Play On

I just want to play my guitar. I wanted to do a ton of music in May and I barely did anything. I had 10 songs in the pipeline but only put guitar on two of them. I failed to finish anything for record every month. I am disappointed in myself.

June plans are to play as much as I can stomach, finish all 10 May songs and write and record 10 June songs. Double album, babie. It is a moral imperative.

I want to start the repairs on my two oldest guitars. I have a shop I want to bring them to. It’s an hour drive to get there, but the prices look okay and the reviews seem all right. I would prefer someone who’s been in the luthier business for longer than just the last four years or so, but I think I am okay with this.

Both guitars need their frets worked on and possibly replaced.
The 335 needs a new wiring harness.
If I have enough money left over, the Les Paul could get new pickups installed. That’s a big if though.

Mostly though, I just want to play. We were talking about getting the band together in June. I really want that to happen as well. I just want to play! If music be the food of love, play on and all that happy crappy. Shakespeare, babie!

Refretting an Electric Guitar

I may have found a luthier to work on my two old guitars. He’s taking new customers and does full refrets, and his prices are a lot lower than the one estimate I have. The downside is that he’s in Rockport, so it’s a serious drive.

In honor of this news, I asked Google Bard to write a short blog post about refretting an electric guitar. Here it the response:

Refretting an Electric Guitar

Refretting an electric guitar is a process of replacing the frets on the fingerboard. Fret wear is a natural process that occurs over time as the strings are played. As the frets wear, they can become uneven, which can cause buzzing and other problems. Refretting can improve the playability and sound of your guitar, and it can also extend the life of the instrument.

There are a few different ways to refret an electric guitar. The most common method is to use a fret saw to remove the old frets and then to install new frets using a fret press. This process requires specialized tools and skills, and it is best to have it done by a professional luthier.

If you are a skilled DIYer, you can refret your own guitar. There are a number of resources available online and in libraries that can teach you how to do it. However, it is important to note that refretting is a complex process, and it is easy to make mistakes. If you are not confident in your abilities, it is best to have it done by a professional.

Here are some of the benefits of refretting an electric guitar:

  • Improved playability: New frets are smooth and even, which makes it easier to play your guitar.
  • Improved sound: New frets can improve the sound of your guitar by reducing buzzing and other problems.
  • Extended life: Refretting can extend the life of your guitar by preventing further fret wear.

If you are considering refretting your electric guitar, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you need to decide whether you want to do it yourself or have it done by a professional. Second, you need to choose the right type of frets. There are a number of different types of frets available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Finally, you need to budget for the cost of refretting. The cost of refretting can vary depending on the type of guitar, the materials used, and the labor costs in your area.

If you are serious about improving the playability and sound of your electric guitar, refretting is a great option. By following the tips above, you can choose the right method for you and get the best results possible.

Google Bard

Musical Distraction

We are at the hotel, killing time before we head out to the next graduation event. I walked a couple of miles this morning to close my exercise ring. Actual walking outdoors. How sick is that?

I’m letting my tiny little brain think about music projects today. Last month’s two record-every-month songs were recorded direct input using the speaker sim out of my Vox MV50 amplifier. This month I was going to use my Fender Deluxe Reverb with a mic for everything. Now that the calendar says it is May 20th I think it’s safe to say that my May recording plans are down the shitter. As a result, I’m thinking I might go back to the direct signal thing a little more.

At first it was because we had one of the kids in the house and he sleeps late every day which means no amps in the morning before work. Now though… I think I just want to. It sounded okay to me last month. I’m watching some YouTube videos of folks with similar rigs and they are sounding okay too. I think I just want to mess with it more.

The follow up question would be do I do a direct into the PA rig when the band starts playing again. Probably not, but maybe try it once just to see how it works? Maybe.

Boy, Am I Sleepy

Yup, two nights of weirdness in a row leads to ol’ Robbie being one sleepy red head.

Hey, I had a couple of packs of guitar strings from amazon delivered today. Will that inspire me to do some actual guitar playing this weekend? I sure hope so.

What else is on the agenda for this weekend? A haircut. My hair hasn’t been this long since the early days of the pandemic. It’s starting to look like 1993 around here. Is that why I have listened to Nirvana more or less around the clock for the last 2+ days? I made a playlist of just the expanded editions of the three Nirvana albums this morning (Apple music has expanded editions of Bleach and In Utero, and two expanded editions of Nevermind) and I have been steam rolling through them as I work today. I’m on the last track from the first of the two Neverminds.

Hey, speaking of Nirvana and the glory days of the 1990’s, I had a pop culture worlds colliding moment this morning. I managed to sneak in this week’s episode of Yellowjackets before work (barely). After a couple of days immersed in the atomic explosion that is Nirvana, wouldn’t you know it the episode’s creepy opening was accompanied by Something in the Way playing on the soundtrack? How cool is that. It’s like they knew where my brain was right now and fed right into it.

I need a nap… and a haircut… and to do some dishes before we make dinner… and to listen to all the live tracks on the 30th anniversary edition of Nevermind.

Two hours and 36 minutes left in the work day. You can do it, Robbie.

I was incorrect. Apple Music does not have one expanded edition of In Utero, it has two. One Bleach, two Nevermind, and two In Utero (one of which includes the unofficial first Foo Fighters song, Marigold [which is next in my iTunes queue]).

Binge Watchin’ Fool

My X-Files rewatch is in season three. Deep Space Nine is still in season two. Strange New Worlds is almost done. Before all of this started I rewatched The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. I recently rewatched Rebels. Over the last week I rewatched Andor (best Star Wars Disney+ show by miles and miles) and two nights ago I started rewatching Obi-Wan Kenobi.

