Archive for the ‘Guitar’ Category

On November 21st an item of mine sold at auction on eBay. It was a piece of music equipment. I sold it for $245 + $15 in shipping, for a total of $260. The buyer PayPal’ed me the money right away. I was not able to go out on Friday (11/22) to ship the item, so I went on Sat/ (11/23) to a Post Office that is open till 9pm on saturdays to mail the item. I purchased insurance and tracking for the item. It was scanned in at the post office at 6:34pm. The next, and last scan ever, was 26 minutes later @ 7pm. The image below is how the tracking info looks on USPS.com at the time of this writing on the evening of Dec. 26th:

Capture

Nov. 30th rolled around adn the package was not delivered. I contacted the seller and we figured we’d wait a day or two and see if the tracking got updated and if the package got delivered. By Dec.4th the package was not delivered and the tracking information was updated. I was not able to run to the post office on the 5th, so I went on Dec. 6th to my local post office (not the one I mailed it from). I spoke with the manager there and explained everything. He looked it up, couldn’t find out any more information than I could, and decided to email the Duluth, Ga. main sorting facility the details to see if they could find the package or come up with some information. He told me that they would get back to him by either calling or emailing him, and he would get back to me right away. He took my phone number. I never got a call back that day, or the next (saturday).

On Monday (the 9th) I went back. He said that he had heard nothing, emailed them again. He also gave me the number for Consumer Affairs and recommended that I open a Research Case to find out where the package went. So, right there in the parking lot of the post office on Monday I called the office of Consumer Affairs and opened a research case. After a 30-40 minute hold to talk to someone, I was finally able to open a research case. I was told that in 1-3 business days (by Dec 12th) I would get a call back with the results.

On the afternoon of Dec. 12 I had not yet received a call back, so I called the Consumer Affairs 1-800 office # to see what was going on. After almost an hour on hold I finally got someone on the phone. They told me that the research case worker, Terry Standridge, had tried to get in touch with me, but my phone number was not working, so he sent me a card so that I could call him back. They read my phone number to me, and they had the last 2 digits switched. This is after the person taking my number read it back to me! So I had that corrected. They told me that the case worker would get back to me either later that afternoon, or the next day (Friday Dec. 13th).

On Friday, Dec. 13th I never got a call back. I tried calling the local (770) number for the case worker and I believe it forwarded me to the 1-800 number.

Read the rest of this entry »

3 part documentary on Joe Bonamassa “How One Man Beat the Industry”:
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

First of all, “Unboxing videos” are, for the most part, useless and ridiculous. Once in a blue moon they may be warranted, but it’s kinda rare. Furthermore, for any 1 product there really doesn’t need to be more than one. Ever. Look! The product, the manual, and some little $0.05 accessory! Wow.

With that in mind, allow me to show you perhaps the worst of the worst:

CoilyCableUnpacking

That’s right, it’s an “unboxing video” (or “unpacking in this case”) **FOR A GUITAR CABLE**. Not only that, it is over 13 freaking minutes long!!!

I understand she’s excited about her cable, and the Vox coily cables are great, look cool, and sound great too, but still. [facepalm]

(If you must know the “unboxing ends before the 4 minute mark – which is still too long – and the rest is playing, talking about a guitar she ordered, etc.)

There are different “stages” of fear, and different types of fear. There is mental fear, and physical fear. Mental fear could be something like the fear of public speaking, while physical fear could be the fear of physical injury (like you might experience skydiving). This does not relate to actual phobias, which I will not address in this article. Types of fear could include the fear of success, the fear of a break-up, etc. I will be addressing what I call the “stages” of fear:

1. Panic
2. Fear
3. Nervousness
4. Confidence

The purpose here is to discuss how fear can be greatly mitigated, and brought down from one stage to a lower stage.

Panic is often experienced in the heat of the moment. You could be at stage 2 (fear) and suddenly , unexpectedly be elevated to stage 1 (panic), and you could also be feeling confident and suddenly be elevated all the way to panic.

The question is, how do we prevent this?

