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Guitar Cable Amp and Hands

Guitar Cable Amp and Hands

(Note: I found an old email from Dave ~rip~ with his take on the use of a guitar cable amp and hands to pull out your own original sound. I think he was getting on me a little bit in this one - I have the pedal board syndrome like he described ... Scott ... 8^)

Now, boys & girls, don’t take me all wrong here…I’m not ‘anti-effects’, though I will admit to be a serious late 60’s-70’s throwback in terms of most things musical including guitar tone.

Bassists | Give Fretless a Shot

Bassists | Give Fretless a Shot!

If you’re a bassist, and you’ve never tried fretless, then that’s something you definitely need to put on your ‘bucket list’, or better yet, your ‘to do right now’ list.

If you have an old bass lying around catching dust; one that you rarely if ever play anymore, you can give it (and your playing) some new life by converting it to a fretless bass. We’ve written a manual on the process, and you can find it here:

Or you can have someone do it for you… or you can even buy a factory-built fretless bass. The idea of converting your old bass, though, will save you a chunk of change, and renew that old instrument at the same time. And you’ll have the satisfaction of having done it all by yourself!

As for the benefits of fretless bass, there is an expressiveness and ‘feel’ to fretless that you just cannot get from a bass with those pesky little metal ‘speed bumps’ across the fingerboard. Not to mention that lovely mellow buzz, or ‘mwah’ as some refer to it, of the strings against the fingerboard as they vibrate. Once you start playing fretless bass, you’ll discover a whole new palette of tones and effects available to you. Lovely vibratos and glissandos are possible on fretless that are not possible on a fretted bass. When soloing, you will even find the ability to play microtonally a real boost to the expressiveness you can achieve. Them ol’ ‘blue notes’ are yours for the playing! Play large-interval slides without any ‘fret clicks’ as you slide your finger up or down the board!

Gear Review - Epiphone Les Paul Special I P-90

Mahogany body
Bolt-on mahogany neck
Rosewood fretboard
P-90R neck pickup
P-90T bridge pickup
1 Volume, 1 Tone control
3-way pickup toggle switch
Wraparound bridge/tailpiece

Action, Fit & Finish:

GEAR REVIEW - Xaviere XV-820 Single Cutaway Electric Guitar

This guitar came into my hands from a friend of mine, whose young guitar student bought it, and found it needed some attention (setup) to play at its best. 'Needed some attention' turned out to be somewhat of an understatement.
Lets' start with:

Fit & Finish:

Douglas Signus Nat EQ Acoustic/Electric Guitar

Douglas Signus Nat EQ
Full Size Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Spruce top, mahogany back and sides
- Cut-away body for comfortable play
- Optional user-installable pickguard
- Built in Pre-amp (Fishman Isys+) with EQ.
- Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
- Truss Rod Adjustable Neck
- Overall length 41"
- Actual Weight is only 6.5 lbs

Action, Fit & Finish:

SX Lap1 NA Lap Steel Guitar Review

SX Lap1 NA Lap Steel Guitar Review

SX Lap Steel Features

  • A full size 36 fret lap steel guitar
  • Mahogany body with rosewood fretboard
  • Width at the Nut: 2 1/16", String Spacing: 3/8"
  • Diecast chrome tuners, pickup covers, V and T knobs
  • 22 3/4" Scale
  • Single coil pickup w/ 8K ohm resistance
  • String Sizes: 0.35mm, 0.42mm, 0.69mm, 0.90mm, 1.15mm, 1.40mm (not on the one I have!)
  • A protective carry bag included
  • Length: 33", Body Length: 13", Width at Lower Bout: 8 1/4", Width at Upper Bout: 5 7/8", Body Thickness: 1 1/2"
  • On the Subject of 'Pro' Gear

    Read thru the Craigslist ‘Musicians’ section for your city some time. How many times do you see the phrase ‘must have pro gear’? You see that in many, if not most, of the ‘Guitarist, Bassist, or Whatever Wanted’ ads….right?

    Pick Punch!

    I just got this super-cool little device for Christmas from my daughter! I had stumbled across it on the Web just a couple of weeks before Christmas, and knew I had to have one, so I put it on my 'Wish List' and my kiddo got me one.

    DiMarzio DP120 'Model One' bass pickup

    DiMarzio DP120 Model One bass pickup

    I've been looking for the perfect pickup for my Epiphone EB-0 bass, and I have finally found it!
    If you 've been reading my blog, you know that I was terribly disappointed in the Artec 'mudbucker' (anyone want that thing?), and I don't really like the way the Epiphone stock pickup sounds (not a real EB-0 type tone at all). So when I got the opportunity and the bucks together, I bought this DiMarzio DP120. It's a drop-in replacement for the stock pickup; fits like a glove.

    Acoustic Amplification B10 Bass Practice Amp


    Playing with ‘Feeling’ vs. Playing with Technical Proficiency

    Playing with ‘Feeling’ vs. Playing with Technical Proficiency

    I just read a couple of Craigslist posts here in Austin about a certain currently-popular guitarist, the argument being about whether or not he’s a Blues guitarist or a Fusion guitarist, and about whether or not his playing has any ‘feel’ to it or if it’s purely technical in nature.

