Oh look! Something never done before – A music podcast!!!

I am a God! Like god, I move in mysterious ways! I’ve been kicking around the idea for a music podcast. I think the time has come. I have no idea what I’m going to call it just yet but the format will be pretty broad. Its my show so I can do anything I want to but the rough draft includes looking back at some classic bands from the late 60s through the 70s. I plan to highlight some current bands and even venture into uncharted territories such as classical and jazz. Why music and why now? I was really hoping to get back on to college radio but the limitations far outweigh the positive aspects. The audience is not going to be much larger but I can do this on my own time and not have to worry about set schedules. I’ll let it grow naturally and we’ll see where it takes me. The first show is most likely to be released next week but those will be posted here when the time is right. For now, that is all.


Messing around and updates

I’m not sure exactly how I came across this site but they craft beautiful guitars – Wallace Detroit Guitars. I love the idea behind them. These guitars are made from lumber recovered from famous Detroit landmarks. Yeah they are a little pricey but a good quality guitar is going to start at $1000. You can argue with me all you want that you can get comparable quality for a lower price and you’d be wrong. I started playing guitar again roughly 5 months ago with the restoration of my brother’s guitar and my son buying me a telecaster. I have been visiting a lot of stores from the big chains to the locals. One thing has become very clear, there is a big difference in the quality of cheap guitars vs mid priced guitar and a gigantic leap between mid range to custom. One guitar I was leaning on getting was one of the Ibanez Artcore guitars. The price was reasonable, between 250 – 350 but when I finally got my hands on one, I was shocked at how cheap the feel of the guitar body was. It has a very cheap plastic feel to it. There is nothing wrong with the playability of these guitars but they are just cheaply made. I am not a fan of mass produced Chinese items. Wait, don’t you own a Orange amp made in China? Yes I do but its a practice amp and I will not rely on it for live playing if I even do that. You’ve heard it a million times before, you should have an entry level guitar. Really? Why? If you’re going to try something, why not drop some money into to prove you’re committed? If you drop $1000 on a guitar chances are you’re not going to just let it sit around or maybe you have that kind of money to waste but why not start at the top. There is something to be said for having good/great equipment right out of the gate. There is no real point here except this – If you are considering playing music, set yourself up correctly. Find a solid non chinese, indonesian, or korean guitar and a solid amp and unleash the beast! The only thing preventing me from buying a custom Fender? Justifying the cost and can I dedicate enough time to it. I already checked it out, I would order a custom strat from Fender and all of my requirements would cost me roughly $2000. Let’s see where we are in a year. I’ve thought about buying a cheap guitar and modding the crap out of it but after all the costs, it equals nearly the same as a brand new guitar. Lets break it out. Say I buy one of those indonesian Epiphone SGs, those run about $79 used. Here is my breakdown for this guitar:

Epiphone SG: $79
Replace the nut Les paul guitar bone nut pre cut 44mm: $9.99
1/4″ 2-Conductor Guitar Output Jack: $7.99
Gibson Accessories Stop Bar Tailpiece w/Studs & Inserts – Gold: $54.99
DiMarzio Injector Neck Single Coil Pickup – White: $79.99
DiMarzio Super Distortion Humbucker Pickup – Cream: $79.99
Fender Deluxe Locking Machine Heads: $48.49
Music repair shop to reset the neck and frets, install the pickups, the nut, input jack and tailpiece: $120
Total: $480.44

Now, $480 does not get you out of China just yet. For Fender Squire vibes, it gets you Mexican made. The Mexican mades have a veneer finish which looks nice but again, you’ll want something that is a little more road worthy. $480 for a non Gibson SG is not bad and I would consider it but again, if you can save money and afford the real American made, you probably should. Now that being said, I’m not so sure I would be buying anything from Gibson these days. The company is bleeding financially. They are currently $1.5 billion in the red (Moody’s Stock rating for Gibson). Their products are also getting slammed for shoddy workmanship. We’ll see what I end up choosing. More to come.

All the gold!

Ok, this is my new Orange 35RT – I researched this amp and all the amps in this class for over three weeks. Needless to say I fell asleep at the computer every night.

As you can see this is straight forward. Clean and Dirty with 3 band eq. Nothing fancy just straight up basic amp which is LOUD!

I thought I took a full length picture but obviously not. This is a pic of my very first Fender guitar. Maybe when I die, this can be burned along with my ashes!

What I didn’t take a picture of is the headstock on the back. The real feature here is the locking pegs. No need to wrap 3 or 4 times. Cut to measure and just tune.

