Since dinosaurs roamed this planet, Korg USA has been the American distributor of Marshall Amplification. Marshall being an English made amplifier, used Korg to promote and set-up American dealers tosell to the public. In the fall of 2010, Korg ended their long time partnership with Marshall, quickly forming Marshall USA; headed by Marc Lee Shannon and US Music Corporation out of Mundelein, Illinois. You may know US Music Corporation as Washburn Guitars among many other great brands of musical instruments.
Things seem to take another turn for the Marshall group. As English made amplifiers come into the United States through California, they must meet California standard requirements. In this case, California Electric would not allow Marshall U.K. ship any amplifiers into the states without recertification. Meaning, having every amplifier re-certified and anything that did not comply must be changed to meet the California regulations. It appears that no major components like transformers or speakers had to be altered, real tone changing components. Little things like switches on one model and rubber feet on another. That and a little persuasion gives Marshall the green light to get amplifiers shipping back to the U.S. from August of 2010 through all of 2011, there will be no English made Marshalls coming in. There will be a few exceptions, the very Limited AFD 100 and the YJM Limited Edition heads and later in the fall the Class 5 head and combo. The 2011 Dealer price lists had none of the best selling historic Handwired or Re-issue models in them and are unavailable this year. A weird time for Jim Marshall.
As unfortunate as it can be Jim Marshall founder of Marshall Amplification, suffered 3 strokes. After developing some of the greatest amplifiers ever and manufacturing consistent quality, he is forced to appoint twoof his employees to head the great empire. These guys weren’t engineers and really aren’t going to be able to fill Jim Marshalls roll of innovation and design. There is hope on the homefront here in the states. Marc Lee Shannon is Vice President of Marshall US. He is on the ground running, listening to dealers and finding out what musicians are looking for. What a concept. There is great hope that by the beginning of 2012 we will see something big from Marshall. It will be their 50th anniversary. And for a while now there has been a void in their mid priced amplifiers since the DSL and the AVT has been discontinued. There are new models showing up at NAMM this winter to surprise everyone. There will be a 40 watt tube combo and possibly a head to compete with the deluxe. The MG series will be revamped and will have that great Marshall distortion we all want. Class 5 combo and head with some tweeks that will be a hit. Watch for the 50th anniversary models as well. Final note;the YJM100 is set to hid the door late May or June of 2011 and will be very limited. Certain dealers that ordered early will have these and most will be pre-sold. The YJM will have similarities of the legendary 1959 plexi, a 100 watt all valve head that will include a foot switchable boost, noise gate, fx loop, a half power switch to go from 100 to 50 watts and Marshall’s new electronic power attenuation technology. This amp is self biasing as well as a meter on the back that shows which tube isn’t working properly. If you can get one of these amps, do it. It will be a collectors item.
There is a great book of Jim Marshall that everyone should reed called The Father of Loud. Some of the greatest stories that you couldn’t make up.]]>
Steven Tyler, the singer of Aerosmith announced he was joining forces with American Idol to be a judge. He already has many irons in the fire such as; a new biography, a few new singles and a full tour with Aerosmith.
Tyler was in Japan recording the theme for “Space Battleship Yamato” called “Love Lives” was to be released late December. A live action film released in December of 2010. This was said to be Tyler’s first solo project. The slow ballad is based upon the ending scene in the movie and is about wanting to protect a loved one. Steven Tyler is currently finishing up another solo, “Oxygen (Feels So Good).” Sources say the new autobiography, “Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?” A Rock and Roll diary type documentary will debut around May 3, 2011. The solo, Oxygen will accompany the book. Aerosmith was reported dissing the solo, “Oxygen” and said it would not be part of the Ultimate Aerosmith Hits album. Tyler will keep this as a solo and will be released later in 2011.
Tom Hamilton, Aerosmith’s bassist broke wind of a new Aerosmith album hopefully late this year (2011)followed up by a full US tour. They are patiently awaiting Steven Tyler to finish American Idol before disclosing any of the tour dates. Tom claims that the new album will be all about Rock and Roll not winey pop music. Hamilton has said he is bursting at the seam to get on the road and do this tour. Also, not yet announced, Hamilton and Aerosmith are expected to perform on American Idol later this season (2011).]]>
G&L Guitars, the finest hand made guitars and basses manufactured in Fullerton, California. Any U.S. boutique guitar builder producing guitars starting at $995.00 with a hardshell case is the best deal in town. Especially if it’s Leo Fender’s designs. The name G&L is George Fullerton and Leo Fender.
