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Day by Day in the life of guitar.

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Reflections of PSP VIII

Saturday I sold my Peavey Bandit to an older gentlemen that recently lost his job. He had been on the prowl for a Peavey Bandit USA Red Stripe model because they sound better than the older USA models. Couldn’t help but agree with him. As we sat there for nearly an hour talking about guitars, amps, and the thirst that can never be quenched for obtaining them, I told him something about my guitar buying. As I looked about the floor in the living room, I had a brand new Fender Stratocaster, a Reverend Six-Gun III, and a Martin MMV. I told him the longest I’ve had any of those was three weeks. But I said, my wife cannot complain about my buying guitars for one very good reason. In a way, they have provided for my family. And it has a lot to do with The Heritage and PSP.   The week of PSP VI, I had a job for nearly eight years as a Senior Traffic Engineer with MetroPCS before they were “merged” with T-Mobile. I was called in the Human Resources Director’s office and with him was my boss and our Vice President of Network Operations. I thought it was really odd and found it immediately worrisome. And just like that it was over; I was told that T-Mobile has looked at all the markets and decided that Traffic Engineers weren’t needed. All the Traffic Engineers were to be laid off in 60 days. It didn’t matter what I really did for my job above and beyond my job title or how I was the senior engineer with the most knowledge and experience. What matter was my official job title. So for the second time in ten years, I was out of a job. Of course, that overshadowed my plans that week, the week of PSP VI.   I packed my old HFT-445, loaded up my car, and headed off to PSP. I picked up Slammer from the airport on the way there and checked in the hotel for the night. Seeing all the guitars on display in the conference room that night and all the people I admire and consider friends really helped me to forget my own problems for a while. The next day, I was walking through the factory and saw so many unique instruments. Then there was the smell of the old wood dust, the sound of the machines sanding down necks and carving tops; it was just amazing. Undoubtedly, I had forgotten my problems, at least for now. I took my Heritage HFT-445 out of its case and held it proudly outside that factory for the group photo. 225 Parson Street, the birthplace of many guitars of rock stars. A place that should be a national monument. A place where it’s not the end of line, but just the beginning.   I was in front of a factory who has seen its own end, its doors closed, people sent to Nashville or laid off, and left to rot. But a few people chose to stay; chose to open those doors again and start over. Marv, Ren, Jim and few others gave that old building and the equipment inside basically a reset button, a new lease of life. Perhaps there was some hope for me too. Perhaps, I’ll be able to restart my career and pick-up the pieces to begin again.   The Saturday after PSP VI, I was still at the hotel when an ex co-worker from MetroPCS sent me a text message about his latest bass guitar purchase. He had quit on his own a few years ago, but he was happy with his decision. He asked how I was doing and I told him what happened. He demanded I talk to his wife immediately. He gave me her cell number and said I have to call her right now. She, of course, was a HR manager at General Motors. It never dawned on me to call her since I knew nothing about cars nor was I an electrical or mechanical engineer. I called her, she asked about my bachelor’s degree and my knowledge of Microsoft Office. She had me look up a specific job on the GM website and how to adjust my resume to highlight certain skill sets. That following Friday, I had a job interview. Less than a week later, I had a job offer. When my time was up with T-Mobile, I left on a Friday and started my new job at General Motors the following Monday. That was just about two years ago now.   Last December sparked a heated conversation that banned members and damaged relationships to other members of the forum. The site shut down for several weeks and when the lights turned back on, things changed. One of those things was PSP. There was a looming question of will there be another PSP again. One could only hope.   I decided to step up and see what I could do. I didn’t know if I would fail or not, but it wouldn’t hurt to try. I called the VFW Hall to see if we could play there. Thankfully, they were excited to hear from us and not have to pay a band. We were able to play live music again and entertain some veterans at the same time. It was a win-win for everyone. I had help from Pressure to get a PSP VIII Logo setup. Called a friend from church about having shirts made with the logo. Obtained a guest list of all those who were going to be there. Guy was able to get the Factory to participate again. I received lots of help from a lot of people to make PSP a success. I cannot take credit for it all.   PSP VIII came and went like a whirlwind. It was over just like that. As I woke up still tired and exhausted on Saturday, I checked my email and found someone wanted my Peavey, so I had to pack up and head home quickly. My family had left a few hours before to head out east on a vacation with my mother-in-law; so I had the house to myself and enjoyed the quiet stillness of home that night. No amps, no guitars, no beer, no sound; just peacefulness. I could have died a happy man knowing how much everyone enjoyed PSP this year. As I look back, I will always remember the great times I had at this PSP and the ones before. Someone asked why I did all this; it’s very simple really. The Heritage brought us all together. It’s the people who bring us back. That's PSP. Enjoy those beautiful Heritages everyone. There is a lot of history in your hands.  

