Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ToneRite - Improve your Tone?

I had the opportunity to check out this fascinating device - ToneRite. Its creators claim that utilizing this tool will give acoustic instruments a played-in tone. Ideally, better tone is what we all seek and it is a search for what is most elusive - good tone. In fact, what is good tone? What I consider ideal may be horrible to others and therefore good tone is subjective. In order to determine what is good tone we probably need to agree on a standard of tone. This standard of tone is the proverbial can of worms. It seems the term, "opened up," seems to be the adjective used most. A loose interpretation of "opened up" means that the guitar vibrates more freely and there is a perceived increased in volume and frequency range. Does this tool improve an instrument's tone and playability?

The ToneRite tool subjects an instrument to vibration. This vibration simulates the effect playing has on a wooden instrument. ToneRite can be installed and run for hours or days. The tool is supposed to release tension inherent in the assembly of wooden instruments, thus the term "opened up," seems applicable. ToneRite maintains that entropy increases over time with an effect of reduced volume, frequency range, and playability. Does ToneRite work....?

I found that the ToneRite tool does work. A better question might be, is it worth the money to me? It's important to realize that if you start with a fine instrument then this will improve tone but at a level that might be imperceivable to the lay musician. The ToneRite will not reverse or change material variations, finish variation, macromolecular glue cell variations, periodic time induced stress, or elastic properties of the wood. Workmanship is another serious parameter that this tool simply was not designed to fix. In addition, there is a host of compartmental thermal induced stress which this tool is not designed to replicate. The tool does relieve stress but I would liken the variation to playing your guitar in a 60 degree F room verses a 75 degree F warm room. To me, this related more to playability than tone but then - frequently, and with very little argument, tone emanates from the fingers and a small percentage is applicable to the instrument. Placing a warm and comfortable instrument in your possession is far more likely to result in good tone than the playing of a cold instrument.

If you have invested in an instrument of value then $150.00 (USA) might be a worthy investment for a tool that subtly effects your instrument. On the contrary, if you have an inexpensive instrument then you would be better suited in spending an extra $150.00 towards a better instrument.

In a moment of reflection I found that there is a dichotomy where I can place the sound hole "O-port," on an inexpensive guitar and yield great results for $20 or place the ToneRite on my inexpensive guitar and yield less favorable results if considering cost over tone.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010

We are starved for music. Many years ago I would grab the pink section of the San Francisco Chronicle and look up all the events scheduled for summertime. Once upon a time we had Day on the Green, Bridge School event, Konocti Harbor and Garlic festival where I saw WAR play. However, times are tough but Great music is still alive and well.

The Crossroads festival is one of those epic events where you can see guitar GODS interacting with other respectable musicians and also with their own bands. However, this event is in danger of becoming extinct. Mr. Clapton and all of his minions put this show on with help of sponsors such as Guitar Center, Fender Music Corporation and other fabulous volunteers. This event helps undercut the cost of the rehabilitation clinic in Antigua. Well, an event of this size requires a lot of work and at one point Eric pondered making this the last festival. No man, pass the baton but don't stop!

Where else can you find such talent in one place short of the Olympics or the World Cup (FIFA)? Steve Winwood, Buddy Guy, BB King oh my god this is amazing. Let's not forget Mr. Chi town - Bill Murray! Bill Murray is the emcee for the second time and he is always pulling pranks and keeping us in stitches. The last festival....? No no no.

Over twenty acts or personalities made it to the stage for over 11 hours of entertainment. 11 hours, well, Woodstock was epic because of the epic shift in social conscience where Crossroads seems to epitomize our struggle with addiction, repression, depression and financial devastation. For 11 hours we can forget our troubles, help a good cause, and become afflicted with facial cramps from smiling and hooting to our hearts content. The show must go on.

One group was missing from this event, The Allman Brothers Band was absent due to Gregg's recent liver transplant (hopefully a Speedy recovery) but lets hope our prayers will be answered and The ABB will be in full force in 2011. Notably; Warren Haynes (ABB - Gvmint Mule), Derek Trucks attended and gave the crowd a taste of Beacon Theater's favorite band.