Leo Fender, hands down produced some of the greatest gear ever. From Fender in the 50′s and 60′s, then Music Man, and now G&L guitars and basses; Leo’s finest accomplishments. After many years of building great name brand instruments, Leo continued to learn and improve his products. G&L guitars and basses have some of the best features on the market today.
G&L are totally custom guitars. They do not stock basic catalog models in certain colors like most guitar companies. All guitars are custom ordered by selecting body woods, neck profiles and decorative features. Many independent G&L dealers pick out various combinations of features and have custom guitars built to their liking. You may need to call ten different dealers to find the exact guitar with all of the appointments you are looking for.
The G&L Legacy is the most popular model. The Legacy is a strat style body and is equipped with 3 alnico V magnet pickups resulting in boutique stratocaster tone. Leo Fender designed these pickups slightly hotter than the standard strat and keeping the integrity so you don’t loose the clean sound and full volume. G&L uses medium jumbo fret wire to give you more string to surface for more vibration. More mass on their bridge and tremolo blocks to also enhance vibration and lastly hand fit necks into the neck pockets to insure the tightest fit for the best possible continuity of string vibration. You can also get this model in a HB version with a humbucker in the bridge position. They now make the Legacy in a semi-hollow version. Legacy Deluxe is basically an HB but with a premium flamed maple top over ash. Legacy Special has the 3 mini dual blade humbucking pickups and lastly the Legacy 2HB comes with (Neck – Seymour Duncan ’59 SH-1, Bridge – Seymour Duncan TB-4) for all of you hard rockers. This model comes standard with a fulcrum bridge but a saddle lock bridge is also available. Options are, alder or ash body wood and maple or rosewood fingerboards. Nut width on the standard #1 neck is 1 5/8″ and a 12″ radius.
Commanche, similar to the Legacy body style but with ceramic magnet Z-coil pickups. A higher output pickup and able to achieve many variables of tone with a 5 way selector and a mini toggle that enables neck and bridge or all 3 pickups together. The Commanche is at the higher price of the line because of all the premium options that come standard. The Commanche and the S-500 are the only models with the mini toggle option. The Commanche is also available in a semi-hollow model. Schaller 12:1 locking tuners, chrome hardware, dual fulcrum tremolo, graph tech nut, tolex wrapped hardshell case, ash or alder body wood and rosewood or maple fingerboard options. Standard #1 neck comes with a 1 5/8″ nut width and a 12″ radius.
S-500 is a model similar to the Legacy but with 3 magnetic field design single coils and ceramic magnets; highest output pickup that G&L offers. Great for rock ‘n roll. Equipped with a 5 way selector and a mini toggle that enables neck and bridge or all 3 pickups together. The S-500 comes with a dual fulcrum tremolo, non-locking tuners, pickguard, chrome hardware and a tolex wrapped hardshell case. Standard S-500 comes with a #1 neck, 1 5/8″ nut width and 12″ radius. Maple or rosewood fingerboards optional. Body woods, alder or ash also optional. S-500 Deluxe is same as S-500 but with a premium flammed maple top over ash, locking tuners and no pickguard. A semi-hollow version is also available.
The G&L brand is a line not commonly sold at a major chain or box store. They are totally custom guitars and basses with many options to the customer. Your independent musical instrument dealer that sells G&L will be able to help you select a model by selecting the pickups you like. Pick the neck option from a #1-1 5/8″ nut and a 12″ radius, #2-1 5/8″ nut and a 7.5″ radius, #3-1 11/16″ and a 12″ radius or a #4 1 3/4″ and a 12″ radius. Maybe you want maple or rosewood fingerboard. Birdseye maple is a nice upgrade. Gunoil tint, clear gloss, matching headstock paint, graphite nuts and locking tuners all upgrades when selecting a neck. Select the body wood, alder or ash. You can get premium tops with flammed or quilted maple. Body binding, whether you want natural wood top binding or white double bound. Many different color pickguards are available. Dual fulcrum tremolos or G&L saddle lock fixed bridges are the choices for these guitars. All U.S. made guitars come with a hardshell case.
