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Rolling Thunder 2014

It is time for Rolling Thunder again (tomorrow). Kinda like the Superbowl of motorcycles for the Washington DC area. This is where half a million motorcycles from around this country, Canada and other countries as well descend upon our nation's capital for "The Ride to the Wall". Meaning we ride as an organized group to the Vietnam Veteran's memorial in Washington DC.   The event is a protest, a demonstration with the point being that we remember those who served our country during a time of war and never returned home, and to demand that our government achieve 100% accountability of all those who are prisoner of war (POW's), missing in action (MIA's). Even now, Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl was captured in 2009 and is American's only known living Prisoner of War in Afghanistan. We remember our soldiers and we want them returned to us.

HANGAR18

HANGAR18

 

Fat Strings Are Better = Urban Myth?

SRV is said to have used some REALLY fat strings and legend has it that those fat strings contributed to the tone he got out of his guitar. Zakk Wylde signature strings are so fat that they are practically bass guitar strings and the nut of the guitar needs to be re-cut so that they will fit. (been there, done that.) Dave Mustaine, Alex Skolnick... the list goes on; the names of guys who are said to be playing some REALLY fat strings on their electric guitars.   But are the benefits of fat strings simply an urban myth? Over and over lately I have been running across video interviews where Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top has been telling and re-telling the story of how he met BB King who asked him, something like, "Man, why are you working so hard?" implying that those really fat strings make the guitar player work much harder than he should have to. So, Billy Gibbons took that advise to heart and begun to install thinner and thinner strings on his guitars. Right now he is down to 7's on his guitars. I've seen many recent performances by Billy Gibbons and I would have never guessed that he had such thin strings on his guitars.   So my question to myself now is, Do I dare go to thinner strings on my guitar? Will people question my manliness if I were to install 9's on my big fat Heritage H157? Or 8's on my big beefy Les Paul? Would it be cheating to have a guitar that plays even more effortless than it already does now? If I ever do interviews for Guitar Player magazine, do I have to tell everyone if I am using teeny-tiny strings or do I just tell them that I've got a really big fat E string when in fact I really have a little tiny e string? Oh the humanity! Decisions, decisions! What to do!?

HANGAR18

HANGAR18

 

ironing out the sound problems

After our first gig when we really fought the sound gremlins, we decided that we would devote our next practice to sorting out the problem of sound so that we are ready next time. So meeting up at our rehearsal venue, instead of our usual rehearsal positions facing the drummer and each other, we lined up and started playing as if we were on a stage, we even allowed ourselves only a small space to play from to replicate smaller stages.   How ironic though that on this day when we wanted to sort out sound problems, Dave, our other guitar player then had problems with his brand new Fender Valve amp and could only get sound from the power amp, not the inputs for guitar. So being a bit of a genius with engineering and such, he managed to got some sound out of it but more of that later.   We're a bit of a traditional band in that we are back line plus an old Peavy 600 watt pa amp, after all, our money has gone on guitars, and as we're not singers we don't have enough budget for a huge pa set up with monitors. However, we are going to have to do something because we have difficulty in hearing the vocals. I actually own a 150 watt 6 channel pa amp which although would be run seperately, we could use as fold back with a pair of monitor speakers.   We had been playing too loud if the truth was known, so we set a level that would be pleasant for an audience and worked from there. We had two hours and it was time well spent. We now need to continue practicing the numbers we have learned over the previous weeks and perfect them, then start learning some more songs. We were messing with the Stones old hit, Paint it Black.   Getting back to Dave's amp, at four pm he shot off back to the shop he bought it from where they offered to repair it. He said that as it is under 30 days old he is entitled to a new one, so they are ordering one in for him which should be here next week.   Thanks for reading and best wishes, Mark.

mark555

mark555

 

Down sizing.

Ive recently sold a lot of gear including PA's, guitars, amps and cabs, pedals, recording gear, pick ups and anything that resembled an unused or unnecessary piece of gear. Its been a rewarding experience. I havnt finished the purge and still have stuff to get rid of. It will happen. There have been a few things that happened that I didnt really think about when I first started selling my gear. One of those things is space. Room to move. No clutter. Another is time. I dont have projects lying around to finish. Other people have them now. Theres no spare pick ups or wiring harness's to try in another guitar. No (insert guitar guy name here) pedal board to put together. No speakers to swap out and try and no box's of tubes to sample and obsess over. I seem to have spare time and a very strong feeling of spare time. There are no projects occupying my vision or my mind Space and time plus extra cash is a combination worth having over bits and bobs it turns out. It gives you options and time to think about the options. My space is two rooms 8mtrs by 5mtrs each. Its not a little space. It takes a bit of effort to fill it up and reduce it to a small amount of space. It takes some effort to empty it also. But I did it. This space I have is now too much space. I sit at my desk with a 5 space guitar rack next to it running along one wall and two amps running at 90degrees to it along another wall at the end and realise I take up less than 9sqm's of the 40sqm's in this room. Its not cosy. It has been sound proofed so there is no outside noises, its very quiet and to be honest, it seems quite lonely and cold. With all the gear gone this space seems to have less purpose. I think its more that it no longer serves my purpose. 31sqm's of redundancy and I want out of it. Ive negotiated a deal with my 18yr old daughter. I have her sunny 10sqm room and we clean, paint, re carpet and make more cheerful this room I have inhabited for 20yrs. Probably have to burn incense or go through some kind of purifying ritual as well. Hopefully she will get a few years use out of it before she moves out. She didnt say no. She has already picked carpet, curtains and colour scheme. Ive done like wise for my new little room. I wouldnt have guessed a few years ago that I would be this excited and happy to have less gear and less space. I also would never have guessed that there could be so much spare time in one day. Even though guitar takes up all my work day and most of my down time I feel less defined by it. Its a great feeling.   Have a sensational day.    

