Guitar/Retail Therapy

I am sitting here thinking about retail therapy and guitar gear and all of that and I am trying so very hard not to do it. I want to, but I don’t want to, but I want to.

For the pedal board, I want an MXR Brick and an MXR Phase 95 and one of those cheap little Mooer E-Lady flangers.

I want to trade in my Strat and do… something. Trade it for a Les Paul Jr? Trade it for a ’68 Deluxe Reverb? The money won’t work out for either of those, but what about trade it in for money and then…

Take the ES-335 to a repair shop and redo the frets and the wiring.

Or take the Les Paul Custom to a repair shop and redo the frets and change the pickups to something nice and boutique and redo the wiring.

Or take my gorgeous new Les Paul Standard to a repair shop and change the pickups to something nice and boutique and see if there is anything else that a professional would recommend doing.

Or take my SG Standard to a repair shop and change the pickups to something either nice and boutique, or something high output and mean sounding and see if there is anything else that a professional would recommend doing, specifically to the height of the action.

AAAHHHH!!!!!

Liquid Lunch

It’s almost 2:00pm and I am just getting to lunch now. When I say lunch, of course, I mean liquid lunch. I just had me a protein shake. Yummy. Will it still be yummy after tomorrow? Who the hell knows!

3.5 hours left in my work day and then I go on leave for a month. I am having a tough time wrapping my brain around that. A whole month away from work is just… weird.

It’s really loud in my yard right now. There’s a huge ass riding lawn mower tearing around like a madman. I forgot we booked a lawn service this year. It’s a good thing because we kinda don’t have a lawn mower of our own at the moment, and for the next month or so I am going to be no good to anyone.

The Bruins lost game one last night. Game two is tomorrow. I am guessing I won’t be terribly interested in watching. You know, other stuff going on.

Still no phone call telling me when to show up tomorrow. They said to expect the call between 3:00 and 8:00pm, so I am not worried… yet.

When am I going to be able to watch MoonKnight tomorrow? Do you think Disney+ will let me see it today? No? Even if I ask Mickey Mouse directly? No? Aww.

Musiciansfriend is going to deliver a new delay pedal tomorrow. I don’t expect to be able to play through it right away. You know how it is, right?

My wife Jennifer is my rock. I just wanted to share that. I couldn’t do any of this without her. She’s amazing and I am so in love with her.

What else… I don’t know. I am sure I had a reason to start typing this and I am equally sure that nothing I’ve written here has anything to do with whatever that reason was. I know that, even though I really don’t know what the reason I started this actually is. My 51st birthday is this weekend. I’d tell you all not to get old, but the alternative is really a lot worse so I won’t.

To do list for tonight:

  • Put gas in the car.
  • Clear a path in the cellar storage to the furnace. It’s getting a check up or something next week and I won’t be able to lift half of the stuff that’s in the way post-surgery.
  • Change the litter box.
  • Tell Jennifer how much I love her.
  • Text the kids and tell them how much I love them.
  • Call my parents.
  • Text my brother and sister.
  • Drink a protein shake for dinner.
  • Put away the laundry that I washed and dried yesterday.
  • Pack a bag.

My friends Larry and Mike have already gotten in touch. I got a text from Larry this morning wishing me luck. Last night I got a call from Mike. He’s been through this already and he gave me some advice for the recovery.

They told me not to wear any jewelry tomorrow. That means no wedding ring and no watch. I’m not sure what to do with my glasses. Maybe I’ll bring the case and ask Jen to hold on to them for me.

I’m not freaking out. Not really. I think I just want it to be over with so I can move on to the next stage. As scary as all of this is, it’s a good thing and I will have no regrets.

Okay, back to work for the home stretch.

Lerxst Amps Interview

I was feeling curious about the amplifier line Alex Lifeson released 2-3 years ago. They are way too powerful for my use (though I now know they can step down from 50 to 25 watts which makes them more interesting) so I didn’t look very close when they were first released.

Today I decided to poke around and I found this interview. Speaking as both a Rush fanatic and a gear nerd, this video is literally Gold.

He talks about stage volume and monitor mix preferences! Oh my god the gear dirt he shares! Can you believe it? Wow!

Pedal Board Change is Coming

This week’s episode of That Pedal Show is once again forcing* me to change things in the bedroom recording nook. They keep doing this to me!

The topic is using overdrive pedals in a band setting and it didn’t really teach me anything I didn’t already know. The what not to do examples were things that I used to do all the time, and the what you should do examples were things that I have decided were good ideas over the last 6-7 years or so. I guess I’m like Fredo Corleone. I’m smart.