Read the rest of this entry »

This was sparked by a post on a forums regarding the “best” speaker solution for a modeling rig (CLR, other FRFR/PA speakers, guitar cab, etc.). A little background is due here. The Atomic CLR FRFR solution is one designed by Jay Mitchell in cooperation with Atomic Amplification, specifically for modeling rigs. It is meant to address inconsistencies in many PA speakers, and deliver as flat and “true” a sound as possible, within a mid-range budget. It competes with speakers such as RCF, FBT, ART, etc.

The basic premise here is that if you want to use a modeling rig to it’s fullest potential (meaning, not only amp and effects modeling, but cab/speaker modeling as well), you need to use an FRFR solution. FRFR is Full Range, Flat Response. Just like studio monitors, the idea is that the speakers should not color the sound at all, but rather reproduce, as closely to exact as possible, what the modeler is putting out. When utilizing a traditional guitar cab, which is not FRFR, the idea is you would only model the amps and effects, and turn off the cab modeling, and let the “real” cab do it’s job and reproduce the sound that you are looking for. Other arguments for and against are that the real cab approach, while more limited, produces a more real “amp in the room” sound and feel, and that the FRFR solution provides a tone more reminiscent of what you hear on a recording (IOW, great recorded tone, not an amp in the room sound or feel). The degree of this can be argued and often is.

Some may disagree with my ideas here, but I think we tend to approach modeling amplification from the wrong angle. The idea is that there is an objective “best” (or at least as close as we can get w/o shelling out WAY too much – so for the sake of argument) speaker solution for a modeling rig is, in my opinion, incorrect.

The truth is, tone is subjective, not objective. Are the CLRs “the best”? Or at least “better” (twice as good, 100 times as good, it doesn’t matter) than say an EV speaker? Or a $10 speaker? What about a Guitar Cab?

No. Yes. It depends. All are correct answers. Like Jay Mitchell has said, they are a tool for performing a specific function. So the question “are they the best” is a non-specific question. Are the “the best” AT WHAT? If the question is “are they (the CLRs, in this case) the best at reproducing the tones that your modeler makes with the greatest degree of accuracy” then the answer *could be* “yes” (at least for this argument). But is that really the question that we should be asking? Isn’t what we REALLY want to know is “Are they the best sounding for me?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Check out this webste post. They measured the capacitance of 1/4″ jacks. Of course, this is on Vertex’s website, and they come up #1 in all the tests, but you can’t buy their end connectors.

What surprised me was not only the very large differences between manufacturers, but also the really large differences between TYPES of plugs. No way did I expect right-angle plugs to be so much better than straight plugs. I figured that they would be about all the same, or close to it. And Switchcraft pancake connectors have half the capacitance of Horizon connectors? I’ve always stayed away from all Horizon cables except MIDI cables, as all the ones I had were tone suckers. Maybe it’s time to rethink that a little bit.

This was just in time as I am planning on creating a front patch panel for my rack this month too.

Amongst guitarists, you hear this a lot. Often in the following type of a context:

“I’ve got an Eric Johnson signature strat, an EJ Fuzz Face, the right delay pedal, a vintage Marshall plexi, but I still don’t sound like Eric Johnson. I can’t get that tone.”

Response: “Thats because tone is in the fingers.”

This is often followed up with (as “proof”) something along the lines of “I don’t sound like Eddie Van Halen, but Eddie could come over to my house and plug into my crappy amp and still sound like Eddie Van Halen”

Well, I think that this is crap. Or partially crap.

I’ll approach this from a couple of different angles to hopefully, in the end, paint the full picture. I’ll tell you what my perspective is, and then define/justify/prove my argument afterwards.
Read the rest of this entry »

So, if you are like me, matching amps and speakers can be confusing. A good part of the reason for this is that there is a LOT of conflicting information out. You can find 2 very reputable experts out there saying completely different things! You hear on one hand that the speaker wattage should be 1.5 to 2 times what the amp wattage it. Then you hear on the other hand that the amp should be at least twice what the speakers’ wattage is (this is all assuming matched Ohms). WTF? Both theories are put forth by experts that know what they are doing, so how can they contradict?!? It makes no sense.

