Two Weeks

Two weeks ago at about this time, I think I was being moved from the operating room to the recovery room. I’m trying to find some way to commemorate this historic anniversary and I am coming up with nothing. I’m in the cellar, watching Breaking Bad again and surfing online music stores on my laptop. I don’t want to spend money on gitter stuff but what can you do? Pedal boards and random gear are just fun to daydream about. I have made sure to avoid looking at actual guitars though. Amps too. Just pedals and non-bank breaking stuff.

As for the post-surgical update, I had a weird experience today. I ate my delicious tuna fish puree at lunch time. When I was done I… well… it’s so odd… I felt… hungry. As in, damn I could go for another ounce of that fun stuff. It was just a weird feeling.

I am still not giving any details on the subject, but my mother is still in the hospital. I still can’t do anything about it, and likely won’t be able to for another 2-3 weeks. I feel less than useless. Again, no details are coming but I just needed to state that publicly for my own guilt ridden reasons. That is all.

Happy two-week birthday to my little baby stomach*.


* In his book Ghost Rider, Neil Peart, while dealing with the deaths of his wife and daughter, refers to parts of his recovery as feeding his little baby soul. My soul is okay, but my little baby stomach needs constant attention.

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.

PAF Journey

I spent some time with the Google and the Reddit and the Social Medias today looking for ideas for new pickups for my Les Paul Custom. I want to get as close to the original Gibson PAF’s as I can and I don’t care how snooty and snobby I have to get.

I learned a couple of things. First, it seems most of the people I encountered did not live in the United States, and most of the suggestions would require some form of international shipping. Also, most of the people I encountered have a ton more money than I do. I was hoping for something in the $200-250 range. I saw one suggestion that goes for $1300 and another that goes for $1500.

There were a couple of good ideas in my price range. Something will come of this. Weirdly, the one big company I looked at was actually more expensive than some of the small businesses. I didn’t expect that, but what can you do, right?

First we get through the kitchen, then we can get to the guitars. Also the cellar. All the stuffs.

Amp Swap

I made some changes to the bedroom music nook today. Sort of celebrating the fact that the RPM Challenge is over. Mixing it up, ya know?

I moved the Vox MV50 Nutube amp and the Fender Bassbreaker 112 speaker cabinet back into the living room. The electric piano is plugged into it again. I took the Bassbreaker 15 that I’ve been using for months and months down cellar and brought up the Vox AC15. The next time I play it will be through the AC15.

I am trying to work up the Covid courage to ask the band what their late-March schedules look like. I’m sort of hoping someone else brings it up first so if we all get Covid I won’t feel that extra layer of guilt. That’s ignoring the fact that we won’t be getting Covid, but that’s beside the point. I’m also thinking about bringing the AC15 to that first bad practice.

Speaking of venturing out into the world, I have been wondering to myself if this week’s vacation will be the time I finally bring my Fender Stratocaster to a music store, probably Guitar Center in Nashua, to trade it in for something else. First on the potential trade list is a Les Paul Junior. Second is the Fender reissue of the silver face Deluxe Reverb. Third would probably be a Gibson Firebird. All of those things will cost more than I could get for the Strat so price is an issue as well as store stock. Also, Covid. I don’t know if I am up to that yet. I don’t know if I’m up to anything yet, but going to the office once a week over the last three weeks, as well as some in person doctors appointments… my courage is building up.

We’ll see.

Which Klon/Klone is My Favorite

If you’d asked me a few weeks ago I’d have said the KTR without question, but the Ryra has been growing on me like crazy. I’m not sure anymore.

I just put the KTR on the bedroom board so everything RPM Challenge from here on will use it.

Which do I prefer? With a potential return to band practices coming someday (I hope), It’s a question that must be answered.

Fuzz

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.

Do Something

It’s 9:30pm. I’m sitting at my desk on a Windows machine (why?) watching last Friday’s That Pedal Show (finally) and thinking that I should post something without having any clue what to post.

TV? I finished Foundation last night. Two thumbs up, says the guy who never read the Azimov books. I watched both Walking Dead spin offs today. World Beyond was good. Fear wasn’t. At least I don’t think it was. I have to fess up that it was so boring I was barely paying attention to any of it.

That Pedal Show has an old SR&D Rockman headphone amp on the board. I haven’t gotten far enough into the episode for them to use it, but it did send me on a hunt. I used to own a Rockman headphone amp. Which model was it? Ebay and Reverb searches make me think that it was a Soloist. The original Rockmans apparently had a little gain control on the back. Mine didn’t. I know it wasn’t an X100 because my memory seems to think that the X100 was the latest and greatest model when I bought mine and I didn’t want to pay the full price so I bought an older model used. I used to use it to record a direct line into Mike’s Fostex cassette 4-track recorder. Larry had a couple of the rack units. The Sustainer, the Stereo Chorus and the Delay… was it called the Stereo Delay? I can’t remember. I do know the Sustainer was awesome as a direct signal into the 4-track. I would think about buying a Soloist for the nostalgia value, but I don’t want to spend $100. I need them to be cheaper than that.

Okay. So I am going to get into bed and maybe watch a little more That Pedal Show, or maybe go look for a new TV show, or maybe just watch a random Futurama, or maybe just go to sleep. As mentioned in a previous post, I am so freakin’ tired.

Until next time, good night everyone.

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.

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.