Archive for December, 2007

$1 for hitting the computer with a hammer. $999 for knowing where to hit it…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 24, 2007 by Staff Writer

Yesterday I took my Epiphone Les Paul Pee Wee in to have the nut lowered. I’ve had a few intonation problems with this baby with the neck prone to shifting (tightening the screws helped here) and the bridge being at the limits of its adjustability. Having recently taken to greasing the nut with some silicone which has improved its tuning stability the final piece of the puzzle was to have the nut lowered somewhat.

The action wasn’t terrible, but due to the short scale of the neck (about 19″) the low string tension meant that bends were incredibly easy to do and if one pressed too hard you’d get inadvertent microtonal bends which makes things sound a bit Wild West piano, i.e. horribly out of tune. This is particularly acute right down at the 1st to 3rd frets, exacerbated by the nut being slightly too high, so pressing say, an open C chord would be a nasty sounding cacophony given that three of the fretted strings would be slightly sharp. Remedy – lower the nut slightly and the action at the first fret.

I took the little fella to a local guitar store (won’t say who) and asked them to lower the nut slightly, explaining that I wanted to eliminate those microtonal bends. The tech looked at me blankly, then gathered up his tools, whipped off the neck plate and started adjusting the truss rod. Within seconds he’d handed it back to me saying ‘the neck was twisted’ and asked me to start playing it. It was exactly the same with the micro bends except that now the intonation was off at the 12th (which I’d spent ages tweaking). I asked him again to lower the nut or deepen the string slots at which point he started conferring with the shop owner presumably to ask him to talk me out of it, which he tried. “It won’t make any difference – the neck was twisted and now he fixed it. Lowering the nut will cause string buzz.” he said.

“Please lower the nut. That’s what I want – I don’t want anything else done but that.”

“Fine, fine – you’re the boss.” He signaled to the tech to carry out my bidding which he undertook begrudgingly. A couple of minutes later he passed me the guitar with much deeper string slots and a marginally lowered action. I plugged it into their little Randall combo and started wailing, drawing a small crowd of onlookers, jaws and eyes agog as I shredded like Tony Macalpine for about 10 minutes (also checking out their resident T-Rex Swamp double gain pedal which I might buy btw…). The guitar played much better than before. The intonation had miraculously returned to as close as it would ever get given the fixedness of the bridge and the microtonal bends had all but disappeared. I was happy with the adjustments and told them so.

“Great. That will be $35.” said the tech.  I turned pale.

Hmm.. I wonder how the cost breakdown for that 10 minutes of work was, including the dispute over giving me what I had requested in the first place. Not a bad hourly rate there – no doubt the way they internalize their charging ratio is probably along the lines of ‘parts and labor 1%, experience/knowledge/having the facilities 99%’.  Think I deserved a 99% rebate there given it was me who knew the solution all the time, albeit they had the tools.

$35…. feh…    Time I got myself some of those setup tools methinks.

Gitbuddy turns Professional Session Guitarist – jacks in job, ditches family, drains bank accounts, has plastic surgery, drowns fluffy pets, skips town, etc…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 19, 2007 by Staff Writer

Well, my Rock ‘n’ Roll dream is finally becoming (very) partially true. No – I have not grown up and become Jimmy Page as I used to dream when I was 18 years old, nor can I play as well as Steve Vai. Nope – I don’t have hoards of screaming teenage groupies throwing their underwear up on stage at me and weeping as they cry out my name as I throw shapes and whip out another bitchin’ guitar solo. Have Fender, Gibson or Paul Reed Smith finally realized my immense and everlasting contributions to the guitar universe and are honoring me with a signature guitar model? Uh, no.

What I have had though, is someone asking me to play a session, i.e. somebody out there wants *me* to record some guitar parts on their record and they are willing to give me money for it. Wow. This is the big break I’ve been waiting for all this time! This is the moment where all that woodshedding finally pays off! This is the turning point where the mundane humdrum of my professional career turns from that of terminally-bored-9-to-5-salaryman to “PROFESSIONAL SESSION MUSICIAN AND GUITARIST EXTRAORDINAIRE!!” (yes the exclamation marks are part of the title and it is pronounced, or rather, ‘vocalized’ in a loud Death Metal growl with conviction and aggression which may scare small children).

So: I’m ready to live my dream of being an overpaid, underworked super-sessioneer who won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. I am ready to be the envy of those stuff-strutting Nashville cats. I am ready to depose the incumbent studio giants of the day such as Dan Huff, Andy Timmons and Neal Zaza. I am ready to walk in the boots of O Jimmy The Page and Big Jim Sullivan and be showered with riches both material and spiritual. I am ready. What do I need to do now?

I have to play over a couple of Christian Worship songs.

Hey – we all have to start somewhere!

Not that there’s anything wrong with Christian Worship songs. Ok, I’m not the most faithful believer but that doesn’t matter. What I am through and through though, is a musician, and I suppose that my maturity and (I modestly suppose) my technical skill and musicality is something my contact has recognized and would like to make use of to enhance his own songs.

He delivered the guide tracks to me yesterday and I’ve loaded those into my iPod for repetitive listening. I’ll be documenting my approach in upcoming posts. Fingers crossed that if I do this well, it will lead to more such work.

Nice amp head and cab pairing…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 18, 2007 by Staff Writer

Copped this cool picture of a ZVex Nano Head (one half  Watt) sitting atop a Mesa Engineering 4×12 Rectifier cabinet from www.birdsandmoons.com. Made me laugh anyway.

zvexnano

(Reproduced with permission – thanks Dakinetx. Original thread is here).

