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  #651  
Old 07-21-2010, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Le Ministre de l'au-delà View Post
I had a lesson in the invulnerablity of the Telecaster yesterday. As we were setting up for the last show of 'The Wizard of Oz' at my daughter's school, one of the kids moved the bench my guitar was resting on. It fell twice - once from top of the bench to the floor, landing on the hinges of the case and then from its side to the top of the case. So the neck got a good whiplash to the treble side and then the whole instrument would have dropped to the lid.

So, I open the case (this is why I schlepp Big Ed around in his hard shell case instead of a gig bag) expecting the neck might be loosened or torqued. Nothing. Nada. Not even out of tune.
Here is the result of my Tele falling two feet from my van to the ground getting unpacked for a gig. It was in a Fender gig bag, lesson learned.
  #652  
Old 07-22-2010, 11:36 AM
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Let's play Good Idea/Bad Idea!
http://store.guitarfetish.com/alpiprgu70tu1.html
Is this a Good Idea or a Bad Idea to stuff into a Starcaster? What would I get if I did it?
My other option is to mess around with this thingy.
http://store.guitarfetish.com/gfsusacushha.html
Or maybe I could go for a humbucker at the bottom.
http://store.guitarfetish.com/hueqhsswhpra.html

Right now, I'm getting to the point where A: I hate hammer-ons, but I hate pull-offs more, in my practicing. I just can't avoid losing a lot of sound. Do I need to pluck it more as I finger it, or what?
  #653  
Old 07-22-2010, 12:28 PM
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E-Sabs -

- What don't you like about your current electronics in your Starcaster, such that you are contemplating a change? What is "wrong" with your tone / the guitar's responsiveness?

- Just a quick check: you do realize that you are looking at drop-in replacements for Strats, correct? Those would not fit a Starcaster - and given how uncommon SC's are, I doubt anyone makes drop-ins. All that means is that you would need to "roll you own" in terms of collecting and assembling the parts and couldn't just off-the-shelf it...

- Dropping in new electronics - what would you get? Well, you could get a WIDE range of results depending on what you have now and what you want. You could simply swap in better-quality versions of the same components and "open up" the sound a bit more (assuming you have cheaper, lower-quality components now). Or you can drop in different combo's based on the music you want to play and tone you are looking for...

As for hammer-ons and pull-offs and being frustrated that you can't get enough oomph behind your moves so the sound diminishes - welcome to beginning. No other way through it besides getting your reps in. I had a collection of hammer-and-pull-heavy riffs - as I recall back in my day, it was a lot of early Aerosmith, like Sweet Emotion and Same Old Song and Dance - and just (here he goes again) sat in front of a TV playing an unplugged guitar and playing the same damn riff 'leventy-billion times. Wax on wax off, Grasshopper.

(and this deeply insightful, sage advice comes from the guy you dissed in that other thread for having no clue who Amanda what's-her-name was from the Dresden Dolls. I am an old fogey, but I am a helpful old fogey!! )
  #654  
Old 07-22-2010, 01:11 PM
Le Ministre de l'au-delà is offline
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Right now, I'm getting to the point where A: I hate hammer-ons, but I hate pull-offs more, in my practicing. I just can't avoid losing a lot of sound. Do I need to pluck it more as I finger it, or what?
I'll let someone who knows what they're talking about handle the gear query...

Hammer-ons and pull-offs, or as the classical guys like to call them "ligados ascendentes y ligados descendentes" - trying to play guitar without using them at all would be like trying to play golf with only one iron. Like all the other means of articulation - free stroke, rest stroke, tasto, ponte, pick, tambora, drum stick, cello bow - they impart colour to the attack. Any attack can produce a sound, just like any club can put the ball in play. But is it the best tone colour for the phrase? Does it produce a balanced sound? Will it get you over the sand trap and stopped on the green?

They're an incredibly useful tool in the guitarist's workshop, but they're a technique that needs learning and practice.

Hammers - Accuracy is the key. First off, put your fingering hand on the desk top. Heel of the hand on the desk, curl the fingers so that the fingertips are perpendicular to the flat surface of the desk, or table, or whatever horizontal flat surface is nearby. It should look like a beautifully rounded arc, like a rainbow. A letter 'C' that's had too much to drink and fallen on its face. Anyway, one at a time, lift the fingers and tap with the tip of the finger. How much effort did you have to make to hear a 'tap' when you felt the fingertip touch the table top?

You won't need any more effort than that to get a good hammer on. You will need to make sure that the hammering finger lands perpendicular directly behind the fret (not on it, not too far back.) into a stable position (hammering into vibrato is possible, but it's going to take a lot of practice, as that's a pretty advanced technique.) with the fingertip centered on the string. Work to achieve that accuracy all the time, and people will think you have kung-fu fingers of steel.

And that's the thing - force is not what's required. You aren't trying to break pencils with your fingertips, you're making a tapping sound that has a note ringing after it. Also, it is not a good idea to add force to an inefficient hammer. Specifically, if you are landing flat-fingered instead of perpendicularly, adding force puts pressure on the joints & ligaments that they can't handle very well.

Same experiment on the desk top, only flat palm - it's way harder to lift the fingers, and they don't give a very sharp 'tap'. (Guys that play hand drums have their own way of describing and executing the ergonomics of their instrument - suffice it to say that they don't want to give themselves the phalangeal equivalent of tennis elbow, either.)



Pulls - lift the finger before you pull sideways. You can actually get a pull by lifting purely vertically, but it's going to be very quiet. (Advanced technique.) Experiment with all the gradations between pulling while fingering the sounding note and lifting off altogether before you pull sideways. Classical guys usually want the hammer or pull to sound 'sweeter' than the plucked note before it - blues, rock, country guys may want a sharper attack, but they only want a clangy, sharp attack on a pull in very specific places. Advanced techniques - learning to pull in the other direction is extremely useful.

The lower finger of a pull needs to be stable - if that finger is the pivot or anchor of a chord change, great care must be taken to shift without disturbing the note. Essentially, what you're learning to do is to pluck with a finger on the fingering hand, and this is subject to all the things you would practice with the plucking hand - is that the right colour for the phrase? If it isn't, what does it need?

Pulling to an open string is slightly different - it's very easy to pull too hard, esp. from the fifth fret or higher. Easy does it!

I hope some of this helps, and I also hope those of you who already knew all of this forgive my ramblings and take it in the spirit of coming from someone who is always trying to find a way to repeat things that wiser people have said to me...

Last edited by Le Ministre de l'au-delà; 07-22-2010 at 01:16 PM.
  #655  
Old 07-22-2010, 01:36 PM
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What he said.

  #656  
Old 07-22-2010, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
Let's play Good Idea/Bad Idea!
http://store.guitarfetish.com/alpiprgu70tu1.html
Is this a Good Idea or a Bad Idea to stuff into a Starcaster? What would I get if I did it?
My other option is to mess around with this thingy.
http://store.guitarfetish.com/gfsusacushha.html
Or maybe I could go for a humbucker at the bottom.
http://store.guitarfetish.com/hueqhsswhpra.html

Right now, I'm getting to the point where A: I hate hammer-ons, but I hate pull-offs more, in my practicing. I just can't avoid losing a lot of sound. Do I need to pluck it more as I finger it, or what?
Door #1 @ $49 looks fine, IF that pickguard is the same shape as the Starcaster's. Even if it is, some of the screw holes may not line up, so prepare to drill some new pilot holes.
  #657  
Old 07-22-2010, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
E-Sabs -

- What don't you like about your current electronics in your Starcaster, such that you are contemplating a change? What is "wrong" with your tone / the guitar's responsiveness?

