Duesenberg Starplayer TV

Here it is:

As you can see, I installed the new black pickguard. The tone improved instantly. As I was screwing it on, I could hear the transparent bloom of string separation. It had notes of almond with a chocolatey finish. It also looks way cooler. Like someone on facebook commented: It went from a tuxedo t-shirt to a tuxedo.

Anyway, here’s my basic review.

First of all, the neck is great. As I have mentioned, I’m a big fan of the 25.5″ neck scale. It feels snappier and it doesn’t feel as cramped higher up the neck. I also like the flat 12″ radius. It feels so nice for playing lead. The neck profile is very comfortable for my hands. I hate fat necks, and I don’t really like the super skinny shredder necks either. This one is slim without feeling too skinny. It feels good. It is strung with 11s, but it’s not hard to play, partly due to the bigger frets. They’re not jumbo frets (like on my old PRS DGT), but they’re bigger than typical frets.

The sound: My first impressions were mostly positive. The neck P-90 is full-sounding without being too thick, and the bridge humbucker is nice and chunky without being too harsh. However, the in between setting was awful. Seriously. It sucked. I’m not sure what they were thinking with the wiring on this thing. The middle pickup selector put the pickups out of phase and split the humbucker. The resulting sound was thin, too quiet, and über-twangy. It sounded okay with a totally clean tone, but it was completely unusable with overdrive.

I cracked it open and decided to do a standard 3-way wiring setup. The result is much more pleasing and usable to me. It bridges the gap between the neck and bridge. On two-pickup guitars, I usually spend about 95% of my playing time in the middle position, so it was really important for me to get it working right on this guitar.

This guitar has a tremolo system. I don’t usually like trems, but I was really curious about this one. It’s kind of a variation on the Bigsby, called the Vibrola or something like that. Supposedly, it’s smoother, more stable, and easier to restring than a Bigsby. I have no firsthand experience with a Bigsby, so I can’t comment on that comparison. I can say that while it is very smooth, it is not 100% stable if you use it too vigorously. Some retuning is necessary every now and then.

At this moment, I am pretty happy with the guitar. It plays very well and sounds excellent. It has a very cool tone, and it looks and feels very unique. Some people think that they look gaudy and cheap, but I like the way it looks, especially with the black guard.

I have already gone back and forth with myself about the possibility of selling/trading it. I definitely wanted to get rid of it before I decided to fix the wiring setup. At this point, though, I’m pretty pleased with it. The only guitars that I would be interesting in trading for it would be luthier-built instruments like a Suhr tele or something like a Koll. I have no interest in another Gibson-type instrument. I think I’m done with Les Pauls. I mean, I wouldn’t mind having one, but since I’m not rich and can’t really justify owning a bunch of guitars, I have to limit myself to guitars that I actually play frequently.

For now, the Duesenberg is staying. However, I can’t say for how long.

This is a gear post

I sold my Les Paul.

It is a beautiful instrument to look at, but I don’t enjoy playing it. I have pretty much decided that I don’t like the Gibson 23.75″ scale length – I prefer the Fender 25.5″ scale. In addition, I dont’ really like the tones that I have been getting out of it lately. It’s just a little too thick. A little too dark.

I was initially thinking about getting a Gretsch Duo Jet. I really want a guitar with filtertrons, and I have wanted a Gretsch for a long time. However, upon looking at the specs I discovered that they have a scale length of 24.6″, somewhere in between the Fender and Gibson scale lengths.

I was researching other Gretsch-like options and I came upon a company called Duesenberg. Apparently, they’re a German company that sources the bodies and necks from Korea and do the assembly themselves in Germany. I have heard a lot of great things about these guitars. I happened across a guy selling their Starplayer TV model on The Gear Page and was really interested in it. The Starplayer TV is a semi-hollowbody guitar with a P90 in the neck, a humbucker in the bridge, a Bigsby-like tremolo that supposedly is very stable, and a 25.5″ neck scale. It’s supposed to be a mixture of a tele, a Les Paul, and a Gretsch – three of my favorite things. I decided to take a chance and go for it.

This is the one that I bought.

It has a sparkly gold pickguard, which I hate, so I ordered a new black one. That’ll improve the tone, right?

Anyway, it should be here on Thursday. Fingers crossed!

This is not a gear post

For most of my life, I have been a skinny guy. I think I was like 130 lbs when I graduated high school, and I probably didn’t gain much weight in college, either. I’m 34 years old now, and I have put on a lot of weight since my school days. A lot of it is muscle, but a lot of it is… not muscle. Anyway, at the beginning of this summer I was close to 200 lbs. To me, that was unacceptable.

about 6-7 weeks ago, my wife and I decided that we were going to get in better shape. We decided to start watching what we eat and drink, and most importantly, we decided to start exercising regularly. We have been members of a gym for several years now, but we have never really taken advantage of it. We have certainly taken advantage of it over the last month or so.

I have been going to the gym 8-10 times a week. I have spent most of my time on the treadmill, but I have also done some basic weight training. I usually set the incline really high and the speed somewhere between 3.5 – 4 mph. It’s not very fast, but my goal is to get my heart rate up for an extended period of time. I usually walk something like 45 mins to an hour twice a day. According to the treadmill computer thing, I burn about 1200-1400 calories a day.

On Friday, I weighed in at 184 lbs. I don’t know exactly what I weighed when I started, but I think I have lost something like 12-15 lbs in the last 6 weeks. That’s kind of a big deal, I think. I can really tell a difference in the way my body looks and the way my clothes fit.

I have another week of summer before I have to go back to work. I have committed to continue exercising, even though I know that I won’t be able to continue the same regimen that I have been doing recently. I don’t want to go back to where I was, and I am confident that I won’t.