Gifts for guitar players

Phillip McKnight is an American guitar shop owner who regularly publishes videos on YouTube (see his channel here).  Today he has posted a video in time for Christmas where he gives ten ideas for gifts for guitar players.  They aren’t the usual, rather tired ideas of “a strap and a tuner and a cleaning kit”, but they are a bit more thoughtful and interesting – I particularly like his idea for a pick case.

Since today is the first day of December, I think this is a good time to watch this video – or to somehow persuade anyone who might want to give you a gift to watch it!  Good luck 🙂



The Rob Chapman Forum Autumn Jam 2016

The title says it all, really!  You may already know that I’m a member of the Rob Chapman forum, and we regularly do a forum jam where we pick a backing track of around 45-60 seconds.  Anybody can record themselves playing over it, and we make a video of all of the contributions.

The Autumn jam track this year was a blues track in B minor.  I didn’t get around to making an entry myself this time, but I edited the video, and here is the final result.

Feel free to visit the forum and join us next time!

The Pickle Jar Pickup

I just saw a post by Seymour Duncan from last year talking about an experiment that they did at Billy Gibbons’ suggestion.  They dipped a Pearly Gates pickup into a pickle jar to see if it would work, and it did….so they put it back, and pulled it out from time to time, and it continued to work.

That was back in May 1978, nearly 40 years ago!  According to the story, the pickup is still there, and it’s still working.  I’m not sure that I’d be rushing to put it on one of my guitars, though!

40 years of.....something nasty!
40 years of…..something nasty!

New article – an overview of pedal types

I researched this some time ago, long before I made this website, and dug it out because I think it is a useful overview of all of the main types of effects pedals that you will find on the market.  The descriptions of each individual type of pedal are very short in order to keep the whole article to a digestible length.

An Overview of Pedal Types

Seymour Duncan Guide to Pickups

I found an interesting series of pages on Seymour Duncan’s website that give an introduction to pickups.  It’s called Pickups 101 and it covers the basics of pickup construction, different types of pickups and their sounds.  It’s a good guide to a subject that is of fundamental importance to electric guitar players, and it’s a good read for anyone who doesn’t yet know all of the ins and outs (or Norths and Souths) of pickups.

I have two guitars with SD pickups.  My Epiphone Rosso Corsa has the Slash Alnico pickups, and my Chapman Ghost Fret (pictured below) has a Duncan Distortion (bridge) and a Seymour Duncan ’59 (neck).

One of the first batch of Chapman Ghost Frets, with the Seymour Duncan pickups
One of the first batch of Chapman Ghost Frets, with the Seymour Duncan pickups

New Pedal Day

Actually, it’s new pedals, plural!  I’ve been looking at the Tone City pedals that Anderton’s sells recently, and some of my friends on the forums have given them favourable reviews, so I decided to order a couple of them.  My goal when I purchase pedals is always to experiment with new sounds and learn more about what you can do with guitar gear, and the Tone City pedals, being rather inexpensive, are handy for that purpose, since I’m not looking for the ultimate, “best” tone, but just trying different types of pedals.

I watched quite a few videos on YouTube about these pedals.  I was only really interested in the different flavours of gain pedals since I already have things like delay and chorus.  The two that seemed the most likely to bring me new sounds, bearing in mind my existing gear, were the Bad Horse and the Black Tea.  The former is a Klon Centaur clone, and the latter is designed to sound like a Vox AC amp.

Here’s a quick picture of what comes in the box – you get both a rubber strip and a velcro one that you can attach to the bottom of the pedal, which is a nice touch.  They feel pretty heavy and solid too, so my first impressions are good.  I’ll report back in the near future on how they sound!

Tone City Pedals

Leo Fender’s Birthday

Today, August 10th, is Leo Fender’s birthday; he would have been 107 years old.  I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of Fender guitars but you have to respect the man for what he created!  Anyway, as a small birthday tribute, here’s a picture of my Fender guitar – it’s not a typical Fender but that’s part of its charm.

Yoda the Westie trying to play my Fender Pawn Shop '72
Yoda the Westie trying to play my Fender Pawn Shop ’72