Gotta Keep Pushing

Twice this week I was going to go out and do car music before work only to be screwed over by snow. On Tuesday I probably could have done it but today there was no chance. Damn it.

I did the same thing I did on Tuesday though. If I couldn’t go out and sing, I’d stay home and record some guitars. Last night I added a couple of noodles that are now song #15. I wanted to work on lyrics last night but 24 bars of bass guitar riffs was as far as I got. After finishing my faux running (yogging) and watching episode two of Star Trek Picard this morning I worked those little bass riffs into a song form and recorded the rhythm guitars. Then I put leads onto the only two songs that are currently ready for leads. Nothing special as far as playing is concerned, but both songs are now ready to mix. Just before I punched into work I added lyrics to song #9 as well. I now have five songs ready to sing and will get to as many as I can before work tomorrow. Assuming mother nature doesn’t kick me in the balls for a third time.

Obligatory pictures:

I took the Wren and Cuff Super Russian off the board and replaced it with the Way Huge Russian Pickle. Two different copies of the old Sovtek version of the Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal

The plan for tonight is to try and write lyrics. I currently have six songs that are ready for lyrics and one more that isn’t quite ready yet. I’m at 15 songs now when I only need 10. Two of the 15 are especially crappy and might go unfinished. We’ll have to see what happens over the next five days.

I will complete this project if it takes everything I have. I am not blowing my RPM Challenge success streak.


It’s all about me. World events? The Russian invasion of Ukraine? It’s all about me.

No it isn’t, but this is partly about me but also about guitar gear in general.

Vacuum tubes, right? The best guitar amps are powered by tubes (valves if you’re one of our British friends). The technology dates back to 1904, according to Wikipedia, and the guitar amps many of us like date back to the 50’s and 60’s. Suffice to say it’s not exactly cutting edge stuff.

The only industries that still use tubes are guitar amps and effects and hi-fi stereo systems. That’s it. Tubes used to run everything but now it’s down to those two hold outs. As a result there are only three factories on Earth that still manufacture vacuum tubes. Three.

One factory is in Slovakia (I think… or is it Slovenia? No, pretty sure it’s Slovakia). Another factory is in China. From what I hear, that factory recently had a bad fire and they have been offline for a while. The result of that is that tubes, already in short supply, are in a full blown shortage. Thank goodness for that third factory, huh? Hey, where is that third factory anyway?



I haven’t heard anything specific but with the sanctions the entire world is leveling at Russia to convince them to stop being evil and get their military out of Ukraine it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing any tubes out of that Russian factory any time soon. That means that we’re effectively down to one factory. One. Let’s all send as many happy and safe vibes we can to JJ Electronic in the hopes that they keep rolling at peak efficiency with all of their staff being exceptionally happy and healthy and satisfied in their professions.

I own four tube amps. Three Fenders and a Vox. I haven’t been a tube amp guy for long, but in my very teeny tiny experience I have never had to change a tube. Please, guitar gods, let the tubes in my amps last forever. Pretty please.

One other guitar gear thing I want to mention is petty and pointless and exactly the sort of thing that the trump ass cult ranks on people like me ceaselessly for. I can’t help it though.

I really like using fuzz pedals. Of the three classic types of fuzz pedals, Fuzz Face, Tone Bender, and Big Muff Pi, my absolute favorites are Muffs. They are just ferocious and I really love them. In the last two years or so I have used a clone of a Big Muff pedal for probably 80% of the lead guitar parts I have recorded. Most of those tracks were recorded using a pedal by a company called Wren and Cuff that is called the Super Russian. Big Muffs were originally made by the Electro Harmonics company back in 1970 or so. That company fell apart in the late 80’s or early 90’s (not sure exactly when) and a new company was formed from the ashes that was called Sovtek. That company was based in the newly post-Soviet Union Russia. Many of the EHX pedals were redesigned to use Russian components and manufactured and sold by the new company. The Super Russian pedal on my board is based on a Sovtek period Big Muff.

