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dhanners623

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dhanners623 last won the day on August 18 2017

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About dhanners623

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  1. Since I'm only in the U.S. once a year, I save up my guitar repair and tune-up work for when I'm back in St. Paul. Last week, I took my J-35 in to St. Paul Guitar Repair (a great shop with a wonderful crew) and had them replace the Tusq nut with an ebony one (ala the original J-35s) and take out the pickup and electronics. I'm going all-acoustic. I got the guitar back today. I am very pleased with the results. For most folks, the change in tone and volume would be hard to notice, but after playing the guitar daily since I got it in the summer of 2016, I can tell you it sounds better -- and it was no slouch to start with. For one thing, the sound just kind of jumps out of it. It seems to respond more quickly. Maybe that is a result of it being lighter and not having a UST sitting in the saddle slot. One oddity in the pickup removal.... Ron Tracy, who did the work, said it all came out ok but he discovered the tone-and-volume control gizmo attached just inside the soundhole wasn't attached with double-sided foam tape. It was actually glued in. He said the gizmos are notorious for coming loose and it appears Gibson decided somewhere along the line to just glue it to the inside of the soundhole. Go figure.
  2. Thanks. The tune is "Let it Go," and it is one of mine. Wanting to breathe some new life into it, I recently changed it to first-person and liked the way it worked. This is the new-and-improved version.
  3. Yeah, I think if I were returning to Kuwait, I'd be nervous. (That said, my other two guitars did well there, although they were constantly humidified.) Later this summer, we're moving to Casablanca so I'll have the opposite problem. The average relative humidity there is 77 percent, and it doesn't appear there are any big monthly fluctuations. It always hovers a little above or below 80 percent. So that'll be a new challenge.
  4. Picked up my new Farida OT-22 yesterday. It is their take on an LG-2. I had ordered the guitar last week while I was in Texas and had it delivered straight to St. Paul Guitar Repair so they could remove the pickguard and make a lefty one, and do any other set-up work that needed to be done. I arrived in St. Paul yesterday and went to pick it up. After playing it last night and this morning, my first impression is, "Wow!" I don't have much experience with smaller-bodied guitars but I really like the sound out of this one. It is articulate, has great tone and powerful volume. The build quality is excellent, and Farida (unlike, say, Martin...) can actually nail a sunburst. It came strung with lights, but Elderly assures me it can handle mediums. After inspecting the guitar, Kevin at SPGR concurred that it would be fine with mediums so I had him set it up for them. Plays great. (He said it came perfectly set up for lights.) He's spent a lifetime repairing great guitars and he said he was impressed with the guitar, especially for its price -- $423. Aside from the pickguard switch, my only mod so far is I switched out the black plastic bridge pins for some ebony pins. Would've switched out the plastic endpin for wood, too, but after fiddling with it for a couple of minutes, Kevin couldn't get the darn thing out so I told him I'd live with it. Here's a test run:
  5. I'm not sure it is an issue of "right" or "wrong." The comment about being in a "minority" is merely a nod towards the popular acceptance of -- and critical praise for -- Springsteen over the years. Nobody is forcing you to like, or even listen to, Bruce, just as nobody is making me pop a Ted Nugent CD in the player, thank goodness. The thing I'm wondering, though, is who has changed -- Springsteen or you? As I see it, the guy is still writing about the things he's always written about in one form or another. He has stayed true to who he is. You used to like him. If you are the one whose tastes have changed, why fault Springsteen? There was a time I liked Charlie Daniels. I've seen him live and will be the first to admit the influence he's had on music; heck, the guy even played bass on Bob Dylan's "Nashville Skyline" album. Undeniably, he has a place in music history. But his anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and xenophobic rhetoric really turned me off. Springsteen may have political views, but it isn't fueled by (nor is it manifested in) hate. You can't say that about Daniels and Nugent. Both have said hateful things. (Sorry, but telling Obama to suck on your machine gun is hateful.) Daniels is a pretty active blogger and I used to read his website from time to time to see what he was saying. I remember one time he wrote a column about how you couldn't be a Christian and believe in evolution. In the reader comments, I posted a comment (written respectfully and calmly) saying that was really a stretch and that there were plenty of people of faith who believed in evolution. I even cited the names of some scientists who had done important work in evolution who were also known for having strong religious faith. A day later, I got an ALL-CAPS email from the man himself, saying the theory of evolution was the "biggest lie ever foisted on humans." He went on and on. While I was impressed that he would reply personally, I was saddened that he took such a wrongheaded view. It was clear he saw things as either-or. To him, you could believe in science or you could be a person of faith, but you couldn't be both. So, yeah, he lost me on that one.
