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Kick Drums and SM58s

For the first time in a while, I “experienced” a live sound-reinforced show last Friday night. At Red Wing’s Sheldon Theater, to be specific. I’d volunteered to monitor one of the Big Turn Music Festival venue’s gate and had occasional moments to wander the theater to hear the three acts from that evening. I’m sureContinue reading “Kick Drums and SM58s”

The Stuff We Collect

A good friend died near the end of this past August. He had been a hobby guitarist for most of his 76 years, but got “serious” about the collecting part about 20 years ago. When he retired as a waterfowl habitat Project Engineer from the federal Interior Department, he gave himself a couple of options:Continue reading “The Stuff We Collect”

Tinnitus and Us

Survey’s indicate about 5% of all American adults admit to experiencing tinnitus. I use that qualifier in my first sentence because many people do not admit to having unintentionally damaged their hearing; especially musicians and audio “professionals” (using the term very tightly tied to the monetary definition of “professional”). Using that conservative number, at leastContinue reading “Tinnitus and Us”

Jeff Was My Beatles

90% of the British Invasion went over or under my head. I was not a Beatles fan, but I liked the Who a lot and Stones fairly well. The rest of that lot was just elevator noise. But Jeff Beck changed my world. And now he’s gone. Since I heard the news, last night, I’veContinue reading “Jeff Was My Beatles”

My Life in Surf Music

The Ventures were my first roadie gig, when I was 14. They played the Dodge City Civic Auditorium, sponsored by the local Catholic college, St. Mary’s of the Plains, in 1963 or around then. I was in a kid-band at the time and the other 3 guys in the band were a year or twoContinue reading “My Life in Surf Music”

A Declining Market or Just Laziness?

At the suggestion (to put it mildly) of a couple of friends, I finally visited Dave’s Guitar Shop in La Crosse, Wisconsin this past week. Weirdly, this small town near the border of Iowa and just across the Mississippi River from Minnesota is known as a “guitar mecca” to lots of guitar collectors. The storeContinue reading “A Declining Market or Just Laziness?”

Talent, Technique, and Tone: How to Hide Them All

Back in the mid-70s (as an old friend would say, “When the sun was little-tiny and the moon wasn’t born yet.”), I was a wannabe rock lead guitarist with a lot more confidence than talent and had just moved from rural Nebraska to a city within easy striking and gigging distance from the “Big City”:Continue reading “Talent, Technique, and Tone: How to Hide Them All”

Product Review: Positive Grid Spark Mini

The good and bad news is that almost everything about this amp is driven by a phone/tablet app, iPhone or Android. The good is that it has hidden power if you’re willing to climb the usual steep software learning curve. The bad is, like most apps, it’s glitchy, unpredictable and often counter-intuitive, almost completely inflexible,Continue reading “Product Review: Positive Grid Spark Mini”

Acoustic Guitar String Comparison

This all started when someone from Cleartone Strings sent me a note on my Wirebender Audio Facebook page asking if I’d be interested in reviewing sets of their acoustic and electric guitar strings. I’m up for free stuff, so I said “sure” and they sent me two pairs of their Custom Light 11-52 Acoustic PhosphorContinue reading “Acoustic Guitar String Comparison”

“You Can’t Hear What I’m Hearing”

This scene in the movie “Crazy Heart” is probably my favorite music business scene in any movie ever, including documentaries. Bear, the deaf-and-dumb front-of-house goober, tries to tell Jeff Bridges’ character, Bad, that he can’t believe his lyin’ ears and should trust someone who probably never critically or competently listened to a record in hisContinue reading ““You Can’t Hear What I’m Hearing””