(and this deeply insightful, sage advice comes from the guy you dissed in that other thread for having no clue who Amanda what's-her-name was from the Dresden Dolls. I am an old fogey, but I am a helpful old fogey!! )
Wordman, that's her actual nickname. Amanda Fucking Palmer. It amuses me and I use it whenever possible. I wasn't trying to diss you.

And if you recall, my 'Starcaster' is not a Fender Starcaster, it's a Squier Starcaster: the guitar I got from the $150 'buy a guitar' box o' parts. The cheap damn thing. The frets literally cut my fingers when I played it before I filed it down. My goal is to eventually replace every part of it, including the neck and body: it will only make the guitar better. If you recall, I swapped out the tuners (oh, god, such a GOOD thing to do. Love the new tuners, there's no slop in them at all, and now it stays in tune.) and the tremelo.
The electrics in it are the lowest end parts possible. Cloth wrapped ALNICO pickups seem like a nifty idea. But what I'm asking is, given the specs they say, what kind of sound will I get from the pickups? I'm not sure if this would be a good idea, or if I should save up for the really custom thing advertised in the 'build your own pickups'.

As far as woodworking, I'm... more than reasonably competent at it.
  #658  
Old 07-22-2010, 04:36 PM
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Wordman, I somehow skipped your post above re the Starcaster. E-Sabbath means this guitar, not this one. It looks to me like the Strat pickguard may well drop right in, though likely with mismatched screw locations. Here's a Strat pickguard vs a Starcaster pickguard. I don't see major differences except the strat one has more holes.

ETA: E-Sab, is your current setup SSH, like the Starcaster pic I posted above? Or SSS like an everyday Strat?

Last edited by squeegee; 07-22-2010 at 04:38 PM.
  #659  
Old 07-22-2010, 04:37 PM
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Well, thank you, herr psychopomp, for your minor dissertation. It clarified what I was seeking to do, and I have a much better idea on how to proceed. I don't want to practice bad habits, after all. I _do_ need a lot more practice. As Wordman pointed out, the real key is practice, practice, practice.

And yeah, I eyeballed the guard before I put it up. It'll fit.

I'm kinda curious about the fancy one. There's a _lot_ of choices of pickups there, and I'm sort of 'hmmm... what would happen if... ' on it.

Anyone know good places to get necks and bodies? If I go Tuxedo on the guard, I'm going to need to stick with a black body, I think.

Last edited by E-Sabbath; 07-22-2010 at 04:39 PM.
  #660  
Old 07-22-2010, 04:44 PM
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Too late an edit: It's not quite the pointy-neck one you found, squeegee. It's this.
http://www.amazon.com/Fender-Starcas...ref=pd_cp_MI_1

No humbucker on the bottom, and a 70s neck, not a pointy one. I kinda like the look on the headstock.

Dueling edit: SSS, not SSH. My _other_ guitar, the good one, (Les Paul-alike, chambered, cherry red mahogany) is P90+H.

Double edit: I do love your username, Ministre.

Last edited by E-Sabbath; 07-22-2010 at 04:46 PM.
  #661  
Old 07-22-2010, 04:44 PM
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Anyone know good places to get necks and bodies? If I go Tuxedo on the guard, I'm going to need to stick with a black body, I think.
There's always Warmoth. Here's a basic black starting at $320.
  #662  
Old 07-22-2010, 04:55 PM
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I'm kinda curious about the fancy one. There's a _lot_ of choices of pickups there, and I'm sort of 'hmmm... what would happen if... ' on it.
Note also the 250k v 500k Pot Value popup next to the pickup selection; that seems useful in light of the pot discussion above.
  #663  
Old 07-22-2010, 05:08 PM
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Wordman, that's her actual nickname. Amanda Fucking Palmer. It amuses me and I use it whenever possible. I wasn't trying to diss you.

Once again: I did not know that. Ignorance fought.

And again: squeegee, thanks for the pics (and E-Sabs - for the even-more-correct photo). Somehow the distinction between the old Fender semi-hollow Starcaster and this quasi-Strat cheapie Squier model eluded me.

Okay - some thoughts:

- what squeegee said up thread: you should find a spec drawing on line to confirm the specific measurements, but it sure looks like you could drop in an off-the-shelf loaded Strat pickguard and it would, perhaps (as squeegee said) needed to drill new p-guard holes.

- what would you get - like I said up thread: it depends. If you just swapped out the same components of higher quality, then - IF THE GUITAR HAS GOOD BONES (i.e., decent body and neck wood, a stable, substantial neck joint, etc.) then better components typically "open up" a guitar's tone. Cheaper pickups have a muddy, blanket-over-the-amp lack of clarity, are often higher output in the hopes that "oooo - cool crunch!" distracts you from the fact that they are muddy. Cheaper pots, caps and resistors result in a flat, unresponsive tone - upgrades can add clarity, a bit of sparkle or chime (because the harmonics on top of the main note are getting processed by the components more effectively), etc. If you go with a SSH (humbucker at the bridge with a middle and neck single coil) - well, you might go to your local Guitar Center and try out a Fat Strat which has that configuration. Can be versatile, but the volume levels between the higher-output 'bucker vs. the lower-output singles can be a pain - depending on the pickups loaded in, you can't just flick the switch from neck to bridge without a distractingly large change in volume - not always great for gigging (I know, not an issue for you). Bottom line is that there are dozens of pickup and component configs you might try which can be best for very different types of playing and genres of music. I'd need more to go on before I could point you in a specific direction.

- Should you do this? I dunno - is your Starcaster a piece of crap? Sorry for the harsh - but the question is actually serious. You have described how awful the frets were, etc. - that, along with its initial price point, would suggest to me that it is not a great guitar (i.e., yes, maybe 1 out of 50 Chinese or Indonesian-made Squiers are actually decent - but it sounds like this may be one of the other 49). So, should you put more money in it? Well, if it is a piece of shit - NO! Or, if it is decent enough AND you enjoy puttering on guitars AND ~$49 or so is not a lot of $$ for you - well, sure, why not? Experiment and learn about how to work on guitars - it will be good for your playing.

- However, I will say this: if the guitar really is a piece of crap, and you are finding your ability to do hammer-ons and pull-offs is limited (despite the excellent advice provided here ) - maybe, just maybe, getting a better-quality guitar would be best for you. You often can't point to any one thing that is dramatically different but a truly good guitar (does NOT have to be expensive, just a good example) really is a joy to play. I am not hearing that your SC qualifies - so, in my very limited opinion since I have not played it - unless you would enjoy tinkering, I would be inclined to say that you should consider a better guitar...but would totally understand if you disagree...

Gotta run.
  #664  
Old 07-22-2010, 08:11 PM
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The point to this Strat is that it _is_ a piece of crap. I am slowly going to replace every part of it, and have a really awesome guitar. And I will know what happens when I do this, or do that, afterwards. It's an educational tool. Part of why I bought something I knew would be in bad shape to start with, it helps me identify what each part of the guitar does.

And actually, the body and neck are pretty decent. Completely accidentally, but they're pretty okay, actually. Just there was no dressing off the line. Amazing how the instruments marketed to beginners are the worst of the lot. Really, a bit of filing, once I stopped being afraid of hurting it, and it's much better now. That and changing the tuners out were the biggest deals in how it _plays_ , rather than how it _sounds_.

