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Rick's Rap   - August 2003


      Posted pics from Star Diner.


      I know it's a strange concept, but I'm beginning to suspect that it's possible to have too many toys. A couple of weeks ago Barb and I were out listening to some friends of ours play. The guitar player they had sitting in with them that night was playing a telecaster equiped with a Hipshot b-bender, and he was getting some very nice sounds out of it. Barb casually mentioned that she thought I should try using one.

      When I got a chance, I went to the Hipshot web site, and downloaded the installation instructions, where I discovered that none of my vast collection of guitars has the right kind of bridge to install a b-bender. I priced what it would cost me to replace the bridge on one of them, but then I decided that I really like the way they're each set up now, and so I pretty much kissed off the idea of trying out a b-bender.

      Time passed, and now tomorrow is the first scheduled rehearsal for the acoustic trio, and I want a guitar tuner to keep with my acoustic guitar. So today after work I stopped by The Guitar Center and bought a cheap chromatic tuner. Of course while I was in the store I had to browse around a bit, and lo and behold, they had an Epiphone Les Paul Special II on sale. As fate would have it, it had a bridge suitable for a b-bender, and I had enough cash in my wallet to purchase it. I asked a clerk if I could try it out to see if it was good enough to use. It was. I bought it.

      Too many toys. Too many projects . I am not a bright man. Sigh.


      Well we unpacked the Carvin PA, set it up and tried it out. One of the speaker stands had a broken end stop pin, but other than that it worked o.k. I don't know if I'll return it or say to hell with it and just use it as is. We ran two guitars, two vocals, and a bass through the system and it sounded just fine. Bob's acoustic guitar has a piezo pickup, but it doesn't have an on board pre-amp, so we really had to crank up his channel gain. Sounded fine, but it means we'll have to dick with the PA head (technical jargon) every time he wants to adjust his guitar sound.

      We ran through a bunch of tunes just to get a feel for whether or not this is a viable concept, and we were generally pleased with the results. The one absolute bit of data we came up with, was that neither Bob nor I will be able to survive an entire evening playing acoutic guitars with medium guage strings. My fingers haven't been this sore since I first started playing guitar (mumble, mumble) years ago. Before we can take this show on the road we're going to have to switch to lights, or maybe even extra lights.

      We agreed to get together again on the 23rd, and I added an Acoustic Trio link to the web site.


      A friend of mine had a party with a full up electric band, and I lent him the PA. With the exception of a flute, which was miked, it was only handling vocals, but it had no problem putting out plenty of volume, and it sounded great. The only glitch was that he said that both times he powered it up, the effects channel was noisy for about five minutes. I still have the boxes everything was shipped in, so I figure I'll send the head back for warrenty replacement, and while I'm at it I might as well return the stand that was broken also. The problem is I haven't been able to duplicate the phenomenom. I'll hang on to the boxes for a while, just in case...

      Eric e-mailed me a set list for the Lounge Act and updated the bookings. He also mentioned that Doc couldn't make the gig on 10/17, and might not be able to cover the one on 9/13. I spoke with a friend of mine and asked if he could fill in on those dates if necessary. He checked the material on the web site, and said sure. He already knew some of the tunes, and the ones he didn't know he has plenty of time to learn.


      Lukas couldn't make the second trio reheasal so Bob and I slogged on without him. The output jack on Bob's guitar was hosed, so he used my acoustic and I just plugged an electric straight into the board. We took four of the tunes we had messed around with last time, and worked out arraingments suitable for performance (i.e. a defined beginning, middle, and end). We were quite encouraged with the results.


      Went over to Eric's for our one and only rehearsal for the Lounge Act. He said that Doc could could cover 9/13, but not 10/17. I passed the info on to my friend.

      I made up set lists for 9/13 and posted them.


      Stay tuned,


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