Friday, February 25, 2005

Updated Guitar Reviews

Some new user reviews have been added over at the ZZounds review section. Check some of them out below.
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Gibson Les Paul Standard
Gibson Les Paul Classic
Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop
Gibson Historic 1957 Les Paul
Gibson Faded Les Paul
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson SG Faded
Gibson Explorer
Gibson ES335
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Fender American Standard Stratocaster
Fender Standard Telecaster
Fender American Standard Telecaster
Fender Fat Strat
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
ESP Kirk Hammett Signature
Ibanez RG 1570
Jackson DKMG
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Epiphone G400 SG

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Line 6 POD

One of our favorite toys is the Line 6 POD. For those of you not familiar with this, it's a digital amp modeling effects box. There's a bunch of popular amp sounds and effects that you can dial in easily without a bunch of fussing with it. It was designed primarily to be a recording tool, but you can also punch it through an amp or PA to play live.

For recording, this box is great. If you use any PC based software such as Cakewalk it works like a charm. You want a classic rock Marshall sound or a modern Rectifier sound? You got it. Country twang or classic blues? Just dial it in.

The POD is also the ultimate headphone practice amp.

Playing live with it is a bit tricky. We've had the best results using it through a PA head which is then plugged in to a regular lead cabinet. You can also use it with an amp but it sounds a little muddy and requires a bit of tweaking. Plugging it into an effects port on an amp has better results but usually bypasses the preamp and cuts down the power. If you like the sounds that the POD produces live you should then take a look at their amp lineup which incorporates the same digital technology.

Every guitar player, from hobbyists to pros, should find this a really neat toy.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Fender Stratocaster Mod

For those of you who would like to add a little more bite to your strat, let me tell you how I made a simple modification.
I hardly ever use the bridge pickup because it sounds a little too dirty for my taste. So I picked up a Seymour Duncan little 59'er mini-humbucker. These pickups will fit in the single coil slot on your strat without changing or modifying the pickguard and faceplate.
You have to unscrew the faceplate and slide it off under the strings. I accomplished this without removing the strings by loosening all but the low E string and it came off easy.
Next you have to desolder and remove the single coil and then solder the mini-humbucker in while following the wiring diagram that Seymour Duncan includes with the kit. Put the faceplate back on and retune your strings and you're all set.
This mod has given my favorite guitar much more versatility and I don't have to switch guitars anymore for certain songs. Of course you can buy a strat with a humbucker but for those of you who have an original this is cheaper than buying another one.
Check out some reviews of these pickups here:

Thursday, February 03, 2005

How to Buy a Guitar

Buying The Right Guitar
Article:Buying the Right Guitar By Michael Setz the right guitar can be a lot more difficult than itseems. That's because there are a lot of them to choose from;electric, acoustic, classical, folk, hollow body, semi-hollowbody, solid body, 12-string, and 7 string just to name the morecommon ones. Which one is right for you? First, it will beimportant for you to know the type of music you are interestedin playing. If you are only interested in screaming solos, youcould probably just focus on an electric guitar. If you likeplaying folk music, a steel string acoustic would be anexcellent choice. What about Classical and finger picking? AClassical guitar is definitely what you need. In any case, knowthe music you want to play and that will also help you choosethe right guitar. When choosing your guitar, there are severalfactors to consider: ·Price ·Playability ·Sound ·Looks. Which isthe most important? They are ALL important in their own way!Play Guitar in 7 Days Guaranteed. Go to learn more! In no particular order of merit, here are thereasons: 1. If you are on a budget, then obviously the price youintend to pay is important! Most of us have wallets with limits!This is self-explanatory. 2. The playability of a guitar (howEASY it is to play) is important. Are the strings close to thefret board? Is the neck a comfortable fit for your hand size? Isthe body shape comfortable to hold? This will also make a bigimpact on your progress as a guitar player. Anything thathinders your progress can be disheartening and should beeliminated.3. Sound; Do the notes ring out on the guitar and sustain (lastlong before dying out)? Does the guitar sound fat and full, orbright and thin? What sort of tone do you want? For example -Rock and Metal players often favor fat, full sounding guitars.4. Are looks important? You bet! You want to look at your guitarand think it's cool. Playing something that looks like a dogwill not inspire you! Also, the look of a guitar can beimportant for the image associated with a certain type of music.Like we mentioned earlier, Telecaster shaped guitars are oftenassociated with traditional blues and country playing - LesPaul-shaped guitars are often associated with classic rock,Flying V guitars are usually associated with heavy metal. Withthat said the first place to start is whether to buy new orused. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, butgenerally the primary difference would be your budget. Stayflexible here and be on the lookout for good deals. It isimportant to note however, that guitars do tend to hold theirvalue over time as long as they are well cared for and have nosignificant dings, dents or other damage. You can check out someexcellent guitars at my website Thereis also a section for auctions, so go take a look. Nonetheless,you can usually expect to pay slightly less for a used guitarversus a new and comparable guitar. The downside to buying usedis that there will undoubtedly be wear on necks, frets,fingerboards, and pick guards, and there could also be hidden orless noticeable damage. You can find multitudes of places on theInternet as well as in newspapers, and magazines for usedguitars. However, one often overlooked place where great dealscan be found is at pawnshops, flea markets, and swap meets. Keepthis in mind when you begin your shopping. I have found some ofthe very best deals at the local pawnshop. There are manyaffordable new guitars on the market today as well, and theseshould not be overlooked. Despite the slightly higher price,buying new is usually less risky when it comes to quality. Butthat is not to say all new guitars are good. One advantage tobuying new is you will get a warranty. So it's worth comparingthe new guitars in your price range to the used ones. You canoften get a decent new acoustic guitar worthy of a beginner forright around $100 and no more than $150. I would expect to payabout 10-20% less for a comparable used instrument. Check outsome excellent guitars at my website andyou may also consider some of the package deals for an extravalue. Always buy a case! There are two types: Hard-Shell andSoft-Shell. You should opt for hard-shell. New cases can runbetween $50 and $75, and sometimes you can get them thrown inthe deal, it's always worth asking the salesman. If you do notbuy a case you can rest assured that you will get dings andscratches, and it is also more difficult to safely move yourguitar from place to place. Choose a guitar that has the stringsclose to the fretboard or playing will be difficult. However, ifthey are too close then they will produce a buzz and affect thetone produced. Be sure that it produces a clear sound, with nobuzzes at any of the frets, and that the guitar is constructedof high quality wood, so the neck doesn't "warp". Woods to lookfor include hardwoods such as Ash, Mahogany, Cherry, Maple,Rosewood, and Birch. These are some of the more common, and thekey is looking for hardwoods. Not only does this help to resistdings, it also improves tone. Generally, my recommendation tobeginning guitar players is first learn on a nylon stringacoustic guitar. These are also called Classical Guitars. Thereasons I recommend nylon acoustics are first, Classical guitarsuse nylon strings, and nylon strings are easier on thefingertips than steel strings. After you've played an hourstraight you'll know what I'm talking about. Imagine a thinpiece of wire being pressed against your tender skin and thenmoved back and forth like a saw. Ouch! Now imagine a soft nylonstring and you can easily see why I recommend nylon. Don't getme wrong, your fingertips will hurt regardless, and that's ok.All guitar players need calluses on the fingertips. And you willvery quickly develop them if you persist in your playing. Butnylon strings will make a significant difference in how painfulit can be, and it will ultimately let you practice a littlelonger before you can't take anymore. Second, the neck is wideron classical style guitars. Although this may seem to makeplaying more difficult initially, it actually helps with fingerplacement and the always troublesome issue of fingers touchingother strings and muting them. This is especially true onelectric guitars which have a much narrower neck. By having morespace between strings you have less chance of this occurring. Inaddition, wider necks will help build dexterity in your fingersquicker too. Finally, when you start with a nylon acousticguitar you don't need to buy an amplifier or any otheraccessories to go with it. You can play it anywhere and hear itloud and clear, thus saving you money, allowing for moremobility, and producing clear sounds to hear your true playingstyle and progress. All these add up to my recommendation thatbeginner guitar players start with a classical style guitar. Ifyou must buy an electric guitar first time out, and you have nointerest in an acoustic, you will be faced with many choices ofguitars, amplifiers, and hordes of other pieces of equipment.While much of the gadgetry is fun, the SINGLE most importantpart of your setup is still the guitar itself. Regardless of how much money you have to spend, try to get thebest guitar you can - even if it means not being able to affordan amplifier to begin with! Unless you are playing in a band,you don't really need an amp to start off with, and the betteryour guitar is, the easier and more enjoyable your learningexperience will be!Remember how it is in most cases - you generally get what youpay for! However, with these few key points in mind, you canhave confidence that the right guitar with the right price andright quality can be found. Get guitar lessons, Home of the guitar lesson: Play Guitarin 7 Days. About the author:Founder of and author of the eBook "PlayGuitar in 7 Days". Award winning guitar player and professionalmusician for over 20 years.