As far as SSH, you're right, there are notable volume changes, I've noticed that on the LP I have. I'll stick with SSS.

And I do have a better guitar, but... well, the neck is wider on this one, cause I kind of fat-finger the strings at speed. I'm having trouble with 16th notes and alt-picking as it is.

What started this musing on replacing the pickguard now is that I can hammer-on and pull-off semi-okay on the LP, but not so well on the Star, and I was thinking it might be the lesser quality of the pickups.

The Starcaster has a name, by the way. It is the Pig. Because, the last time I was elbow deep in it, polishing the inside cavity, I was told that I was just putting lipstick on a pig. Which is true. But you know, it does sound pretty good, now. And I'm gonna make it sound better. Slowly.


I have tried a Fat Strat. The yellow 48th Street model. It was on sale at Sam Ash over the 4th.
http://www.samash.com/p/48th-Street-...llow_-49990136
It was nice, but... nah, gonna stick with SSS for now.



In other news, anyone got any good stretching exercises to do when not at a guitar? The neck _is_ wider, so I don't fat-finger the strings as much. On the other hand, the neck is wider, and a little longer, and the frets are just a skoosh farther apart.
  #665  
Old 07-23-2010, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
The point to this Strat is that it _is_ a piece of crap. I am slowly going to replace every part of it, and have a really awesome guitar. And I will know what happens when I do this, or do that, afterwards. It's an educational tool. Part of why I bought something I knew would be in bad shape to start with, it helps me identify what each part of the guitar does.
Awesome - done. Of course you have to do it then. I have learned so much from assembling and working on my guitars.

Quote:
And actually, the body and neck are pretty decent. Completely accidentally, but they're pretty okay, actually. Just there was no dressing off the line. Amazing how the instruments marketed to beginners are the worst of the lot. Really, a bit of filing, once I stopped being afraid of hurting it, and it's much better now. That and changing the tuners out were the biggest deals in how it _plays_ , rather than how it _sounds_.
Okay, you feel it has good bones AND you are explicitly looking to go through a Theseus's Paradox (Wiki link) of an upgrade exercise - if you swap out all the parts over time for better ones, is it still the same guitar, only better? In that case, I don't know that I would go for a $49 GuitarFetish drop-in. I am not saying you need to go for a $250 - $300 example loaded with (well-respected high-end boutique hand-winding pickup makers) Lollars, Fralins or Kinmans or anything. But in the mid-market arena - stuff by Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Bill Lawrence, and a whole bunch of others are really quite good and likely much better than the choice you list.

A bit of wisdom: okay, in an earlier post, I described how some lower-quality pickups have higher output - both because newbies tend to dig a warmer/crunchier tone and because it masks the muddy tone of lower-quality components. Unfortunately, it also means you may not have experience listening to what good pickups should sound like. Ideally - VERY MUCH IMHO (but really a school of thought that is commonly held - please just be aware that there are many other schools of thought) - you start with a very-high-quality, lower-output pickup and get your crunch by overdriving a tube amp, usually involving a dirtbox of some sort in your chain. Not only does that make for a great crunch (amps deliver crunch better than pickups) but the cleans can be far more subtle, chimey, and rich (speaking as a cork-sniffer). I know you understand this as a concept and also that I have this opinion from previous threads and posts. My point is this: you need to learn to judge what low-output clean tone you want, and how it translates to a crunchy tone. I would recommend that you hang out at local guitar stores for a while, trying a variety of Strats. Every time you develop a STRONG opinion - either way - about a guitar's tone (try to play through the same amp everytime - one clean setting, one crunchy), then ASK what the pickups are. Figure out what you hate and what you like - and ask (actually, write down and then research on line - the clerks will spout nonsense if they don't really know) what types of magnets and outputs are you drawn to? Do you prefer noiseless versions or standard single coils with their latent hum? Are your favorites typically labelled vintage or '57's or more modern? If you get a clear sense, then find an example in a brand you favor - Seymour Duncan has never let me down - get them. I'd expect a price point more in the $75 - $150 range - and maybe just for pickups, not loaded in a p-guard - but think you would be better off for the additional bucks...

Quote:
What started this musing on replacing the pickguard now is that I can hammer-on and pull-off semi-okay on the LP, but not so well on the Star, and I was thinking it might be the lesser quality of the pickups.
Hmm - doesn't sound likely. If your pickups are not set at the correct distance from the strings or are otherwise not wired correctly, that might manifest as a lack of sustain, but a far more likely reason is that you simply are not fretting the string strongly enough to get the vibrations you need. Now - whether that is because you are a newbie who hasn't mastered making solid contact or because the guitar has something that inhibits sustain - it's never either/or, but typically a blend of both. If you hammer on better with your LP, you need to pay attention to that. Are you an LP guy - it's ergonomics enable a better contact? Is it a more resonant? If you can isolate any items on your SC that appear to be factors, you should make them your next project. Tuners were a very smart early thing to upgrade.

Quote:
The Starcaster has a name, by the way. It is the Pig. Because, the last time I was elbow deep in it, polishing the inside cavity, I was told that I was just putting lipstick on a pig. Which is true. But you know, it does sound pretty good, now. And I'm gonna make it sound better. Slowly.
My first electric and the victim of all my EVH-wannabee experiments is The Beast. My son has it now. Decent guitar.

Quote:
In other news, anyone got any good stretching exercises to do when not at a guitar? The neck _is_ wider, so I don't fat-finger the strings as much. On the other hand, the neck is wider, and a little longer, and the frets are just a skoosh farther apart.
I avoid stretching and strengthening exercises for my fingers like the plague - they are a recipe for tendon, muscle and joint problems. Find scale and chords that you like and that involve wide spacings. Do them one. million. times. Repeat.

Does this help?

WordMan
  #666  
Old 07-23-2010, 01:46 PM
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It does, quite a lot. The Strat suggestion especially. I just hate the Sam Ash people. God, such know it all asses who know less than I do and I know I know nothing.

I just tightened the Pig's neck last night, got to retune now, that might help. I may have loosened it a skoosh too much when I got it. (it needed it badly: it was recurved.) Also, I'm going to try using something besides the middle pickup.
  #667  
Old 07-23-2010, 01:50 PM
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Also, I'm going to try using something besides the middle pickup.
Yes, you should. Observation: when trying to ping a harmonic, say, to tune your guitar, you need to have your pickup selector on the bridge pickup - it can be hard, if not impossible to catch a 5th-fret harmonic off a clean neck pickup on a Strat. If you are just trying to make hammer-ons sound legit, using the bridge pickup may increase the sensitivity of your guitar and enable you to hear it better.

Now, granted, you should be able to make the hammer-on resonate when the guitar is unplugged when you get enough pop into your fingering...
  #668  
Old 07-23-2010, 02:35 PM
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Yeah, I noticed the middle pickup thing this morning before work. I went 'ooooooooh. duh.'
  #669  
Old 07-23-2010, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
Yeah, I noticed the middle pickup thing this morning before work. I went 'ooooooooh. duh.'
To expand on this - depending on the type of music you want to play, and the specifics of your rig, pickup selection is a big deal. Think about Eddie Van Halen's 1-pickup guitar - it's the bridge pickup (note: the mid and neck pickups on the guitar are non-functional). Now think about a Jazz Cat's one pickup guitar (if they have a 1-pickup guitar vs. a 2-pickup one) - it's the neck pickup.

