Friday, March 26, 2010

Not So Green Old Drummer (Traktor)

This is a rip snortin' version of Sweet Georgia Brown where the drummer simply steals the show! Even though age slows the best of us down, this drummer keeps a steady beat and even throws a little sand as accent. So if you need a new drummer you might want to consider this cat. ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Victor Baker Guitars - Beautiful, Imaginative, and Well Designed

Victor Baker simply is one of the top builders out there. If that isn't enough, the guy is a player. Go to his site and check it out.

If you have never played a fine Archtop Guitar then you are missing a truly epic experience.

Hit the site! Scott

Slash Appetite for Destruction Guitar

Slash Appetite for Destruction Guitar - Nice
This guitar is now being offered by MusiciansFriend. From what I can glean from the ad the guitar is covered with a natural finish similar to the "faded" Les Paul's from the past. Other sites have mentioned that the finish is thin Nitro.

Both are correct as I believe that the thin skins were Nitro based units as well. The guitar has Tonepro aged hardware, Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups and special capacitors selected by Slash. Looks impressive to me. The top feature AAA figured maple. Pictures show a nice patina. The guitar reminds me of the green Joe Perry Les Paul's. I heard complaints about the Joe Perry model regarding a soft finish. Since I haven't touched this guitar I cannot comment at this time.

This guitar is a limited production instrument. Will this be a player or collector?
AAA carved, figured maple top.
Solid mahogany back with traditional weight relief
Gently aged "Appetite" finish with a natural top and faded cherry back
Slash signature smoking skull with top hat artwork on headstock
Set mahogany neck with rounded '60s profile
Seymour Duncan Slash Signature Alnico II pickups
Special capacitors selected by Slash for vintage tone
Aged chrome TonePros hardware
Single-ply cream top and fretboard binding
Acrylic trapezoid inlays
Includes hardshell case

The price will make you do a double take before picking up a 58 VOS Gibson Les Paul. With the VOS going for about $3700, the Slash model may be a hit. The fact that it is a "Slash" endorsed guitar may also limit its sales appeal. An unmarked guitar is easier to purchase or sell than an endorsement deal. Lastly, a quick check of pricing on Ebay shows that the Slash guitars hold their value but haven't really increased in pricing. I digress, I played the Warren Haynes Les Paul many times both with the extra switch and without - The neck was really nice and it just played like an old Les Paul.

The Warren Haynes guitar is featured below Shown is the CAE preamp switch that I love but hate! Love the Warren Guitar but hate the price tag!

Meanwhile, the Slash model comes with a 60's period neck and that might decrease appeal for those who love those beefy necks. Collectors looking for a guitar that is going to increase in value then maybe you should look elsewhere. The Appetite for Destruction guitar is nice but not investment level. Unfortunately, this I believe to be true with Custom Shop Fender guitars as well. The market is a little crazy now so if you are looking into a good players guitar you might want to stick to base models. I feel that base models are holding their value better than the VOS and Custom shop models. Though, no doubt those fancy models do have a tremendous amount of Je ne sais quoi and craftsmanship. Sorry about zig zagging all over the place on this article. Too much coffee! :) Now, somewhere down the road I'll be kicking myself if I don't pick up one of these guitars, especially if the value skyrockets! (waffle/Disclaimer)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hearing Loss and Protection for Musicians - My Epic Tale...

Playing in a band can indeed ruin your hearing. However, just growing older will also effect your hearing. I doubt all of our grand parents worked loud vocations let alone in a band so there is your proof that your hearing will degrade over the years. Playing in a band and being next to the drummer who has heavy hands will remind you that sound waves can create physical pain to your person. What guitarist has not turned their amplifier up to its maximum volume in a wild attempt to determine the maximum capability of the given amplifier? If you have played in a big band then you know that horns sections could make Jimi Hendrix's ears bristle in agony.

