I started modifying my Strat. Attached here is a pic of the beginning. I removed the pickguard with all of the electronics removed the pain in the cavities of the body. I will continue to remove more paint to expose more wood. This is a good thing!
What’s next? A lot. I am replacing the pickguard, the pickups, the pots, the tone capacitors, the knobs, some wiring, the bridge saddles, the tremolo block. I am adding a special switch which will allow me to turn on all 3 pickups at once or use the neck and bridge pickup. In fact I just finished the wiring diagram for doing such a thing. Further, I am also going to be adding some shielding within the cavities which is one reason why I was removing the paint.
When this is done, this should be one sweet sounding Strat with hardly any hum or buzz. I will continue to update here.
I posted on FB that I have learned more about guitar in the last month than I have in the last 15 years. Let’s start with cabinets. I plan on getting a custom made cabinet from Forte. It combines the sound of an open back cabinet and a closed back cabinet. Its a truly unique design concept and quite forward thinking in my opinion. He calls them 3D cabinets because the sound is dispersed in numerous directions rather in only one direction.I have yet to read a negative review about it. The best part is that I can choose the grill, the color of the tolex covering, and I can choose the speaker. In short, this will be a 1X12 cabinet in either green or Burgundy tolex with a Celestion Gold speaker. Check out these cabinets at:
I accidentally stumbled upon a female guitar player, Jamie Andreas, who has a unique perspective on guitar. She tries teaching guitar like Tai Chi. This is interesting because this is very much like the path I have been taking on guitar when it comes to rehabbing my hand. I have been trying to find how I can play guitar with as much ease as possible. I truly believe that my issues with hand are due to lack of proper training and overly stressing my entire body. Her viewpoints match what I have been thinking. Luckily she has a whole process to developing a proper practice technique. I just purchased two books from her, and so far I am seeing some very interesting results. More to come on all of this I am sure. Check out:
Lastly, by going over Jamie’s principles about playing with ease, it made me think about the height of frets on a guitar neck and that Yngwie Malmsteen plays with a scalloped neck so as not to touch the wood on the neck with his fingertips. This is something I have been experimenting with the last few days and it dawned on me that taller frets could also accomplish this. Well lo and behold, many many many guitar players know this. The taller frets are terrific for bends, slurs, and for playing with a lighter touch which is exactly what I am trying to do. I am calling my guitar guy, David Neeley on Monday to get a re-fret job done on my Strat. For you guitar nerds out there, I am pretty sure I will put 6105 size frets on it.
That’s it for now, but clearly much much much more to come.
This compressor is fantastic. I am replacing my Maxon CP101. The CP101 works decently with my strat, but my Jackson which has active pickups distorts the CP101. The CP101 is good for guitars with passive pickups. The Maxon CP9 Pro+ has huge headroom so it takes my Jackson like a champ. Interestingly enough, it does change the tone just a bit. It gives a bit more high end sparkle in a pleasant way. Using my Fender Stratocaster, I got some nice Chicken Pickin’ tones. I may need to learn some Johnny Hiland or Chet Atkins licks.
Anyway, the CP9 Pro+ is highly recommended for an all around guitar compressor.
I incorporated the Rivera Rockcrusher into my rig. Its taken a lot of tweaking and experimenting to figure out how to best use it. Finally I am getting a good sound while being able to get a decent recording at the same time. I have also switched out the compressor, and I am now using the Maxon CP9 Pro+. This compressor absolutely rocks and is way better than the CP101. I also got another Tech 21 amp to complete the stereo setup of my FX. The pic below shows the current setup.
What’s coming next? I will be getting another cabinet strictly for clean sounds. I may even change out my 4 x 12 cab to a 2 x 12 cab. But the clean sounding cab is definitely coming. For now here is my current rig and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Its been over a decade, but I finally heard what my Mesa 2:90 amp sounds like when its completely cranked. Every time I ever tried to crank the amp it got too loud even with ear plugs. However with Rivera Rock Crusher I can crank the amp as high as I want with a volume level which is reasonable. Its definitely true what they say about tube amps, they are designed to played at a high volume. When the tubes are driven hard, the smooth creamy gain is amazing. I am looking forward to recording with this new setup. The Rock Crusher will work great for live performances as I can crank up the gain and master volume as loud as I want but my stage volume will be nice and manageable.