The Midwest’s largest G&L dealer midlothianmusic.com
5 position pickup selector plus mini-toggle switch enabling additional pickup combinations of neck+bridge or all 3 pickups together, volume, PTB system5 position pickup selector plus mini-toggle switch enabling additional pickup combinations of neck+bridge or all 3 pickups together, volume, PTB system]]>
Bob Taylor and Dave Matthews have collaborated to create the DMSM signature guitar late 2009. They decided on a 914CE, Grand Auditorium. They set out to build 400 limited signature models and to end production in July of 2010. This will be a commemorative and collectible guitar for years to come. Taylor has just announced that a Dave Matthews production model is in the works and will go into production later this year 2010. There will be significant changes to the inlay and other key features. Now is the time to seek your local guitar shop and get one of the commemorative signature guitars before they’re gone. The new production model will not be nearly collectible nor hold the same long term value.
The 914CE has a solid sitka spruce top with a natural, aged toner and thin skin gloss on top. With of course, CV Sitka Bracing w/Relief rout. The Thin CV bracing overlaps into the relief rout to enhance top vibration. A huge discovery of Bob’s and a great asset to Taylor Guitars tone.
The back and sides are solid Indian Rosewood, decorated with ivoride binding and the sound hole and top are outlined in abalone.
The neck is made of Tropical American Mahogany and the fingerboard is ebony.
The really cool fingerboard Inlay consists of Cindy inlays w/ “Grux” & Crown. The “Cindy” in which is found on the 914 series and the Crown at the 12th fret to commemorate long time band member & saxophonist LeRoi Moore who passed several years ago. Grux a name associated with the late LeRoi Moore was inlayed in abalone near the lower fingerboard in memory. This is a great tribute in many ways.
An ebony headstock with custom inlay, designed by Dave himself, really adds to the look of this guitar.
Featuring Ebony bridge, Gotoh 510 Gold Tuning Machines, Taylor ES Pickup System, Elixir Light Nanoweb coated Strings and a Bone Nut and Saddle. A Brown Tolex Wrapped Plywood, Taylor Deluxe hardshell is included.
Scale Length is 25 1/2″
Neck Nut Width is 1 3/4″
15″ Fingerboard Radius
This guitar is by far one of the best combinations of tonal woods and bracing, achieving ultimate acoustic guitar tone. Bob Taylor himself has stated numerous times that Indian Rosewood and Sitka Spruce is his favorite tonal woods period. All of the decorative inlay and abalone detail is as good as it gets. The story behind the Grux and the crown shows how important Dave’s band is to him. This guitar really is a dedication to Grux who has passed and deeply missed.
One lucky winner will win a trip to San Diego, California to see the Dave Matthews concert on August 20th 2010. After the show, the winner will meet Dave Matthews and receive a signed Dave Matthews signature model guitar. The winner will also get a private tour of the Taylor Guitar Factory in El Cahon, California to see how the Dave Matthews signature model guitar is made. Click on link to enter to win.
The question frequently asked is what speaker is right for my rig. The frustrating thing is that many perceive speaker impedance and speaker output in some demented theory. I hear many wrong descriptions as to what impedance is and adding 2 or 4 speakers to change impedance or change the impedance in a speaker to change the tone. Let’s look at this in a way to benefit tone. Tone is the separation of amature and pro.
Electrical impedance extends the concept of resistance to alternating current circuits. Resistance can be measured with your ohm meter. A speaker has a voice coil that has copper wire wound as many times to create the correct resistance, meaning2,4, 8 or 16 ohms for example. A 16 ohm coil will usually have a thinner wire but with more wire turned. A lower ohm coil would have less wire turned to achieve a lower impedance. More wire creates more resistance but not a noticeable difference in tone. One thing to remember is that increased impedance will decrease distortion but increase it’s resolution.
