If you have ever played on stage you are probably acquainted with stage fright. It happens to everyone, but not always in the same way. For some people walking on stage is pure terror. For others it’s a rush, but then fingers start to shake and are just downright uncooperative, missing notes that are a piece of cake at any other time.
We have been forced this week to make an ammendment to the popular, “GAS Rule Book”. After referring to Rule #23: “Never Ever Tell Your Spouse”, we followup with Rule #23b: “Never Ever Use Your Wife’s Ebay Account to Buy a Guitar”. I know it might seem obvious to most people, but after receiveing the following message yesterday, I thought it would be prudent to pass this along to my fellow GAS addicts. Read and learn.
I have a friend with a cool little music store here in St. Louis. I pop in from time to time since he always has a great selection of vintage lap steels, as well as an ever-changing assortment of oddball pieces to check out. As I was on my way out the door after one of my most recent visits, I spotted an early 80s Harmony “Flying V,” and immediately stopped in my tracks.
Wandre guitars are coveted by a very small group of people, but those who do are crazy about them. In 2002 I was not one of those people Now, almost ten years later, I can certainly raise my hand and be counted in the crowd. How big is the crowd? That is an interesting question.
Recently I discovered a file folder on my backup drive with tons of photos containing just about every guitar I’d ever bought and sold over the years. Looking at these photos have stirred up some memories.
What’s strange is that it’s probably the column I have received the most mail on. People from all over the world wrote me about equipment they’d lost and the interesting ways they lost their stuff. They were all GREAT letters. Sad yet entertaining. We all had a story or two or twenty. It was like a gear geek AA meeting.
My first home recording set up was an Akai ¼ inch 2 track and a Harmon Kardon cassette deck, no EQ, the only effects I had were a few effects pedals. I would program one of my primitive drum machines or use a factory preset non-programmable rhythm machine while I was recording that I would usually add my bass or rhythm guitar. And after a suitable take I would ping pong the tracks back and forth from the 2 track to the cassette, adding effects on the fly.
This month I will be discussing a much overlooked aspect of guitar playing and appreciation, the professional setup. As I always say – this is not MY Guitar until it is setup to my specifications. I think perhaps 90% of today’s guitar players do NOT have a personal guitar repair technician that they work with. People have a favorite video / music store with a favorite clerk that helps them with selections, a tailor, a banker, a doctor, a dentist, a lawyer… yet they don’t have a favorite guitar tech. Why? Here are three scenarios that will exemplify this point.
I’ve been earning a living with my guitars now for thirty odd years. I did a stint as a commercial artist for a couple of years when I finished high school — I say commercial artist, what I mean is I worked in a commercial art studio learning the ins and outs — but after a couple of guitar playing jobs I decided to focus on music as a career. I could earn more in a couple of nights playing than in a week of the day job.
It was late 1969 early 1970. I was 13 years old and had been learning guitar for about a year when I was given what I considered to be the key to a world of freedom. Mum & Dad said it was ok for me to setup my room in a shed inside Dad’s garage. The shed was the size of a small bedroom, about eight by ten in the old measurements. It was originally built from scraps of recycled building material from a 100 year old house and was initially used as a tool shed.