Gear Update: Pedalboard, Guitar

It seems I get into the habit of making posts… then life happens and I either 1) Get busy or 2) forget I have this blog!

The good news Is I have been practicing about an hour, 3-4 days a week, and can really tell the difference it is making. I’m not doing anything hardcore or anything, just reviewing scales, the shapes, up and down the neck and scales on individual strings (up and down the neck on one string). Basically stuff to break my monotony. I have 2 scale shapes I wear out, and I really would like to use more of the guitar’s neck!

So here is my current board setup. Continue reading

Just for Fun; a signature lick….

This post is two-fold… first, myself and my bro-in-law were joking that the *beep* sound on his computer telling him that he has new mail just wasn’t as cool as it should be. Which evolved into a quick recording session and a new mail-notification. I present to you- recorded and edited by my Bro-in-law, all guitar and vocals me:

Thus my “signature” lick. I have been asked before what “that” was that I play sometimes, so here it is. You see, I don’t play really fast, I’m more bluesy and melodic. However, I do have 2-3 licks that I “rip” off to melt faces for a second when needed. This lick I sometimes start out with then go to a slower, more melodic part. Other times I go slower then end with something similar to this to allow a feeling of finality on the solo. Give it a shot. Practice each note by note, until it sounds about right then slowly speed it up until it is the same speed as the recording. As with anything musical, find the slow, deliberate notes- perfecting the scales/licks- then speed the tempo up until you are where you want to be.

That last note ( @10) is a passing note… slide off. Listen to the recording.

For those interested, that was the mini-humbucker on an Epiphone Alleykat into DrZ Maz Jr NR. No pedals used.

Special Thanks to Rhoy for the tab-helps.

Malinoski Art Guitar demo

Hello faithful readers!! I’ve been a bit busy lately, but have discovered some pretty neat things during this time. I’m hoping to have a few video demos in the near future, starting right now!

A few months ago I stumbled on: http://www.petermalinoskiart.com/ and was very impressed by some very unusual, but pretty guitars. This guy is a true artist with wood and then took that art form to building guitars. I love the carefully sculpted contours and the overall “round” nature- these guitars appeal to the eye inasmuch as they do to the ear. Part of Peter’s philosophy is to create guitars that aren’t the typical mass-produced guitar. He has succeeded! These guitars are their own thing for sure.

I finally have gotten a chance to play one of these awesome guitars. It is truly something different and special. Take a look with me (click on the photo for a larger view): Continue reading

Updating:

I will be slowly adding “My Gear” page, editing the “Pedalboard 101” into something that flows better, and possibly even editing the “About Me” page. I want these pages to be easy to access. I think I overloaded the “Pedalboard 101” as its a big junky. This should be pretty fun.

I also am changing a few things on my blog. I think I’m going to steer this blog away from some religious discussions and keep it more toward gear/guitars etc… I’ll still write mainly to the guitar player in a church setting, but I’ve felt that this blog is guitar-oriented. I get tons of hits from all over the world and don’t want to chase anyone off.

However, I do have tons of religious/theological discussion that pops into my head. And it is the type of conversations that perhaps are too deep, or pretty random for a site completely about gear. Now I’ll be a bit free-er to speak my mind. So… If that’s something you want to follow, come visit here: http://disenchantedtheist.wordpress.com/

Basically both this blog and the other are going through updates and should be doing better in a week or two.

I leave this opportunity out there: Any requests? What do you want to know about? What do you want discussed?
Leave it in a comment below!

-L

The Amp Chronicles; the finale.

So…. I present, Dr Z:

I can't explain what this does.... it just does.

In the pic you see my 15w Fender Super Champ (which I’m keeping- still a surprisingly good amp for the money) next the Z. The Maz jr is an 18w, this model is without the reverb (the “NR” version) and one basic master-volume channel. Turn the volume up and master volume down and get a bassy/woody chugg-ing type overdrive or turn volume down with the master up and then tweak the “cut” knob to taste and get some pretty sparkly-crystal cleans. This guitar does a decent clean Voxy sound and a Marshally overdrive. But more than that, it really is its own amp. It contains EL84 tubes, a tube rectifier and 2 ECC83s in the preamp section(Mostly JJ tubes). It came with Dr Z’s “Brake Lite” attenuator pre-installed. Pretty nice. Ah, and an effects loop… which i can’t wait to play.

I first thought this amp wouldn’t be enough… after all I’ve been playing 15w out of the Fender and I wanted a slight volume increase. 18w should be close to what I use right? I’ll never use the attenuator!!
I was wrong. This amp is loud. To play my 1000 member church, I had to click on the attenuator (2 out of 8 ) to get the tone I wanted without the VOLUME associated. I may be using that thing more than I first thought!

Also, this amp is very touch-sensitive. I was getting a nice gritty grind (with very little overdrive) just by varying my dynamics from my ‘clean’ setting. I believe I’ll be knocking an overdrive off my board just in favor of boosting this amp a little. In fact, I played a full Easter Cantata with this amp and only turned on the Zendrive for 2 of the “harder” songs. This amp covered basic overdrive very well.

Anway– after all the worrying, selling gear etc…. here is the amp.

Why this amp over the Matchless?
#1: Price! This amp is about 1/2 the price of the Matchless! The main reason I had interest in this Matchless was that it was a floor model with a great price. Even then, it was a few bucks more than the Dr Z.

#2: Weight! The Matchless is about 20 lbs more than the Z. I wanted a combo amp I could carry in 1 hand if need be. The Z can be carried in 1 hand (not incredibly comfortable, mind you) and I can have my pedalboard in the other hand, with the backpack/gigbag for the guitar on my back. 1 trip in and out of a gig/church.

#3: Honestly- the Z fits me better. It has great cleans, good drive and takes pedals well. I love my pedals/overdrives so this fits perfectly. The Matchless has nicer, sparkly cleans, but not the kind of overdrive I would really like. It was also a bit more finicky about which overdrives it liked (trust me, I played everything I had through each amp). The Z is made for more versatility which tends to be what we look for when we play a wide range of popular worship songs: from Rock to blues, to Gospel Funk. Mmmmm.. I really like this amp!

P.S.> I now have another Fulltone OCD. And its perfect. And it likes this amp. More on that later.

K-Line San Bernardino

First, this is not my guitar.
Yeah, let’s get that straight. Second, I wish it was.

Chris from over at K-Line guitars has been nice enough to let folks try out his instruments and I had the joy of playing his Jaguar/Jazzmaster style-copy: the San Bernardino. Continue reading

The Amp Chronicles; pt 3- unofficial overdrive/distortion pedal shootout

Ah… so when it comes time for decisions, things can become tough to consider. Especially when decisions mean “Selling gear to pay for new gear.” Especially when you only have 1-2 pieces of gear you actually want to sell and the rest you really would like to keep. Then you realize that… a certain amp is very, very good.

Thus, I plugged everything up, played it all, and sold some gear. Here was my thought process as I did so. (And thus– the unofficial shootout). Continue reading