to compensate and b) This is my gigging desert island guitar so I need to have a good tonal compromise of humbucking and passable single coil tones. I am not that worried about too much volume drop when I split because I either run an ADA preamp, or when I drop the pedal board I pretty much have my compressor as an always on pedal.

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Peavey....WTF?
« on: April 09, 2021, 12:35:07 PM »
So I noticed around 2012 that the quality of their gear, even though they always seemed to market themselves as a lower budget alternative, started to go down a little. It was things like their combo amps (I was working at a Peavey retailer at the time), felt like feather compared to the 'ole Bandit series from back in the early to mid 80s (I know the Black widow speakers had a lot to do with the weight factor). I also noticed that, for instance the Special 212, looked and sounded like a generic copy of the transtube Special 212. Then I looked a the back and saw the absence of the Made in the USA label.

I know I am a little late to the party with the whole Undercover Boss episode, and how they ultimately did nothing they claimed they would, shut the plant down, put loyal employees out of work, just a whole douche fest on the part of Peavey. So I get an email that they have a speaker sale. I look at a  Q&A where someone is asking about the correct speaker as a replacement for their Bandit 112. The answer? "So many speakers sound so different. It's a matter of taste, I guess." This was from a PEAVEY EMPLOYEE. Do they just NOT like making money? It's no wonder they don't control the market share in the price range where they once ruled. I don't think with that attitude towards a prospective customer that any amount of moving manufacturing overseas will compensate from such a "I don't know, and furthermore, don't care that you want to spend money with me" approach to people.

What a joke of a once successful company.

The Pickup Place / PAF 36th vs Duncan '59
« on: April 02, 2021, 07:38:22 AM »
So I checked out a shootout between the 36th and Duncan '59 last night. Now keeping in mind that when you watch those things you can't see if anyone did any eq doctoring, etc., to make one sound better than the other. That being said in the same guitar, in the same position, The PAF 36th, and it seemed especially true in the neck position just sounded alive compared to the '59. It really has me re-thinking what has been my neck humbucker go to for 20 yrs.

It sounded like a blanket was lifted off of the guitar. Not bright or shrill, but just articulate while still getting that, what I call neck pickup noodliness for lack of a better term. So......Now I have the neck pickup squared away for the RG220. 

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Good Therapy
« on: April 02, 2021, 07:33:01 AM »
So some of you know that I am hip deep in recording a Christmas album. I haven't been able to in a minute because my wife had gotten sick. Thankfully, she is better now. The funny thing is, the day she got out (I spent a week in the parking lot due to COVID restrictions as I was NOT goin to be any further than need be), she asked, "So did you finish anything else?" So after a few months of acting like a terrified child over her and what I can't control with her health, I finally hit the record button for a couple of hours last night. I haven't been that relaxed in months.

I can't believe that I have spent that much time away from doing what I love. I also can't believe how easy it is to forget how music, and more specifically playing and creating it, can wash all of the stresses, and bad things away. It's like I said-Good therapy. I truly believe music is on of those gifts given to us by God to communicate what our sould feel.

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / I got a good laugh out of this
« on: March 11, 2021, 07:25:28 AM »
So our techs all got a Surface Pro for picking up and closing out tickets. Their supervisor told them to use as few words a possible when closing out a ticket. This is the result (said technician replaced a ballast)

The Pickup Place / Middle single in an HSH
« on: March 10, 2021, 12:21:58 PM »
I am looking for something for the middle position of my RG that has a little less magnetic pull as it grabs the strings when I dive the trem. Even when I lower it, the pickup just grabs the strings and you get a nice "bam" as a result. Any ideas?

The Pickup Place / Air Zone...Anyone?
« on: March 10, 2021, 12:17:14 PM »
I haven't seen much on it on this forum. I was just curious of anyone opinions on it. What kinds of wood it balances well in, etc.

Gear Closet / And my present to myself
« on: March 05, 2021, 11:56:31 AM »
I had talked previously about my 80s rack setup. I just scored a new foot controller for $31 from Music Go Round. Happy Birthday to ME!!

Gear Closet / Early birthday present
« on: February 25, 2021, 11:44:45 AM »
So last night my brother in law calls and asks if we are busy as the family went to his wife's parent's house for the evening. I tell him to come over and hang with us. He show up and gives my wife a bunch on candles, and then hands me a Sweetwater box from the bottom and tells me, "I got this over a month ago for your birthday and couldn't wait so enjoy." I open it up and there it is; a Boss SY-1. We must have noodled around with that pedal for 3 hrs. At one point my wife walked in and asks if that was me that just played the organ solo from Highway Star. I just grinned and told her THAT was why I married her.

Anyhow, very enjoyable night with a new toy and good company. That pedal is amazing, by the way. I couldn't stop thanking Donnie. That was a very unexpected gift that's also pretty expensive. If it had sucked, I still would have appreciated it.

So back in '07 one of the other motorcycle techs at work heard me play and introduced me to Dragon Force via the Fire and Flames video. I went and bought the disc because I thought to myself, "Finally! Guitar heroism is back!" Then I listened to the disc. While I still like Fire and Flames, it just seemed to me that every song was somehow Fire and Flames 2.0, 3.0, and finally a sort of power ballad type song. And then it occurred to me that the list of guitar heroes, or guys that I considered great guitarists all did something else on top of guitar playing. They had a catalog of songs that while in the same style, did somehow differ from one another. Sometimes greatly sometimes not so differently, but enough that it didn't feel like I was listening to the same song over and over and over again.

Today, I decided to take a look and see what happened to them. Surprisingly, they still seemed to be pretty busy. I only looked it up to see what happened with the Ibby endorsement as their models hadn't been in the lineup for some time now. When I read Li's comments, I thought about how a lot of us called b.s. on Nita Strauss' "Oh I FINALLY got the guitar I had in my head with this signature model" which to me looks like every other S series with some personalized appointments like the pickups and the inlay. Kind of the same thing but the opposite. "I left Ibanez because I need something more advanced and they just couldn't keep up with what I demanded in a guitar design". A little later in his quote he talked about how he doesn't buy guitars.

I then thought about how all of us pretty much concurred that Nita could have probably easily found 5 or 6 axes from the rack that would have suited her needs. Now this guy is no longer endorsed and is claiming almost the same thing while making the statement that he doesn't pay for guitars, they get sent to him for free. I guess I am just missing something, or misinterpreting the whole statement because he really came of as "dicky" for lack of a better term.

Center Stage / It's a little after Christmas but...
« on: December 31, 2020, 11:44:43 AM »
So I was in the middle of recording a Christmas album when we had a terrible health scare with my wife. Thankfully she is home and doing great. So I only got one song done, and it's late. It's a medley of Amazing Grace and Greensleeves. I had already posted a rough one of Amazing Grace but wholly inteded to have it go straight into Greensleeves. So after much time (we had a pipe burst and destroyed our floors 2 wks after Debbie came home from the hospital which resulted in everything going into the studio for the estimates/repairs-when it rains.....) Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year. May 2021 PLEEEEEAAAAASSSSE in no way, shape, or form resemble 2020 (although for those of us who are old enough to remember, the original Mad Max was based in the year 2021-guess I shouldn't have put that out there in the universe).

Here it is:

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