Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot USA Tour Kickoff!

This is your chance to rock the night away with a swinging band that simply kicks butt!

Los Straitjackets - Check them out!

As unknown Hinson say's, Them guy RAWK! Very cool Surfabilly music!
Los Straitjackets!
Great sounds from Los Straitjackets!!!

They have the four pickup sound that is hard to beat! Are those wrestling masks? 

Check them out live!
Featuring the WORLD FAMOUS POTANI SISTERS! Holy smokes!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stevie Ray Vaughan - passed away 21 Years Ago!

On this day 21 years ago, 6 strings were laid down - Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a helicopter crash! I really have too many RIP's this week so I'll keep it short as you can click on his name above if you want to learn the detail surrounding his death. Instead of sitting around drinking and tearing up over his death - Stay sober and play your best as that is exactly what he was doing up until the end of his life. Now, shut up and play your guitar!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rockabilly Bass Player - Jumping Jack Neal - Bass Player for Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps - RIP

Jumping Jack Neal one of the first Rockabilly Dog house players passed away on September 23, 2011. Like Cliff Gallop, Jack was not a life long member of the Blue Caps but he cut 35 records, including all of Gene Vincent's most famous grooves. He worked a brief stint with Perry Cuomo and also at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas. He retired to a quiet life much like fellow band member Cliff Gallop and devoted the his remaining years to his family. Many players emulated Jack's style. One of the original rockers and nice guys! 

John Bonham RIP This 31 Years Ago!!!

Seems unbelievable still. Once again alcohol takes one of the best!
On This day Septempber 25, 1980, John Bonham died after a heavy drinking session was asphyxiated by his vomit.

Ask any rock musician to name their favourite drummer and I'll bet you my 1975 Led Zeppelin Earl's Court T-shirt they all say the same name. The man who, before joining the biggest rock group on the planet, was banned from British music venues for playing too loud; the man who once flew his group's Boeing 720 passenger jet The Starship all the way from New York to Los Angeles (he didn't have a pilot's licence); the man who would ride motorbikes down hotel corridors for something to do.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you John Henry Bonham, born in Redditch, Worcestershire on this day in 1948. Best known as the drummer of Led Zeppelin, Bonham was esteemed for his speed, power, fast right foot, distinctive sound, and "feel" for the groove (he was in fact a soul drummer). The swing and swagger were his alone.
John Bonham first learned to play drums at the age of five, making a drum kit out of containers and coffee tins. He received his first proper drum kit from his father when he was 15.
After leaving school in 1964 (his high school headmaster wrote in his school report card, "He will either end up a dustman or a millionaire"), he worked for his father as an apprentice carpenter in between drumming for different local bands. His first semi-professional band was Terry Webb and the Spiders, followed by other Birmingham bands such as The Nicky James Movement and The Senators, and later a blues group called Crawling King Snakes, whose lead singer was a young Robert Plant.
In 1968, ace session guitarist and Yardbird Jimmy Page was plotting to form the ultimate rock band and had already lined up Plant as the singer, who in turn recommended Bonham. The drummer was initially reluctant to join as he was also receiving lucrative offers from established artists such as Joe Cocker and Chris Farlowe. This is, of course, in the days before mobile phones and the Interweb, but, determined to get his man, Page and his manager Peter Grant bombarded Bonham's local pub with messages and 40 telegrams asking him to join the band. He did.
Fast forward to what are now considered nine classic rock albums and we have the biggest group in the world, breaking records set by The Beatles in the '60's. Led Zeppelin were unstoppable, scoring #1 albums and selling out the biggest stadium shows in the U.S.
Bonham's now legendary drum solo "Moby Dick" (first entitled "Pat's Delight" after his wife) was a highlight of their three-hour live shows. "Moby Dick" would often last for half an hour and regularly featured the use of Bonham's bare hands to achieve different sound effects.
John, a family man, became a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde. When he was sober he was the guy to hang around with, but when drunk, watch out! No one was safe.
He would become homesick, missing his wife and children (his son Jason Bonham is also a drummer who has gained success with various bands including UFO, Foreigner, and Bonham as well as standing in for his father for the Zeppelin 2007 one-off reunion show).
On 24 September 1980, Bonham was picked up by Led Zeppelin assistant Rex King to attend rehearsals at Bray Studios for an upcoming tour of the U.S., the band's first since 1977. During the journey, Bonham had asked to stop for breakfast, where he drank four quadruple vodkas, continuing to drink heavily during rehearsals. The band retired to guitarist Page's house near Windsor where, after midnight, Bonham had fallen asleep, having been taken to bed and placed on his side. Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones found him dead the next afternoon. He was 32 years old.
He is still widely considered to be one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock music and, over 30 years since his death, Bonham continues to garner awards and praise, including a Rolling Stone 2011 readers' pick, placing him first among the magazine's "best drummers of all time".
I'll leave the last word to Foo Fighter Dave Grohl: "John played the drums like someone who didn't know what was going to happen next - like he was teetering on the edge of a cliff. No one has come close to that since, and I don't think anybody ever will. I think he will forever be the greatest drummer of all time."

