Pedals – Fuzzy and Squishy

It seems logical that once you start buying guitars and amps that pedals will then follow. As of now this is my inventory

 

Guitars

-2010 Taylor DN3e

-2000 Gibson SG special

-2010 American Standard Fender Telecaster

Bass

-Fender Modern Player Telecaster Bass (yeah I got rid of the Schecter, I’ve been playing a lot more and

It just wasn’t a comfortable bass. I can do into detail but not here.)

Amps

-Egnater 20 Rebel Half stack

-Behringer Thunderbird BX108

Banjo

-Gold Tone cc-100 Open Back Banjo

Pedals

-Fab Distortion (I got this one for free)

-MXR compressor

-not really a pedal but I got a nady line mixer and it has a delay in it and I like it for now

 

I have been looking a lot at pedals, just to see what is out there and there are so many pedals. I am not amazed but it is certainly overwhelming. For the longest time I was not a fan of pedals but then for a long time I wasn’t really playing anything but acoustic. I am beginning to see why people get into pedals. Right now I have all of the basic guitars covered, acoustic, single coil and humbucking, and guitar wise I am very happy. However, with pedals the types of tones grows exponentially and they are way cheaper than buying a new guitar. A couple of pedals keep on coming up over and over again, the Ibanez Tube screamer overdrive, the arbiter fuzz face and the big muff pi pedals.

 

So one question I had was what is the difference between fuzz, overdrive and distortion? They are all types of distortion but there has to be something different. So fuzz is a distortion pedal that really augments the sound. It is meant to be played with one note and the fuzz fills in the rest. I like to think of it as a bloom of sound. Distortion is like the most basic it just distorts the signal and no matter how hard you play it’s the same level. It’s just making you sound grittier. Finally, overdrive is the most interesting. It is made to mimic the overdriving of tubes in an amplifier. So the more you open up your volume the more distortion you get through the pedal. I have recently been looking at the boss blues driver. I tried it out at a guitar store down in Roanoke, VA. I like it and it’s supposed to assist in overdriving your tube amp. Which I assume is what a lot of overdrives do. It’s dynamic and variable using your guitar as a control.

 

The other pedal I have the MXR Compressor, I got because I like that clipped country sound and it smoothes out your guitar or bass’s tone. I really got it for the squishy sound it makes. There are compressors that get really squishy but they didn’t have them at the store so I didn’t try it out. I’m not going to get into compressor because there are a lot of sites that go into extreme detail about it. Next post I’ll be talking about my bass upgrade.

 

This is the compressor site I was talking about.

http://www.ovnilab.com/

Here is a brief overview on distortion pedals

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distortion_(music)

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American Aquarium

I know I haven’t written anything in a while but I am going to start writing more again. One of the most recent concerts I went to was Justin Jones at the 930 club. While I really liked Justin Jones, the opener American Aquarium was really good. They are produced by Jason Isbell formerly of the Drive By Truckers and it sounds great.

 

One of the best things about American Aquarium is the lead singer BJ Barham. He has a Springsteen swagger, a great voice and a great red acoustic gibson. The other best is the lap steel player who plays in every song. The band has a really close feel. It seems like they all get along and there isn’t any tension in the band.  I appreciate the bluegrass jam vibe with country rock and roll.

 

Here is a link to their site

 

http://www.americanaquarium.net/home.cfm

 

and a good song to start you off on

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls3E8f5huDo

 

Gibson SG Special

I can’t believe I finally have a Gibson. It’s been a long time coming. I have been looking at and following Gibson for a long time. Anyway, I was at a pawn shop on 14th street near U street and I was walking by and just stopped in to look at what they had. I saw a whole row of guitars long the top and at that moment I saw this cherry SG. Then I walked out. The Monday after I walked in asked to check it out and then I bought it. That’s my story. For a while I was dead set on a Les Paul then I wanted a jaguar then a Les Paul again. I’m glad I ended up with this one. I had tried out an SG standard at guitar center a few months ago but I really didn’t like the neck. The 2 main things, I didn’t like the binding and the frets were too high. It was too bumpy. That’s why I decided to go with used. I wanted some worn down frets and I wanted it broken in.

