Friday, October 28, 2005


It's that time of year again in the Northeast; time to worry about humidity levels (unless you own a Stratocaster or other solid body guitar, in which case skip this post...)

But for acoustic owners, you should be concerned about humidity. Standard disclaimers apply, and I'm not going to go into the whys and wherefores here, but I did come across this interesting specific information about what humidity levels you need to aim for in this post on the UMGF:

"Bob Taylor wrote in “Wood & Steel” a while back [...] that if a guitar was kept in a humidity range that was within 20% of its build conditions, its geometry (the relationship of its various parts to each other) would be fine.

If a guitar is assembled with seasoned wood in a 72 degree F room that is kept at a relative humidity of 45% (typical of the conditions most N.American guitars, including Martin, are assembled in) then a 20% plus/minus range based off of a 45% center would be
36% to 54%."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Everything's A-OK In The USA

Darrell Scott is someone that I wasn't familiar with until yesterday. A friend told me about him and recommended that I check him as he was playing at Club Passim.

Darrell is a singer-songwriter who I guess used to live around Boston, though he moved to Tenessee several years back. It turns out he's had some success with other's performing his songs; including Divie Chicks and Faith hill. He played We've Got Nothing But Love To Prove (which you'd think was titled 'Everything's A-OK In The USA' and was performed by Faith Hill on the album Fireflies.

Amazing guitar player, great voice, a really great performance. I really liked the song 'We've Got Nothing But Love To Prove' which he performed in the middle of another song; Mahala (which was great too) and another fun song: It's A Great Day To Be Alive

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lack Of Wood

For the past week or so there's been an ongoing discussion at the UMGF about Martin Guitars move away from mahogany necks.

Much to the chagrin of traditionalists (i.e. any Martin guitar owner) Martin has started describing their neck material as 'Select Hardwoods.' What does that mean? Well at the moment, most likely 'Spanish Cedar,' though if you order a Martin right now there's a variety of wood that might be used...

According to Martin's wood buyer:
Currently, all necks are either solid Mahogany, Mahogany with wings on the headstock, solid Spanish cedar, solid sustainable Cherry, 2 piece (glued up the center) Hard Maple, flame red maple 5 pc. (3 piece barrel with wings on the headstock) on the Archtops, or Stratabond (laminated birch - natural or color dyed) on the X series. There are even a few solid Indian rosewood necks out there.

The truth is, Martin is finding it difficult to get the wood it needs. Necks have traditionally been carved from a single block, but that can mean using a 4" x 4" square block of about three feet long. That's a big piece of wood.

The Taylor Guitar company changed their neck design a couple of years ago. The pegboard is now fingerjointed to the neck. This allows them to use much less wood to make a neck.

But it's harder for Martin to make such changes since they are a company with a long history.

But other realities are intruding. Witness this report about a new survey which shows that the Amazon rain forests are being decimated at a greater rate than previously thought.

Revealed: the true devastation of the rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed twice as quickly as previously estimated, according to a satellite survey of the region.

Scientists have discovered that previous satellite photographs of the Amazon have missed a form of surreptitious logging that is equally destructive, but not as apparent from space.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ten Most Expensive Guitars

This article is dated 1997, so it's out of date, but still an interesting compilation of expensive guitars. Guitar World:The 10 Most Expensive Guitars,

To Perform Or Not To Perform?

There's a party coming up and there's going to be some performers, some jamming and the question; do I want to play? And if I 'play;' what do I play?

I've only played for an audience (of more than three or four) once before. It was a New Year's party and I played with other people for a couple of songs; one of which I sang. So, not much crowd experience. That's my problem; I'm a big wuss when it comes to performing for others. I tend to avoid the possibility.

Also, I have no real idea what the setup is going to be. Is it actually going to be that you get up in front of a bunch of people and do a song, or is it going to be like a big song circle and people play together etc., etc., I have no idea, and I don't think the party organizers know either, so anything could happen.

I'm considering practicing a couple of things, just to be case...

Unless I decide to chicken out and not even take a guitar with me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

video iPod

Lots of new stuff today.

Apple unvieled it's video iPod. It wasn't exactly a huge surprise, and yet I kind of thought that maybe they wouldn't... I don't know why. I guess because I wasn't really that excited about the idea in the first place, and even after seeing it, I'm not that excited. Why would I want to watch video on such a tiny screen? I'm also not sure I want to spend $1.99 for a music video...

Maybe when I see one in person I'll feel differently. At least the price remains the same, so it's kind of like they threw in a new feature that you may or may not use, but it's not really costting you anything.

I guess I have to think about it some more.

This is cool!

Sony has announced the PCM-D1, a field recorder that features 96K-24 bit recording capability, 4GB internal flash memory, removable Memory Stick Pro high-speed storage and a built-in USB 2.0 port for Macintosh and Windows/PC operating systems.

Other features include: built-in condenser microphones in an X - Y configuration, Analog level meters and a battery life of about 4 hours.

That's the good news. The bad news; the recorder is expected to be available in December at a suggested list price of $2000.

One World

The E.U. is pushing to create an EU-wide copyright license for online music.
Germany is Europe's biggest online user of both legal and pirated music with 9.5 million people downloading, according to a Forrester Research report from August 2004. Some 89 percent of people questioned said they never paid to download music or video.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

#1 Benefit Of Being A Roadie

R.E.M.'s original four members reunited recently to play a seven-song set at the wedding of guitar tech Dewitt Burton. It occured at Kingpins Bowl & Brew in the Athens, Georgia.

Kingpins owner Ed Connolly told that the actual wedding band was taking a break when he noticed vocalist Stipe and company setting up in the bowling alley's arcade.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I was transfixed. I heard the count in and then 'Sitting Still,' and by the time they got to the first chorus, it was packed shoulder to shoulder."

The group went on to play some of its most beloved early tunes: "Don't Go Back to Rockville" (with bassist Mills on vocals), "Wolves, Lower," "Begin the Begin," "The One I Love," "Permanent Vacation" and "Radio Free Europe."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nearly Purchased The Same Song Twice

This past week iTunes had a free song by James Blunt. As I went to download it, I recognized the voice, and that I'd heard another song by him that I'd liked. Looking in the iTunes 'popular download' part I saw the song listed: You're Beautiful and I was just about to buy it when I had a brain wave. Did I already buy this?

I looked in the Purchased Music folder of iTunes, and sure enough, there it was!


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New Strings

A tip I came across when restringing your guitar; put on the strings, tune to concert pitch, then leave the guitar overnight before playing.

I guess that doesn't really work well if you're a performer or only have one guitar and really want to play...

However, advocates swear that it both reduces tuning issues, and increases string life. I haven't tried it yet; but would note that most of my guitars don't go much out of tune from day to day. Maybe it's the way you play, the type of guitar, or how you store them that has as much to do with it? My friend David was having a lot of problems with a guitar that constantly went out of tune until he discovered that keeping it properly humidified greatly reduced the problem.