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Rich W

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Everything posted by Rich W

  1. I sometimes use Amplitube 3 (free version) with headphones when playing at night ... and occasionally the iPod version of Amplitube when I'm away from home. I have a passion for good tube amps and, to my ears, nothing comes close to the tone of output tube distortion. But I play at all hours of the day, and I agree with you Shred ... Amplitube is a good tool for getting in a few hours of late-night practice.
  2. The charge stored in a cap doesn't have to return to ground. You can discharge a cap by putting a lead with resistor across its plates. That said, DC high voltage is dangerous, and it's not a good idea to discharge caps unless you've been shown how to do it safely.
  3. With many amps, caps self-discharge more efficiently if the amp is powered off without going into standby first. This is because warm output tubes, when NOT cut out of the circuit by a standby switch, work as a type of bleed resistor across the plates of the filter caps. When caps are discharged, the charge is dissipated between the cap's plates as the electrons balance themselves. This is what you're doing when you put a lead with a resistor across the plates of a filter cap. Some modern amps have a bleed resistor for this, but warm tubes can also do the job. Bill Machrone describes it nicely: "If your standby switch is between the filter caps and the tube plates, as most separate standby switches are, no discharging current can flow through the tubes if you put the amp in standby and turn it off because it breaks the path of the tubes (resistors) across the capacitor leads." (for more detail, see comment #22 in this thread http://www.tdpri.com/forum/amp-central-station/162638-stand-switch-blues-jr.html) That's the conventional wisdom. Next time I've got an amp open, I'll do a comparison between rate of self-discharge when standby is on verus off before power off.
  4. It's nice to have one of every type, but more and more I'm finding that I'm trying to go the other route and play just one guitar. By sticking primarily to just one and not going back and forth between guitars with different scale lengths, neck profiles, fretboard radii, fret heights; I'm getting to know my #1 so intimately that it's becoming like another body part. Guys like Derek Trucks, with his iconic red SG, have stuck pretty much with one guitar for decades. The tonal variety is more limited than playing a whole stable of different types of guitars, but it's possible to adjust gear to make HBs sound close to single coils, and vice versa. Jimmy Page's classic Les Paul tone, for example, was often played with a Tele. That said, it's nice to have at least a couple other guitars (electric & acoustic) that aren't too precious and can be left out for guests, or to travel with. I've got a #1 and a #1a that I'm obsessively careful with and that rarely leave my music dojo; but also other lesser guitars that I take camping, on my sailboat, and to the park or the beach. Amps are another story altogether. I get amp GAS all the time.
  5. In some (but NOT all) modern amps, if you power off without going into standby, the caps will self-discharge. I've tried this with a couple of my amps and measured across the caps. It works. If you're going to open your amp up to do some service, then leaving her on for awhile and then powering off without standby is the way to go. On the other hand, some amp experts like Dave Hunter (writes good tech articles for Gibson.com) claim that leaving her in standby for a minute or two before powering off may help to prolong output tube life.
  6. how the heck does he manage to play so beautifully with just his thumb? wow! wow!!
  7. +1 ... for beautiful vibrato, BB and EC are among the best
  8. +1 for Albert ... because I love deep, down-and-dirty, electric blues BB also plays it with the best of them, but I don't care for a lot of his more "urban", big-band, R&B stuff ... I've tried to develop an appreciation for it, but find I only listen to his bluesy classics like Sweet Little Angel and How Blue Can You Get ... he sure had great pipes in his prime Freddie was a wonderful singer too ... gone too soon
  9. Yup ... Albert's original surname was Nelson. He also started calling his guitar Lucy. This "appropriation" of other people's names and image was common among blues players, and probably the worst case was Rice Miller deciding to start calling himself Sonny Boy Williamson ... which really p*ssed off the original and still active Sonny Boy Williamson.
  10. That's what I was thinking too. Joe's a heck of a guitar player but, by his own admission, not much of a singer ... and probably not appealing to the Grammy folks for that reason. The Handys, on the other hand, are a closer fit for Joe's blues-rock style; and, while not a catalyst for commercial success the way Grammys can be, a greater honor for a true bluesman.
  11. I'm with you on the Clapton / Allman version of Little Wing on the Layla album ... a beautiful song, great vocal harmonies ... and Duane's slide work brings out the best in EC.
  12. But, given the chance, you'd probably trade your Fender Hot Rod even up for a mint condition Trainwreck or Dumble or Fuchs or Divided by 13.
  13. Wondered the same thing myself. Would definitely want to look over and play an expensive or vintage guitar before pulling the trigger. But they're rarely in stores in Vancouver, and a challenge to find without taking a road trip to the big smoke.
  14. This is just a "fan vote" popularity contest, and the Music Radar is attempting to draw readership with the "best amps in the world" headline. If most Music Radar readers think a Fender Hot Rod printed-circuit-board amp is one of the best ever made, then I'm guessing they're not that sophisticated. And it's not surprising, I guess, that they prefer budget amps over, say, a TrainWreck, Divided by 13, Carr, or any number of other far nicer ones.