To keep it simple, voltage can figure the total current and this will help you calculate total impedance of multiple speakers in parallel. Let’s say 10 volts is applied to a speaker. So divide 10 volts by 1.25 amperes and you get 8 ohms. Now add 2- 8 ohm speakers and divide 10 volts by 2.5 amperes and you get 4 ohms. Now add a total of 4- 8 ohm speakers and divide 10 volts by 5 amperes and you get 2 ohms.
Electrical current from an amplifier passes through a speaker coil which then through resistance and other varibles, magnetizes the coil, creating a magnetic field. The current variations that pass through the speaker are now converted to magnetic forces, which move the speaker, then forces the driver to move and produce air motion.
Speaker Cabinets are one of the biggest components of tone. Cabinet design and tonal woods. Most would think that a heavier cabinet would resonate better. Wrong, the finesse is in the resonance of the wood, just like an acoustic guitar. The right wood combinations will brighten or darken your tone. Tonal woods such as birch and maple are commonly used as well as many others. Vibration is key to resonance and with the right tonal wood and the right speaker, results will be the greatest. But air movement now comes into play. Different speakers project more or less air. The cabinet having an open back or closed back matters on which speaker you go with. Many bass cabinets use a closed back in order to get better bass projection and lower tone.
Selecting a speaker can be overwhelming. Many choices from Jensen, Eminence and Celestion. The speaker can also be one of the biggest tone, pros or cons. The first and most important thing is to select a speaker that has the correct output handling. If you have a 15 or 20 watt tube amplifier, you would normally find a 40 watt speaker. This will give you enough head room but not distort at high volume. The number one mistake people make is to put a large wattage speaker in a low wattage amp and if the speaker doesn’t fully extend, you won’t get the full tone from the speaker. It’s like playing a 120 watt half stack with the volume on 2 and say this amp sounds terrible. Then turn the amp to 6 and then say,wow this amp woke up, the same goes for any amplifier. Have the right balance so that your average volume is enough to move the speaker to achieve optimum tone. If you like the great American vintage amps like the 57 Deluxe, a 15 watt all tube amp, or a 65 Deluxe Reverb, you will find a 40w Jensen 12Q with alnico magnets. Great warm sound. Now Eminence offers the legend series and there is a 35w or a 50w alnico magnet speaker, perfect replacement for your American vintage amplifiers. Marshall uses Celestions for most of their amps, the famous 1960 re-issue cabinets have 4 Celestion G12T 75 watt speakers with ceramic magnets, giving you that British tone. Now the Marshall bluesbreaker 30 watt all tube combo is loaded with 2 Celestion greenback 12″ speakers and ceramic magnets. This amp on the clean channel is warm and full of tone. This is one of the most popular speakers and can used for any low wattage combo or 4X12 cabinets. The Celestion vintage 30 is a 60w ceramic magnet speaker and is another wonderful choice for any speaker replacement. The Fender super-sonic 112 combo uses the vintage 30 speaker so you can get an idea of some of the best speakers on the market.
The best way to determine which is the best way to go is to play some of these amplifiers and listen to the tone at the average volume you normally play. Higher end boutique amplifiers and higher priced name brand amps use quality tonal woods for their cabinets to enhance quality tone. Look at different speakers and make your decision. If changing speakers in your existing amplifier use good judgement keeping in mind size, wattage and correct ohms.]]>
Andy Mackie the Harmonica Man
A true American hero that resides in Washington State and lives in a mobile motor home. Andy is a retired horse trainer. He has undergone 9 heart surgeries and by the grace of God, is around today to carry out his mission.
Andy’s doctors had him on 15 different medications causing him many difficulties in his life. One day Andy decided to stop taking all of his medications and to use all of his prescription money to do something extraordinary with it. He wanted to buy harmonicas so he could give to the local children and teach them how to play. Andy took his prescription money and bought 300 harmonicas and gave them away along with his complimentary lessons. Still alive the next month even though not taking the medication, he bought another couple hundred harmonicas and continued to donate and teach.
11 years later Andy Mackie has purchased 16,000 harmonicas and goes from school to school donating instruments and his time teaching children how to play. Andy now spends most of his time making strum sticks. A strum stick is like a travel guitar but with 3 or 4 strings. Andy has given away thousands of these strum sticks using most of his social security check in hope of keeping the older students interested in music. But Andy has purchased many used, manufactured instruments from local music stores, and provides for special students who show advanced musical interests.
