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



-2010 Taylor DN3e

-2000 Gibson SG special

-2010 American Standard Fender Telecaster


-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.)


-Egnater 20 Rebel Half stack

-Behringer Thunderbird BX108


-Gold Tone cc-100 Open Back Banjo


-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.

Here is a brief overview on distortion pedals

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


and a good song to start you off on


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.


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 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



I replaced the control plate also

I replaced the control plate also



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

3 versions of the Moderne from

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.


What I have Learned about buying guitars

Why to buy a good instrument?

I have been playing music of some sort for 15 years, from when I first started playing violin in 4th grade to my latest instrument, the banjo. It took me a lot longer than it probably should have but it is worth it to buy good instruments. There is a saying buy the best that you can afford and I can certainly say I agree. I own three instruments that I am absolutely in love with. I don’t think I would ever sell them; these are the Telecaster, the Taylor and my new banjo for those who are new to the blog.

One of the reasons I bring this up is because I have been down the cheap guitar road too many times. The most recent time was last year when I bought a Steinberger Spirit. This is the entry level model for Steinberger. This company is very innovative and interesting. However, their guitars are a sort of acquired taste type. I would not recommend them to everyone. I bought it because I thought I would want to play guitar on the road and when I travel. This was true to some extent but I don’t think I played it enough to really make it worth it. The other reason was that I wanted to have some humbucker pickups. So I thought I’ll kill two birds with one stone (for those who don’t know this is another saying). So I got it and thankfully I didn’t pay too much for it but it was not the guitar I really wanted. The frets needed work, the fingerboard had some glue on it and you could see the top plywood veneer through the switch hole. I knew to myself, this is not the guitar I really wanted or really enjoyed playing. Personally the nut width was too wide so when I played or soloed I felt like everything was too far apart. It was frustrating. Also it’s a light guitar. My girlfriend said it looked like I was playing a video game. I know now that I should be putting as much into the guitar as I expect to get out of it. Since, I play every day. That is a lot. If I were playing live at all it would be essential to have good gear. With this post I am not trying to push expensive gear on anyone and there are definitely good deals out there. This has just been my experience. One more thing, don’t buy a guitar that doesn’t feel comfortable in your lap. The Steinberger was weird feeling and I once had a Jackson flying V that was awful. I don’t recommend anyone do this, but if you really like Alexi Laiho or Megadeth you will probably be playing a flying V at some point.

Guitar Player Magazine recent ran an article on the 34 best guitars for under $500.

Here is a Guitar World article on the subject

Maybe one Day from

Maybe one Day (from

Hello Music and Indaba Music

This is a quick one.

For all of you song writers out there there is a recording competition going on through Hello Music and Indaba music. For those who don’t know Hello Music is a discount seller like They sell a few music items every day like guitars, processors, pedals, amps, basses and services. Unfortunately no banjos which I happen to be in the market for right now. They started sometime last year and so far I have been following them, but I have yet to buy anything. They do repeat, especially Orange amps, Les Paul studios and american standard strats. Inbada music is like where you can sell or disperse your music around the internet. right now there is a contest to win $2,000 worth of recording gear for writing original songs. I know I’ll be entering. I have a couple new songs up my sleeve, and I am still a total stranger to home recording. Good Luck.

Here are the links

Also I am looking for a new banjo so if anyone has any suggestions or good sites to buy from I am all ears. Musician’s friend and guitar center are not that good selection wise, but I have been looking at I had to step up from my Epiphone because it was too unbalanced and I like to play clawhammer.


Fender and Gibson – NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants)

I have been browsing through The Music Zoo NAMM blog and I have found one of the best examples of why Fender is awesome. They premiered the Fender voyager series and it looks great. I think it’s a testament to Fender, that in an age where vintage guitars are the holy grail, they can make a totally new design and make it great. I am referencing the Gibson Dusk Tiger which looks like a space alien took over a Les Paul but not in a good way. There is another thing Gibson did that I know KISS fans all over love but I think it looks insane, the Budokan Ace Frehley Guitar. I think all the open screws on the pickups and the open humbuckers make it look too industrial. I’m sure it’s an excellent guitar but to me it just looks weird. Also they only made 150 of them. If I were to get a Les Paul it would be white and have a black pickguard and chrome hardware.

The really cool thing about the black Voyager that you see in the blog post, is that there is a pickup unter that chrome pickguard. I like the sleekness that it has. Also it appears as if they are using a Jaguar neck. The other yellow finish Voyager has a tele style pick up set up. I like the futuristic style and the body may look curiously like a firebird but I still like it.

LINKS! all from the music zoo

Also my 40th post. Thank you WordPress for alerting me.