Firebird or Junior

I’m having a guitar shopping fantasy YouTube night tonight. Assuming I can get my two 40+ year old guitars worked on and cleaned up, what would my next Gibson be?

I waffle between a Les Paul Junior and a Firebird. When I bought my SG in 2018, I almost bought a Firebird instead. I think right now if I had to pick one it would be a Junior, for the P90, but it would be a close call.

Videos like this don’t make it easy on me…

Wah Pedals

I search for boutique wah pedals and get link after link telling me I have to get my hands on the wah pedal I dumped into my closet when that frat boy fucker in California went on his idiotic racist rant following the George Floyd protests and implied that people who put more value on a human being’s life than on their neighbor’s windows are both unworthy of his products and incapable of pissing while standing up. Fuck that guy. I’m never using his pedals again, I don’t care how amazing his fucking deluxe wah pedal is.

End rant.

So where do I go? There is Xotic and Jam Pedals. They are both supposed to have excellent wahs. One company that I know nothing about keeps popping up too. Real McCoy Custom, or RMC. they seem to have a ton of models, all with stellar reviews, but only a few are in production. Is that info correct? They are pretty expensive and there aren’t a whole lot of dealers (just one in Massachusetts).

I’m thinking when the time comes, this is probably where I want to go. The RMC10 reviews are all stellar, but I’m only seeing RMC11’s for sale around here.

One of these days.

Sleepy Red Head

Another less than great night of sleep last night. The data my Apple Watch collected actually looked okay, but coming on the heels of the previous night’s bad sleep it has left me feeling pretty sleepy and crummy today. I’m hoping to get to bed early tonight but I am pretty sure it ain’t happening. We’ll see.

I’m in a weird state right now where I have a few projects to work on and I keep letting them get in the way of each other. I start working on project A but my mind wanders to project B so I switch to that but my mind wanders to project C so I switch to that but my mind wanders to project A and so on. The end result is I don’t make progress on any of them. Blah.

Referencing back to the previous post, if you’re wondering about our neighborhood trash pick up, they still haven’t arrived… though I do hear the sound of trucks in the distance. Maybe soon?

Finally, as my lunch break comes to an end, I return to the topic of guitar gear, what with guitar and cats being the two most common topics of this particular page (are they? I should do some research into that… but I won’t), I am starting to think it might be time to start searching the youtubes for a new wah pedal. I’m starting to want to upgrade up from my Crybaby. Hello, rabbit hole. Allow me to fall down you for a while.

Okay, back to work, red head!

How Many Guitars Do You Need

Interesting guitar question. How many do you actually need?

The video doesn’t really answer the question realistically. You need one, yes. But there are other answers too.

I only need one, but I need to keep looking and trying different guitars until I find THE ONE. Specifically, the one that makes me not want any others.

x = n + 1 where x is the number you need and n is the number you have.

For me, I need two. Two of everything. I play bars in a cover band. I don’t have a tech sitting off stage who can fix things if my equipment should fail. I need to get to the set break. If a guitar (or amp, or cable, or mic, or pedal) should fail I need to swap it for something that’s working immediately. I can tinker with stuff all I want in between sets, but while the band is on stage I need to be up and playing right now.

In the video he talks about needing different types of instruments for different situations. This song needs a strat sound, that song needs a Les Paul. I am guilty of that all the time. In fact, when I think about trading in my strat I think about picking up another guitar with single coil pick ups. The strat is the only single coil guitar I own, so I should get another instrument that fills that role even though that logic is bullshit. No one is ever going to call me up for a gig that requires single coils. That’s absurd. If they want me, then they’ll be perfectly fine with double coils, all day long.

So maybe the answer is just that your needs aren’t as important as your wants. Who knows.

G.A.S.

I told myself I wasn’t going to buy more guitar gear until at least my birthday, and then it was going to be fixing problems with one of my two 40+ year old guitars.

And then tonight I bought a Rat pedal.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Junior

I’ve been playing a Gibson Les Paul Custom since 1990.

Before that I played a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe (before it was stolen and my heart was crushed).