The pedal sounds amazing and I love playing through it. It’s pretty much perfect. Still… when I was posting my RPM stuff to I was adding notes about what gear I used (so that I can know what I used when I listen back years from now). I kept having to type the word Russian into those notes. Even though the pedal and I have nothing to do with the evil spewing out of Moscow right now, I felt kinda dirty every time I wrote one of those notes. It is totally irrational and makes zero sense, but that’s how I felt. Feelings don’t need to be rational, after all. I mean we aren’t Vulcans, right?

So I guess what I am saying is… I might be in the market for a fuzz pedal that isn’t based on a Sovtek circuit. It is entirely possible that this might just be my Gear Acquisition Syndrome trying to trick me into buying a new pedal, but let’s not think about that.

Whatever. I should just send $200 to a Ukrainian charity instead and just get over my irrational self. I should also start hoarding vacuum tubes.


I accomplished two things tonight with a little guitar playing. First, I made myself a tiny bit less sad over Bellana going away, even if it was for only a few minutes. Second, I think I may have convinced myself to not use retail therapy to make myself feel better even if only for a few minutes. Well… I avoided retail therapy again. I went to the Rush website earlier and bought a couple of t-shirts. As stated in a previous post today, I am in a rare period of my existence where I feel the need to resupply the wardrobe as it were. Whatever, I almost bought a new Fuzz Face pedal (the Joe Bonamassa signature. It’s supposed to be geared toward humbuckers where Fuzz Faces are more traditionally geared toward single coils even though I am pretty sure that is just bullshit based on Jimi Hendrix, but I digress) but instead I took the little mini Fuzz Face I already had and put it into the signal chain and used the shit out of it.

The only things I had ready for recording were leads on the two January Record Every Month songs, and on one re-recording. I decided that all tracks recorded this evening would be with great big gooey gobs of fuzz. The Fuzz Face on the two January songs and a Big Muff clone on the re-recording. I always always always have a Big Muff on every board at all times. I love fuzz pedals, and Muffs (despite their awful, terrible, horribly sexist name) are my favorites. They are the smoothest and the filthiest, both at the same time. Fuzz Faces have that spitty quality that really bugs me when I am playing chords (usually) but is okay when I am playing leads. Big Muffs are awesome for rhythm too, but only if there’s an overdrive pedal in the chain after them that boosts the mid range frequencies. Something like a Tube Screamer or (preferably) a Klon. So I don’t keep the little Fuzz Face on the board and only pull it out when I am in the mood. Today I was very much in the mood. Actually, I have been since before Christmas, which is when I started jonzing for a new one, but today was the day I decided to act on it.

So when the time came to play tonight, I gave in to the urge to go ape shit on the fuzz. While my playing was particularly shitty, the tones were pretty effin’ gnarly and they made me happy.

Here is a shitty little blurry (why?) pick of the Fuzz Face pedal. It’s a Dunlop Band of Gypsies Fuzz Face Mini that is supposed to be modeled after the pedal Jimi Hendrix used on the live album Band of Gypsies, which may actually not have been a Fuzz Face at all but instead a custom octave fuzz with the octave circuit removed that was just stuck inside Fuzz Face enclosure. If’n you believe the stories and all.

And here we have a picture of my very dusty Wren and Cuff Super Russian. It’s been sitting on that spot on my bedroom floor since February and I really should dust all this stuff before the knobs get all noisy and scratchy. This is my second favorite Big Muff clone. My favorite is on the big pedal board in the cellar. It’s a Wren and Cuff Tri Pi ’70 and it’s probably pretty dusty too. It’s based on the original Big Muff Pi pedals that Electro Harmonix made in the early 70’s. The Super Russian is based on a Russian made Sovtek model from the early 90’s. They are both viscous little bastards and I love playing them.

The Bruins are spanking the Washington Capitals tonight and it’s glorious. I started watching season two of The Witcher, even though I am kinda over the whole fantasy sword and sorcery thing. This show’s not bad though.

None of this is making me miss Bellana less, even though she hasn’t even left the state yet, never mind the continent. It’s going to be a long six months.

And that, boys and girls, is what you call a long and rambling blog post that uses a lot of words to say very little. Enjoy.