In the past few years I had the unwelcome experience of waking up to a ringing noise in one of my ears. As I moved from my horizontal position to a standing position I felt dizzy. Now, I am the last guy to see a doctor (*if you have any illness - see a doctor immediately) but I sensed something was wrong and I booked an appointment with my family physician. Well, the doctor first checked my vital signs then looked into my nose and then my ears. The doctor left the room promptly to "research something." Upon returning the doctor told me that my ear drums have pocks on them. "I am sending your to a Ear, nose, and throat specialist," the doctor told me.

I arrive at the ENT and they performed a battery of tests on my hearing and ask me a ton of questions. Next up, I see the doctor. As you can guess, I was a ill at ease literally and my ability to balance was becoming worse. Ear Shingles or more accurately - Ramsay Hunt syndrome. What I was experiencing was a tunnel vision, inability to balance myself (no way could I pass a sobriety check based on balance), tinnitus in my ear (constant ringing), potential facial paralysis, and a lot of fear.

If you have had the chicken pox then you are a candidate for Shingles. These usually effect only one side of the body. In my case, my inner ear was attacked. I temporarily lost 60% of my hearing. I had to take a massive dose of predisone which is a nasty steroid that has a host of side effects that I purposely didn't read about (it's a rule as I've seen far too many people obtain the side effects upon review) to reduce swelling in my ear. That was about all that could be done. Later, I had to attend Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) to rehabilitate my balance. This was completed through exercise and balance rehabilitation which I worked on a daily basis along with once a week visits to a (VRT) therapist. Now what the hell does this have to do with playing music?

The doctors determined through hearing tests that my hearing has changed over the years. Not all of the change is due to my genetic composition. There is an assignable amount of diminished hearing capacity because I was subjected to loud occurrences. They obviously could not pin point the nature of the occurrence but gave me a list for me to use as a tool to discern what types of noise might be applicable to my condition. Let's see.... Rock concerts, loud music, gun shots, explosives, and constant noise. The fact remains that some of my ability to hear high frequency was lost due to neglect. If you are reading this blog then you probably play an instrument so protecting your hearing should be paramount. Be smart and wear hearing protection.

Ear plugs can save your hearing or at least decrease the damage that occurs during loud events. There are many tools available to save the human ear from damage. Many of these products do not decrease the ability to hear and they safely filter the excessive noise. One such company is Hearos, check out their website for products that will help you out. In addition, I had the extreme fortune of dealing with Dr. Jennifer Maw at Ear associates and rehabilitation in San Jose, California. Data doesn't lie and I was able to see the results of my hearing capability from an early time in my life in contrast to a later time period. The result showed hearing loss. I also had testing while the illness had its grip on me verse my hearing capability upon recovery showed that I was back to normal. Or normal as I can be.

So, wear hearing protection, go to the doctor when you are ill, and practice playing your favorite instrument. Hopefully you will have wonderful hearing as long as you live! However, remember that those loud concerts have an accumulative effect and I am living proof. If you think I am full of bologna then google tinnitus along with famous names like Peter Townshend. A great deal of musicians now suffer from hearing loss from exposure to noise. Many of these musician will tell you frankly that they were naive and caution you to be prudent about hearing safety and protection.

How loud is loud? I will add a table soon regarding the activity, noise level db(a), Apparent loudness, and physical response.

*If I had not gone to the doctor in a timely manner, I would have lost 60% of my hearing capability in my left ear.

Endorsed by musicians like Steve Vai and Stephen Perkins, HEAROS High Fidelity earplugs are a favorite for musicians and music fans alike. The newest product in the line, available exclusively at Guitar Center locations in March, is smaller in size for more comfortable long term use.

HEAROS High Fidelity ear plugs use a unique, patented tuned resonator and acoustic resistor to provide flat attenuation, allowing you to hear all the highs and lows without the sound getting muffled. The new item was designed smaller to fit in smaller ear canals or to stay in the average user’s ears for long periods of time to vastly reduce any possibility of inner ear discomfort.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands #14

Ernie Ball is once again sponsoring the Warped Music festival. Unsigned bands have an opportunity to play live the Vans Warped Tour. Sign up your band, hit the woodshed and get busy and maybe your band could win.

