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JohnnyB

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JohnnyB last won the day on May 30 2019

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About JohnnyB

  • Rank
    Veteran HFCer
  • Birthday 11/11/1953

Previous Fields

  • guitars
    Newport w/Phat Cats-n-Bigsby, Anniversary, G&L ASAT Classic Semi-hollow, Gretsch Synchromatic, Ibanez MIJ AS-180, G&L Lynx bass, G&L ASAT Semihollow Fretless bass, Squier Vintage Modified fretless bass w/Barts, Gretsch Electromatic hollowbody bass, Guild Pilot Pro, Guild Pilot Fretless
  • amps
    Eden Nemesis RS210, Top Hat Club Deluxe, Yorkville BM100 1x15 bass amp, SWR LA8 bass amp, Epi Electar 10 SET amp, Roland Micro Cube, Electro-Harmonix Freedom amp, Smokey
  • fx
    Boss (bass) Overdrive ODB-3, Guyatone Flip Tremolo, Maxon OD-808, Guyatone Mini-Reverb (MR2), Alesis Nanoverb

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Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Seattle, WA
  • Interests
    Music, both to play and listen to, especially vintage vinyl LPs, playing electric bass when I can, guitars, vintage drums, mallet percussion, high end audio and home theater, bottom-feeding,

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  1. If you want to hear how a Hamer 12-string bass in the capable hands of Tom Petersson can drive a song, listen to CT's rendition of "I Want You to Want Me" at their "Live at Budokan" performance. Play the video sound through a full-range set of headphones to hear how the thrumming of a 12-string bass can propel the song from start to finish.
  2. I've gotten some good classical guitar at thrift shops, including a couple of WIlliams albums, plus various members of the Romero family. I also have some Laurinda Almeido and Julian Bram as well. I got my current turntable in March 2007, just as the return to vinyl was taking off. I had lost most of my record collection to a flood, so I hit the used record stores and thrift shops to rebuild my LP library on the cheap. On my first try, I hit a St. Vincent De Paul and got a lucky strike--an LP of Mozart woodwind suites recorded and pressed by Everest Records, whose claim to fame was no-compromise stereo recordings made on a 3-channel Westrex 35mm magnetic tape machine. The original Everest label was only around from about 1958-1962. Many of these are rather expensive items, and are also available as remasters/represses. When I got it home it was too noisy to be much fun. Then, in 2015I got a mono cartridge (to play my Beatles Mono reissue series) and then started digging out some used mono LPs, including the Everest one. To my surprise, played with the mono cartridge, all these old mono LPs were totally noise-free including the Everest LP and a Segovia box set, plus the Vince Guaraldi Trio and several other mono records whose music I liked, but had been too noisy to enjoy. I also remembering the excitement of finding some chart-toppers such as the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack and some Ray Charles and Johnny Cash. Sliding them out of their sleeves were an easy reveal that these albums had been played to death--you could tell by the hazy glaze on the record surfaces. LPs in like-new condition have a jet-black, shiny gleam to them. And you're so right about the stacks of middle-of-the-road albums such as Herb Alpert and B-list Italian crooners such as Jerry Vale, Vic Damone, and Perry Como. Recordings of these artists found their way into massive stacks in just about every thrift shop I hit. I never knew a Jerry Vale recording in my life, and wondered what market he reached, how & why they bought up his stuff, and why and when his fan base had had enough and dumped ALL of their collections at every thrift shop I visited. One thing I found interesting was the first Tijuana Brass album. I bought it for the nostalgia: Observe the low-budget cover photo: He's sitting sideways in a straight chair, trumpet on the floor, a bota bag, tequila, salt shaker, kitchen knife, and a lime--about a $23 trip to the supermarket for the props, all background hidden by a huge photographer's backdrop of seamless paper. This album and its cover art was done on a shoestring. It turned out this album was recorded in Alpert's garage and I wouldn't be surprised if the cover photo was shot there too. The "Tijuana Brass" were a group of studio musicians led by Herb Alpert. Julius Wechter was the marimba player. When Alpert & Moss (A&M) started expanding, they formed a semi-comedy group, The Baja Marimba Band fronted by Julius Wechter. They also signed Brasil 66 led by pianist Sergio Mendes. Soon Mendes decided he needed his own studio and hired Harrison Ford to build it for him in his back yard. The TJ Brass and Brasil 66 traded band members back and forth as needed for live shows and recording sessions. Soon A&M signed The Carpenters and got the distribution rights from Island Records to repackage and distribute Cat Stevens and they were well on their way. By the late '70s they had signed The Police.
