Thursday, 6 March 2014
Ok My Gibson Les Paul Custom, which used to on the old blog at least and maybe here for a while be my banner at the top, has had to go to the menders.
Why? Cos I was daft that is why. I've filed a few nuts in my time, normally on my cheaper guitars or on the kit build etc. and in those cases all has been fine, a success. I took my time, carefully noting what I was doing. So one day a little while back I thought may be if I lower the nut slots on the Gibson some of the intonation issues on the lower frets will be fixed. Good idea I thought. I remember laying it down and thinking "This is a pretty pricey guitar do you want to do this?" I went at it. Stupidly I went just one or two strokes too far on the low E string. It buzzed it rattled. I was mortified, how stupid. I did a temp fix with superglue and some dust off a spare nut blank but frankly what a numpty.
Nevermind I thought. Buy a new nut blank. I ordered one made with Tusq XL - which is a great material for nuts and saddles, my home build strat has it fitted for example. I liked that idea since another of the Gibbo's quirks was that due to the angle of the strings through and over the nut the G string had a habit of sticking sharp after bending... Friday night comic's paradise this - "Hey Mrs does your G string stick after bending? Eh? Nudge nudge". Tusq XL has some clever material in it that is all self lubricating (PTFE - I looked it up) ... queue the cheesy comic again...
The new nut duly arrived and I was going to fit it. Then I realised that Gibson don't make it easy to say the least. The nut is in a deep groove and they have finished over the top of it. I took a couple of looks at it and thought "Don't screw this up". I called DW Guitars of Maidstone, little dusty workshop tucked away in a back street in town. I explained my issue and Dave there was more than happy to fit the Tusq one I had bought for £20 - £30 depending on how difficult getting the old one out was. Given I had all the strings already off it and the frets needed a polish I asked him to do a quick set up as well and all told it came to £60, which in this day and age is value for money frankly. He's done a really good job, admitting to me that getting the old one out was a real pain requiring him to actually break it and then machine out the remnants. How glad I was now that I'd got a pro to do it I could have really bodged this one up completely.
So - great job as I say. Intonation spot on at the 12th fret and better than before on the lower frets although the G string is still a very small touch sharp on the first couple, but it is liveable and no worse than other guitars in my stable. Also the Tusq is very impressive over the standard Gibson melamine one. Less sticking, better tuning stability and I can't determine any noticeable change in tone.
Here it is back where it belongs...
Saturday, 1 March 2014
Now let me be honest - Gibson, Fender, PRS, Ibanez and many other names will make people think that these are the pinnacle of guitar building skills etc. And let us be honest they are great but they are pretty much all churned out by the dozen, hundred, thousand from factories with much of the work computerised etc. and you're buying the same as the next guy into the shop.
Let us take a Gibson Les Paul - the iconic Standard. Today they are often more than £2000 a pop for essentially a bulk standard Standard - good guitars but £2000 a pop. I came across this on Feline Guitars site.
Yes a custom hand made LP a like from a custom builder here in the UK. Look at the neck joint - terrific. Crimson Guitars in Somerset recently featured them working on a LP standard where they were dropping in a tremolo and doing a neck mod like this - the picture below shows a hole they found you could lose more than one plectrum in!
So hang on... yes the guy had a £2000 guitar (maybe second hand etc. I'll accept) and then had all this done to it. But Crimson or another could have built from scratch - up to him but...
Seriously - looking at that Feline Lion I'm half tempted to sell my LP Custom and buy something like this - this one being already built not a custom order is only £1995. Yes I know a lot of money but really compare that to Gibson and others prices for factory fodder... hmm...
Crimson has this tasty custom Sigil on their site for £1975... Different original UNIQUE! etc.
Here is where the odd bit of the novel kicks in. Firstly there is the thriller element of the murder investigation and the direct and side story issues with that. But secondly this novel has a time slip element to it as Sime begins to recall some diaries read to him by his grandmother when he was a child about an ancestor of his who travelled to Canada after being evicted in a clearance on a Hebridean island in the 19th Century. Now Sime firmly believes some form of connection between him, his ancestor and the prime suspect in the murder.
The unfurling of the murder investigation - where everyone believe the wife did it and don't really look for any other motives other than she was a woman recently scorned by her husband and the life story of Sime's ancestor is really intriguing. Well written - I didn't get who the real murderer was until the final reveal or the reason.
Really good book - definite two thumbs up on the FTUBRS*
* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale -
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down,
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal,
one thumb up,
two thumbs up
two thumbs up with a grin - I believe only yet awarded once!
Thursday, 27 February 2014
So Here is a tribute to him from his work with Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin which no doubt exposed him to a different audience some years back.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
The cafe is an idea for a "community" based music group. An eclectic mix of people from solo singer songwriters, solo singers etc. etc.
I was asked to join by my brother-in-law who has been involved as they were weirdly lacking electric guitarists - normally not a problem but they had drummers, bassists, keyboard players and singers galore but no one who can widdle on a 6 string.
The format is a one or two numbers from each singer. I was in the "band section" which was new for this set up they've never had a full blown group play like this. We did BonJovi's I'll Be There For You - we were ok - apart from yours truly hitting the wrong intro chord! Way to go! Also a trio did one of my old numbers - Just Let Me Love You Tonight.
Actually it was good to get out and play with others - it stretches me and makes me listen more.
One funny story I must share was the drummer commenting on my song - "I was trying to find a pattern to lift it up a bit. I mean it's a love song but you have quiet a melancholy voice." I just found that funny but also probably an astute observation.
Some of the singers were really impressive. Shame many used backing tracks. I think my brother-in-law has an evil plan for band domination that we become the "house band" and the singers rotate through with us playing the backing - I'd be up for that, again the different styles that'll demand will be an interesting proposition.
One point though. I'm going to have to change my amp - now the Hughes and Kettner Statesman is a great sounding amp. But at 60w it is a bit too much frankly even in a setting like that I can't push it. Also it is too bloody heavy for my back to cart about! It has forced me to think - I'm considering something like the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister 36 now. Greater flexibility in terms of better for home use with the reducing power soak option and speaker emulated out. 36W I think will be ample for the situations I play in like the Cafe. Also you can program in settings and recall them if you use a midi pedal which sounds really useful if this house band thing comes off rather than fiddling with a load of resetting sounds in between numbers. You can get a 1x12 combo which will be more portable and I might add an additional 1x12 cab for live use maybe... watch this space I'll talk about this more if I do decide to make the purchase.
Sunday, 16 February 2014
I've been quiet on the solo side lately - frankly I've just not been bothering to try and get any gigs, turn up at any open mic nights etc.
I've not been that inspired to write much either - just seem to have the same old stuff. I plan to spend sometime on dedicated song writing sessions at some point soon to try and address that.
The other thing I have been doing is a band thing. My brother-in-law is a member of a church and they have a spin off community music group, so whilst not part of the church he asked me to join as for some bizarre reason they lack electric guitarists - not normally a situation you find in any collection of people.
Anyway - we are playing a "love songs" theme night today. I'm only in two numbers "I'll be there for you" the BonJovi classic and "Just let me love you tonight" my tune which we've had no rehearsal time for!!