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin to Reissue Limited Edition of DEATH WISH II Sound track

Jimmy Page did the music for Death Wish II. Now, you have an opportunity to buy a collectors issue of the vinyl version of the sound track. You will need to become a member of Jimmy's page - LINK. No price has been announced as of this time. The sound track is only available through Jimmy Page's web store. So if you are a fan of legendary axe man, sign up and get your copy!
A rather creepy and rather quotable trailer for DEATH WISH II - A Charles Bronson film.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It Might Get Loud - Jimmy Page - Jack White - The Edge!

If you are a Jimmy Page fan then this is a film you should own. It Might Get Loud features Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. The film documents these musicians various styles by allowing the musicians to engage in a round table, guitar in hand discussion that isn't scripted.

This film is unique because even though there wasn't a script the guys seem to be genuinely interested in what each other has accomplished. It Might Get Loud will not disappoint!
The tone Jimmy employs on "Whole Lotta Love" is awesome -

Jack White's Seven Nation army riff turns into a jam that you don't want to stop!

The Edge's - I will follow!

Add - IT MIGHT GET LOUD to your collection

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blue Moon of Kentucky by Guess???

Great player - His guitar is appropriate for the venue - Dublin, Ireland, July 27, 2011!

Reverend Horton Heat!

Just a friendly public service announcement from Rev. Horton Heat!

Happy Birthday BB King, Charlie Byrd, and Earl Klugh!!!!

Big Day for BB King! BB is now 86! BB is still touring and if you play guitar - You've definitely played some of his stuff whether you'll admit it or not. For me, he is the man that can hit one note that will say it all!

BB King is the man!
Charlie Byrd would have been 86 but passed away in 1999 at age 74. Charlie played with Stan Getz and helped push Bossa Nova and samba into the mainstream

Earl Klugh turns 58 today (9-16-11) - Everything Earl plays sounds like you've heard it before and it's familiar and obvious. His touch and timing is impeccable.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday Bill Monroe !

Wayfaring Stranger - sung by Bill Monroe

Happy Birthday Bill !

Alison Krause version - I think Bill would approve!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The New Jimmy Page Website (July 2011)

Create an account and follow Jimmy's accounts of Led Zeppelin and his other musical interests!
The site is really fantastic because it's entries are conceptualized and curated by Jimmy. It features a daily diary, where each anecdote of Jimmy's is available for 24 hours and there will be NO archiving. Once the entry has completed it's 24 hour viewing period - it's gone! All of the entries span Jimmy's entire career before, during and after Led Zeppelin and onto the present.
One of Jimmy's excerpts - 


