Its all about bitchin' tone, and here is where i bitch about it.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

2016-10-28 Whatcha need in your gigbag to survive?

Whats up my fellow weekend warriors?

This is a simple post, what do you need with you to survive out in the world of 'Guitar Land'?

However - I am NOT going to tell what you need.

"WTF Trashed, I thought you were trying to help us?"

"Well... I don't know what you need because I am not you, but what I WILL DO is tell you what I bring".

I am assuming that you have two guitars, and a tube amp that you are taking, although a backup amp is always good to have access to.

I have a tool bag that I got from Home Depot like this: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-12-in-Tool-Bag-82004N11/203224030. $10 and rugged as all hell. I own at least five of them for different things. They go cheap for Black Friday too, I think I got mine at $4 each last year.

There is one thing that separates a pro player from a new player: A beginner will bring enough in case ANYTHING were to go wrong. A pro will bring enough in case EVERYTHING goes wrong. 

That is it right there, take that as a word of wisdom.

I am not going to list the common things (picks/strings/etc). I am going to cover some of the lesser thought items, some are obvious, some a little less so. This is a combination of general, guitar related, and amp related.

1. Towels/rags - you want to be able to wipe down your guitar strings, body, fretboard, forehead. It gets hot up there.
2. Magic marker/sharpie, pen and paper -to get the bitches numbers right? Yeah, but ya' know there are other reasons. Set lists/marking knobs on amp/pedal. etc.
3. Flashlights - one of the most important actually. It can get dark on stage, and if you bump a knob, you need to see it. If you need to plug/unplug something during the set. If you drop something. etc. good for setup too.
4. Batteries - for EVERYTHING. 9V's for pedals and if you have active pickups, flashlights, wireless systems (if applicable), and even for your clip on tuner.
5. Fuses - usually there are two fuses on each amp that are accessible from the back panel, make sure you have the SAME value, and the SAME type (standard versus slo-blow).
5. Cables - that falls on the obvious side of things, but this is something that can completely impair your gig if one goes. Cable testers are a good idea overall too.
6. Extension cords and power strips - . Everything needs to plug in, and outlets are not always plentiful or not even in close proximity. I personally use a power conditioner, but that is a luxury to some degree.
7. Tubes - Here is another obvious one, wrap them in towels, have some of every kind your amp uses.
8. Extra power supplies - a 1spot is always good to have in case your iso-brick were to die. Or if you are using a power supply, bring a second.
9. Allan wrenches, screw drivers, a telescoping magnet on a stick. Tools in general.
10. Tooth picks and chopsticks - you can safely poke around your amp with chopsticks if something were to go wrong from the 'tapping test' on tubes, to if you drop something in there. Toothpicks are handy in case a strap button were to fall out (yes it happens), insert and screw the screw back in. Temporary fix.
11. Digital multi-meter - good for everything, especially continuity (set on ohms setting) which can quickly troubleshoot a dodgy cable or connection or short.
12. Second tuner. Period. It doesn't matter what you have, get an extra. If you can't tune, to a degree you are screwed.

I am assuming that you have a backup guitar and access to a second amplification source. If you don't have a second amp to bring, sometimes other bands will let you use yours in a pinch. It is always good to have something small that could go into the PA if needed, From a POD to an Orange Micro Terror. Personally I keep a Peavey Valve King in the trunk. I haven't needed to break it out yet.

Cheers, Trashed.

Friday, October 21, 2016

2016-10-22 BONUS RANT!!! Moral Dilemma

Here is a straight up rant. LET'S GO BITCHES!

It is well known that i am a flat out guitar and gear whore. Most of you know this. If you don't, maybe you should check this blog more often.

I have a collection of Ibanez Prestiges'. Number six will be here in January.

Ibanez Prestige's are Ibanez' flagship models- not cheap. They typically come with Dimarzio's (if you know that great, if not maybe you should do some soul surfing). All five of mine currently do have Dimarzio's. I love Dimarzio's and they make amazing pickups. I have a variety of Dimarzio's on them. Single coils and humbuckers of all sorts. Mid to high output. etc. etc. etc. They do what I want and I love them. but...

I want to get some Seymour Duncans,

HOWEVER I cannot morally put Seymour Duncans in an Ibanez. It just seems like I would spontaneously combust. I can't do it. It is like putting a Mustang emblem on a Camaro. They are both nice cars, can be fast, I have owned both, and would buy either again at some point down the road.

So... Want Seymour Duncan's... Can't put in Ibanez...