  3. In that case, I took it wrong. I interpreted it that you implied that the music itself was bad or corny, which was not the case. I need to be more cautious of my reactions. I had a couple of strokes last July and I'm still trying to work my way through it. In this case I got lost in the fog. Instead of "rolling with the punches," I had a "swing and a miss." Ten months after the incident, I still feel like I'm trying to fight my way through a fog. One thing we have in common: I l-o-o-o-ve those Beatles mono remaster/repressings. I even bought an Audio Technica high output moving coil mono cartridge, and that delivered more fullness and dynamics. I have a few cartridge mounted to removable headshells making it easier to swap from stereo to mono, from moving magnet to moving coil, etc. I bought the whole set of individual albums, which were delivered on my doorstep in Sept. 2014, right around the release date. I figured the individual albums would be easier to handle than fishing them out of a box set. Speaking of ... A lot of my record collection is from nonprofit thrift shops and used record stores. I have found that very few if any people who buy mail order box sets--especially the ones from Time/Life and Readers Digest--play them at all. Once I was cruising a Goodwill and I found an entire bin of Time/Life's "Great Men of Music" series.This was a collection of the full set of 4-LP sets--14 slipcovers marked at $1 each! I snatched up every title they had--14 sets totaling 56 LPs--featuring Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Ravel, Johann Strauss, Richard Strauss, Copland, and others. I came to find that none of these box sets had been opened, let alone played, and Time/Life had reissued them from RCA Red Seal masters of the '50s/early '60s, which was state-of-the art at the time--open reel multi-channel tape running at 30 ips, making for great clarity and dynamics, featuring legendary conductors, orchestras, and soloists. Thinking back over the Sousa marches, I realized they were probably played only about twice a year at best--on Memorial Day and July 4th.
  4. For Memorial Day, I love spinning this LP of Sousa Marches. I got it from a used bin for $1.99 in great shape: ... and Side 2: This brings back fond memories. I was drum major in my senior year, and we played a Sousa march at every halftime at football games on weekends from September through November. It was a great feeling that I still experience whenever I hear any of these marches. And July 4th isn't too far away either.
  5. Spun George Benson's 1972 album, "White Rabbit" on CTI, not his first album, but my first encounter with George Benson's music. It became a staple of my playlist through college. Here's the whole album. I love the Brazilian touches throughout this album, from the opening title track which makes great use of Brazilian percussionist, Airto Moiera, who plays shakers and other instruments he designed, and contributes well-placed wordless vocals. Rounding out the Brazilian connection, Benson plays a number titled, "Little Train," an improvisation of a signature Heitor Villa-Lobos composition, "The Little Train of the Capira." I followed it up with another Benson album that came along a couple of years later, "Bad Benson." It opens with a unique approach to "Take Five as reimagined by Phil Upchurch and George Benson: ... and if you want to hear the whole album (which is what I listened to) ...
  6. I'll have to check that out. I'm a junkie for LPs with audiophile-grade sonics. In the meantime, I was sifting through my present collection so I could stand in the sweet spot and and listen while I sort the mail. I happened upon -- and played this to my delight: Nothing like grooving to a legend with a great rhythm section. This album was released in 1966, and it still had the original price sticker on it--$5.79, which in today's money comes out to $45.82. There's a personal tie-in for me because I'm a Metheny fan, and when he saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan on Feb.9, 1964, he picked up a guitar and started playing records. But in his case, he got a beater ES-175 from a pawn shop and started playing along with records in his dad's collection, in which some were by Wes Montgomery. Nothing like starting at the top. And in case you're interested, here's the full album I listened to:
  7. Yes, on jazz boxes played finger style with a clean signal chain. And the flats minimize wear on a fretless fingerboard. Want more attack from flats on a bass? Play with a pick; it'll bring out attack and a sense of drive.
  8. I have a neighbor who plays cello, gives lessons, and participates in youth string recitals hosted at another neighbor's house. When we were talking about cellists in general and Harrell in particular, she mentioned that she'd had private lessons from him at Aspen. Harrell had a closer relationship to Aspen than I realized. It turns out that this WaPo obit mentions that his father, opera baritone Mack Harrell, was one of the founders and then the second director of the Aspen Music Festival and School. I saw him play cello concertos fronting the Seattle Symphony. After the concert, he and Seattle Symphony conductor, Gerard Schwarz, would host a "meet the artists" Q&A for the audience. A frequent question from aspiring cellists was what was a useful and effective developmental practice technique? Harrell's consistent answer or advice was "Practice as loudly as you can." His reasoning was to strengthen your bowing arm and hand, which would give the cellist better control of sound quality and dynamics. He lived by that. In 1973 I saw him featured at the Los Angeles Performing Arts Center, which is one of the three largest performing arts centers in the United States. A large man, he dwarfed his 1720 Montagnana cello in front of the L.A. Philharmonic, and when he took the solos, his volume technique and strength absolutely filled the auditorium and reverberated throughout the space. Here's a video of another performance of the same concerto--Haydn's Cello Concerto no.1 in C Major. Listen to his C major scales in the final movement at about 4:45--These scales are played at the very last few inches of the fingerboard, and he plays them really fast. At that position, the strings have to be pressed from about 1/4-to-1/3" above the fingerboard. To get that purity of tone that high up on the fingerboard you have to press really hard on the strings, and I've never heard somebody press that hard, play that fast, and get such a singing purity of tone. I was just a few rows from the stage and I could hear these high scales reverberate throughout the high-ceiling auditorium.
  9. You got that like-new Carvin so cheap, it might make sense to replace the pickups with USA-made Bartolinis. There's a reason USA-Barts are the overwhelming choice of boo-teek guitars and basses. USA-made Bartolinis sure picked up the sound quality and playability (more sensitive and easier on the fingers) of my Cort and Squier import basses.
  10. O.K., so he wasn't a rocker, but he was an amazing musician, he was a virtuoso on stringed instruments individually made by gifted luthiers including 18th century cellos crafted by Montagnana, Stradivarius, and contemporary luthier Chris Dungey I always figured Harrell would live into his 80s, but he died suddenly at age 76 this past Monday April 27 with no given cause of death. Left me feeling at loose ends. A list of Lynn Harrell's accomplishments could make your eyes glaze over; his discography runs into the dozens--if not hundreds--of world-class classical recordings. But rather than struggle to include all the details, I defer to the professionally and sensitively written obituary by NPR. What's my connection? My brother studied under Lynn when he first joined the faculty at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of music as Cello Artist-in-residence. I remember my brother's excitement and beaming face when he came home from his first lesson with Harrell, when he exclaimed to the family, "I feel like I just had my first cello lesson!" This, after he'd been playing cello for 11 years and had completed a degree in cello performance from the conservatory, including 4 years of lessons from the retired principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. I became a fan as well. I saw/heard him perform twice with the L.A. Philharmonic, guest-conducted and soloed with the National Symphony Orchestra in DC, and soloed twice with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He met me backstage at one of his Seattle Symphony concerts (because he had taught my brother) and he was personable and gracious. He not only autographed my program but even gave me his email address. He was a gentle and kind man who had founded various charities and musical programs. Rest in peace, Maestro Harrell. You were one of the good ones and will be missed.
  11. Derek Trucks is 40; Jonny Lang is 39. Some young'un had to step in and continue to demoralize us.
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