If you play rock - and wanting to get your hammer-ons and pull-offs down solid suggests that you are working on rock and/or blues riffs - then you probably want to start by favoring your bridge pickup. I call my bridge pickup my "fastball" - baseball pitchers typically anchor their repetoire of pitches around their fastball. Well, as a rock guitarist, getting my bridge pickup, classic rock/blues tone correct is my foundation. It is the setting I use the most and the other settings I use are in contrast to it - e.g., play rhythm with bridge then flip to neck for a warm, tubey-sounding lead. An overdriven bridge pickup with the Volume rolled down to 8 and the Tone on about 5 is thick, chunky rock nirvana...

...all of this is a way of saying - if you haven't focused on your bridge pickup and finding a nice crunch tone using an overdriven amp and/or a fuzzbox, then that may be at the heart of your weak hammer-ons and pull-offs - or at least making the change will make them sound better.
  #670  
Old 07-23-2010, 04:20 PM
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If you play rock - and wanting to get your hammer-ons and pull-offs down solid suggests that you are working on rock and/or blues riffs - then you probably want to start by favoring your bridge pickup. I call my bridge pickup my "fastball" - baseball pitchers typically anchor their repetoire of pitches around their fastball. Well, as a rock guitarist, getting my bridge pickup, classic rock/blues tone correct is my foundation. It is the setting I use the most and the other settings I use are in contrast to it - e.g., play rhythm with bridge then flip to neck for a warm, tubey-sounding lead. An overdriven bridge pickup with the Volume rolled down to 8 and the Tone on about 5 is thick, chunky rock nirvana...
Some of this is assuming that E-Sab's bridge pickup is affected by one of his guitar's tone control. Since this is a Squier "strat", is that a given?
  #671  
Old 07-23-2010, 04:57 PM
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Some of this is assuming that E-Sab's bridge pickup is affected by one of his guitar's tone control. Since this is a Squier "strat", is that a given?
I hear you - if either the Tone control is a sub-par component or there is any wiring issues the effectiveness could be compromised. By the same token, it is easy to get all cork-sniffer about what is fundamentally a straightforward control...
  #672  
Old 07-23-2010, 11:06 PM
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Made in US or MIMexico (or other)? What pickups? How big/chunky/slim/fast is the neck? What are you playing through? What style(s) of music?

Details, Man - details!
It's a MIM (Mexico), serial number MZ6xxxx, so it was made in or around 2006. Lake Plaid blue body, maple neck with a nice yet but subtle "figuring" on the neck. I believe the pickups are the cobalt (not alnico) Hot Tele pups. It has what feels like (to me) a chunky neck, but that could be because I've always been more used to Gibsons and Gretsches so who knows. I'm playing it through a Carvin St4000 amp (a monster from 1974, 250 Watter) and a Bandmaster 2x12 cabinet. As for music, damn near anything - jazz, rock, classical, it doesn't matter to me. Flat picking, finger picking, again it doesn't matter. I just started playing again a few months ago, so I'm still not where I used to be, but it is coming back - to the point I can once again do some of the old Laurindo Almeida arrangements. I play "clean" as in no pedals or effects.
Well, gotta run, food just got here
  #673  
Old 07-23-2010, 11:58 PM
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Now that bit about what pickups are good for is effing _useful_. Thank you, Wordman!
  #674  
Old 07-24-2010, 12:12 AM
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What are the thoughts on some good guitar instruction books? Mel Bay and Hal Leonard, from a rough search of the thread, seem to be the big names; is one better? Are either good? I'm going solo for the moment, it seems; I was getting to be dissatisfied with my instructor--I was starting to feel that I was paying for 30 minutes of BSing, plus him tabbing something out. Add to that that he kinda took a few shots at my taste in music when I asked him to see if he could tab one particular thing out, and I figured it was time to move on.

I'm finding it interesting that, as I learn more, I find myself more wanting to play things that aren't really necessarily the first thing that I might like to listen to--old country stuff, bluegrass, rootsy things like Rev. Peyton, and so on. Not to say that I don't want to rock out, but I'd be pretty happy to just sit on the porch picking or strumming something old 'n pretty. And then last week I discovered that I might even have a little bit of jazz in me when I was introduced to 'gypsy jazz' and Django Reinhardt...
  #675  
Old 07-24-2010, 01:13 AM
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I hear you - if either the Tone control is a sub-par component or there is any wiring issues the effectiveness could be compromised. By the same token, it is easy to get all cork-sniffer about what is fundamentally a straightforward control...
What I meant was the original "Strat" circuit had the bridge pickup not connected to any tone control (I'm pretty sure), but IIRC more modern "Strat"s break that rule and the bridge and middle pickups each get a tone control (right?). Is it a given that any modern "Strat" will follow that pattern? I don't know, I don't own a Strat (Fender, Squier or otherwise), and I was speculating that a Squier Strat may follow different tone-control rules than others. Thanks for any clarification.

Last edited by squeegee; 07-24-2010 at 01:15 AM.
  #676  
Old 07-24-2010, 01:42 AM
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New topic: How do I find musicians to jam with?

I've played guitar for 30 years (off and on, I quit in my 30's and took up piano, then rediscovered guitar in my 40's). When I was 15-24ish, I lived in Chicago and jammed with different people all the time. Now I'm located in a California, I know nobody who jams, and I would like to. I live in a rural area close to, but not in, San Jose, CA. How do I find someone to jam with? I've poked around on Craigslist, but there's little there. I like to think I'm pretty good, but I know that playing with other musicians and cueing off what they do in real time is a skill, one I haven't exercised in many years. I'd guess there's a lot of players in my area in my disconnected straits, looking for jams, how might I find them?
  #677  
Old 07-24-2010, 07:34 PM
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I had a lesson in the invulnerablity of the Telecaster yesterday. As we were setting up for the last show of 'The Wizard of Oz' at my daughter's school, one of the kids moved the bench my guitar was resting on. It fell twice - once from top of the bench to the floor, landing on the hinges of the case and then from its side to the top of the case. So the neck got a good whiplash to the treble side and then the whole instrument would have dropped to the lid.

So, I open the case (this is why I schlepp Big Ed around in his hard shell case instead of a gig bag) expecting the neck might be loosened or torqued. Nothing. Nada. Not even out of tune.
I'm quickly learning that they are indeed pretty indestructible. A joke about it goes:

We don't put a Tele in a case to protect it, we do it to protect other guitars from it

Oh, and in my previous post I made a mistake ... mine has ceramic pups, not cobalt (dumb typo or something).
  #678  
Old 07-24-2010, 07:48 PM
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To expand on this - depending on the type of music you want to play, and the specifics of your rig, pickup selection is a big deal. Think about Eddie Van Halen's 1-pickup guitar - it's the bridge pickup (note: the mid and neck pickups on the guitar are non-functional). Now think about a Jazz Cat's one pickup guitar (if they have a 1-pickup guitar vs. a 2-pickup one) - it's the neck pickup.