JeffB

JeffB

 

HANGAR18's Initial Test Entry

There is where I try to think of something which does not qualify as material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law.

HANGAR18

HANGAR18

 

Unhappy Customer looking for an answer from The Heritage team.

Dear Heritage team, I am writing you because I'm quite unhappy about a guitar that I bought not so long ago. Indeed, I bought this year a H535 model that sounds amazing and has beautiful back and sides but the job on the binding and black dots on the edge is just disgraceful for the price I paid. I bought it new on eBay from Route 7 Music. I have a 1993 Heritage H575 Custom that looks and sounds amazing and I'm sad to be disappointed by this new one. From a sound point of view, I have nothing to say, it's amazing. But it's hard to put love into an instrument that has very visible defaults on it, I don't play it that much because of these problems. I am a French professional guitarist based in London UK and all my friends told me that they wouldn't have bought this guitar if they had seen these annoying details. Me neither but the pictures on eBay didn't show them well. So here it is: my true disappointment. I will attach some detailed pictures. You'll clearly see the neck/body junction that looks cheap with the binding default and other close plans on the whole body contour. What about the control quality at end of the factory process? I was wondering how the warranty was working with you guys: Can I have this guitar restored or is there a way to repair these imperfections somewhere? I put a Bigsby on it and I would like to keep it as the back and sides look amazing but I would be more happy if I could have this issues fixed. Sorry again for this message, I love your guitars, I even sold two Gibsons because I always preferred your artworks but this time, it's too much disappointment for me not to complain to the owners and to the Heritage staff. Best regards, Maxime Raguideau-Obadia  

Maxime

Maxime

 

The first gig

After only being together for about four weeks, we were playing our first gig. We all looked forward to it, having rehearsed as much as we could. We had arranged to meet at the venue at 5pm because that would be the only time we could set up and get a sound check (more of the sound check later).   On the way to the venue, I decided to stop into a guitar dealer in Leeds and pick up a couple of guitar stands for the gig as I don't have any, and I bought a new mic clip to take my mic as the one on the stand I use is too narrow. While I was there I had a look at some PRS guitars as I may have to sell my 555 because the neck is too narrow and thin for my left fore finger to cope with when the tendonitis (well, I think that is what it is) flares up and it becomes painful to play). So, I am looking at a double cut PRS with a trem as a possible replacement. I really like PRS.   So, on to the gig where we all met up and proceeded to set up. The stage wasn't particularly big, but not too small, we all managed to get enough space to play. However, we could not get a sound check because of the way the event was organised and that caused problems from the word go.   The venue was very nice and we were made very welcome. The event was not as supported as well as the organisers would have liked and instead of about 150 minimum attending they got about 45, and about half of those people were 60 plus, some in their late seventies. Our target audience is people anywhere between 35 and sixty, and there were not many of that age group there. But, we were approached by the organisers who knew exactly what music we play.   We played two sets, a mix of Rock and Roll, R&B (Proper R&B, not this awful stuff the kids call r&b toay) and some good plain classic rock. I am pleased to be able to say that the feedback we got was that we went down really well and that on the whole, the audience really enjoyed our playing. And, we can honestly say that there were people on the dance floor all the time when we played.   However, there was another side to the gig that made it one of the hardest gigs I have ever played. From the word go we had sound problems, none of us know why, but we were getting signals that our vocals were not getting through. We were not playing any louder than we do at rehearsals where we have no trouble hearing ourselves, the drummers powered monitor was feeding back, it was as if every gremlin there is was coming out of the box. However, undaunted we carried on using a secondary sound system in the building. It worked fine for the audience, but we could not hear our vocals at all which made it very difficult. We know we have enough sound equipment even if it is not the latest technology.   So we used the gig as a learning curve, and when we practice next we are going to spend our time set up as if we were in a gigging situation and get the sound right, taking note of all the amp and PA settings. The next time we gig we want everything correct right from the word go, even if we can't get a decent sound check. It was hard work all night, but on the whole well worth it.   Thanks for reading, Mark.

mark555

mark555

 

In with both feet.