Ya'll might have a better chance if the name of your band doesn't start with the word "The"...
There is still room for bands with names starting with "Y", "X", and "Z".... ;)

The Bands scheduled for this event:
Agent Orange
AM Taxi
Andrew W.K.
Angry Samoans
Artist Vs Poet
Assorted Jelly Beans
Attack Attack
Automatic Loveletter
Beacher's Madhouse
Brass Tackz
Breathe Carolina
Breathe Electric
Bring Me The Horizon
Burning Empires
Call The Cops
Chase Long Beach
Closure in Moscow
Cobra Skulls
Deals Gone Bad
Deas Vail
Death Punch
Dirty Little Rabbits
Disco Curtis
Dropkick Murphys
Dustin Jones and The Rising Tide
Echo Movement
Enter Shikari
Every Time I Die
Eyes Set To Kill
Face To Face
Fake Problems
Far From Finished
Fight Fair
Flatfoot 56
Four Year Strong
Gardening Not Architecture
Green Jelly
Grind Time Now EMCEE BATTLE hosted by the Rollin R
Haste The Day
Hey Monday
Hollywood Heartthrob
Hope For AM
Hot Chelle Rae
I Can Make A Mess Like Nobodys Business
I See Stars
ice nine kills
In Fear and Faith
Last Call Chernobyl
Left Alone
Manic Hispanic
Maxwell Smart
Mayday Parade
Middle Finger Salute
Mike Posner
Motion City Soundtrack
Neo Geo
Of Mice and Men
Our Last Night
Parkway Drive
Pierce The Veil
Polar Bear Club
Reel Big Fish
Riverboat Gamblers
Set Your Goals
Sparks The Rescue
Speakeasy Tiger
Spinlight City
Street Sweeper Social Club
Streetlight Manifesto
Suicide Silence
Sum 41
Swingin Utters
Terrible Things
Tess Dunn
The Adolescents
The All-American Rejects
The B Foundation
The Bots
The Bouncing Souls
The Cab
The Casualties
The Chase
The Darlings
The Dillinger Escape Plan
The Downtown Fiction
The Early Strike
The Fabulous Rudies
The Flatliners
The Frantic
The Germs
The Impalers
The Jukebox Romantics
The Mighty Regis
The Pretty Reckless
The Reverend Peytons Big Damn Band
The Rocket Summer
The Scary Mondelos
The Skank Agents
The Snips
The Sparring
The Summer Set
The Swellers
The Untouchables
The Uptones
The Voodoo Glow Skulls
The Word Alive
This Time Next Year!
Tip The Van
Victory In Numbers
Walk Off The Earth
We Are The In Crowd
We The Kings
You Me At Six

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Guitar Shredders take note! Duane Allman rawks!

Ah, no pun intended....
Duane Allman is back in fashion.
Two things have come about lately.

  1. Skydog - I read it and enjoyed it. Awesome book. Guitarist and fans alike should buy this book.

  2. Duane Allman Guitar Anthology - Hal Leonard Authentic transcriptions are now available.

Read about Duane and learn to play in a similar fashion while helping your chops. Sadly Duane passed away at a young age of 24 but his music and enormous talent are his legacy.

New Guitars Help the economy

Whether the economy will actually benefit from you buying a new guitar is debatable - No doubt a new guitar will improve your playing (because you will play more). Just believe that! Yes, I am delusional but if you have some extra money laying around you should either hop up your axe or buy a new one. It's better and cheaper than a year of antidepressants and besides a little eye candy for those so inclined never hurt!

So if you are looking to buy a present for someone like me - here are a few examples of what I'd like to see...

I'm on a Duane Allman kick and these guitars are similar to some that he played. However, you could have given Duane Allman a board with a wire and I think he'd make music.

John Mayer - Takes a twit to twitter..........

John Mayer is ?

