A Little Better

I went back and tried to redo the picture of the guitar from the previous post. I did this in manual mode on my DSLR. Inside the camera, I had the aperture set to f/5.3 and the shutter set to 10. The ISO was set to 400 because that was the speed of the film I had in Dad’s camera.

The EXIF data in Flickr mostly matches, but where I would expect to see a shutter speed it gives an Exposure of 1/10. The too dark pic on the previous post was in Aperture priority mode, I think. This pic was in manual mode. The too dark pic was f5.0 and Exposure 1/30. Does that mean the shutter was 30? I don’t know. I think it might be time for me to finally start paying attention to these values. I’ll also note that I don’t think Dad’s camera can match these settings exactly, but I am hoping my camera can match what Dad’s camera does. I guess.

Anyway, this one looks pretty good to me. Not great, but pretty good.

DSC_0013

Straight In

I played a little today. Nothing serious. I just plugged straight into an amp and noodled. I did do a small experiment. I am thinking of taking my Vox AC15 to the next Lizardfish practice (whenever that might be) but I have never really pushed the volume. Is it loud enough to compete with the rest of the band? More importantly, if I get it up to band practice volume, is the tone still clean?

I dimed the master volume and then brought the channel volume up a little at a time. I got up to 92 decibels (according to my AppleWatch) and it was still clean as a bell. The band does get louder than that, but my channel volume (I was using the amp’s Normal channel, not the Top Boost) was only on about four, so there is still some room available. I don’t know when that channel starts breaking up, but I wasn’t even close. I think my band practice plans are good to go.

The question then is, do I use the Normal channel or the Top Boost channel? That’s still undecided.

Guitar Day

I went exactly two months without playing guitar…

…before I played today.

I played my SG because it’s the lightest guitar with the smallest body and I figured it would be the easiest to deal with against my recently sliced open gut.

There were no issues.

Life is good.

New decor?

50’s Wiring

I am still planning on getting my old Les Paul, the 1978 Custom, some work. As in possibly a complete makeover.

When I do, I am absolutely doing this:

Add in a couple of 50’s PAF clones for pickups and some new frets (if necessary) and it’s going to be a brand new baby. After that I get the new Les Paul done in the same way and I end up with two spanky guitars. Oh yeah, then there’s the ES-335 and the SG to consider too.

Sorry… nerding out in a major way right now. I’ve been watching all sorts of Les Paul videos on YouTube while I try to finish my exercise for the day. I’m almost done. Maybe one more video. Let’s go.


The YouTube file wouldn’t embed on my first try. I tried a second time, but if it still doesn’t work you can click here to see what all the fuss is about.

Chasing the Green Sound

Prior to the 50th birthday super gift, a new Les Paul Standard 50s, I was thinking about the future, post Covid and post college bills, where I was going to modify the shit out of my ’78 Les Paul Custom. I was going to go full blown boutique, cork sniffing snob on it. I was going to find the best sounding clones of original Gibson PAFs possible and put them in, and replace the wiring with a 50’s style harness and basically try and make my Custom as 1950’s-ish as possible.

Now that I have the shiny, wonderful new Standard, I’ve changed my plans to updating the holy hell out of the Standard and leave the Custom alone (except for the frets… and maybe the wiring harness). The question then is, do I try to turn my guitar into a modern knock off of a Les Paul from the late 50’s, or do I go for a modern knock off of Peter Green’s Les Paul?

I don’t know. What if I go for Peter Green and decided I don’t like the out of phase stuff? boutique, cork sniffing pick ups are expensive. I don’t want to have to play this game twice.

So we’re being goofy on the youtubes today, checking out some pick ups. I am going to say without a doubt that I will not be buying a set of Monty’s Guitars Bethnal Green PAFs. Partly because they don’t seem to be available yet, and also partly because the website makes me think they won’t be available in the US. That’s okay though. Let’s file this under research and Gear Acquisition Syndrome and just being a totally unabashed guitar nerd.


ADDENDUM: So I wrote the post while watching the video for the first time. After I published the video mentioned that you can buy them from Andertons if you’re in the US, and it’s not that they aren’t available yet, it’s that they are making them in small quantities and running out.