However, it needed some replacements. I took out the nut and replaced with a tusq that I bought. That made a huge difference. I got rid of the buzz and the old nut had graphite.  I got new knobs and a new control plate, but those aren’t as interesting.

This is an SG special, so no binding or pick up covers. That seems to be the big difference between the standard and special.

Specs

Cherry red with a full pick guard built in 2000

490 alnico pickups – The specials now have dirty finger pickups, but on the Gibson site it still says the 490s so I’m not sure who to trust

Gibson deluxe tuners – These maybe need to be replaced

Mahogany body and a mahogany Set neck

Rosewood fingerboard – before Gibson was hit with all these Lacey Act charges

2 tones knobs, 2 volume knobs and a 3 way switch

I love this guitar and I liked being able to do work on it. I really like having my telecaster new, but having a used knocked up guitar doesn’t make me feel as cautious about working on it. Thank god everything I have done has been correct so far.

 

And now Pictures …

My SG

My SG in all its glory

Head Stock

Head Stock, I looked into the graphic because at first I thought it was fake but this is an older logo

I replaced the knobs

I replaced the knobs

Pickups

Pickups

I replaced the control plate also

I replaced the control plate also

Horns

Horns

I have a few pictures of the nut I took off. I just used a razor blade to cut it out and then I sanded down the tusq nut and after about an hour of sanding it was ready. However, I am not going to do any work on the body. I like all the dings and nicks.

This nut was in bad shape and the A string has cut down too far into the nut. A lot of buzz.

That’s it so far. If you are considering an SG, I highly recommend one, but it is a great compliment to my telecaster also.

Upcoming, Egnater Rebel 20

I know my posting has been pretty sparse lately but I am finally done with all the busy stuff I had in April.

Here is where I am.

The last post I was talking a little bit about amplifiers and I ended up buying an Egnater 20 rebel. I am so excited about it. I spent a lot of time in different shops trying out gear. Figuring out what my needs are. Since I live in a 1 bedroom apartment there is no reason for me to get a 100 watt amp. One of the reasons I bought the Egnater rebel is that you can dial the wattage down to 1 watt from 20 which is an amazing feature that I jumped on. I don’t have it yet but when I get it there with certainly be a post on it. I have been looking at a lot of tube amps lately and have been around to a few store and have been trying out different tube combos and heads. I ended up going with a head and cabinet instead of a combo because I like the ability to mix with different cabinets and heads.

Just so you know where I am coming from, I have a small 8 watt bass amp I use for all my amp needs. This is very inadequate for my electric guitar, but perfect for my bass and acoustic. I used to have more amps but moving from apartment to apartment makes you reevaluate your things.

The next guitar I am going to get is a Gibson Les Paul. I have been looking at them extensively for a long time and I don’t know when I am going to get one or from where but it’s coming.

Finally, I am thinking about basses. I have been playing more bass and I have tried a few fretless basses that I really like. That might be coming in the future, especially because it’s a good contrast to the heavy metal Schecter bass I have right now.

That’s all for now, I will have a lot more coming in May.

Gibson Moderne

3 versions of the Moderne from Gibson.com

3 versions of the Moderne from Gibson.com

So if you have been following the Gibson website, or any website where Gibson guitars come up. You have noticed the Moderne. It is a very interesting guitar with an interesting history.

The moderne was developed in the 50’s when the flying V and Explorer came out but it is now released again ( it was actually released in the 1980s for a brief time).  Here is a little bit of background to the ‘new’ designs that Gibson released. Gibson guitars were being overtaken by Fender in the late 50’s and Gibsons were seen as old and dated. Fender had these great surf rock style guitars that were taking over. Also Gibsons were built to be solid well made guitars, Fenders were built with interchangeable parts and mass produced. So to compete Gibson put out the explorer and the flying v. These guitars were truly revolutionary designs. Although they never made the impact that the Les Paul and SG did they are still crucial to the arsenal of Gibson. However, there was a third design the Moderne that was not produced in the late 50’s.

I personally love these guitars. I love fender and their innovation but what gibson has done with body design is simply ground breaking. The more I read about them the more excited I get about buying that Les Paul. I also love the space age look of these guitars, and I can’t imagine how futuristic they must have looked in 1957, when they still inspire today. I will probably never buy another  flying v or a moderne but I will always appreciate them.

