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Everything posted by JohnnyB

  1. In the Wikipedia entry for FujiGen it says, "In 1981–82 FujiGen obtained the Fender Japan contract which lasted until 1996–97..." It was around 1997 when I saw the one in the music store, and Robben Ford was still endorsing it.
  2. Any love for the MIJ Fender Robben Ford Esprit model? I played one in a music store and it seemed really nice.
  3. Maybe juststrings.com stockpiled 'em, though they do have some gaps in their DM inventory: Blue Steel NickelSteel
  4. I just remembered a couple of other artists that I feel are in a class of their own. One is the late Dave Brubeck's late drummer, Joe Morello, who soloed/riffed on their 1959 crossover hit, Take 5. Joe was new to the 5/4 time signature, and for that one, Brubeck laid out a 5/4 pattern on the piano to keep Joe anchored. By 1961, the Brubeck Quartet came out with their follow-up album, Time Further Out, which explored time signatures in 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, 74, 8/8, and 9/8. By this time Joe was had completely mastered 5/4 and played an extended solo (no riffs) on his own: The other artist is vibist Gary Burton. I started in on mallet percussion in 8th grade and I have never heard any vibist play like Gary Burton. He also has an ear for guitarists. His first quartet album, 1967's Duster, featured Larry Coryell and is also considered one of the very first jazz fusion albums, years ahead of Miles Davis. Later on his guitarists included John Scofield and Pat Metheny. My first Burton album was a collaboration with Keith Jarrett who brought in his guitarist, Sam Brown, who had a great raw sound on his Telecaster. Burton's virtuosity on the vibes sent me into sensory overload. There is an interlude of interplay between Burton and Jarrett at 3:08 which displays the virtuosity of these two. Burton always played with four or six mallets whereas other famous vibists--Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Dave Pike, Cal Tjader, etc.--generally played with two mallets, just one for each hand. And if they (rarely) played with four, it was not with Burton's speed and precision. Vibraphones are fixed pitch instruments, but somehow Burton figured out how to bend notes on the vibes, starting at 2:11 on this number:
  5. Wide, sueded, and padded Levy's guitar straps go a long way toward creating a comfortable guitar stance. The wide strap distributes the weight on your shoulder, the padding keeps it from cutting into your shoulder, the suede backing helps hold the guitar in place and minimizes neck dive. If you have back/neck problems, the right Levy's strap is easily worth the money. I have collapsed discs, thinning spinal fluid, and a 50-year-old shoulder separation, so I know how the Levy's straps can make 4-hour sets possible and virtually pain-free.
  6. When I was in fifth grade (9 going on 10), I started taking drum lessons in elementary school. So when I finished elementary school in 6th grade I'd taken drum lessons for 2 years. This was mostly drum-only simple exercisess. For Christmas in 6th grade, I got a beginner's 3-piece drum set with one cymbal (no hi-hat). Then when I finished 6th grade it was 1965 and my older sister sent me a Gene Krupa album for having "graduated" from elementary school. There are two numbers on that album that really captivated me. The first one was "Drummin' Man," a featured song of Krupa's big band. I was astounded that he could play rim shots as accents in his solo when I could practice for an hour just to land ONE rim shot. Krupa's solo starts at 2:18. Also on that record was a song called "China Boy," harkening back to when Gene was the drummer for Benny Goodman. This song and his solo was wild and fast like I'd never heard up to then. Solo starts at 0:57:
  7. Especially with Caddy's departure. RIP. Glad you're still here, GtrDaddy.
  8. The best deals are discoveries of sheer luck. I was in a mom'n'pop music store, and on my way out, there was a basket of strings on the checkout counter. It was filled with Elixir guitar strings at $2.00/set (Elixirs retail at around $10.69 - $12.59/set today0. I grabbed a hand full and checked out. These were 11-49s and were absolute magic with my new Newport. It turns out that the slightly thicker strings put more downforce on the bridge and archtop, and really opened up the sound. With their polyweb coating, they lasted a long time and I gladly ponied up $8.50 for replacement strings from then on. Anymore, I tend to shop at juststrings.com. Staggering selection, goood prices, prompt and free shipping. What's not to like?
  9. I just finished watching all 8 episodes of Ken Burns' documentary, "Country Music." In one segment, Dwight Yoakam was on-camera describing what a spot-on, poignant lyricist Merle Haggard was. The thought of Merle's lyrics (and, I suppose, his passing in 2016) got Dwight so choked up he could hardly make it through the segment.
  10. I played this CD in my car a few days ago. I'd had the LP version since my sister gave it to me for my birthday in 1969. I was quite taken by the high energy chart, "The St. Petersburg Race" from the film, "Run Sunward" That film has the distinction of having no entry in imdb.com I found out that it was a film about offshore high-speed boat racing. It turns out one of the major figures in this film is Don Aranow, who was a great boat pilot and also founded Magnum, Cary, Cigarette, Donzi, and Formula speedboats. There are a couple of bio-dramas about him including "Thunder Man" and "Speed Kills." His boats were popular with organized crime because his boats were plenty fast for smuggling. The Cigarette boats made 500 hp and could top out at around 90 mph. His shady side caught up with him and he was gunned down in a classic mob hit in 1987. Anyway, I justs discovered that I don't need to order a $40 DVD of "Run Sunward" from this website; it turns out I can watch the whole thing on YouTube, and I'm really glad I didn't spend the money as the film really shows its age. If they really want to keep it around, they should rewrite and re-record the narration. It turns out that "The St. Petersburg Race" in the soundtrack refers to an open-water race from St. Petersburg, FL to Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island off the east coast of Florida. The film also showed a 440-mile offshore race from Long Beach to San Francisco, CA.
