Just an update on my profile - I've added some gear that I'd either not bothered to add before or didn't have last time I edited my profile.
Pictures have been requested, i'll do them soon. When I do please excuse the fact that my house is very cluttered. My Squiers, apart from the Standard Telecaster which i'm completely satisfied with, all stock, are due for modifications as soon as I've saved up enough cash for the spare parts, so unless it takes me as long to take the time to take photos as it does to mod them, pictures of these will be added later. I may upload photos of them for before/after anyway, even though i'm a little ashamed of the state my custom tele is in at the moment - crappy shop sold it to me for half price knowing it was shoddy (because i pointed it out) saying they'd repair it for free, then charged me another £20 just for them to replace the stock 500k ohm volume pot with an even worse quality, plastic-shafted 470k pot... they didn't say they were going to charge until after they'd done it
I may be bored now, but this time yesterday I was on my way to Cardiff to see Matchbox 20. They were great! I was 3rd from the front, and not even these annoying girls stomping on my toes with stiletto heels while dancing intrusively close and singing out of tune in screechy voices right in my ears could ruin it
Yesterday i found out about a wonderful place called Knighton Music Centre, in a little town in wales called, believe it or not, Knighton! It's a great landscape, with the evergreen trees lining the vast mountains in the not so distant distance. And the guitar shop itself is even better - who would've thought a small independantly run shop at the bottom of a welsh valley would have so many 1970s gibsons?!? It was heaven i tell ya - there was even an infamous Moderne hanging on the wall.
The guy who runs it has the best attitude towards guitars and customers - they are there to be played, and he welcomes you to try out anything he has in there, when i said "i'm just interested in playing some vintage gibsons" he was straight out of his seat to get the les pauls down off the wall. I do actually have a genuine interest in purchasing a vintage les paul at some point in my life, and it was very helpful to have someone hand me various les paul deluxe and custom models - and my god they were heavy!
I first played a 1972 wine red les paul deluxe featuring the original mini-humbuckers - as far as cosmetics go it was in poor condition - the headstock had been snapped off, repaired, and refinished, and then the finish had been scratched away at the top of the headstock to reveal the serial number that would've been hidden away beneath the new finish. The poor thing was covered in dents and scratches and the bridge was more or less rusted. the neck had an interesting slim taper reminiscent of the '60s profile, however it gradually widened out to a '50s profile as it got to the heel. The frets were wide but very flat, probably worn down, and the guitar was so heavy - i believe this is something to do with the 'pancake' body? But my god did it play and sound fantastic, like nothing i've ever heard in my life! a little snappier than yer' average LP, more cutting due to the epiphone mini humbuckers. but so warm and bluesy on the neck pickup.. perhaps a little helped by the rivera combo it was plugged into (the guy who runs this place sure does know his stuff, as most other shops would've probably plugged it into a marshall MG or something) but i could tell this was a brilliant guitar, and fortunately it's physical condition means it will be played, and not collected! And as for the sustain.. i felt like nigel tufnel!
Then i was given a modded deluxe from 1973 with a slight volute at the bottom of the headstock. This one wasn't without its charm - the neck was dead on perfect for my hands. This one was refinished in an interesting natural top/cherry back combination and a lot of the cherry finish had made its way onto the binding in little splatters, and fitted with P-90s. The sound was smooth and lush, and it played even better. However there was something unsettling about the way the neck pickup was missing a mounting screw and the bridge pickup sat at an almost 45 degree angle pointing away from the bridge.. character, i guess!