Steinberger Spirit to Gibson Les Paul Or Trading Down to guitar picks?

I recently tried to challenge myself to trade up from my Steinberger Spirit to a GIbson Les Paul. I was inspired by that guy who traded up a paper clip to a house. I have for now given up on it. Maybe it’s the area I live in or my timing but had a hard time getting trades or re selling. I look at it more of a learning experience now but the idea of trading up seems so alluring.

This was the original post I had written

So this week/weekend I decided to start a new adventure, to trade up to a Les Paul. I have heard of the red paper clip to house story and that seems like a long way. I think I’ll be better off going gear to gear. 

So I have set down a few rules.

  •  I can only use gear that I have.
  • I can use cash
  • I can buy modify if I need and sell
  • This isn’t a rule but I will not part with my Tele, Taylor, Gold Tone or Bass
  • I can buy and sell non music gear items

I may add or remove later but these are my guide lines. My goal is to get to a Les Paul but what I will do is hopefully play a few guitars and have some more things to talk about on my blog.

Right now I have done these things.

1. Started off with a Steinberger I paid $280 for it

2. I sold it for $140 and a Gibson Baldwin Les Paul. It’s a Les Paul but it has some mods and it’s not what I want.

3. I am going to throw in my guitar link interface and probably my Zoom G2.1Nu Pedal. I got everything I needed out of the pedal. It’s got a lot of effects and I like that but I just don’t use it much.

This means I have $140, a guitar worth about $100, a $30 guitar link cable and a pedal worth about $150. So $270 or $420, depending on how much I am putting into it.

My first exchange I went backwards which I didn’t really want to do. So I am about $40 down. Hopefully, I’ll be able to recover, otherwise I’m going to end up with a bunch of shit. 

 

I actually ended up down $80. I finally sold that Gibson Baldwin for $60. If I do decide to start up this challenge again I will start at $200 and I am going to have to get lucky. From what I can see on craigslist there are a lot of people who want 1 or 2 types of guitar. So I have realized if I decide to reboot this I need Fenders, Squires, Epiphones and Gibsons, maybe a Yamaha or a Martin. Also I have limited mobility basically the DC metro area. If I were more mobile I could cast a larger net. Also don’t buy mods if you want to trade and unless it’s a Fender avoid bolt on necks.

So did I give up too easily? I only went through 2 guitars and should I maybe try this again?

I also tried to a Rocky and Bullwinkle style title.

 

Gibson Baldwin Or you are better off with an Epiphone

So as I will soon post, I had been experimenting with trading up and the world of Craigslist.

I ended up for a short period of time with a Gibson Baldwin. Unfortunately, with a lot of modifications it was hard to sell. It had a new neck, and an after-market humbucker in the neck position.

Gibson has a line called Gibson Maestro, this used to be called Gibson Baldwin. In case you are wondering Baldwin is also a brand of piano that is owned by Gibson. They are very nice pianos and actually the one I learned on was a Baldwin. Gibson on its own is the iconic brand and a dead giveaway is that a Gibson Baldwin Les Paul costs about $80 while a real Gibson Les Paul costs closer to $2000. I actually liked the guitar with all its modifications as a beginner guitar. It was nicer that the Squier Strat I learned on. The only thing was that I wanted to upgrade and maybe a little too hastily. It had 2 humbuckers, and a black body, the Tune-o-matic bridge and treble/rhythm switch. The neck was a stratocaster style, but not a Fender brand. I want to say it looks more like a Yamaha Pacifica neck with the emblem scratched off. There was hardly any fret buzz and I think increasing the action would have stopped that. I am almost certain the guy who owned it before was a shredder because the Neck humbucker was replaced and I don’t know the brand but I have seen those pickups on guitars owned by Cannibal Corpse fans.

Here are a few photos

Body Shot of the Gibson Baldwin   

Body Shot of the Gibson Baldwin

 

Head Stock Shot - at the bottom you can see my kitten Ben. He is a fan of Judas Priest.

Head Stock Shot - at the bottom you can see my kitten Ben. He is a fan of Judas Priest.