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Musings

When we have something to say, we say it here. Updated only occasionally, because we're too far away from the Muse of Inspiration's usual route.

 

Posted by in General on Sep 23, 2014 .

Here's a weird thing. Unless they're classical guitars, acoustic guitars are typically referred to as "steel string" guitars. But the strings aren't steel. Hmmm....

It isn't uncommon for customers to ask me, "What are the best acoustic guitar strings?"

The fact is, there are no "best" strings, just as there is no "best" guitarist.  As players, each one of us spends our time in pursuit of something magical and special, that sonic signature that we hear in our head and yearn to let out. To complicate things, we all have individual techniques, styles and a preferred "feel". Most importantly, each of us has two ears, and we tend to work...

Posted by in General on Sep 12, 2014 .

Remember the Boy Scout's motto? It was "Be prepared". There is no better advice for working guitarists. All players bring extra strings and cords, because they know that they'll break. But what about your amp? Lots of pros bring a backup amp, or at least an extra set of tubes. But for many of us, hauling an extra amp is a pain in the butt, and tubes often fail because there is something else in the amp that is overtaxing them.

I suggest bringing along a simple amp modeler. For years I've packed an old Line-6 POD with my gear. (Actually, it's kept with the soundman's gear. He knows exactly what to do if I give him "the look".)  The POD...

Posted by in General on Sep 05, 2014 .

The biggest factor in choosing what electric guitar to use on any given song is the way it sounds. And despite all of the mojo involved with strings, solidbody vs semi-hollowbody, etc,  a guitar's pickups are still the single biggest factor in determining how it sounds.

The two principal food groups of guitar pickups are humbuckers, and single-coils. Single-coil pickups came first and their lineage predates rock n’ roll by about three decades.

Later (in the 1950s), Gibson's president, Ted McCarty asked Seth Lover to develop a pickup that wouldn't be susceptible to the buzzing that was typical of single-coil pickups. Single-coils...

Posted by in General on Aug 27, 2014 .

"Where was this guitar made?"

I get asked that a lot, and it's a fair question. The fact is that a majority of guitars with a street value of under a $1,000 were assembled in China. From January through March of 2014, the USA imported a total of 686,447 guitars! Of those, 415,322 were made in China. Indonesia was the Silver Medalist with 147,722. Korea took home the Bronze with 22,605. Bringing up the rear was everyone else.

What I have trouble wrapping my head about is some folks' notion that factories don't make guitars, but countries do. For whatever reason, there is still a bad rap about Chinese guitars. Is it based in reality?...

Posted by in General on Aug 21, 2014 .

Well, really 48, but I couldn't resist...On this day in 1966, the Beatles played 2 shows, the first in Cincinnati and then another in St. Louis. Said tour roadie Ed Freeman, "That St. Louis gig was typical. The promoter didn't want to pay $200 for a roof over the stage, so the rain poured down on to it. Every time Paul sang, he'd bounce up and down, and every time his mouth bounced into the microphone these sparks would fly out."

There were a total of three roadies for the five bands on that tour, and their combined equipment fit into one stretch van!

Speaking about long-time Beatles roadie, Mal Evans, Freeman continued, "His...

Posted by in General on Aug 08, 2014 .

What's this? A business with a social conscience?

In 2009, the Kelly Creek wildfire swept through the Edge Hills Provincial Park in BC, Canada, leaving slopes susceptible to erosion that could lead to landslides, heavy debris flows and flooding. Reforestation of these slopes was needed to stabilize the area and mitigate these safety concerns. The project required a mix of coniferous tree species of primarily spruce and fir. Approximately 1,000 of these native trees were needed to complete this project.
Prestige Guitars, donated those 1,000 needed tress. And since then, Prestige has planted one new tree for every guitar they...

Posted by in General on Jul 28, 2014 .

We started LightSpeed Music four years ago with a little more than a dozen guitars and modest expectations. In that short time, our business has grown exponentially and we feel blessed to be doing something we love.

When we first started going to the NAMM shows, major manufacturers were courteous to us, but universally against working with a dealer that did not have a "Brick & Mortar" presence. Online businesses were considered interlopers with little legitimacy. The manufacturers patiently explained how they couldn't afford to see their product lines "devalued" through such "non-traditional" channels.

This summer's NAMM show...

Posted by in General on Jul 22, 2014 .

Our time at Summer NAMM was well spent. Fender has sold Guild Guitars, and the reborn company is full of excitement and promise. Guild is an iconic American company and it's reassuring to see them back in charge of their own destiny.

Godin Guitars still insists on thinking "outside the box" and is continuing to expand their line of innovative guitars. If you're fascinated by the blend of MIDI, piezo, and standard pickups, you'll want to check out what Godin is doing.

Fishman introduced their game-changing "Fluence" pickups. Fluence pickups represent a 100% departure from traditional pickup technology. Expect the rest of the industry...