Saturday, October 27, 2007

Delay Effect

Delay can be tricky with just a pedal.This is because,in order for the delay to sound right it needs to be set to the tempo of the song.A pedal has limited settings to do this,although some multi effects pedals now have it where you can "tap"the delay time into it prior to playing the effect. This allows you to correctly set the delay time to the tempo of the song.It is nice to have a parameter adjustment,within the unit,that has a delay time adjustment and then be able to store that setting,for later recall.
For solos a"slap back"delay is a good general setting to use.Delay does not work well for rythem guitar though.For slower songs,a nice long delay sounds good on a solo.The biggest fault i see with players using delay is,not having the delay time in sync with the tempo!This is a no,no.
Something new and cool is a "loop"pedal,check one out.You play a phrase,it records it,then just loops or repeats that phrase and you then play someting on top of the use to do this with an Echoplex,which was tape driven,not digital.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Notes On The Fretboard

I hope this helps the beginnning to intermediate guitarist develop some type system of learning and memorizing the notes on the fretboard.It can be quite a daunting experience to the beginner.I have found the "box" system works quite well in learning and memorizing the fretboard.Maybe this will help some unlock the "mystery" of the fretboard!
The guitar is not visual like the piano,so it is a bit tricky when it comes to developing a system to learn the notes.I like the idea of the "box"system.It also speeds up the learning process,i think.This can also be applied to helping to play scales on the neck.Look at the fretboard as having boxes(a block) up and down the neck.In each area or box you have a two octave range.This will be by the note on sixth string and the same note,an octave higher,on the fourth string,and the same note again on the first string,or second octave.This can be done for each note,up or down the fretboard.Also remember,two of the six strings are the same name,an E note,so that makes it easier!
Look at the diagram below and notice the"box"with the 3 A notes(dots),and the straight vertical purple lines(2)before and after the dots.This is the 'box"area i am talking about.Learning the same note grouped in an area or box makes learning the fretboard a lot quicker...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making Guitar Picks..... Again

Hi All,
There was such an overwhelming response from my post on making your own picks,i thought i would post again,but do it here and not have you go to several links to get the info.
I will mention several things here that will help in how it is done and with what.
The material chosen can be of plastic,metals(brass)and really any material that you can cut and file or sand to make the edges smooth!The material and thickness will have dramatic effects on the feel(playability) and tone.For a beginner player,the thinner and plastic will be easier to use.And for a more advanced player,they may prefer a thicker and smaller brass type and more pointed at the tip(s).Below will be listed how to(s)and some tips that will help in your decision on the material to choose and the shape to cut.I suggest starting by buying an assortment of picks(differnet materials and shapes,then playing with them(to find a favorite shape or two and the material),then making your own(fine tuning your preference).

1.Find an old plastic card(credit,gift...whatever).These will be in different thicknesses.
2.Trace the outline of an existing pick onto the plastic.
3.Cut out the shape of the guitar pick.
4.Use an emery board or a small scrap of fine sandpaper, smooth the edges of the pick.
5.Thats it......Play,Play,Play!!!!!!!!!!!!And don't be afraid to experiment with different shapes, materials and thicknesses.I may use several types in one night,depending on the guitar(electrics or acoustics) i am

Guitar Picks come in so many shapes, sizes, materials, and thickness (gauge) that sometimes it's difficult to know which ones to choose. There are four main attributes of a guitar pick.
The shape of the tip
The thickness
The overall size
The material

