Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This Weeks Best Guitar Cd's - Week of 11/30/2010

Black Sabbath in Australia, 1973 (L-R: Tony Io...Image via WikipediaBlack Sabbath - Black Sabbath (Box Set)
   I'm not quite sure what to make of this one. Black Sabbath is,in my opinion,indisputably the most important and influential metal band in history. That said,who is buying this thing? Certainly,you have this music already,don't you? If not the individual Cds or records,then in the 2003 box set,yes? This bad boy comes packaged in a sweet cross shaped box and includes the nine original Ozzy era Sabbath albums and some extra goodies,including a 100 page discography,a guitar pick,a poster and three radio documentaries. Given that the new box will run you about $200 and the old box is still available for about $60,that's about $140 worth of "goodies". That must be some poster.

Plenty more Cd reviews below...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Weeks Best Guitar Cds - Week of 11/23/2010

Robby KriegerImage via WikipediaThe Doors - Live in Vancouver 1970
   Guitarist Robby Krieger is somewhat undervalued by toady's guitar fans,which is a shame. This two Cd set captures Krieger and The Doors in absolutely ripping good form. The blues,always a part of their music,is heavily emphasized in this set,particularly with a guest appearance by Albert King,who plays on four songs. The Doors also play a couple of their extended compositions,including a nearly 18 minute run through of "The End". The concert seems to issued in its entirety,giving it a "you are there" quality,complete with between song guitar tunings  and Morrison's talking that may come as a surprise to younger listeners used to today's slicker concert productions. Kriegers guitar is well recorded and panned hard left giving us a chance to study his unique style with ease. Give this a listen!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Here...Put This Together

  Sometimes I get to reassemble a pile of parts back into a guitar. Usually,these guitars started out as a project that for some reason or other didn't get finished. Inevitably,they've been stuffed into a closet or tucked under a bed for a year or two. How did the guitar play before disassembly? Don't know. Did all the parts work? Don't know. Are all the correct parts present and accounted for? Don't know. Wonderful.
  In today's example,we have a B.C. Rich that was taken apart to apply some...Uh..."folk art". We get a bit of a break,because we're putting in EMG pickups. They come with their own potentiometers and stereo 1/4" jack so we'll only have to use the three way switch from our bag of Chinese mystery parts. Normally,I would have to reinstall the ground wire from the bridge to the volume pot. Because EMG pickups are grounded internally,they don't need this wire. Although I knew it would make things harder if the guitar owner ever decided to go back to passive pickups,I reinstalled the bridge post without a ground wire. I made myself a little cardboard jig so I could do most of the electronic work out side of the guitar,then just drop it into the exceptionally tight control cavity. Because my bag of parts didn't include the backplate,he got a temporary "backplate" of tape, so the battery wouldn't fall out. After a setup,this one of a kind B.C. Rich was ready to rock!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Changing out a tremolo bar tip

  Here's a Fender Stratocaster,in for a setup,whose owner had an additional complaint. Our guitar has a mint green pickguard and the pickup covers,knobs and switch tip are cream,giving a cool aged look. The tip of our tremolo bar is white,messing up our vintage vibe. This is the kind of subtle cosmetic thing that some people don't even notice and drives other people crazy. We could hunt down a replacement bar in the right color,order it,then sit around and wait for it to show up...or we could just take care of it ourselves.
  My nut making vice will hold the bar still, while acting like a heat sink. The soldering iron heats the bar,softening the plastic enough to slide right off. Simply reverse the process with the new tip and you're all done.
That's better!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This Weeks Best Guitar Cd's - Week of 11/16/2010

GB Jazz drummer and pianist Gary HusbandImage via WikipediaGary Husband-Dirty and Beautiful Volume 1
  Although to us guitar fanatics,Husband will always and forever be associated with Allan Holdsworth,he has an impressive list of other musicians he has played with through the years. Here,he calls in a whole bunch of favors, for a truly exciting list of musicians. Naturally,Holdsworth is here,along with John McLaughlin,Robin Trower,Steve Hackett,Jerry Goodman,Jimmy Herring,Jan Hammer and Mark King among others. The music here brings to mind McLaughlins "To The One" album of earlier this year,understandably so,as Husband had a large role in that album. This features some of the best guitar playing released in 2010 and will be a treat for anyone who is looking for aggressive,articulate, modern jazz.

