Friday, October 12, 2007

Finally have some audio for you; a review of another man's blog

I found a website at that allows me to upload and host audio files, so now I can embed them in my posts. Here's my personal rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary". I apologize again for not singing, that will happen in due time...But I worry more about the guitar work anyway. Here it is:

If the embedded file doesn't work, click here to download the MP3.

Hopefully it does work, though...

Now I want to focus on the main topic of this post, which is...another blog. It was quite a surf session for me looking for a blog about someone having his own small musical group. I was actually shocked at how hard it was to find something, but I eventually came across Beethoven's Yard; the author's name is anonymous, unless it's Beethoven! He writes mainly about his ventures in a small music group, and tells brief yet detailed stories about trials and tribulations that come up with every gig. He seems to know a lot about music; at 43, he's had plenty of time to learn. That's the biggest difference between him and me is the age difference, and the fact that he actually performs concerts. So I guess his blog is a more far advanced (time-wise) version of this blog.

His posts are typically pretty long-winded, but I give him a mulligan on that, as he's probably not a professional writer. His stories are interesting however, especially for someone like myself who doesn't have a whole lot of experience playing live music for audiences. He also has a comfortable look to his blog; it's very easy to read.

That's all I can say about that, until next time my friends...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Head is out for repair; spotlighting one of my favorite guitar players

Yesterday was a pretty miserable day for me. Not to mention the weather was disgusting, I had to go get my broken Line 6 head at the house to bring it somewhere for repair. I searched up and down the internet to, almsot fortuitously, run into a music repair shop right on campus at Berklee College of Music. If there were any group of people I'd trust 100% with fixing my equipment, it would be Berklee alumni. The guy said it could end up costing close to $200, but that was before he even looked at the amp and he said that only happens if the main function source of the amp is broken, and mine is most likely just a case of overheating. The first time it broke, Line 6 tried to charge me $120 to replace the part, but I argued that off. It'll be about 2 weeks before I hear from them again. Their website can be found at this link. Just crossing my fingers at this point, hoping it won't be too long, hard or expensive to fix the head.

Now I'd like to spotlight one of my favorite guitar players. His name is Andy McKee, and anyone who surfs Youtube even occasionally must have come across one of his videos. He is a classical acoustic guitarist, and he plays only with his fingers. After you watch the below video, you'll understand why he doesn't use, or need, a guitar pick.

His finger movements are uncanny, especially with his thumb. The way he plays, he sounds like 4 or 5 guitars at once. That's an ingenious cover of Toto's "Africa," which made me actually like what I previously thought was just another piece of 1980s cheese. This video has nearly 3 million hits on Youtube, which at its time was a tremendous number. His most-viewed video, "Drifting" has over 7.5 million hits, putting it in the top 50 most-viewed music videos. He has 5 videos ranked in the top 20 for all-time ratings for music videos, all with at least 4,526 ratings.

I'm sure he's translated his monumental success on Youtube into something bigger in terms of sales, but I really feel he's missing a huge marketing opportunity. He doesn't really need a band, because his guitar work and percussion styles work well on their own musically, but lyrics and vocals is something he could definitely add. I would keep them to a minimum, as to not take much away from the guitar, but if he could put together a song with a nice hook he could experience even bigger success.

That's all for now, hopefully I'll be posting later today with another video!

Monday, October 8, 2007


So I got the jam session I was hoping for Saturday night, but it was cut painfully short by the unprecedented third malfunction of my amp head. I'm not sure of the technical terms for what happened to it, but it has something to do with a fuse inside the power supply to the head. It burned out, which I knew immediately due to the musty smell of static electricity. So now I'm without my own amplifier, and I'm not quite sure what the future holds for me in that regard. Right now, I want to plan on getting it repaired at a shop somewhere (I heard there's a place at Berklee that does it for you, but I'm not sure if they can repair just anything) and immediately selling the whole half-stack once it's fixed. I bought the head and the speaker cabinet together for about $800, but I only plan on selling it for $400-$500. I know I can't sell something that's a little over a year used and has broken once before.

I say it's the third malfunction of this product, though, because this third one isn't the original one I had. I bought it originally, then it broke about a week later. I sent it out to Line 6 to get it repaired and they did it for free. I got it back, but then it broke again not too long after. Clearly disgusted, I blamed Guitar Center at first for selling me a faulty product, even though it probably wasn't their doing. My unsatisfied customer routine got me another new amp, though, which made me very happy. They even let me keep the broken one, so now I have two broken heads to have repaired!

That all happened within the first three months of owning the head. So the new one lasted over a year for me with no problems, and several Tremont St. jam sessions. With the malfunction happening now in two different locations, I can only blame the product itself. I feel sick that I only have to invest more money in this shoddy amp, but whoever is reading this and looking for a new amp, please STAY AWAY from Line 6! I will look into Marshall and Mesa/Boogie products once I have the money to spend on a new setup. I'll have to dig a little deeper into my pockets due to spending the repair costs, but these things happen.

Until then, I'm going to have to use the Fender amp or Mesa/Boogie half-stack we still have there. I haven't been prevented from jamming at all, but I've been handed another big problem, something I'm not stranger to when it comes to purchasing expensive products. I have stories, but those can wait, I'm too angry to delve deep into those memories right now. Next post, I'll hopefully have another video or two up on Youtube. We had a nice jam session before my personal disaster, hopefully I'll have some good footage of that. Until next time....