DetroitBlues

DetroitBlues

 

May 2012 Blog

Recently, more than a dozen of you have reached out to me to know why avatar and signature are blank and why I’m not active on the forum. Yes, I have removed all my personal details from the Heritage Owners website and traded my last Heritage. I feel my passion for Heritage guitars and Owners Club has been quashed. In the words of BB King, “The Thrill is Gone, has gone away.” However, the exact details of why I have departed, or at least taken an indefinite hiatus, from the HOC cannot be posted here at the risk of removal. All I am permitted to say is disagreement has turned into disheartenment.   I’ve enjoyed my time on the HOC and the fellowship bond with so many of you. The personal stories of your daily lives, your experiences, and your dreams are feelings I won’t soon forget. There has been so many moments laughter, encouragement, and quality Heritage (and Non-Heritage) related experiences too countless to mention. I’ve been blessed to share your personal highs such as new guitars, amps, marriages/engagements, and even new dog days. I’ve also shared your pain with the lows like dying/ill friends and family, job losses, or other personal tragedies. All of these life stories are the ties that bind all of us together when we share such personal details. To top it all, the annual celebration to which forum members and guests come together at the invitation to tour the factory and enjoy some quality music entertainment, in which everyone can participate in. All of this makes the Heritage Owners Club a forum unlike any other forum in existence today to which I am thankful to have been part of for the past two years.   I do hope that in the near future my concerns will be addressed. It was my dream, after last year’s PSV IV, to order a custom Heritage for my son when he is older. I want him to experience the joy and excitement I had for Heritage and the HOC. I was only eight years old when Heritage officially became a company. My son is eight years old now. I want him to be part of the next generation of Heritage owners with all the traditions that come with it.   Warmest Regards,   Josh , AKA- DetroitBlues

DetroitBlues

DetroitBlues

 