What made you fix your lips to say that crap in Playboy? John Mayer is the Mayor of "Me" town it seems his world spins on his own axis. Gosh John, are you that misguided enough to believe that a little money and talent actually equates to some semblance of class? Your silly little comments that you spoke too easily make me ashamed to have anything in common with you. As a man and fellow guitarist seriously... Hood-pass? No John, that is revoked and the pass was simply because you currently have some jingo but once that is gone the way of the dinosaur - Ya'll better watch your back. Were you suddenly surprised by a fleeting bunny? Also thanks for the incite concerning how, where and why you hold your "axis" when viewing certain pictures... Not to mention how to treat a lady.

To be fair as I can possibly be - What would I do under similar circumstances? Talk about what made me famous. My music and the fact that I 'was' lucky enough to play on stage with Eric Clapton.

Unfortunately your propensity for megalomania took over! Spent a little too much time in that woodshed and playing your instrument alone? Do yourself a favor and the public as well by keeping your comments to yourself. Remember that there are plenty of talented people ready to knock you off and take over.

It's been a little more than obvious that you are really a media XXXXX. Get over it and cork it. Shut up and play your guitar..............

Lastly, maybe I am the biggest fool for commenting? After all, I guess I am reacting to what seems like behavior of a spoiled attention seeking child. Sad.

Guitar Center Service plan - Is it for you?

Beware when buying a "Fancy" new inexpensive guitar!
Guitar Center is offering Pro coverage for a fee. I would recommend this type of coverage for consumer electronic goods. Products like amplifiers, keyboards, mixers, recording equipment, and some guitars and basses. The reason I can see where this plan would ultimately benefit the consumer if say a PC board fails. Trouble shooting to component level usually carries a bench fee of a minimum of $25. Then you can probably bet on about $40 to $60 per hour labor fee's not including parts. Electronics in general have a bathtub shaped curve.The bathtub curve consists of three periods: an infant mortality period with a decreasing failure rate followed by a normal life period (also known as "useful life") with a low, relatively constant failure rate and concluding with a wear-out period that exhibits an increasing failure rate. What does all this mean to you the Bassist, guitarist, musician and consumer? It means the plan would probably serve you well as insurance during the initial two years of ownership if the product fails. A lot of guitars and bass guitars are now equipped with special pre-amplifiers and EQ devices. These devises are built into the product and finding the exact replacement part is difficult. Why the replacement parts are difficult to find is another story but safe to say - it's difficult! I have personal experience with trying to get replacement parts for a Ibanez George Benson guitar that was burnt in a fire yet salvageable. I waited for the better part of four months to receive the parts - Granted, the local music store might have had a huge hand in slowing the process but I was willing to pay upfront for the parts. Regardless, it was a painful waiting period for me and my customer. The Pro coverage should help alleviate this type of circumstance. Therefore, if you are seriously considering buying a "Fancy" new mondo pre-amplified juju mojo flux capacitor
amplifier, guitar, or keyboard - Buy the plan. However, I doubt the plan will help you with that expensive Martin or Gibson VOS Les Paul along with a Fender Custom shop instrument. Those instruments should last on their own merit and don't really have internal power supplies etc... Just spank the plank type of instruments. But what about the workmanship? Well, those VOS and Custom shop instruments should have had intense scrutiny and top notch quality assurance and also you should have inspected that instrument from top to bottom prior to purchase. To me, the plan is not applicable in this case.“Providing a reliable product protection solution for our customers is a priority for our company,” said Kenric Knecht, Guitar Center’s director of training and Pro Coverage. “With NEW’s Pro Coverage plan, we can be confident that our customers have exceptional service support so they can maximize the use and enjoyment of their
Pro Coverage will be offered at all 214 Guitar Center store locations and online at The plan offers customers convenient services to repair or replace covered products, including acoustic and electric guitars, basses, percussion instruments, keyboards, and pro-audio and DJ gear. Product parts covered under this plan include
volume pedals, internal power supplies, power meters and switches, LED and LCD displays, pickups, mechanisms, and more. Wooden cracks in acoustic guitars and drums as well as defects to the headstock, neck or body of acoustic guitars caused by defects in workmanship or materials are also covered. The plan ensures that new and used products are protected in the event a product fails due to a mechanical or electrical breakdown, normal wear and tear, or due to a power surge. A no-lemon policy and toll-free 24/7/365 customer service are also offered through the plan, which covers 100 percent of parts-and-labor repair costs. Shipping, handling and shipping insurance of covered products (up to 150 pounds) to and from the customer’s home to the manufacturer or service center are also included with the Pro Coverage plan. “Musicians invest time and money in their instruments whether it’s their hobby or profession,” said Rob DiRocco, NEW’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We are thrilled to be working with a reputable retailer like Guitar Center to provide their customers with the most convenient product protection and customer support available so they get the most out of their purchase and eliminate the possibility of costly repairs.”
The fact that Guitar Center has 214 locations means they do something right. Love them or hate them, you get the price because they buy in volume and the only way we get something of decent value in this country is when the retailer has the power to buy in volume. At the risk of hurting my own business I recommend that you at least seriously consider this two year plan.