Nope, what got into my head was just one of the pedals they used for the demonstration. They were using a Rat. Last year I bought a decent Rat clone. It’s on the table next to my desk but tomorrow it’s totally going on the board and getting used on some November Music stuff.

Inspiration, babie!


*Ain’t nobody forcing me to do jack. It’s just inspiration. Oodles of inspiration.

Straps

Now that I have a new guitar, I find myself in the market for a guitar strap. There was a strap included in the case candy, but I am gigantically huge and it was too small for practical use. It’s actually fine for me to use if I’m sitting down because I like to wear a strap while I sit and I want it way up high. That works out. It won’t do for me if I’m standing though. I measured it at about 55 inches long so I’m guessing I need something that is at least 60 inches if not a little longer.

Amazon has some. I would bet if I checked musiciansfriend.com they’d have some too. All well and good. Normally I just go to a music store and buy the longest one they have. I’m still planning on trading my Strat in someplace, probably guitar center, but I might do some research and find if there is any place in the city with a better trade-value reputation. There probably isn’t. I might just pick one up when I take care of the Strat. Who knows. Maybe.

What about etsy? There is a surprising amount of homemade guitar gear on etsy, are there straps? Yes, yes there are. Quite a few of them. The selling prices are higher than I was really interested in spending, but there are a few that are interesting. One of them is made out of recycled seatbelts. That sounds like fun. I don’t see lengths listed on the sales page though. That’s a deal breaker for me.

However the strap journey works itself out, I want to play tonight. I kinda need to play tonight.

Rock on, my friends.

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?

It’s All Here and it Works

304/365

Lunch time came and I finally couldn’t stand it anymore. I pulled a power cable off of another amplifier and took the new (used) Vox AC15 for a spin. Much to my surprise it actually works. Jen was still working so I didn’t test the volume, but I did play it clean with the master volume and the channel volume low, and I played it dirty with the master volume WAY down and the channel volume cranked. I can still smell the tubes cooking. Nice.

Fortunately, while I was noodling UPS came with the missing power cable. The amp was eight days late. The cable was nine. It’s here though. My ES-335 is feeling like it might need some new strings. Other than that I think I’m ready to record some guitar tonight.

I should note that I still haven’t actually plugged in the new power cable yet. Am I counting my chickens before they hatch? Probably. Oh well. I’m sick of this shit. It’s over. Let’s boogie.

Gear Inspiration

Man, youtube… every once in a while you’ll see something and it will just click for you.

I just watched an episode of That Pedal Show where they talk about delay pedals.  I have a really nice digital delay on my pedal board right now, a Wampler Faux Tape Echo, and I have been using the crap out of it.  I use it’s tap tempo switch and it’s subdivision switch and I get dotted eighth note delays and I make all sorts of groovy The Edge style rhythmic patters and it’s just so much damn fun.

It’s a great delay pedal but it doesn’t really do oscillation.  Oscillation is when the pedal feeds back on itself and makes all sorts of glorious noise.  If you mess with the delay time control it changes the pitch of the noise and makes it even gloriouser.  I have a really cheap analog delay that I am not currently using.  It’s from one of those generic, low cost, Chinese companies.  Donner, I think?  A Donner Yellow Fall?  I think that’s what it’s called.  After watching this video I am going to put it on the board too so that I can have noisy fun and still have the digital tap tempo and subdivision stuff.

In all my years of playing electric guitar I’ve almost always had a delay pedal, but I’ve never been a delay pedal guy.  Now I have all this youtube silliness to inspire me to do new and different (and yes, goofy and noisy) things.

Thanks, That Pedal Show!

 

I’m Sorry

Why do so many guitar player accessories have blatantly sexist names? I don’t want to be a part of this particular problem but I’ve gone and made a hypocrite out of myself.

David Gilmour… listen to his Stratocaster sound on Pink Floyd records like Animals and The Wall. What does he use to get that killer tone? I want that killer tone too! How can I get myself one step closer? Well I can start by trying out some of the gear he used. How about his overdrive pedal? Awesome!

Except that it has an embarrassingly sexist name. I won’t share it because it would make me feel like an asshole. Even worse? I bought one on ebay. It’s going to be shipped in a day or so. Maybe I’ll put duct tape over the graphics painted onto the housing. It won’t fool anyone, but at least Mr Hypocrite will be able to pretend.

I feel like a jerk, and not just because I want to steal someone else’s tone.