Like most things in music, it’s all about context and application. One guy says one thing, and never clearly defines the context, or even mentions that there are OTHER contexts in which the matching will change, and the other guy gives his spiel, also without defining the context or noting that there are other contexts. Well this post should completely clear that up!!! There should be no more mystery after reading this.
Read the rest of this entry »

So, I saw this question on reddit:

What I struggle with is knowing which notes I’m heading to during a jazz solo. For example, playing Blue Bossa, I’m great on the ii-V-I in Cm, but when it hops up to ii-V-I in Db, the fretboard just blanks out on me and I get lost. I can easily just learn the positioning and move through shapes, but I don’t want that, I want to know where all the notes are, just like looking at a piano and being able to lay down a tall chord without thinking.

So, TL,DR; I’m trying to find the best way to learn the notes applicably and thoroughly from someone who’s done it already. I’ve exhausted my resources and I need a new approach.

I think thats a great question, and I will attempt to give an answer. Something a little more indepth and different from the answers that were already given.

It is, of course, important to learn the names of the notes and their position on the neck. However, for this guy’s application I think intervals are far more important. Think of it like this (this is probably a weak analogy); generally we don’t need to know how to spell a word to speak it. Witness you’re, youre, bear, bare, etc. We just speak the words, and it’s all about context. I think to a great extent music is like that too. Think of the note names as spelling, and intervallic (and ear) playing as the context.

So I’ll break this post into 2 sections:
How to cheat at learning the notes on the strings (for most players with even a little bit of experience, they only have to now learn the notes on the B string and that’s it), and
Why knowing intervals is more important and a better, more musical, and quicker (in terms of mental processing) approach.

Read the rest of this entry »

There are no wrong notes. To see what I mean, check this out:
1) If you play a wrong note, play it again so it sounds like you did it on purpose, and it will often sound like its tension-building rather than a bad note. That leads me to….
2) There is no wrong note, just the wrong note played after. Play a bad note and if you pick it up quickly enough, you can slide into the right note (see #4).
3) If you play a wrong note on purpose as a neighboring tone leading into the right note, it sounds good. It also sounds just like #2 above.
4) When playing in the standard modes, no matter what note you hit, if its a “wrong” note you are NEVER more than 1 fret away in EITHER direction from the right note. If you are quick enough and you hit the wrong note, you don’t have to think about where to go from there to make it right, just go SOMEWHERE. That of course leads into #3 and then #2.
5) If you are playing a CMajor chord, people, the music, your ears will tell you that a C# note clashes with the chord. However, if you play it an octave up, it doesn’t clash! Its just a b9 and sounds fine. Play a C#Maj chord with the root on the 5th string, and hit the note C# on that 5th or the 4th string and it clashes. Hit that C# on the 3rd string (an octave up) and the b9 (C#) doesn’t sound so bad. So, is it REALLY a wrong note, or is it the close interval? And if its the close interval, then why does the 3rd sound OK? So its not necessarily that either.
6) If you practice playing the wrong notes enough, they start to sound good.
7) If wrong notes are so bad, then why is it that even some more rock guys like Steve Morse make heavy use of them and they never sound bad? Bach can hit notes out of key and use those notes as part of a main melody, and it won’t sound bad at all.

All food for thought!

“If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards” – Joe Pass

It was either Vai and Satriani or Becker and Friedman (I think it was Jason Becker and Marty Friendman) when they were younger used to sit back to back with guitars in hand. One would play chords while the other, having no clue as to the chord name or key or anything, would have to improvise over it. They learned quickly how to “fix mistakes” as well as play “wrong” notes on purpose for tension, etc.

In Victor Wooten’s book “The Music Lesson” (an excellent book!!!) a chapter deals with this. His teacher starts playing some chords, and Victor sits there and tries to find they key before jumping in. His teacher asks him what he is doing, and tells him to just jump in, and that there are no wrong notes, or at least you can fix them, etc.

Of course, simply knowing that playing wrong notes can be good, or that there are no wrong notes, etc. isn’t enough. You have to actually practice it (something that I really need to incorporate into my practice regimen too!)