A Musician's Dictionary - Humor

A Musician's Dictionary

AGENT: a character who resents performers getting 90% of his salary.

ARRANGER: a guy who writes to support a drinking habit.

BALLET: an art form for people with eating disorders

BANDSTAND: the area furthest away from an electrical outlet

BIG BAND: nowadays, an aggregation consisting of two musicians.

BROADWAY PIT JOB: a prison sentence disguised as a gig.

CABARET: a venue where singers do songs from shows that closed out of town.

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: god's way of telling you that you've practiced too much.

CATERER: a man whose hatred for musicians is unrivaled.

CHANTEUSE: a singer with an accent and no time.

CLASSICAL COMPOSER: a man ahead of his time and behind in the rent.

CLUBDATER: god's way of telling you that you didn't practice enough.

CLUB DATE LEADER: someone who changes his name from Kaminsky to Kaye.

CONTRACTOR: a man whose funeral nobody goes to.

CRUISE SHIP WORK: a gig that gives a musician two reasons to throw up.

DOWNBEAT: the magazine that would have you believe that all jazz musicians are working.

ELECTRIC PIANO: the instrument that enables its player to pay for the hernia he sustained lifting it.

JAZZ: the only true american art form beloved by europeans.

JAZZ FESTIVAL: an event attended by folks who think Coltrane is a car on the B&O railroad.

LYRIC: that part of a tune known only by singers and homosexuals.

MELLOPHONE: an instrument best put to use when converted into a lamp.

METRONOME: the archenemy of chanteuses and cantors.

MOVIE COMPOSER: someone who can write like anyone except himself.

NEW AGE : a musical substitute for Valium.

NEW YEARS EVE: the night of the year when contractors are forced to hire musicians they despise.

ORCHESTRATOR: the musician who enhances a composer's music, only to be chastised for it .

PERCUSSIONIST: a drummer who can't swing.

PERFECT PITCH: the ability to pinpoint any note and still play out of tune.

PRODIGY: a kid who has as much chance at a normal childhood as the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.

RARE VIOLIN: a Stradivarius, not to be confused with a rare violinist, which is someone over four foot eleven.

SIDEMAN: the appellation that guarantees a musician will never be rich.

STAFF MUSICIAN: harder to locate than a cavity in the Osmond family.

STEADY ENGAGEMENT: look up in Webster's Dictionary under the word ''obsolete.''

24\7: the time signature of the national anthem of India.

UNION REP: a guy who thinks big bands are coming back.

VERSE: the part of a tune that's disposable, except to its composer.

VIOLA D'AMORE: a baroque string instrument and coincidentally the hooker Bach lost his virginity to.

WURLITZER: the Ford Pinto of pianos.

YANNI: a man blessed with great hair for music.