Strongest Strings Known To Man

It happened a couple of weeks ago. During rehearsal. I broke a string. The B string. And I think it broke at or near the saddle.

Now I happen to be a bit meticulous about my guitar strings. Okay, I happen to be a bit meticulous about more than just my guitar strings. But in this case, I do everything to ensure that I avoid breaking strings during a performance.

In some venues, that means having multiple guitars on stage.

More often than not, I only have one guitar with me.

I play D’Addario EXL110s, Nickel Wound, 10-46s, on my Strats. Have done so for as long as I can remember.

I change the strings frequently as I am usually on the instrument 5-10 hours a week. String lubricant is applied to the saddle and nut. There is rarely any heavy string bending in my play. I am a dynamic player and I do use a firm 2mm pick.

When was the last time I had a string break on one of my guitars? About 14 years ago. I was playing an American Standard Strat and the saddle was quite rough. Strings would break on a regular basis. Always the B string. I tried to smooth the saddle out but to no avail. I finally purchased a saddle set from Graphtech. Problem solved.

Since then, I have been playing custom shop Strats without any issue. Until a few weeks back.

There is something about having confidence with the instrument that matters. It is a bit annoying to have, in the back of your mind, a sense that maybe a string will break when you are playing out.

I am debating giving the new Ernie Ball Paradigm strings a try.

The strongest strings known to man. They even come with a 90 day guarantee.

Fender Ensenada Factory

That is basically where Fender started. Circa 1959. Fullerton, California.

My friends at Cosmo Music sent me a video about their recent tour to the Fender Ensenada factory in Mexico. They produce about 500 guitars a day from that plant. Quite a lot has changed in terms of the production of these instruments.

I would hazard a guess that a 1959 Fender Strat holds a bit more value though.

New Amp(s) Day

We got the call yesterday during one of the worst snowstorms of the winter.

“Your Kemper is in” was all that I needed to hear.

Time to brave the snowstorm.

It wasn’t easy, but we made the drive to the guitar shop and sure enough, there it was. My new Kemper Profiler and remote.

I brought it home and did the usual computer stuff: registered the unit, booted up the profiler, updated the firmware, quickly parsed through the manuals.

I hooked it up to a passive monitor (I have the powered rack version) and I started to work through a few of the profiles that I had acquired from Mike Britt.

Oh my.

This thing has no right to sound this good.

A couple of hours went by before I knew it. Very impressive piece of gear.

I’m playing out this weekend. And, with a bit of focus, I think I can get it ready to go.

Collings 360 LT M


Sure. Keep sending me emails about your new guitars. But really, Collings Guitars, I’d rather you stop sending me the emails and send me just the new guitars. Unfortunately I can only afford a couple of them.

I received an email update from Collings on the new 360 LT M. I almost bought the original model back in 2009 but opted for the CL Deluxe instead. Although a wonderfully made instrument, I never bonded with the polite character of the CL Deluxe. It just did not have much in the way of bite. The 360, on the other hand, had all sorts of bite thanks to the P90 pickups. It was the guitar that I should have purchased.

Here is a video of Anthony da Costa putting the new 360 through its paces. A great looking and a great sounding guitar.

Larry Coryell

Sad news. One of my guitar heroes from my youth has passed away at age 73.

Larry Coryell led the charge in pioneering the jazz fusion guitar. He was an amazing player.

Kemper Profiler Rack


I ordered a Kemper PowerRack last week along with the Kemper Remote. These products should come in sometime over the next few weeks.

I’ve been looking at modellers and profilers over the past several months. Lorraine and I are starting to get ready for retirement in this machine:

We will be spending at least half the year, if not longer, travelling around in our coach during our early retirement years. And I won’t be able to take my amps with me.

Not enough space.

However, I can profile all of my current amps and carry them with me in the Kemper. I can also select some great amp profiles from Michael Britt.

The performance of the Kemper, although not 100 percent of a tube amp, is close enough for me. The convenience and portability of the Kemper is an obvious strength. The ability to mimic and store some great amp profiles is an obvious strength. Having all sorts of choices when it comes to playback volumes and playback sources is an obvious strength.

I’ll start working with the Kemper for some of my live dates. I’ll probably still use my pedalboards although I am going to try to work the unit as is with amp profiles and effects.

When we travel, I hope to use the Kemper as an all-in-one solution for practice, rehearsal, recording and any live work that I will be doing. I’ll probably pair the unit with a set of in-ears for my live work.

And I guess I will enter the digital age of guitar playing.


Bob Wood

My son had passed me a link to a video of Bob Wood playing in a guitar shop somewhere in Nashville. My son knows that I am struggling a little bit with turning 60 and he knows that I am a bit concerned as to how much longer I will be able to play guitar with a decent level of skill.

Here is the video of Bob Wood that went viral:

Another friend found a different video of Bob Wood, one that has a much better sound and vibe. He passed it along with this comment:

You seem to mention feeling old now and again, and I thought this guy might provide some good perspective for those times!

Here is that video:

So, I am gradually getting the message about becoming an aging guitarist which was best said by Bob himself:

“God willing, I’ll be pickin’ and grinnin’ until they pat me in the face with a spade,” says Bob.

Shoplifting a Fender

Caught this video in my YouTube feed. A person walked into a Guitar Center on January 18th in Fort Worth, Texas and lifted a Fender by sliding the guitar, neck first, down his pants.

I hope they catch this shoplifter.