I’ve never said this before…
I’ve never thought this before…
I never dreamed this before but…
but…

I think I want a Gibson Les Paul Junior.

Partly because a vintage Junior is cheaper than a vintage Standard and my chances of actually owning something from the 1950’s is a lot higher.. but even just in terms of the current models…

I think I want a Gibson Les Paul Junior.

Projects

March kinda sucks.

I go through this every year.  I finish my February music projects and then feel this gaping hole in the universe during March.  From reading blogs and forum posts on rpmchallenge.com I’m clearly not alone in feeling this way.

So what to do?

A few months ago I was working on a way to add the rest of my old myspace blog to this site.  I started up on that again last night.  WordPress.com is able to back date posts but it’s a royal pain in the ass to go back to 2007 and 2008.  Instead, I created a Blogger account and I’ve been posting back dated entries there.  Once I have them all I’ll export them to an .xml file and import them here.  That should work fine.  The myspace blog covered pretty much all of 2006 through November 2008.  I had pulled all of 2006 into my previous wordpress.com site so those are all here already.  As of last night the Blogger page has almost all of 2007.  I think I have about 75 more posts to go.

I’m still going with my Flickr photo-a-day project.  It suddenly feels difficult though.  It was easy last month.  There was always music happening so I could take pics of that, and Disney made things even easier.  Now?  What the hell do I take pictures of now?  Where’s the cat when I need her?

Back in January Jen and I did a tutorial for a javascript extension (I think that’s the right way to describe it… a scripting language built on top of javascript).  It was fun and interesting but my javascript knowledge is ancient and more or less nil at this point.  I thought I might have gotten more out of it if I did a javascript tutorial first.  I would like to try something like that in the coming weeks.  I would like to be a better all around programmer than I am right now.  My company’s development tools and programming languages are proprietary, so even if I’m firing on all cylinders at work it doesn’t really extend to the rest of the world.

Years ago I found a set of wordpress.com tutorials called Blogging University.  There are various beginner and intermediate level courses to help you get the most out of your wordpress.com experience.  There were classes for customization, writing, photography, and interacting with other blogs.  I might give some of those a try again, just for schnitzengiggles.  If I remember correctly they were mostly prompts.  Things like, today you should write a better About page, or today you should take a picture of water.  Stuff like that.  The photo stuff would be fine to redo, as I just said I’m always looking for ideas for photo-a-day.  The basic blogging stuff is probably too simple for this page, but there is always the lizardfishmusic.com page.  I could make some changes there.  I don’t think I’ve made any changes to the layout there since I first created it.  Maybe a face lift would be fun?

Exercising should be an obvious target for new projects.  I had a really bad night Weight Watchers wise last night and I’m feeling a little crummy about myself today.  I got home from work and just started shoveling food into my face and I really didn’t stop until I fell asleep.  I need to be better than that.  The gym might help in that regard, or at least minimize the damage of any future bad days.  Right now I am having a problem with one of my feet (again).  My right foot feels a little swollen and it hurts to walk.  It’s not the same thing I had a month or so ago, and it’s not nearly as bad, but it is slowing me down right now.  Once that eases up I need to get back to the gym, and I need to get into a regular routine.

There is always more music to record, and more songs to learn for Lizardfish, and more practicing in general to do.  Just because February is over doesn’t mean I can stop playing.  I was doing pretty well with finding time to practice back in January.  I need to keep up with it.  I’m tired of feeling like the weak link in the band.  I’m also thinking of trying something new gear wise.  I want to try to run a two amp rig in the band, but most of the amps I have now are way too powerful and if I paired them up I’d be unable to not drown out the rest of the band during rehearsals.  I keep looking at my 15 watt Fender Bassbreaker as the solution.  If I could pair that with another lowish watt amp that could work.  I am thinking about going to Guitar Center to inquire about trading my Fender Stratocaster in for a Vox AC15.  I think that might be the key to making it all work.  A Fender Princeton reissue could do it, but it’s only a 10 inch speaker and I’d prefer to stick to 12 inch speakers if I can.  I just like them better.  We’ll see.

