Hey guys, I'm currently using the berklee books to shape up my theory and reading but there is not much focus on the techniques of rock playing. Im quite expeirenced and are rally just using books to formalise my decade or so of learning through teachers and the internet. Which book should i add to my practice routine?
I feel like I've plateaued in my playing, and I've realised it's due to not practicing enough. I just haven't a clue what to practice. When I was younger I would just noodle scales for hours which was fun but probably inefficient. I have a good knowledge of pentatonics and basic theory (chord construction, harmony) but my playing feels very stale. Hopefully your practice routine's can give me some inspiration.
So, I've been fixing up an old encore stratocaster for a friend and i recently got around to trying to re wire the thing, After the first time wiring i plugged it in and all i got was a loud buzzing from my amp that changes whenever i touch the bridge, pots, or selector switch, yet nothing when i touch the pickups with a screwdriver.
the tremolo claw ground was connected and i believe all the pickup grounds were wired correctly as i was following a wiring diagram, so after shamefully redoing the electronics to different diagrams a few times i've made no progress and just get the same results of buzzing and no pickup signal.
One thing to note, as these are cheap guitars with cheap components, the pickups do not have seperate hot and ground wires, being the hot wire in the middle, then white insulation, then the ground wire, then one piece of red insulation around the whole thing, I don't know whether this changes how these should be wired or not?
I've considered myself settled on tone for a very long time: every time I go to a guitar store I try and rent everything I can get my hands on but I always go back to my Les Paul with Humbucker and a dialed in 410H. I'll play anything, but I always go back.
I'm a software engineer by trade, and we borrow a term from mathematics: local hill climbing. What it means in this story is that I was perfecting a single sound: the classic distorted tone, bouncing around somewhere between Slash, Satriani and Jerry Cantrell by dialing in knobs.
But while you may be king of your particular hill, that doesn't mean you're standing on the tallest mountain. What else is out there?
Two huge tones recently knocked my socks off: Ty Tabor of King's X (Dogman, Black the Sky) and Mike Ness of Social Distortion (Bakersfield, When the Angels Sing). Digging in, I realized they both played P90 pickups, and they had warm, shimmering mids when broken up, and clear highs.
My preferred distortion sound is about a 2.5 on a Marshall, but with the treble kicked up: the heat of the signal comes from the hair on the sound while keeping every note clear and the sound tight. Searing; no flubby lows. These particular players were achieving all of this, and in the case of Ty Tabor, he was pulling it off tuned down a step and half! I could not get my Humbucker based Les Paul to sound this way. This demanded investigation.
To begin my experiment, I ended up picking up a Classic TBK P90 from Prestige Guitars. Prestige is a local shop out of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada that builds guitars of amazing quality for the price. The Classic TBK is also roughly 7lbs which makes it much more manageable than my other option, a Goldtop Les Paul.
I am not affiliated with Prestige Guitars in any way, but I highly recommend you check them out. Their product is excellent and if you're local, going to their showroom is an experience.
I knew the sound I was going for, and when I started approaching it with my Marshall 410h, I realized I was cranking or zeroing each EQ channel, which is a sign that I have the wrong amp for the job.
I recalled playing an Orange Crush amp awhile ago which seemed to have desirable qualities. I asked myself "I wonder if there are any Youtube videos demoing them?" And, to my surprise, Ty Tabor endorsed them. It was on. I had to check them out with my P90-based guitar in hand.
The sound was immediately warm and tight, and I fell in love. Keep in mind that I try new gear all the time, have a five-figure gear budget, and here I was playing a $700 solid state amp that was inspiring my ears after years of not finding a single thing that held a candle to my existing rig.
I ended up buying the Orange Crush 35 watt and the 60 watt so I could try them both, with a plan to return the one that didn't suit me as well. It quickly became clear that the 60W was the keeper -- the larger cabinet just has more resonance and the attenuator lets me play quieter, ironically.
At this point, I'm blown away and couldn't be happier! My mids are sweet, bright, and my tone is tight and expressive in detailed passages. And to top it off I don't have to worry about valve maintenance. There is a noticeable drop off in dynamics over using a valve amp, but that only matters in a few situations, and I'm happy to keep a valve amp around for that.
Conclusion and Cool Links
I hope this story inspires someone to embark on a tangent and chase a tone they admire.
Here are some links to sounds and gear that have inspired this journey:
A little background on my needs as musician, i produce music from my home studio and this guitar will be recorded more often than taken out and performed with. However i’ve got a nice $800 budget for a good guitar and would like it to serve both purposes. A work horse for the studio, and a solid reliable player live. I just sold my squier affinity tele, which had a neck i grew to love, and a sound i was happy recording with, but i also know how entry-level that guitar was. It served me well for the money I had at the time and the projects it was recorded on.
The Classic Player has caught my eye because i know it can be argued that tonally a strat is more versatile than a tele. That is something i’ve only heard from others, and don’t personally have the expertise to really know if that’s necessarily true or not. I don’t have enough experience with Strats.
Bottom line: for my needs, should i go for the Classic Player 50’s strat or the Baja Telecaster? Which will i be happier with? I guess i’m mostly worried about buyers remorse.
Will definitely try to get to my local guitar center to try both and see what i like best, just thought i’d post here and get some outside opinions. Thanks!