Guitar World magazine releases online Back Issue Viewer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 17, 2007 by Staff Writer

Very pleased to hear that Guitar World magazine is leading the way by investing in and deploying a very cool online back issue viewer. Here’s a screenshot of it below.

gw 

At the moment the only content is a complete digital reproduction of the very first issue of Guitar World from July 1980 (complete with musical columns/lessons in tab and standard notation form), but no doubt this archive will grow considerably in future. No doubt they will also start to charge for it next time too, but I for one think that if reasonably price it will be worthwhile coughing up for it.

Yngwie Malmsteen – the new Giorgio Armani? The new Hugo Boss?

Posted in Heavy Metal with tags , on December 14, 2007 by Staff Writer

Flipping through the pages of Guitar World whilst performing my morning ablutions I saw this advert for Boss pedals featuring my favourite shredder:

yngwie_boss_guitar_player_nov2007_ad_small

There’s some small print in the lower left (if you click the image you can see it enlarged) that says “For more info on Yngwie and his new clothing line go to www.yngwie.org and yngwiemerch.com“.

This piqued my interest; “clothing line”? Yngwie has a “clothing line” now? What? Has our Drakkar Noir-doused-open-chested-frilly-shirted-Rolex-swapping-metal guitar God suddenly taken to designing Yngwie branded open-chested-frilly-shirts and other clothes? Perhaps some sharp designer suits with tasteful YJM monograms, or some haute couture jeans with scalloped and flared bottoms? When someone says or writes “clothing line” I think Armani, Boss (not the pedals), YSL and maybe P.Diddy.

What did I find at www.yngwiemerch.com? T-shirts. You guessed it – tour T-shirts that you’d find being sold at his gigs or down Carnaby Street. HELLO! Heavy Metal tour T-shirts do not a “clothing line” make.

Oh well. At least I found these there – an ‘Unleash the Fury’ thong.

yngthong

Damn uncomfortable though, but I can play faster when I wear them…

Those folks at Tom Anderson are so nice I just *have* to buy one.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 14, 2007 by Staff Writer

While browsing the Tom Anderson website waiting for an airplane, I came across this gorgeous baby which you can see more of here.

 01,27,2007_04-13-18

It’s a Tom Anderson Cobra with a translucent black quilted maple top on mahogany body and absolutely stunning. I was transfixed.

I’d had a couple of beers and recklessly fired of an e-mail to Tom Anderson’s contact address (all names and numbers changed to protect the innocent from solicitation):

Dear Tom Anderson

I was browsing your site and saw this Guitar Of The Week: http://www.andersonguitars.com/cfPages/showSingleGuitarGallery.cfm?passedID=3&finishID=275&bodyWoodID=33. I’d like one just like it please – how do I go about it, how much will it cost, how long will it take etc. please? J

Thanks, Gitbuddy

I was expecting no reply at all (like frickin’ Warwick when I e-mailed them, bastards) or a belated reply that might have said something like “Oh, it will take about 1 year to build a custom order such as that and will set you back about $10,000.” – in fact I was *hoping* that they would say that it would take a long time to make so I’d have a chance of saving up the money to buy the thing. To my surprise they replied the very next day with this:

Hi
You may call XXXX here at the factory afternoon California time (XXX XXXX XXX) and he can help you spec it out.  You can email him at XXXXX or you can order one with these exact specs through the Anderson dealer of your choice.  It is all very easy and fun too.
Thanks

..and then, the very next mail in my inbox was from another nice lady also from Anderson saying:

That exact guitar may still be available at Russo Music  …. we have no record that anyone has purchased it and registered that purchase with us.  If that guitar is not available from them, you can place an order through any of the dealers listed on our web site.  The list price is $4,189 and delivery would be in March or April of next year. 

At this point I panicked since I don’t have $4,189 in small change right now, but I went to the Russo site anyway. Fortunately (for my wallet) the guitar had been sold. Unfortunately (for the GASser in me) it had been sold, since that’s one of the most beautiful guitars I’ve seen for a while and I’ve desired a Tele-shaped geetar for some time to join the family.

Anyway – how’s that for superb customer service (and a manageable price too)? They went out of their way to track it down and let me know about it, and two separate people got back to me within 12 hours. Unbelievable – and that warm fuzzy feeling that surrounded me knowing that there were good people at the end of the helpline coupled with TA’s stellar reputation for guitar build quality, sound and playability have firmly put a Tom Anderson on my ‘to buy’ list for the future. 

Something has to go first though. Anyone wanna buy a Warwick bass? They don’t answer e-mails if you need support mind you…

Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is a full scale Led Zeppelin World Tour.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 11, 2007 by Staff Writer

Dear Santa

I’ve been a good boy all year and have brushed my teeth morning and night every day.

Please send me a full scale Led Zeppelin World Tour for Christmas. I live in Singapore, so they should stop over here and play at the Indoor Stadium. It’s a great venue where I went to see Eric Clapton last year who is also old, so if he can do it, so can Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Bonzo Jnr. We’re also getting the Police and Santana. Singaporean crowds are total party animals and will definitely show huge appreciation for numbers like ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ – some concert goers get especially rowdy and might stand up and clap instead of sitting down the whole time. I even saw a particularly enthusiastic fan throw a paper cup once and ‘whoop’ loudly during a Derek Trucks solo, but he was swiftly beaten by security forces to protect the band.

I know that Singapore isn’t known for widespread availability of narcotics (death sentence, so Zep entourage please don’t bring any) but I’m sure we could organize some groupies. At a push, we could also organize a sexually deprived red snapper or maybe a mudshark. With these piscine offerings in mind, please try to use your Yuletide charms to influence them to stop over here, otherwise I will be forced to fly to another country to see them and nobody wants that.

I would also like some Lego if your budget can accommodate it.

Love to Mrs Santa

Gitbuddy.