Lots and lots of playing recently and not a ton of bloggy woggy so I figured I'd just blog about playing and hope that none of you who know where I live come and rob me. Being left handed it's quite difficult to find models of guitars that are good and yet affordable. I'm not really a big believer in that very expensive guitars equal very well made, but there are many shades of grey. The fact is a guitar is multiple pieces of wood either bolted or glued together and some of them have electricity going through them and some don't. You pay a ton of money for the name on the headstock but that's because of the history and reputation that goes along with it. There are definitely guitars worth the 4 digit price tag, but there are many that aren't. I am in no way a master in the knowledge of the instrument or how to play it, but I do know what a good guitar feels like. None of the guitars I own are particularly expensive, but I love them for their weird nuances and all I really care about is how they sound. 

Here's what I play:

A Samick custom Greg Bennett Gold Rush series acoustic. I got this guitar around 10 years ago in Syracuse NY on a whim when my dad decided an acoustic would be a good call, probably I was so awful at playing my electric at the time (which won't be featured in this post because it is currently VERY broken and I'll restore that..probably never). Most acoustic guitars (most meaning Gibsons) come in at 24.5-25 inch scale, which is measured from the nut of your guitar usually to the 12th fret, and then double that measurement. This guitar is weirdly a whopping 27 inch scale, which really makes no sense at all. I have no idea whether or not the tone is affected by that, but it sounds perfect to me. A nice beefy low end, loud as hell and a nice twang to the treble strings. Really cool intricate designs around the sound hole and such. Spruce top, very pretty, very battered. The pick guard eventually kind of...fell off so there's this awkward tanline. but it's okay, it makes her human. 


Next is my latest and probably greatest that I bought in October of 2012 mainly because I wanted a smaller scale and bodied acoustic to be used mainly for playing live while plugged in. The guitar I ended on was a Taylor GS Mini. I decided to get the mahogany version instead of spruce to get a really nice low end while mellowing all the other strings. Small bodied acoustics generally sound...like...really bright so I decided to get something with an even tone all around. A ton of performers are using small bodied acoustics these days for that fun bright tone including Marcus Mumford, Dallas Green and my boy Brian Fallon when he does his solo acoustic sets. That darker wood is just so damn fiiine. 
My hecklecktrick geetar isn't really all that special but it looks super expensive (it's really not) and sounds really fantastic the way I have it set up. It was a 16th birthday present from my mom and I wanted a semi hollow mainly because that's what Tom DeLonge had been using at the time instead of solid bodied electrics. Over time I've discovered the hollow body gives you really nice sustain in everything you play and this semi acoustic sound when you're strumming chords clean. Although it only has alnico humbuckers in it I can get some pretty gnarly tone out of it with the amp I have which I shall get to after this. Overall I've found it to be very versatile, which I think a ton of artists have discovered nowadays. It doesn't stay in tune worth a damn but I just love playing it more than most guitars I've put my gross hands on. I removed the pick guard completely because I hate how angled they are on Gibson style guitars, it's almost like it bounces your hand away after every strum. It's going to get scratched anyway. Here's Karen, my cherry finished Epiphone Dot. 
My one and only amp is a doozy Vox AC30VR. I didn't get the true all tube AC30 because there are other things that are 1000$ I'd rather spend my money on, and this one does the trick anyway. It has 2 tubes in the pre amp circuit connected by a valve (VR=valve reactor) so it can hold the tone even through the higher volumes without being broken up naturally which is what would happen if there were tubes in the post amp as well. Having all tube is really desirable for that exact reason though. It has one clean channel and two overdrive channels, but I only really use the light one. I usually have the clean channel gain pretty high up to get some crunch anyway but when it's time for some leads I'll put on the OD. The second OD channel is a little too heavy for my liking. Crank the middle, drop the low end and you get the Strokes. Leave the middle off, crank the treble and drop the low end and you get Kings of Leon. Leave it clean and crank the treble and you get Chuck Berry. Crank the low end and drop the treble and you get the Blues and Rockabilly. I love it very much and was one of the best purchases I have ever made. This is Vox Roger.
As for effects I don't really use any, as I chase tone more than neat things. My only pedals are a Boss tuner and an MXR analog delay, because delay is king to me. It just adds so much depth to a note or chords, especially with the reverb cranked (mine. is. always. cranked.) even if it's just a  wee little bit. A small bit of delay and you can have little choppy chords that you'd fine in crooner songs and rockabilly, a lot of delay and you get every U2 song ever written. I will probably try and get a tremolo pedal sooner or later because I love how it can be used to make your chords shimmer ever so slightly. 

So this is what's been acquired over a lot of time! Remember that it really doesn't matter what name is on your headstock and that there is no such thing as a "real" guitar. If it's got strings on it that make noise...that's pretty real to me. If you can play it well, it's a good guitar. If you're a bad player on a great guitar, you're making me sad. 

Keep the memories in your bones.

M
 





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