On this day in 1971, I played with Led Zeppelin at the Berkeley Community Theatre and the seated, uni-like audience seemed pretty non-plussed. It wasn't a very good communion that night. Maybe that evening they: a) were contaminated by the negative press we had continually received from the locally-based Rolling Stone; b) were sitting in the remnants of the vibrant San Francisco music scene they had witnessed over the last 5 years; c) weren't receptive to new music we played - material from the unreleased Led Zeppelin IV; d) were heavily stoned, or; e) were all of the above

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tremolo is Affected by String Gauge

You cannot change your strings gauges without other reactions occurring!
Changing your strings requires a little forethought and hopefully this post will help walk you through a gauge change while decreasing some set-up surprises.
I changed my strings from this gauges; .010-.013-.017- .026- .036-.046 to .010-.013-.017- .030- 042- .-52, this probably doesn't seem like much but the tension changes enough to effect the tremolo in a big way! The tension is roughly 49.75 kg with the Daddario EXL110 gauge. After installing Daddario EXL140 gauge my tension changes to 58.23 Kg. That is a 8.48 Kg difference in tension! Similar 440 mhz tuning to E was used in both instances. 
This doesn't seem like a drastic change but the gauge also changes the height of the strings on the bridge set-up which also changes the intonation. I think the most dramatic effect is the distance the tremolo changes. I moves from being flush to the surface of the instrument - Seen in the picture below.

To this floating level
The gauge affects the guitar dramatically and the photos prove it.

Of course you can tighten the tremolo springs to bring the tremolo unit flush to the surface of the Fender Stratocaster but the intonation will still need to be adjusted.

If you change string gauge, your set up will change! You will need to check the following adjustments if you do change gauge.
  1. String height
  2. Pickup height
  3. Intonation
  4. Tremolo height
I use different string gauges for different guitars. For example: I do NOT use the same gauge for my Stratocaster as I do for my Archtop guitars. My Acoustics also have different gauges. I've worked mine out so even though I use different gauges - The guitar all feel similar in gauge. That is another can of worms - See my posts about Tension.

Above all remember that changing guitar strings gauges can improve your tone (thicker has more mass moving over the pickups but tone is a subjective thing) but it will also change how your guitar plays. Follow the steps outlined above and have fun!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Missing Les Paul

Gone but not forgotten!

A lot has been said about Les, but he probably would not have achieved the level of success in the entertainment industry without the loving support and contributions of his former wife and partner Mary Ford. Mary deserves a lot of credit for Les Paul's legacy as Mary was every bit as amazing as Les!
Unfortunately, Mary suffered an untimely demise and passed away at age 53 from diabetic complications. We need to be aware of diabetes - awareness link!

Clam = Sour note - Word origin

Mindless as I can be at times; in the middle of a conversation, again, not thinking much about what I was saying when I mentioned that I wished that I had played a few less clams. It is the intrinsic genius of childhood innocence that fueled a young attendee to ask me, Scott, what is a clam? Knowing that this use of the word was a double entendre' , I had a loaded question before me and the ominous task of giving a correct answer to impressionable kid. The word "why" can be quite a large adversary. For those of you who could care less about the long story - This is the definition of a musical clam:

“Clam” is an interesting word. Most uses in English refer back in some way to “clam” as the name for the shellfish (as Merriam-Webster puts it, “any of numerous edible marine bivalve mollusks living in sand or mud”). The origin of “clam,” however, lies far from the beach, in the prehistoric Germanic root word “klam,” which meant “to press or squeeze together” and also gave us “clamp.” It was the tightly clamped shut shell of the aquatic “clam” that gave it its name.