November's Blog

Another month as passed and winter is starting to set in. During these cold winter months, I get a little stir crazy. This is the time of year in which I miss playing in a band. Not that I'm a touring professional on the local bar scene, but rather being able to step away from the computer and actually stand up next to bass player and drummer. It's a wonderful experience to say the least. It's an opportunity that only a few HOC members actually get to enjoy on a regular basis. It's a little disheartening to read about other member's complaining band-mates, not having the right gigs, negative feedback from audiences, and so forth. What they may not realize is just how lucky they are to be able get a whole band together, even if its just for a jam. I've tried to put together a regional HOC jam at a couple VFW halls, but they all want money, even though the purpose is to entertain ourselves and some of our nations veterans. I've tried to put together a band, but finding people willing to travel, like the same music, and having a practice space is near impossible. Everyone wants to be paid, no one wants to travel, everyone expects someone else to find a place to practice. What ever happened to enjoying the thrill of making music? What does money have to push us so much?   Tonight will be my first opportunity since last January to play with a band. Granted it will only be a three piece with myself and the bass player sharing vocal duties, but it still going to be a lot of fun. The anticipation for tonight is nearly killing me today as I sit down and write this blog. Both the drummer and the bass player are in the band I parted ways with. But as I have learned, there were no hard feelings when I left as they felt two guitarists were one too many as it was. It worked out for them that I left, for a short while anyway, until their lead guitarist quit because of volume issues they had with him. But I guess that's how it goes. We've seen so many of our guitar hero's come and go from bands and never truly understanding why bands broke up or a member went into a different direction. All we know is the music they produced together and that's how we chose to remember them. The small little behind the scenes parts we never see as an audience or as a fan make a huge difference. Members come and go. There always seems to be someone else ready to fill the shoes of the departing member. Never hurts to be ready on a moments notice if you're looking. Keeping up with contacts and making new contacts helps open doors for you if you don't like taking chances on Criagslist for bands seeking the next Guitar hero.   The first time I played with a real band was in fall of 2010. I loved the blues, I could do a bunch of bluesy licks, play some great I, IV, V rhythms. I thought I had it all down and ready to gig. Showed up for the first rehearsal, and wham! Smacked in the face right off the bat with songs, chords, and progressions I never did before. My guitar was tuned down 1/2 step because I was an avid Stevie Ray Vaughn fan and thought all blues guitarists were tuned down 1/2 step. I struggled to keep up, kept making simple mistakes playing rhythm and didn't have a good time. I was very unprepared. When the band told me "NO" the first time, I went and tried out with another band. But once again, not knowing any real songs killed me. They expected some blues guitar veteran to step in and show them how it's done. I felt like a fool when they asked what I knew or what I could sing, I had nothing. No song lists, no lyrics, nothing. I was stuck again and again had an awful time. I spent a couple weeks listening to the recordings of the first band, going over the rhythms, printing out the lyric sheets, and getting myself prepared. I was determined not to fail this time. I talked my way into a 2nd tryout with the first band. I was told "No" again, but this time I hung in there. No tuning issues, no lost parts, no flubby mistakes. I was having fun playing with a real blues band. I was asked to come back for a third time, but this time as a member of the band. I remained with them for three months, even got to take lead a few times. But doing my homework, being diligent, and pushing the door back open paid off for me. Taking chances and being prepared helped me so much.   As I said, tonight, I'm going back into a band, even if its just for a jam. I've become friends with these guys, there's no expectations, nothing to lose, and everything to gain. If things go well, who knows, maybe we very well could become a whole new three piece band playing a strong blues-rock genre. That's a lofty goal for sure, but at the least I will have some fun. I've been practicing a whole bunch of songs, know several of the song lyrics by heart, I'm ready to go. Will anything really come out of this? I don't know. Will I be prepared? Absolutely. Will this be a step in a right direction musically? Without a doubt. Keeping these contacts and knowing they're gigging regularly, it leaves the opportunity for the future. Who knows, they may know a band seeking another guitarist. It's a real blessing for me to be able to join these guys for a couple hours. I've very thankful I can do this. I hope that the rest of you that are lucky enough to be in a band realize just how wonderful it really is. For those wanting to do a band, know your stuff going in. Know what they're playing and bring the lyrics sheets. Those are valuable tools I need to have so I know when to make chord changes, breaks, and what key to play them in.   Until next month!   DetroitBlues

DetroitBlues

DetroitBlues

 