I don’t want to stop with the two non-Star Wars shows, but I am really feeling the ol’ Galaxy Far Far Away vibes right now. Three more episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi and I’ll be out of live action shows on Disney+. Does this mean I am going to have to watch The Clone Wars from start to finish? That would include both seasons of The Bad Batch as that is really just The Clone Wars part two, right? Clone Wars has episodes with Jar Jar though… do I really want to go through that again? On the other hand, it would be a good prep for Ahsoka, which comes out in August.

On an unrelated note, I restarted another thing from last year this morning. The Great Spider Hunt of 2023 is on like Donkey Kong. While running in place this morning (yogging) I saw a HUGE sucker crawling up the wall behind my desk. I removed him/her from the equation with extreme prejudice. I expect there to be hundreds more to follow over the next couple of seasons.

On another unrelated note I haven’t played my guitar yet this month. I have a bunch of little song ideas, mostly just riffs, in progress, but I only have one song form sketched out and I haven’t plugged the guitar in at all. I still haven’t played through the King of Tone pedal after 5+ years on the wait list. Sigh of frustration. I’ll figure it out.

Okay. Time to go shower and get ready for work. Happy Tuesday, said the ancient 52 year old.


Last night I started googling “luthiers near me” to see if I could find a shop that will replace the frets on two of my guitars. I’ve been sending out emails asking for info on whether or not the shops handle jobs like that, and if so about how much can I expect to spend.

Most have not responded. The few that have said that they don’t do fret replacements. You know, I really do not want to ship these guitars back to Gibson, but I will if I have to. Jen used to work for a company that had an office in Tennessee. If she still did I could maybe weasel a trip down there somehow. That would be preferable to shipping, right?

I expected the most difficult part of this process would be coming up with the money. I believe I did that yesterday. Now I find that finding someplace to do it is the hard part? I really don’t want to go to Guitar Center again.

Ugh, stress.

Record Every Month for April: Complete

I have finished two songs for the Record Every Month Challenge for April. My mini-challenge of recording a single each month is still on track. My mini challenge of recording an EP in April crashed and burned. That’s okay.

The A Side is okay. The B Side is garbage. I used my SG and my Vox MV50 on all of the guitar tracks, and recorded everything direct into my iPad. I also mixed on the iPad, which might explain why the mixes are worse than the usual crap.

Here’s the A Side:

Here’s the uber crappy B Side:

Next month will use my Les Paul and my Deluxe Reverb, and my new King of Tone overdrive pedal which I waited over five years to get and still haven’t even plugged in. That changes starting tomorrow. Until then, enjoy this crap.

The Stratocaster Recap

Jen and I were in Nashua, NH yesterday. We went to the Best Buy there to pick up an online order. On the way home we drove past Guitar Center, and my tiny little brain started spinning it’s tiny little wheels.

Back in 2020 as the pandemic was starting I had decided to sell my Fender Stratocaster. My original plan was to take it to a Guitar Center and trade it for something. I know there are probably 50 posts on this blog talking about this, but what can you do. Obviously the pandemic shut down put a temporary end to my plans, but as time passed I also decided to sell it myself rather than trade it. I knew I could get significantly more money for it if I avoided the big box music store.

I had considered trading it for another guitar. Maybe a Les Paul Junior, or a Firebird, or maybe a new amp. Something like a silver face Bassman head or maybe a recent printed circuit board Marshall tube amp. I don’t know. Eventually my Les Paul Custom and ES-335 Pro started getting to the point where the frets were so worn out that they are difficult to play and I hatched the plan to sell the Strat to pay for refrets and new wiring harnesses on the two old Gibsons. I even found a Luthier in Andover that I was hoping could do the repair work for me.

Then time continued to roll on and I never did anything. The guitar sat in it’s case in the cellar, unplayed since at least 2019. Yesterday when we drove past Guitar Center I wished I had the guitar with me because I just would have brought it in and traded it for whatever cash they would give me. I didn’t have it with me though, so I tried not to think about it anymore.

Then the item Jen bought at Best Buy didn’t work and we started talking about returning it today. I took that as a sign from the Guitar Universe and volunteered to drive back to Nashua so that I could take care of her errand and selfishly take care of my own. That’s what I did today. I returned Jen’s purchase and sold my Stratocaster. I got exactly what I expected Guitar Center would pay me for it, which is a lot less than I would have gotten if I had sold it on craigslist or reverb or ebay. The money aspect of this is filling me with a lot of sellers remorse. At the same time, I am seriously hopefully that my guitar will be sold to someone who will give it the love it deserves. I am hoping it will end up with some high school kid who will have his entire world opened up in a way similar to how my world changed when I took home my Les Paul Deluxe from Russo’s Music in Lowell back in 1988. That would make me happy.

I bought it in 2014 in Dover, NH and sold it in 2023 in Nashua, NH for almost the same price. I never gigged with it, though it did sit on the stage at Racks, unplayed, at one Lizardfish show. It is a great guitar, I just never really bonded with it. I loved it, I just didn’t LOVE it… you know? My advice to whomever ends up with it is to just switch on the neck pickup and leave it there forever. It’s a glorious sound.

Happy trails, my 2000 made in USA Fender American Series Stratocaster with a maple neck and an aqua marine finish. Thanks for the memories.

PS: That Luthier in Andover? I tried to make an appointment with them last month to have my ES-335 looked at so they could tell me if it needed a full refret job, or if the current frets would be salvageable. They told me they were booked solid through the end of the month and to try again in May. Okay. May starts tomorrow, right? Yesterday he posted online that he has an injury and will not be able to do full fret replacement jobs for a while until it heels. Oh for fucks sake, dude. I am now taking this personally and looking for alternative shops. Wish me luck,