“Clam” has developed numerous slang and figurative uses over the years, from “to clam up” meaning to remain silent, lips pressed together like a clam’s shell, to “clam” as jocular slang for a dollar, probably from a supposed ancient use of clams as currency. About once a week I’m asked for the origin of “Happy as a clam,” a saying folks find mysterious only because it is rarely quoted in its full form, “Happy as a clam at high tide,” i.e., when it is least likely to be discovered by predators. “Clambake,” originally a beach party featuring clams “baked” in open pits, has also been used as a sardonic term for any fancy social gathering (as well as, I’ll take your word for it, that ritual of “doobie parking” where participants presumably get “baked” in a car closed up like a clam).
The likening of a closed mouth, or the human mouth in general, to the bivalve sort of “clam” may underlie the use of “clam” to mean a missed or flubbed note, especially if the term originated in connection with wind instruments. This usage dates back to at least the early 1950s and since then has been applied to an error in any sort of musical or theatrical performance (“Bing Crosby … always said, ‘Leave the clams in, let ‘em know I’m human,’” New York Times, 1991). Perhaps the “error” sense of the term lies in the failure of one’s “clam,” or mouth, to perform correctly.
But another, and to my mind stronger, possibility is that the “mistake” sense of “clam” derives from a completely different “clam.” In the 18th century the sound of two bells (in a bell tower) rung simultaneously (usually a mistake by the bell ringer) was known as a “clam.” This “clam” was probably “echoic” in origin, intended to mimic the dissonant, unpleasant sound itself (the same way “clang” and “slam” were formed), and actually appears to be the source of our modern “clamor,” meaning a jumbled roar of noises or voices. It seems entirely logical that “clam” as a term for mistake in a bell tower could have become a generalized musicians’ term for any sort of embarrassing flub in a performance.
To those who wish to know what I told the youngster, I delve into infinite detail about the aquatic clams, then onto the word Clamor - to utter noisily. Also, old rotting clams smell badly and sour notes are said to "stink." There are many discussions about the term - safe to say, we've all played a few clams in our day and we are sure to play more - sometimes we throw them in just to see if you are paying attention to the music!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chet Atkins SST noise issues

I believe we have reached the limit of Gibson guitars electronic ability. What I mean is that attrition is now finally hitting the owners of some of their instruments. Namely the Chet Atkins line. I've detail in this blog about the pitfalls of the Chet Atkins CE and now I can add the Chet Atkins SST to the list. The problems are similar. The PC board mounts are non-existent, the wire and wiring jobs are poorly done, the ergonomics of the electronics are thrown together and not engineered for spacial regards. The Chet Atkins model guitar are really nice but they use the same electronic cavity as found on most of the Gibson Les Paul's and if you look - most of the line. Oh, gosh it saves tons of money and a lot of production time but further down the road the instruments end up in the shop for repair. These are simple before and after pictures of my latest repair. The shielding was poorly applied and had unprotected regions where the technician failed to complete the job. Really, the work obviously looked rushed.
This is what is under the foam:
You can see the area where shielding has been "spared." To the left of the battery, the perimeter, etc...
This was Gibson's attempt at a shield earth ground:
Here is the naked cavity upon my application of shielding material:
Now, this is what I've done. Hard mounted the PC board while using neoprene insulation. Solder connections fixed, slag removed, cavity shielded properly.
Previous guitars - Gibson Chet Atkins CE - Before!
Gibson Chet Atkins CE: - AFTER!

Finished product - Spankin results - Nice shield layer - - No ghost squeals, crazy noise, tube busting crackling or frustration. Nothing but tone now. However, I couldn't mount the battery with a hard fastener because there isn't enough wood to work with and screws come dangerously close to pulling through - even the shortest of lengths - BEWARE of this when mounting brackets or PC boards in this unit - Especially the SST. The Chet Atkins CE had more material to work with in terms of thickness.

Alternative Materials for Instruments

Regardless of the results of the Federal investigation of the Gibson material sourcing, a can of worms has been opened regarding wood as a renewable resource. Most of the wood that we desire grows slower than humans need it and so we need a viable alternative. As of this writing, carbon fiber is probably best suited for the job but we cannot lose sight of the fact that manufacturing carbon fiber isn't without environmental impact. Whether manufacturing or disposing carbon fiber - it has drawbacks.

Nice Cello manufacturing video - Rest assured that the same methods can be applied to guitar, bass, banjo, and any odd instrument made of wood like materials.