Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Collings 290

More information coming soon regarding the Collings 290 guitar. This guitar is simple. It got the bone tone of a legendary slab guitar but without the vintage price tag that often accompanies that type of instrument. The hardware is top notch Tone pro's bridge and saddle. The neck has a 1959 feel but with a 12 degree flat fret board. Pick ups are the bees knees Jason Lollar P90's that might be noisy for some but have the vintage fat sound that is somewhere between a Fender single coil style and a Seth Lover humbucking pickup. Not a pickup for thrash metal but great for just about everything else. Something you don't see on the new production Gibson... The 290 has a ebony peg head veneer, hand set mortise and tenon neck joint, 24 7/8 scale neck, rose wood fingerboard, and last and certainly not least - high gloss nitrocellulose finish.

Playing the guitar without an amp and you will feel the guitar vibrate against your body. At least that is what I felt and this gives the guitar a certain mojo voodoo space dust other worldly vibe. The action is medium and the stock strings were 11's. The guitar is sensitive, my first attempt with a glass slide made me realize immediately the different tension each neck scale promotes as my technique required a re-adjust because I am used to ham-fisted 25 inch neck scales when using a slide. With electronic effects the guitar is also responsive. The high impedance pickups work well with my vintage Big Muff Pi, Fulltone OCD and seamless with time effects as expected.

Craftsmanship is top notch American made Texas style luthiery. I cannot find a flaw on this guitar. This isn't a cherry picked instrument, it's straight off the shelve and into my hands and it is first class wonderful. I've owned and witnessed other name instruments from the good old USA Gibson that I am sure have the skill but the upper management is ...... Let me get back to this guitar. This guitar doesn't disappoint. Long gig's - the weight will not send you to the chiropractor, fingers not as strong as they were when you were younger and pulling those lightning fast licks? No worry, you have a short scale with decreased tension so bend those notes to your hearts content! This guitar is simply a delight to play. You won't find these instruments at Guitar Center but if you have a local quality dealer - try one out for yourself and you will not be disappointed - You will probably catch an incurable disease - GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Can't do this with a guitar!

I have found out over the years that there are some things a guitar just can't do well, this is one of them!

Today's guitar etiquette question

Today's guitar etiquette question: When an auditioning singer puts a
big sweating drink on your vintage 1964 Deluxe Reverb, do you...
a) Make a scene.
b) Don't worry about it.
c) Carefully remove the drink to a more suitable surface.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Imelda May - Back to work!

Got to go got to go got to go................

....back to work for Mrs. Higham otherwise known as Imelda May. Just a couple of months, if even that much, have passed and Imelda is back working towards her own Grammy award and appearing at the London Jazz Festival. Oooh, and looks like she is finally getting proper status as a headlining act. Yes sirreee!

The London Jazz festival is produced by Serious in association with BBC Radio 3. The Barbican will be featuring a fantastic line-up of concerts, workshops, free-stages and film series.

On November 9th, Imelda joins Grammy -winning artist Patti Austin and jazz soul diva Julia Roberts to complete a quantum line-up of vocal talent that including Natalie Duncan, Claire Martin, Junior Giscombe, Gwyneth Herbert, Brendan Reilly for the London Jazz Festival signature opening night gala Jazz Voice. Guy Barker will be directing a 40 piece orchestra while actor, writer, and comedian John Sessions will host the evening.

Click here for tickets and event information!!

Be fortunate and blessed - go see and support these wonderful artists!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Combo Amp - And why the cabinet shouldn't be used as a storage receptacle

I like combo amps but I like portable powerful combo amps even more.....

However, there is no way around carrying pedals, power strips, and other stuff in a separate receptacle because placing items in the back of an amplifier is going to damage your amp. I've pulled pedals, foot switches  extension cables out of the back of amps brought to me for repair. The owner explains that the amp just stopped working, started smoking and died. If you see all the heavy items stored in the back you know probably where the problem started.

Here are just a few things that can go wrong by storing stuff in the back of your combo amp:

  • The stuff will puncture the speaker cone.
  • The speaker connectors can be bent 
  • If the amp is moved suddenly, the tubes can be smacked by the junk.
  • Ruin your reverb tank
  • Stress the cables from the amp to the speakers

If you have a tube amp and the speaker wires short out, the results could be similar to running a tube amp when not connected to speaker. Removing your speaker wire increases the amp impedance to infinite values where as it's used to values like 2, 4, 6, 16 ohm's. By the time your fuse blows it's already too late because you've ruined your transformer.