So here it is, after 20 years, it has been updated, cleaned and rewired!

Note the only new hardware, new tail piece and two knobs.

The person who put this stuff together was Eddie from Carlino’s guitars in Medford MA. He had to put a piece of wood where the old bridge used to be. As you remember, you used to have a tremelo in place, that has been removed for a stable bridge. While it’s not necessarily pretty, its functional and does the job quite nicely. The guitar does not go out of tune. Good work from Eddie!

Closer look at the bridge.

Despite the paint job, this guitar plays amazingly well. The sound is great and with the Dimarzio pickups, the neck pickup sounds every bit as good as a standard strat!

And yes, that is Steve Morse’s signature… and of course the Warmoth Turtle!

This is as smooth as it gets!

So, never realized that Wes Montgomery played guitar with his thumb as the pick. Amazing player. I’ve always loved his sound and despited the tired cliche of chord soloing, this is the real deal. His playing makes me classify this music as “NY jazz”. His music evokes scenes of a smoky jazz bar and has a metropolitan feel if that makes any sense. My first real foray into jazz was in 1986 when I bought Pat Metheny’s First Circle. The first cut from that album was Forward March. It was a multi-instrument track played on the synchlavier. I thought the song was utter trash, thinking I’ve just wasted my $7 dollars, I figured I would power my way through the rest of the album. The second track was Yolanda You Learn, which was an up tempo song and it quickly brought me back and it turned out to be one of my favorite albums to this day. This would eventually lead me to Jim Hall and ultimately to the man Wes Montgomery. I’m not sure why I never bought a lot of his stuff. I think I usually end up going to a record store (do those even exist anymore?) and usually the laundry list is long and Wes never quite makes the cut. I have access to a lot of his music so in the coming months, I will focus on his stuff. Anyway in looking for Al Di Meola live tracks, I came across this remastered video. The audio is great and I just love this format.

Which one is pink?

A coworker suggested if I wanted to listen to something new, check out Porcupine Tree. Porcupine Tree was described as Pink Floyd with an edge. As a result from Porcupine Tree came the guitarist Steven Wilson. He has released his own stuff outside of the band and the above song is one of those. I’m a sucker for good guitar playing and I like the darker content of some of his previous videos. His last release was based on a women who lived alone in London and had died. Nobody noticed she had been missing or dead for two full years. The songs were all tied to that theme, again very dark and sad. The album was titled Hand. Cannot. Erase. The songs are nicely arranged from strings to horn sections. Wilson was quickly emerging as Mr. Surround Sound. He’s been commissioned to remaster some classic rock albums including – Yes (Fragile) and Jethro Tull’s (Too Old To Rock ’n’ Roll: Too Young to Die) to name two of them. You can keep up to date which albums are being remastered – STEVEN WILSON WEBSITE. For now, I’m just goint to leave you this video.

What does Bowie’s album have to do with it?

Absolutely nothing. I was looking for some headphones a while back and was looking to see if Stereo Review had an online presence. Apparently they became simply SOUND AND VISION back in 2000. It’s obvious that I haven’t looked into buying a real sound system in many years. I just don’t have the time to sit and listen to any music. I listen to most of my music on the road with shitty earbuds. I’ve always been interested in hearing music on really good systems but I’ve neither had the money or the space to set this up. Maybe another thing to do during my retirement. Anyway, if you’re looking for reviews of stereo equipment, check out SOUND AND VISION – http://www.soundandvision.com/.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Gryla!

What the hell is Gryla? Go ahead and look it up. You know for icelandic countries that put out weak hockey players, their music and women are pretty brutal!! As for the women lookup the crossfit games and check the names of the women who win it every year. Ah, I digress, I’ve been on a metal run these last couple of days and I’ve run into another band that I’ve known of for years – Vader, from Poland. I could take em or leave em. However I do like this song in particular. I’ll have to go back and listen to some of the earlier stuff again. This song is not like a lot of the others. This is a more measured effort that could be completely played on the radio. Unfortunately outside of satellite radio, it is unlikely we’ll ever hear this kind of music. Its times like this, during the dead of winter, that I wish I had my radio show back. Let’s be clear the radio show is college radio out of Tufts and it is a whopping 25 Watts, there is more energy coming from my monitor than the radio station towers. They do have a online presence but lets face it, no one wants to listen to metal on a Saturday morning. I’ve done the numbers. My most popular show was a blues show which had 24 online listeners. The metal show usually gets about 4 tops. Ah just brambling (bragging and rambling) now. Merry Christmas if you celebrate it.