The guy whose name i didn't catch then handed me another Les Paul deluxe, this time in the traditional sunburst finish - this one was modded (somewhat sloppily) to include full size humbuckers. The guitar wasn't in particularly nice condition, again, as there were visible gaps where the P-90 width routing had been covered over by the humbucker mounts, there were telltale signs that this guitar had been fitted with many mini-toggles to match the '70s fads like phase cancellation and coil splitting, as there were many circles revealing where the wood had been filled in, dotted around the control knobs. the pickup selector worked backwards, so the 'up' position marked 'rhythm' actually used the bridge pickup and 'treble' used the neck pickup - an interesting quirk which i quite liked. It had an enormous volute on the back of the headstock which did seem rather odd for a gibson but reassuring nonetheless, there was some belt-buckle-rash on the back, and the frets had worn down to more or less nothing but still served their purpose as good as ever. Anyway, i plugged it in, strummed an open A.. and the sound that came out was simply HEAVENLY! This guitar ticked all the right boxes, and the flattened frets actually worked really well!
Other notable guitars were the shop owner's custom historic '58 reissue which had the best sustain ever, which actually lasted about a minute even on a lower gain setting on the amp, and another '58 reissue for sale which had an unusual reedy tone which i quite liked. But i could go on for days, weeks, months, even years, about these guitars i played, and i will definitely return to Knighton Music Centre!
I think in conclusion i now agree that gibson aren't what they used to be and have indeed gone downhill in recent years. While my Les Paul studio VM only slightly falls short of most of these vintage gibsons as far as being a good guitar goes, it just doesn't have the same vibe and many new gibsons don't have any of this magic mojo at all - infact some new gibsons are just bland, generic, and far from worth what you pay for them.
Bah, i'm bored, have a migraine that's been bothering me for the last few days, have only a few more days till I finish with college completely and move on to better things, and looking back on it.. what a big waste of time it was...
Every single gig at art college has pissed me off and put me in a terrible mood on stage. Complete and utter disregard and disrespect for students and especially their equipment. I once caught the college's theatre manager dicking about with my rig about half an hour before a gig, AFTER the sound check, changing all my settings which i had left the way they were for a reason. He was using my laney VC30 and my pedals, with someone elses guitar which i presume he'd just taken out of the dressing room without caring whose it was, and when i told him to stop using my gear he had the "i'm in charge here" attitude. He also tried to tell me i had to put my pedalboard on top of my amp while i was not on stage because "pedals are a trip hazard", and i told him "pedals covering the vents at the top of the amp are a potential fire hazard" and he said "don't leave your amp switched on then" and tried to stop me from allowing my amp to warm up. Absolute incompetence and arrogance. That's just one example of the kind of shit i have had to put up with at that college. I've also had my amp unplugged, while switched on because it was warming up, by the theatre staff - if i had done that to a college amp, tube or not, i would have been in deep shit for it. and my complaints are just treated as a joke whenever i bring these things up.
I've also had a member of teaching staff try to tell me i HAVE to put my gibson les paul on their cruddy guitar rack which was falling apart (no thanks!) while i'm not on stage, i refused saying "if it falls it'll break - it's a gibson. and you'll cover your arse with that 'at your own risk' statement if i try to make a claim against you for it. so i'm not going to put it on that guitar rack, thank you very much". I was told "it doesn't matter if it breaks, you've got about 15 other guitars anyway". I'm not even exaggerating! Later i was given a patronising talking to by the same member of staff about professionalism. the sheer hypocrisy - yesterday i did a sound check and the same guy took the jack lead out of the bass amp while the bass player was backstage, didn't tell him about it, then accused him of being disorganised for not having a jack lead ready when he walked onto the stage. Honestly...
This college has given me serious anxiety problems as a result of 2 years of having to put up with this sort of shit on a daily basis.. Bravo, Hereford College of Arts, Bravo
Speaking of the migraine i'm currently fighting with aspirin, that's a side effect of the anxiety...
I went to bristol yesterday to check out a place to live, and the area seemed to have quite a nice community atmosphere. But this is UG, so nobody cares about that.
Anyways i went into Rikaxxe music on Bond Street and played a burny SG and decided to put a deposit on it. the model is "RSG-55/69", i think the 69 refers to the fact it's like a late '60s "full pickguard" SG. It really is a fantastic guitar though. I remember the first time i tried it a couple of weeks ago, i was blown away by how it sounded so much ilke a "proper" SG, blowing even the similarly priced Gibson SG special faded out of the water in terms of really delivering that classic SG tone. It just played wonderfully too (Apart from some buzzing of the open strings which the shop assured me they will fix).
The only thing it doesn't have that a much more expensive gibson does have is, the handbuilt charm. It doesn't really have a special feel about it. But you plug it in and it really wails like no other guitar i've ever played. I put a £25 deposit on it there and then.
The first time i tried it, i tried it through a roland cube 60x which didn't really do it justice, though it did give me an idea as to how nice the cleans are. Yesterday though, the guy in there insisted on me plugging it into his own amp that had just arrived - a white cabinet Orange AD30HTC. It was being run through a Hiwatt 4x12 cabinet. OMFG... TOANZORZ! Combined with the Burny SG it was an immensely good sound, and as i'm told by the shop guy, the orange handles fuzz pedals really nicely too.
So now i'm GASing for an Orange AD30 too.
While i was paying the deposit the guy behind the counter said "I know it's pronounced burny but.. is it actually spelled 'bunny'? that's what everyone seems to think it says, too". Not a very rock 'n' roll brand name, really, is it. Not that i care. It's a good guitar, i don't care how many pillocks will go up to me and say "ur a fag becuz u play a guitar dat made by BUNNY LOLOLOL" and i like to think i've managed to break free from that crowd.
So anyway... I just got back from a band practice - i use my solid state HH electronic VS-Musician amp for practice to preserve my t00bz for teh gigz!
The other guitarist (who is a lot older and wiser than i am) told me that this solid state sounds better than any of my other amps and that i should start using it for gigs instead of my trusty old Laney VC30. His reasoning was that the HH sounds much clearer and more defined, even though the distortion has a much rougher, edgier quality to it. Also it's very tight sounding. Of course, i do love the sound of this amp for chord work but it just doesn't sound "lush" enough for my leads. But he likes it better.
He also uses a line 6 spider III 150 watter and gets better tones out of it than UG would believe to be possible - shows how far knowing how to set up an amplifier will take you if you're a good player.
Basically, i am questioning the legitimacy and accuracy of any information people have to tell you on UG or other similar boards - the standard responses, "don't get a spider", "tube is better than solid state", "digital sucks", "gibson is overpriced", "schecter is awesome" etc. As i rarely see a trend towards these sort of 'bandwagons' (for want of a better word/phrase) outside of the internet, i guess my point is... the internet is a great resource for biased opinions and general misinformation given by the misinformed and plain stupid. The only thing i think you can truly learn about anything from message boards is "don't believe everything (or anything, for that matter) you read on message boards".
But that leads me on to something - i genuinely saw a line 6 hater - he turned up at our practice - fair play to the guy he did offer to lend us some nice powered monitors for our upcoming gig. But he had very biased anti-line 6 opinions. He said the other guitarist's tone was "far too brittle because it's a line 6" when it was clearly my tone that was brittle because i'd just switched from a les paul to a telecaster and forgotten to make some EQ adjustments before we'd played through that particular song. Ah well, haters gonna hate, no matter how intelligent or experienced they are with these things, and there's nothing that can be done to change that.
But you know what? fuck the haters. When you buy a particular piece of gear, buy it because you like it. Most people won't care about the tone, but then there'll be people who like it and people who hate it, just like there'll be people who like your playing and people who hate your playing. No matter how good you are at what you do, some will love you for it, and some will hate you for it, and some will be completely indifferent - you can't please everyone.
Well it's whatever the hell time it is in the morning, i'm still awake, etc etc etc..
just played a local gig with local covers band which was a lot of fun, and there were some rumours going round that i can only hope are true. A certain member of the audience whose name i shall not mention, is rumoured to want me to join his band whose name i shall also not mention. Yeah.