Plenty more Cd reviews below...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Best In Shred - Glendale Arizona Finals Winner!

And the winners is...Duane Woods! Congratulations Duane,Arizona can be proud to send you on the showdown between all the regional winners. The Arizona finals of the Best In Shred competition came down to a battle between two modded Gibson SGs and two traditional shred machines.
Ray Goodwin
  Playing first was Ray Goodwin; his whammy equipped Jackson guitar was the only seven string in the lineup. He used a combination of techniques including eight finger tapping and flamenco guitar styles for a constant flurry of notes. Ray's playing was very intense!
Adam Gonzales
  Next up was Adam Gonzales,playing a Gibson SG, hotrodded with a kill switch replacing the neck tone control. His use of the kill switch for flutter effects was musical and tasty, lacking the gimmicky aftertaste that kind of thing sometimes leaves. If I had to guess,I would bet that Adam has the widest array of influences among the finalists.

Duane Woods
  Duane Woods proved,he not only has fine taste in metal T-shirts,he also has some guitar skills! Playing a Gibson SG that had been modified to be strung through the body,it also had been wired up with a humbucker/single/humbucker set of EMG pickups. Duane displayed some truly excellent left hand techniques,bending and sliding his hardtail equipped guitar into what ever legato phrasing he wished.

Nikki Nightmare
  Ending the evening with skill and style was Nikki Nightmare. Nikki was the most traditional shredder of the finalists and his Steve Vai influence was definitely in fine form. Playing his Ibanez ,he showed off his mastery of the locking tremolo with all the bends,slurs,divebombs and flutters that make whammy techniques so exciting.

Primary Funktion
  Playing in between the finalists was Arizona band Primary Funktion. They played instrumental funk/jazz that was both a nice addition to and fine contrast with the shred style of the evening. Nice job guys,thanks for playing!
Pile o' loot!

  Check out the pile of loot that Duane Woods won! Way to go Duane. Thank you sponsors: Sam Ash Music,Ibanez,Zoom,Guitar World,Samson,Morley,Revolver,Line 6,Dunlop and EV!
Finalists Ray Goodwin,Duane Woods,Nikki Nightmare and Adam Gonzales

Host,Patrick Schwab and Sam Ash General Manager J Golden announce the winner


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Collapsing Tune-O-Matic Bridge on a 1968 Les Paul

  Here is a classic problem that happens on guitars with a Tune-O-Matic style bridge. The bridge is supported by two posts and is under constant downward pressure from the strings. Over time,it's inevitable that the middle of the bridge starts to sag. Our solution is to gently bend the correct radius back into the bridge. Using some scrap wood and some clamps I will slowly and gently ease the bridge back to where we want it. If ,for some reason in the middle of our re-bending process,we think the metal has bent as far as we're comfortable bending it,we can choose to get the rest of the desired radius at the saddles. Luckily,this bridge behaved itself just fine.
  If you have a vintage guitar with this issue,please be aware,there is a good chance that this procedure will put a small crack in the plating between the G and D string. If you are the personality type that needs to have every molecule of your instrument stay as minty as possible,put the original in the case,replace it with a new one and keep playing that guitar!
  Gibson Les Paul fans,stay tuned to Guitar Omnivore. This bridge was on one of the best examples of a 1968 Les Paul I've ever seen,so it will definitely get it's own article soon.

That's better!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's the self congatulatory 100th article for Guitar Omnivore!

  Before I get to the back slapping and high fives,let me say a big "Thank You" to everybody that has stopped by my little guitar blog. I would also like to ask,if you see an article you think is cool,please share it and help spread the word about Guitar Omnivore. Link it to your Facebook page or email it to your fellow guitar fanatic. If you use sites like Digg , Technorati or StumbleUpon,please show some love!   
   September remains the record setting month so far for Guitar Omnivore. It was the first month to receive more than 100 visitors in a day,then by the end of month, that was common. It was the first month that I received visitors from all 50 states. To date,Guitar Omnivore has been read (or at least momentarily clicked on) in 76 countries. I'm embarrassed (but only slightly embarrassed,I am American) to say I'm pretty sure I didn't even know that there was a country named Moldova until they visited my humble little guitar blog.
   I have plenty more articles on the way. I will be attending the Best In Shred Arizona finals tonight and will report soon. I just had a gorgeous example of a 1968 Les Paul come through the shop,so you'll be seeing some stuff on that. Stay tuned to Guitar Omnivore. In summation,thank you,thank you,thank you...and please spread the word!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This Weeks Best Guitar Cds - Week of 11/09/2010