Another Month, Another G.A.S. Pain

I’ve been back on the Heritage Owners Site, posting sparingly at first, but watching the other members’ posts with great interest. What I really like is the random gallery generator at the top of the screen. Nothing worse to set off a fit of G.A.S pain then seeing all the other Heritage options out there I could be playing. I think after having my 140 for a few months, the honeymoon is over. I guess at this point, I understand now why Brentrocks astounds us with his near daily transactions on both Heritages and other rare guitars. This past month, Brent’s near famous ability to sniff out bargains across the web has netted him a beautiful, yet neglected H150 Goldtop from Rhode Island. Immediately after reading he pulled the trigger I sent him a PM that when (since we know it’s not a matter of “if” ) he decides to move the guitar for the next purchase down the road I'd like to have it. I was shocked to know two unnamed others already solicited Brent for the guitar. Amazing to say the least that others think the same as me. But the focus of my blog for this month is not about someone else’s trading habits, but rather my own feeling of G.A.S.   I’ve been eying several different options, just something different that what I already have. The only certainty I have is knowing that I want one single coil type guitar (Stratocaster or Telecaster) and a humbucker/P-90 type guitar at the least. This past month, I was able to secure a 1990 HFT-445 thanks to Brentrocks passing on his custom HFT-450 to KPB810. So my acoustic G.A.S. has been addressed. But what about some other kind of guitar electric guitar I’d like to play? I placed an advertisement on Craigslist about trading my recently acquired 1996 Fender Tex-Mex Stratocaster for an equivalent valued Telecaster. After waiting a couple of weeks and no responses, I’m keeping the Stratocaster- for now. But I did see a couple Paul Reed Smith Mira’s on Craigslist for sale or trade. One guy was interested in the 140, but wanted some cash on my part. That offer was hardly a deal to me. But the bug has bitten me. A solid mahogany, two humbuckers, single cutaway has become my new source of G.A.S. pain. I began to ask others about the Heritage 137 guitar. I played Steiner’s last year and really enjoyed that guitar. It has a nice cherry finish to it along with a black pickguard and some sweet P-90 tones to it. Since a PRS Mira doesn’t seem to be an option, perhaps a Heritage 137 will be the newest affection I have. Then there was a fateful trip to Guitar Center.   I went to Guitar Center with another co-worker and one time Heritage Owner to look at a Peavey Wolfgang Special (MIA model). While he was wheeling and dealing with the guitar sales dude, I picked up a vintage Gretsch Corvette. Solid Mahogany, single cut, tremolo, humbuckers (GT Filtrons actually), in a nice cherry finish; not bad for a vintage guitar. But the guitar had a poor neck reset and the electronics were marginal, so much for that value vintage piece of gear at $499. I did notice the Gibson Les Paul Specials, but this time I decided to try a Gibson Les Paul 60’s Tribute Gold Top with P-90’s. Now I have another guitar I want. The action was right, the tone was great, and the finish was cool. So now what do I do?   I put a post up on our beloved HOC forum, “FS/FT TWO FOR ONE.” I put both my H-140 and my Tex-Mex Stratocaster on the forum asking if anyone would be interested in trading my two guitars for a gold top H-150. Doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen as headstock repaired guitars, as sound as the repairs are, are almost a kiss of death on a resale. While it bothers me a little too much that no one wants it, it is a reminder of something my wife and I say to each other often, “God only gives you what he thinks you can handle”. That means to me, if he wanted help me get rid of my guitars, he would. So I’ve removed the listing again then began discussing why I’m not liking the 140 with Brian (KPB810). My problem boils down to tone. I’m an avid blues player and trying to get my 140 to play the blues in a tone that is warm and buttery to me is near impossible. I can grab my strat and get what I want out of it every time. I’m going to replace the remaining old pots and one of the caps to see how that affects the tone. Brian is a big help and an all around great guy. I’m a free advertiser for his amps because the quality is outstanding and his belief in backing up his work is second to none. He has the same attitude when it comes to my 140. He wants me to be happy with it too.   As this month wraps up, I still have the same guitars I started the month with and added a couple new pedals to the mix. G.A.S is a terrible thing to us which I think there is no cure. Many on the HOC have what others may consider as ultimate collections, but even to them it’s never complete. I realize G.A.S is something I should learn to deal with and know that there are many important things in life I need first before another guitar. Life has a funny way of reminding us of that.