  11. If you haven't heard one, you have no opinion.
  12. I have an Al Hirt Greatest hits, which includes "The Best Man," a duet he did with Ann-Margret on this album. The band leader (and my first drum teacher) at my elementary school in Cincinnati, was John Hirt, Al Hirt's cousin. They came to Cincinnati from New Orleans and studied at Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music together.
  13. Players spend a lot more money seeking better tone, intonation, clarity, musicality, and responsiveness. My perceptions may be based on my purchase in 2011, at which time it was easy to comparison shop for Babicz products and land a sweet deal. That's what I managed to do eight years ago for about 40% less than the going rate.
  14. How about setting spot-on intonation and ideal action in a few seconds? The Babicz bridges make Tun-a-matics look like they were designed by amateurs. You pay more money for the Babicz, but you'll more than make it up in the time you save on setup and the improvement you get on response and tone quality. The tone transfer you get from a Babicz is awsome. I bought a drop-in replacement for a Squier fretless Jazz bass and the resulting clarity and massive tone that came from that $199 used bass more than justified the purchase price. What's your time worth calculated over the time you own the guitar or bass?
  15. My favorite Tubes video is when John Candy as outdoorsman, Gil Fisher, takes The Tubes on a fishing expedition:
  16. A recurring line in 1964's "A Hard Day's Night." I didn't find out about the origin of that line until about 50 years later. "Grandpa" was played by the actor, Wilfred Brambell, who played Steptoe in the British sit-com, "Steptoe and Son," the inspiration for the American sit-com, "Sanford and Son." Brambell was best known in England at the time as the owner/operator of a junk and salvage operation sit-com. So the "he's very clean" line was a British inside joke referring to Brambell's other role.
  17. The flawed logic was evident to me from the get-go, but it's a matter of record that those were his conditions. it's not like he's famous as a master of deduction.
  18. The best case story I read on this forum was several years ago when an HFC-er ordered a case for his Hamer (Special, Duotone, something similar), and the numbnuts on the other end of the phone sent him the case without looking inside--which contained a Korina Special (IIRC).
  19. A rock star who is best known as a grumpy old man.
  20. And he turned 80 exactly a week ago. I think the unusual survival story is that he was such a $h!thead that someone didn't beat him to a pulp years ago.
  21. This may run counter to my previous post, but ... The Kustom amps were notable for being able to do that with a solid state constuction. You make a good point. You don't really know until you try it, and some things fly in the face of conventional wisdom. John Fogerty sure knew how to make pinch harmonics into a Kustom rig (e.g., extended solo in "Suzie Q."
  22. This takes me back to when I bought my first really nice guitar, a G&L semihollow ASAT Classic. I started trying out several amps at the music store where I bought it. It quickly became apparent to me that solid state amps with attractive cabinetry from the likes of Fender and Ampeg for $600-ish were a bad deal--sterile tone, very circuit board-dependent (this makes maintenance and repairs either expensive or impossible) and there were better deals around As for the better deals, I was lucky: Top Hat Amplification had just started up, and I bonded with their Club Deluxe, PTP hand-wired with a Fender Deluxe-styled amplifier (twin 6V6GTs) powering a 12" Celestion Greenback. No reverb, no trem, but pure magic for an introductory price of $590, $60 less than Fender's newly introduced--and rather sterile-- Blues Deluxe. That was 1997. I still have the Top Hat. When I first got into guitar, I thought the sonic reputation of all-tube, PTP construction was a myth. After all, as a high end audio enthusiast, I had heard plenty of well-reviewed, great-sounding rigs that were powered by solid state, circuit-board-based electronics. Then in 2012 I had the opportunity to pick up up a PTP handwired line stage from an audio buddy at an attractive price. I was impressed by the audition, but I was unprepared for its effect of my living room stereo. Because it's a line stag e, every source went through it--FM radio, CD, computer-based YouTube, and turntable-based vinyl. EVERYTHING sounded better. I was sold, and thanked my lucky stars for a fidgety audiobuddy who couldn't leave well enough alone. I was all too happy to help him on his way to his next big thing. A couple years later he called and asked me if I'd be interested in the matching phono preamp, also all-tube, handwired PTP for just $575. Hell yes, I would. This is a phono preamp sonically compared in online forums with this phono stage (https://www.needledoctor.com/Manley-Labs-Steelhead-RC-Phono-Preamp. Granted, the Steelhead has more gain and versatility, but for $7825 less, I could live with the one I got. One again I was unprepared for what it brought to the party. I'm a bit of a big band fan, and a few days after acquiring this phono stage, I put on a Count Basie Big Band album I picked up at a thrift shop for $2.99. Basie often starts out a chart with a low key groove, propelled by rhythm guitar, subtle drumming, walking bass, and some minimalist piano chords plinking along. This is then followed by a big blast, where he calls on the whole brass section to engage the room with a sharp-ninth chord which makes everybody sit up and take notice. With my new phono stage I was unprepared for the blast. It really took over the room and reproduced the sensation of the live experience. I'd never heard that LP sound that way before and it took me a few days to realize that this was the first time I'd played that record through my newly acquired all-tube handwired PTP phono stage with military surplus NOS tubes. You'll never convince me it doesn't make a difference, and it explains my "meh" reaction when I hear music through solid state PCB electronics, whether it's guitar amps or audio equipment. I think the handwired PTP also makes a difference because the components aren't soldered onto a PCB shared with transformers and capacitors.
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