After 30+ years of making music, dating all the way back to fifth grade, I have come up with a theory that seems to fit the facts. The last practice before a performance is usually the worst. Lots of mistakes, a general sloppiness, broken drum sticks, a bass multi-effects unit that was throwing out weird noises, and one full on no holds barred train wreck. Nice. I’m not worried. We’ll be fine on Saturday. I just want to make sure I spend some quality time practicing this week. I’m actually more concerned with endurance. By the end of the three hours last night (we kept the breaks to a minimum) my finger tips felt like shredded wheat looks.
Tone-wise, this week was pretty much the opposite of last week. I had an idea to fix a little issue, tried it out, and amazingly it worked. One would think I knew what I was doing! I was able to stop my fuzz pedal from getting buried in the mix behind the bass on the low end and the cymbals on the high end by adding a pedal with a mid range boost just after it. Just like that I can use an overdrive pedal for most of the set and still use a fuzz pedal on a few songs without having to touch my amp’s volume control. Something that seemed like a huge issue last week was fixed as simple as that. At the same time, something that worked great last week, my new Keeley overdrive pedal, sounded like dog snot last night. I don’t know why. I choose to blame the weather.
As for the guitars themselves, I am thinking it’s time for something drastic. I took my Gibson ES-335 Pro to guitar center last week for a few things. One was some advice on the neck. The glue that holds the neck to the body is letting go. It’s just a matter of time before the guitar becomes unplayable. GC suggested I ship the guitar to Gibson and have them fix it. I don’t know if I am willing to do that or not. The simpler solution would just be to retire the old girl. With that in mind (and I could change my mind tomorrow), this upcoming show is going to be my 335’s last hurrah. Built in 1979, purchased on ebay in 2000, used on who knows how many home recordings, Lizardfish and Break Even shows, and probably most noteworthy for every electric guitar note I played on Break Even’s CD (including the song that was recorded live). The guitar is a thing of beauty. Grimy, nicotine stained, smelly beauty. I think it’s time to move on. Unless I change my mind soon (I probably will), the plan is to use it for the whole show this weekend, then trade it in for a new ES-335. I won’t get much money for it, but I hope to get something to ease the cost of a very expensive semi-hollow Gibson guitar. We shall see, of course.