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.

Bursts

This videos is a commercial and it’s getting on to two years old, but it’s also a nice little history lesson and the three guitars it’s selling are absolutely glorious.

Gibson Les Paul Standards made from 1958-60 are called Bursts and they are the holy grail.

Guitar Commercial

This video is a commercial but given the subject matter I don’t mind sharing it.

Gibson guitars and Alex Lifeson from Rush once designed a Les Paul model together. It was called the Axcess Les Paul, or Les Paul Axcess, or whatever. Despite Alex being pretty much the guitar god to me, and Les Pauls being my favorite guitars by far, the Axcess didn’t really do it for me. The look was just a little off, and a Les Paul with a Floyd Rose bridge just bothers me on a fundamental level. I watched Alex play them more times than I can count and he always sounded amazing, but that one just wasn’t for me.

He’s working with Epiphone now to make an affordable Axcess model. I’m sure it’s great, but again it’s not for me. This video is a four minute intro to the new guitars where he basically tells his entire history with Gibson. It’s pretty cool. The music playing is pieces of the two new instrumentals on his new website. It’s been kind of a busy week for old Lerxst.

For the record, Gibson did once release a custom shop copy of his ES-355 in a very limited quantity for an absolutely stunning price. I’d kill to get my mitts on one of those, but I’d likely have to sell my body for medial experiments in order to afford it.

Les Paul Lessons

This week’s That Pedal Show is all about Fender Strats. I tried to love my Strat but I just couldn’t connect with it. It’s a killer guitar and I got some great sounds out of it. It just doesn’t feel like home though. I watched the episode but it took a few sittings to get through it. As soon as it was done I went back to the Les Paul vs ES-335 episode from last December because I needed to feel at home again.

I took out my new Les Paul and noodled along. I am pretty sure I am going to have to start talking to a therapist soon. Until then, playing guitar will have to do.

Les Paul Standard 50’s into a Ryra The Klone into a Vox AC15. In case you were curious. Recorded with the iPhone mic, which means you likely won’t be curious.

My New Best Friend

I just sat in front of the TV, noodling without an amp. Just connecting with the new kid in town.

I love the nickel hardware and I love the trapezoid inlays.

I love the grain on the maple cap. It’s not really enough to call it a flame, I don’t think, but it is freakin’ groovy.

None of my other Gibsons have the little knob position pointer thingies. I can’t remember if my poor, stolen Les Paul Deluxe had them or not.

The back is a different color than my ‘78 Custom. I like the lighter shade this has.

I adore the 50’s style tuning pegs. I think my much missed Deluxe had those. My Custom didn’t (I changed the tuners on the Custom in 2006, I think, and I have no clue if the ones we took off were original or not.

I’m happy to see the poker chip. My SG came with one but it wasn’t installed. I haven’t put it on because it’s a royal pain in the ass to do.

You can’t see it in the picture (I tried and failed) but it’s definitely a two piece cap. My eyes could clearly see where they join.

Like I said, I have a new best friend. What a killer birthday present, right?