More updates on this sweet piece of gear coming soon.
I am excited to tell you that it is done and up on Sound Cloud. Click below to stream it and enjoy.
And now a little bit about this piece. I was watching an old episode of the Munsters and Eddie Munster was practicing the organ and he happened to play this piece. I couldn’t remember the name of the composer so I researched it. I found it was Chopin, and I researched even further into the sheet music. I downloaded the sheet music for piano and spent a lot of time rearranging it for two guitars. This way I could actually play it if I so chose to do so. When I printed my sheet music and started playing, I liked it so much that I decided to record myself performing both parts.
I spent a looooooong time trying to get the right tone. I started by going direct with my Stratocaster. Then I tried going direct with my Jackson Rhoads guitar. I settled on recording with the Jackson. I then decided to record my guitar through the amplifier. I further decided to do it by micing the guitar cabinet with two different mics thereby blending the two sounds together. I spent even more time positioning the mics just right. You can’t just stick mics in front of the cabinet and be done with it. Things get even more complicated by using two mics because there are phasing issues.
I spent quite awhile recording as I could only spend a small amount of time recording a part before something else came up. But I did finally finish the recording as you can see from my previous blogs. Then I spent a lot of time mixing which is my weakest point. However, I am very impressed with how much I learned by mixing and producing this myself. This is the best sounding recording I have produced so far. I am sure there will be much more and much better to come.
Lastly, the song is yours to download for free if you so choose. It is truly a beautiful piece of music and the beginning of the song is infamous!
I did some experimenting on my guitar rig this weekend and came up with a great sounding setup in stereo. This setup consists of my Tri-axis preamp and 2:90 amplifier. But I am also using my old PA setup at the same time. Confused? Here is how it goes:
Guitar goes into Tri axis and then to the 2:90 and then to my 4 x 12 speaker cabinet. This is my “dry” sound. No effects whatsoever come through this cabinet. I also take a second output from my Tri axis and feed a Lexicon MPX 1 effects processor. The stereo output of this then feeds my QSC solid state amplifier, and its output goes to the left and right speakers. These two stereo speakers are my “Wet” sound.
In short, my pure guitar amplifier sound is the middle 4 x12 cabinet with my effects coming out of the speaker on the left and the one on the right. Hence the term “Wet Dry Wet”
Ok, so enough tech talk. How does it sound? It sounds incredible at low volume. I can only imagine how it sounds when I perform with it. The upside is that it sounds amazing. The downside is that this setup is humongous. Check out the photo.
Lastly, I have not put my Ground Control pro back in for effects and channel switching. It will be placed back in the system at some point. The PA speakers may be replaced by 1 x10 or 1×12 cabinets in the future.
Its been ages since I have purchased guitar gear. Recently I just got the CP 101 from Maxon. It is a simple guitar compressor. I first learned about Maxon’s gear while at MI. Man, I must tell you that this compressor is AWESOME. The amount of sustain I get is almost unreal. Notes literally pop out whilst I am playing. Not only that, but since I raised the output level, it gives my preamp a bit of a boost which is kind of cool. I bought it used for $83. What a great deal for such an amazing piece of gear.
I don’t think I can play without it. Check it out, you won’t regret it!
After tonight’s short practice session, I must say I am really happy with how my hand rehabilitation is going. Licks are finally just being played rather than me having think really hard about it and stumble along. It feels like its the way it should have been for years. This journey for the last month has been amazing to say the least. I truly believe I am on the right path for my music making, and I can’t wait to see how it will all turn out over the next few months. Actually I can’t wait to record it. More good things coming up, I’m sure.
Alright! The recording portion of this product is finally done. Now onto some editing and mixing together. Its a wonderful piece, and I hope you enjoy some of my arrangement for it. I’ll keep ya updated!