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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reworking the basics.

Current mood: chipper

When I first picked up a guitar I read a lot into the maintenance and upkeep of my instrument. I tried my best to understand the needs of the instrument and how to keep it in top order. But the material I got was not very informative so I naively succumbed to the advice of my local guitar shop, "If there's a problem big or small, drop it into us, even for the small stuff to avoid it turning big."

Now, this is sound enough advice to a 12 year old, but as I turned 15 and my woodworking and soldering skills flourished I should have picked up on the basics again and realized that this is relatively easy stuff. It's not like I'm wiring a dp/dt switch in a confounded series that has to power a dozen looms of motors, leds and actuators. It's solder this to that, add a capacitor here, ground that and don't burn yourself.

As much as I would recommend leaving unknown ground to professionals with all the guides available on the internet, even this very site, it's worth now more than ever having a crack at it yourself.

I recently got hold of a guitar luthiers guide to repairs, a book listing nearly every possible fix and minor tips to improving a guitar ten fold with the most basic of work. For instance, I thought for years I'd never be able to sort the tuning stability of my guitar unless I fitted a roller nut, roller string trees and locking tuners. Until I got myself a copy of this thing I did not even realize that a bad nut can cause nothing but hell for your tuning. My strings were placed inside the nut with the nut rising around the strings. Sanding down the nut till the strings are half protruding from the nut is the perfect saddle for the strings. Now not one issue with tuning, even if I dip the vibrato to the scratchplate.

So, if you've been having issues, try and address them yourself. Scour the internet for guides to improve your guitar for cheap. It takes basic tools and basic know how but it's a stepping stone if nothing else to better comprehend your instrument.

And don't fear the Truss Rod, the sacred artifact that must not be disturbed hidden beneath your fretboard. Just check the youtube videos, remember a quarter turn every 3 hours and you cannot do any harm, unless you are purposefully bending it beyond it's limits, then you're just taking the piss and need to watch a few more youtube videos on the subject and read a few guides.

Happy tinkering.
10:26 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Thursday, August 09, 2012

"Oh, look at the Wolf!"

Current mood: bored

I often here this whilst walking my dog. I have a Siberian Husky named Blue. He's a big dopey cuddlesome pup who loves bounding around the house chasing after me while we play and he loves a good wrestle.

INTRO; He's the gentlest dog I've ever known and even the local pet rescue reps have nothing but praise for him as he plays with the other dogs every few weeks when they come down to see us. Some of the other dogs will nip at him while they're playing as dog's will do in a group, they will snarl and growl at each other and chase each other and roll around. But there's something different about my Blue, he doesn't bite, he doesn't growl, he's the biggest dog in the group but is so tolerant and rather than biting, he takes his overly huge paw and pushes them away. Now that's a docile dog.

To the point; I have noticed a sharp rise in the number of these huskys around the country. A breed of dog that was not common in the slightest in the Rural areas of Ireland. I can't help but worry that these people are taking on a challenge they cannot handle. When my Dog first came to live with us we knew what we were embarking on. Huskies require a lot of walking/running, they shed a lot(seriously a lot) of hair, they don't like to be alone, unless exercised properly they can become bored and destructive. They are quite stubborn and take a lot to be trained.

I recommend that anyone thinking of getting a husky seriously consider all of the above, you can't just leave them to their own devices while you spend 9 hours away at work all day. They need to be properly cared for and loved.

Shout out to my mad Pup Blue.
5:43 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Friday, July 06, 2012

First Blog.

Current mood: chipper

Since I have no idea what a blog is and I have no idea if anyone will even see this I thought I should at least seem partially intelligent and musically inclined.

The topic of this blog shall be on Gear acquisition, specifically when you join a band.

When I joined a pub band and started to finally make money from music I noticed something; I spend more money on gear now than I ever have.

It started with simply getting a better guitar for the job, I had an explorer and decided upon getting a Les Paul Black Beauty €400, with a worthy case, €90. Next was to tighten up my tone and to purchase a multi-effects. I decided upon a line6 pod HD500, €550. A case to hold it €70. I already had a decent amp, Blackstar HT-40 with a hardcase, so no worries there. But I needed to find a way to run it into the PA properly which of course required a cab grabber mic holder and a Mic, luckily I was given a mic from the drummer of the band. Set aside a further €100 for strings and cables and spare equipment for those just in case moments and we're looking at a lot of cash.
Though, since I joined this band, I have switched from sole guitar player to Bass player, which requires further gear purchases.

Thing about all this is, though I'm slightly out of pocket from these purchases, slightly as I have made most of the money back from gigging, I couldn't be happier. Nothing compares to the feeling of performing to a crowd and seeing them enjoy the music and screaming along to the songs.

What I can say in conclusion to this is, if you buy your gear properly in the first place, then you won't need to spend cash in the end. But this is my own shortfall and I still don't mind at all. for the chance to actually be doing this I am grateful.

6:44 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos