Handmade Hawaiian Shirts

Oh – the money I coud spend here! Actually $95 per handmade shirt isn’t bad at all – just a little beyond my current budget – I’d be afraid to perspire in one of these shirts – and I perspire a lot onstage!

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We’re off on holiday today, to Kielder, so there’ll be no posting till I get back, when I’ll thrill you with endless picture of trees and wildlife etc. Please don’t forget us – do keep coming back. I’m also having email trouble, so those of you who send me mails should send them to gary dot grainger at gmail dot com. Dot that?
Look after each other while I’m away, won’t you?

Kwipment Kall

In an attempt to offer more variety in my guitar playing tonal palette, I’ve been researching different effects pedals. I was thinking of replacing my Boss ME6 with something new and flashy, after I played a gig without it. (I left it at home, by mistake). Discussion over at uk.music.guitar gave me lots of advice and guidance (They’re the bunch who helped me choose my Laney amp.) Some of the things I was considering (thanks to input from ukmg) are: Carl martin Quattro, Zoom G7.1ut and Zoom G9.2tt. However, there is a strong wave of opinion that states that multi-fx units are usually only used for 6 or 7 of their presets, and their potential is hardly ever realised.

I have a Boss ME6:

which I have had for quite a while. However, I use it in manual mode only, which allows me to switch each effect in or out as I require. I’ve never managed to have the time to spend accessing and editing the patches. The effects I use on this unit are: a touch of chorus – on most of the time. For slide playing I use a lot of compression with some delay behind it – I find that this allows the notes to sing and ring out. And that is about it – I don’t use the distortion setting at all, because the drive channel on my Laney VC30 is way better than the distortion in this unit. I don’t use the reverb, because my Laney has a real reverb spring. I don’t use the EQ setting – just because.

So, what should I do? Well, the guys over at ukmg also recommended (some of them, at least) that the way to go is either rack (too expensive for me) or single pedals. The rationale behind single pedals is that you are free to use any pedal you want by any manufacturer (Boss are still very popular.) You can also put them in any order you want, whereas in a multi-fx unit, the patches have the effects going in a specific chain. And if you want to change a pedal for a better, newer, older or different one, you don’t have to replace the whole unit. Bearing all of this in mind, along with the fact, as I said, that I don’t use the patches on the Boss, I set about looking at pedals. Now, the Laney has a great sound, and I’m really glad I bought it. The Drive sound is just to die for, as our Yankee cousins might say. So why do I need an overdrive/gain/distortion pedal in front of that? Well, a well placed and well chosen gain stage can actually improve the sound from an overdriven valve amp.

Today I went to a second hand shop in Darlington where the owner plays guitar and always has an interesting stock of second hand pedals, as well as now carrying new cheap guitars (Vintage, Squeir, etc.) I’ve bought and sold a few things there in my time (including the Boss ME6 I mentioned above, actually). I was in a few weeks ago and was drawn to a Morley ProWah, which I thought could be used as a volume pedal and as a wah pedal. Well, try as I might, whilst the wah was great, (really great) I couldn’t get the pedal to function as a volume pedal. maybe I misunderstood the design, or maybe it was too hot and I wasn’t trying hard enough! (I’ve just checked the Morley website and find that the pedal is solely for wah. It was good, though so I might get it anyway.) Any road up, my eye was captured by a shiny Marshall Bluesbreaker2 pedal. Not boxed, but in pretty damn clean condition. I tried it out. I tried it out a lot. I used the boost setting to turn the cheap (£69!) strat clone I was playing into a honking honey, and when I switched it to the blues mode, the guitar became a blues beast. (well. not quite, but you get the idea.) I was impressed. I asked the price. I was even more impressed. I was so impressed that I bought the pedal. So it looks as if I’m on the way to getting a new pedal setup. The beauty of doing it this way, too, is that I don’t have to lay out hundreds of pounds at once – I can just keep my eyes open for sutable pedals. If only I could have got that Morley to work as I wanted it, I’d have had that too. And as I was leaving I noticed a Danelectro autowah lurking under some cables. I’ll have to go back and check that out.

So I’ll try the pedal out tonight with Blues Unlimited – we’re playing at The Bute Arms at High Spen. Come along if you’re in the neighbourhood – we’re on at 9pm.

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