  6. Given that Springsteen still sells plenty of records, it would appear plenty of folks are just fine with what he has to say. Like I said earlier, you guys are in the minority, thankfully. Enjoy your bland artists. I prefer mine with some bite, spine, passion and compassion, so I'll take Bruce and Woody. School kids will still be singing "This Land is Your Land" decades after your bland acts become a footnote in history.
  7. Here's the thing about the "Shut Up and Sing" crowd. Their concern only goes one way. They'll lambast Springsteen for expressing a political thought, but they say nothing when Ted Nugent says Hillary Clinton should be hung for treason and tells President Obama to "suck on my machine gun." The SU&S crowd will complain when Steve Earle talks politics, but there's nary a peep when Charlie Daniels spouts anti-Muslim and xenophobic rhetoric. So, yeah, when the SU&S folks start directing their wrath at people like Nugent and Daniels and, well, tell them to shut up and sing, I'll take them seriously. But it isn't really about shutting up and singing. It is about stifling dissent.
  8. Not sure I understand that sentiment. His politics and worldview shape his music. You don't have one without the other. He comes from a long line of songwriters who tell stories of the world and people around them, as they are. It is what folk musicians have done for centuries. Fortunately, your opinion is in the minority.
  9. Sorry, but gig bags are the guitar repairer's best friend. A quality instrument needs to be protected, especially when being transported. That said, Gator lightweight cases (I've owned several) are a great compromise if you're looking for something that is light AND provides protection. They have handy shoulder straps so you can throw them over your shoulder. (Two days ago I was running through the airport in Dubai to catch a flight with my J-35 in a Gator case flung over my shoulder.) Good luck in your search.
  10. Yes and no. There are times when you can feel the thoughts/words/lines coalescing and you know they'll soon reach critical mass and it is time to pull out pen and paper and start writing things down. But the other side of that is writing is a discipline, in that you have to discipline yourself to write. I've read plenty of interviews with great songwriters in which they discuss their ritual of songwriting. They set aside a certain amount of time a day, at a particular time of day, and make themselves write. I remember reading an interview with the late Bill Morrissey (one of the greats) in which he said he shot for a verse a day. Keep that up for a week and you've got a song. A few years back I was a finalist in Big Top Chatauqua's NxNW songwriting competition and the performer on the day of the competition was the late Jesse Winchester, another great. He met with the finalists before the competition and in an informal Q-and-A sitting around a table, he gave us his thoughts on songwriting. I took notes and while packing for our recent move, I stumbled upon them. On the subject of getting in the right frame of mind to write, he told us, "You have to shut the part of you off that pays the bills." A couple of other quotes I jotted down: "If you complicate what comes out of your heart, you've pretty much lost it." He said to avoid chord changes that distract from the song. "Audiences don't care about chords." Songwriting, he said, "is like solving a puzzle you made up yourself."
  11. Have a great time. Always liked Galveston, although the only times I was ever there I was covering hurricanes. Last time I was there, after the storm made landfall, I got stuck in an elevator in the federal building. Eight hours. Fortunately, I went to the restroom before getting on. Then the emergency generator gave out. While sitting in the NOAA office there, I asked them if they had any data from the 1900 hurricane, the worst natural disaster in American history. One of the meteorologists went into a closet and brought out this old book filled with typed oral histories taken from survivors in the 1930s. (It was a WPA project.) They were riveting, scary, heartbreaking, fascinating and sometimes inspirational. And the rememberances of the "Death Gangs" -- African-Americans forced at gunpoint to collect the dead for burial at sea -- were sad. They were paid with whiskey. The bodies were loaded on barges, taken out into the Gulf, had rocks tied to them and then dumped overboard. Physiology being what it is, nearly all the bodies began popping up to the surface after a day or two and the tides washed them ashore on Galveston. The Death Gangs were forced to collect them and burn them in giant pyres that burned for weeks. The oral histories prompted me to write this. I've always wanted to go back and re-write/edit it, but just haven't gotten around to it yet.
  12. Also, that V-shaped line at the base of the headstock gives me pause. A finish crack or something worse? Or just odd light in the photo?
  13. Shouldn't the model number be stamped inside somewhere? That's quite the lid on the case. (Speaking of which, get a case that fits the guitar better....)
  14. What Buc said. Acoustic guitars are idiosyncratic, and Gibsons are even more so. What sounds "good" (and "good" is subjective) on your guitar may sound lousy on mine, and vice versa, even though they are the same models. Add to that the player's individual style. On my J-35, I switched out the plastic (ugh...) bridge pins for camel bone, and that was an improvement straight away. Last year, I got a Bob Colosi bone saddle and it, too, was an immediate improvement. The Tusq saddle that came with the guitar was ill-fitting and leaned in the saddle slot, so its bottom wasn't making full contact with the slot. When I'm back in the U.S. this summer, I'm having the Tusq nut replaced with ebony. I just don't like Tusq (yes, I know people swear by it) but I want the sound and look of ebony. Plus, the original J-35s came with ebony bridges. I'm also planning on having the UST taken out and going full-on acoustic. I'll report back when it's all done.
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