Lately…

I just realized that it’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post. That is is a good example of what not to do to attract new readers. Anyway, this post is going to be pretty random with a lot of non sequiturs as I play catch up.

Anyway, not much has been going on. It seems like the only time that I write anything lately is when I get something new, or when I’m obsessing over getting some new piece of gear. I can honestly say that I am pretty content right now. Of course, there are always things that I wouldn’t mind checking out or adding to my board, but I don’t really “need” anything. For example, I really want to try out the Electro Harmonix Micro POG. I think I could get some really cool pitch-shifted OK Computer type sounds with that thing, but it’s not really a necessity or anything. I also want to check out a tap tremolo [the Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter looks like a great deal - has anyone tried one?], but again, it’s not really necessary.

***

I’m thinking about selling a couple of my DIY pedals. I have a Rangemaster clone and a COT50/Bluesbreaker 2-in-1 combo. They are all nice effects, but I don’t use them. The Rangemaster sounds amazing in front of a cranked amp, but I never crank the gain on my amps. I picked up a couple of transistors (OC44 and OC71) from Small Bear to try with it, and they both sound much better than the leaky OC44 that I had in there before. It’s quieter than before, but it still makes noise at higher gain settings. It’s just the nature of the beast, I’m afraid.

The COT50/BB combo is cool as well, but it doesn’t really sit well in my setup. I’m going for a very clear, uncompressed kind of sound, and both of these effects add a lot of mids and compression to the signal. I did the King of Tone mods to the Bluesbreaker, which lowers the overall gain and reduces the mid hump. It sounds better than the stock values, and it’s actually really cool for adding a little chime and sparkle, but it still sounds a little too much like a pedal (if that makes sense). If you’re interested in either of these, let me know. I’m open for interesting trades or whatever.

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I really like the ┬ánew guitar. However, as the honeymoon draws to a close, I am discovering some little issues. My main complaint is that the neck pickup is pretty muddy on it’s own. It’s almost unusable. I’m thinking about replacing the neck pickup, but I don’t want to mess up the tone that I get from the in-between position. The neck/bridge combo is a great sound – twangy, but not too thin. I might check into a Lollar neck pickup (maybe a HB-sized P90).

The other issue with both pickups is that they squeal with high gain. They’re unpotted, which gives you vintage-sounding tone, but they tend to be a little microphonic (not sure if that’s the right word). Basically, I’m using the G&L for the jangly, cleanish stuff, and I’m using the Les Paul for the chunkier stuff. I’m telling you, my Les Paul has got some ridiculous sustain that the tele just can’t even come close to matching. I now see that it was pretty foolish to think that there would be much overlap between the two guitars just because they both use a neck humbucker.

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I have been working on some ideas for instrumental tunes for Jenny’s photo site. I think I’m overreaching a little bit. I go into composer mode and try to add in all these little harmonic things and textures and layers and stuff, when all I really need to do is lay down a rhythm track and play some melodic stuff on top. I’m having trouble simplifying things for some reason. I hope to have time to work on music this summer.

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I finally got a backup external hard drive for my MacBook. It’s nice to know that if something catastrophic happens that I won’t lose all my tedious little data.

***

Well, that’s all I can think of. I’ll try to come up with something pertinent shortly.

5 thoughts on “Lately…”

  1. I have the shape shifter- its not too bad. I don’t like that you can’t tap in the tempo while its not engaged… and i feel i need a little more gain with it on to get it to the loudness i want.
    BUT, it makes almost any sound. Super tweakable. Very nice. Can mimic some great delay sounds. I like it.

  2. I’d be curious to hear the difference in sustain and neck-pup-only between the solid body and semi-hallow Blues Boy. I get a great sound out of the neck-only! I leave the tone at about 9:00 when both pups are on and move it up to 11:00 (the max) if I need more clarity from the neck. Usually when I chose the neck I want something dark though.

    Back ups are good! I’m still paranoid my house is going to burn down and I’ll loose the external too! I end up leaving the external at work unless I need to back something up at home. I’m weird though.

  3. I have the shape shifter and like it a lot. I agree that it would be nice to be able to tap tempo while not engaged. There is a mod for that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKz1alh7bUE

    According to the website, it only involves clipping one or two wires after opening up the pedal!!

    The roantone.com website states the following: Open the Shape Shifter and remove the black bottom piece. Near the 9V battery clip you will see “S1C” on the board. Cut or remove one or both of the wires running from S1C to the blue 3PDT foot switch. The trem processor will now stay on all the time, and it will receive your tap inputs even when the pedal is in audio bypass.

    I have not been brave enough to try this myself. Let me know if you do it!

  4. I started reading your site after googling for info on the PEWaves tuner, and I just wanted to report to everyone that I had a similar problem with the company. I didn’t get any response for two weeks, and when I pestered him with 4 phone calls in a row, he finally picked up and said he was sorry and that he would get the pedal shipped the next day. Another week passes by, no tuner. So I call 8 times in a row, but this time he doesn’t pick up.

    Today, I left a message threatening to file a dispute with Paypal (really only an empty threat, just wanted to see if he’d ship the pedal). Lo and behold, an hour later, “The following items have been shipped!”

    Anyone reading this blog, DO NOT buy from this guy. An absolute pain in the arse to deal with.

  5. Hey Jon – I wrote a lengthy, rambling response to your private message on TGP, but the server crashed sometime before I hit send. Obviously, I never got around to typing all that again. It sucks that you had a similar experience. I don’t know how the guy stays in business if this is his standard modus operandi. He told me something about his daughter having a baby or something.

    Anyway, it’s a decent tuner and the price was great, but the buying experience makes me want to get rid of it. Maybe I’ll get a Turbo Tuner.

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