  15. I feel the same way as you jamesg. Gibson Custom Shop builds some incredible guitars and then, just before they are about to ship them, they half-*ss the final inspection/setup step. That's not a popular thing to say on this forum I've noticed. Several people defend Gibson for this by saying their own guitars have always been flawless. And that it's the re-seller who is to blame for things being so far out of whack. But many other companies take pains to inspect and setup their guitars, and they don't let them out the door until this is done. It's a point of pride for them. There's a great article in Tone Quest Report about how obsessed Collings is with making their instruments as perfect as they can get them. Builders of less expensive guitars like Reverend and Prestige also focus on this too. It's not a deal breaker for most people because it's a good idea to get a new guitar professionally setup as a matter of course. But it does make you wonder about their pride of workmanship. (1) The black mark is disappointing and I'm not sure how repairable it is, but maybe the other two problems are fixable with a bit of lubricant and a screwdriver. (2) The G string issue might be an easy fix. Do you notice a slight "ping" when you press on it on the headstock side of the nut? If so, it's probably the nut slot. Try a lubricant like Nut Sauce. And, when you take it in to get setup next time, have your tech/luthier take a closer look. If the G doesn't ping and it's not the nut, it might be the tuning machines. I replaced them on my 339 with Tone Pros and am happy with the result. In particular, I now have a better gear ratio, the tuning keys are tighter with more stable tuning (especially the G which was the worst), and they have the more traditional color rather than that snot green on 339s. Got them online from WD for something like $60. Seems disappointing to have to start replacing hardware on a new, expensive guitar. But this is an upgrade I'm happy I did. (3) Setting the intonation is a simple process. I check and adjust intonation after every string change. If you raise or lower your action, change the gauge of your strings, or even switch from hex to round cores; then you might need to adjust intonation each time. Intonation is not a static factor that can be set at the factory with the expectation that it should never need to be adjusted again. The main issue is whether or not it's even possible set intonation for the action and string gauge that you like. With ABR bridges, you might find that your saddles won't move far enough forward toward the neck to have it intonated for low action (or vice versa). Otherwise, it's not a big deal. Also, I wouldn't be upset about pickup heights not being set up by the factory the way you like them. Just grab a screwdriver and raise or lower them yourself. This is a matter of personal preference, and probably something you should do rather than your tech. I like mine lower but you might want a "hotter" tone and prefer to have them closer to the strings. Good luck. It's an amazing guitar. If you get it set up by a good tech or luthier, I'm sure you'll love it even more.
  16. I started playing in the dark about a year ago and I love it. For me, it helps for getting into a deeper state of concentration and focus. Is anyone else into this?
  17. I play in the dark for hours at a time. It was tough at first, but now my fingers really know the fretboard and I have a good mental image of it (which comes in handy when my mind starts to wander in boring staff meetings). Blind guitarists like Jeff Healey could burn up and down the neck with the best of them, and you really don't need your eyes to play.
  18. A builder here in Vancouver called Prestige Guitars ships Canadian wood to, they claim, one of the better Korean factories. And then they finish off the build here with quality US hardware by Seymour Duncan, etc. I’ve been to their showroom, played a few of their guitars; and they seem well built and sound good.
  19. What a timely thread for me. I’m going to order a new computer this week and have been going back and forth trying to decide between an iMac and a Dell XPS desktop. I’m a long-time Dell desktop guy, have had about dozen over the past 15 years for home and work; but, based on my notebook computer experience, I think I might go Mac this time. Rocketman, I smiled when I read about your experience with your notebooks. A few years ago I bought a loaded Dell XPS and a MacBook. Even though it cost quite a bit more, the Dell had several problems including an unrepairable design flaw with the motherboard; and I’ve since given up and passed it on to someone else. The MacBook, on the other hand, has worked flawlessly for all kinds of tasks with not even a hiccup.
  20. In the early 1970s, a fan at a Zappa concert in Finland shouted out “Whipping Post” in broken English. Here’s Frank’s response to a February 1983 Guitar Player interview question about this: “We didn’t know it, and I felt kind of bad that we couldn’t just play it and blow the guy’s socks off. When Bobby Martin joined the band and I found that he knew how to sing that song, I said ‘we are definitely going to prepare for the next time somebody wants Whipping Post - in fact, we are going to play it before someone even asks for it.’ I’ve got probably 30 different versions of it on tape from concerts all around the world, and one if them is going to be THE Whipping Post - the APEX Whipping Post of the century.” And then he jokes with the interviewer that people mistake him for Duane Allman all the time.
  21. I couldn't disagree more. This is a simple-minded cliche ... just like the older African American blues players used to dismiss the younger ones by saying that they couldn't play the "real" blues unless they spent their formative years on a plantation as share croppers or some other god awful hardship. People from all over the world can burn on their guitars, and can sing with incredible depth of feeling in the deepest of baritones ... but, for whatever reason, skin color and hardship as a prerequisite for playing "straight up" blues is an idea that people cling to.
  22. A complex issue, I think. In the 1960s, many young African Americans looked down on Mississippi delta blues as lower class and associated with impoverishment and a sad part of American history that they wanted to move on from. More contemporary musicians like Vernon Reid have suggested that African Americans are now being channeled by music companies away from rock and blues, and toward rap and hip hop.
  23. This silly idea about "white boys" not being able to play blues was common among African American players in the 1950s and 60s. After visiting the UK and playing with EC et al., Muddy revised this to "white boys" can sure play blues guitar, but they still can't "sing" the blues like he could (of course, neither could anyone else). Toward the end of his life in the early 1980s, Muddy found it ironic that so many young African Americans looked down on the blues, no longer bought this music, and had pretty much abandoned it; and that the "white boys" were keeping it alive ... I think Muddy and the Sonny Boys and the Wolf would be happy to know that so many others from all over the world now love it passionately, and some can play it with the best of the post-war blues greats.
  24. outstanding idea retro ... thanks for posting this ... any chance we could see a few more photos?
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