The Death of the Electric Guitar

In the past decade, electric guitar sales have plummeted, from about 1.5 million sold annually to just over 1 million. The two biggest companies, Gibson and Fender, are in debt, and a third, PRS Guitars, had to cut staff and expand production of cheaper guitars. In April, Moody’s downgraded Guitar Center, the largest chain retailer, as it faces $1.6 billion in debt.

Not a particularly happy take on the state of six-string electrics.

Product Photography Guitars

I have been culling my guitar collection. Releasing a few instruments that I rarely play these days. As part of that process, I needed to take some pictures of my guitars. And, being a relatively handy person with a camera, I decided to improve my product photography skills as it relates to guitars.

I found this video, even though long and targeted more towards a novice photographer, to be quite helpful in terms of refining my approach.

I used my Nikon D750 DSLR with a 24-70mm F2.8 lens mounted on a tripod. I used a roll of white paper to create a sweep. I had two lamps with 3200K bulbs, each one with a softbox to diffuse the light. I shot at F8 and ISO 100. Manual focus. Hands free shutter release.

I captured some neat images of the guitars.

This was a front shot of the red Strat pictured above:

A few angled shots of a few guitars.

And a couple of amps.

 

 

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

I have been cutting some videos from a concert I did back in December of 2016.

And yes, I know that it is June. Better late than never I suppose.

This was from 2016:

And this was from 2014:

Interesting for me to see the differences between the two events. Aside from being a couple of years apart, we had a different lead vocalist. Doug, in the 2016 video, has been with the team for two years. Rob, in the 2014 video, had been with the team for six years.

The core team, drums, bass, electric guitar, has been together for eight years.

I love the hall that we used in 2016. We have been there for two years and we will be doing two nights in December of 2017. The only negative is that we cannot use haze which means we leave the moving lights behind. In looking back on the 2014 video, although the stage was tight and the seating limited, those moving lights were really cool.

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.