After airing the article, a viewer donated $5,000.00 to Andy, so he hired a part time teacher to help him and is showing the kids how to make the strum sticks. The hope is for the kids to carry on a tradition of building the strum sticks and teaching others well after Andy Mackie has gone.
Andy has had many heart problems over the years and recently had his tenth heart surgery. Andy will not go quietly. He has set out to spread his love of music and to donate back to the community he loves. There is nothing else he would want to do. Andy said that he feels richer inside than Bill Gates after all of his giving back and his extraordinary accomplishments.
Andy Mackie is a true American hero and respected by many.
Even though all of his set backs, Andy pushes on every day. His story has touched many people in Washington State and now across the world. At the Northwest Folklife Festival, Andy set the Guinness World Record for the largest harmonica band ever to perform in one place.
Please donate to the Andy Mackie Music Foundation http://andymackiemusic.org
Harmonica Man Please watch video
God Bless America]]>
Everyone has an opinion as to which way the guitar should be played. The majority of local music stores want to tell you to play the guitar right handed because they have walls of right hand guitars and very little left hand instruments, but they are there to sell instruments and sometimes not looking out for the customers best interest.
The best way to find out what is right for you is to seek out a guitar music store that carries both right and left hand guitars. You want a good selection of name brands but definitely not low budget brands from the box store. Supermarkets that sell guitars are toys, try to avoid these, even if your child doesn’t follow through with anything. A quality shop will have a stool or some sort of chair, make your self comfortable. Sit down and try both. Most people know right away when the wrong guitar is in their hands, meaning right or left hand. They flip it back and forth to see what may feel more natural. If one or the other seriously doesn’t feel right than it probably isn’t right for you. One hand is strumming and the other is pressing down the strings on the fingerboard. If both guitars feel they will work, than go with the right hand model. You’ll have more choices. There are thousands of right hand models to choose from, but each manufacturer may only have a few left hand models and only in a few colors.
The pros about these guitars are that every model available is right hand. There is a huge variety of colors to choose from and different shapes and sizes of guitars to look at. Guitar method books have always been designed around the right hand guitar. Chord charts and song books are written for the right hand player. Lefties have to cross reference the chords in their mind while site reading music, another big advantage for the right hand player. There are some left hand method books starting to appear today. Very little and little to no song books for the lefties. For the record, if you are left handed, your left hand is the strongest and you have more control. This gives you the advantage playing a right hand guitar because your left hand is doing most of the work.
During the 1960′s, Jimi Hendrix was the guy who really made the left handed guitar famous. And from this point on, the left handed guitar has become more and more popular today. Limited to only a few models per brand. Maybe one or two colors to choose from in most brands. Very limited to any options such as fingerboard radius or neck thickness. We’ve already discussed the lack of left hand sheet music, so no need to continue. The final downer for the lefties is that the left hand models cost a little more due to lower production.
Your local musical instrument repair shop is the place to go if your right hand guitar can be retrofitted to left hand. Not all guitars can be retrofitted. If you have an electric guitar, you probably have a better chance of working this out. The strings must be reversed and this means reversing the nut at the top of the fingerboard. In some cases the nut is custom made and can cost around $50.00 to make a new nut. Once the strings are on you’ll need the bridge saddles switched around and intonated so all of your strings sound in tune as you play further up the fingerboared. Most electrics can be converted.
Most steel string acoustic guitars cannot be converted, the bridge saddles are slightly angled and there is no way to easily change this without prying off the rosewood bridge that is bonded on and re-bonding a left hand bridge back on. Now classical guitars are easier to convert. Classical guitars are the nylon string guitars with a straight bridge saddle. There is no altering needed to the saddle. Just replace the nut and convert to left hand, change the strings and your ready to play. ]]>
Many people search for the right music store to get a good music education for themselves or for their children. We hear from friends or family members that they’ve seen or heard of a place to look into. But this process becomes overwhelming after seeing all of the options. Where should I go? Which Places have the best Teachers? Who has the best lesson programs?