If you play rock - and wanting to get your hammer-ons and pull-offs down solid suggests that you are working on rock and/or blues riffs - then you probably want to start by favoring your bridge pickup. I call my bridge pickup my "fastball" - baseball pitchers typically anchor their repetoire of pitches around their fastball. Well, as a rock guitarist, getting my bridge pickup, classic rock/blues tone correct is my foundation. It is the setting I use the most and the other settings I use are in contrast to it
I have always come at it from the opposite direction, quite probably as a result of my own limited training, and my own experience. In my case, the neck pickup was often the primary, or sometimes even the only pickup. In fact, one of my favorite guitars (though it wasn't mine) was an ES175 type Gibson (a Barney Kessel maybe?), and all it had was the one neck pickup. Different tones, different outlooks, but it's all good.
  #679  
Old 07-25-2010, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Made in US or MIMexico (or other)? What pickups? How big/chunky/slim/fast is the neck? What are you playing through? What style(s) of music?

Details, Man - details!
It's a MIM (Mexico), serial number MZ6xxxx, so it was made in or around 2006. Lake Plaid blue body, maple neck with a nice yet but subtle "figuring" on the neck. I believe the pickups are the cobalt (not alnico) Hot Tele pups. It has what feels like (to me) a chunky neck, but that could be because I've always been more used to Gibsons and Gretsches so who knows. I'm playing it through a Carvin St4000 amp (a monster from 1974, 250 Watter) and a Bandmaster 2x12 cabinet. As for music, damn near anything - jazz, rock, classical, it doesn't matter to me. Flat picking, finger picking, again it doesn't matter. I just started playing again a few months ago, so I'm still not where I used to be, but it is coming back - to the point I can once again do some of the old Laurindo Almeida arrangements. I play "clean" as in no pedals or effects.
Well, gotta run, food just got here
Sounds cool - a couple of observations:

- If you are playing clean, you may be fine, but man, you have WAAAYYYYY too much amp for your needs. 250 watts?!? I gig with an 18 watter sometimes for small clubs. 250 is for an arena. I did a quick check - is that amp solid state? I think it was - I read where it offers "1 solid state tone and 3 tube type tones." Do you play using crunchy tones at all - if so, how do you produce them? My only concern is that it is an early SS amp, and their attempts at bringing the crunch? Not so good. But for clean tones I bet it has a lot of uses.

- There are such things as cobalt pickups, so no worries - but find out what kind of pickups you have in that Tele. Ceramic magnets can be fine - many are excellent. However, certain Tele models use a bridge pickup that DOES NOT have the traditional metal plate at the base of the pickup. Little secret: a key to the tone of original Tele's is that they were adapted from Leo Fender's pedal steel guitar pickups. The Tele pickup features a metal plate - see photos here. As I have mentioned, I know nothing about electronics, but apparently that copper plate is a main reason that Tele pickups sound so good even with the highs super-emphasized in their tonal profile. That plate apparently both reinforces the highs and brings out the right harmonic overtones. And, apparently, some Tele models' bridge pickups don't have the metal plate, in an attempt to shift their tonal sweet spot more towards rock and metal. But don't you believe it - you'd rather have a real Tele pickup and roll off the highs using your V and T controls or your amp. And if you are playing clean tones, like it sounds, you would prefer this type of pickup anyway. It may make sense to do a little research...

Quote:
I have always come at it from the opposite direction, quite probably as a result of my own limited training, and my own experience. In my case, the neck pickup was often the primary, or sometimes even the only pickup. In fact, one of my favorite guitars (though it wasn't mine) was an ES175 type Gibson (a Barney Kessel maybe?), and all it had was the one neck pickup. Different tones, different outlooks, but it's all good.
Gibson made a Barney Kessel model wich is different from an ES-175 but both are hollow jazz boxes. And yeah, the single pickup version of a jazz box guitar has the pickup up at the neck. VERY DIFFERENT vs. a rock guitar - might as well be the difference between a classical nylon string vs. a solidbody electric - they are that different. If you play jazz on your Tele - and because they are the most versatile guitar, well, ever - there are a bunch of Tele jazz players out there - you can figure out what settings they use, but most likely the neck pickup with controls set in a way to emphasize clean responsiveness. But for rock? Bridge pickup all the way, my friend. Ultimately - you know my POV is "do what works for you to keep playing" but as you move between playing styles trying shifting between neck/both for jazz or other warm clean tones vs. bridge for biting/country clean tones and crunchy rock (if you get a pedal or crank your amp enough to harm fish in the tank nearby...)

LawMonkey - I have a bunch of theory and instruction books and you know what? I have never used them except as a reference for chords or scales. These days, if I am wanting to learn something new I go straight to youtube. I start with songs I want to learn, find vids, then listen to what technique buzzwords they use - in my case (and yours wrt to Reverend Peyton, a key phrase is "hybrid picking") and then do youtube searches on "guitar lesson hybrid picking" and get a TON of responses. Then I figure out which self-proclaimed youtube instructors I like and seek out their other vids...before I know it, I've learned stuff. Does that help?


Quote:
What I meant was the original "Strat" circuit had the bridge pickup not connected to any tone control (I'm pretty sure), but IIRC more modern "Strat"s break that rule and the bridge and middle pickups each get a tone control (right?). Is it a given that any modern "Strat" will follow that pattern? I don't know, I don't own a Strat (Fender, Squier or otherwise), and I was speculating that a Squier Strat may follow different tone-control rules than others. Thanks for any clarification.
squeegee - you know, I am not sure. I would assume that stock, standard Strat models retain their weird circuit, but I haven't checked lately since I am on a protracted break from Strats after playing one primarily for 15 years. I can tell you that if you hang on message boards, Strat tone circuit mods are a huge topic with lots of variations...

Quote:
New topic: How do I find musicians to jam with?
Great question, but in my experience it is similar to WordMan's rule as stated above ("do whatever keeps you playing"). In this case, I guess the rule is "talk about guitars with everybody" - kinda serious...

- Check the bulletin boards at your local guitar shops - there are bulletin boards and there will be a variety of options listed - jams, bands, open-mic nights, etc...

- Check the local weekly - where you used to find the Straight Dope column! - for all local music gigs - look for open mic nights.

- Go to a bunch of these open mic, jams, what-have-you's. Do you have to play? Nah, not if you don't want and if the event doesn't say "no onlookers, just players."

- When you are at places where there are other players - at the guitar store or one of these jams - approach folks and ASK. "Any place to play around here?" "Any informal jams where guys try different guitars and amps?"

- Find workshops put on by local shops - group jazz, rock, picking lessons, etc. - you typically find folks of various skill levels who are demonstrating some committment to their instrument.

- Ask your son's instructor - from what you've said in the past, he is a bit of a local instituion and should know everyone around there...

I know enough about the San Jose / Monterey area in CA to state that there is a lot of music going on, so you simply have to put in the effort and network - when was the last time you want to Guitar Showcase and checked out their bulletin board?

Buy a few guitar t-shirts and where them regularly and mention guitar when talking with friends - not so much to be a big pain, but just so that people know. Unsurprisingly, IRL most folks who know me on a passing basis know I play guitar - as a result I get word when someone else plays. New guy just started at work? While being introduced, he noticed a guitar trinket on my desk (a mouse pad with a Les Paul on it) - "oh you play? Yeah - what'cha got?" all down hill from there...