King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King (Box Set Limited Edition)
Anaglyph King CrimsonImage by fisherkiller via Flickr
  Not since the Beach Boys Pet Sounds Sessions box set have I seen this much space committed to a single album. All told this is 5 (!) Cds and a DVD of what essentially amounts to the same stuff over and over. Thankfully,this is an album worthy of such a feast of minor variation. So,what is on this thing?  You get the 2004 remaster,the original mono mix, a 2009 Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) remix,a declicked stereo vinyl transfer and the obligatory pile of alternate takes,live recordings,demos,BBC recordings and instrumental versions. The DVD offers a MLP lossless 5.1 surround mix and MLP lossless versions of the 2009 mix,the 2004 master and alternative mixes along with a video of "21st century schizoid man". 

Plenty more Cd reviews below...

Friday, November 5, 2010

A partial banjo refret...in reverse?

You can see the change of fret size between fret 10 and 11

It's pretty common for a guitar (or in this case, a banjo) to have fret wear on just the first few frets. Depending on the area of wear,many time it makes more sense to replace only the frets that need it,instead of a complete refret. This Gibson Mastertone banjo was a typical case...the first time around. It turns out,the owner of the banjo had worn the first several out and had replaced frets 1-10 some time ago. His playing skills had expanded and now he was using the entire fingerboard. The problem was,whoever replaced the frets,had used medium size guitar fret wire,not traditional small banjo fret wire and the transition between the two areas was not comfortable. I had to do a partial refret on frets 11 and up,a kind of partial refret that is...in reverse?...backwards?...mirror image? Whatever you call it,t he usual partial refret rules apply: try to match the existing fret wire and style of installation so the line between old frets and new frets are invisible.
  On our way to new frets there were a couple of minor problems to show you. The binding on the treble side had loosened in one area. On first installation,binding is glued on with model glue such as Weld-On,because it contains chemicals that partially melt the binding,helping the binding stay put when it's dry. These same chemicals make it a poor choice for gluing it a second time,as they will damage the lacquer on the instrument. Here,I used Original Titebond and some tape for the regluing,assuring good adhesion but with easy cleanup afterward.
   A second minor issue was a bit of chipping at the fret slot when the old frets were pulled. By using a soldering iron to heat the frets during removal,this kind of chipping is virtually non-existent but certain pieces of wood just feel like causing trouble,so it happens. By using a piece of Teflon sheet (available from Stewart MacDonald) cut to size,as a wall,I can fill in the space with rosewood dust and super glue,then level it as usual.
  With our finger board in good shape,it was fretting as usual. Once the new frets are in,the trick is to match the style of the existing fret bevel. I think it turned out pretty nice!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Epiphone Jack Casady bass

While the Jack Casady signature bass guitar by Epiphone isn't exactly a rarity,I think it's one of coolest basses available today. This one came through the shop for a simple restring so this isn't really a true product review but I am going to use it as an excuse to talk about a bass (and a bass player) I really like.If you've ever seen Jack Casady play in Jefferson Airplane or Hot Tuna,you may have noticed his playing might employ chordal work,melodic lines high on the fretboard or left hand legato and vibrato techniques. His basses of choice through the years have included a Guild Starfire and a 1972 Les Paul signature bass. The standout feature of the Casady signature bass is the low impedance JCB-1 pickup. In low impedance mode,the pickup is warm without being muffled and gives out a very pure version of the acoustic tone of the bass. The chicken head knob on the front controls a transformer that allows you to switch it to high impedance. As impedance increases,so does volume and presence,but so does the "mud" and "boxy" sound. This allows you to dial in the proper amount of clarity versus volume that the situation might demand. In addition to Jack,I've seen Phil Lesh play the JC signature but my most recent sighting of another pro playing this bass was in the Epiphone email newsletter. It showed bassist G5 (yes,he goes by the name G5) from Canadian heavy metal band Anvil,recording in Dave Grohl's studio for their upcoming 2011 album. It will be really cool to hear this warm,fat bass tone in a metal format. These basses are a bit of a specialty item,so they can be a bit hard to find in person. If you see one for sale somewhere,I urge you to give it a try.