There are stores popping up every day that offer music lessons. The big trend is inexperienced teachers going to a well known shops and building a schedule of students and swindling the students from the store and opening their own music lesson store. These people are technically stealing students to try and open their own store quicker, but they won’t be around long with this mentality. Some teachers are qualified in a way that they went to a music college and earned a degree to teach specific instruments. Some teachers have taken some private lessons or have learned on their own and then are teaching in a facility where you would expect degreed instructors and most people don’t know who’s really teaching them.
Even in a good economy, people price shop their children’s education as far as music lessons go. This is ridiculous. Top symphony players or even top artists from time to time seek out experts to correct bad habits or get help to advance. This could add up to $400.00 and hour for instructors at the top of their game, so what you pay is what you get. Don’t go with the cheapest advertised lessons in your neighborhood, these people are undercutting the others because their ability to teach is sub par, so they resort is undercutting costs to draw price shoppers and as a result you get the worst service you can get. If they were of any caliber they would charge the going rate. Shops offering 1st lesson FREE, beware, this is another advertising cover up for inadequate teaching. Quality teaching naturally attracts customers through word of mouth. So beware of price under cutters and free lesson advertisers, there is a reason for this.
Do a little research before you make a decision. Look for a store that has been in the community for long period of time. If they have been around 30 or 40 years they must be doing something right. Make sure they have a good following and good reputation. You can look online at their website reviews and possible blogs. If they don’t have a website or any reviews then beware. Alot of lesson facilities have good salesmen promoting their program, don’t go based on a sales pitch. See how many teachers they have, How many students are going there. See if the store has degreed teachers and specific teachers to teach specific instruments. Some small stores have a small amount of teachers that teach multiple instruments and not a specialists in any one instrument. This in not recommended. Find a store that has individual teachers specializing in the instrument you want to learn. No exception. Make sure your teacher actually plays the instrument your learning. If they can’t play the instrument well, they are probably one step ahead of you and I would not want to pay someone of this caliber to teach me when there are many experts available. Some teachers should have background checks and quality stores should provide this. Quality stores allow parents in the lesson rooms at any time, this is a plus.
We’ve heard of great lesson facilities that are full service stores. This really is important. Select a store that offers sheet music, method books, accessories like drum sticks, strings and basic supplies. If you brake a string during your violin lesson, is the lesson over if the store doesn’t have replacement strings for sale. If they don’t provide repairs and you can’t get your broken string installed, is your lesson over that you paid for? Full service stores are the answer. If you are purchasing a musical instrument, see if the store provides lessons with the criteria we’ve talked about, see if they provide free service on their instruments and see if they actually do the service in their stores. Alot of stores say they provide repairs but actually farm out the work out to another store. If they offer all of these things, this is the store you want provided they have a great reputation and great teachers. If you have to leave the store to get your next method book or piano sheet music, are you at the right place.
If the Music store resembles a house, it probably doesn’t have the proper imenities for a safe environment. The lesson rooms are possibly in a bedroom or converted basement but what about in the case of a fire. Hallways in a commercial building are to be 44″ wide and they required to have fire extinguishers throughout the building. How do you evacuate many people from a building that has narrow hall ways and may have to go up or down from different levels of the building quickly, impossible and unsafe. These old and unprofessional facilities are not sound proof. Sound travels between the thin walls and through the vents from room to room with in a house. Think about the flu season and multiple people in a small facility like a house, the heat or air conditioning travels through 1 supply and 1 return and can transmit viruses during flu season throughout the house resulting in a high percentage of people getting sick.
A quality musical store teaching music classes would normally have large sound proof rooms with enough room for parents to sit in. Usually a waiting area out side of the music lessons is a must. The nice feature of a state of the art music shops is that they have individual supply and return heat and air conditioning into each of the lesson rooms. This brings fresh air in from the outside and exhausts circulated air back outside. To bring individual lines into each room is very expensive, usually about $50,000.00 but the plus is that viruses and stagnant air will not circulate into any of the other rooms also keeping each room comfortable. This cannot be possible in any house setting. Good shops have some larger studios for either multiple instrument rehearsal, school of rock programs, working with woodwind and brass ensembles or orchestral groups. Lastly, a quality facilitywill usually have nicer gear in the lesson rooms to aid in better and more exciting lesson.]]>