...am I fully caught up? Lots of good posts!
  #680  
Old 07-25-2010, 10:16 AM
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Sounds cool - a couple of observations:

- If you are playing clean, you may be fine, but man, you have WAAAYYYYY too much amp for your needs. 250 watts?!? I gig with an 18 watter sometimes for small clubs. 250 is for an arena. I did a quick check - is that amp solid state? I think it was - I read where it offers "1 solid state tone and 3 tube type tones." Do you play using crunchy tones at all - if so, how do you produce them? My only concern is that it is an early SS amp, and their attempts at bringing the crunch? Not so good. But for clean tones I bet it has a lot of uses.
Way too much is an understatement, but it was cheaper at the pawn shop than any of the "sensible" amps were. I can get the crunch; there is a rotary switch that acts sort of like a "varitone" that can approximate different sounds, plus the "regular" tone controls knobs are set up like a parametric equalizer. I can and do usually play "clean" though, and with that much headroom it stays clean when I want it to. Added on edit: Yes, it's solid state.
Quote:
- There are such things as cobalt pickups, so no worries - but find out what kind of pickups you have in that Tele. Ceramic magnets can be fine - many are excellent. However, certain Tele models use a bridge pickup that DOES NOT have the traditional metal plate at the base of the pickup. ... As I have mentioned, I know nothing about electronics, but apparently that copper plate is a main reason that Tele pickups sound so good even with the highs super-emphasized in their tonal profile. That plate apparently both reinforces the highs and brings out the right harmonic overtones. And, apparently, some Tele models' bridge pickups don't have the metal plate, in an attempt to shift their tonal sweet spot more towards rock and metal. But don't you believe it - you'd rather have a real Tele pickup and roll off the highs using your V and T controls or your amp. And if you are playing clean tones, like it sounds, you would prefer this type of pickup anyway. It may make sense to do a little research...
I didn't look inside, so I don't know. I'm not worried, I'm handy with a soldering iron if I ever decide to make any changes.
Quote:
If you play jazz on your Tele - and because they are the most versatile guitar, well, ever - there are a bunch of Tele jazz players out there - you can figure out what settings they use, but most likely the neck pickup with controls set in a way to emphasize clean responsiveness. But for rock? Bridge pickup all the way, my friend. Ultimately - you know my POV is "do what works for you to keep playing" but as you move between playing styles trying shifting between neck/both for jazz or other warm clean tones vs. bridge for biting/country clean tones and crunchy rock (if you get a pedal or crank your amp enough to harm fish in the tank nearby...)
I usually work the neck pick up (obvious by now I guess). When I did play rock (with other people that is), I used the neck for chording and the bridge for the lead solos (the extra "bite"). With one guitar or another, using both pickups was the thing I sometimes did. When I had a Strat, I did this to get the "Fender quack" (neck and middle together). Now I get it on the Tele, doing basically the same thing.

Last edited by SteveG1; 07-25-2010 at 10:17 AM.
  #681  
Old 07-25-2010, 01:16 PM
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Originally posted by E-Sabbath

In other news, anyone got any good stretching exercises to do when not at a guitar? The neck _is_ wider, so I don't fat-finger the strings as much. On the other hand, the neck is wider, and a little longer, and the frets are just a skoosh farther apart.
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Originally posted by WordMan
I avoid stretching and strengthening exercises for my fingers like the plague - they are a recipe for tendon, muscle and joint problems. Find scale and chords that you like and that involve wide spacings. Do them one. million. times. Repeat.
Humbly, respectfully and possibly for the first time ever, I'm not in complete agreement with you, WordMan. I hope it doesn't lead to pistols at dawn.

Here's where I'm in agreement - this is a question for your teacher (There is a teacher involved in here somewhere, isn't there?), your massage therapist or your physiotherapist. Someone trained who understands that musicians are highly specialized, hyper-coordinated athletes who have developed a level of dexterity mere mortals only dream of. Someone who gets that 90% of what you do as a musician involves tendons and ligaments, which behave in a different manner than muscles.

It isn't a question that is best asked on the internet. I'm a nice guy, and my heart is pure, most of the time, but I can't see your hands from here. You're also very nice, and I'm sure your heart is pure, too, but I have no idea what your work habits are like and whether you are the type of person who will take my most ergonomically sound advice and do a Schumann on yourself. So I'm going to confine myself to the most general of advice and point you toward a couple of things but I'd be ever so much happier if you saw a living, breathing, trained human who is physically present, preferrabley within arm's reach, if you really want to stretch things.



Where we're not in accord, WordMan, is in your thinking that stretches are a recipe for tendon, muscle and joint problems. Some of them are, but some of them are meant to relax a body part that's working at its maximum, and balancing the stress of practice with some gentle treatment is a good idea.

Also, I have to caution any musician who uses practice alone to improve the condition of his hands - if I may be permitted to describe musicians as athletes (a controversial metaphor, as many musicians and teachers immediately react in a negative way to that association.), musicians have a poor track record in terms of sticking to a fixed number of reps and then leaving it for the day. Indeed, many musicians use a formula that roughly corresponds to "I'll keep doing it until I get it right.", which can lead to real problems.

The other thing about repetition without supervision is this - what if there's a more ergonomic way to do the riff that the student hasn't found yet? Even assuming that it's the ideal fingering for the student*, ten minutes of the teacher saying
Quote:
'the pinky needs the most attention in this passage. Place the pinky first, balance the pinky by placing the thumb directly on the other side of the neck, then arrange the other fingers in such a way that the pinky is undisturbed. Then play the passage. Stop. Wait. Replay the passage in your mind's ear. Stop. Place the pinky first, balance the pinky by placing the thumb... etc.'
makes a tremendous difference to what the student is practicing. It's a different approach to repetition.

Repetition of an ergonomically unsound approach leads to problems. Ten repetitions of an ergonomically sound approach does more benefit than a hundred repetitions of an unsound approach. An unsound approach can do more harm than good. How can you tell if you're using a sound or an unsound approach? In my opinion, the best way is with a teacher. A massage therapist or physiotherapist can tell if your hands are being inefficiently used from how it 'feels' to them, but I find it's better to use your hands efficiently from the get-go.

And with that, I've used my hour of computer time for a Sunday day time...

*Please, pardon my bolding, but this is a subject which makes me cranky - I don't give a sh!t how Jimmy Page played it! Did you chop his hands off and transplant them on the ends of your arms? No? Then let's find what's best for your hands, even if it means playing it in a different place than you saw on the YouTube video. Do you think Jimmy Page would slavishly copy the way another guitarist plays a lick, or do you think he'd find the easiest possible way to do the same thing? The way that suited his hands best? I submit that he'd find the easiest way for his hands. If I ever get the privilege of speaking to him face to face, I promise I will ask him.

Last edited by Le Ministre de l'au-delà; 07-25-2010 at 01:20 PM.
  #682  
Old 07-25-2010, 03:01 PM
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The other thing about repetition without supervision is this - what if there's a more ergonomic way to do the riff that the student hasn't found yet? Even assuming that it's the ideal fingering for the student*, ten minutes of the teacher saying .... *Please, pardon my bolding, but this is a subject which makes me cranky - I don't give a sh!t how Jimmy Page played it! Did you chop his hands off and transplant them on the ends of your arms? No? Then let's find what's best for your hands, even if it means playing it in a different place than you saw on the YouTube video. Do you think Jimmy Page would slavishly copy the way another guitarist plays a lick, or do you think he'd find the easiest possible way to do the same thing? The way that suited his hands best?
I have long, skinny fingers. I have one hell of a reach compared to some people. And you know what? If I have to strain to reach, that means one thing, given my long fingers - I'm doing it wrong. Example: The intro for the Police song Message in a Bottle. This intro, the way I found it tabbed on the web is difficult for me. It calls for long long stretchy reaches. I know that even with my long fingers, even on the Les Paul, I have problems with it. Therefore I know someone else with smaller hands, on a guitar with a thicker neck and longer scale may well find it impossible.