    That got me to thinking about the relative merits of ‘feeling’ vs. technical proficiency in the context of playing a musical instrument. Now, bear in mind that I’m an old guy, and realize that the names I’m about to throw out here are not the currently best-known names in the biz…but if you’re any kind of student of your instrument (specifically, guitar and bass), you’ve heard these names, and probably heard a lot of their work as well.

    Let’s take Eric Clapton...

    MORE: Artec EBC4-CR Bass Pickup Mudbucker Clone

    Artec EBC4-CR Bass Pickup Mudbucker Clone

    That's it! I give up!

    I received the new Artec pickup from the Ebay seller and installed it in my bass. And Guess What? IT HUMS, TOO!!!

    I don't know if it's inherent in a 'humbucking' pickup that has that much gain/DC resistance (30 K), but this thing buzzes like a chainsaw, no matter what I try!

    It's been years since I've heard a 60's Gibson EB-0 bass, but I really don't remember them humming like this, and this pickup is supposed to be a dead-ringer, tone-wise, for those original Gibson pickups. Huge, Enormous, Fat, Tumescent bottom-end...but virtually ZERO highs.

    Artec EBC4-CR Bass Pickup Mudbucker Clone

    Artec EBC4-CR Bass Pickup Mudbucker Clone

    If you read my review of the Epiphone EB-0 bass that I recently acquired, you know that I got it with a bad pickup, and was looking to replace it, hopefully with something better than the stock Epi 'mudbucker'.

    So I began a quest for the replacement pickup, looking at the DiMarzio Model One, Darkstar, etc., all of which cost more than I really wanted to spend on a bass I only paid $100 for. Then I spotted the Artec EBC4-CR on Ebay, and available from Guitar Parts Resource as well. Although the price on GPR was a good deal more than the ones listed on Ebay, I decided to go with GPR because they were shipping from Ohio, rather than from Hong Kong. I just thought it the safer way to go.

    However, when I received the pickup and installed it, there was this absolutely horrible 60-Hz hum, approx. 1/4 as loud as the thru-put signal! Well, I thought they probably had a bad one in their inventory, so I returned it, stating the issue it had with the humming (this is supposedly a humbucking pickup, remember...). They sent me out another one...

    Gear Review - First Act model ME105 Bass Guitar

    Gear Review - First Act model ME105 Bass Guitar

    Don’t laugh just yet….this little bass is far, far better than the price would suggest! The one I have was advertised (used) on Austin Craigslist for $30, but I ended up swapping a couple of old effect pedals for it straight-up. It had stickers and the residue of stickers all over it, badly needed a truss-rod adjustment and overall setup, and generally looked and played like crap…until I cleaned off the stickers, boiled out the strings (which weren’t really old to begin with), and did a decent setup on it.

    General Description/Features:

    - Double-cutaway solid Basswood body
    - White pearloid pickguard
    - Maple neck/Rosewood fingerboard, 32” scale
    - ‘P-Bass’ style pickup
    - Cast, sealed ‘Gotoh-style’ tuners
    - Single tone/volume controls

    The finish appears to be a translucent blue with sparkles, over a black base.

    Douglas Pisces Bass Review

    Douglas Pisces Bass Review

    See all the specifications of this bass here:
    Douglas Pisces Bass

    Douglas Pisces Bass Initial Impressions

    This bass is basically a ‘lookalike’ of a ’51 P-Bass, or if you like, early Telecaster Bass. The model I have is the two-tone sunburst, and I have to say, first thing, that the finish on this bass is just absolutely gorgeous. I’m sure it’s a polyester or polyurethane finish, but it doesn’t seem to be any thicker than a nitrocellulose lacquer sunburst finish would be. It’s very well buffed out, to a fantastic high gloss. I’m not such a huge fan of that enormous black scratchplate, but I think if it were white, against this finish, it would be even more obtrusive. I plan to take it off and see what the finish underneath looks like, and if it’s as good as the rest of the body that’s not hidden by the scratchplate, I just may make a replica from Plexiglas, either plain clear or in a tinted/smoke type, so you can see the sunburst outline thru it. Enough about the finish…suffice it to say that it’s very, very nice. When I first pulled it out of the box, my mouth involuntarily formed the word, ‘Wow!”. That just about says it all.

    I found just one little issue in my first few minutes with the instrument; that of its tendency to want to ‘spit out’ the cable plugged into its input jack. The jack’s tip-contact tang was a bit long, so it didn’t “latch” onto the plug tip properly. I tweaked it with a pair of needlenose pliers until it worked, but it’s still not optimal, so I’ll be replacing the jack with a new one very soon.

    I had to do the tiniest bit of tweaking on the setup to eliminate a fret-buzz here & there, and it will probably be a bit of an ongoing process until the neck gets fully ‘settled in’ with being played on. The intonation, as best I could determine by ear alone, seemed just about perfect right out of the box.

    Click to read more of the Douglas Pisces bass review.

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