updates

It seems like I have only been blogging like once a month lately, and every one of those posts has been an update on what has been going on lately. Well, here we go again with the monthly update. Hopefully, things will slow down over the summer.

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I haven’t been playing much lately. Things have been pretty busy around here, so I have taken several weeks off from playing in church. I miss it. I’ll be on this weekend again, and hopefyllu

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A friend of mine (who also happens to be a middle school orchestra director) asked me to play with his group on a couple of tunes for their end of the year concert. The concert is tonight, and we’re playing Smoke on the Water and a medley of Beach Boys tunes. Smoke on the Water is one of the first riffs that I learned (along with everyone else), but I never really learned the whole song. I have been working on the solo a lot, and while it won’t be exactly like the recording, it will be pretty close. I don’t really have time to learn every nuance, but I’m getting most of the main licks.

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This past weekend, Jenny and I drove to Dallas to photograph a wedding. Jenny has done several weddings, but this is the first one that I have been involved with. It was a long weekend, but we got some good stuff. Here’s a link to Jenny’s blog post about it, just in case you’re interested.

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Several months ago, I ordered some recording equipment for the music department at my school. I ordered a Presonus Firebox and a pair of Shure SM81 mics. I also ordered some other stuff, but it hasn’t come in yet. I did some preliminary recordings with the Firebox/SM81 combo and it sounds great. I’m not sure if the SM81s are more sensitive or if the Firebox has more gain than my Tascam, but the new setup works great for acoustic guitars. The Tascam/SM57 combo wouldn’t even capture fingerstyle playing, but it sounds great with the new stuff.

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Upgrading the electronics in my G&L has made me want to get my strat tweaked out. Something about it is just kind of lifeless. I think that the body may be a big part of the problem. It’s an alder body with the dreaded “swimming pool route” for the electronics, and I would like to get a new body with better wood (probably ash) and less severe pickup routing. I want to put some new pickups in it (I’ll probably stick with Lollars) and I want to try a different bridge/trem. I was thinking about going with a hardtail bridge, but the tremolo is such an integral part of the strat sound. I’ve heard good things about Callaham bridges, anyone have experience with them?

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Well, that’s it for now. I’ll try to get on a more regular schedule.

Quick demo

Okay, I had time to do a real quick recording this morning while Mikey was in the high chair eating breakfast. I just turned the amp on to whatever setting it was on (no pedals or effects), checked the levels in Garageband and hit record. There are two different riff things that I play on each setting (neck, middle, bridge). Once again, the pickups being used are the Lollar Imperial (low wind) in the neck and the Special T in the bridge.

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Hopefully, you can hear that the neck pickup is much brighter and more balanced than the stock Seth Lover. I think that the Lollar Imperial low wind pickup might be too bright in a solid body guitar (especially if it’s a hard, bright wood), but it’s a great match for my semi-hollowbody.

I spent some time balancing the pickups yesterday, and I think that they’re pretty close to where they need to be. The low E is too quiet on the neck pickup, but if I move it too close to the strings, it makes the whole pickup too loud. Adjusting the individual pole pieces doesn’t seem to have a significant impact. The action is too low on the E string, and you can really hear it on this recording. However, I don’t have the right allen wrench to adjust the saddle pieces right now. I hope that raising the action a little will also give me a little more output on that string.

So what do you think? Does anything jump out at you that I need to fix? I’m not an expert guitar tech, so feel free to tell me what you hear.