In my work, I receive a lot of email. Three hundred, four hundred or more everyday.
And I receive a lot of unsolicited emails from vendors. Upwards of 100 or more on some days. Google is doing a pretty good job directing them into spam. I still have to check though, just in case there is something there that requires my attention.
Every so often I see a subject line that gives me hope. Hope that I might receive less email in a day. Like the one above.
Captioned “Connecting One Last Time” and complete with a forward of a chain of half a dozen similar emails was this dire warning: “I will plan on reconnecting in a month, unless you let you know…”
Hmmm. Unless I let myself know that I am ready to evaluate their services sooner.
I plan to let myself be kept in the dark on this one.
Not Peter’s guitar. A copy of his guitar. Gibson will set it to you for $25,000 CAD no less. This line is being positioned as a very exclusive collector’s instrument. Gibson made only 35 of them available to the public. I have it on fairly good authority that Peter was given three of them. Always a key thing to keep in mind when buying stupidly expensive guitars. A copy is still a copy.
How much did Peter pay for the original?
It was given to him. So now he has four of them.
Life isn’t fair.
My friends at Reverb had passed me a link to an interview that they recently did with Peter Frampton. And he tells the story about how he lost his guitar and how it came back to him decades later.
The story was covered widely back in 2012. From NPR:
That guitar — a shiny black number with an added pickup — became Frampton’s signature instrument. He continued to use it with Humble Pie, and in his solo material, played it almost exclusively for years. It even made the cover of his classic 1976 live album, Frampton Comes Alive!
In 1980, while Frampton was on tour in South America, the guitar was put on a cargo plane in Venezuela, en route to Panama. The plane crashed right after takeoff.
“Basically I’m thinking, ‘It’s gone,'” Frampton recalls. “But the thing is, I’m also sitting in a restaurant where I can see the pilot’s wife. She’s waiting in the hotel for her husband, who, unfortunately, didn’t make it. So we were all overcome, because people lost their lives as well as our complete stage of gear.”
What Frampton didn’t know is that the guitar had survived, albeit with some bumps and bruises. It fell into the hands of a musician on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, who owned it for many years before a local guitar collector spotted it and contacted Frampton. After some negotiation, the guitar was returned to Frampton last month.
Here is a relatively current shot of Peter with the Phenix (and, yes, that is the spelling for the name of this guitar).
Peter has aged. He is 67 now. I am not that far behind him. He’s still playing. And he is still playing well.
Here is Gibson’s interview with Peter about the same story.
I still hear many of these guitar riffs whenever I drop into guitar shops. Must drive staff crazy to hear the same riffs everyday. And yes, I have seen signs posted in some shops.
Might be time to learn a few new riffs.
It was time.
Time to go with my own in-ear personal monitoring system.
I ordered the Shure P3TRA215CL system which includes the Shure SE215 earphones, rackmountable transmitter and the PR3A bodypack receiver. Built to a higher standard than the P3TR112GR, I expect to resolve a number of issues that I seem to be having when I am playing live. (You can read the differences about the two systems here.)
First and foremost, I am really having trouble hearing myself on stage and it seems to be getting worse as I age. I rarely play on a silent stage and, as a consequence, there are monitor level wars. It only takes one player to start with the “more me” and, before you know it, everyone else is getting louder.
With the Kemper system, I no longer have an amp in the room to wash the sound. I have to rely on a monitor wedge being at exactly the right angle as well as at a relatively high volume level to hear my parts clearly. If I am not in the exact sweet spot with the monitor, I can barely hear my instrument. Monitor wedges seem to have a far more focused and directional sound field.
Finally, I am playing constantly through headphones when I am practicing at home. I have become accustomed to hearing the sound in that format and it is a now bit odd hearing it through the air. I play more aggressively with less nuance when playing through a wedge because I cannot hear the finer details on stage.
The new system should arrive later this week.
I expect to enjoy the freedom of not being tied to a wedge and hopefully having the sound at a level that is appropriate for me without impacting other players on stage.
Came across this little tidbit in the Globe and Mail today:
Canada Post is promising relief for Canadian retailers who say the postal service is unfairly subsidizing their Chinese competitors.
The federal Crown corporation says it has been forced to provide discounts on certain types of mail from China under a long-standing international arrangement, but it has recently negotiated price hikes that will start next year.
The change is welcome news to Canadian-based retailers, who have questioned why they pay much higher costs to mail products to Canadian customers than companies based in China.
International mail rates are set by a United Nations agency called the Universal Postal Union, which sets prices based on factors such as national income.
And, from Linn’s Stamp:
This is a story about incredible international mail rates, one that a senior Amazon.com executive swore was true to Congress last summer.
A small company in Marion, N.C., wants to send a 3.5-ounce package to Fairfax, Va. — 340 miles away — and it’ll cost “at least $1.94,” said Paul Misener, the Amazon executive.
But that same parcel could be shipped by a Chinese company from Shanghai — more than 7,000 miles away — to the Washington, D.C., suburb for $1.22, Misener said.
Similarly, shipping a 1-pound parcel to New York City from Greenville, S.C., would cost almost $6 via the United States Postal Service, but only $3.66 from Beijing to New York.
That might sound like an international horror story but it was just one of a number of examples that Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global policy, and others laid out before a House Postal Service subcommittee last summer as it probed the arcane world of “terminal dues” and international mail rates.
Okay, now you know that I am a bit of a closet philatelist.
I had not heard about the Universal Postal Union before. It is an agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.
And, as part of its mandate, it sets international mail rates. Preferential mail rates for some countries as it turns out.
I had always wondered why it was cheaper to receive packages from China than from the United States.
R.J. Ronquillo. He plays guitar.
I had not heard of him before. Until YouTube decided to recommend one of his videos on my feed. The video? What It’s Like Being A Nashville Touring Musician. The video was somewhat surprising to me even though I had gone through similar experiences when I toured around the country many, many years ago. I’m not sure how well I would stand up to the grind of moving around like this at my age.
The bus looks nice though.
You can find his YouTube channel here. His video output is remarkable. Lots of gear reviews and lessons.
Pat Metheny was recently named a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master for his lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz.
He has been one of my guitar heroes ever since I first heard him play back in the mid 1970s.
He has also recently switched to a Kemper profiler. And, I must say, his reaction is very similar to mine: a completely new way of getting my sound that I would not have believed possible.
I plan to do a lot more jazz over the next five to ten years. The Collings CL Deluxe, although an incredibly well built guitar, was not one that I ever really enjoyed playing. It was simply too refined for my style of guitar playing and definitely not suited for my style of jazz playing.
Love the Eastside. Incredible tone, fit and finish.
Bill Collings passed away recently. Too soon.
Amazing man. Amazing guitar company.