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.
I know a lot of this blog concerns the guitar and not the amplifier but I am starting to get more interested in amps. As someone who has been playing for a long time I know a lot less about amplifiers than I should. This also means I have been depriving myself of tone. Oh No! So I have been looking through the wide world of amps to try to figure out what I want. I should also mention that in almost every band I have played in I take the bass. I actually prefer it to guitar because you have a lot of freedom as long as you are on time. Not coincidentally I also like R and B, reggae and world music more.
With the bass I didn’t really care about tube amplifiers because I didn’t have the money and I wasn’t looking for tube driven distortion with a bass. However, the guitar amp is another story. I have always had solid state amps and now I think it is time for me to finally buy one.
Reasons to buy a tube amp
-The tone, this seems like such a vague descriptor but if mean that you want the distortion created by overdriving the vacuum tubes in the amplifier.
-The amp is ½ of the electric guitar. As an instrument an electric guitar on its own is quieter than a speaking voice, but when you plug it in then you get an instrument.
-Louder at less wattage
So I have been familiarizing myself with tube amps. They all have two different areas where the tubes are used preamp and power. Preamp prepares the electrical signal and power boosts the volume. I am also not taking this decision lightly because Tube amps are more expensive and delicate than their solid state counterparts.
One more thing about amp is that they come in a few different step ups either head and speaker cabinet or combo. The head and cabinet are nice because they get loud, you can switch up different heads and cabinets, but they are more expensive and bigger set ups. A combo is both head and speaker in one unit. It makes it more portable, usually cuts some cost, but they have to be miked if you need to play live.
I have been looking at Egnater, Marshall, Vox, Blackstar and Fender. So if anyone has any comments or suggestions let me know.
There is a wonderful book that came out several years ago called Guitar: An American Life by Tim Brookes. The book goes through the history of the guitar especially its life in the Americas and the US as well as Brookes’ journey through getting a new guitar. His old trusty guitar was broken on a flight and he decided it was time to get another one. I really liked the history of the guitar and how it is intertwined with the banjo and the identity of the American people. The guitar used to be a ladies instrument, where as now it is a phallic symbol for rock stars. This is a great book for someone who is interested in history, guitars or both. Mr. Brookes is an writer for his blog and NPR, as well as his own books.
I am glad I got this book and it has definitely given me a new appreciation for the life and art of a luthier. However, the only problem I had with the book was the treatment of the electric guitar. He seemed to treat it as an instrument for punks and that folkies and classical musicians were at the top of the guitar chain. As someone who is interested in everything, I think that is a narrow view. Especially since the electric guitar is an American instrument. Sure it’s based off the Spanish style guitar, but at this point they have totally different uses, sounds and histories. Although to be fair putting both acoustic and electric guitars in a book that size would do neither justice. Hell there long books totally dedicated to telecasters and SGs.
I still recommend this book to anyone interested in the amazing history of the guitar or who is interested in the relationship a luthier has with his clientele.
This is his website.
So I have been writing a lot of my own music that I then record on a Zoom H1 recorder. Its fun and I like doing it, and as I do more I like to post it up. I have a Soundcloud account and the link is in the My Music page up on the top part of this blog page. So if you are interested go over and listen. they are some rough cuts now and I am working on some multi-track recording, but I have not mastered that yet.
Since I hadn’t written anything in a while I decided two posts today. Enjoy the second one below.
I have recently been watching a lot of Austin City Limits. It’s been the longest running concert series on TV since 1976 and it is great. A few recent concerts I really liked were Raphael Saadiq and the Jeff Bridges/ Miranda Lambert concerts, also Randy Newman was great. I watch it through PBS like I assume more of America because I happen to live in DC. It is a great music series, and commercial free. It plays a lot of Americana music, so if you are looking to get into Americana just DVR ACL. I find myself looking a lot at the guitars (Jeff Bridges has a great gretsch).
The Website is below
And Photos! All photos come from ACLTV.com
Another music concert series I recommend is the A/V club Undercover series. It has new artists come in and cover older songs. One of my favorites was Wye Oak covering Mother originally by Danzig. I think its really cool to see different takes on well known songs and it also lets me see how different artists interpret songs. There are also bands I haven’t heard of and it helps me decide if I want to listen to them more. The premise is that the people at the A/V Club have a list of famous songs to cover and then they ask a bunch of bands to come and do a cover. However, once a band covers that song no other band can cover the same song. So as time goes on the list dwindles.
Here is the 2011 site. They are starting the 2012 series now.
and Wye Oak
I don’t have any photos for this, but it’s also not as big as ACL