"But music was his life, it was not his livelihood, and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole." - Harry Chapin - chorus of "Mr. Tanner."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Traynor amp . . .

Since accepting delivery of my Taylor T-5 last month,  I asked Sean Simon at Grapevine Guitar Works to look for a small electric guitar tube amp that I could use to play it through . . . something easy to operate, as I only put it through a tuner pedal.  I'm  really new to electric guitar playing, and wanted to keep things really simple.  Mostly because I don't like carrying a lot of equipment around.

Sean put me onto a Traynor Custom Valve YCV20WR that belonged to our late friend, guitar player and church member, Mike Pueppke.  Mike was a wonderful young man who finally succumbed to cancer last year after a long and courageous battle. I miss him daily still.  He was a good friend

I used to go to the hospital and visit Mike.  I did this many times over the years.  Mike was super intelligent, was working on his doctorate in English Lit . . . he could very well have become a college or university president . . . of that I have no doubt.  He was also a pretty decent lead rock-n-roll guitarist.  He had a beautiful Gibson Les Paul.  When I visited Mike, all we talked about was guitars.  It didn't matter to him that I was his pastor.  He just wanted someone, anyone, to visit him and talk about guitars so he could temporarily "leave" cancer for a while.  Quite frankly, I only to happy to oblige.

His hospital stays were often for months at a time.  We talked about guitars a lot during those times.  When we met for lunch at Old West Cafe in Grapevine or in Euless, we also talked about guitars. When I preached at his memorial service, I mentioned our conversations.  Several people approached me afterwards and told me that Mike had helped them get their guitars.

After Mike's death, his family asked Sean to help sell some of Mike's guitars and amps.  Mike was an eBay expert, and bought and sold guitars, bass guitars and amps for several years.  And he loved Traynor amps.  Sean thought I might like Mike's personal Traynor amp because it was small, used, in great shape, easy to carry, sounded great, but mostly that I would appreciate the connection to Mike.

Sean was right!  He usually is.  Sean is really a great guy.

Mike's YCV 20 is a freak!  I am pretty sure he replaced the tubes with J&J's . . . and the 15 watt Celestone speaker was replaced with a 30 watt Hellatone.  One would think it would be crunchy, but it's not.  It is really smooth.  Could be the Taylor T-5.  I think it's the amp.

Now to be completely honest . . . I really don't know squat about electric guitars or electric guitar amps.  However, this amp is a simple two channel amp, and it sounds great with my T-5 plugged in.  With my little Strat plugged in . . . oh my word!!!!   It amazes me the sounds you can get without running the guitar through a pedal board and just straight into the amp.  Amazing.

Mike had stuck an orange folder into the back of the amp with all his notes about what settings he used for different guitars and for different songs.  I'm looking at that folder right now.  I'm thinking of Mike, and his beautiful and brilliant wife Brittni and their son, who will grow up with very dim memories of his father.  It's still a sad story, and there is a little bit of grief still for me personally.  But there is a connection I will have forever with Mike.

First, he was my friend, who always wanted to get together to play electric guitar.  I was never able to schedule doing that with him.

But I'm finally doing it now, by playing my T-5 through Mike's amp.

I miss you, Mike!  Love ya, man!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>


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