Opinion and Reviews

Cryogenically-treated Guitar Cables? No, Dean Markley, there is no Santa Claus.

Yesterday I saw a press release via the Premier Guitar Twitter feed announcing Dean Markley Blue Steel instrument cables. Promising all kinds of magical tonal benefits due to the cable receiving a brief blast of liquid nitrogen. I say it’s pseudo-scientific nonsense. Dean Markley say that’s just my opinion. Well, this is how I arrived at that opinion…

Read More…

Teaching Children – How Young is Too Young?

At any one time 1/3 to a 1/2 of my students are children and I am frequently approached by parents looking for a guitar teacher for their child. However, as a general rule, the youngest I am willing to teach is about 9 to 10 years-old. In this post I explain why guitar is difficult for younger children and what I recommend to parents when young children want to play the guitar.

Read More…

Treble Bleed Mod Round-up

As a reference resource, I have collected the treble bleed capacitor and resistor combinations recommended by the the major guitar pickup manufacturers (and some guitar makers too). I am reproducing that list here. Below the list I have also included notes and additional information based on my research and experience. I hope you find it useful. Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

Read More…

The Credit-Experience-Break Myth

In response to a recent twitter conversation (I wish Karen was getting paid)…

As a musician I see it all the time – “I can’t pay you but you’ll get a credit”. I’m sure every professional (or want-to-be professional) musician, sound engineer, video editor, actor, model, photographer, painter, journalist, graphic designer, translator, web designer, and toilet cleaner has heard it a million times.

Read More…

Beginners: Left- or Right-Handed?

Any left-handed player who has ever stepped into a guitar store will have discovered a distinct lack of left-handed instruments. The situation is even worse when we are looking for quality 3/4 or 1/2 size instruments for children. Consequently I’m often asked if it’s really necessary for left-handed beginners to learn to play left-handed guitar. I don’t think it is, and this is why…

Read More…

Ernie Ball Cobalt Strings Review

Early this year Ernie Ball released a unique line of electric guitar and bass strings. Known as Cobalt Slinkys. The proprietary cobalt steel wrap on the wound strings is said to be provide a “stronger magnetic relationship between the strings and the pickups”, resulting in higher output, more sustain, and richer harmonics. The initial response was so strong that Ernie Ball were left scrambling to keep pace with the demand. I recently got my hands on a set and put them through their paces.

Read More…

Gibson – a Disgrace to the Guitar Industry

After much posturing and wailing and childish “why are they picking on us?” from CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson have agreed to a criminal sanction with the U.S. Government over imports of illegal ebony from Madagascar to the US. Gibson’s statement on the matter still tries to make it look like they are treated unfairly but when we look at the facts as presented by the U.S. Department of Justice, a very different picture emerges.

Read More…

PolyTune – A Practical Review

TC Electronic’s “PolyTune” first hit the stores back in 2010 and caused quite a stir. Its ability to ‘tune’ all guitar six strings at once is indeed a neat trick. While there were many magazine and web reviews, most just copied-and-pasted the same marketing blurb and didn’t tell us how well the PolyTune really performs in every day use. I’ve been using one for 18 months, for stage, studio, and tech work. Oddly enough, I think PolyTune’s best feature is the one most people don’t use…

Read More…

Game Changer, the Giggle Maker

The-Game-Changer blue logoIt’s not often that I read something that makes me giggle and laugh with excitement but Music Man have managed to do exactly that with the new Game Changer. It was first announced last year as a system for re-wiring your guitar’s pickup selector any way you want it, in real time, right from your computer screen and yet maintaining an all-analogue signal path. On a guitar with 5 coils (e.g. HSH) and piezo, all the various combinations of series/parallel and in/out-of-phase leads to, quite literally (and I’m not kidding you) millions of tonal possibilities.

Read More…

Choosing a Mandolin

A few months back on one of the guitar forums I frequent, a guitarist asked for advice, wanting to buy a cheap mandolin for a country/rock band. Here is my reply, which I’ve expanded on for this blog.

Read More…

Music is social, so be social!

A buddy on private forum recently asked advice about meeting musicians to jam or start a band with and what internet sites anybody could recommend.  His question got me thinking about my experiences over the 11-odd years  I’ve been in Paris.

Read More…