They will have to do it differently, or not at all.
  #683  
Old 07-25-2010, 04:52 PM
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Le Ministre - we're good. What you describe is a thoughtful investigation of what a musician can do if they consult with the appropriate guidance. If that can happen, there is a lot of room for improvement. If some shmo - and by shmo I mean me - wanders down to a Guitar Center and buys the lastest squeeze-o-matic exerciser because Synestyr Gates endorsed it? Then I have an issue.

Also, I have to support your comments on repetition and practice. You are far more formally trained, than I, sir, and I respect your approach to the discipline. As I say in yoga: breath. form. depth. Too many reps (depth) done with poor form is a recipe for damage. And breath? Well, that is the soul of music.

SteveG1 - as for Message in a Bottle, well, that's Mr. Summers for you. He geeks out on jazz voicings that require a stretch - it's part of his appeal. It really is just an expansion of a Chuck Berry A-form barre chord boogie chug, but you have to do that little climb (I swear that makes sense). When I play it - especially getting all Secret Policeman's like Sting on acoustic - I hop the form, meaning: I start with my index at 2nd string, 4th fret, hop to fifth string, 6th fret and 4th string, 8th fret with my middle and pinky, but easing up on the strings once I fret and pick them - they don't need to sustain, and by relaxing my fingers I can make the stretch more easily. By then I am releasing the 2nd string and can hit it open to begin the next chord with the same picking sequence. Does that help?

And, by the way, since the Yankees are rained out and I have a bit of time - let's discuss pickups, tone and music genre. If you all think this is obvious or have a different POV, please speak up - it adds to the conversation.

Okay - so what type of music are you playing? Depending on the answer, there are varying degrees of clean-vs.-crunchy you are looking for in your tone - even if you aren't aware of it. So - you like jazz, say, like Joe Pass or George Benson? That is a very clean tone - warm, full and round. It turns out that what you really like is the Big Fundamental - the harmonic overtones of the note take a backseat to the big note you are fretting on the neck of the guitar. By choosing the neck pickup - or by playing a jazz guitar which only has a neck pickup - you are exploiting the physics of the string. When you pick a string it vibrates - and the most travel that the string experiences is at the precise middle of the string, where it has the most room. That means that the closer to the middle of the string, the more likely that the volume of the main, picked note will be loudest because that is where that main note gets the most oomph. If, however, you take a sample of the same string much closer to the bridge, then the string will be traveling less, the volume of the main note will be less and the volume of the harmonics will be relatively louder.

Now, if you are playing rock music, you want the amp to have a lot of harmonics to work with - they are the components of the note that the amp exploits as it overdrives.

My point to all this: there is a reason certain pickup locations tend to work best for certain types of music. You just have to listen hard and hear how much that music relies on the main note vs. the harmonic overtones. All part of training your ear...
  #684  
Old 07-25-2010, 05:54 PM
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So - you like jazz, say, like Joe Pass or George Benson? That is a very clean tone - warm, full and round. It turns out that what you really like is the Big Fundamental - the harmonic overtones of the note take a backseat to the big note you are fretting on the neck of the guitar.
...and if you think about it, this makes sense - you want the note's fundamental tone to sound because if you are playing jazz, you are stacking up harmonically complex notes - you have enough harmonics rubbing up against each other already. Whereas if you are playing blues and rock, the chords are simply harmonically and can handle a lot of overtones...

Last edited by WordMan; 07-25-2010 at 05:56 PM.
  #685  
Old 07-25-2010, 07:19 PM
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WordMan--thanks for the advice re: hybrid picking. I don't think I've really sat down and taken a look at what Peyton does, figuring it's outta my league for now anyway. In general, I still feel like I need more structure than just going to youtube and finding stuff for particular techniques or songs. May just be how I'm wired, may be a side effect of my previous musical instruction, which was relatively formal, with violin. (Which I kinda wish I could take up again... but anyway.) For now, I grabbed one of the Hal Leonard books--I happened to be near the guitar store over the weekend.

Sadly, I'm still without an acoustic. Turns out I won't be starting my real job until quite a bit later than I'd thought, so money's a little tight and I'm looking for something as a stopgap. Once I've got that figured out, maybe I can find something...
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:24 PM
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oops!

Last edited by LawMonkey; 07-25-2010 at 07:25 PM. Reason: double post--sorry!
  #687  
Old 07-25-2010, 08:00 PM
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WordMan--thanks for the advice re: hybrid picking. I don't think I've really sat down and taken a look at what Peyton does, figuring it's outta my league for now anyway. In general, I still feel like I need more structure than just going to youtube and finding stuff for particular techniques or songs. May just be how I'm wired, may be a side effect of my previous musical instruction, which was relatively formal, with violin. (Which I kinda wish I could take up again... but anyway.) For now, I grabbed one of the Hal Leonard books--I happened to be near the guitar store over the weekend.

Sadly, I'm still without an acoustic. Turns out I won't be starting my real job until quite a bit later than I'd thought, so money's a little tight and I'm looking for something as a stopgap. Once I've got that figured out, maybe I can find something...
Ah - got it. Look for folks like Le Ministre to chime in - folks with schoolin'
  #688  
Old 07-25-2010, 08:05 PM
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SteveG1 - as for Message in a Bottle, well, that's Mr. Summers for you. He geeks out on jazz voicings that require a stretch - it's part of his appeal. It really is just an expansion of a Chuck Berry A-form barre chord boogie chug, but you have to do that little climb (I swear that makes sense). When I play it - especially getting all Secret Policeman's like Sting on acoustic - I hop the form, meaning: I start with my index at 2nd string, 4th fret, hop to fifth string, 6th fret and 4th string, 8th fret with my middle and pinky, but easing up on the strings once I fret and pick them - they don't need to sustain, and by relaxing my fingers I can make the stretch more easily. By then I am releasing the 2nd string and can hit it open to begin the next chord with the same picking sequence. Does that help?
I will see. I've been doing it with all the notes being held. That gives an idea what sort of reach I have but it isn't comfortable.
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And, by the way, since the Yankees are rained out and I have a bit of time - let's discuss pickups, tone and music genre. If you all think this is obvious or have a different POV, please speak up - it adds to the conversation.

Okay - so what type of music are you playing? Depending on the answer, there are varying degrees of clean-vs.-crunchy you are looking for in your tone - even if you aren't aware of it. So - you like jazz, say, like Joe Pass or George Benson? That is a very clean tone - warm, full and round. It turns out that what you really like is the Big Fundamental - the harmonic overtones of the note take a backseat to the big note you are fretting on the neck of the guitar. By choosing the neck pickup - or by playing a jazz guitar which only has a neck pickup - you are exploiting the physics of the string. When you pick a string it vibrates - and the most travel that the string experiences is at the precise middle of the string, where it has the most room. That means that the closer to the middle of the string, the more likely that the volume of the main, picked note will be loudest because that is where that main note gets the most oomph.
I've ben working on finger picking jazz - Laurindo Almeida arrangements. Lara's Theme (Doctor Zhivago), Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Green Leaves Of Summer, Ebb Tide. I guess you would say Laurindo Almeida, Earl Klugh, Tommy Emmanuel style playing. So I use the neck pickup for those and want it "clean" as possible.