So if you spend the money for an expensive amp, be wise and spend a few more dollars on pedal boards and their respective portage units. The same rule applies to power strips, foot switches, and any other crap you might want to store in your amplifier. Remember, just because the space is there doesn't mean it should be used for storage!

Destroyed speaker connector!

The piece above the connect is what is left of the speaker tab!

These pictures seem innocent enough but the short they cause could ruin the transformer. Don't use your amp as a storage device. It just isn't smart and it could cost you a lot more money than a pedal box or gig bag would ever cost!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nick Curran Rockabilly Guitarist RIP

Thankfully, it's been a while since I've listed an RIP on these pages but that stretch of the road has ended with the sad announcement that Nick Curran extremely early demise to oral cancer. A savant guitarist from Maine who wasn't just a rockabilly guitarist but also well employed the punk, swing revival, Texas blues, jump blues along with  his favorite rockabilly styles. Nick's passing is a huge loss to the rockabilly community. Best wishes go out to his family and loved ones.

Many of the bands that Nick was a member of are hallmark bands that enjoy international recognition: Nick Curran and the Nitelifes, Nick Curran and the Lowlifes, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Ronnie Dawson, Deguello and The Flash boys.

Nick was diagnosed in 2010, deemed cancer free in 2011 only to be hammered with a disheartening relapse this year.

This is also a reminder of how difficult it is to pay for health care. Most musicians haven't any health insurance benefits. What is the best method of fixing this situation - I don't know. But the bills devastating families and society. It's a shame that the United States (a prosperous nation) has this problem. Be active towards a solution not reactive!

Yeah, this is groovin!

Read more about Nick here:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Keith Richard's In his own words - Quotations!

‎"A painter's got a canvas. The writer's got reams of empty paper. A musician has silence." - Keith Richards

"You don't have to be a fucking star. Music is something from your own heart for your own home." - Keith 

"If you've gotta think about being cool, you ain't cool." - Keith Richards, as shot by Ken Regan. 

Keith: Why is Louis Armstrong important?

What sports do you like?

What became of Blue Lena?

What is something you've only tried once?

Is there any song you'd like to record over?

Have you ever captured a song perfectly?

Do you like any Jazz guitarists?

If you could have only two guitars, one acoustic, one electric, which would you choose?

How do you choose which guitar to play?

What modifications do you make to your guitar when you play five string?

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to write a Blues song

How to write a blues song.

 1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning."

 2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line, like "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town"

 3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes ... sort of: "Got a good woman - with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher - and she weigh 500 pound."

 4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch; ain't no way out.

 5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

 6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

 7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson is just depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.

 8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A  woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cuz you skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg cuz an  alligator be chomping on it is.

 9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall.The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

 10. Good places for the Blues: a. highway b. jailhouse c. empty bed d. bottom of a whiskey glass

 Bad places: a. Ashrams b. gallery openings c. Ivy League institutions d. golf courses

 11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit,'less you happen to be an old ethnic person and you slept in it.

 12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if: a. you're older than dirt b. you're blind c. you shot a man in Memphis d. you can't be satisfied

 No, if: a. you have all your teeth b. you were once blind but now can see c. the man in Memphis lived. d. you have a retirement plan or trust fund.

 13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman   could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

 14. If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it's the Blues.

 Other acceptable Blues beverages are: a. wine b. whiskey or bourbon c. muddy water d. black coffee

 The following are NOT Blues beverages: a. mixed drinks b. kosher wine c. Snapple d. sparkling water

 15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack,it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

 16. Some Blues names for women: a. Sadie b. Big Mama c. Bessie d. Fat River Dumpling

 17. Some Blues names for men: a. Joe b. Willie c. Little Willie d. Big Willie

 18. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, Auburn and Rainbow can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

 19. Make your own Blues name (starter kit): a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.) b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.) c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

 For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

 20. I don't care how tragic your life: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues. 

Thanks to for the above.