If this works out, i will reveal nothing because i want to be able to use UG without being harassed, and if it doesn't work out, i will reveal nothing because i'll feel like such a prick for bragging about it only for it to come to nothing anyway
So anyway i just got a line 6 pod studio UX1 for recording at university and let me tell you, i'm very impressed with the sound quality of the included pod farm software.
sure it's digital, it's software, it's not a real amp, in fact, it's not even an amp at all, but here's the thing: obviously the vox AC30 setting for example, sounds like "a line 6 digital approximation of a vox AC30", and you can tell it's not the real deal, but so what? It sounds good, and it does the job it needs to do - cuts through the mix in the same way a vox AC30 would.
And that brings me to another thing - actually, if i had a real AC30, obviously i'd be very happy with it as a gigging amp and an amp for almost anti-social practice, that goes without saying, it'll do that a whole lot better than any modelling software ever will. However, considering that i'm recording in a medium size bedroom in a terraced house in a very urban area, would it even be physically possible to get the quality of the recording as good as the sound quality of direct recordings from pod farm? i mean sure a shure SM57 isn't expensive, and i could probably position it right and do it well enough, but the acoustics of the room, combined with the inability to crank up the amp to its maximum tonal potential, means i just couldn't get the best out of it, and pod farm automatically gives me a better recorded sound than i could possibly get using the real deal - and a lot more flexibility too.
Of course, i'm not saying that real amps are obsolete in recording studios because they are not and if i ever happen to be recording in a real studio with proper gear i would definitely choose to use an amplifier and mic it up - but for home recording (unless you can afford your own sound proofed and acoustically treated purpose-built home studio, sadly i can't), i think that amp modelling software such as pod farm is the way to go.
A few weeks ago i put a deposit on a lovely 1973 Gibson SG with an ebony fretboard and a gibson-brand bigsby style vibrato tailpiece, and i'm currently in the process of paying for it.
The guitar is in quite good condition, and 100% original parts - you can tell it has been well played, but it's still got decades, maybe even centuries of life left in it yet. cosmetically, the cherry red has faded down to an attractive walnut brown type finish, there are a few little dings and a lot of checking on the headstock veneer.
but it plays beautifully. it really reacts so well to how you play it, and is very very easy to play, too. it's absolutely superb. the neck profile is very comfortable too.
an interesting quirk is that the pickup selector was wired in the wrong way round in the factory, or at least, that is the only logical conclusion as to how the "rhythm" position is the bridge pickup and the "treble" position is the neck, and the volume/tone controls work according to this reverse-wiring. Because quite frankly there's no reason why anyone would go in and wire in the switch the wrong way round unless they were replacing pickups or something and didn't keep note of which wire went where - it would make sense if the guitar had aftermarket pickups or pots, but it's all stock
so on to the sound - the bridge, or "rhythm" position on this guitar, connected to the top set of volume/tone controls (somewhat obscured from view by the bigsby trem but not a huge problem), has a very thick, chunky sound that is just pure rock 'n' roll. a snappy, snarly but somewhat mellow woody attack which is hard to describe, complimented by smooth singing sustain rich in fundamentals - very defined and clear.
the neck pickup (aka "treble" position lol) is more of the same - less of the biting attack and a bit warmer and more rounded, very dark and smooth but very clear and defined like the bridge pickup - no mud whatsoever.
i like the fact that the different pickups have the same kind of sound and the difference comes from the differing position - it generally tells you that you're hearing the guitar and not the pickups, and if it sounds good like that, you know you've got a good guitar.
I haven't got to test the gibson-brand bigsby yet as the shop owner tends to lock down trems, or remove the arm, to stop people abusing them in the shop - remember these are vintage, subtle vibrato units that you got on the old gibsons - not crazy whammy/divebomb units. But the bigsby trem is my favourite style of trem because they hold tuning very well and you have a lot more control over the subtleties of the fluctuation in pitch.
I should have this guitar in my hands in a month or two for now i can just look at the photos from the shop's website. i have uploaded these photos to my profile, too - stock photos, but they are a picture of the actual guitar.