Today was our final practice before our first gig. Thankfully the gig is a friendly environment for us, which is good. We got next weeks gig when we had only been together two weeks and only had eight songs in the bag. So, we have done our best to get as many songs as we can together. The gig will be good for us because we can treat it as a shakedown gig and see what reaction we will get. Our bass players brother got us the gig and actually invited us, we didn't go looking for it. The audience will be perhaps 200 to 300 and will be in the city of Leeds, if we are not ready now then we will just have to do it right on the night. I am looking forward to it, my one fear is getting the sound right. We can be a little loud a rehearsal, I am keen to get things right for our audience who deserve the best we can give them.   This week I had my first attempt at making speaker leads for the PA. You have to understand that I am pretty ignorant about doing this kind of thing, having never done it before. We needed some decent length speaker cables for the PA, so I bought a 25 metre reel of twin core heavy duty pa cable, each core of copper being 2.25mm. I didn't realise the soldering such thick core to to a 5mm jack plug was going to be so difficult, and being unskilled, I just had to try until I got it right. The end result was successful, and I am quite proud of myself! I could enjoy doing something with electronics, maybe developing a new skill as a hobby. I have a friend who builds replica AC30 amps that are really excellent - I'd have one from him but he lives in Canada. Mind you, he is really skilled, he builds aneasthesia machines for a living.   So today we learned Sultans of Swing, and as it's all bar chords it doesn't half get your left forearm! But we did a great job of it thanks to Dave our other guitar player nailing the guitar parts and the vocals.   One thing we did discover though, is that because we have had such a short time to get over twenty numbers together, although we got them down to gigging standard when we learned them, we need to revisit them and replay them. However, I am confident that we will get them right on the night. There's enough talent to make a good night of it.   My main two playing guitars, my strat and my Tokai Les Paul both need some attention. The Stop bar is being pulled forward in the Tokai, so I will have to get it to a good tech. The Strat just has some wear and tear issues that are the result of 24 years of good use. It needs a new nut and the frets stoning, along with the thread inside the trem block. The Tokai needs seeing to as soon as I can it done. How ironic that they both need attention a week before our first gig, but isn't that often the case in these things?   Thanks for taking the time to read, it's much appreciated.

mark555

mark555

 

Almost ready.

We finally gave our band a name! We have opted for "Route 62" which is a spoof on Route 66. The M62 motorway runs from the east coast to the west coast and passes just north of my home town by about three miles or so. It is actually Englands busiest motorway. So, as we travel along it on a regular basis, we thought why not? the last band Shaun and I were is was given this name but it didn't get off the ground.   I think (and this is only my personal opinion) that so many bands start rehearsing all the stuff that can at times take for ever to get done and no momentum is gained. Once again we have rehearsed songs which although simple are very effective, some more so than I thought would be. This week they were very easy, so we got five in. On saying that though, sometimes the ones you think will be easy end up throwing a spanner in the works. Terry, our excellent drummer, was having quite the time sorting out the beat to Wonderful tonight, which is our obligatory end of dance "bum squeezer". How ever, we came up with a good version of it and we were all pleased. As our first gig is a dance, we have put a lot of sings in that folks can dance to, including some good old fashioned rock and roll, my personal favourite being the old JOnhhy Kidd and the Pirates number, "I'll never get over you". One number I really like that we put in as an extra that took us no more than two goes to nail was "Knife and Fork", which is an old Rockpile number, really good.   One thing we now need to do is get some pictures taken of us. We have started a facebook page just last night, so it is really early days on that. Our bass players son is really good with computer stuff so he is going to help us build a web site, I don't know how long it will be before we get it up and running, but sooner rather than later. We have not looked for gigs yet, but we have two to play so far. One on April 26th and another in May.   We've now had four rehearsals and we have 19 songs in the bag, next week will be our last practice before our first booking, we have worked out that we will have enough material for two forty minute sets. I myself would rather play one longer set but the event organizers want two, so two it will be. Next week the main object will be to run through our set and just add a couple more.   I now have my strat back from my son, he has neglected to wipe the strings clean after using it so the first thing I will do is put new strings on.   We are getting very tight now, which is great, and we are getting to know each other really well "musically", if you know what I mean.   Thanks for reading.

mark555

mark555

 

Hi Ho Silver...

Another four songs in the bag today, once again rehearsed to gigging standard. We practice every Saturday afternoon, meeting up at 12.30 and after setting up we work until 4pm. And in a good rehearsal session, it really is work, getting all the mistakes ironed out until it is right. Last week it was my fingers and brain which were not connecting, this week, Terry the drummer was having a difficult time by his standards. All I can say is that if that was a bad day, he must be incredible on a good one. As is often the case, drummers are the butt of jokes. However, Terry is the bedrock of the band laying down a very solid beat. His fills and endings are superb, and Shaun and I offered him the job in the driving seat after only two numbers and we have been proved right at every rehearsal.   We have been given a gig at a private function in the Yorkshire city of Leeds, an event run though the church Shaun and I belong to. It is regional and means that there could well be more gigs coming as a result. The gig is in April 26th and we now need to work out how to give a one and a half hour show at standards we set. #We have three weeks to get 12 more songs. So, we will be upping the pressure on ourselves.   Dave, our other guitar player is a great guy, easy to get on with and willing to do what's best for the band. But today he did say that he wanted to sing more and give more to the band. He said it in a positive way, he was just being enthusiastic. I told him that he had come from a band where he was the best in the band by far and every one else probably depended on him to hold it together, to which he agreed. I then said that he'd joined a band where there are four strong musicians who can all do what is needed, and that is a lot different to his last band. He smiled and agreed, and I said that we have only had three rehearsals and over the next few weeks he will have those opportunities. He was happy at that. He wasn't complaining, I just think he wants to contribute to the fullest extent he can.   Buying a 600 watt pa was a master stroke, it enables the band members with weaker voices to be brought into the mix. This was shown to great advantage in two of our choice of songs for this weeks rehearsal, Riot In Cell Block Number 9 and Hi Ho Silver Lining. You may know Riot in cell block number 9 by the Robins or from the Blues Brothers film. Those two versions are two slow for me and don't cut the mustard, so we beefed the song up a bit and put more fire into it, playing the Dr Feelgood version. It was superb, and I do not know of any other band playing this song. Hi Ho Silver Lining is a great number for an audience to dance to, and even of I say so, we did a great version of it. With three of us singing the chorus, it really made a difference. The other two numbers we rehearsed were I'm Hog For You and Tulsa Time. We are purposely looking for good numbers to play which other bands in our area are not covering. We know that we need to have a unique selling point, and as there are good bands out there, we need to be good but also different enough in our set list that we will get attention without being turned away.   My good friend and fellow forum member Peter Alton, always uses a guideline for buying a new guitar which is "do I have a job for it?" So far in this band I have only needed to use my Tokai, which is performing admirably. But soon I will need to get my Strat back from my son and use that for some of the songs that we are planning to do in concert gigs. Also, there is a need for a Telecaster and I am sure that at some point in the near future I will be posting pictures of one, it's just a case of finance right now. Hopefully we will get gigs which will provide the funds so that I don't take the money out of the family budget.   I know this band is going to be very good. There are better guitar players than Dave and I out there in the band world, but our two styles are very complimentary and Shaun and Terry are excellent in their own rights as bass player and drummer. The band's strength is that it is turning out to be greater than the sum of its parts. The timing is spot on and we are getting very tight. After three weeks we have twelve songs down to gigging standards, so it won't be long before we are good to go.   Thanks to all for reading and best wishes. Mark.

mark555

mark555

 

Modern Music

Spring is here and I'm once again looking for new ways to stir up creativity.   This spring I'm challenging myself into writing and recording with more frequency and less self-scrutiny. Bottom line is that practice makes perfect if I ever want to grow as a musician and as a songwriter.   I've been leaning on newer music for inspiration lately and so far, so good! I've once again turned my music room into a unkept mess of cables.   Thank you Modern Music.     http://www.heritageownersclub.com/forums/topic/26565-modern-music-wye-oak/

Guest

Guest

 

It's only rock and roll but I like it...

Just an up date on the band and how things are progressing. One thing I did during the week was to buy myself a new mic lead. Thankfully that was all that was needed and not anther microphone. I like decent equipment and just right now I don't have a lot of spare cash for band equipment. We bought a 600 watt Peavy pa amp a few weeks back, that proved a good investment. It's old but good and kicks out the power nicely. A bit like a big V8 engine, gets you there nicely without putting your foot down to the metal.   Our goal was to get another four songs down, Black Magic Woman, Before You Accuse Me, Rock and Roll Music and The Promised Land. All good rock n roll that will get your feel tapping even if you don't want to get up and dance.Today though, I just kept tripping over my fingers in the lead to Black Magic Woman, which I can normally play straight off. It was just one of those days.   So, another target reached, which is nail down four songs a each rehearsal. We are purposely learning easier songs in our early days, so that we can get a momentum going, we want to get twenty songs down quickly. When we've done that we will go for some that take a bit more effort and maybe only learn two at each practice.   The only problem we have now is thinking of a name for the band.   Once again, thanks for reading.

mark555

mark555

 

Now the work starts...

OK, the line up is complete and there are no more auditions to be held. We made our choice and we are sticking to our guns. And, a good choice it has turned out to be. This evening I wanted to call Simon, the guy who came last week, but I can not for the life in me find his telephone number, and looking back it seems that all the communication we had prior to the audition was through a site for musicians looking to find bands etc. So, as much as I would have preferred to have spoken to Simon personally because i feel it is good manners, I have had to send him a message thanking him for coming but explaining that we had chosen some one else. I told him that not being selected was not a reflection on his playing and on another week we may well have asked him to join. So, there we are.   During the week we bought an old Peavy 600watt pa amp, it only cost £100 so we thought why not take a punt on it? It turns out it is rather loud! But, it will give us a lot of headroom to work with for the vocals, the quieter singers will be giving enough volume to get their voices heard. The down side is that I need to buy a couple of new mic cables and possibly a new mic. I also treated myself to a really well made used mic stand in the week, which payed dividends at rehearsal today.   Today was our first rehearsal and the objective was to get at least four numbers down and play them at a level we could gig them. We worked on the following songs: Down at the Doctors and Back in The Night(Doctor Feelgood) Whiskey in The Jar (Thin Lizzy) I Hear You Knocking (Dave Edmunds). We really did work those numbers and got them how we wanted them, I am pleased to say that if we had to play an audition and choose four numbers, we could play those to a gigging standard. We have chosen four more for next week. We're aiming for thirty numbers to give us a full set. Just right now in the region where we would look to get gigs from, there are loads of blues bands, all sorts of youngsters playing what ever it is they do, but we all think that there is a big gap for what we want to do, which is Rock with a blues feel with two lead guitar players. Hopefully we will plug that gap.   We rehearse at the church Shaun and I used to attend before we moved to different towns, as it is easy to get to and free to us as Shaun and I are still active within our faith. I only mention this because it is relevent to the fact that our new guitar player Dave, is not at all religeous and he is having a hard time remembering not to swear! It's quite funny really, we have told him that we will get a swear box and fine him every time he comes out with something he shouldn't. But he is trying, and today he didn't go off the grounds for a smoke, I think he'd had one on the way to rehearsal.   Our first gig has already been cancelled, the party organisers think that every one would just prefer to sit and talk, and they have a bit of a disco - what a bad choice, there is no substitute for a live band, but try telling that to the masses who don't appreciate what real music is - LIVE!   As promised last week, here are a couple of pictures. I am the guy with the Sunburst single cut. Dave is the guy with the white single cut, and my life long friend and true brother Shaun is holding his P bass which he bought in 1977 when we went to London to buy it. Terry is our Drummer,a really powerful player.   Well, I can't post any pictures, so here's a link instead.   https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152070238653212&set=pcb.10152070239728212&type=1&theater   Thanks for reading, Mark.

mark555

mark555

 

And the winner is......

Today our auditions came to a close for a further guitar player to compliment the line up. Earlier this week we organised today's sessions with three different guys coming at intervals of one hour and fifteen minutes so each one could have fifty minutes with us. Well, that was the intention. Earlier on this week I had an e mail from one guy who said he had gone down with a really nasty cold and was getting worse, he would let me know on Friday if he was able to come. I don't know if he was really saying "I don't know if I want to do this or not, give me until Friday night to decide". But Friday night came and I got an email from him saying he was really ill and couldn't come, good luck with the band. He didn't ask if he could come next week or another time, so I am guessing that he wasn't really wanting to make a commitment, or his heart wasn't in playing in a band, so strike out one. The guy I was really interested in hearing play sent me an e mail saying that he had really thought about it, but he had too many family commitments and that two bands would be too much for him. Well, we want some one who will give us their loyalty. But, having had a couple of conversations with the guy I did like him very much and we agreed to keep each other's phone numbers because who knows what the future will bring.   So there we are, one guy left called Simon. Now Simon did turn up and brought his son with him, a nice kid of about sixteen called Mark. I am a big family man myself so I have no problems with him bringing his son and actually thought it to be a big plus because I have huge respect for guys who do things with their kids. Simon came with an Epiphone Semi, one of those 335 styles with the leaves inlayed into the headstock. His amp was a 75w line 6. Now I am always a bit concerned when people turn up with solid state and modelling amps, because being a traditionalist, I think that there can only be one type of amp for a guitar player, and no matter what brand the amp has, for me it has to have valves.   However, I digress. We enjoyed a couple of hours with him, our session was slowed down by Terry the drummer's bad back so we had a few rests, no problem for me with the Tokai strapped on, always good to take it off for a few minutes. So, we played the same songs we had played with the other guys, whiskey in the Jar etc. We liked Simon, nice guy, even if his amp didn't have valves in it! as a person he would have fit right in and that is a big part of this band. We played some rock and roll standards to see how quickly he could pick up a song without it being rehearsed. As a rhythm only player he would have done well, but as a lead player he wasn't quite there, although he was on the way. So after a good hour and a half with him we all shook hands, thanked him for coming and explained that we had other players to see, which he knew any way. We didn't really, but we wanted to discuss things. We genuinely enjoyed the audition.   So, after Simon had gone, Shaun, Terry and myself sat down and had a good talk between ourselves. As none of us wanted to spend any more time on auditions, having done three weekends of them, we felt we needed to move and complete the line up as we knew that we were happy with at least one of the guys we'd seen. Terry thought that Simon would fit in well as a person, which we all agreed with. But I asked Shaun and Terry that if it was a gut feeling, which guitarist we had seen would they choose? We all said it would be Dave, because we felt he could bring more to the band (a valve amp is always a good stat!!)and that his ability would allow me to step back at times and also allow a twin lead format when we want it. As a huge Wishbone Ash fan I want to cover a couple of their songs.   So, while we were all together I phoned Dave up and invited him to join the band, and he was thrilled to have been asked and said yes please. So we start rehearsals next week for our first gig in six weeks time. More of that in a minute. I am going to wait a week or so before I call Simon and tell him we went for some one else, and There is a reason for that. I want Simon to feel that he wasn't dismissed out of hand and that we considered him carefully. I am mindful that when you say no thanks to some one who has bothered to come and put them selves on the line that they deserve treating respectfully, and I shall call him up and explain that it was a very close decision and on another day it may well have been he who we asked to join. Also if some one can turn up, they deserve the courtesy of a phone call. I hope we swap phone numbers because he will get to be a better player and there is always the future. However, we want what is best for us and I am glad we went through the auditions as we did.   So, Next Saturday we start rehearsing properly. Shaun works for the inland revenue, or as the Americans would call it the IRS. His office is closing and he is transferring to Sheffield, which isn't far from where he lives. His office have organised a big party for about 150+ people and have asked him if he would get the band to play. We are doing this as a shake down gig to sharpen up and get a reaction to what we are going to play, so there is no charge as these are all Shaun's colleagues. Next week I am going to try and post some pictures, If I can work out how to get pictures on here from my tablet. A big thanks for taking the trouble to read this.

mark555

mark555

 

some one with a bit of potential....

After last Weeks session in purgatory, this week we auditioned some one who could actually play. We were going to audition two guitar players, but one of them decided to cancel on us because he liked half our song ideas but didn't get on with the other half. Well, at least he was up front about it and saved us the time. We are still recovering from last week when we had all lost the will to live.   So, any way, Dave turned up on time, coming up from the South Yorkshire town of Wath Upon Dearne. Dave came with a Stratocaster, a Peavy valve amp and himself, I like that, just the basic gear, nothing flash, but loads of enthusiasm and a willingness to fit in. We started off the session with A couple of Dire Straights songs, Sultans of Swing and Money for Nothing. I will give Dave his due, he really had the Sultans of swing nailed, both in licks and tone, so plus one for that. We also played Money for Nothing, but the humbuckers on my guitar had the sound needed for that one. Dave is a Strat player, but I think he could do with a 150, it would suit him - but I digress. Whiskey in the Jar went well once we had got the speed right, I think Dave was up for playing and he went off a bit too fast. We slowed him down on it and he was fine. I think he has played it in another band and they played it faster, where as we play it as the record.   We were really pleased that he could pick up some of the songs he didn't know too well quickly enough, and he was fine about us telling him that we wanted some thing playing a different way, so at least we know that we are not dealing with an egotist. We played some great twelve bar rock and roll and we clicked very easily. At the end of the afternoon, we all thanked him for coming and said that we had enjoyed playing with him, helped him with his gear and waved him off. The three of us liked Dave, he had a no nonsense attitude and was easy to get along with, and most importantly he could play and would fit in with us.   We told Dave from the word go that we are seeing three more players next week, so we were up front with him and he was fine, we told him that we would get back to him. I think out of the three players next week, only one of them will be any better, and I want to give this guy a chance. One thing is for sure, we are not going to keep on for ever with the auditions, hopefully next week will see us make our decision.   We are not professional musicians, but we have had a professional attitude, treated people courteously and and it seems to have worked so far. We are all really nice guys, and people have warmed to us, I am hoping that the player we settle on will be able to fit in and just be a nice guy. At least we are not coming home having lost the will to live this week! Next week we will hopefully have made the decision. Thanks for reading.

mark555

mark555

 

three looking to make four..

After the fantastic success of last week when Shaun and I found Terry the drummer, we were eager to start looking for the next band member, so we started scouring the usual web sites where hopefully we could find a few likely candidates for joining us. We were looking for a vocalist and guitar player, or if needs be, one guy who could do both.   During the week I had contacted one or two more people who seemed to fit the bill and we invited a guy to come for audition. I asked many questions of him, but missed the really obvious one, which was "what experience do you have?". I don't know why I didn't ask this question, from the way he was talking, I just took it for granted - I won't make that mistake again. He told me he had really good gear, which is important because good gear makes for good tone. So, a time was arranged and we all turned up.   Our guest was an extremely nice guy, he came complete with Telecaster and what he said was a Vox Valve amp. Now I have owned a Vox AC30 and I know what the sound like and what they look like, and this certainly was not an AC30 valve amp. I can tell a valve (tube) amp as soon as I hear it and this was not what he said it was. Perhaps he was inexperienced in the amp market, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps he wasn't as knowledgeable as he needed to be when he bought it.   We had e mailed him some very easy songs to get to grips with that he could sing and play at the audition, twelve bar stomps etc, the most complex song he had to learn was whiskey in the jar, chords only.   Well, we started playing and it just was not working at all. Last week, when Terry joined us, it was Bang! Off we went and it came together instantly. This week, we knew from the word go that it was not going to work. However, the guy had turned up, and he deserved the courtesy of being given a chance, But half an hour later I had lost the will to live and our drummer was just desperate to go home. Shaun of course, as relaxed and laid back as ever, was just kicking the bass lines out, but we both shook our heads when we looked at each other.   So here's today's lesson. There are loads of bedroom players who really think they can play and sing because that's all they do, but put them in with a full band, and the noise of it hits them and they are out of their depth. Our guest couldn't hold a tune and his timing was truly terrible, he had no strength in his voice and generally was terrible. After an hour (we were very generous) we cut it short and having already told him that we wouldn't make a decision there and then, we thanked him for coming and helped him pack his gear away. We then all agreed that I wold give him a call to thank him for coming but tell him that we needed some one with band experience and playing live.   I really felt that it would only be good manners to actually speak to him, so I phoned him only to get his answer phone, so I left a nice message and e mailed him. he replied, saying that he had enjoyed himself but did find that he was not comfortable with the genre we play. So, there we are, all nice and polite and done properly.   Next week we are auditioning a guitar player who says he has a lot of live experience and claims to be a good player. If he is good, that's great. But we will give him one hour and then hopefully audition another player i am trying to contact. Lets see what happens. Thanks for reading.

mark555

mark555

 

three looking to make four..

