Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Please don't unfollow me

Sure, I've only got 9 followers, but I'd rather not lose any of my friends either. However, I fear that I may be alienating some of you with my last post and now this one which will, once again, be about guitar gear. I can hear the sighs, but I am determined.
Let me first say that, when it comes to guitar gear, I am a garbage in-garbage out person. That is to say that what I buy I use. When I want something new (else) I sell what I don't use anymore. This is all made possible through our little friend eBay.
I can't quite explain how it feels to win an auction and then wait those (hopefully) few days to receive said item. It is quite exciting. Anyway, I digress.
This week I am awaiting the delivery of the Throbak Stone Bender. The Throbak Stone Bender is a fuzz from days gone by. It is a reproduction of the legendary Sola Sound Tone Bender MKII fuzz pedal used by such greats as Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. If that doesn't mean anything to you I understand. If you're still reading think of the intro to the Led Zeppelin classic "Whole Lotta Love."
I've wanted a vintage fuzz for some time now but I wasn't sure what to pick up. Right off the bat, in my mind there were the big three: the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face made famous by Jimi Hendrix, the Electro Harmonix Big Muff made famous by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and then the Sola Sound Tone Bender MKII. Whew! Well, when you add to this the fact that each of these pedals have seen numerous changes and "upgrades" throughout the years. In the end I knew I didn't have the money to throw down on an original Civil War Era Big Muff, or a real Tone Bender. These pedals, in good condition, can run into the $500 to $600 range. After some time spent on youtube and proguitarshop.com listening to "repros" of these pedals I quickly narrowed my search to Tone Bender type pedals. The Fuzz Face just wasn't my style and the Big Muff sounds were so varied that I couldn't put my finger on what any one pedal would actually sound like. So, I was now ready for the hunt.
I searched forums entitled "best tone bender clones," got some ideas, searched the ones I liked and finally narrowed my search to the Stone Bender, the Skinpimp MKII and the D.A.M MKII. Now, those who know the DAM pedals are probably thinking, "For the price of that you could have an original Tone Bender." True, but I did not know that at the time. I was strictly going on tone to my ears at this point. Price would be a separate issue once I picked my favorite. At first I liked the Skinpimp. It was funky, sounded amazing and each pedal has a custom graphic. I listened to the DAM MKII... and to be perfectly honest I didn't like it. I know most guys out there would say it is the most accurately made Tone Bender clone on the market today. They are in such demand in fact that finding one is quite rare already, and they cost... well let's just say I could buy an original Tone Bender and have money left over for the price of a DAM. Then I stumbled across the Stone Bender video on the proguitarshop website. Within the first 3 seconds I knew I had found my match. It breathes, it growls, but it isn't nasally or thin sounding. I liked the added tone shaping features and the fact that with the attack turned down it can act more like an overdrive, much like the real Tone Bender. So congrats to Throbak for beating out (at least in my mind) the D.A.M. pedal that costs 3 times as much, and congrats to me for getting a used one on eBay! I can't wait to plug it in and channel some Zep!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

New guitar pickups

I just installed a set of Kinman noiseless guitar pickups in my strat. I can't begin to tell you how delicious they sound. They will definitely be all over the new Kids In The Way album set to be released on iTunes and Amazon music this spring. Stay tooooooooned.

Kinman Guitar Pickups

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There Will Come A Day

When I was a child the world was so big. I would spin the globe in my father's study in wonder while the colors of countries ran together in motion, creating a pulsing of blue and deep browns. I knew no matter where the globe would come to rest there would be an adventure to be had. I would think, "One day I'll go there," as my finger found its place on the old sphere. In my mind I had a fedora, just like Indiana Jones, a whip too. I didn't know where Caracas was. I didn't care. It was somewhere else and it was most definitely full of temples to be explored.
I will get there.
Maybe not Caracas, but I have begun and I will continue to explore. There will come a day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If I create...

There are times when I am eating alone that I am amused by the very idea of what I'm doing. Of course I understand the need for nourishment, but when you really think about what is happening it's kind of humorous. It is almost synonymous... no, metaphorical for why I, we, anyone creates anything.
The guy at the pizza place puts dough, cheese and tomato sauce together to create a pizza. Why?
So I can tear it apart. He takes time to make something so I can literally chew it into pieces. What does he get out of it? Some paper with green pictures on it which he will give to someone else so he can have something to tear apart.
I sew a shirt.
I write a song.
I paint a picture.
I bake a cake.
So we can be used. And we will be... but we'll enjoy it. We make careers out of it.
And it's okay because I'll chew your creation if you chew mine. I'll trade my conception for yours.

How Did I Miss This?

I should have been more aware...

jónsi: Concert Timelapse at The Wiltern Theatre from Henry Jun Wah Lee on Vimeo.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Today I went for a run... outside.  It's early November in Indiana.  Normally this would not be advised, but for the past few days we have been experiencing somewhat of an Indian Summer of sorts.  I don't run far and I don't run fast.  My main goal is to simply get my heartbeat raised slightly to burn some coffee calories away.  My iPod was set to shuffle and my mind was intently focused on the rhythmic pain that emitted up my legs with each stride.  As my iPod chose the next song, which just so happened to be Filter's "Take A Picture" I was hit with an immediate sense of thankfulness.  "Thankful to who?" you might ask.  As the song progressed I realized that this beautiful day, my ability to run and breathe and laugh, and my future are all gifts from my Creator.  The pain of each stride was being replaced with thoughts of things that I should be thankful for, and as each one flashed into my mind's eye I whispered "Thank You."

Many times I find myself wondering what is next and asking God, "Will you do this for me?  Will you protect me?  Will you have your hand on my life?"  Too often I forget to say, "Thank you, God, for your many blessings and your will and plan for my life."  So, thank you.