... Need new guitar for new pickups. Need Jackson?

Yes, yes, yes, need Jackson. They make fantastic guitars, good all across the board. THEY come with Seymour Duncan's (not cheap Jackson's, the nice ones), they are great with Seymour Duncans. I have owned three which are long sold (ironically for Ibanez'). High end Jackson is on par with Ibanez Prestige, and Dimarzio's are on par with Seymour Duncan's. They are just a little different. There are other reasons to get a Jackson, slightly beefier neck, but still really slim and fast. Slightly different dimensions and vibe to them. I am looking for hard-tail models specifically, because their tremolo's are a weak point (which is why I own the Ibanez', those fuckers never go out of tune).

I could never put Dimarzio's in a Jackson for THE SAME REASON that I wouldn't put Seymour Duncan's in a Ibanez. It would throw off the time space warp and open a black hole. Not a good thing.

So needless to say, next year will see a Seymour Duncan loaded guitar or two. Kind of excited.

So am I crazy?

Most likely.

I better go take my meds...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016-10-20 Speakers: Part 3

Here we go Speaker Junkies:

Scroll down about a foot, and you will see my previous two parts if you haven't been keeping up with this thriving blog.

"So Trashed, a lot to say about speakers?"

Yeah.

"You seem to favor Celestion?"

Yeah.

"So because it's a Celestion it must be good?"

HELL NO.

Not all speakers are created equally. Celestion makes some [to put it lightly] shitty speakers. The Rocket 50's are straight up trash. The only thing they are good for is removing the magnets and use it to pick the metal bits off of your floor in your shop. Seventy80's, another junk speaker. Just flat out terrible. There are some others, my Celestion M-70 in my Ampeg is pretty much shit too, but it is workable.

"Trashed, you seem to talk about Celestion a lot. Are there any other good speakers?"

Yessir! Eminence makes some excellent speakers, a lot are cheaper, and to a degree many of them are based off of- you guessed it- Celestions. Swamp Things and Governors are a good combination. I am not a fan of the Legend, but may people like it.

I don't have a lot of time on Eminence, I have owned relatively few.Why? I buy up cheap cabs on craigslist that have good speakers, typically under $200 for a 4x12". That is why I have a shit-ton of K85's and V30's and T75's. Cabs get sold or burned, sometimes kept.

"Damn Trashed, that sure is luck!"

If you look and know what you are looking for its not that hard. The only issue that is sometimes is insurmountable is fitting a 4x12" in your Mustang. What is the lesson here? Know somebody with a truck. It's not that hard.

What matters other than speakers?

Hot-Damn! I thought you would never ask.

Enclosures. There is a whole field of science regarding cabinet design, and stupidly a lot of debate. Why was the 4x12" born? because the speakers were 25 watt, and the heads were 100 watt. So thus it came to be the standard. For the most part sealed cabs offer little difference from each other, the main thing is quality of wood. MDF for me is a no-go, and what you want is 3/4" 13 ply Baltic birch. A good seal is to a degree an important thing as well.

Regarding the open-back or ported design, it gets jumbled fast. I don't even want to get into that. Maybe another blog sometime in the future.

So what do you pay for in a cab? The largest portion is the speakers, the second? the logo on the front. That 'Mesa' logo on the front is worth a few hundred most of the time. [Saying this I own two Mesa cabs and love them]. Wood is to a degree, but not what you think it would be.

Do you need 4x12"s? No. Its actually a stupid thing if you are going to have to haul it around. That is why I have 2x12"s as well. I haul around 2x12"s and keep my 4x12"s around the house/studio.

Ugh. I am soooo sick about talking about speakers.

That wraps up your mid-week edition,

Keep on bitchin' and I will keep on postin'.

Cheers,

Trashed.

Monday, October 17, 2016

2016-10-17 Speakers: Part 2

Fellow Audiophiles,

So we are talking about speakers. Again? Yeah.

"Say what?"

Yeah, we need it loud. LOUDER!

I covered speakers in layman's terms last week, now I am going to give you my experience on what I have/use/hate/throw in the trash.

First off, for the most part, EVERY amp that comes with an unknown speaker, likely sucks. Hard fucking truth, even the Celestion and Eminence 'designed' speakers suck 99% of the time. Also, there are very few speakers that are smaller than 10" that are halfway decent, the exception is in some vintage low watt vintage amps (5F1 for example). 10" speakers can be great, but not the piece of junk sitting in your practice amp though.

"OK, so Trashed, you seem to like 12" speakers?"