Snuck in Some Playing

I wasn’t planning on any guitar playing tonight. Mostly because I didn’t have songs ready for any guitar parts. So what did I do? I started a new re-recording just so that I could have something to play.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to have something to record to play. If I want to play I can just play. No big whoop, right? It’s just that I wanted to play and I wanted to record something so I came up with something to record, that’s all.

I didn’t play for long, and I didn’t play well, but I did play and that’s all that I care about.

Eight Months

Eight months ago today I turned 50 and my wife got me an amazing birthday present. She bought me a Gibson Les Paul Standard 50s and I absolutely love it. I adore it. It gets me and I get it and we’re besties now and everything is perfect.

I haven’t played any other guitar since that day, even though I own a small but growing army of electric guitars (five, and my teenage self is in awe).

Well… I just broke the streak. I’ve been thinking of a gimmick for the RPM Challenge. Instead of just double tracking all of the rhythm guitar parts (which I always do), why not double track with different guitars? Maybe even different amplifiers? Sure it will make mixing more complicated, but it could be fun. If I do this, I expect the two guitars to be the new Les Paul and the SG Standard that I bought myself in 2018. Unless of course I finally brave the Covid and go somewhere to trade in my Fender Stratocaster for a Les Paul Junior, in which case the Junior would be the other guitar. That’s not likely to happen though, so it will be Les Paul in one ear and SG in the other.

Tonight I decided to break out the SG and use it on a Record Every Month song for January. I’ve got two songs going right now. They both kinda suck, but I’ll finish them. Now the song that has the working title of REM JAN 01 Mac has SGs where everything else since May has Les Pauls.

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…

Guitar Therapy

I just recorded some guitar parts. I used the new Les Paul, as usual… I don’t think I’ve played any other guitars since May, and recorded some leads for a re-recording song using the Fender Bassbreaker 15 amp, and some more leads for a record every month song using the Vox MV50 Clean.

What does the Vox sound like to me? Well, with a very limited amount of experience with Vox style amplifiers, the MV50 sounds like it really wants to sound like my AC15 but only sort of comes close (the AC15 in turn probably sounds like it’s trying to sound like a Vox AC30, so maybe it’s more correct to say the MV50 is trying to sound like the AC30). It’s got that sparkly thing in the high end that Vox amps are known to have. It sounds good, but not quite great. I tried slamming the cute little nutube in the pre-amp stage with an avalanche of signal from the Ryra Klon Klone and it collapsed into a squashed out over compressed lump of mess. When I do the same thing to an actual tube amp it sounds more like… bliss. Yeah, that’s a good adjective… bliss. Is bliss actually an adjective or is it a noun that I am using as an adjective. It’s been so long since I’ve thought about grammar, you know?

Gibson Records

A few years ago (2018, I think) Gibson Guitars went into chapter 11 bankruptcy. The generally accept reason for the financial difficulties was the acquisition of a bunch of companies that were audio related but not necessarily guitar related. They seemed to see themselves becoming a high end audio dealer and it blew up in their face and they went bankrupt.

Here we are, a few years later, and they have restructured and put their focus back onto guitars and things are said to be going well. Not long ago they announced they were buying Mesa Boogie. Many of us who are fans of the company wondered if maybe it was a bad idea to start acquiring other companies, though if you gotta buy someone Boogie seems like a can’t lose because they are frankly awesome. People who aren’t fans of the company announced the death of a legendary amplifier company. I consider myself a Fender amp guy, but there are a couple of Mesa Boogie amps that have always challenged my loyalty. As long as I’ve been playing, I could always see myself becoming a Mesa Boogie guy. More recently, the California Tweed…… drooool.

Now here we are in the pandemic world and Gibson announces a new venture… a record company… Ummm… I foresee the Gibson hater community tearing them a new one over this and frankly I think they are right. A record company? Three years out from bankruptcy and you’re starting a record company? You’re feeding your money into a dying industry? Why would you do that? That is just… dumb.

On the upside, I’m a Gibson guy. Maybe they’ll release Quarantine Tunes Volumes 1-4 for me. I could be a rock star! Except that there is no such thing as rock stars anymore and the record business is dying an agonizing death.

Oh well.