Should I start looking into using in-ear monitors?  One of the guys in the band uses them.  One of the hosts of the Gig Gab podcast swears by them.  So much so that he’s always inspiring the other host to try them, even though he has a hard time with them.  I don’t really want to spend money on it, but we’re getting to the point where we’re going to be mic’ing the room during rehearsals and I always wear ear plugs anyway.  Is it time?  I’m trying to decide.  I’m definitely on the fence.  We’ll see.

I was hoping that by this point in 2020 I would be able to do something to help out with the Warren for President campaign.  I guess that isn’t going to happen.  At least it seems highly unlikely now.  I can get behind Bernie Sanders, but the idea of a candidate in his late 70’s who has already suffered a heart attack during this campaign is a little depressing.  Platform wise I can 100% get on board.  Human wise… ugh.  As for Joe Biden.  He’s a great guy and I love him to pieces, but he’s literally my last choice of all of the candidates we’ve had.  Dead last.  Yet another guy in his late 70’s but this time one who just feels like a frat boy who got lucky.  He just seems a little too dumb ass for the oval office, and we already have a total dumb ass in the office now.  If he ends up with the nomination he’ll get 100% of my support… I was just hoping the rest of the country would jump on the Warren bandwagon, that’s all.  Yet another reason to feel let down by my fellow Americans.

There are a crap ton of TV shows that I want to watch.  February has resulted in me falling way behind on all of the CW super hero shows that I like to watch.  I’m like two months behind on The Flash, Supergirl, and Batwoman.  I’ve been trying to get caught up on Star Trek Discovery.  Season two is really good, I just haven’t had time to power through.  The last season of Star Wars The Clone Wars is either about to come out or has just recently come out.  I wanted to binge the whole series before I watched the new season but… Jar Jar… he kinda killed my interest in that.  I want to finish season two of You even though it’s definitely meh.  I want to watch Lock and Key and The Expanse and I still want to get back into Breaking Bad and Preacher.  I’ve started both of them, but just haven’t been able to keep going.  I’m not sure why, the are both good.  I’m caught up on The Walking Dead, and the second spin off is just a month or so away.  One show that I did not fall behind on in February is Star Trek Picard.  It is so good.  Just, so very good.  I wish it was going to be a 25 episode season instead of 10 (I think it’s just going to be 10).  I don’t want it to end… ever.

I’m sure there are other projects I can come up with that are just there for fun and a sense of creative accomplishment.  If we get lucky and Spring actually gets here there are always day trips up to the mountains that I can drag my beloved Mrs to.  There are so many waterfalls, and so many scenic views up there.  They are all just sitting there, waiting for me and Jen and my camera to come and visit.

There’s also always Disney World.  Or Disneyland.  Or Euro-Disney, if that’s even still a thing.  I’d say Tokyo Disney too but I have a co-worker who was supposed to go there next week and he told me it’s closed due to some global pandemic* thing.  Maybe you’ve heard of it?

On an unrelated note, I am trying a new browser again.  The same podcast that inspired me to try Brave has inspired me to try Vivaldi.  This post is the first thing I’ve done with it.  Isn’t that exciting?  I’m just glad that the Last Pass plug in for Chrome works in Vivaldi too.  That makes life a tiny bit easier.

 

*Go wash your hands.  Seriously.

Guitar Pedal Porn

I had this idea back in the late Spring or so. Rather than truck my guitar gear back and forth between home and rehearsal, I would set things up at the rehearsal space the way I want them for gigs, and then make a back up set up to keep at home for both practicing and recording.

Here is the rehearsal space pedal board as it was used at the last gig, and as it exists now…

The Band Pedal Board

The signal path is tuner->Wah->Uni-vibe->Phaser->Overdrive (used almost like a clean boost with just the tiniest bit of gain. I want my amp to sound a little broken up when I play clean, but not really too distorted)->Bass Big Muff (for fuzzy rhythm guitar)->Big Muff with Tone Wicker (for fuzzier leads)->Delay.

Before the next show I want to move the delay to between the Phaser and the Overdrive. I want all the dirt at the end of the chain, just before the amp. That’s contrary to most people’s preference but I don’t care.