Yeah. I do.

I have (literally) more than 30 speakers around my house/studio when you add up all of the cabs and combos.

I am mainly going to cover newer production speakers, I am not well versed on the vintage speakers.

Celestion Vintage 30's - Rightfully (or wrongfully) the most iconic go-to speaker for a lot of things. Tight bass, huge upper mids, decent power rating (60w). Some complain about 'honk' and that does happen with some amps, however, they are well received. Orange, Mesa, Engl, etc. all use them. The sound good with anything from Fenders Blues Jr.s to Peavey Wolfgangs, to Mesa's, Oranges, Marshalls, 5150's, etc. The only amps I have that totally disagreed with the V30 are my Splawn Promod and Splawn Nitro. I have no idea why, they just don't get along. One last thing is that V30's take a long time to break in. If you just got some new ones, give them a month with medium volume playing, they really open up.

Celestion T75's - Infamous thanks to Marshall. They are the standard in the 1960a cabs, and are overall an industry standard for 80's JCM's through today. Not much to be said, a little smoother on the top end and a little less mids, they are pretty friendly overall. I sometimes find them a little 'bland' with some amps, I LOVE mixing them with V30's (and it is relatively common).

"So Trashed, you like Celestions?"

That sounds like a dumb question, YES.

Lets continue!

Celestion K85/K100. These are my FAVORITE speakers. Period. They are 100% identical other than country of origion. K85's were British (confirmed with Celestion's representative), they changed the wattage rating. I have mostly K85's, A LOT of them. They are more low mid focused, and have a nice smooth range, and a lot of bass. I buy up every K85 I find locally. I have around a dozen. They thunder, they get along well with anything high gain, and to be honest i haven't tried them with any of my more vintage amps, but I am sure they will do fine. My Splawns and Peavey 5150, and Orange Rockerverb LOVE them. 

I... need... more. I like to use them with V30's, but not always.

and.. last for the day, the speaker that started it all...

Celestion G12m Greenback - Vintage Marshall and Vox's favorite speakers for the most part.* They seem to 'compress' (if that is the right term) as they get pushed harder, which is one of their well known traits. They are picky about how hard they are pushed. They need to be pushed, but only to a degree, they are OK quiet too. They have a low sensitivity, so they are noticeably quieter than other speakers when pushed, for example the V30. I don't really know what to say, but they are just legendary. The only downfall is that they are 20-25W. That limits their use in a lot of scenarios. With a 2x12 cab, you can't run a lot of amps, as it is <50W. So if you want to run a high wattage amp, you need a 4x12". Kinda sucks. To be completely honest, that limits my use of them. 

I think this will turn into a part three for next week.

Cheers! 

You keep playing I keep bitchin',

Trashed.



*i must note that Vox are also known for Alnico Blues

Sunday, October 9, 2016

2016-10-09 Speakers: Part 1

Dear fellow Guitar-a-files:

Speakers?

Can you hear me?

Yeah that is right, speakers. Ya' need some.

Speakers are one of the most overlooked aspect to your tone. That little 8"er in your practice combo isn't going to get you anywhere (well at that rate you probably nee a new amp too). Nor is that Fender "Special Designed" speaker in your Fender Frontman going to enchant you.

There are several things to consider when you are picking out speakers. The impedance (notated as Z in Ohms), wattage, and the sensitivity (in dB 1w@1m). Size also plays a factor, but there are no laws for that.

Well maybe some of us get a little 'sensitive' on the topic, but man up guys this is for real.

What is impedance? Impedance to speak in layman's terms, is the combination of the of opposition to flow combining resistance and reactance. Now what does that definition mean to you? not much, it shouldn't.

So Trashed, what does matter? What matters is that your amp and speakers are running at the same load. Running a mismatch can cause you to blow a speaker, blow the output transformer in your amp (big bucks), and all sorts of other shit. Take my word for it and don't do it. 99% of what we see as guitarists is either 4 ohms, 8 ohms, or 16 ohms.[I am not going to cover it now, you have google for that], but the number of speakers and impedance of the speakers are what determines the load. The load is what you should match your amp and speaker(s) to. Is 4 ohms better than 16 ohms? or vice versa? Nope. Not at all. Just make sure it matches.

Wattage, hell yeah, need more! Right guys???

Maybe not. the Wattage of the speaker is basically how much power it can handle. It does not affect the volume. If you have a 20 watt amp, a 100w speaker (cceteris paribus) will not be any louder than the same amp with a 20 watt speaker. One general rule that I follow is to have the speaker wattage rating just a little higher than the amp. The reason is that some amps can put out more power than they are rated for... and... well, it makes me feel safe and warm inside.