After the fantastic success of last week when Shaun and I found Terry the drummer, we were eager to start looking for the next band member, so we started scouring the usual web sites where hopefully we could find a few likely candidates for joining us. We were looking for a vocalist and guitar player, or if needs be, one guy who could do both.   During the week I had contacted one or two more people who seemed to fit the bill and we invited a guy to come for audition. I asked many questions of him, but missed the really obvious one, which was "what experience do you have?". I don't know why I didn't ask this question, from the way he was talking, I just took it for granted - I won't make that mistake again. He told me he had really good gear, which is important because good gear makes for good tone. So, a time was arranged and we all turned up.   Our guest was an extremely nice guy, he came complete with Telecaster and what he said was a Vox Valve amp. Now I have owned a Vox AC30 and I know what the sound like and what they look like, and this certainly was not an AC30 valve amp. I can tell a valve (tube) amp as soon as I hear it and this was not what he said it was. Perhaps he was inexperienced in the amp market, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps he wasn't as knowledgeable as he needed to be when he bought it.   We had e mailed him some very easy songs to get to grips with that he could sing and play at the audition, twelve bar stomps etc, the most complex song he had to learn was whiskey in the jar, chords only.   Well, we started playing and it just was not working at all. Last week, when Terry joined us, it was Bang! Off we went and it came together instantly. This week, we knew from the word go that it was not going to work. However, the guy had turned up, and he deserved the courtesy of being given a chance, But half an hour later I had lost the will to live and our drummer was just desperate to go home. Shaun of course, as relaxed and laid back as ever, was just kicking the bass lines out, but we both shook our heads when we looked at each other.   So here's today's lesson. There are loads of bedroom players who really think they can play and sing because that's all they do, but put them in with a full band, and the noise of it hits them and they are out of their depth. Our guest couldn't hold a tune and his timing was truly terrible, he had no strength in his voice and generally was terrible. After an hour (we were very generous) we cut it short and having already told him that we wouldn't make a decision there and then, we thanked him for coming and helped him pack his gear away. We then all agreed that I wold give him a call to thank him for coming but tell him that we needed some one with band experience and playing live.   I really felt that it would only be good manners to actually speak to him, so I phoned him only to get his answer phone, so I left a nice message and e mailed him. he replied, saying that he had enjoyed himself but did find that he was not comfortable with the genre we play. So, there we are, all nice and polite and done properly.   Next week we are auditioning a guitar player who says he has a lot of live experience and claims to be a good player. If he is good, that's great. But we will give him one hour and then hopefully audition another player i am trying to contact. Lets see what happens. Thanks for reading.

mark555

mark555

 

Getting a new band up and running, the first installment.

So, the story begins again. After trying so hard to get a band up and running a year or two back, and failing at the last hurdle of finding a singer, over a year on Shaun my bass playing buddy and I have decided to have a go again. Following a really good gig we went to last December to watch English Rockers "Status Quo" (American's might not know them, but they have sold 130million albums) we got motivated to play again.   The first step was putting ads out for fellow musicians, namely a drummer and another guitar player and a vocalist. I felt uneasy about advertising for another guitar player because Pete who played in our last band is a very close friend and a wonderful person who we would love to play with. However, these days he spends six months of the ear at his place in the South of France, which does put a spanner in the works. He would love to get together musically and play, but I am not going to set up a full session just for fun because if I am going to do something, it has to have a point to work for. So, after a week or so we got replies from a few guys who were up to throwing their hats into the ring.   We singles out two guys to start with, one a drummer and a guitar player who has a Rickenbacker, a Telecater, vox valve amp and a PA - He sings so that is a huge plus for us. We do own a PA, but it is nothing special. It could handle a three hundred seater gig, but that's it.   So, last Saturday we invited Terry the drummer to come and have a session with us. When we met, he could have been our last drummer's twin brother, he even had a similar colour kit. Anyway, we got set up, played "Down at the Doctors" by British R&B band Doctor Feelgood (real R&B that is) and I hear you Knocking. Now normally when we audition some one we want an hour with them and then want to discuss it. But after these two songs we knew we had the man for us. We offered him the job there and then and he was as happy to join us as we were to get him. We all sealed the deal with a handshake and now there are three of us. I will post some pictures soon, all being well.   So, this coming Saturday we audition a guitar player, but this time there are three of us making the decision. When our drummer joined he became one of us, there are no ego's in this band, nor will we allow any to come into it, we don't care how good they are. Watch this space!

mark555

mark555

 