Tonight I finally set up the home pedals. I’d been piecing them together a couple at a time while working on recordings and stuff. Tonight was the first time I ran them all together. Of course I took a picture…

The Home (significantly cheaper) Pedal Board

I tried to do the signal path from memory and got it wrong, and I also don’t have anything to sit it all on, but whatever. Tuner->Wah->Overdrive->Phaser->Uni-vibe->Delay->Nano Bass Big Muff->Nano Big Muff.

I will move the overdrive to after the delay and switch the phaser and the uni-vibe tomorrow… assuming I’m going to be doing some recording tomorrow.

I’m not really sold on the Nano Big Muffs. They sound… wimpy… I guess that’s the word… wimpy when compared to the band board versions. I have a NYC Big Muff reissue that is awesome. I might replace both of the nanos with it. I’ll give it some recording time and see how I feel later.

The tuner on each board is the same model, same with the cry baby wah. The Joyo Ultimate Drive at home is a clone of the Fulltone OCD at rehearsal. Same deal with the Joyo Vintage Phase, it’s a clone of the MXR Phase 90. I don’t know if the Moen Shaky Jimi Vibe I have at home is an exact clone of the MXR Uni-Vibe I have at the practice space, but it’s damn close. The only major difference between the two setups is the delay. The DoD at home is a digital delay while the Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail at rehearsal is analog and 500,000,000 times better.

I also have a Fuzz Face Mini and an old DoD Flanger that I haven’t decided if they will find a home or not. We’ll see.

I am such a gear glutton. If my 17 year old self could see me now… he’d probably look down at his crappy little DoD overdrive plus and puke with jealousy (although he’d be pleased to see I am still using the same cry baby wah), and that doesn’t even mention the amps or the three (3!) high end electric guitars I’ve snagged since then.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Gear Acquisition Syndrome is a real problem and I hope they never find a cure.

Guitar Gear Shopping

Let’s feed that gear acquisition syndrome by surfing the net for some guitar related things I don’t need but desperately want.

This will be fun (for me, at least)!


JHS MUFFULETTA


I’m torn on this one, but it’s still probably the top of my semi-realistic want list. The Muffuletta is not only a Big Muff fuzz pedal clone, it’s six of them. It clones five of the more noteworthy Muff models and adds an original circuit too. I lust for the original Triangle models. In my listening research they are by far my favorite, but I do love them all. The down side is the company, JHS, has a pretty bad reputation. They allegedly steal other companies designs, and I’ve heard terrible stories (that I don’t know for sure are true) that they’ve had some sort of financial relationship with a pray-away-the-gay organization. If that’s true, then they can rot. On the basis of rumor alone, I would only buy one of these pedals used.


Wren and Cuff Tri-Pie ‘70


Instead of the Muffuletta, I could go with a Tri Pie 70. This is another clone of the original Triangle Big Muff fuzz that I want so bad. The demoes I’ve heard sound amazing. I would love to get my mitts on one of these suckers.


Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah


I am a Wah addict going all the way back to my first day wanting to play guitar. I’ve always used Dunlop Cry Baby’s and never wanted anything else. The Clyde Deluxe though sounds like it might be a Cry Baby on steroids. It has features I never realized I wanted until I started reading about Fulltone. Now I know I want them and they will be mine.


Fulltone Deja Vibe 2


I’m not sure they make the model pictured anymore, but there is a Deja Vibe stomp box too that would do fine for me. I’ve had a couple of cheap Uni-Vibe pedals, but this is as close to the real thing as you can get. Being able to adjust the speed on the fly would just be that much more awesome.


Gibson SG


Heheheheheheheheh

Caution: Bad Guitar Playing

There are three new devices that need to go on my pedal board.  There will eventually be a fourth, but for now it’s three.  Here’s a video of me noodling with the new toys.

 

A Joyo Ultimate Drive (which is a clone of a Fulltone OCD)
A Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail analog delay
And for the first time ever, a DC power source for the pedals!  It’s an MXR DC Brick.  No more 9-volt batteries for me!*

 

*well… I think I have more pedals than the brick can handle, so maybe a few more 9-volt batteries.