Definitive Proof That Size Does In Fact Matter… Musically.

While I have been chastised in the past for the sometimes cringe-inducing size of the gauge of picks and strings that I use. However, the following video seems to do justice to the fact that a heavier picks in particular give a more even sound, hitting the string with more mass and therefore causing a more even, balanced, and more importantly compressed sound.

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Cleanliness is not Nessesarily Next to Godliness

soapWhat I believed to be the foundation in my constantly expanding sonic dialogue has been shaken, crumbled, and rebuilt. I had thought for years that to gain the perfect tone in your playing, you must start out with a perfectly clean fundamental tone. I did and still do believe to an extent that the high gain screeching of the 70’s and 80’s rock guitar gods was a barbaric and primitive style of expression, reserved for those who didn’t have the knowledge nor the patience to truly sculpt their own sound. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule: There is the soulful blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Ballsy-but-clean Led Zeppelin, and the classic and natural sound of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, but the list is much shorter than most people perceive it to be. The genre “Classic Rock” is anything but; filled with the he-man garbage of many a one hit wonder, but on occasion the music industry gets it right with bands like those listed above, and it is these bands that have inspired my next move artistically.

For those of you who know me, I am an aficionado of fuzz effects. The type of gain that is an almost 180 degree turn from the distorted Marshalls of classic rockdom. Thick and low gain, becoming lower and lower in fidelity with a thumping low end driving the amplifiers tubes into oblivion. Unlike regular distortion, fuzz gives you a more tangible feel for the gain stage of your signal. More cutthroat than the hardest distortion in some cases, and yet it can be more dynamic depending on the effect. The fuzz then is an extremely dynamic instrument, yet… yet this wasn’t working for me anymore.

Yes, fuzz does and will always have a place in my heart and on my board, but the difference between my clean sound and fuzz is just too drastic. To transfer from a smooth silky ala “Bon Iver” style verse to a heavier chorus using fuzz almost changes the attitude of the song, even at lower gain settings. Moving on from fuzz, I decided to try the extreme low gain types of boosts/overdrives. I’ve had and still use a Blackeye Effects Palmetto, a JHS Morning Glory V3 overdrive, and a DMB Cosmic Crunch among other low gain alternatives and still the difference between the two types of distortion couldn’t be spanned by a suspension bridge.

This is where I currently reside. I understand that I need a middle ground alternative to bridge the gap between crazy low and gritty high gain, without the thin snarly classic rock sound. After much deliberation and several hours of asking around and trying out, I have narrowed it down to two options. With both amps still set on a fairly clean setting, a JHS Angry Charlie or a boutique type of Klon Clone would both have enough gain to push the delays, amps, octave effects, and reverb just enough to squeeze every last drop of tone out of my rig.

My previously distorted ideas of distortion have been wiped clean, realizing that given enough searching and tweaking, I can make it work to better my own sound. Adding a rumble underneath the dark, rolling repeats of a Dbucket-style delay, or to push a smooth plate reverb just enough to lengthen the decay and boost its mix. This is how I will utilize the distortion effect to my own advantage, and how I will apply it to change the style of my music.

Yeah, even I have an Instagram fetish


My new Loop-Master custom ABY. They loved this one so much they Facebook shared it as a prime example of a happy customer!


This is the tailpiece from my 1964 Harmony 000 body acoustic. It has been a resto project for a few months now, as well as my 1968 Harmony 12 String.


Tuners from the 68′ Harmony.


The 1968 Harmony 12 String. In desperate need of a truss rod replacement.

A few other (non Instagram) pictures of my new ABY:





I’m baaaaacckk!!

So I’ve been super busy lately trying to keep up with of my students and other clients this past week, but I have had enough time to mod my trusty Xavier! So Victoria (The Strat) went to the shop this past week with crazy neck problems, and I’ve been left with the XV-910. Since I haven’t seriously modded anything in a while, I thought I would give her a tune up, and try out an idea I had seen years ago.

The first time I saw Tom Petty on the Old Grey Whistle Test (I believe it was from 76′) I noticed something was seriously different about Mike Campbell’s Les Paul. It was a 1955 Goldtop with the original soapbar P90’s, but the covers were removed, giving it a more aggressive sound.


With this idea in mind, I removed the covers from the dog ear P90s, and re-screwed the pickups into the body. I have noticed that the clarity has improved a good deal, and looks ever better than before.


However at a gig this morning, the upper neck pickup screw apparently was not completely secured, and the pickup “popped”, literally out of place! At least this happened during a guitar break during the song, and I was able to repair it quickly! (Nothing a little washer can’t fix)

More pedal art to come soon! I’m waiting for the natural light to be perfect, and I have a new technique you guys will love! Here’s a sneak peek!



Happy Recording!


No more love for you.
You paid the price to drift away.
Break my heart, and walk away.
Forget about me.
I don’t need you anymore.
Your love was the reason why.
I never could say goodbye.
Keep your lies.
I don’t need them.
Keep your wishes.
I can’t please them.
No more of you.
It’s time to say goodbye.

~ Courtney Mangum, “Forget”

My girlfriend gave lyric writing a go. What do you think?