Wednesday, January 7, 2009

After years in a fog . . . a revelation!!

This is a guitar / amplifer thing . . . so if that is not your cup of tea . . . then click now onto another blog.

If you like laughing at someone . . . keep reading.

Yesterday . . . I had a "guitar" revelation . . . the kind that makes you a better player . . . a much better player. Yesterday, I also never felt more pitifully stupid in my entire adult life.

Back in 1993, I was able to purchase an Peavey Ecoustic 112 amp from Holze Music, which was located just down the street from FUMC-Waco, where I was serving as the Senior Associate Pastor.

It was, and still it, a good amp, mostly because it is "MY" amp . . . it can be very loud when volume is needed . . . and it is paid for. At that time, I was playing a Martin Sigma acoustic guitar with a Martin Gold pickup.

The issue . . . it is an acoustic amp . . . meaning it has a set of 5 sliding EQ switches . . . which I have kept for years in the position the sales guy put them in for when I played my old Sigma.

The week before we moved to FUMC-Grapevine, back in 2005 . . . I got my Martin D-16, which has a pre-amp . . . the guitar had a pickup in the bridge, and seperate mic for the f-hole, and onboard controls . . . EQ contols in fact. These controls were very well explained to me by the guys at Heart of Texas Music in Temple, Texas, from whom I bought the guitar.

Now . . . did I ever make the connection that when a guitar with onboard EQ is plugged into an amp with EQ settings already set for another guitar . . . that there might be problem???

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo . . . I didn't.

And the result . . .

My D-16, and any of the electric guitars I have played through the amp have sounded mushy and out-of-tune.

Oh, and my electric guitars . . . I have them plugged into a guitar effects pedal board . . . which is completely normal . . .  which I thought were all set correctly . . . but when plugged into the amp with the EQ set for my first acoustic . . .

You are crying for me right now . . . aren't you.

Ah, but then there was yesterady . . . ah yesterday . . . and out of it all . . . a revelation!

Alan Massey, the lead guitarist of our 1st Church String Band, and a former professional guitar player (toured with a band for 7 years), has let me play around this week with his Peavey T-60 electric guitar . . . which has all sorts of phase controls and pickup coil splitting ability . . .

Yes . . . at this point I admit that I DO NOT KNOW what I am talking about . . . but I know I like it!!!!!

I am playing the T-60 . . . and look over to my amp . . . prepared as usual to cuss-it-out . . . when I see the EQ settings on the amp.

"Hmmmm" I say to myself. "Those EQ settings are for my old Sigma acoustic."

So, I walk over . . . and push all the switches down to the "0"or "flat" positions.


A brilliant bright life suddenly flashes . . . nay . . . fairly explodes inside my office, and apparantly inside my brain as well (which is what always happens when stupidity,which has been fueled by years of ego, is suddenly obliterated by the discovery of ABSOLUTE "AMP" TRUTH and KNOWLEDGE!!!)

The T-60 . . . it played great . . . actually, one of the best electric guitars I have ever heard!

Then I switched to my Tele . . . Wow! What an absolutely sweet sound.

Then I plugged in my Hotrod #2 . . . oooooooooooooohhhhh!!!! What an absolutely lovely sort of a Pete Townsend "crunch" that guitar can make with its' P-90 pickups.

"Dude, I am really not as bad of an electric guitar player as I thought I was" (another flash in the room as well as in my brain . . . more stupidity obliterated forever!!!!!)

Then I cranked up the controls on my Seymour Duncan Twin Tube pre-amp . . . and ran the guitar through it to the amp . . .

(A pause here please . . . as I bow my head and close my eyes . . . the tears of joy I shed yesterday . . . It was beyond words . . . a personally moving experience of epic proportions . . . it actually changed my life for the better . . . the world HAS become a much better place . . . there is order now in the guitar and amp universe . . .)

Simply put . . . it was a profound sensory experience of an extremely extra, extra deep religious nature.

It's a guitar thing . . . if you play guitar, or are passionate about something similar . . . you understand.

Then maybe again . . . you don't!

So this morning . . . not even a full 24 hours later . . . I am happy as can be about my guitar knowledge in general . . . but still feeling pretty stupid about such a very simple mistake I have been making for years and years and years and years.

Why. . . because I have bought, traded for, or have been given 3-4 great electric guitars . . . 2 different Sheraton II's, a burgandy and gold Epiphone Les Paul custom . . . a great natural wood G&L Tele . . . and ended up giving them all back . . .

Chalk it all up to a "lack of knowledge."

Depressing . . . isn't it?

However . . . I am getting ready in short order to crank out "China Grove" on the T-60 . . . and I am confident that I will be feeling much, much better within the hour.

And, Alan is coming over in a while . . . and at lunch, I am going to admit to him what I was doing, and seek his counsel, the counsel of a professional.

I've already confessed my stupidity to my friend, Floyd . . . who it seems has yet to respond back . . . which scares me actually for some reason . . . because his advice has always been:

"Get to know your equipment completely before purchasing any new equipment."

So . . . I can proudly announce today . . . that "Yes" while there is still NO PILL FOR STUPID . . . all it takes is to just open your eyes and see what is really there . . . and . . . "live and learn."

I admit the following:

1) I DO NOT know-it-all about guitars and amps.

2) And . . . probably never will.

But, this old dog CAN still learn the important stuff, in time. For that I am grateful. Just wish I would have learned this lesson a long time ago. . . and opened my eyes a lot sooner.

I am daily overwhelmed by my blessings . . . ><>


floyd said...

Honestly, I don't remember saying that. But it sounds like the sort of thing I would say - intelligent, insightful, and excellent advice.


My Crate CA-120 amp also has 5-band EQ sliders, in addition to the normal bass, middle, treble knobs. I hate them. Just more junk you have to fiddle with to get the sound you want.

Anyway, glad you figured it out. That's what really matters, making good sounds.

Blessings, mi hermano stupido,

floyd said...

And since I am completely stupid when it comes to Spanish, I put the phrase in wrong. It should be, “mi hermano estúpido.”

Su hermano estúpido,

Rick said...

Alan and I had lunch today. Confession is good for the soul. He brought his Fender Jr. Bluesman (tube) to my office, and we plugged in the T-60 and the G&L Tele . . .


Tube is the only way to go!