From a technical standpoint, you don't just add the individual wattages up to get how much you have in total. What you do is [again not going into depth here, google is your friend] to take the speaker with the lowest wattage and multiply that by the number of speakers you have.

SO WATTAGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE VOLUME OF THE SPEAKER.

Now, what does? The sensitivity. Lets get emotional guys.

Sensitivity, what could that mean? Well, it is simply the volume in dB SPL of the speaker being pushed by 1 watt 1 meter from the speaker cone. This makes a HUGE difference. A Celestion Vintage 30 is rated at 100dB, 1m away, being pushed by 1 watt, that is damn loud. A Celestion Rocket 50 is rated at a lowly 95 dB. To keep this brief, decibels are logarithmic. 10 dB is double the volume. So... you get the picture.

Size matters my fellow man...

Well we can't really find a rule for that... There are many other factors.

PART #2 COMING NEXT WEEK. We will get down and dirty with a variety of common speakers.

Fellow Axe-Men,

Cheers,

Trashed.

Monday, October 3, 2016

2016-10-03 Floyd Rose

Greetings to the Troubled Guitarists, and Helpless Gear-Heads of the World,

We are going to talk about Mr. Floyd and his Roses. 

****If you don't know what it is, go down to the bottom.****

ALSO! THIS IS BEING WRITTEN ASSUMING THEY ARE SET UP PROPERLY, THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS BLOG IS FOR!

There are a few breeds of Floyds, most of which belong to two classes: the good; and the pathetically terrible (in other words, shit). Both of which I have experienced.

The "good" ones are known by a few things...

1. OFR - Original Floyd Rose
2. Schaller made -which to a degree is a OFR
3 Gotoh made - yet again an OFR variant.
4. Ibanez EDGE - original deviation under some Floyd Rose Patents, there are several versions.

The "bad" ones are... 

1. Pretty much everything else. SERIOUSLY terrible. Let me say that again, junk.
     a. LFR (licensed floyd rose) which are found on pretty much any and every "brand: X" cheap 
        guitars.
     b. FR1000 etc. they are generally better than most LFR's
     c. Ibanez Edge II, Edge III, and another one or two.

What makes a good one good?

I thought that you would never ask!

You want the base-plate to be hardened steel. Hardened steel is necessary for keeping a good sharp knife edge. If it isn't hardened it will fatigue (rather quickly in some cases), and will be a royal pain in the ass. The knife edge is where the tremolo contacts the posts. (NOTE: the knife edges are the only point of contact on a guitar with a tremolo other than through the tremolo springs on the rear). If it has a good edge it will rest on the same spot during action, and will stay there - and yup! you guessed it, it will stay IN TUNE. If the edge becomes worn and chewed up, the tremolo will won't pivot properly, and every time you use it, it will go sharp or flat, not leveling out. The small blocks are also inferior, but they can be had easily and [relatively] cheap. Brass is a nice upgrade in most cases. HOWEVER a lot of the nicer Floyds have nicer blocks, so it may not be necessary. In addition to that, they are better machined. Period. 

Why do I need a good one?

Damn! You have been on a roll with good questions!

You want one so do you're dive-bombs and pull-ups you stay in tune. A good floyd will be able to dive to the point where the strings are so loose you are literally able to watch them flap, THEN do a pull-up three or more steps up. THEN repeat it fifty times. All of my four Ibanez Prestiges' do just this.

WOAH! these suckers are expensive!

Yeah. You get what you pay for. There are a LOT of guitars that can be swapped from LFR to OFR relatively simply. I did it to an older MIJ Jackson and it was pretty much drop in. That was probably nearly ten years ago, and the guitar is long sold, but it completely remedied the tuning instability. If you have a guitar you like and want to keep, the swap is worth it. If you aren't attached to it, I wouldn't bother.

This is just a simple and very shallow post. At some point in time I will write more of a tech write-up.



**** OK, What the hell is a Floyd Rose?****

Read here if you don't know, then go back to the top. It is a type of bridge found on a lot of guitars. It is "double locking" as the bridge locks the strings in at the bridge, and the locking nut locks the strings at the nut. Why? so you stay [more] in tune and because you eliminate play (for lack of a better term). They are responsible for the things that Eddie Van Halen and Dimebag do in solos.

Cheers Brethren,

Trashed.