Planning a Christmas Concert

On Sunday, December 13th, I will be part of a Christmas concert event here in Kingston. I will be on guitar and my son will be with me on bass. We also have a great team of vocalists and players assembled for the event.

I remember the days when I used to be just a player. I would often play at Christmas events where I would receive the charts in advance, show up to rehearsals and then play. For this particular concert, I elected to play the role of “producer”.  And that meant a lot of work. At a very busy time of year.

My personal work plan included the following tasks:

Permissions and Schedule

  • Obtain approval and location for event
  • Set concert date
  • Set rehearsal locations and dates

Recruit Personnel

  • Lead vocalist
  • Lead guitar
  • Bass
  • Acoustic guitar
  • Drums
  • Background vocalists
  • Program director
  • Audio engineer
  • Multimedia


  • Select songs
  • Prepare arrangements
  • Prepare charts
  • Prepare multimedia
  • Lead rehearsals


  • Contract sound system
  • Contract lighting system
  • Contract audio/visual recording


  • Prepare posters, flyers
  • Media notification
  • Call lists


  • Hall booked
  • Hall dressed
  • Dress rehearsal
  • Refreshments
  • Child care
  • Ushers

With the event just under two weeks away, I have one additional task remaining: rehearse my guitar parts. Although my wife might add: “have some fun!”

New Pedals

I have had a Line 6 DL4 delay modeler on the pedal board since 2000. Almost 10 years. A great sounding delay pedal. Over the past few months, it started to do some very unusual things to the sound of the modulated delays. A bit like a screeching, warbled feedback loop and not very pleasing to the ear.

The pedal had served me well but it was clearly time for a replacement. As fate would have it my Dunlop Cry Baby also went south. I have several gigs coming up and a delay pedal is pretty core to my overall sound. A wah pedal is nice but not essential for me. However, since getting to a decent guitar shop is about a two-hour drive, I decided to replace both at the same time.

Lorraine and I headed out to Ottawa on Saturday afternoon. I picked up a Fulltone Clyde from Lauzon Music and a TC Electronic Nova Delay from Steve’s Music. We phoned ahead to make sure they had the devices in stock. And, unlike some of the bigger guitar shops in Toronto, where stocking and restocking product is not a familiar practice, there were no issues in securing the products in the Ottawa stores.

I rewired the whole pedal board and brought up the new pedals over the week-end. Great sounding pedals. Very pleased with the choices.

Gibson Guitar Factory Raid

Always something isn’t there?

Federal agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raided Gibson’s guitar factory on Massman Drive Tuesday afternoon.

Gibson Guitar said in a press release Tuesday it is “fully cooperating with agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in connection with an issue involving harvested wood.”

There are accusations the company has been illegally harvesting a type of wood from Madagascar, sending it to Germany and then importing it to the United States.

Channel 4’s sources said the investigation centers around whether Gibson used illegally harvested endangered species of rosewood and ebony wood.

According to the Nashville Post, agents carted away boxes of wood, guitars, computers and boxes of files Tuesday from the company’s factory.

Gibson said Tuesday that it is a “chain of custody certified buyer who purchases wood from legal suppliers who are to follow all standards.”

The company said it will continue to cooperate fully and assist the federal government in the investigation.


Brian Eastwood Guitars

The private collection of Brian Eastwood was featured in the October 2009 issue of Guitar Magazine. Brian Eastwood is a guitar builder in the United Kingdom. You can find a gallery of some of his guitars here.

And the Bender Distortocaster is one of his creations. Very unique designs.


Equipment Failure

I had not one but two pedals fail on my guitar rig over the week-end. A Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal and my beloved Line 6 DL4 delay pedal. The wah pedal’s switch has broken which in itself is not unusual. The switch to engage the wah is not particularly robust. The DL4 is a different story. The pedal has been with me a very long time and the symptoms suggest either a circuit board failure or a chip failure.

Kevin Eubanks Guitar Rig

Just in case you ever wondered about Kevin Eubanks’ guitar rig. From left to right:

Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes, Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, Dunlop Wah, Electro-Harmonix Octave Multiplexer, Boss Chorus CE-5, Rat Distortion Pedal, and a Boss Tremolo through a Mesa Boogie Blue Angel combo amp.

He also uses a THD Hot Plate to attenuate the volume of his amp.



I came across this really cool app called Capo. Capo allows you to slow down a song. Drag a music file from your drive into the Capo app and Capo will control the playback speed at the original pitch. Markers and loops all help to make learning a complex guitar solo so much easier. Mac only.

The New Rig

Some followers of the blog were asking about when I would post a glamor shot of my new guitar rig — the Dr. Z Maz Senior 38 and the Tom Anderson Guitarworks Droptop. I had some time this week-end to get the rig polished and ready for the camera. Here is one of the shots I took today.

Awesome rig.