Friday, October 19, 2007

Recording Acoustic Guitar

I recently found a good article at on recording the acoustic.It speaks of mics to use,mic placement and other tips.The process can be a timely one,to say the least.One of the engineers talking,Neil Harris, recorded Alex DeGrassi,one of my favorite acoustic players.He is an outstanding player(WindamHill records),and his tone and sound always just floored me,so warm and woody,like you were in the room with him.So check out the article at...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Amps...Like guitars,there are many,many amps to choose from.But,for me,i prefer a 'tube"amp.The tube amp is more "guitar friendly"than a "solid state" amp.The "combo"amp is the main choice,it is the power amp/pre-amp and speaker,all in one unit.And then again, some prefer a "rack"set-up.This is where you have a pre-amp,then a seperate power amp,which is then connected to a seperate speaker(s).This is my preferred set up,with two single twelve inch speakers.I can stack the 2 speakers or lay them side by side and even spread them out from one another.Again the choice is yours,depending upon your situation and style of music.With the combo set up,you can use a pedal effects board for effects,or individual effects pedals,and a rack set up you can use a rack mount effects unit with a MIDI pedal connected,for swithcing to different effects or patches.My preference for power tubes in an amp are EL 84's or EL 34's,they have a warmer,less edgy tone to them.So again the choice is yours!

Monday, October 15, 2007

For The Curious

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Portrait Guitars

I recently came across a luthiers guitar site on MySpace.He carves out Tele guitars,and others i assume,into beautiful pieces of art.Check Jimmys work out at...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Setting Up A New/Used Guitar

Guitar Set-Up And Adjustments
1.Changing Strings ...The main thing to remember is this,if the bridge is not locked down,but floats(Strat style),only change one string at a time!And,if the bridge is solid,then you can take off all strings and then replace all the strings at once.And on a "Floyd Rose"type system,be sure and,block the bridge off before changing strings.That is,place something under the bridge that will prevent it from moving.If you do not do this,you will run into major problems when starting to tune up,even if you changed one string at a time!And on a Gibson Les Paul style guitar,no problems in changing strings.And don't forget the wrap of the string on the tuning peg is...bottom to top!
2.Tuning...Make it simple and go out and buy an electric guitar tuner!They are inexpensive and easy to use.
3.Truss Rod...This should be the first adjustment in a basic set up.And you can easily snap the truss rod if you do not know what you are doing!Most of the time it only takes a quarter to half a turn,at most a full turn.Look down the edge(outside) of the neck,looking from the peg head end of the guitar.If the neck is bowed upward,loosen the truss rod,if the the neck is dipped,then slightly tighten the rod.In general,the neck should have a very slight dip around the 5th to 7th frets,but never have an upward bow.And note...the weather or seasons will affect the truss rod.So,i generally have to tweak mine seasonally!***With a left hand finger,hold down the 6th string on the first fret.Now,with a right hand finger,hold down the 6th string at the 12th,you should see a tiny gap between the frets and the 6th string,around the 5th to 7th frets!
4.Action(string height)...This is really a personal preference.Obviously there should be no string buzzes.And,the lighter,the gauge string,the higher the action needs to be.And also,if you play with distortion most of the time,well,you can get by with lower action.You should not have to "press"hard to sound a note out.
5.Intonation...Play the harmonic at the 12th fret,now play the same note by fretting the note at the 12th fret. The two notes should match exactly if the intonation is correct.If the fretted note sounds sharp, then adjust the bridge saddle so that it moves back away from the fingerboard.If the fretted note sounds flat, then adjust the bridge saddle so that it moves towards the fretboard.***One problem I've seen a number of times is where a guitars intonation is set properly, but notes fretted between the 1st and 5th fret sound sharp regardless. This is almost always due to the fact that the nut slots are cut too high. The additional distance required to push the string to the fret is causing the note to be sharp.***Intonation setting is the last adjustment to be done in a set up,after truss rod adjustment and string height adjustment,and of course,do this with new strings.***Again,use a tuner to do this!And remember,if the note is registering sharp,move the saddle back,and if registering flat,move the saddle forward.
***The above steps should be done in the order listed***

*Moisterizing the Fretboard...To do this,i use Lemon Oil(without wax added),Formbys is a good brand.Only do this to a rosewood or porous wood fretboard.A maple wood fretboard,with finish,does not require this.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Making Equalization Work For You

EQ is something we all can use to help mixes work and instruments stand out in the mix with their own individual character.
The biggest thing i see with beginners is too much eq.And another is all highs with no low mids or lows added.But,if done right,from the initial recording,little eq is needed.
Anyway,here is a link to an eq article by Craig Anderton.Craig is a guitarist/gadget software guru....enjoy...Greg