DetroitBlues

DetroitBlues

 

My Life as a Forum Member

As some have noticed, I have not logged any posts on the HOC for most of September. (Thank you to Tully, Slammer, Koula901, and Steiner for asking me if everything was ok). I recently came to the conclusion that I spent way too much time on a forum discussing guitars, amps, and gear, rather than actually playing, practicing, and learning guitar. I’ve been a member of the Heritage Owners Club since the 9th of August, 2010. At the time I’m writing this passage, I’ve logged in 3,427 posts. 3,165 have been discussing various subjects on our forum. I decided that I must become a better guitar player first instead of a better critic.   I’ve dedicated the past few weeks to learning songs I’ve thought about, but never actually took the time to learn. My goal was to have a complete set of songs that I could sing, play rhythm, and play lead to. I figured one set of songs is eight or nine songs for a 45 minute set. I thought if I can stretch out some solos, I could extend out some of the songs, but I haven’t gotten there yet. Learning solo’s has been so far the trickiest part of my learning process. Since I have a blues rock orientation, I wanted to stray from songs that have the standard “I, IV, V” formats. Like all rock songs, the roots of the blues are there, but mostly in the soloing minor pentatonic scales. I’m trying to put together some recordings with backing tracks to demonstrate my progress. My Line 6 Pocket Pod didn’t allow me to do both.   My goal was rather lofty as I quickly learned. Being a husband and father of two, I cannot neglect my family to pursue my musical interests. I found I only learned five electric songs and one acoustic during the past few weeks. The solos on the songs are shaky at best. But I still jam to the songs every night. I think I’m getting closer and closer to getting each of them right too. I’ve been meaning to learn more, but I usually only have about an hour each night to play. During the evenings, I can use my amp, but without the proper effects and backtracks being heard, I cannot really perform the songs correctly. Typically, those sessions are ½ hour or so and I’ll play my blues covers during that time. My current song list is as follows in no particular order: All Right Now- Free
Jenny Jenny (867-5309) - Tommy TuTone
Jessie’s Girl- Rick Springfield
Layla (Electric) - Eric Clapton
Bad Case of Loving You- Robert Palmer
House is a Rockin- Stevie Ray Vaughn
You and Tequila- Kenny Chesney
I spent a lot of time trying to learn all these songs, I had many more I wanted to learn, such as Takin’ Care of Business, Just Got Paid, Boys are Back In Town, Run to You, Hold on Loosely. Which perhaps, I’ll learn those songs next month, time permitted again. Perhaps next year, I’ll make another attempt at joining a band, but from the feeler’s I sent out, there are many songs out there that decent paying bands play, that I need to learn if I’m going to succeed. Since I was a boy listening to Foreigner, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Leonard Skynard, etc., I’ve always wanted to play guitar in front of an audience. Only much later in life did I realize it takes a lot more than courage to get in front of a group of people, it takes time, patience, and talent to prepare for that moment. I’m putting in my time and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to do what I’ve wanted to do for over 30 years. The patience and talent is still something I hope to develop as I go.   As a footnote to this blog, I also wanted to point out how difficult it is to break the habit of being on the HOC nearly every moment I’m in front of the computer. Generally, I’ve only logged on to answer a message from another member. Other than that, I’ve stayed away. I recently caved in and logged on to see Mr. Brentrocks has picked up a gem of a Gold Top 150 which I offered to trade my ’85 Amber 140 for when he chooses to part ways with the Gold Top (as we all know he will! ). Today I also posted my Pocket Pod being for sale after witnessing just how incredible the new Peavey Ampkit is for learning, recording, and as a live multi-effects software through my iPod.   While I didn’t look to hard into it, I suspect many were glad not to see virtually every new topic with me leading the way in responses when they log on. I put on my status, “What is was, what it is, and what it will be”. I wrote that because what I was is a forum junky, what it is, I’m guitarist, what it will be is a musician. I hope I haven’t missed much and I also hope to keep any offensive postings off the grid.

DetroitBlues

DetroitBlues

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