Because I have to go back in the saddle again

I always wanted to record the songs I used to play in bars a long time ago but I have to admit I lost a lot of skills. Several years that I haven’t exposed myself (either on stage, bars or even participation to recordings) and my guitar play and my singing abilities ain’t doing great as you may imagine…

I have been practicing everyday for one year now but I’m far from total recovery. Anyway, if I don’t jump into water again, I won’t improve anything. This is why, despite all the imperfections you will hear in this short video I decided to put my credit as a musician at jeopardy with a tendinitis and a cold…

One shot cover, no sound editing (only simple effects like compression, reverb, EQ…)

I found motivation in this exercise and that’s what matters. I hope to do better for the next twenty covers or so I still have on my list.

Stay tuned!

Adding a little punch to the microphone

To be honest, I bought the t.bone GM55 mainly for the look but I ended up keeping it because of its great audio qualities with regard to its low price. It has one major issue though: you have to push the gain/volume to the max if you want to hear something.

Fortunately, every problem has a solution… hopefully. In the case we are interested in there is one that works: the TritonAudio FetHead!

Neat packaging, isn’t it?

This is a simple preamp (27 dB gain @3 kΩ) that’s feed by the phantom power. If you are fortunate enough to have this feature on your amp or recording interface, you are saved (most of them have it). Plus, it protects your microphone in case you unintentionally hit the phantom button.

Because I use my microphone live (and for recordings) I hesitated a bit with the filter version of the Fethead (which has a 6 dB/octave high pass filter with a corner frequency of 220 Hz) but in the end, I am happy with this one: super quiet! If I really want to dance on the head of a pin, I will simply play with the noise gate on the recordings tracks.

That is really a relief not having to crank the gain or volume all the way up to 10 all the time!

The design is compact and should fit a standard microphone stand but it needed mods to fit my configuration.

Fortunately, this was easily fixed with the universal mount by König & Meyer:

Live configuration
Recording configuration

New look for my Marshall 8240

I hardly remember my first amp. It was black and green with linear equalizer pots but I totally forgot the brand. It was good enough to learn how to play guitar on my first Aria Pro II (red and black Strat-like) but I ended up selling both because they didn’t pass the gigs test. I replaced the guitar with another Aria Pro II, the TA-60 and later on with the Samick SCM-1B when things got serious. Regarding the amp, I set my sights on the Marshall Valvestate 8240 Stereo Chorus which was working very well with my “pedalboard” (CryBaby and Korg A4).

We were in 1993. Since then, you can imagine the amp aged a lot!

I can’t count the times I carried this amp from smoky rehearsal rooms to my place, friends places, bars, shows and festivals stages. To finish with, my cat puked on it (several times) and so did he on my PODxt live years later…

That’s why I decided to give this amp a “little” refresh and why not start a complete makeover with on my todo-list:
• Ivory tolex
• Brushed silver face plate
• Silver pot buttons
• Black power switch
• Grey grill cloth
• Side handles

Here is an idea of what I aimed at:

Continue reading “New look for my Marshall 8240”

A very, very special Les Paul!

This story began in 2005 when I bought this on eBay:

The seller claimed it was a 1956 Les Paul Junior that once looked like this:

Unfortunately, he was never able to tell me the serial number (that’s my big regret about the transaction, but the price was fair enough as the guitar was a real wreck).
Did you notice how deep torture this guitar went into? The seller and/or the previous owner(s) added a second pickup and drew holes almost everywhere…

What should I do with this wrecked LP body?

I had two options:
1- Make it look like a ’50s Junior again
2- Change it to some guitar I’d like to own and play with

Continue reading “A very, very special Les Paul!”