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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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?


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

6 thoughts on “updates”

  1. I’ve got the Callaham bridge. I’ll be completely honest – I bought into the hype, but I really don’t have the ear to tell if it’s “better”. All I know is that it sounds good, and it may all be in my head, but if it makes a difference, it makes a difference. Does that make sense?

    As for the body – does it have to be a Fender body? If you wanted real nitro finish (I think you may have mentioned this before), you’ll be hard pressed to find one from Fender. As to whether it really makes a difference – I’m of the opinion that, again, it’s all in the head. :)

    Wedding photography is hard work. I was in it for a while. Only for folks in church. Not for profit. Then the weddings went down to a trickle, then nothing. This year, we’ve got three weddings lined up. Time to bust out the cameras again..

    That boy on the dance floor – you can be the parents will be ordering prints of that!

  2. I’ve got a SM81 for recording acoustics and it’s fantastic. From what I heard it’s one of the best mics for recording acoustic, that’s why I got it in the first place. The 81 is a condenser and the 57 is dynamic, that’s the difference. There’s a lot more detail in a condenser. Try aiming one at the 14th fret from 6″ away and the other at the bridge from below (facing up and somewhere where you’re hand won’t hit it). The pan the 2 channels left and right, I’ve had good results with that setup!

  3. Huh. That’s so funny, I like, just got back from a market run, and Smoke on the Water was playing. And I was like, ‘Oh, great.’ And then the solo came on and I thought, ‘Wait a second. That’s actually pretty decent tone!’ :)

  4. Jason – thanks for the tips re:callaham. I might stick with my current trem and just pick up the trem block from them. I don’t really care about the brand name on the body. I’d prefer a nitro paint job, just because I prefer the way that it ages and “relics” naturally. I’m not going to take sandpaper to it or anything, but I want it to look played about 10 years rather than still look pristine like my poly-finished body.

    Mike – that’s pretty much exactly what I’ve been doing (the fingerboard/bridge mic technique). It’s working really well so far. I love these mics for acoustic.

    Karl – I know, right? I haven’t been into classic rock for a long time, so I never really paid attention to the tone on that solo, but it’s actually really tasty. Supposedly, Ritchie Blackmore used a Marshall that was modded to output a staggering 278 (!) watts.

    Tim – I’m looking at swamp ash, as opposed to northern hard ash. Swamp ash is a lot softer, and has a mellower tone. I’m thinking about getting one from Warmoth. They prices are higher than many other places, but I like that you can see the actual piece of wood that you are buying.

  5. If you’re looking for all-nitro finish, depending on your budget, you might want to check out MJTele. I bought a black-finished strat body from him, and it just feels divine. He’s more known for the worn/aged finish kind of work, but he’ll do a closet-clean finish also. Since my body was black, it didn’t matter to me what the wood looked like, but I’m sure if you get in touch with him, you can pick out the body with wood to your liking.

    Here’s a link to one of his auctions: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220336604351

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