Upon the closing of my 2nd year playing

Here I am, two years and a month into this crazy journey. I meant to blog here more often, but you know how that goes. I'd like to say I've been busy playing, but that clearly hasn't been the case. What I have done is buy/sell a bunch of gear, and gotten a bit better at playing along the way.   Right now I'm in the process of simplifying my gear, one electric/amp/pedal board and one acoustic with a practice amp. That's it. I'm paying those off over the next year and shutting down all my credit that's enabled this swapping. And I'm blocking TGP, MyLesPaul, and Reverb once everything is sold. Damn those sites are hard on the wallet (although do have some useful information).   If I go and look at all the players I admire, and listen to stories about their formative years, they sure as hell weren't on TGP swapping pedals or reading reviews on which tailpiece increases sustain or which pickguard looks the most like a real '59 pickguard.   They were playing. And listening. And woodshedding.   Some of you guys/ladies (most, really) are excellent players and I enjoy listening to you. But buying $5000 guitars isn't going to get me any closer to sounding better. So, like I said, I'm simplifying my setup, and getting to work. So I'll post a couple more HNGD and HNAD in the next few days, then it should be happy new song days after that.   I don't want to come off all doom and gloom though. I've made some good strides and made some important discoveries. I'm certainly technically more proficient, and hear a lot more in music than I used to, particularly with guitar-centric pieces. I've noticed how some music that I used to feel "meh" about, I enjoy a lot more now that I realize what's going on with the guitars. I've discovered a bunch of new-to-me artists, people you all probably have been listening to for years, and finally understanding why artists like Peter Green and Neil Young are so important.   All in all, I think 2014 should be a great year. I think I can finally leave my beginning player title firmly behind, and jump into that wide pool of intermediate players.        

ridethatbike

ridethatbike

 

Heritage fan

Greetings Heritage owners! I have owned several Heritage instruments and I have 3 at this time. I began playing in 1960 and had several local bands during the 60's. My first guitar was a cheap flat top and my first electric was a bright orange Framus that I used for several years. Because I was born and raised in Kalamazoo I knew about Gibson and the factory at 225 Parsons St. all of my life. My first Gibson was a cherry 335. Soon I had a Melody maker and eventually I owned 2 Les Paul's. First a 1967 Gold Top and then a 1977 Blond. Now I play a 1992 H-550 Antique Sunburst, an H-555 Custom in butterscotch translucent and a "one of a kind" Heritage Bass. My Heritage flat top is now owned by my son. It is an H-440 in cherry with gold machines. I have all of my instruments displayed on string swings in my home and my collection is limited to guitars made in Kalamazoo. I am a big fan of Fender tube amps and I have restored a 1973 Princeton Reverb and a 1979 Twin Reverb. I also have a completely refurbished Ampeg B-15N "flip top" amp. My entire life was spent in the music business as an A/V salesman and store owner, a weekend DJ for weddings and parties and a homeowner/hobbyist. My wife and I have been together for more than 45 years and we have two grown sons and two grandsons. If anyone has questions about music, sound reinforcement or A/V problems, please let me know. Jim

jimisonic

jimisonic

 

Winter's coming and I've got some ideas......I'd like to create some music.

Things are good. After a few years of pleasant and not-so-pleasant distractions, I've found myself in a place where creativity is coming in and I'm not having to chase it down nearly as far as I have in the past.   Lurking about and occasionally interacting within the HOC has provided me with some wonderfully useful information, allowed me to gain further appreciation of my instrument(s) and most importantly has allowed me to befriend and even meet some very interesting, talented and genuinely helpful folks. a simple music lover from Detroit couldn't ask for more out of a free non-denominational owners-forum.....could they?   My proposed project is open to anyone who cares to get involved. I'm fortunate enough to possess some basic recording equipment and have been blessed with just enough skill to occasionally translate a musical idea thru my instruments. I'd like to make anything I post (specifically soundcloud files) on this blog available to anyone who wishes to collaborate/ add to / subtract from / comment on / or make suggestions toward.   Here are a few demos, shards and song ideas that have been popping up for me recently: If one of them speaks to you and you feel that you might have something contribute with a (insert: Lyrical Melody, Solo, Harmony,Comment, Crituque, Song Break, EQ adjustment, Verse, Ect) please do!!!! re-record it with whatever means you have available and repost it.   Might be a little utopian but I thought an idea like this could be worth a shot!!!   https://soundcloud.com/mattjayworker/tidal-wave-demo-full-band https://soundcloud.com/mattjayworker/creepy-neighbor-demo-full-band        

Guest

Guest

 

Jackie Lomax of the Undertakers

Sad to report another death.Jackie Lomax,who was singer & bass player with the Liverpool group 'The Undertakers',sadly passed away on 15th Sept,2013.I remember Jackie well,as my band,'Tony Martin & the Mods' supported the Undertakers in Hull,England,on November 19th,1963, at the Gondola club..They were a great band,played well,looked great,and had a superb stage presence.They should have risen higher up the fame ladder,but competition was fierce in those days...Beatles,Stones,Kinks,Who...we all know the ones that made it.I notice in my diary entry that our band got a £4 (about $10) fee for this gig.There was an agent there,and the lack of money was soon made up with better paid gigs all over the U.K. that this guy provided.I also noticed the infamous date of Friday,22nd November 1963...Ring any bells ? The day Kennedy was shot. I,as a 19 year old,was far more concerned with our gig at the Chomley Club,Hull U.K.,and the fact our performance was O.K. Another first for us that week,was a trip to Manchester,to the Lyndale Ballroom in Eccles.A favourite venue for us,and the £18 (about $40 ) fee.As we were an R & B type band,we went well.Others who fared well there were Dave Berry the Cruisers from Sheffield,and The Rockin' Berries,who had a U.K. hit with 'He's in Town'.Another viisitor to this venue was 'Herman's Hermits',of whom the ballroom manager said were O.K.,but would never get anywhere...Ha ! ( I tried to upload a photo,without success,will try again later )

peteraltongreen

peteraltongreen

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