Where do I stop? Jimmie Vaughan is coming out with a new album and as usual, played a few notes that hit the crowd like lightning bolts. BB King? Come on man, Hubert Sumlin..... Reverend Willy Gibbons and ZZ TOP and Johnny Winters was looking good and playing like someone rolled the clocks back. Shoot, if Willie Nelson was there, one might have to pinch oneself.

If I could be so selfish, I'd wish that this event occurred four times a year. I'd had the event in the North, South, East and finally the West. The concert would be within driving range of all regions. However, there are far too many acts to expect this to happen twice much less four times a year as it is a logistic nightmare. So, those who couldn't make it to past shows should endeavor to see next year's show before this event becomes something we reminisce about and hold in reverence. If you can make to this show - GO.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Albums - Jimmy Vaughan will release Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites on July 6, 2010

Shout Factory will release Jimmy Vaughan's latest album on July 6, 2010. Jimmy is a great guitarist and one of the best. Mr. Vaughan can hit one note, much the way that B.B. King hits the note and makes us cry, sing or dance. Recently, Steve Miller released an album and he covered some of Jimmy's songs - Steve is no slouch and I figure if he's covering Jimmy Vaughan it's for a damn good reason - because he is great! I look forward to buying this album sight unseen and it will be playing at work, on the road and at home.

Also, you might know that Jimmy has a authorized Fender signature Tex-Mex Stratocaster. This guitar has a great price and is a excellent guitar.

The guitar feature a comfortable soft V neck and Tex-Mex pickups, vintage style tremolo and tuners. I like the white model but they are all nice.

Check out the Fender site for more information

Guitar Player Presents Guitarmageddon at the High Sierra Music Festival July 2nd in Quincy, CA.

Guitar Player Presents Guitarmageddon at the High Sierra Music Festival July 2nd in Quincy, CA.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bavarian Beer Company Sends bikini Clad Women to South Africa to Advertise for Guitar Snob

Headline News -

Breaking news. Sources indicate that a Bavarian beer company sent bikini and miniskirt clad women to a South African Stadium during the World Cup challenges to illegally promote the Guitar Snob web page.

Bumbling fools. They could have saved a great deal of time, money and effort by simply delivering the models directly to my office!

Garry Shider, Parliament-Funkadelic Guitarist, Dead at 56

Garry Shider, Parliament-Funkadelic Guitarist, Dead at 56

Friday, June 11, 2010

Deranged Fan Attacks Former Guns and Roses Guitarist - Slash

Ok, nut case alert. Scary moment here and Slash handles it very well. How these lunatics make it on stage is beyond my comprehension but I know that they are usually dealt with in a swift manner. :) This incident occurred Thursday (6-10-10) night in Milan, Italy.

Total damage:
  1. 1 solo
  2. 1 guitar ruined

Thank God we can watch and laugh about this one. Security, your fired!!! :P

Another angle...

Here at the point of impact.

More with bad angles and horrible sound - Sorry.

Kudos to Slash for maintaining composure and acute concentration.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eagles' Joe Walsh Files Restraining Order After Death Threats

Eagles' Joe Walsh Files Restraining Order After Death Threats

Guitar Related Quotes

"How we do one small thing, like hold a pick, is how we do all the small things that we do, because our approach to that small thing is the approach to another small thing. And all of those small things taken together is how we live our life. If someone comes to you, or me, or someone else for guitar lessons and they say, 'come on then, show me how to hold a pick,' what they are actually saying is, 'show me how to lead my life' But, that's often not what they believe is the question that is being asked..."

Robert Fripp from - Talking Guitars By David Mead, published by Sanctuary, ISBN:1-86074-620-9. Price = 14.99 (USD)

"When I was practicing I always tried to steer away from playing things that were on records. I learned a lot about individuality from Joe [Satriani]... But today, as a rule, if I come up with something on the guitar that I know somebody else is doing, I either try to elaborate on it or I don't do it at all. And I'd recommend that to everybody, because everybody is unique and individual and everybody is capable of developing their own style."

Steve Vai from - Talking Guitars By David Mead, published by Sanctuary, ISBN:1-86074-620-9. Price = 14.99 (USD)