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If, however, you take a sample of the same string much closer to the bridge, then the string will be traveling less, the volume of the main note will be less and the volume of the harmonics will be relatively louder.

Now, if you are playing rock music, you want the amp to have a lot of harmonics to work with - they are the components of the note that the amp exploits as it overdrives.

My point to all this: there is a reason certain pickup locations tend to work best for certain types of music. You just have to listen hard and hear how much that music relies on the main note vs. the harmonic overtones. All part of training your ear...
For rock where you want the twang or the pinch harmonics (the squealies), or simply the harmonic rich sound, I would use the bridge pickup. You can't get the growl without the harmonics.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:20 PM
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For what it's worth, I remember cheating and doing 'Message in a Bottle' in a drop 'D', and starting in a 2-string barre at the 9th fret of the sixth string, (Is that the right key? I think so...) so that first perfect fifth was always on the same fret. I haven't played that one in about ten years....
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:34 PM
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Too late for the edit window - make that tenth fret...
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:32 AM
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For what it's worth, I remember cheating and doing 'Message in a Bottle' in a drop 'D', and starting in a 2-string barre at the 9th fret of the sixth string, (Is that the right key? I think so...) so that first perfect fifth was always on the same fret. I haven't played that one in about ten years....
Whichever fret, I get your picture.

And SteveG1, one last point about Message: it is a bit of a stretch, especially at first, but over time should become no big deal. I hold that form easily now - there's a Foo Fighters song ("remember not to stop when I say When" - is that Everlong?) which uses it and appears to just grab the form and move it up and down the neck. And Dirty White Boy, by Foreigner (guilty pleasure alert - really a silly song, but fun to play and a high school memory) - should be in Open G (sounds great that way) but if you play it standard, uses that same form and you want to hold it all down, chugging it Chuck Berry style, but hitting the higher string with your pinky when you bounce...
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:03 AM
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A thread in which we learn, Y Kant Tori Read sheet music. But Sam Stone can and is amazed other people can't.

Also, the subject of gearhead versus other guitar magazines show up. Which is a good question. What _are_ good guitar magazines these days? What are these magazines Sam lists that are full of musical theory?

In other, vaugely related news, my latest How To book is amazingly helpful. By Rod Fogg, it's very well laid out. But, like every other book, the musical examples are never just 'guitar + clean amp.' I'm going to throw one or two of the MP3s up here, because I'm curious how certain sounds are created, and they really are good examples of the pure sound.

Anyone got a good place to upload individual MP3s so they can be heard? Do I have to convert them to video and youtube 'em?

(This is, of course, for educational purposes only. Well, and for showing off individual recordings once I get _that_ working.)
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:11 AM
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Also, the subject of gearhead versus other guitar magazines show up. Which is a good question. What _are_ good guitar magazines these days? What are these magazines Sam lists that are full of musical theory?
- I recently subscribed to Premier Guitar - seems like a somewhat recent mag with solid reviews - a bit less diplomatic vs. Guitar Player, which seems a bit more of a shill for the manufacturers.

- Vintage Guitar is a reference on collectible guitars - but the articles are crap so don't look at it for that...

- Fretboard Journal - turned onto by Doper Crotalus - is a beautiful, high-end quality mag with well-written articles on instruments, makers and players. It is what Guitar Aficionado aspires to be.

- Guitar Aficionado is for douchebags - I have bought a copy or two when the guitar porn photos are particularly good, but want to wash my hands afterwards. As someone squarely in their target demo, I hate what it stands for.

- The Tonequest Report is probably the most respected gear review magazine. Very well written - I subscribe off and on; it is VERY G.A.S. inducing.

I don't pay much attention to the sheet music mags...

Last edited by WordMan; 07-26-2010 at 10:11 AM.
  #694  
Old 07-26-2010, 10:58 AM
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Guitar Player, which seems a bit more of a shill for the manufacturers.
Guitar Player was the mag I was thinking of in that other thread. I haven't picked one up lately, but it can seem like heavy shilling. There's been gems in it, but it's often been weighted more toward knee-pad interviews, gear and ads.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:19 PM
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So, which of these would be the 'filled with sheet music and theory' thing Sam's talking about?
Edit: Mebbe I wanna mock Sam a little, but mostly I figure reading random articles on music theory and playing random sheet music is probably a good idea.

Last edited by E-Sabbath; 07-26-2010 at 02:23 PM.
  #696  
Old 07-26-2010, 02:47 PM
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So, which of these would be the 'filled with sheet music and theory' thing Sam's talking about?
Edit: Mebbe I wanna mock Sam a little, but mostly I figure reading random articles on music theory and playing random sheet music is probably a good idea.
I may have come off mocking, more so than I intended - I was going for "chiding" at worst and clearly missed that mark. Sam posted a civil reply and good for him, and I regret my initial post and said so. I am also interested in hearing more, as I'm curious -- I don't claim to know everything out in the guitar-oriented music press.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:50 PM
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So, which of these would be the 'filled with sheet music and theory' thing Sam's talking about?
Most mags like Guitar Player and Premier Guitar have columns, but when I show up at an airport or a Borders to check out guitar mags, there are a bunch like Guitar World or others (I can never remember the names) that are thicker and have pages printed on a cheaper newsprint paper that are loaded with sheet music. Many are themed, so that a given issue appears to be Iron Maiden Monthly or All the Aerosmith You'll Ever Need to Know!!

I am a bit tongue-in-cheek about how they market themselves, but if I was a sheet-music guy, I would be all over them - they appear to be pretty useful content-wise...
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:14 PM
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Most mags like Guitar Player and Premier Guitar have columns, but when I show up at an airport or a Borders to check out guitar mags, there are a bunch like Guitar World or others (I can never remember the names) that are thicker and have pages printed on a cheaper newsprint paper that are loaded with sheet music. Many are themed, so that a given issue appears to be Iron Maiden Monthly or All the Aerosmith You'll Ever Need to Know!!

I am a bit tongue-in-cheek about how they market themselves, but if I was a sheet-music guy, I would be all over them - they appear to be pretty useful content-wise...
Huh, that is different material than I'd seen out there before. I should pick a couple up and see if the notation is close to reality -- I'm pretty good at noodling out guitar solos by ear, so I could compare my interpretation vs the same solo in one of those those mags and see if its close. If its spot-on, I'd be pretty impressed, no snark intended. That'd be a huge step up from rock notation I've seen. I can't sight-read a solo, but I can certainly puzzle my way through it in slo-mo.

They actually sell this stuff in airports? Boggle.
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:16 PM
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By the way - I can't recall if I have mentioned this book on the SDMB - but if you are into classical guitar, lessons-based learning or just the discipline of investing time to perfect your craft, I recommend the book Practicing (Amazon link). I am not giving anything away to say that it is about a classically-trained guitarist who loses his way in becoming a professional - the book picks up when he is returning to the instrument after a decade away.

What is wonderful about the book is how immersive it is in its description of the ritual of daily practice. I suspect that you will find something in it to relate to even if you don't play classical (I don't and I did...).

ETA: squeegee, I am not their targeted demo, in that I don't look for exactitude, let alone sheet music () but they seem okay. Find a Borders or someplace with a broad magazine selection and see what's there...

Last edited by WordMan; 07-26-2010 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:21 PM
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Irrelevant hijack - hey E-Sabs, have you noticed that your humble little GOGT is getting scary-close to 100,000 views? Clearly it is getting more reads than posts - join the conversation folks!
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